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Field Guides Tour Report
Borneo II 2016
Jun 2, 2016 to Jun 19, 2016
Megan Edwards Crewe with Hamit Suban & Paul Dimus

The Ruddy Kingfisher is definitely ruddy, but it's got some serious purple highlights. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

What a wonderful time we had in the Bornean rainforest! For more than two weeks, we immersed ourselves in the exotic, verdant steaminess of one of the world's richest jungles, with a plethora of things to look for, and a never-ending stream of birds, mammals, herps, insects and plants to enthrall and entertain us. The weather largely cooperated (if you discount our adventure along the Tenangang River in the pouring rain), and the birds -- well, the birds were amazing!

Where do you start a "highlight list" for a trip with so many highlights? Perhaps with the quiet little gang of Bornean Bristleheads rummaging through the branches of trees near the canopy walkway on our very first morning together. Or maybe with the jewel-bright Black-crowned Pitta, spilling his pure whistled song into a warm afternoon along the Sukau boardwalk trail. Or with the bizarre, square-headed pair of Helmeted Hornbills that FINALLY showed themselves on our very last morning at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge (BRL). Or even with the lusciously green Bornean Green Magpies -- either the ones having their splashing baths in the spotlight beam of sunshine that penetrated the forest canopy, or the solemn one sitting on the log with the dead snake clutched firmly in one foot. Perhaps I should start with the male Diard's Trogon sitting stock-still mere feet from where we stood, cameras poised, on the nearby canopy walkway. Or with the nose-y Proboscis Monkeys draped across branches along the Kitabatangan and its tributaries. Or with the calling male Whitehead's Trogon on his upright snag. Or with that fabulous fig tree along the BRL entrance road, with its mob of Scaly-breasted Bulbuls, Green Broadbills, Asian Fairy-Bluebirds, and FIVE species of barbet. Wow!

We began our tour in Sepilok, where the whole gang arrived a few days early to adjust to the time change (and the temperature change!!), and to have time to explore the nearby Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) and the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. The park, with its extensive trail system and fabulous canopy walkways and towers, provided a great place to start to get familiar with many of Borneo's more widespread species. Family groups of Buff-necked and Buff-rumped woodpeckers gobbled insects from rotting branches. A Long-billed Spiderhunter returned again and again with bits to weave into its growing nest, attached to the underside of a huge leaf. A glittering array of sunbirds -- including Van Hasselt's, Ruby-cheeked, Crimson, Plain-throated, and Copper-throated -- swarmed around flowering bushes. Busy flocks of Fiery Minivets swirled through treetops. A Velvet-fronted Nuthatch hitched its way up a tree trunk. A waist-high trio of Black-capped Babblers serenaded each other (and us) along a path. Giant Red Flying Squirrels crept from the boxes where they'd spent their days and launched themselves in impressive gliding flights to distant tree trunks (where a daring juvenile Wallace's Hawk-Eagle tried its best to catch one of them).

From there, we went on to the Sukau Rainforest Ecolodge, on the banks of the Kitabatangan River. Here, we traded hot feet for bare ones, as we did much of our exploring by boat, drifting along the main river and its tributaries, pushed by a quiet electric motor. The blizzard of Clipper butterflies along the Menanggul attracted a pair of tiny White-fronted Falconets and many Blue-throated Bee-eaters. A Storm's Stork posed atop a riverside tree, and two others circled over our heads. A Hooded Pitta stalked the ground along a riverbank. A Ruddy Kingfisher (which really should be called the Purplish Kingfisher, based on the plumage we saw) sat among the mangrove leaves. A Long-tailed Parakeet preened along the river. Noisy gangs of Bold-striped Tit-Babblers rummaged through stream-side bushes. A wide-awake Colugo hung from a branch near the dining room one lunchtime. Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers plucked mistletoe berries. Stunning Malaysian Blue-Flycatchers made quick little sallies from twigs right over the water. Oriental Pied-, Wrinkled, and Rhinoceros hornbills perched up on treetops, drying out after late afternoon thundershowers. A couple of night trips turned up some additional treats, including three different Buffy Fish-Eagles staring at the water, an Oriental Bay-Owl clinging to a skinny vertical trunk, a sizable Saltwater Crocodile floating in the main river, and a quartet of Red-and-black Broadbills squashed side by side on a branch.

From Sukau, we made multiple forays to the Gomantong Caves, famous for their extensive colonies of echo-locating swifts. The caves are quite literally breath-taking -- raw with the stench of ammonia emanating from massive heap of accumulated bat guano, the output of millions of Wrinkle-lipped Free-tailed Bats over hundreds (thousands?) of years. But they're also breathtaking for the number of Black-nest, White-nest and Mossy-nest swiftlets that shelter there, tucking their distinctive nests into dark corners and crevices throughout. The surrounding forest provided more treats, including a pair of Oriental Honey-Buzzards building a nest and a pair of Bat Hawks sitting on theirs, a pair of territorial Moustached Hawk-Cuckoos that displayed their distinctively Accipiter-like flight profile as they swooped through the forest, a stunning male Red-naped Trogon in a spill of vines, a troop of Red Leaf-Monkeys romping through the canopy, a tidy Leopard Cat resting beside among the oil palms, and our first Orangutans -- a mother and partially-grown youngster, foraging in a tree up the hill from the cave entrance.

Next up was the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, tucked into the virtually untouched primary forest of the Danum Valley. Here, our dining table stood next to a fruiting tree that attracted an ever-changing cast of characters: Gray-bellied and Buff-vented bulbuls, Yellow-breasted, Orange-breasted and Yellow-rumped flowerpeckers and more gulped up the berries, while a Bornean Spiderhunter patrolled the flower borders below. Along the entrance road and the myriad trails, many species awaited. Tiny Blue-rumped Parrotlets clung upside-down to ripening fruit, showing their bright plumage patches. A dazzling Green Iora fed a begging chick. A White-crowned Hornbill sang from a big tree branch, his fluffy white head feathers sticking up in an untidy spray. A Giant Pitta, normally the wariest of wary birds, perched on an open branch above the trail, singing loudly. A male Crested Fireback stepped along the edge of the road, stopping periodically to peck at some tasty morsel. A Rufous Piculet explored a knee-high frond arching over the road, searching for tidbits. A pair of Crested Jays flashed their distinctive white neck patches. A female Cinnamon-rumped Trogon chortled beside us while her male sang quietly from a more hidden spot. A fabulous Blue-headed Pitta sang from a nearby branch -- though it took us a while to find him. Gray Gibbons whooped atmospherically from the misty forest. Night trips here were productive too: we spotted two Barred Eagle-Owls near the lights of some forestry buildings just outside the park, an alert Brown Wood-Owl over the road, a rare Black Flying Squirrel, several huge-eyed Slow Lorises, and some rather tame Sambar.

We finished our tour with a stint at Kinabalu NP -- a haven of coolness after the heat of Borneo's lowlands. Here is where most of the island's endemics are found, and, with a few notable exceptions (we're talking to you, Whitehead's Broadbill and Mountain Serpent-Eagle), most of them (and a host of other species) cooperated very nicely. A male Fruit-hunter moved lazily through a fruiting tree right over our heads. A quartet of Red-breasted Partridges shuffled through the undergrowth, occasionally allowing a quick view as they paused in an open space. An Everett's Thrush paused on a roadside curb, standing at attention. A tiny Bornean Stubtail swiveled on his perch, singing his incredibly high-pitched song. Two fluffy Besra chicks stared, wide-eyed, from their stick nest, while their fiercely protective parent lurked nearby. A busy adult Whitehead's Spiderhunter hunted the treetops, with a couple of loudly begging youngsters in tow. Little gangs of Gray-throated Babblers boiled through trailside vegetation, with a trio of shyer Mountain Wren-Babblers joining one of the groups. A flock of Gray-chinned Minivets and another of Bornean Leafbirds provided some excellent roadside eye candy. An Eye-browed Jungle-Thrush stood on a trailside railing. Jaunty Sunda Bush-Warblers twitched through ferny vegetation. A handful of Bornean Swiftlets winnowed over the road, and a couple snuggled on nests tucked into the shadowed peak of a hiker's shelter.

We finished the tour having seen all eight possible hornbill, five of the six possible pittas, all eight possible spiderhunters, more than 20 babblers, and every bulbul on our checklist. And, of course, sharing the sightings with an enthusiastic group of traveling companions only compounded the fun! Thanks so much for coping with the occasional restaurant hiccup (what, no chicken again?!), for doing an awesome job of spotting birds and for helping to make this trip such a pleasure to lead. I hope to see you again on another adventure soon!

-- Megan

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

This male Diard's Trogon was amazingly confiding, staying on his branch even when we appeared right beside him on the RDC canopy walkway. Photo by participant Connee Reau.

WANDERING WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna arcuata) – A little gang of a dozen or so floated on a scummy pond (or snoozed along its edges) on a side road we detoured onto, en route to Gomantong Caves.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
RED-BREASTED PARTRIDGE (Arborophila hyperythra) – We heard many distant coveys calling as we walked the road and trails at Kinabalu NP, and lucked into a group of four skulking through the underbrush along the main road one morning. It took some maneuvering (and some quick-stepping up the road to stay in front of them), but we all got good looks in the end. [E]
CHESTNUT-NECKLACED PARTRIDGE (Arborophila charltonii) – Very, very common in the lowlands (particularly Danum Valley) where we heard the loud, rollicking calls of dozens of coveys, including some pretty close ones. Unfortunately, only a few folks got a quick glimpse of one, glowing in a sunlit patch as it scurried down a side trail off BRL's Hornbill trail.
GREAT ARGUS (Argusianus argus) – Heard on several days in the Danum Valley (including one long-calling), but never particularly close. [*]
CRIMSON-HEADED PARTRIDGE (Haematortyx sanguiniceps) – A lucky few at the front of the line along the Silau-Silau trail one afternoon got a nice look at one as it crossed the path in front of us; unfortunately, it didn't play nice for the rest! We certainly all HEARD plenty of them during our days in the highlands. [E]
CRESTED FIREBACK (BORNEAN) (Lophura ignita nobilis) – Our first was a male that appeared along the road near "our" fig tree at BRL; he wandered along for a bit, drawing lots of admiration, before a passing car chased him back into the forest. We had another quartet -- three males and a female -- mooching around under some of the cabins there late one afternoon.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
STORM'S STORK (Ciconia stormi) – Our first strolled across the Gomantong Caves road in front of our vehicle as we drove into the park one afternoon. But we had even better views of one perched atop a tree as dusk approached on our first afternoon boat trip at Sukau, and saw another four circling over the Menanggul River one morning. This Critically Endangered species is still hanging on in scattered habitat patches across Borneo.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)

We saw plenty of juvenile Wallace's Hawk-Eagles during the tour, including this one from the RDC canopy walkway. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

