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.
It 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.
In 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.
Apart 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.
Once 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.
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!