Blue Flycatcher or named "blue"
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Flycatchers apart from those Jungle Flycatchers in general are colorful birds. Within the Flycatchers family there is yet another batch of birds that are lean towards having a blue tone. The page for Flycatchers was getting to be too large a page for posting, I took the opportunity to split the birds up and into a dedicated page for easier recognition.

 

Reports of sighting recently

Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana
Asian Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassinus
Indigo Flycatcher Eumyias indigo
Pale Blue Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor
Hill Blue Flycatcher Cyornis banyumas
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae
Bornean Blue Flycatcher Cyornis superbus
Mangrove Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra
White-tailed Blue Flycatcher Cyornis concretus

No sightings for a while

Pygmy Blue Flycatcher Muscicapella hodgsoni
Malaysian Blue Flycatcher Cyornis turcosus
   
 

Within the group, only the Verditer, the Indigo and the Pale Blue Flycatchers are easy birds to encounter. The rest, one need to know the season when they should be around plus some basis skills to track them down. I am one of those who are still in the process of looking for a few of them.

 

 

1. Blue & White Flycatchers   Cyanoptila cyanomelana

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 18 Cm. This is a large Flycatcher which is a passage migrant. meaning it may be spotted only for that day. The next day the bird continues on its journey after passing through. The upper part is dark, azure or cobalt blue. The throat, head side and breast is black, otherwise the rest of the under part is white. Another sub-species C.c. cumatlis is in deep turquoise instead of dark blue

 Distribution :-  The bird is from the eastern part of the arctic, stretching down to north-eastern China, Northern Korea and wintering in the Sundas
 Habitats & preferences:- So far sightings shown that the bird while in Malaysia were visiting lowland forest edges
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- I get the feeling that the bird is a passage migrant as all sightings were done on a one off basis with no follow up. So it is difficult to say let's go back there daily to awaits its appearance,
 
 My personal jottings :-

The Blue & White Flycatcher at 18 cm is almost a large Flycatcher when compared to those more often sighted Flycatcher at 14 cm.

It is an uncommon passage migrants in Malaysia and within that short time frame when it passes through not many people has the chance  to meet up with bird. From report of sightings, the bird prefers forested area in the lowlands and hills and as well sub-montane forest.

So this is one bird where there is no chance of searching for it except on chance meeting during the migratory season. From the pictures, I could assume that among the pictures that I have collected 2 sub-species were captured

 

Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-
 

Blue-and-White juvenile  # 1

Blue-and-White Flycatcher  # 2

Blue-and-White Flycatcher   # 3

Blue-and-White Flycatcher  # 4

Blue-and-White Flycatcher # 5

Blue-and-White Flycatcher  # 6

Blue-and-White Flycatcher  # 7

Blue-and-White Flycatcher  # 8

Blue-and-White Flycatcher # 9

Blue-and-White Flycatcher  # 10

Blue-and-White Flycatcher # 11

Blue-and-White Flycatcher  # 12

Blue-and-White Flycatcher  # 16

Blue-and-White Flycatcher  # 17

Blue-and-White Flycatcher  # 18

 

2. Hill-blue Flycatchers   Cyornis banyumas coerulifrons

 

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 15 Cm. This bird is wintering here and has the habit of returning to the same spot. It also awaits its food within a small confine in which it will perch for long period. The Hill Blue Flycatcher at 15 cm is also a notch larger than the average size family members. The upper part is uniform deep blue with lighter shade at the fore crown. the under part in pure white sharing a orange-rufous throat and for this species extending further. A small thin stripe at the front of the wing.

 Distribution :-  This is a bird of Nepal, north-east India, south-western China, Java and Borneo.
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a sub-montane forest bird, preferring dense forest
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-The bird was seen in Awana and Bukit Tinggi. The lowest altitude seen was in the hills of Pangsoon, relatively low.
 
 My personal jottings :-

The Hill Blue Flycatcher may appear to be bulkier at 15 cm long. There is a possibility of sighting 2 sub-species in Malaysia. One has almost settled down as a resident and another a winter visitor. Gauged by the tone of the rufous colored breast. Unknown to me, these pictures taken in the low hills of Pangsoon as well as sub-montane Bukit Tinggi could be featuring both birds.

This bird has its origin in areas like the southern-eastern foothills of the Himalayas, Java and Borneo Island. As mentioned earlier is a resident as well as Winter visitor to Malaysia. The sighting in Pangsoon was isolated whereas the birds confirmed to be a visitors were linked to  sub-montane places such as The Awana and Bukit Tinggi.

This bird prefers the middle to lower storey, choosing a series of favorite perches and wandering the area with these perches. It could be a long wait when the bird had wandered off and returning to the perch stalked. The female though sighted in the same area was never together with the male and very watchful for human presence.