ORIENTAL DARTER (Anhinga melanogaster) – One in the pond near the Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) entrance ducked under the water only a few times before coming up with a sizable fish impaled on its sharp beak. A few quick head tosses, and it had that fish flipped around the right way, and swallowed it down with no trouble at all. We saw others along the Menanggul River on our boat trips, plus a few along the river at BRL.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT-BILLED HERON (Ardea sumatrana) – Most of the group spotted one in the river as we crossed the suspension bridge at the end of our walk on BRL's Jacuzzi trail. Fortunately for those who were already across, it flew past later while we birded from the restaurant balcony in the rain.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – Especially good views of an adult perched atop a little mangrove tree near one of the blinds at the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Center, with a gingery youngster hunting among the tall marsh grasses nearby. We also had several along the Kitabatangan, either in flight or perched on treetops as dusk approached.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – One floated past on a log (headed for Sandakan!) as we ate breakfast our first morning at the Sukau Rainforest Ecolodge, and we saw others fishing along the edges of the Kinabatangan and Menanggul rivers.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Mesophoyx intermedia) – At least two stood along the edge of the manmade lake near the big mosque in Kota Kinabalu. In each case, they were conveniently close to Great and Little egrets for good comparison.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – A few scattered along the edge of the Kitabatangan, with scores (hundreds?) of others along the manmade lake near the big mosque in Kota Kinabalu.
PACIFIC REEF-HERON (Egretta sacra) – A handful jogged along the shoreline, chasing small prey in the shallow water, as we drove into Kota Kinabalu.
CATTLE EGRET (EASTERN) (Bubulcus ibis coromandus) – A couple flew over as we were getting ourselves sorted before going into RDC early one morning, and a trio flew over the Menanggul River during our first boat trip.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Our best views came along the Kitabatangan, when we found one fishing from a floating plank near the shore one afternoon; it was so focused on whatever it was watching that it totally ignored our close approach! We saw others in flight over the mangroves around Likas Bay.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – We saw one hunting from some floating debris in the middle of the Kitabatangan on one of our night trips.
RUFOUS NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax caledonicus) – Two building a nest in the tiny patch of trees across the road from the Lahad Datu airport were certainly a surprise -- a bonus during our search for Paddyfield Pipits! [N]
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
ORIENTAL HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis ptilorhynchus) – A nesting pair in one of the huge, emergent trees along the Gomantong Caves road were a treat. One was little more than a beady eye and the top of a head poking above the top of a big stick nest, but the second -- which spent a fair bit of time trying to knock branches off the tree -- was nicely visible in the scopes, once we found the right angle to look from! We saw another soaring over the BRL's entrance road. [N]
JERDON'S BAZA (Aviceda jerdoni) – A single bird, seen as it struggled through a soggy treetop along the Kitabatangan River in poor light (seen as we headed towards the Tenangang) provided a less-than-satisfying encounter.
CRESTED SERPENT-EAGLE (Spilornis cheela) – Lovely views of soaring, calling birds on most of our days in the lowlands, with good studies of a perched bird right at the entrance to the Gomantong Caves. What a gorgeous underwing pattern!
BAT HAWK (Macheiramphus alcinus) – A pair with a nest near the parking lot at Gomantong Caves were definitely showy. One was definitely incubating something (eggs? chicks?) on the nest, but also saw at least one winnowing overhead, preparing for the bat feast to come. It is named for its principal prey. [N]
CHANGEABLE HAWK-EAGLE (Nisaetus limnaeetus) – Especially nice looks at a chocolatey dark morph bird along the Menanggul River on our first visit there, with others in flight over the entrance road into Gomantong Caves.
BLYTH'S HAWK-EAGLE (Nisaetus alboniger) – Reasonably common in the highlands, where we missed them only on our final morning. Two adults circling over the Masakob waterfall (down the hill from the Tambunan Rafflesia Center) probably provided our best extended views. This is the high-elevation replacement for the previous species.

We managed to sneak past this spread-eagled Oriental Darter without making him fly -- which made for some very nice photographs, like this one from participant Ed LeGrand.

WALLACE'S HAWK-EAGLE (Nisaetus nanus) – Common and widespread in the lowlands, including two in a dead tree at RDC -- one of which made a very determined attempt to grab our first Giant Red Flying Squirrel! Nearly every bird we saw was immature.
RUFOUS-BELLIED EAGLE (Lophotriorchis kienerii) – A high pair circled against the clouds over the Menanggul River one morning, but our best views came at Gomantong Caves, where an adult soared back and forth over the the hill, low enough that we could see its distinctive coloring.
BLACK EAGLE (Ictinaetus malaiensis) – Our first was a quick glimpse of one as it dropped down behind a ridge near the Kitabatangan. Fortunately, we had much better looks at another soaring over the BRL entrance road. The blocky, rectangular wings of this species -- and the prominent primary "fingers" -- are distinctive.
BESRA (Accipiter virgatus) – Our first glimpse of an adult Besra came along Kinabalu NP's Silau-Silau trail, when one zipped past as we hunted for a singing Bornean Stubtail. Minutes later, it went back the other way, then came by again. And then we found it perched for great scope views. Twice! In fact, we were in the area for some 20 minutes -- hunting down and watching the stubtail, then enjoying views of the perched Besra -- before the latter strafed us, and we finally realized we were standing right near a nest stuffed full with two fluffy, wide-eyed youngsters. Oops! [N]
BRAHMINY KITE (Haliastur indus) – Scattered birds, including a youngster soaring over the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, an adult gliding over the Kitabatangan, and other adults at the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center.
WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucogaster) – Seen on several days in the lowlands: one flying over the RDC, one flapping over the forests at the Gomantong Caves and a few over the Kitabatangan. Though they are most common along the coast, these big eagles are known to range hundreds of miles inland. Their prey is primarily aquatic, but they are opportunistic carnivores, even taking such things as flying foxes!
LESSER FISH-EAGLE (Ichthyophaga humilis) – Seen a couple of times along the Kitabatangan (including one that stayed perched right over our heads as our boat passed underneath its tree), with another in flight along the Danum River at BRL.
GRAY-HEADED FISH-EAGLE (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus) – One in flight over the forest at Gomantong Caves was in view for far too short a time.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN (Amaurornis phoenicurus) – Great views of one at the Sepilok Nature Center; it was so used to people that we stood right over it on the boardwalk while it tiptoed through the Water Hyacinth 4 feet away. We had others at RDC and along the Kitabatangan and its tributaries -- including one blinking in the beam of our spotlight during one night outing.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – A couple at the manmade pond near Kota Kinabalu's big mosque, both standing high in the reed beds. This species was recently split from North America's Common Gallinule.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

The canopy walkway and towers at Sepilok's Rainforest Discovery Center are sturdy and very well-designed -- and brought us eye to eye with some truly fabulous birds! Photo by participant Jane Stavert.

WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) – One along the Kitabatangan, seen as we gathered for breakfast early one morning, was a surprise; most are well to the north during the summer. It was in nonbreeding plumage, as you'd expect from a bird that didn't head north to breed.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) – Common in open habitats in the lowlands, often rummaging in short grass along the roadsides.
LITTLE CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia ruficeps) – Seen on several days in the highlands, usually rocketing past overhead. Its small size, uniform brown color, and long tail are distinctive.
EMERALD DOVE (Chalcophaps indica) – Unfortunately, this widespread forest species didn't put on much of a show. A few of the group saw one (or more) fly across the Menanggul; the white bar on its rump is certainly eye-catching.
ZEBRA DOVE (Geopelia striata) – One foraged along the roadside near the manmade pond we stopped at in Kota Kinabalu. Though widespread across southeast Asia (including peninsular Malaysia), this species isn't native to Borneo. [I]
LITTLE GREEN-PIGEON (Treron olax) – A male perched at the top of a tree near the Sepilok Nature Resort's dining room, part of a little mixed flock that completely interrupted our breakfast one morning. He showed that distinctively orange chest nicely!
PINK-NECKED PIGEON (Treron vernans) – Dozens and dozens and DOZENS swarmed through a fruiting fig tree at the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center -- definitely a highlight of our last afternoon.
THICK-BILLED PIGEON (Treron curvirostra) – A single bird, which appeared to be quietly digesting a belly full of figs, sat tucked into the leafy top of a fig tree over the RDC parking lot on two different days. A young male, he was just starting to show some of his handsome maroon wing feathers.
GREEN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula aenea) – Plenty of these big pigeons in the lowlands, with particularly good studies of some perched in dead trees along the Kitabatangan's tributaries.
MOUNTAIN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula badia) – One flew past the Timpohon Gate as we birded from the platform on our last morning -- good spotting, Ed! It landed in one of the big emergent trees (just about eye level with us), allowing us the chance to study it in the scopes.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

It's not hard to see how the Rhinoceros Hornbill got its name. The pale eye identifies this one as a female. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

MOUSTACHED HAWK-CUCKOO (Hierococcyx vagans) – A pair showed their classic Accipiter-like shape as they flashed across and along the road at Gomantong Caves. We got multiple brief views of them as they shifted position again and again, but they always perched in the deepest, densest part of the trees, so we never got that good look at a perched bird.
INDIAN CUCKOO (Cuculus micropterus) – We heard the loud, distinctive song of this widespread species ("Madagascar! Madagascar!) daily from the RDC canopy walkway. [*]
SUNDA CUCKOO (Cuculus lepidus) – We heard the three-note call of this highland species from distant hillsides in Kinabalu NP, and had great (though brief) views of one on a bamboo trunk mere yards from the Liwagu Restaurant balcony -- nice spotting, Karen!
BANDED BAY CUCKOO (Cacomantis sonneratii) – We heard this one regularly around Sukau. [*]
PLAINTIVE CUCKOO (Cacomantis merulinus) – A bronzy striped youngster along the RDC's Kingfisher trail showed pretty well for a few minutes before melting back into the vegetation; we saw another along BRL's entrance road.
VIOLET CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus) – Best seen at RDC, where a male made regular, calling display flights over the treetops around the canopy walkway; we saw him perched several times, where we could enjoy scope views of his snazzy plumage. We had another in flight over Gomantong Caves.
SQUARE-TAILED DRONGO-CUCKOO (Surniculus lugubris) – One perched along the Menanggul, with others heard from our boats, and at the Gomantong Caves. Unlike the similar drongos (Bronzed, for example), this one doesn't have a red eye.
RAFFLES'S MALKOHA (Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus) – One of the smaller malkohas of the tour, seen nicely on several days -- including a trio working their way through some treetops below us while we birded from the RDC canopy walkway. This is the only chestnut-bodied malkoha in Borneo, and it reminded a number of us of the New World's Squirrel Cuckoo.
RED-BILLED MALKOHA (Phaenicophaeus javanicus) – One seen briefly along one of the trails at RDC; the red beak of the Sundaland specialty is distinctive -- and diagnostic!
CHESTNUT-BREASTED MALKOHA (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris) – Good views of one in a tree near the RDC entrance on our first "full group" morning; the early morning sunlight on that red facial skin was just stunning! This, the largest of Borneo's malkohas, was the most common malkoha of the tour, recorded on most days in the lowlands.
SHORT-TOED COUCAL (Centropus rectunguis) – We heard a distant bird calling from the dense forest along the Gomantong Caves road. [*]
GREATER COUCAL (Centropus sinensis) – We heard the distinctive low hooting call of this species on many days, but saw only one -- an adult foraging along on the side of the driveway to the Sukau boat launch, seen as we headed towards the Gomantong Caves road one morning.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
ORIENTAL BAY-OWL (Phodilus badius) – Wow! After getting only a brief glimpse of our first, we had a much more satisfying second encounter -- one Hamit found perched on a nearly vertical tree trunk along the Menanggul River. It stayed put while he maneuvered the boat into a perfect position for views and photographs. Lovely!
Strigidae (Owls)
MOUNTAIN SCOPS-OWL (Otus spilocephalus) – We heard the slow two-note calls of at least four different birds from the hills around our cabins at Kinabalu NP. Interestingly, each of the four was calling at a distinctively different pitch, allowing us to continue to identify them individually as they moved around. [*]
SUNDA SCOPS-OWL (Otus lempiji) – Arg! We were so, so close to the one that moved around the Sepilok Nature Resort's gardens, singing from various spots, but we just couldn't spot it. [*]
BARRED EAGLE-OWL (Bubo sumatranus) – A pair of birds hunted insects attracted to the lights around some buildings near the turnoff to BRL, giving us fabulous chances to study them. This marked the first time Paul had ever seen two of them there!
BUFFY FISH-OWL (Ketupa ketupu) – At least three or four of these big owls seen nicely along the Menanggul and Kitabatangan rivers during our night outings from Sukau. As its name suggests, fish make up the bulk of its diet, but it also takes frogs, toads, reptiles, crabs and crayfish. Unlike most owls, it doesn't fly silently; presumably, fish can't hear them coming anyway!
COLLARED OWLET (Glaucidium brodiei borneense) – One of these small diurnal owls called (and called and called) from a big tree near one of the switchbacks along the road through Kinabalu NP, but just wouldn't move, no matter how enticingly we whistled back. [*]

