Brown-streaked Flycatchers, Kuala Ketil, Kedah, 26 April 2013

The news that Choo Eng had found a pair of nesting Brown-streaked Flycatchers at his rubber estate recently was too tempting to miss. This is a bird I’d never seen in Peninsular Malaysia, and nesting records are few and far between.

Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3336The nest was about 15m up, in a fork of a branch overhanging the road.

Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3289It looked like the female was incubating, though there may have been small young. Sadly, the nest fell down about a week after my visit. The female (assumed to be the sitting bird) was distinguishable from the male by the extensively yellow lower mandible.

Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3305 Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3378 Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3312In the early morning the male hunted from low perches in the plantation, often below eye-level. He frequently flew to the ground to pick up small insects. At this time, he was returning to the nest to feed the female (or young?) every few minutes. His visits to the nest were very quick, no more than a second or two.

Brown-streaked Flycatcher_Kedah_260413_IMG_3292Feeding the female or chicks? Maybe that is the bill of a nestling just visible?

Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3314 Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3372 Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3364 Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3362 Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3352Apart from the obvious diffuse brown streaks on the underparts, the bird had a rather pale-faced appearance, caused by pale lores, eye ring and whitish streaks on the ear coverts. This may have been caused by feather abrasion – the whole plumage was very worn and rather dishevelled.

Wells mentions rufescent tones on the rump and uppertail coverts. These were generally not visible, but one photo of the bird showed remarkably pinkish-chestnut feathering on the lateral uppertail coverts. This was almost always concealed by the wing.

Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_9013Once the sun hit the tops of the trees, he immediately changed his foraging strategy and moved to the tree canopy. As the day warmed up his visits to the nest became much less frequent. At times he would be completely absent from the area for up to 45 minutes.

Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3327 Brown-streaked Flycatcher nest_K Ketil_260413_IMG_3319In the sunlight, the warm brown tones of the upperparts became much more evident.

I was very happy with my morning’s encounter with these birds. The male could hardly have been more obliging. Having missed Rosy Starling and Japanese Paradise-flycatcher recently, Brown-streaked Flycatcher was my first PM lifer since the Tufted Duck, and moves me to 569!

6 thoughts on “Brown-streaked Flycatchers, Kuala Ketil, Kedah, 26 April 2013

      • Wow – very similar! Thanks for posting these links. How far down the peninsula does siamensis breed? You suggest there are also different habitat prefs – what are these? In Wells there is one unconfirmed autumn record of siamensis in Pen Malaysia.

      • As far as we know, it breeds in north, north-east and west Thailand. It is also caught and ringed at Laem Phak Bia during autumn migration, so it is suggested to be a short-distance migrant. But how much further south it goes is still a question.

        For the habitats, it seems to favour lower hill forest, especially with some pine trees. I once observed a nest built on a pine tree in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai. More than one nest were reported from Nam Nao NP, also majority of the vegetation is pine. One more nest from Huai Kha Khaeng; lowland deciduous/mixed deciduous forest. Another nest from Wat Thum Pha Plong temple in Chiang Dao, where there is no pine tree, but just normal hill evergreen forest. Overall, I think it seems to favour dryer habitats than Brown-streaked……

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