Sunday 21 May 2017

BIRDS OF LANGKAWI: Babble On Breakfast

Guess who showed up for breakfast during the morning walk session at Ambong-Ambong Langkawi ?   

While waiting for anyone to show up at 8am, I heard some babbling sound and this little one turned up at the GoodEarth cafe of Ambong-Ambong Langkawi.  

Abbott's Babbler was spotted in the dark vegetation. I had to do some editing to produce this image.
This is an adult Abbott's Babbler Malacocincla abbotti with an insect. It didn't eat its prey immediately and it was making alarm calls. I heard calls of other similar babblers nearby. It took off after five minutes of its appearance. Could this prey be food for its chick or juvenile? Babblers are not easily seen though can be heard in the scrubby vegetation. 
Initially, I was a bit doubtful if this one here could be a Horsfield's Babbler Malacocincla sepiaria, which also belongs to the same genus of  Pellorneidae or ground babblers.

After analyzing the calls and illustrations of both babblers comparing to my photos and video, I came to conclusion that this bird here is the Abbott's Babbler Malacocincla abbotti. I was very hopeful that it was the Horsfield's instead as this species has yet to be recorded on the birds list of Langkawi.
With the info from a reference book, a Abbott's and Horsfield have similarities except for the slight differences in the length of their tails and calls. It can be tricky!
Image editor credit:
To spot a babbler is to look for them in the undergrowth, scrubby vegetation of any sort of forest. Not easy to photograph, let alone trying to identify. Most babblers here are plain brown birds and usually shy. However, they can make melodious songs. One of the ways to identify a babbler is through their calls. It is one of those hear-and-no-see-em kinda birds. Fun challenge!

Ambong Ambong Rainforest Retreat offers complimentary morning walk on Mondays at 8am for their in-house guests. Be sure to come whenever you are staying there. It is advisable to register before coming.

Private Langkawi birdwatching tour is also offered by Ambong Ambong.

 I had the pleasure of watching it for 5 minutes and no one else. I can't remember what made the noisy background. I was too busy with this bird.
WMV conversion to mp4 credit: 

References:; 20may2017.
Robson, Craig, A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia,New Holland,2011,p513-514. 

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