This busy family group of Buff-necked Woodpeckers appeared to be gobbling up some swarming ants. Video by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.
BROWN WOOD-OWL (Strix leptogrammica) – One perched right over the BRL entrance road was a highlight of one of our night drives there. We saw a second bird in one of the big trees over the staff quarters there on a night walk a couple of days later. This owl is widespread across much of Asia.
Apodidae (Swifts)
SILVER-RUMPED NEEDLETAIL (Rhaphidura leucopygialis) – Pretty common in the lowlands, with dozens swooping low over the pond at the Sepilok Nature Resort (where they appeared to be getting a drink) and others around the main buildings at BRL. Ed saw some at Poring Hot Springs.
GLOSSY SWIFTLET (Collocalia esculenta) – Seen almost every day of the tour, with particularly good studies of hundreds on their nests in a crevice in a bank along the Kitabatangan -- truly a crush of them, sitting virtually on top of each other! [N]
BORNEAN SWIFTLET (Collocalia dodgei) – Nice scope studies of a couple huddled in nests high in the wooden gateway at the end of the road in Kinabalu NP; the green gloss on their plumage was clearly visible. We had others winnowing back and forth overhead near the power plant and a bit further downhill over the main road. [N]
MOSSY-NEST SWIFTLET (Aerodramus salangana) – One of the three similar, echo-locating swiftlets that nest inside the Gomantong Caves; they're so similar, in fact, that they are not reliably separated unless seen on their distinctive nests. These were the lowest, and most easily seen of the nesting swifts in the Gomantong Caves, with nests that were liberally decorated with bits of moss. Needless to say, the moss makes them less than desirable as soup ingredients -- fortunately for the birds! [N]
BLACK-NEST SWIFTLET (Aerodramus maximus) – The Black-nest Cave at Gomantong is named for this species, which it is generally the most abundant nester; the massive cluster of nests high in the cavern -- and most of those in the shadowy recesses lower down -- were primarily those of this species. Their nests are shallow cups of their own dark feathers glued with their own saliva. Though worth less than the nests of the White-nest Swiftlets, these are still collected for the soup trade. [N]
WHITE-NEST SWIFTLET (Aerodramus fuciphagus) – A sprinkling of these white nests -- including a few with swifts aboard -- gleamed among the more common black nests in Gomantong Caves. This is the famous ingredient of "bird's nest soup", and as such is greatly prized, and greatly sought. While harvests at Gomantong are restricted to twice a year (the first time before any eggs have been laid, and the second after the young have fledged), harvests at other caves go unregulated. And since a packet of four nests in the airport shop fetches more than $150, the temptation to collect any and every you can find as often as you can must be hard to resist! [N]
HOUSE SWIFT (Apus nipalensis) – We found a burgeoning colony in the town of Nabalo, with dozens of birds whizzing back and forth, and occasionally zipping in to one of the feather-bedecked nests. [N]
Hemiprocnidae (Treeswifts)

Crested Serpent-Eagles were seen regularly in flight (and what a striking underwing pattern they have) throughout the lowlands, but this was our only good look at a perched bird, which was right outside the entrance to the Gomantong Caves. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

GRAY-RUMPED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne longipennis) – Daily at RDC, where we watched them swooping down to drink from the lake. This is the larger of the tour's two treeswifts.
WHISKERED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne comata) – Small numbers around BRL, including one perched high in a tree near the entrance road; it made little swirling sallies after prey, but returned again to again to the same branch.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
RED-NAPED TROGON (Harpactes kasumba impavidus) – A female with a mixed flock at RDC, and a calling male at Gomantong Caves. This Sundaland specialty is Near Threatened due to habitat loss; the endemic subspecies found in Borneo is impavidus.
DIARD'S TROGON (Harpactes diardii) – That "reach out and touch him" male we had along the RDC canopy walkway was spectacular -- particularly as it didn't fly away as soon as it saw us! We had another male at Gomantong Caves, and a third along BRL's Hornbill trail.
WHITEHEAD'S TROGON (Harpactes whiteheadi) – A male of this spectacular species near the start of Kinabalu's Silau-Silau trail on two different days; we got to hear him singing on one of those occasions. It is named for John Whitehead, a British explorer who collected many species in southeast Asia. [E]
CINNAMON-RUMPED TROGON (Harpactes orrhophaeus) – A pair low in trees along the Ebony trail got our afternoon's ramble there off to a good start. Most saw only the female well; the male was further away in a denser tangle.
SCARLET-RUMPED TROGON (Harpactes duvaucelii) – A showy male along the road at the Gomantong Caves, with others at BRL -- and that red rump is certainly obvious!
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
WHITE-CROWNED HORNBILL (Berenicornis comatus) – We heard these uncommon hornbills calling from a distant ridge on a couple of late afternoons while boating on the Kitabatangan, and finally managed to lay eyes on one (or possibly two) along BRL's Jacuzzi trail as they flew back and forth through the forest. Then, thanks to some great spotting by Ed, and with some careful scope locating (and some tiptoe viewing), most of the group got a quick glimpse of a perched bird before it moved out of view. What a crazy hairdo!
HELMETED HORNBILL (Buceros vigil) – We giggled over the crazy "maniacal laughter" song of this big species for much of our stay at BRL, and were rewarded with excellent views of a pair moving steadily through some of the tallest emergent trees, not far from the canopy tower.
RHINOCEROS HORNBILL (Buceros rhinoceros) – One of the more widespread of the tour's hornbills, seen on scattered days in the lowlands. The trio preening in a fruiting tree along the Kitabatangan after a rainstorm late one afternoon gave us great opportunity for photos.
BUSHY-CRESTED HORNBILL (Anorrhinus galeritus) – We had a big, noisy gang of several dozen fly over us along the Gomantong Caves road, but they didn't stop. Fortunately, we found other along the BRL entrance road that proved a bit more cooperative! This one is even darker overall than the Black Hornbill, because its beak is also black.
BLACK HORNBILL (Anthracoceros malayanus) – Probably the most numerous of the tour's hornbills, seen in good numbers around Sepilok and Sukau. The birds feeding at the top of the hill beyond our cabins at Sepilok were particularly exciting, as they were our first "group" hornbills!
ORIENTAL PIED-HORNBILL (Anthracoceros albirostris) – Very common along the Kitabatangan and its tributaries, including a family group (two adults, two youngsters) over the river one soggy afternoon, and a big group of 30 or more gathering in riverside trees as dusk approached on the same day.
WREATHED HORNBILL (Rhyticeros undulatus) – A trio flying against a distant hillside, seen from the overlook at the end of the Gunung Alab road, were the only ones of the tour. Unfortunately, some were still getting organized in the bus when they went by.
WRINKLED HORNBILL (Rhabdotorrhinus corrugatus) – Two preening in a tree along the Kitabatangan after an afternoon shower allowed good study; those along the Sukau were a bit further away, but still seen well.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
BLUE-EARED KINGFISHER (Alcedo meninting) – One of these little gems hunted along the edge of the pond at RDC one morning, and we saw numerous others along the Kitabatangan and its tributaries, plus one at the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center. Males have black beaks, while females' are orange.
RUFOUS-BACKED DWARF-KINGFISHER (Ceyx rufidorsa) – One of these tiny kingfishers flew along RDC's appropriately named Kingfisher Trail and landed on a tiny branch, giving us all a chance for a scope look before it jumped off and carried on down the stream; we saw others along the Menanggul and on the Jacuzzi trail at BRL. This species was split from the former Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher.

Participant Connee Reau got this soulful picture of a young Orangutan at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, which is currently caring for more than 25 youngsters in the nurseries, with another 60-80 free-roaming animals in the reserve.

BANDED KINGFISHER (Lacedo pulchella) – We heard one calling a few times from the huge trees along one of the trails at Poring Hot Springs, but just couldn't find it in the leafy canopy. [*]
STORK-BILLED KINGFISHER (Pelargopsis capensis) – One of these huge-billed kingfishers hunted towards the far end of the pond at RDC, and others perched along the Kitabatangan's tributaries -- including a few seen blinking in the spotlight's beam during our night trips there. We had others along the Danum River (and its Jacuzzi trail tributary) at BRL.
RUDDY KINGFISHER (Halcyon coromanda) – Wow! This one should perhaps be called "PURPLISH" Kingfisher, given the amazing violet sheen its feathers show in the sun! We had marvelous views of one showing its turquoise rump patch along the Menanggul on our first day at the Sukau Rainforest Ecolodge.
COLLARED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus chloris) – This is the common open-country kingfisher on Borneo. We saw them sprinkled along telephone wires along the roadways and around buildings including some at the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
RED-BEARDED BEE-EATER (Nyctyornis amictus) – Unfortunately, the only one we saw was at the RDC before the whole group arrived. It hunted from a big tree visible from the canopy walkway for several minutes before moving away, out of sight.
BLUE-THROATED BEE-EATER (Merops viridis) – Common and widespread throughout the lowlands, often in swirling groups. Particularly entertaining were the group hunting Clipper butterflies along the Menanggul; it clearly takes LOTS of bashing to get a butterfly's wings off!
Coraciidae (Rollers)
DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis) – Regular around Sukau, with pairs perched up like sentinels all along the river edges. Their flashing sorties from their dead snag perches showed their bright wing spots nicely.
Megalaimidae (Asian Barbets)
BROWN BARBET (Calorhamphus fuliginosus) – Among the most common of the tour's barbets, seen most days in the lowlands. The gang foraging in treetops near the RDC canopy walkway -- and another at the top of a tree on the island in the middle of the pond at Sepilok -- probably gave us our best looks. [E]
BLUE-EARED BARBET (Psilopogon duvaucelii duvaucelii) – And this was the other common barbet -- though we heard far more of them than we saw! The fruiting fig tree over the road at BRL was an especially good spot for studying them.

The Golden-naped Barbet was definitely the tour's most photogenic barbet -- primarily because it was the only one that wasn't always right up at the top of the trees! Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

RED-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon mystacophanos) – One in the fruiting fig tree over the BRL entrance road showed that namesake red throat nicely. This is another Sundaland specialty, with a notably large beak.
GOLDEN-NAPED BARBET (Psilopogon pulcherrimus) – This species is quite common in the highlands, where we saw many. The bird munching berries amid the hubbub of porters loading up steel girders for their trip up the mountain, and another doing the same below the mountain overlook were particularly memorable. It's endemic to the Crocker Range and Mount Kinabalu. [E]
YELLOW-CROWNED BARBET (Psilopogon henricii) – A couple of birds seen at BRL -- one seen well in that oh-so-busy fig tree along the entrance road, and another along one of the trails across the river. This is another Sundaland specialty, and the subspecies brachyrhynchus is endemic to Borneo.
GOLD-FACED BARBET (Psilopogon chrysopsis) – Yet another barbet seen in that marvelous fig tree along BRL's entrance road. This is one of Borneo's newest endemics, recently split from the Gold-whiskered Barbet. [E]
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
RUFOUS PICULET (Sasia abnormis) – Our best look came at BRL, where we had point-blank views of one foraging on a waist high ginger leaf over the entrance road. We saw another pair along RDC's Kingfisher Trail.
WHITE-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus javensis) – Two chased each other around, calling, over the trees around BRL's canopy walkway, and one of them perched for a few moments in a dead snag. It was so backlit that we couldn't see much of its color, but that crest was sure obvious!
BANDED WOODPECKER (Picus miniaceus) – A pair of these Sundaland specialties at RDC.
CRIMSON-WINGED WOODPECKER (Picus puniceus) – Seen on several days along BRL's entrance road, including one right near "our" fruiting tree only minutes before the Maroon Woodpecker showed up.
CHECKER-THROATED WOODPECKER (Picus mentalis) – Splendid views of this uncommon Sundaland specialty along Kinabalu NP's main road early one morning. It was so close we could even see those distinctive black and white checkers with our binoculars! This species is suffering steep declines due to habitat loss.
RUFOUS WOODPECKER (Micropternus brachyurus) – Two actively feeding near the edge of the Woodpecker trail -- right near a family of Buff-necked Woodpeckers -- were a highlight of our first morning at RDC, before most of the group arrived. Fortunately, we spotted another noisy bird hitching up a big tree along the Sukau River.
BUFF-RUMPED WOODPECKER (Meiglyptes tristis) – A noisy quartet swirled through the trees near the RDC canopy walkway, hitching their way up trunks and investigating various knotholes and branches.
BUFF-NECKED WOODPECKER (Meiglyptes tukki) – A trio rummaging on a broken snag near the start of the Rainforest Discovery Center's canopy walkway got our explorations there off to a great start. That pale neck patch is certainly eye-catching!
MAROON WOODPECKER (Blythipicus rubiginosus) – One along BRL's entrance road (seen while we enjoyed the activity at "our" fig tree one afternoon) was amazingly confiding -- and made us quite popular with another passing bird group. We saw others at Gomantong Caves and Poring Hot Springs.
ORANGE-BACKED WOODPECKER (Reinwardtipicus validus) – The last new woodpecker of the trip, seen on our final full day in Kinabalu NP, when Hamit spotted a young male hammering on a tree along the main road.
GRAY-AND-BUFF WOODPECKER (Hemicircus concretus) – Two over the RDC parking lot on the first REAL morning of the tour gave us scope views before flying over (calling) en route to somewhere else.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
WHITE-FRONTED FALCONET (Microhierax latifrons) – Fine views of a tiny pair on a dead tree near the Sepilok Orangutan Rehab Center made it worth getting out of the bus into the toasty parking lot. Then we got even better views of another pair hunting Clipper butterflies along the Menanggul, plus flight views of one zipping over the oil palm grove en route to Gomantong Caves. [E]
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)

