Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Thailand Sunbird !

Bit of a late posting this one, a report from the last part of our Thailand winter holiday, and one of my birding highlights from Krabi.

Like a child with a new toy I still get very excited when a new bird comes my way, and so it was as I sat in our balcony amidst the coconut palms that surrounded our hotel in Krabi,

 Some of the palms were in flower and directly level with our balcony, a small bird suddenly flew in to the palms, lost to view for a moment, but soon relocated feeding on the flowers of the palm.
 I recognized it as some sort of Sunbird, a genre that I am not really familiar with, although saying that this mystery sunbird is the third species I have now seen, the first was the Variable Sunbird seen in Kilimanjaro, the second was a Scarlet Chested Sunbird seen in Zanzibar, all fairly common Sunbirds as no doubt this one would turn out to be.

This first sighting appeared to be a female, or possibly a juvenile, olive green above and a yellow green below and a long decurved bill, it appeared to be drinking  the nectar from the flower spikes.

These birds were coming to the flower spikes all through the day, but it was not until the following day I caught sight of  the male and female, moving through the flower spikes, obviously a good source of nectar.

The male was brightly coloured with that iridescent sheen, so many colours, definitely a Sunbird of some sorts, but the view was short, luckily more views were to follow the next day.

The bird below is a probable juvenile male, it looks like its moulting into its iridescent male plumage.

On my return to a cold wintery England, I dusted off my trusty old Helm identification book, titled  Sunbirds: A Guide to the Sunbirds, Spiderhunters, Sugarbirds and Flowerpeckers of the World, a reference book which I must admit has had very little use,

It wasn't long until I found the Sunbird in question, the 'Brown Throated Sunbird' also known as the 'Plain throated Sunbird' a very understated name for such stunning looking Sunbird.

The Brown throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)  described as a large member of the Nectariniidae family, and as I thought relatively common resident bird of South East asia, also sometimes referred to as the Plain throated Sunbird. As its names suggest it does feed almost exclusively on nectar sometimes small berries.

What a stunner. Oh for a common bird like this in our country.

Brown Throated Sunbird. male

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