Birds Of Universiti Sains Malaysia

Live wildlife!


USM 101126

Posted by M. A. Muin on November 25, 2010 at 9:01 PM Comments comments (0)

Though this post dated today, some of the bird's photos may came from as old as a month ago. Year end is always a busy time for any company or institution including USM. I also missed out some other post which should have posted much earlier.. The urgency of creating this post is to highlight my sighting of a raptor which i long to see perching, a Japanese sparrowhawk. This smallish raptor is always very secretive. It always perched or roost in a hidden area. The main reason is that it can coceal itself from its prey,which are mainly smaller birds such as sparrows n munias. I was lucky to come across this bird which was particularly hunting late at dusk. It was around 6.30 p.m. while i was trying to photograph this dollarbird. It was also hunting for food,

 Ready, Get set,


 And came back with a beetle or something,


After a while the dollarbird suddenly flew off and didn't came back. It took me a few second before i saw a japanese sparrowhawk landed nearby.

This is a juvenile japanese sparrowhawk, Accipiter gularis. Its a female judging from its yellow eyes. It's a migrant. Can be cofused with Besra but Besra will have darker mesial streaks and breast band. Though this bird recorded nearly every season here, seeing it perched is quite a rare ocassion.

Afterward, a raptor was flying quite far away. I considered it as a mysterous raptor till i got back n checked the book. I concluded it as an immature Brahminy Kite. Any comment anyone?

 Other migratory bird sighted during this month of migratory season,  Asian Brown Flycatcher, Muscicapa dauurica. Sambar Asia.

It can be seen perching on branches everywhere around the campus. The particular behaviour of tis bird as of other flycatchers, it will ocassionally fly off to catch its prey and came back to same perch again.  

Some other birds which i manage to get improvement of the shots, Black Naped Oriole, Oriolus chinensis. Burung Kunyit atau Dendang Selayang.

 Our university ever famous mascot, Brahminy Kite. Haliastur indus. Helang Merah atau Lang Kawi.

 Though a house crow, Corvus splendens (Gagak rumah) is a common bird but getting them on a natural perch is quite tricky. They tend to be camera shy and skittish sometime.

 A white throated Kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis. Pekaka belukar.

That's all. Thanks.

Manjung Powerplant

Posted by M. A. Muin on July 30, 2010 at 5:16 AM Comments comments (0)

I went to Manjung for yet another EIA project. This time it was for TNB. Site surveyed was the Sultan Azlan  Shah Power Plant (Coal), Manjung. The ashpond of this powerplant was not as good as the one at Pulau Indah in terms of bird diversity but yet the work needs to be done... One of the bird commonly  sighted were the white bellied sea eagle and purple heron. Many of them were juveniles or subadult. This is surely one of the best place to practice flying shots of WBSE and purple heron.

This one was feasting on fish,

Purple Heron,

House Crow,

A lone subadult white breasted waterhen,

I nearly couldn't believe my eyes when i saw 3 little grebe in this pond. But it was too far for a photo..

During the survey, we stay at Teluk Senangin. Besides the chalet was a nice cherry tree. As usual, it is a good place for flowerpeckers. A male scarlet backed,

A strange male scarlet backed,subadult maybe,

An ornage bellied, male


There was also a nice virgin forest reserve behind our chalet but i don't really have a time to check it out. The name is Hutan Simpan Segari Melintang. There is another interesting to visit for the next trip, it was a mangrove with a nice boardwalk. Situated in between the powerplant and Lumut shipyard. The boardwalk is much better than the one in Matang. Much broader and easy to put your tripod without worrying it will drop into the gap. It is also much longer with many rest area. Must check next time as i went there only at night.  We manage to see 4 mangrove pit viper on the boardwalk. We took one of them back for specimen but unluckily it bite one of my friend when he tried to prep the specimen. Lucky he is ok!

USM 100714

Posted by M. A. Muin on July 29, 2010 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Its been so long long since i last birding in USM. Recently, i've been hearing calls of juvenile bird begging for food at the small patch of forest between my office (J complex) and Desa Bakti everytime i'm going out or back from my workplace. Finally i manage to go in for half an hour during my lunch break... Here is the mysterious  bird, a juvenile Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, partially blocked by a twig...

This one is much younger compared to this,

In total, there were at least 4 juveniles in this area alone....good to see that this small remnant still hold quite a good number of this bird. Later as i was waiting for the juveniles Tickell's for some perfect shot, i heard a familiar calls nearby, It was an Olive Winged Bulbul, a new record by me for USM's checklist...