We got lucky -- after striking out a few times -- and found a site with two blooming Rafflesia flowers. The species found in Borneo, Rafflesia keithii, is the second biggest flower in the world; it can measure up to a meter across! Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

BLUE-RUMPED PARROT (Psittinus cyanurus) – Unfortunately, a trio that flew over and landed (out of sight) on the far side of one of the big trees near the RDC canopy tower were the only ones we saw.
LONG-TAILED PARAKEET (Psittacula longicauda) – Most common along the Kitabatangan and its tributaries, including one perched and preening across the river from the pier near where our bus picked us up. Their long, pointed tails made them easy to identify in flight.
BLUE-CROWNED HANGING-PARROT (Loriculus galgulus) – Easily the most common psittacid of the trip, recorded nearly every day in the lowlands. We had especially great scope studies of two feeding for long minutes on fruits in a bush near the BRL road.
Calyptomenidae (African and Green Broadbills)
GREEN BROADBILL (Calyptomena viridis) – We saw at least one (and maybe two) in "our" fig tree, over the BRL entrance road. Between this species, multiple barbets and several Scaly-breasted Bulbuls, that was one busy branch! This is the smallest of the "green broadbills" possible on this tour.
Eurylaimidae (Asian and Grauer's Broadbills)
BLACK-AND-RED BROADBILL (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos) – Our first were a pair near one of the smaller ponds on the grounds of the Sepilok Nature Resort, but our best views came along the Menanggul, where we found them perched low over the river. We had others along the road at BRL.
BANDED BROADBILL (Eurylaimus javanicus) – After hearing some on BRL's Trogon trail, we found a territorial pair high in the trees above the Jacuzzi trail, and a lower pair along the Hornbill trail. The combination of pink face and gold-striped wings was mighty sharp!
BLACK-AND-YELLOW BROADBILL (Eurylaimus ochromalus) – The most common of the tour's broadbills, seen repeatedly in the lowlands. Karen spotted our first, from the canopy walkway at RDC; at some points, it was even below us!
DUSKY BROADBILL (Corydon sumatranus) – One along the road at BRL (not far from the start of the canopy walkway) played hard to get for a bit before popping out onto an open branch. The subspecies found in Sabah is orientalis, which is endemic to Borneo.
Pittidae (Pittas)
BLACK-CROWNED PITTA (Erythropitta ussheri) – One along the Sukau Rainforest Lodge's boardwalk trail was spectacularly cooperative, singing (and singing and singing) from a perch some 20 feet off the ground not far from the path. We heard many others throughout the lowlands. This species was recently split from the Garnet Pitta complex; on some taxonomic lists, it is called Black-headed Pitta. [E]

Nothing like a spot of tea or coffee to keep the motor running after an early start! Photo by participant Connee Reau.

BLUE-BANDED PITTA (Erythropitta arquata) – We heard the low whistle of this species along the Trogon trail at BRL, but couldn't track down the singer. [E*]
GIANT PITTA (Hydrornis caeruleus) – Wow! It took some patience, but we finally whistled in one of these big pittas -- a male that stood on a bare branch down the path for all to see. Given that the species is scarce and patchily distributed, ANY sighting is a good one, let alone the super view we had! The subspecies found in Borneo, hosei, is restricted to the northern part of the island.
BORNEAN BANDED-PITTA (Hydrornis schwaneri) – One of these snazzy birds made several circles around us as we waited on BRL's Hornbill trail; clearly his territory was on both sides of the path! Some saw him singing from a perch on a giant fallen tree, some saw him strolling through the leaf litter, and some only saw him scurry across the trail. We saw (and heard) another briefly on the Trogon trail. This species is found throughout the island. [E]
BLUE-HEADED PITTA (Hydrornis baudii) – After hearing several on various BRL trails, we finally caught up with one along the Ebony trail, shortly after finding our Cinnamon-rumped Trogon. It eluded us for a bit, but eventually we found it, perched up and singing on a waist-high vine. What a gorgeous bird! [E]
HOODED PITTA (Pitta sordida) – Common along the edges of the Kitabatangan and its tributaries, with fine views of several along the Menanggul. This species is widespread across Asia, but only the birds on Borneo (mulleri) have an entirely black head.
Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)
GOLDEN-BELLIED GERYGONE (Gerygone sulphurea) – Our first was a singing bird waaaaaay up in the canopy of a huge emergent tree visible from the BRL canopy walkway. Fortunately for those who were less than satisfied with that view, we had much closer looks at another right over our heads on the road near the Tambunan Rafflesia Center.
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
BAR-WINGED FLYCATCHER-SHRIKE (Hemipus picatus) – Our first was a pair seen briefly along the road near the Tambunan rafflesia center, but our best looks came at one hunting in a tree right near the Liwagu Restaurant balcony.
BLACK-WINGED FLYCATCHER-SHRIKE (Hemipus hirundinaceus) – We encountered several family groups at RDC, with others along the boardwalk trail at Sukau Rainforest Ecolodge and at Gomantong Caves. This is the lowland replacement for the previous species.

We saw a lot of Plain Pygmy Squirrels in the lowlands. These tiny squirrels are aptly named; they're about the length of a thumb and weigh less than half an ounce! Photo by participant Ed LeGrand.

RUFOUS-WINGED PHILENTOMA (Philentoma pyrhoptera) – Fine studies of a lustily singing bird along the BRL entrance road, with others along the Segama trail there. Judging from the numbers we heard singing, this is a pretty common species at BRL!
MAROON-BREASTED PHILENTOMA (Philentoma velata) – A pair along BRL's Trogon trail; it took a bit before everybody really got a good view of the male's maroon breast (darn that backlighting!), but we got there in the end.
Artamidae (Woodswallows)
WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus leucorynchus) – A roadside stop on our second trip to Gomantong Caves netted us a little gaggle of these graceful fliers strung like beads along a telephone wire and making little sorties out after insects. We had others along the wires on our back to Kota Kinabalu, and zooming around over the mangroves at the KK wetlands center.
Pityriaseidae (Bristlehead)
BORNEAN BRISTLEHEAD (Pityriasis gymnocephala) – WOW! Stumbling on a trio of these right at the start of the RDC canopy walkway on our very first morning together was a happy surprise; we watched as they bounced through the trees a bit before flying off over the forest. We had another group up the hill from the road into BRL, not far from the canopy walkway there. [E]
Aegithinidae (Ioras)
COMMON IORA (Aegithina tiphia) – One in a line of waist-high bushes in the parking lot at RDC gave us pretty good views, but we had even better looks at another in a tree near the boardwalk at the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center.
GREEN IORA (Aegithina viridissima) – Multiple encounters with these gorgeous birds at RDC, with others -- including a crisply-plumaged male feeding a fledged youngster -- from the BRL canopy walkway. This Sundaland specialty is Near Threatened, with populations under pressure from habitat loss.
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
FIERY MINIVET (Pericrocotus igneus) – A gang of these smaller, bright minivets swarmed through one of the trees near the RDC's Bristlehead Tower, periodically stopping to bash some insect to death on a branch. We saw them daily at RDC, and once along the BRL entrance road.
GRAY-CHINNED MINIVET (Pericrocotus solaris) – A little group foraging low in the trees down the road from the Tambunan Rafflesia Center definitely qualified as eye candy! We had another close flock working through the trees near the Kinabulu mountain overlook. This is primarily a highland species in Borneo. The females clearly showed the all-gray faces that separate them from other the female minivets in Borneo.
SCARLET MINIVET (Pericrocotus speciosus) – Seen on several days at RDC, with others near the Tambunan Rafflesia Center. This is another endemic subspecies: insulanus is found only on Borneo. Unlike the previous two species, this one shows two distinct patches on the wing.
SUNDA CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina larvata) – A male mingled with a mixed flock near the Masakob Waterfall Garden (down the road from the Tambunan Rafflesia Center) and a female worked through trees over the main road at Kinabalu NP, part of another mixed flock.
Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)
BORNEAN WHISTLER (Pachycephala hypoxantha) – We saw plenty of these montane endemics in the highlands, often as part of mixed flocks. [E]
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LONG-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanius schach) – Our first was a disappointingly backlit bird perched on a telephone wire along the road between Sukau and Gomantong Caves. Fortunately, we had another pair -- in much better light -- on the "right" side of the road the next time we visited. This Sundaland species has only recently expanded its range into Sabah; it was previously known to breed only in the southeastern (Indonesian) part of the island.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BLYTH'S SHRIKE-BABBLER (BLYTH'S) (Pteruthius aeralatus robinsoni) – One showed pretty well in the trees near the entrance to the now-closed Masakob waterfall, but our best views came near the mountain overview sight in Kinabalu NP, where one with a passing mixed flock approached to within yards of where we were standing. That white eyebrow is striking!
WHITE-BELLIED ERPORNIS (Erpornis zantholeuca) – Seen on a couple of days at the RDC: the first time near the bridge where the Long-billed Spiderhunter was building its nest, the second time from the Bristlehead Tower, where a couple of adults with youngsters in tow passed below us. Recent molecular studies have moved this (and the previous) species from their former family (Timaliidae, or babblers) to the Vireonidae.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)

A Black-crowned Pitta along Sukau's boardwalk trail proved obliging, singing from open branches on several different days. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

DARK-THROATED ORIOLE (Oriolus xanthonotus) – Brief views of one as it flew past over the Menanggul River, with longer studies of a female along the road at BRL.
BLACK-AND-CRIMSON ORIOLE (Oriolus cruentus) – Several satisfying encounters with these handsome birds along the road near the Tabunan Rafflesia Center.
Dicruridae (Drongos)
ASHY DRONGO (BORNEAN) (Dicrurus leucophaeus stigmatops) – Very common in the highlands, where we saw it daily, typically hunting from roadside wires or open branches. The subspecies stigmatops is endemic to Borneo, and is a potential candidate for a split.
BRONZED DRONGO (Dicrurus aeneus) – Surprisingly few this year; some of the group spotted a couple perched on wires near one of the buildings we passed while walking back to the Sepilok Nature Resort one afternoon, before everyone had arrived.
HAIR-CRESTED DRONGO (Dicrurus hottentottus borneensis) – Seen with several of the mixed flocks we encountered in the highlands, including an adult with a full-sized, begging youngster in tow near the bathing Bornean Green Magpies.
GREATER RACKET-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus paradiseus brachyphorus) – One perched (and calling loudly) over the start of the Woodpecker Trail at the Rainforest Discovery Center was missing one of its distinctive tail feathers. The subspecies brachyphorus is endemic to Borneo.
Rhipiduridae (Fantails)
SPOTTED FANTAIL (Rhipidura perlata) – Our first hunted over the boardwalk trail at Gomantong Caves (not far from our first group of Red Leaf Monkeys), showing nicely those distinctive chest spots. We had even better looks at another, hunting along BRL's Trogon trail.
MALAYSIAN PIED-FANTAIL (Rhipidura javanica) – Abundant in the lowlands, with many seen well as they flitted around gardens, parking lots, forest edges, and more.
WHITE-THROATED FANTAIL (Rhipidura albicollis) – This species replaces the previous one once you gain a little altitude! We had them daily in the highlands, including one hunting from the chain-link fence near the Timpohon Gate, and others making little, flashing sallies from a fruiting tree at Poring Hot Springs.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLACK-NAPED MONARCH (Hypothymis azurea) – Seen on scattered days in the lowlands, with particularly nice studies of a noisy pair right over the Woodpecker trail at RDC.

