Still very vocal close to midday. An unmistakable musical call that lights up the dark forest floor.
Babblers are one of the most challenging bird families to photograph. They forage under the forest canopy close to the ground. Light is always a premium. They are always on the move jumping from one twig to the other. If not for their calls, it will be hard to find them.
An underside view of the Abbott’s Babbler.
When Francis Yap found a family of Abbott’s Babblers, Malacocincla abbotti, at the Marsh Gardens at the West Coast Park on 16th May 2016, I cannot pass up a chance to redo some of my old shots. He recorded one there two years ago. The nearest I seen them was at Labrador Nature Park in the late 90s. They were also recorded in Kent Ridge Park by Angus Lamont in the mid 90s. The other reliable location on the mainland is at Venus Loop, a forest edge habitat favored by these babblers. Another liable place to see these babblers is at Pulau Ubin.
It shares almost of the same native ranges with the Short-tailed Babbler, Malacocincla malaccensis, from across South East Asia to Sumatra and Borneo. But the Short-tailed Babbler is largely confined to the Central Forest here. The Abbott’s is listed as uncommon resident while the Short-tailed was classified as common in the 2015 Checklist. Hopefully if they continue to adapt and spread across to some of our less manicured parks, their status will change.
Reference: Lim Kim Seng. The Avifauna of Singapore. 2009 Nature Society (Singapore).
Yong Ding Li, Lim Kim Chuah and Lee Tiah Khee. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Singapore. 2013 John Beaufoy Publishing.