Bornean Banded Pitta at the montane hill forests at Trus Madi Forest Reserve

Eventually a Bornean Banded Pitta (Hydrornis schwaneri) shows up in the arena of a shady wood on a steep slope. We sit side by side in a dark hideout that barely has slots for camera lenses. We’ve been waiting for a good 1 hour. There she is: the beauty. The Bornean Banded Pitta is a somewhat garish-looking Pitta with a broad, yolk-yellow eyebrow, black mask, coffee-brown back, and finely striped underparts. The male has a yellow neck, black crown and indigo belly patch. The female is similar but duller in color. It also has no indigo belly patch, a whitish throat, slightly paler underparts, and a pale brown crown. The vocals consist of a series of well-placed, explosive but gentle “byow” sounds. This Pitta is generally widespread, but sometimes only locally. It seems to prefer forests of the plant genus Dipterocarpaceae in hilly and lowland areas. It is more common there and prefers drier ridge areas and deeper mountain forests. But she avoids exotic tree plantations. The main distribution area is above 650 m to approx. 1,680 m above sea level.

The Bornean Banded Pitta was until recently treated as a conspecific of Hydrornis guajanus and Hydrornis irena, but was recently taxonomically split off. It differs from the Javan Banded Pitta (Hydrornis guajanus) in its yellow or white neck in males, the absence or presence of a dark blue chest band, a dark brown crown with a yellow stripe over its eyes, and its smaller size.

We all in the hide were amazed by the beauty and color of this pitta.

Topping the list was the majestic, if elusive, Bulwer’s Pheasant (Lophura bulweri), a beautiful Pheasant that has long eluded many birders. A single male emerged on the second morning. The Bornean Banded Pitta and the Dayak Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis montanus) had previously appeared directly in front of the hiding place.

In low light I shot at 1/10-1/60 sec and auto ISO. My Canon R 5 had no trouble focusing in the dim light, although the contrast was low. Later in the morning, around 9:30 am, I was able to get faster focused shots in one sitting. The other photographers had no problem with their cameras either. They kept firing with loud clicks, which didn’t really impress the bird, which ventured within 5 meter feet of our hide.

In order to meet the growing demand for top images of the rarer species of Palaearctic has specifically made trips to remote places. Additionally every chance is used, if a rare bird is around the homeground. This to do everything to ensure excellent photos of the Birds of the Western Palearctic . The yield of pictures also of rare Western Palaearctic birds is very good. There are other nice images of birds, that you will find behind the tab “Picture Shop“. Just give a notice if you need a picture of a bird which is not online.

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