Our first Oriental Bay-Owl disappeared in a flurry of wings. Fortunately, the second was far more cooperative! Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

BLYTH'S PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone affinis) – Multiple encounters with a gorgeous male, trailing a huge tail, at the Gomantong Caves. He looked like a comet as he flew back and forth across the road!
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
CRESTED JAY (Platylophus galericulatus) – At least two along the Hornbill trail at BRL, seen just before we headed back for lunch one day. Their burbling calls made them easier to follow through the forest! Recent molecular studies suggest this species may be more closely related to the shrikes than the jays.
BLACK MAGPIE (Platysmurus leucopterus aterrimus) – Our first was perched high in a dead tree visible from the RDC parking lot, but we had better views of another along the Sukau River -- close enough we could clearly see its ruby red eye as well as that distinctive crested topknot.
BORNEAN GREEN-MAGPIE (Cissa jefferyi) – WOW! Our first encounter was enchanting enough: a family bathing in shallow Silau-Silau creek, glowing in the slanting rays of late afternoon sunshine. But then we had those knockout views of another with a small green snake it had killed near our cabins; it clearly didn't want to risk leaving that trophy behind! [E]
BORNEAN TREEPIE (Dendrocitta cinerascens) – Quite common in the highlands, including our first, visible from the men's toilets at our early morning rest stop near Gunung Alab, eating figs from a fruiting tree down the hill -- sorry, guys! [E]
SLENDER-BILLED CROW (SLENDER-BILLED) (Corvus enca compilator) – Common and widespread in the lowlands, often in noisy groups, like the gang that flew past as we birded around the pond at Sepilok Nature Resort our first evening together.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
PACIFIC SWALLOW (Hirundo tahitica) – Abundant throughout, including dozens nesting under the floor joists at BRL's main building (with those near the boot-washing station giving us particularly good chances to study the nest construction techniques). This is the only swallow expected in Borneo during the northern hemisphere's summertime. [N]
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
GRAY-HEADED CANARY-FLYCATCHER (Culicicapa ceylonensis) – Our best views came along BRL's Segama trail, where we found one hunting over the path -- distracting us momentarily from our search for Banded Barbets. We had another on the Hornbill trail.
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
VELVET-FRONTED NUTHATCH (Sitta frontalis) – Our first hitched it way up a big tree trunk along the RDC's Kingfisher trail, but we had even closer looks at a pair with a mixed flock in the treetops beside the Kinabalu mountain overlook. What a gorgeous bird!
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
PUFF-BACKED BULBUL (Pycnonotus eutilotus) – Best seen along the entrance road at BRL, where we found a couple with a mixed flock. The crested look of this rather drab Sundaland species is distinctive among lowland bulbuls.
BLACK-HEADED BULBUL (Pycnonotus atriceps) – Our first were seen along the Sukau River, but our best looks came at the park in Poring, where a couple of birds visited a fruiting tree. How about that blue eye?!
STRAW-HEADED BULBUL (Pycnonotus zeylanicus) – Particularly nice looks at a trio sitting on a log by the river during one afternoon's downpour at BRL.
BORNEAN BULBUL (Pycnonotus montis) – One of these crested beauties checked out a big flower clump along the road near the Rafflesia Center, posing for a multitude of photographs. The subspecies we saw, borneensis, is endemic to Borneo. [E]
SCALY-BREASTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus squamatus) – At least a dozen of these gorgeous small bulbuls swarmed through "our" fruiting fig tree along the BRL entrance road one afternoon.
GRAY-BELLIED BULBUL (Pycnonotus cyaniventris) – Of all the things to name this handsome species after, the belly seems particularly unimpressive! Those mustard yellow wings, on the other hand... We had lovely looks at two feeding in the fruiting tree by the BRL dining room on several days. This is another Sundaland specialty.
FLAVESCENT BULBUL (Pycnonotus flavescens leucops) – Some good spotting by Ed netted us great views of one preening right by Kinabalu's Timpohon Gate platform on our last morning, and we found a couple of others feeding in a fruiting bush near where the porters were loading up for their trip up the mountain. This pale-faced subspecies, which is elevated to full-species status by some (including both Meyers and Phillipps) is restricted to the mountains of north-central Borneo.

Gray-bellied Bulbuls aren't particularly common on our tour route. Good thing that bush was berrying right beside our table in the BRL dining room! Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

YELLOW-VENTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus goiavier) – This was the common bulbul around Sepilok, with many seen well. That pale face with the dark eye line -- and the bright yellow vent -- are distinctive.
OLIVE-WINGED BULBUL (Pycnonotus plumosus) – We saw one in a tree near the pond at RDC as we headed towards the exit after a great morning of birding. The yellow-green edges to the wing feathers (which forms a patch on the secondaries) give the species its common name; they and the bird's dark eyes help to separate it from the more common Red-eyed Bulbuls.
CREAM-VENTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus simplex) – A couple of single birds at RDC; like the next species, this one has a red eye (in Borneo, anyway -- elsewhere, it's white), but it's paler on the underparts.
RED-EYED BULBUL (Pycnonotus brunneus) – This was the "default" bulbul, abundant throughout the lowlands, with dozens and dozens seen most days. This is yet another Sundaland specialty.
SPECTACLED BULBUL (Pycnonotus erythropthalmos) – Our best views came near the start of the RDC canopy walkway on our last morning at Sepilok, when we found a couple foraging low in trees beside the path. With patience, we all got a look at the distinctive yellow eyering that gives the species its name. We had others at Sepilok Nature Resort and Poring Hot Springs.
HAIRY-BACKED BULBUL (Tricholestes criniger) – Reasonably common in the lowlands, with especially good studies of several along the road into Gomantong Caves. The big yellow eyering of this species is distinctive. This is still another Sundaland specialty.
FINSCH'S BULBUL (Alophoixus finschii) – A couple near the closed end of the BRL canopy walkway -- seen as we waited for Edsel to turn the truck around -- were a reward for having walked along the road. Their fluffed-out yellow throat feathers were certainly noticeable!
OCHRACEOUS BULBUL (Alophoixus ochraceus) – Common in the highlands, with super views of a few along the road down the hill from the Tambunan Rafflesia Center, and others along Kinabalu NP's main road. Their fluffy white throats are the only bit of them that isn't ochraceous.
GRAY-CHEEKED BULBUL (Alophoixus bres) – Seen on scattered days in the lowlands, including a few pairs low along the road into the Gomantong Caves. This species looks rather like a washed-out version of the previous one.
BUFF-VENTED BULBUL (Iole olivacea) – Daily around Sepilok and BRL, with very nice views of some around the canopy towers at RDC; the pale eye and sizable beak of this big bulbul are distinctive.

It can be tough to get a really good look at swiftlets, since they're typically zooming past at high speed. About the only time they slow down is when they're clinging to a wall somewhere -- like here in a crevice along the Kitabatangan, where hundreds were building their nests. Video by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.
ASHY BULBUL (CINEREOUS) (Hemixos flavala connectens) – Unfortunately, we never really got a long view of this Sundaland specialty as it mingled with some Pygmy White-eyes near the Masakob waterfall; some saw it well, some didn't see it at all. The endemic subspecies found in northern Borneo, connectens, may not be quite as plain as other subspecies, but it certainly doesn't rate as flashy.
STREAKED BULBUL (Ixos malaccensis) – We had nice studies of several around our Sepilok hotel early in the tour, but our best views probably came at Poring Hot Springs, where we found a couple in an open tree right over the pools.
Cettiidae (Bush-Warblers and Allies)
BORNEAN STUBTAIL (Urosphena whiteheadi) – Super views of one of these tiny birds in the undergrowth along Kinabalu NP's Silau-Silau trail, singing loudly as he swiveled back and forth on his perch. His song is a good high-frequency hearing test -- and as far as some folks could tell, he was just yawning! [E]
YELLOW-BELLIED WARBLER (Abroscopus superciliaris) – One along Kinabalu NP's main road on our final morning played hard to get, flicking through the treetops while singing incessantly. Unfortunately, the passage of a very large -- and very noisy -- group of Chinese tourists did nothing to encourage it to show itself! We heard them elsewhere in the park too...
MOUNTAIN TAILORBIRD (Phyllergates cucullatus) – A few foraging low along Kinabalu NP's main road were cooperative, giving us extended views of their yellow bellies and rusty caps. They certainly have a jolly song!
SUNDA BUSH-WARBLER (Horornis vulcanius) – This is the quintessential "little brown job" -- and they often stick to the darkest, densest part of the ferny growth they love. Fortunately, they're not particularly wary, so we had great views of several as they rummaged along the Kinabalu NP roadsides first thing in the morning. They bear a surprisingly resemblance to some of the smaller wrens!
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
MOUNTAIN WARBLER (Phylloscopus trivirgatus) – Common and widespread in the mountains, where they stuck mostly to the taller trees. This species, also widely known as Mountain Leaf-Warbler, is a regular member of mixed highland flocks.
YELLOW-BREASTED WARBLER (Seicercus montis) – Another common species in the highlands, and a regular part of mixed flocks there -- where its pumpkin-orange head made it easy to pick out.
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
STRIATED GRASSBIRD (Megalurus palustris) – Our best views came right in the middle of Kota Kinabalu, when we found a bird singing from a street light right over the road as cars and trucks hurtled past underneath it. That were much more satisfying looks than the backlit one we'd had en route to the Gomantong Cave road.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)

Some fellow birders alerted us to the presence of this handsome Bornean Green Magpie, clutching the remnants of a snake it and its flockmates had killed. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

DARK-NECKED TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus atrogularis) – The least common of the tour's tailorbirds -- not that that's saying much! One along the Sukau boardwalk (and others seen foraging along the Kinabatangan's tributaries) showed particularly well.
ASHY TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus ruficeps) – This was probably the most common of the tour's tailorbirds, seen nearly every day in the lowlands, often with begging youngsters in tow. Their songs were a regular part of the tour's soundtrack. This is a Sundaland specialty and (as you might guess), the subspecies borneoensis is endemic to the island.
RUFOUS-TAILED TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus sericeus) – Nearly as common as the previous species, with many seen well -- including one hitching its way up some vines along the road Gomantong Caves.
YELLOW-BELLIED PRINIA (Prinia flaviventris) – Our first was a bit of a skulker near the parking lot at RDC; it took a bit of patience (while we waited for the site to open), but eventually he perched up singing in a bush. We saw others at our Striated Grassbird stop in the palm grove, along BRL's entrance road, and at our pitcher plant stop en route to Poring Hot Springs.
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
CHESTNUT-CRESTED YUHINA (Yuhina everetti) – Abundant in the highlands, always in big, noisy groups, either flying past over the forest or swarming through the treetops. This species is endemic to the highland forests of Borneo. [E]
PYGMY WHITE-EYE (Oculocincta squamifrons) – Seen especially well at the mountain overlook in Nabalo, where a trio flicked through bushes right beside the concrete wall we were leaning against, with others in a mixed flock near the Tambunan Rafflesia Center and at BRL. This one is endemic to Borneo. [E]
MOUNTAIN BLACK-EYE (Chlorocharis emiliae) – Super looks at a singing bird at the top of the Gunung Alab road, en route to Kinabalu NP, with a couple of others high in a tree over the restrooms near our Fruit-hunter spot. This unique "white-eye" is a high elevation specialty. [E]
BLACK-CAPPED WHITE-EYE (Zosterops atricapilla) – Super views of these handsome white-eyes in the highlands, including several little gangs along the main road in Kinabalu NP. This is another Sundaland specialty.
Timaliidae (Tree-Babblers, Scimitar-Babblers, and Allies)
BOLD-STRIPED TIT-BABBLER (Mixornis bornensis) – Widespread and common in the lowlands, seen at each of our locations there -- with especially nice views of several noisy gangs along the Menanggul River, and another group that frequented the garden at BRL.
FLUFFY-BACKED TIT-BABBLER (Macronus ptilosus) – A trio of these Sundaland specialties consorted with some Black-throated Babblers along one of the trails at RDC; they look surprisingly like some of the New World's antbirds. These Near Threatened birds flitted low in the underbrush, singing regularly. We found others on several of the trails at BRL.
CHESTNUT-WINGED BABBLER (Cyanoderma erythropterum) – Seen particularly well along the Menanggul, where we found several small flocks foraging right beside the river, with others at Gomantong Caves. This is yet another Sundaland specialty.
CHESTNUT-BACKED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus montanus) – Lovely views of one along the BRL entrance road that perched conveniently on an open branch, where the early morning sunshine lit up its russet back and curved, yellow beak. The subspecies here, bornensis, is endemic to the island.
BLACK-THROATED BABBLER (Stachyris nigricollis) – Daily at RDC, where their bubbling songs were a regular part of the tour soundtrack, with some nice looks at a pair (eventually) along the Ridge trail there. We heard others at Gomantong Caves.
CHESTNUT-RUMPED BABBLER (Stachyris maculata) – Seen on scattered days: at RDC, at the Gomantong Caves, and along BRL's Trogon trail.
GRAY-THROATED BABBLER (Stachyris nigriceps) – Lovely looks at several little groups of these understory babblers, which are Sundaland specialties, along Kinabalu's Mempening and Silau-Silau trails. The endemic subspecies on Borneo is borneensis.
GRAY-HEADED BABBLER (Stachyris poliocephala) – One group along BRL's entrance road (in, of course, the deepest, densest bushes around), with others along the Jacuzzi trail -- in both cases, they were close enough that we could clearly see those distinctive pale eyes.
Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)

The gang checks out the Jacuzzi Falls at BRL. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

MOUSTACHED BABBLER (Malacopteron magnirostre) – A little gang near the turnoff to the staff quarters at BRL was extraordinarily confiding, returning again and again to trees right along the road -- mostly because their song is very easy to whistle! They proved common around BRL.
SOOTY-CAPPED BABBLER (Malacopteron affine) – Seen only at Gomantong Caves, but seen on all three visits, always in groups along the entrance road. Another Near Threatened Sundaland specialty; the endemic subspecies here is phoeniceum.
SCALY-CROWNED BABBLER (Malacopteron cinereum) – Quite similar to the next species, though with a few black sprinkles among those rufous head feathers. Fortunately, their pinkish (as opposed to gray) legs are much easier to distinguish! We had the chance to directly compare them on BRL's Hornbill trail, and saw others along the entrance road.
RUFOUS-CROWNED BABBLER (Malacopteron magnum) – A mixed flock of this and the previous species along BRL's Hornbill trail.
BLACK-CAPPED BABBLER (Pellorneum capistratum) – We had a fantastic encounter with a trio along the Ridge trail at RDC; after tracking one for long minutes through thick brush (while it sang to a rival across the road), we were suddenly rewarded when first it, then its mate, then the rival all flew up and perched on twigs mere feet away while they argued about whose territory it was! What handsome little birds...
SHORT-TAILED BABBLER (Pellorneum malaccense) – We heard a small group of them chattering in the understory off BRL's Hornbill trail one morning, but they never came close enough to see. [*]
WHITE-CHESTED BABBLER (Pellorneum rostratum) – Best seen at RDC, where we saw them bouncing along in the middle of the Kingfisher and Pitta trails, searching for tidbits. We saw (and heard) others along the Menanggul River, and at Gomantong Caves. This species tends to stick close to riverbanks. The subspecies macropterum is endemic.
FERRUGINOUS BABBLER (Pellorneum bicolor) – Particularly good looks at these rusty babblers along the BRL entrance road, with others on the Jacuzzi trail. Like so many of Borneo's babblers, this one is a Sundaland specialty.
STRIPED WREN-BABBLER (Kenopia striata) – We heard a big group of them calling along BRL's Jacuzzi trail, but they never made an appearance. [*]

We had lots of Long-tailed Parakeets in flight across the lowlands, but many fewer perched. This one was going through its ablutions along the Kitabatangan. Photo by participant Connee Reau.

BORNEAN WREN-BABBLER (Ptilocichla leucogrammica) – A couple scuttled along on the open ground along the head of a gully near BRL's Trogon trail; unfortunately, they moved so surreptitiously that most folks never spotted them. Everybody certainly heard them though -- repeatedly! [E]
HORSFIELD'S BABBLER (Turdinus sepiarius) – Our first skulked through the undergrowth along a trail at Gomantong Caves before popping out into the open, but our best views came at BRL, where one approached to within mere feet of us while foraging along the Trogon trail.
BLACK-THROATED WREN-BABBLER (Turdinus atrigularis) – Most of the group saw one or more as they swirled through the undergrowth around us on the Hornbill trail, clinging to a succession of vines. This Near Threatened species is another endemic. [E]
MOUNTAIN WREN-BABBLER (Turdinus crassus) – This was the only wren-babbler that the whole gang got a good look at -- and it took a bit of patience before we could say that! We found a mixed flock with this species and Gray-throated Babblers foraging along a big fallen tree on the Mempening trail at Kinabalu NP. This endemic is sparsely distributed. [E]
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
BROWN FULVETTA (Alcippe brunneicauda) – Regular in the forests around BRL, with our best looks coming at a pair along the entrance road, seen as we walked towards "our" fig tree one afternoon. It's considered Near Threatened, due primarily to habitat loss, though it appears to cope with secondary and disturbed habitats better than some other species do.
SUNDA LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax palliatus) – After struggling to get a look at our first group -- a mixed flock of laughingthrushes on Gunung Alab -- we had several pleasing encounters with this species along the main road in Kinabalu NP. The subspecies schistochlamys is endemic to Borneo.
BARE-HEADED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax calvus) – We heard the low, musical calls of this species in the big, mixed flock of laughingthrushes we encountered on Gunung Alab. Unfortunately, our only views were subliminal half-glimpses! [E*]
CHESTNUT-HOODED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla treacheri treacheri) – Widespread and refreshingly confiding in the highlands, seen well on many occasions. Recently split from the former Chestnut-headed Laughingthrush complex, this species is endemic to Sabah. [E]
Irenidae (Fairy-bluebirds)
ASIAN FAIRY-BLUEBIRD (Irena puella) – A good-sized group gobbled fruits in our favorite fig tree at BRL one morning, showing off that gorgeous plumage as they gorged.
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
BROWN-STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa williamsoni umbrosa) – One hunted from a tree branch right beside the RDC canopy walkway, giving us a good chance to compare it with the illustrations in both field guides. In this case, the Myers book definitely did a better job of capturing the "jizz" of the bird.
ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN (Copsychus saularis) – Widespread throughout, including several singing birds on the grounds of the Sepilok Nature Resort, some along the banks of the Kitabatangan and its tributaries, and one hopping around with a Bornean Whistling-Thrush near a drainage gully down the hill from our Kinabalu NP breakfast restaurant one morning.
RUFOUS-TAILED SHAMA (Copsychus pyrropygus) – A singing bird along the Hornbill trail was a highlight of our last morning's walk at BRL.
WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA (WHITE-CROWNED) (Copsychus malabaricus stricklandii) – Heard regularly throughout the lowlands -- a song that makes this species an unfortunately popular choice as a caged bird. One on the grounds of the Sepilok Nature Resort gave us a great chance to study its handsome plumage. The subspecies stricklandii is endemic to Borneo, found only in Sabah and northeastern Kalimantan.
LONG-BILLED BLUE-FLYCATCHER (Cyornis caerulatus) – The first of our blue-flycatchers along BRL's Jacuzzi trail; this was the one that foraged low in the trees just across the stream from where we stood. We saw another along the Hornbill trail the following day.
MALAYSIAN BLUE-FLYCATCHER (Cyornis turcosus) – Several of these handsome little flycatchers sallied over the waters of the Menanggul, always landing low in the bushes.
BORNEAN BLUE-FLYCATCHER (Cyornis superbus) – And this was the "high flier" -- the one that perched well up in the canopy over the Jacuzzi trail, making us crane our necks as we tried to suss out all of its field marks. Though it was singing lustily, our bird didn't look like a full adult male. [E]

After our first few encounters, we'd renamed Jentink's Squirrel as Jetpack Squirrel. How do its little legs move so fast?! Photo by participant Ed LeGrand.

GRAY-CHESTED JUNGLE-FLYCATCHER (Cyornis umbratilis) – Super looks at this tidy little flycatcher along BRL's Jacuzzi trail, not far from where we found our Banded Barbets. Fortunately for our neck muscles, this one preferred to stay pretty low.
INDIGO FLYCATCHER (Eumyias indigo) – One hunting from the fence near Kinabalu's Timpohon Gate was pretty nice, but the pair just off the balcony at Liwagu Restaurant at breakfast one morning were spectacularly close.
EYEBROWED JUNGLE-FLYCATCHER (Vauriella gularis) – Some great spotting by our driver netted us beside-the-bus views of one on a railing at Kinabalu NP. Some of the group had quick views of another near the start of the Silau-Silau trail. [E]
WHITE-BROWED SHORTWING (Brachypteryx montana erythrogyna) – A furtive female scuttled along the edge of a small stream below the road at Kinabalu NP; some saw her pretty well, while others missed her completely!
BORNEAN WHISTLING-THRUSH (Myophonus borneensis) – Believe it or not, we actually missed these our first day in Kinabalu NP -- though we definitely made up for that lack on ensuing days! [E]
WHITE-CROWNED FORKTAIL (WHITE-CROWNED) (Enicurus leschenaulti frontalis) – While we celebrated our sighting of the Chestnut-naped Forktail along BRL's Jacuzzi trail, one of these black and white forktails flew past under the bridge we were standing on.
WHITE-CROWNED FORKTAIL (BORNEAN) (Enicurus leschenaulti borneensis) – A fine example of local knowledge getting you the bird: Hamit knew just where to take us to have the best chance of seeing one. And see it we did, singing its heart out from the edge of a stream near the main road in Kinabalu NP -- a great finale to a great day of birding in the park!
CHESTNUT-NAPED FORKTAIL (Enicurus ruficapillus) – One scuttled around on a sandy bar in a little stream feeding into the Danum River, seen nicely from one of the BRL suspension bridges. That chestnut hood is pretty distinctive.
SNOWY-BROWED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hyperythra) – Small numbers in the highlands, typically below waist height in the bushes not far from the road or path. One seen near the road while we waited for our Everett's Thrush to make a reappearance was particularly nice.
PYGMY BLUE-FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hodgsoni) – A singing male over the main road at Kinabalu NP was easy to follow, thanks to his near-constant wing flicking.
LITTLE PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula westermanni) – A pair along the BRL entrance road seemed to be trailing along with a nearby mixed flock.