It perched quite far away and quite skittish. Anyway, good to record this fella here as i've heard a call of a mysterious bulbul (which is not Yellow Vented) not long ago at Durian/Bird Valley. I guess this is the guy..

Baling 100703

Posted by M. A. Muin on July 12, 2010 at 11:51 PM Comments comments (0)

A second visit to Baling. After the brief survey done, we found out this place is rather interesting in terms of birdlife. This time i brought Choo Eng  along to help me on the birds checklist.

As we thought, Bukit Palong is indeed an amazing area for birding. There were lots of birds and i bet there will be more if we arrived much earlier. Here are some which i manage to photographed,

A mystery swift, quite big and finally i assume the best candidate would be house swift though i didn't see any white on the rump...any verdict,anyone..










Black Bellied Malkoha, separated fron the green billed by not having a white bordering around the red facial skin and appear to be smaller with shorter tail.











A surprising find, Black Eagle. It suddenly glide in front of us. It was quite low but we were ocassionally blocked by trees when we want to get good photo of it. Maybe next time..











A bulbul which i thought to be grey cheeked but i'm wrong. Any verdict for this bird...











Quite a vocal bird with melodious calls..Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher,















There were two red bearded bee eater chasing each other but this is the best i could get,















Scaly Breasted Bulbul. A beautiful bird,pity angle was too acute..















Another surprising find, Sultan Tit.















A flock of 10 White Eye flying around but they hardly stay still. After reviewing this shot and comparing them to the field guide, i assume this is Everett's White Eye. It doesn't seems to have the yellow forehead to be oriental...correct me if i'm wrong.



















Yellow Eared Spiderhunter...











After Bukit Palong (which is in Compartment 4), we went to other Compartments of Gunung Inas Forest Reserve to check our mist nets and harp traps. After only a single individual caught during the the first visit,this visit is quite fruitful for this flying mammal,








Hipposideros larvatus                                                 Hipposideros diadema     











Hipposideros sabanus                Kerivoula minuta            















Murina cyclotis                   Rhinolophus trifoliatus



















Some of the none-flying mammals ..








Common Palm Civet















Wild Pig.















This bird was sighted feeding its young. Didin't manage to get a better shot than this as it was always hidden.




Great Iora,





We might come back for the last visit as we found a very nice river in Compartment 9. It might be suitable for some good herpetofauna. Look out for my next write up. Thanks.

Baling 100620

Posted by M. A. Muin on July 1, 2010 at 3:53 AM Comments comments (0)

I was invited by Dr Shahrul and his team from School of Biological Sciences to do a small survey at Baling. This is the result preliminary survey...

A view of a nice limestone hill just beside Baling town...don't know the hill name. Baling hill perhaps.




This shot was taken from the hotel we stay, Bayu Hotel.

During this preliminary survey, i didn't really had the time to do birding as we are busy going back n forth in the van to locate all the area the survey to be done. We mainly concentrate on the herpetofauna and bats.

here are some of the catch..

A lame attempt on wide angle of juvenile Tropidolaemus wagleri, Wagler's Pit Viper






Another wide shot of Duttaphrynus melanostictus, Common Sunda Toad











A glossy swiftlet (correct me if i'm wrong)







I didn't know they have feather on the toe...




The nest...







A wide shot of male great anglehead lizard. The lighting was harsh..











The only catch for the harp trap, Hipposideros diadema,











Hylarana labiallis, White lipped Frog,











Quite an unexpected find, Philautus parvulus,











Ptychozoon lionotum, Smooth backed gliding lizard. My lifer...















Triangle keelback,











Xenophrys aceras, Perak spadefoot frog.










What a nice place...i'll surely come back to do a proper bird checklist for this area...


Birding at Taman Negara, Kuala Tahan, Pahang

Posted by M. A. Muin on June 8, 2010 at 2:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I've been given a chance to give lecture and field training to the University of Victoria, Canada students in the Tropical Field School Programme organized by School of Biological Sciences. It was a great experience but pity i don't have time to do herping in this magnificent forest of Taman Negara.

It started on 4th June 2010. We stays at Traveller's Home chalet, Kuala Tahan.

We make our way to the Canopy Walkway by boat and head back by trekking through the Bukit Teresek trail to Kuala Tahan.


The canopy walk...


Gonocephalus bellii,Bell's Anglehead Lizard. Sighted at the Canopy walk.


Some of the birds sighted or heard are the wreated hornbill, blue crowned hanging parrot, long tailed parakeet and many others. For complete list please refer here:


Blue Rumped Parrot


Crested Fireback


Green Broadbill,Female



Green Broadbill,male.

and here: