Words and images by Amar-Singh HSS
Species: Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps cineraceus – calls
Location: Interior of Tambun, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Overgrown secondary forest with primary forest adjacent, some farms
Date: 20th January 2011
Equipment: Nikon D7000 SLR with Sigma AF OS Zoom 150-500mm, handheld
As you deeper into this ex-logging site (secondary forest with primary forest adjacent), the Ashy Tailorbird predominates. I saw quite a few and came across a group of 5 foraging in the same area, calliong out loudly for some time. They were split into 2 on one side of the trail and 3 on the other side but were very close. All were Ashy Tailorbirds and I was not fully certain is all 5 were part of the same family unit or 2 different families.
They did not appear disturbed by each other’s presence. At least 1 was a young adult male. The calls of the Ashy Tailorbird have been occasionally confused with those of the Rufous-tailed Tailorbird as both often call from cover (See DR Wells 2007). In this instance however they calling in the open and I could be certain of the species.
An adult male in all his splendour.
Adult male calling out with an audio recording of calls. Note that calls are a duet, possibly with the female. As one bird calls (chu-iip), the other makes a thrilling call (see Wells for more descriptions).
Young male with prey (caterpillar) and another recording of calls. The foraging was going on amidst all the calls and the calls seemed to be a way the keep the family unit in contact with each other. This second recording had a lot of barbet calls which I have removed with software but this has not affected Tailorbird call quality. Again another duet but the primary call is a different from the first one.
Another view of an adult male