Most days at BRL started with the forest shrouded in mist, and the evocative, musical whoops of Gray Gibbons echoing from the hillsides. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

RUFOUS-CHESTED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula dumetoria) – A harried female fed several begging youngsters (their thin, high-pitched calls only barely audible to us) along the boardwalk trail at Gomantong Caves. We saw a male on BRL's Trogon trail, not far from where we found our Giant Pitta.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ORANGE-HEADED THRUSH (Geokichla citrina) – Two bounced around in the road at Kinabalu NP in the pre-dawn half light.
EVERETT'S THRUSH (Zoothera everetti) – Arg! One scurried across the road in front of us at Kinabalu NP, and then stood on a concrete curb, allowing great views. Unfortunately, a few folks at the back of the bus just couldn't see it -- and another car chased it off the road before we could maneuver everybody into better positions. Drat! [E]
FRUIT-HUNTER (Chlamydochaera jefferyi) – Wonderful views of a male in some fruiting trees over the road in Kinabalu NP, checking out the berries and rearranging his beautiful feathers. This is a tough one to see at all, let alone so well, and for so long! [E]
Sturnidae (Starlings)
ASIAN GLOSSY STARLING (Aplonis panayensis) – Seen on scattered days in the lowlands, always in more open areas. The heavily streaked female near the fruiting tree across the road from the Sepilok Nature Resort on our first evening together was cooperative, as were both males and females at the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center.
COMMON HILL MYNA (Gracula religiosa) – We heard the loud, musical calls of this species from the forest at RDC (while we stood in the parking lot) and later saw a small group fly past. We had others perched up along the Kitabatangan.
JAVAN MYNA (Acridotheres javanicus) – Very common in disturbed areas throughout the lowlands, with dozens feeding their squeaky youngsters along the roadsides; the white vent helps to distinguish this introduced species from the also-introduced Common Myna. [I]
Chloropseidae (Leafbirds)
GREATER GREEN LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis sonnerati) – Seen on scattered days in the lowlands, with some on the grounds of the Sepilok Nature Resort, and others at the Gomantong Caves and BRL. The females are the easiest to identify; their yellow throats and eyerings quickly distinguish them from the next species.
LESSER GREEN LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis cyanopogon) – Another lowland species, even more common than the previous one. Males are similar to (though smaller than) the previous species, but females lack the yellow throat and eyering that female Greater Green Leafbirds show.
BORNEAN LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis kinabaluensis) – A dozen or more flicked back and forth through the big trees along the road near the Tambunan Rafflesia Center, entertaining us while we waited for the Whitehead's Spiderhunters to make a reappearance. Their plumage in the early morning light was quite breathtaking. [E]
Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)
YELLOW-BREASTED FLOWERPECKER (Prionochilus maculatus) – Our first were a streaky pair along the Gomantong road (in that oh-so-hot, sunny stretch near the visitor's center. We had even better views of several every day in the fruiting tree right beside our table at BRL.
YELLOW-RUMPED FLOWERPECKER (Prionochilus xanthopygius) – Seen throughout the lowlands on scattered days, including some in the fruiting tree right by our table in the BRL dining room. Both males and females show the yellow rump that gives the species its name. [E]
ORANGE-BELLIED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum trigonostigma) – This, the smallest of the tour's flowerpeckers, was common throughout the lowlands, including some bouncing around in the garden near the BRL dining room.
PLAIN FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum minullum) – One spotted by Hamit on the RDC canopy walkway near the Bristlehead Tower was a surprise; this is a species that we don't regularly see on our tours.
BLACK-SIDED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum monticolum) – Common in the highlands, including a striking male feeding low in the flowering plants along the roadside at Gunung Alab. [E]
SCARLET-BACKED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum cruentatum) – Bright males in a fruiting mistletoe over the Menanggul were a highlight of two trips there -- particularly nice since they were only about 3 yards over the river!
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)

Borneo is justly famous for its pitcher plants; there are more species on the island than anywhere else in the world. Here, Hamit shows us Nepenthes stenophylla, which we found near Poring Hot Springs. Photo by participant Ed LeGrand.

RUBY-CHEEKED SUNBIRD (Chalcoparia singalensis) – Very common throughout, though our early morning views of several pairs from the RDC canopy towers and walkways couldn't be beat -- what a gorgeous bird! That apricot-colored throat is diagnostic.
PLAIN SUNBIRD (Anthreptes simplex) – This one certainly was shortchanged in the "gorgeous plumage" department! They were common in the lowlands, but had particularly nice views of a male, showing his tiny dark forehead patch, in the RDC parking lot.
PLAIN-THROATED SUNBIRD (BROWN-THROATED) (Anthreptes malacensis borneensis) – A pair feeding a youngster near the pond at the Sepilok Nature Resort on our first evening showed nicely, and we saw others at RDC. The subspecies borneensis, which belongs to the "brown-throated" sub-group of the species, is endemic to Borneo.
RED-THROATED SUNBIRD (Anthreptes rhodolaemus) – A bright male and several females from the RDC canopy walkway, with others at the Gomantong Caves and the Poring Hot Springs.
VAN HASSELT'S SUNBIRD (Leptocoma brasiliana) – Regular in the lowlands, with particularly spectacular views coming from the canopy walkway at RDC -- they were at eye level, only about 20 feet away! The iridescent blue-green crown on the maroon-plumaged male is striking.
COPPER-THROATED SUNBIRD (Leptocoma calcostetha) – Those who arrived earliest had at least five along the RDC entrance road that first morning, cavorting through the blooming Pride-of-Barbados bushes. Surprisingly, it then took until our final morning at RDC before we FINALLY found another one -- a male, looking dark as he foraged among the flowers. This species is restricted to a narrow band along the island's coastline.
OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris jugularis) – Seen on scattered days in the lowlands (at RDC and on roadside wires between Sukau and Gomantong Caves), but our best views came in Nabalo, where we found one perched in a dead tree beside the road, not far from the House Swift colony.
TEMMINCK'S SUNBIRD (Aethopyga temminckii) – Common in the highlands, where we saw multiple gaudy males singing from treetops or sipping from flowers -- including a potted fuchsia right over the tables where we were eating breakfast one morning.
CRIMSON SUNBIRD (Aethopyga siparaja) – Quite common around RDC, with others along the Menanggul. The males are certainly eye-catching!
THICK-BILLED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera crassirostris) – One foraged along the roadside at Gomantong Caves -- good spotting, Ed!

Night floats along the Kitabatangan and its tributaries netted us some fine views of hunting Buffy Fish-Owls. Photo by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.

LONG-BILLED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera robusta) – Wow! One building a nest under a huge leaf near the start of the Pitta Trail at the Rainforest Discovery Center returned again and again with bits of fiber and cobwebs to weave into the growing mass. What a beak! [N]
LITTLE SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera longirostra) – One had definitely laid claim to the edge of the road near the ticket booth at the Rainforest Discovery Center, chasing any potential interloper away. Our best views, though, came at the intersection of the Kingfisher and Pitta trails there, when we found one perched on a vine.
PURPLE-NAPED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera hypogrammicum) – A female foraged near the start of the Kingfisher Trail at the Rainforest Discovery Center, showing her striped belly nicely as she hung upside down -- good spotting, Ann! We saw another nicely along the Gomantong entrance road. DNA evidence showed that this former "sunbird" (once in its own monotypic genus) is actually a spiderhunter, so it has been renamed and moved into the same genus as the other spiderhunters.
WHITEHEAD'S SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera juliae) – At least one adult flicked through roadside trees near the Tambunan Rafflesia Center, followed by at least two noisily begging youngsters. We had some marvelous views through the scopes! [E]
YELLOW-EARED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera chrysogenys) – One flicked through waist-high bushes in the RDC parking lot, showing the yellow plumes that give it its common name as it paused on conveniently open branches.
SPECTACLED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera flavigaster) – Especially nice views of one foraging along the BRL entrance road, not far from where we saw our Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler. Its larger size and bolder eye ring help to separate it from the previous species.
BORNEAN SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera everetti) – One visited the ginger flowers near the BRL dining room on several days, giving us multiple chances to study it as it fed, and another one near our Whitehead's Spiderhunters gave us great opportunities to compare the two species. [E]
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
PADDYFIELD PIPIT (Anthus rufulus malayensis) – A handful strode around on the short grass beside the runway and taxiways at the Lahad Datu airport. This species was formerly a subspecies of the Oriental Pipit, which was split into multiple species.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus) – Common and widespread, and seen most days of the tour, often around human habitation. [I]
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
BAYA WEAVER (Ploceus philippinus) – A small group of these introduced birds -- all in drabber non-breeding plumage -- preened on the fronds of a big palm tree near the RDC parking lot. This species is popular as a caged bird on the island. [I]
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
DUSKY MUNIA (Lonchura fuscans) – Especially good looks at one working on its globular grass nest near the RDC parking lot, with others rummaging in the grass (in good comparison with the next species) nearby. We had another near the parking lot at the Gomantong Caves. [EN]
SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata) – Some good spotting by Ann gave those of us who had arrived in Borneo the earliest brief views of a couple gathering nesting material near the RDC entrance. This species was introduced around Kota Kinabalu, but is spreading. [I]
CHESTNUT MUNIA (Lonchura atricapilla) – Quite common around Sepilok and the RDC, including some building a big nest right near the park's main sign. This is another popular species with the world's caged bird trade. [N]

COLUGO (Cynocephalus variegatus) – One hanging near the Sukau dining room in broad daylight was certainly a surprise -- nice spotting, Bob! It alternately stretched out to its full length from its back feet, or clung by all of its feet from a branch. We saw another one spread-eagled on a palm trunk during a night boat trip from Sukau.
LARGE FLYING FOX (Pteropus vampyrus) – Numbers of these huge bats flapped around a tree over the Gomantong Caves parking lot, and we saw others checking out fruiting trees on our night trips along the Kitabatangan and its tributaries; in flights, the bats have a wingspan nearly as big as that of various night-herons. Widespread across southeast Asia, it feeds exclusively on fruit, flowers and nectar -- despite its scientific name!

Bornean Bulbul, an endemic recently split from Black-crested Bulbul, was one of more than 20 species of bulbul that we found on the trip. Photo by participant Ed LeGrand.

LESSER SHORT-NOSED FRUIT BAT (Cynopterus brachyotis) – One single individual hung from the eave of a building near the parking lot at Gomantong Caves. This species feeds primarily on fruit, but will also eat nectar and pollen.
WRINKLE-LIPPED FREE-TAILED BAT (Chaerephon plicatus) – Thousands and thousands and THOUSANDS lined the roof of the Gomantong Caves. As dusk fell, they left the safety of the caves in little pulses of several hundred at a time, presumably to better their chances of escaping the circling Bat Hawks.
MOUNTAIN TREESHREW (Tupaia montana) – One, looking dark compared to neighboring squirrels, scurried along a fence rail outside the decrepit shed near the Timpohon Gate; its long nose was also distinctive. This species is endemic to the mountainous central spine of Borneo. [E]
LESSER TREESHREW (Tupaia minor) – One climbed a tree near the Gomantong Caves road, its slender trail trailing along behind. To be 100% sure you have this species, you need to measure its hind foot!
SLENDER TREESHREW (Tupaia gracilis) – One ran across the road as we birded along the BRL entrance road on our first afternoon there. [E]
SLOW LORIS (Nycticebus cougang) – Our first climbed slowly up a tree branch on the grounds of the Sepilok Nature Resort, seen by those who went owl-hunting on the property. We saw others on each of our night trips from the Sukau Rainforest Ecolodge.
HORSFIELD'S TARSIER (Tarsius bancanus) – Our only view was of one clinging to a skinny trunk, nearly hidden by reeds in the foreground, from the boat on our night trip along the Kitabatangan; we could see its huge eyes in the beam of the spotlight. Unfortunately, it climbed down before we got much of a look.
CRAB-EATING MACAQUE (Macaca fascigularis) – This species, which is also known as Long-tailed Macaque, is generally reckoned to be the "less aggressive" of the two macaques found in Borneo. They were common around the Kitabatangan, including a cheeky mob staging regular raids on the dirty dish trolley outside the Sukau dining room.
PIGTAIL MACAQUE (Macaca nemestrina) – And this is the nastier, short-tailed cousin of the previous species; they too were regular around the Kitabatangan and its tributaries, including several big mobs along the Menanggul and a couple of spry youngsters on one of the monkey bridges over the Tenangang River.

Finding a Colugo in the daytime is always a treat -- thanks, Bob! This one was hanging from a tree near the Sukau dining room. Photo by participant Ed LeGrand.