 

Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

juvenile Hill-blue male # 1

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 2

female Hill-blue  # 3

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 4

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 5

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 6

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 7

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 8

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 9

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 10

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 11

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 12

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 16

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 17

Hill-blue Flycatcher # 18

 

3. Indigo Flycatchers     Eumyias indigo

 

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 13 Cm. As far as I know this bird is very common in the compound of Mount Kota Kinabalu Park. Upper storey and lower storey etc. On the upper part, the head all the way to the rump and like wise on the under part the throat to most part of the belly in Indigo Blue. Like the Verditer Flycatcher, the front of the eye is black. the rear portion of the belly is white. the rest of the wing and tail feathers are gray.

 Distribution :-  The bird is endemic in Borneo
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a montane bird and endemic to Borneo island.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- Since I rarely travel to Borneo, I had only seen the bird in Mount Kinabalu
 
 My personal jottings :-

This is a montane bird of Flycatcher size -14 cm. Endemic and confined to the Borneo Island, Sumatra and Java. Even in Borneo itself the bird was found only is some mountain peaks such as Mount KK, Gunong Pagon and Ulu Temburong in Sarawak  Then in Kalimantan - Gunong Lunjut and Kayan Mentarang

If they are where they, is a common resident and very tame with little fear of the closeness of humans. It perched on the outer branches of forest edge scrubs. Both male and female sharing same appearance. The amount of white in the tail is very variable.
Nesting is also around the same place at eye level. All my pictures  were taken in the National Park of Mount Kota Kinabalu and there is no need to search for them.

 

Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

 

Indigo Flycatcher # 1

Indigo Flycatcher # 2

Indigo Flycatcher # 3

Indigo Flycatcher # 4

Indigo Flycatcher # 5

Indigo Flycatcher # 6

Indigo Flycatcher # 7

Indigo Flycatcher # 8

Indigo Flycatcher # 9

Indigo Flycatcher # 10

Indigo Flycatcher # 11

Indigo Flycatcher # 12

Indigo Flycatcher # 16

Indigo Flycatcher # 17

Indigo Flycatcher # 18

 

4. Mangrove-blue Flycatchers    Cyornis rufigastra

 

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 14 Cm. This is a resident with fixed habit of remaining in a small confine. The bird is also curious coming out and perching in the open when visitors arrive. The Mangrove Blue Flycatcher is marginally larger at 14.5 cm. has a lot of similarity with the Hill Blue. The upper part is in a darker deep blue but the color less striking and the under part has the deep orange rufous going all the way to the belly, also in a shape duller.

 Distribution :-  This is a bird of the Greater Sundas, Philippines and Sulawesi.
 Habitats & preferences:- This is exclusively a bird of the mangrove forest
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-Though should be seen in almost all mangrove forest but seen most often in Mangrove Park at Port Weld and another resident in Air Itam Dalam
 
 My personal jottings :-

The Mangrove Blue of 14.5 cm is a bird of the scrub and under growth but it is not a ground bird. It has lots of similarity with the other "Blue" Flycatchers of the forest but made it distinct for ID is its habit on staying near the forest floors of the Mangrove forest.

The origin of the bird is traced to the Greater Sundas, Philippines and Sulawesi. It is a resident of Malaysia. Both the male and female were easily spotted if they are around the area as they tends to hang around a preferred locality.

Record of bird's call:-    and Videos:-  

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 1

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 2

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 3

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 4

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 5

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 6

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 7

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 8

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 9

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 10

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 11

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 12

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 16

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 17

Mangrove-blue Flycatcher # 18

 

5. Pale-blue Flycatchers     Cyornis unicolor harteri

 

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 17 Cm. The bird can grow beyond 17 cm making it one the couple of large Flycatchers. This is a fairly common resident appearing in the same habitats as the Verditer. First point would be to tell the physical differences between the 2 birds. The upper part of the bird in pale turquoise while the under part has the same color but a shade lighter. The color on this bird is not shinning. The color at the throat is again one shade lower than the overall color almost gray. This bird and the Verditer Flycatcher is told apart by the shade of blue and the black in front of the eye.

 Distribution :-  The bird is from north-eastern India and south western China, then the Greater Sundas
 Habitats & preferences:- This bird is usually a sub-montane forest bird
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-The bird is most common in Frasers Hill and Awana. Surprisingly, this species is also seen in the lowland forest of Perdik, where the Verditer is also present.
 
 My personal jottings :-

This is a bulky Flycatcher at 17 cm larger and more prominent than most Flycatchers. This is one of the 2 Flycatchers with that distinctive pale blue hue, the other being the Verditer Flycatcher. When it comes to describing the shades of blue, the series of pictures shown here varies substantially. That was the way how the camera recorded the scenes and also the same way how the pair of eyes of each individual see the subject.

The way to distinguish between the 2 birds is the Pale Blue Flycatcher do not have the black lores around the eyes.

