The Fifty Best Birds in Asia: Part 4

Egyptian Vulture. Susan Myers.

by SusanMyers on December 4, 2010 · 7 comments

in Birding Asia

Sadly, I’m running out of my own photos to post. Hmmm, funny how so many birds I have taken photos of appear in my Top Fifty… Make of it what you will! I do have to admit that part of the reason is that I’m of the belief that blogs are best suited to postings that are long on visuals and short on words. So here goes 31 to 40…

31. Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus

Everybody knows this bird and undoubtedly many will wonder why on earth I’ve included this bird in my list. All I can do is trot out that old platitude that familiarity breeds contempt! How can you go past the beauty of this bird and to see it in its natural habitat is a truly wonderful experience.

Indian Peafowl @ Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

32. Griffon Vulture Gyps bengalensis

All vultures are just great and spectacular to behold! Hard to choose a favourite but I’ve chosen the griffon mainly on the basis of size. It’s been very, very sad to watch the precipitous decline in numbers over the last few years.

Griffon Vulture @ Gujarat, India

33. Blue-headed Pitta Pitta baudii

Another pittas?! Yes, indeed. To many birdo-types the pittas are the Holy Grail. A friend of mine, Chris Goodie spent a whole year trying, and succeeding, in seeing all the world’s pittas. Check out his slide show here. I’ve already included two pittas – one qualifies on beauty alone, the other on its enigmatic character. Blue-headed Pitta qualifies on every level! But I could equally have chosen Bar-bellied Pitta or Ivory-breasted Pitta or Gurney’s Pitta…

Blue-headed Pitta @ Danum Valley, Borneo

34. Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird Aethopyga gouldiae

There are many very fancy Asian sunbirds – they are little jewels on wings. This is yet another group where it’s hard to chose a favourite but this one qualified on the basis of its very tasteful colour scheme as well as for its name. Mrs. Elizabeth Gould never received enough credit in her short lifetime so it’s fitting that such a gorgeous creature bears her name. Please never call this bird Gould’s Sunbird!

Mrs. Gould's Sunbird @ Bhutan

35. Dusky Broadbill Corydon sumatranus

Is this the first broadbill? If it is, that’s a major oversight on my part. The broadbills are essentially an Asian family (with a couple of species in Africa). The Dusky Broadbill is the dullest and largest species but also one of the most social and vocal. I always enjoy meeting up with a group of them. You get the feeling they’d make great drinking buddies…

Busky Broadill @ Kinabatangan River, Borneo

36. Sri Lanka Blue Magpie Urocissa ornatus

All blue magpies are great! And Sri Lanka is great! So that makes Sri Lanka Blue Magpie great x2…

Sri Lanka Blue Magpie @ Sinharaja NP, Sri Lanka

37. Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus

A Pheasant-tailed Jacana in breeding plumage padding around the water lilies… could watch them for hours.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana @ southern Taiwan

38. Fire-tailed Myzornis Myzornis pyrrhoura

This unusual babbler sports my favourite colour, so here he is!

Fire-tailed Myzornis (photo by Sujan Chatterjee)

39. Little Forktail Enicurus scouleri

A Forktail is the emblem of the Oriental Bird Club. It’s fine choice as this small group of riparian birds allied to the thrushes are amongst the most beautiful and enigmatic in the region. They are confined to Asia. I chose Little Forktail for the added cute factor.

Little Forktail

This photo is from the website Birding in Taiwan (the photo is uncredited). Taiwan is a brilliant place for birding with a whole bunch of very fancy endemics as well as many more widespread species that can be much more difficult to find elsewhere; Little Forktail is one of those.

40. Stork-billed Kingfisher Halcyon capensis

Just love this great bird!

Stork-billed Kingfisher @ Kinabatangan River, Borneo

And you know what, I’m almost out of ideas so I might try to make the last ten Readers’ Choice! Send me your requests, please. Let’s see if anyone really is paying attention…

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dawn December 5, 2010 at 4:52 am

Those are indeed some amazing looking birds!


Susan December 6, 2010 at 8:14 am

Thanks Dawn! There are many more than 50 of course 🙂


Scott Winton December 7, 2010 at 5:42 am

I just love this series of posts!

I’ve never been to Asia, unfortunately, so I have no requests.

Well my only request would be to do a similar thing with a different continent =)


Richard Eden December 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm

How about including something from the Philippines? Palawan Peacock-Pheasant, Philippine Cockatoo, a Bleeding-Heart sp., Red-crested Malkoha, Philippine Trogon, etc. There also some widepread Asian birds that look amazing, like Coppersmith Barbet, Siberian Rubythroat, Crimson Sunbird and Black-and-Yellow Broadbill. Thanks for a great Blog!


Spamsecurity December 22, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Don’t worry, you hadn’t forgotten the broadbills: Whitehead’s came in on the 4th place 😉


Anonymous March 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Nice to see the Stork-billed Kingfisher and the Pheasant-tailed Jacana here. This is a very fair list, without a slant in favour of the charismatic species.


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