SILVERED LEAF MONKEY (Presbytis cristata) – Seen on most days along the Kitabatangan, often sitting morosely near the top of a rain-drenched tree. The peaked crown of the leaf monkeys helps to identify them.
RED LEAF MONKEY (Presbytis rubicunda) – The rich, red pelage of this endemic species quickly separates it from the previous one, which is the only other one with a peaked crown. It was regular throughout much of the tour -- including one, looking rather poorly, near the Timpohon Gate. [E]
PROBOSCIS MONKEY (Nasalis larvatus) – Quite common along the Kitabatangan and its tributaries, including a few big males (with their distinctive Jimmy Durante noses) among the multitude of females and youngsters. [E]
GRAY GIBBON (Hylobates muelleri) – We heard the distinctive whooping calls of this endemic species on many days in the lowlands -- including some that sounded like they were just across the river at BRL. The females have the more varied calls. [E*]
ORANGUTAN (Pongo pygmaeus) – Our first was a female and her youngster (clearly a male!) feeding above the main cave entrance at the Gomantong Caves, with another female (this one heavily pregnant) feeding in a tree along the Kitabatangan one evening and another quietly watching us along BRL's Trogon trail. [E]
PALE GIANT SQUIRREL (Ratufa affinis) – Daily around Sepilok, including a couple from the RDC canopy walkway. This Sundaland specialty has a loud, distinctive call, which we also heard regularly there.
PREVOST'S SQUIRREL (Callosciurus prevostii) – Among the most common of the tour's squirrels, seen on most days in the lowlands. The combination of black pelage and rusty belly is distinctive among the island's squirrels.
PLANTAIN SQUIRREL (Callosciurus notatus) – Small numbers at the Rainforest Discovery Center, Gomantong Caves and along the Menanggul. This widespread lowland species has black and white stripes on its sides.
BORNEAN BLACK-BANDED SQUIRREL (Callosciurus orestes) – Though slightly smaller than the previous species, this endemic is pretty similar in overall appearance. Fortunately for ID purposes, it is restricted to the highlands. [E]
BROOKE'S SQUIRREL (Sundasciurus brookei) – Another Bornean highland endemic, seen on several days. This medium-sized species is pretty plain, with no stripes or spots -- only a pale eyering. [E]
JENTINK'S SQUIRREL (Sundasciurus jentincki) – After our first few encounters, we'd renamed this fast, little one the "Jetpack Squirrel". How do its tiny legs move that fast?! [E]
BORNEAN MOUNTAIN GROUND-SQUIRREL (Dremomys everetti) – Like the Mountain Treeshrew, this one is dark and long-nosed -- though not quite as long-nosed as the former. We had especially nice looks at one bouncing along the roadside in Kinabalu NP, on the same curb that our Everett's Thrush briefly stood on. [E]
PLAIN PYGMY SQUIRREL (Exilisciurus exilis) – These tiny squirrels -- barely as long as your thumb -- were regular throughout the lowlands. What little cuties! [E]
WHITEHEAD'S PYGMY SQUIRREL (Exilisciurus whiteheadi) – A handful in Kinabalu NP. Though small, they're considerably longer than the previous species, and their white-tufted ear tips make them instantly recognizable. [E]
RED GIANT FLYING SQUIRREL (Petaurista petaurista) – An evening outing to Sepilok's Rainforest Discovery Center netted us super views of at least four of these big squirrels -- including one that made a HUGE flying leap from one big emergent tree to the next, only to be chased by a young Wallace's Hawk-Eagle! We saw others on our night drives around BRL.
BLACK FLYING SQUIRREL (Aeromys tephromelas) – One rummaging around on a branch high in an emergent tree along the BRL entrance road -- seen on our second night drive -- was a surprise. This big species is quite uncommon, known from only a few scattered localities in Sabah.
THOMAS'S FLYING SQUIRREL (Aeromys thomasi) – Seen on a couple of night drives at BRL. Unlike the Red Giant Flying Squirrel, this endemic has no black on its face, feet or tail tip. [E]
SUNDA STINK BADGER (Mydaus javanensis) – This one was "smelled only" -- a strong skunky odor along the BRL's Trogon trail. It can shoot that pungent anal sac extract several meters!
COMMON PALM CIVET (Viverra zibetha) – We spotted one of these widespread civets, which are found from Sri Lanka right through Sulawesi, up in a tree on our last night drive out of Sukau Rainforest Ecolodge.

The local Clipper butterfly population was definitely attracting some unwanted attention from the Blue-throated Bee-eaters. Sorry for the jerky motion in places; the boat just wouldn't hold still! Video by guide Megan Edwards Crewe.
MASKED PALM CIVET (Paguma larvata) – One scuttling through the vegetation right beside the truck we were in on our first night drive out of BRL was not particularly cooperative; a few saw it before it vanished, but most only saw wiggling plants!
SHORT-TAILED MONGOOSE (Herpestes semitorquatus) – One nosed its way down a leafy gully along BRL's Trogon trail, seemingly oblivious to our presence. Eventually though, it looked up and saw us, and then wandered -- still apparently unperturbed -- up a nearby hillside.
LEOPARD CAT (Felis bengalensis) – Fine views of one of these gorgeous, spotty little cats under one of the palm oil trees at the end of the Gomantong Caves road, seen as we left after dark on our first visit. It lay just at the base of a trunk, with all of its feet neatly tucked beneath it for a few minutes, then got up and started nosing around the base of the trunk.
FLAT-HEADED CAT (Felis planiceps) – One slunk away along the bank of the Menanggul, disappearing into the undergrowth almost as soon as it saw us.
BEARDED PIG (Sus barbatus) – Those in the first vehicle en route to BRL got a quick view of five cavorting in the middle of the road as we came around one corner in the road.
LESSER MOUSE DEER (Tragulus javanicus) – A couple of these tiny deer in the undergrowth along the edge of the BRL entrance road, seen on a couple of nights. The brown markings on its throat and chest help to distinguish it from the Greater Mouse Deer, which is also found in Borneo.
SAMBAR (Cervus unicolor) – Small numbers on several nights around the main buildings (and the football field near the staff quarters) at BRL, including a group of four crossing the road at the end of our night walk one evening.
HARLEQUIN FLYING TREEFROG (Rhacophorus pardalis (Rhacophoridae)) – One of these fairly large, uniformly colored (brown) treefrogs clung to a small tree near the "frog pond" mud puddle (depleted by the ongoing drought) at BRL.
JADE TREEFROG (Rhacophorus dulitensis (Rhacophoridae)) – The din of these, singing from the trees along the Menanggul River, was pretty impressive on one of our night trips. [*]
FILE-EARED TREEFROG (Polypedates otilophus (Rhacophoridae)) – Three, seen clinging to three different big leaves around BRL's frog pond one evening, at the end of our night walk.
BLACK-EARED TREEFROG (Polypedates macrotis (Rhacophoridae)) – A pair in amplexus low along the edge of the clearing around the BRL staff quarters got our night drive off to a bit of an x-rated start to one evening's activities.

Proboscis Monkeys are among Borneo's many endemics. Sadly, habitat destruction has caused their numbers to plummet, and they're now endangered. Fortunately, they're still common along the Kitabatangan, where we saw these females and youngsters. Photo by Megan Edwards Crewe.

SALTWATER CROCODILE (Crocodylus porosus) – A big one floating on the surface of the Kitabatangan turned straight towards our boat and then disappeared below the surface on our night outing on the river -- a wee bit unsettling, to say the least!
CRESTED GREEN LIZARD (Bronchocela cristatella) – Several of these lime green lizards seen in the lowlands, with especially nice looks at one straddling some reed stems along the bank of the Kitabatangan, seen in the beam of our spotlight on one of our night outings there. The little row of spiky protrusions on the back of its neck is distinctive.
HORNED FLYING LIZARD (Draco cornutus) – Seen on scattered days in the lowlands, including some along Sukau's boardwalk trail, a few along the Menanggul, one sailing across the road at the Gomantong Caves, and one hanging, knee-high, on a trunk along the BRL's Hornbill trail. The scope view we got of the latter was pretty amazing -- we could certainly see why they're called horned, with that little rhinoceros horn poking up from its face.
SMITH'S GIANT GECKO (Gekko smithii ) – We heard the loud, barking calls of this big species on many days (and nights!), but never laid eyes on one. Full-grown adults can reach 14 inches in length! This species is also known as "Green-eyed Barking Gecko" or "Smith's Green-eyed Gecko". [*]
WATER MONITOR (Varanus salvator) – Regular around our Sepilok hotel (often seen swimming one way or another across the pond), with others along the banks of the Menanggul, and one traipsing around in the garden at BRL.
RETICULATED PYTHON (Broghammerus reticulatus) – A big commotion along BRL's entrance road, with a big mixed gang of birds anxiously twitching around a dense patch of leaves, calling constantly, made us pretty sure they'd found a snake. Minutes later, sure enough, a Reticulated Python -- a very BIG Reticulated Python -- slithered down a branch, wove its way through the leaves, and then oozed across to the next tree. Wow! Hard to understand how it didn't just fall to the ground! Paul brought us another (a youngster, judging by the size) in a box after one afternoon's break, so that we could see one up close.
MANGROVE CAT SNAKE (Boiga dendrophila) – One snoozed, coiled loosely, in a tree over the deck off Sepilok Nature Resort's dining room. This one is also known as Yellow-ringed Cat Snake -- for obvious reasons!
WAGLER'S PIT VIPER (Tropidolaemus subannulatus) – A little one, looking settled but lethal, stretched out along one of the rails of a fence along the edge of the path at RDC. It was still there when we left, many hours later!
Other Creatures of Interest

Participant Ed LeGrand got this nice shot of one of the many mudskippers we saw at the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center. These unique fish can walk on their pectoral and pelvic fins, and can breathe through their skins, rather like amphibians do.

RAFFLESIA (PORING) (Rafflesia keithii) – We had to check a couple of places, but eventually we found a location near Poring Hot Springs that had not one, but TWO flowers blooming. The first was just opening; it was basically a big button with one flap just starting to peel back. The second, though, was a two-day old flower -- just about the perfect stage for viewing. Flowers from this species can approach one meter in diameter. Ours was smaller -- probably only about 2 feet across. [E]
PITCHER PLANT (PORING) (Nepenthes stenophylla) – A stop just at the edge of Poring Springs gave us the chance to examine some of these endemic pitcher plants up close; we saw all stages of development, from the first tendril-like growths at the tip of the leaves to full pitchers -- even a few which actually caught a bug or two while we watched! [E]
BROWN LEECH (Haemadipsa zyelanica) – One advantage of the El Nino-induced drought in Borneo is that it deterred the leeches. We saw only a handful, stretched and waving along the paths, and even fewer actually creeping up a few shoes and pant legs.
LIME GREEN SNAIL (Rhinocochlis nasuta) – One hanging on the side of a branch high in a tree along the Gomantong Caves road was so big, it was initially mistaken for a green bird!
BORNEAN PILL MILLIPEDE (Glomeris connexa) – A few of these huge millipedes seen coiled up in their protective stances (looking almost like big seeds) along a few of the paths at BRL. They were surprisingly heavy when we picked them up.
LONG-LEGGED CENTIPEDES (Scutigera spp.) – Yikes -- talk about nightmare-inducing! This fearsome predator was common on the walls at Gomantong Caves. They specialize in hunting cockroaches, so they had a veritable smorgasbord to choose from!
COMMON LANTERN BUG (Pyrops candelaria (Flatidae, Hemiptera)) – A few, clinging to the skinny trunk and leaves of a pathside tree along the Segama trail distracted us for a bit from our search for Banded Barbets.
GIANT FOREST ANT (Camponotus gigas) – These are truly impressive in size -- a good inch-plus long, with a honey-brown abdomen and some fearsome-looking mandibles!
GIANT HONEY BEE (Apis dorsata) – We saw thousands of these -- the largest honeybee in the world -- coating the outside of a "hive" on one of the big trees near the RDC canopy walkway.
COMMON BIRDWING (Tioides helena (Papilionidae)) – These huge butterflies (black with a big, bright yellow patch on the hindwing) caught our eye repeatedly during the tour. They were bigger than just about all of the sunbirds we saw on the tour!
RAJAH BROOKE'S BIRDWING (Trogonoptera brookiana (Papilionidae)) – Regular in the highlands, where we found several -- once Barbara read us Wallace's description of what it looked like, that is! We weren't quite as overwhelmed by its beauty as Wallace was (he reputedly was overcome by a massive headache), but it was certainly very pretty.
COMMON TREE NYMPH (WOOD NYMPH) (Idea stolli (Nymphalidae)) – One of the most recognizable of the tour's butterflies, seen regularly throughout the lowlands where they floated, like wisps of windblown tissue paper, through the forest.

Borneo is home to the world's largest and second largest insects -- giant stick insects measuring more than a foot long! This one wasn't quite that big, but it was still pretty impressive. Photo by participant Ed LeGrand.

CLIPPER BUTTERFLY (Parthenos sylvia (Nymphalidae)) – Especially common along the Menanggul, where an apparent recent hatch was being heartily consumed by a host of Blue-throated Bee-eaters, White-fronted Falconets and more.


Totals for the tour: 280 bird taxa and 37 mammal taxa