The Fifty Best Birds in Asia: Part 2

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by SusanMyers on November 20, 2010 · 2 comments

in Birding Asia

Righto! I’m back with the next installment – yes, 11 to 20. I know you’ve been looking forward to this all week! Actually, this is where it starts to get tricky for me. The first ten are pretty easy but the next forty are more difficult. How to choose? And why would I put Banded Kingfisher before Steller’s Sea Eagle? Anyway, this is just how my mood took me today.

11. Banded Kingfisher Lacedo pulchella

All kingfishers are great. Everyone loves kingfishers…don’t they? Well, the Asian kingfishers are many, varied, and often fancy. This one is one of the fanciest in looks with an intriguing call and a rather elusive nature.

Banded Kingfisher (male) @ Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam

12. Red-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis amictus

What is that appeals so much about this bird? Probably the ill-advised combination of colours, weird looks and one of the most unattractive vocalisations of any bird I can think of!

Red-bearded Bee-eater call

photo of Red-bearded Bee-eater

13.  Steller’s Sea Eagle Haliaeetus pelagicus

Simply one of the most amazing birds I can think of. And the setting in northern Hokkaido on the pack ice is incredibly beautiful albeit way too cold for my liking!

Steller's Sea Eagle @ Rausu, Japan

14. Bornean Stubtail Urosphena whiteheadi

Whenever I see or hear this little critter it makes me happy. That’s enough to get him into the Top Fifty…

Bornean Stubtail @ Mount Kinabalu, Sabah

15. Bali Myna Leucopsar rothschildi

I had a book called Vanishing Species when I was a kid and the photo of this bird made an impression on my, for some reason. I always wanted to see one in the wild. This rather poor photo of mine probably doesn’t do it justice – it’s a stunning bird. Sadly, you need to see it while you can…

Bali Myna @ Bali Barat National Park

16. Red-crowned Crane Grus japonensis

All cranes have that certain something that appeals to anyone with an eye for the aesthetic and this species is my favourite.

Red-crowned Crane @ Hokkaido, Japan

17. Striped Wren-Babbler

Ask any Asia bird aficionado and they’ll tell you the babblers are their favorite family. In general it’s because they are challenging, engaging and have some of the most evocative vocalizations. Personally, my favorite group within the babblers (which surely are a collection of families rather than just one) is the wren-babblers. I can’t really single out a single species for the Top Fifty so I’m choosing this one purely on the basis that I have a nice photo!

Striped Wren-Babbler @ Danum Valley, Borneo

18. Philippine Frogmouth Batrachostomus septimus

And the same goes for the frogmouths. The Asian frogmouths are just so appealing! And they’re all equally fabulous. So I picked this Philippines Froggy because I love this photo. That’s all….

Philippine Frogmouth @ Mount Kitanglad

Check these eyes!

19. Satanic Nightjar Caprimulgus diabolicus

The combination of a fascinating history, a fantastic name and good looks qualifies this one for the number 19 spot.

Satanic Nightjar @ Lore Lindu, Sulawesi

20. Oriental Bay Owl Phodius badius assimilis (sometimes split at Sri Lanka Bay Owl)

Beautiful and mysterious. One of the strangest of all the owls. I was lucky to be able to watch and photograph this amazing creature in the daylight for over an hour during one of my trips to Sri Lanka. Note the blood-sucking fly on his eye…

Oriental Bay Owl @ Sinharaja National Park, Sri Lanka

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  • Dawn

    please package them up and send a few this way:) Awesome list!

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