15 April 2010

Swiftlets on Mt. Kinabalu - some "dodgei" records ?

In early March we spent some time at Mt Kinabalu, Sabah.

There we saw quite a few swiftlets, a family we don't get much practice with in Hong Kong.

Mt. Kinabalu is a site for the very local and newly-split "Bornean Swiftlet" - Collocalia dodgei. And, as it was in both the new field guides, like most birders, we thought we'd go and look for it. On two different mornings at the Timpohon Gate (1866m) I banged off many, many digital photos at the swiftlets passing by.

"Bornean Swiftlet" is described as being " like Glossy Swiftlet, but with a greenish (not a blueish) gloss on the feathers.... smaller and no white below.." (Phillipps). With both the Phillipps and Susan Myers guide to hand, we still couldn't figure them out.

(Which is our failing, not that of either of the new Birds of Borneo fieldguide authors.)

As can readily be seen, many of the Glossy Swiflets depicted at Oriental Bird Images are as green as "our" swiflets :-

http://orientalbirdimages.org/search.php?p=1&action=searchresult&Bird_ID=568&Bird_Family_ID=&pagesize=1

However, most of the birds shown below lack a white belly, so they may not be Glossy OR "Bornean" :-


ONE
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TWO
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THREE
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FOUR
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FIVE
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SIX
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SEVEN
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EIGHT
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NINE

Unidentified Swiftlets at Mt Kinabalu, March 2010

Any comments on identification would be most welcome !

2 comments:

  1. Hi John and Jemi

    There are at least 2 species here. Photo TWO & EIGHT are Glossy/Bornean, and THREE - SEVEN & NINE are Edible/Black/Mossy-nest. I would guess from the fact that the rump seems concolorous with the rest of the upperparts, that they are Mossy-nest. Things aren't helped by the strong sunlight - perfect for photography but not for determining subtle colour tones!

    Great shots by the way!

    Dave

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  2. Dave,

    Thanks for that... I reckon the greenish sheen isn't going to be the "clincher" for Bornean Swiftlet... so visiting birders may struggle with the swiftlets...as ever !

    John

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