This origin of this bird was traced to the Indian sub-continent and the  Greater Sundas and is now a fairly common resident in peninsula Malaysia. This is a forest bird of the lowlands and mountain with sub-montane climates and more often seen in the highlands. The bird prefers the middle storey of low and tall trees, that sometimes could place its perch rather high up from the ground. Very common in Frasers Hills and most hill resorts. As for lowland forest, seen them a few times in Perdik.

 

Record of bird's call:-    and Video:-

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 1

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 2

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 3

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 4

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 5

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 6

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 7

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 8

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 9

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 10

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 11

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 12

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 16

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 17

Pale-blue Flycatcher # 18

 

6. Tickell's Blue Flycatcher     Cyornis tickelliae sumatrensis

 

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 15 Cm. This bird has lots of similairity with other "blue" Flycatchers. Remember this is an exclusively lowland species. The upper part is in deep blue with a light pale blue forehead spreading slightly to the side. The under part is orangish brown with a white belly.

 Distribution :-  The bird is found on the Indian continent and then down to Sri langka. In the past a rare bird in Malaysia. But in the last few years it was quite commonly seen.
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a bird of the lowlands habitats. Prefers deep forest and seen in edges with bamboo clumps
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- It's presence in the area detected by its call. Seen in places at the deep forest edge in kemensah. The pictures shown here are taken with domesticated pair in the Congkak forest.
 
 My personal jottings :-

This Tickell's blue Flycatcher is perhaps the last "blue" Flycatcher I encountered. Having seek and waited for its encounter but in vain. Not that readily avaiable, but later I learn the reason why.

In thelast couple of years there were report of meeting and continuous sighting of individual birds in the Botanical garden and Sungei Dua in Penang. Then in central peninsula, news of its presence in Kemensah. I was there and also heard its call. In luring the bird out, it made its appearance in a skittish manner. Then only I realized that this is a very shy bird.

The situation involving my hunt took a dramatic turn with this pair in Congkak. Now after 2 years that pair are still out in the open whenever they heard of humans straying into their domain. What a change in stance?

 

Record of bird's call:-    and Videos:-  

Tickell's blue [female] # 1

Tickell's blue  [female] # 2

Tickell's blue  Flycatcher # 3

Tickell's blue  # 4

Tickell's blue  Flycatcher # 5

Tickell's blue  Flycatcher # 6

Tickell's blue  Flycatcher # 7

Tickell's blue  Flycatcher # 8

Tickell's blue  Flycatcher # 9

Tickell's blue  Flycatcher # 10

Tickell's blue  Flycatcher #11

Tickell's blue  Flycatcher # 12

Tickell's blue  # 16

Tickell's blue  Flycatcher # 17

Tickell's blue  Flycatcher # 18

 

 

7. Verditer Flycatchers     Eumyias thalassinus thallasoides

 

 Size & diagnostic markings:- 17 Cm. Of all the blue colored Flycatchers, the chances of meeting up with this  species is the highest. The Verditer Flycatcher can be considered to be the most common Flycatcher in Malaysia. The pale blue with a tinge of turquoise is bright and the bird is in uniformly shaded upper and under part. The under part may appear a shade lighter The rear portion of the belly to the under tail is gray. The black lore for this bird is diagnostic.

 Distribution :-  The bird is found on the southern foothills of the Himalayas, then to Sumatra and Borneo Island
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a bird of the lowlands as well as that of the sub-montane forest. This is a forest edge bird and its presence detected by its call.
In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- The way I mention about its habitat infers that the bird could be seen every where. Not every where but a variety of terrain. In season, this bird is fairly common.
 
 My personal jottings :-

The Verditer Flycatcher at 17 cm is large when compared with those in the same grouping. The bird comes with 2 shades of turquoise, brighter when it breeding and duller when it is not breeding. In fact the female turns dull and grey when it is not breeding.

The bird origin was traced the area south of the Himalayas and along a belt east to China. Then again in Sumatra and Borneo. In Malaysia, this is a sub-montane bird but sometimes also found in the lowland forest.

There is no need to mention name of places as this is a common bird in the highlands and in the lowlands only certain period and I suspect could be the migrants.

 

Record of bird's call:-    and Videos:-

Verditer Flycatcher # 1

Verditer Flycatcher # 2

Verditer Flycatcher # 3

non-breeding female # 4

Verditer Flycatcher # 5

Verditer Flycatcher # 6

Verditer Flycatcher # 7

Verditer Flycatcher # 8

Verditer Flycatcher # 9

Verditer Flycatcher # 10

Verditer Flycatcher #11

Verditer Flycatcher # 12

breeding male # 16

Verditer Flycatcher # 17

Verditer Flycatcher # 18

 

Within the group, only the Verditer, the Indigo and the Pale Blue Flycatchers are easy birds to encounter. The rest, it is near impossible to find them. In our Malaysia forest where most common birds are either brown or green in shades, birds with other hue like blue, more so with the Flycatchers and then red associated with the MInivets, these are always welcome sightings.