Arquivo da categoria: Sketches

Indigo

As an illustrator, Indigo Blue is one of my favorite colors.

Coincidence or not, the Indigo Flycatcher is one of the Indonesian birds who most impressed me; it’s a real challenge to describe (and even more to paint) its real colors.

When the bird is in the dark shadow of the forest shows indigo blue plumage, but when a sun ray gets into the plumage turns into a stunning turquoise blue.

This species is endemic to the Greater Sundas. Three subspecies are recognized: Eumyias indigo cerviniventris in Borneo, Eumyias indigo ruficrissa in Sumatra and Eumyias indigo indigo in Java. All of them showing bright azure-blue forehead (becoming almost white in strong light), lores and area around eye black, upperparts deep indigo-blue, throat and breast deep blue fading to bluish-grey belly and white base of outer tail feathers. The main distinction between them is the amount of buff color in undertail-coverts, ranging from buffish-yellow in Borneo subspecies to white in Java subspecies.

On 23 of May (Pangrango NP), a couple of Indigo Flycatchers was observed and notes were taken.

One bird (nº1) was seen collecting insects (damselflies). Being in the dark undergrowth this bird showed the typical dark indigo blue. At the edge of the forest, in a tree nearby, his mate (nº2) was in a light area, showing a turquoise blue. This bird was never seen collecting insects during the observation period (±20 min).

I noticed a difference in the amount of black in the face of the two birds.

Nº1 had a small black area (chin, lores and nostrils compared with nº2, who had a much bigger amount of dark area (chin and cheeks, even showing a moustachial stripe).

When nº2 moved to a shadow area this characteristic didn’t changed, the same happen to nº1 when showed up in a sunny area.

Could it be sexual dimorphism? I assumed that nº2 was a male and nº1 a female, but it’s just an assumption…

003 - Cópia (2)

Pygmy bird

On 23 of May, in Pangrango NP, me and Santi came across with a Pygmy Tit’s nest ,Java’s smallest bird. With a length of 8 cm’s it surely deserves this distinction and name.

The Pygmy Tit (Psaltria exilis) is placed in the Aegithalidae family but his true relationships remain obscure. The genus Psaltria is endemic to Java and Bali.

Little is known about its breeding biology, and even nowadays the juvenile plumage remains undescribed, although is believed to be very similar to the adult plumage.

Around 1h15 pm we noticed activity around the nest and we took the opportunity to take some notes.

Arrow shows the nest entrance place.
Arrow shows the nest entrance place.

The nest is in a Rasamala tree, around 10 m from the ground. We could see it up close from a Canopy trail.

The nest structure is no more than moss coupled to an epiphyte. The bird took advantage of this structure to build the nest or could it be used as camouflage?

Sketch of the nest structure.
Sketch of the nest structure.
Sketch of the nest structure - detail.
Sketch of the nest structure – detail.

We noticed the birds joining mixed flocks to collect food and returning to the nest each time the flock passed at the area. Seicercus grammiceps and Phylloscopus trivirgatus were the main species on those flocks.

The only prey we saw being taken was small caterpillars.

In one occasion we saw 3 birds around the nest, bringing food. One of them entered into the nest and remained there, while the others were foraging. This strongly suggests cooperative breeding.

The time length between each visit was very long, 18 to 40 min.

We didn’t manage to get views of the nestlings, but they seemed very young, assuming from the noise coming from the nest.

http://www.xeno-canto.org/246131/embed?simple=1

The surrounding area is Primary forest (transitional from sub-montane to montane vegetation), composed mainly by tall Rasamala trees. The nest tree is located in a valley (around 1500 m elevation), with a fast flowing stream passing by.