Malaysian Birds - Large Niltava


The birds from the Muscicapidae family share a number of anatomical features, including the presence of a well-developed 10th primary feather in the wing and adaptations for insect eating. Most birds are mainly insectivores, i.e. taking their prey while airborne. Most birds have the characteristic of broad, flattened bills which are suited to catching insects. Then those species which resort to ground foraging would have have finer bills.

The number of birds available at its broadest base - worldwide there should be 297 species. This family among the largest family of birds, the main sub-group within this family is the Flycatcher.  From the "Old World"  there should be 116 species of Flycatchers. In South east Asia has  a share of 42 species. That's the write-up for Flycatchers

When it comes to Niltava, there are a few in Malaysia. But there is only one Niltava that is very commonly seen in our forest and which is the Large Niltava. This bird with the profile of a large Flycatcher created the impression that Niltava as a species is a fairly large bird. In fact not. Niltavas and Flycatchers are almost alike if Niltavas are to be larger then perhaps marginally. After setting aside the odd sized Large Niltava

Large Niltava's picture No. 1

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Large Niltava's picture No. 18

My personal jottings on the Large Niltava :-

The Niltava is similar in shape and profile with the Flycatchers, all Niltavas are also fairly small birds with the exception of the Large Niltava measuring 21 cm. The bird is native to the mountainous region of the Himlalayas, such as Nepal, India and China and then Sumatra.

Large Niltava is now a common resident of Malaysia in the sub-montane & montane hill resorts like Genting & Frasers Hills. The bird though appearing most often at forest edge is in fact a forest bird. They are inquisitive and for reason unknown are not disturbed by the presence of humans. Besides those well fed birds in Ulu Kali which are poor examples, under normal circumstances, Niltava would emerge from the heavily wooded forest to check on humans straying into their habitats. Stay in the open momentarily and then disappear into the forest again.

Their habits may portray them as a very tame bird which has little reservation with human presence. The bird is perched for some time in the same position like all Flycatcher waiting for insects to pass by.


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