passerine birds
INDO-MALAYAN Tropical & Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forest

The songbirds of the rainforest in tropical Asia can sometimes be difficult to find, but include some of the most beautiful species in the world...

Family Oriolidae: Orioles & Figbirds

Oriolus chinensis, 'Black-naped Oriole' (Captive, Singapore Zoo).

(Jigme Dorji National Park, Bhutan)

Oriolus traillii, 'Maroon Oriole'.

Family Campephagidae: Cuckooshrikes

(Kithugala, Sri Lanka)

Pericrocotus flammeus, 'Orange/Flame Minivet'. Found in rainforest in India and Sri Lanka.

(Nature Lodge, Cambodia)

Pericrocotus speciosus, 'Scarlet Minivet'. Found throughout much of south-east Asia.


Scarlet Minivet young male.

Family Aegithinidae: Ioras

(Nature Lodge, Cambodia)

Aegithina tiphia, 'Common Iora'.

Family Rhipiduridae: Fantails

(Samarn Bird Camp, Thailand)

Rhipidura javanica, 'Pied Fantail'.  White belly  (hard to see in photo).

Rhipidura albicollis, 'White-throated Fantail', (Lampelri Gardens, Bhutan). Usually all dark except for white throat stripe, although I have seen some with lighter belies. Found in closed and open habitats. Widespread throughout tropical Asia, from the Himalayas to Indonesia.

Family Dicruridae: Drongoes

Dicrurus caerulescens'White-bellied Drongo' (Kithugala, Sri Lanka). Found across India and into Sri Lanka.

Dicrurus leucophaeus, 'Ashy Drongo', (Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia). A widespread species that varies in colour and markings.

Family Monarchidae: Monarchs

Hypothymis azurea, 'Black-naped Blue Flycatcher/Monarch' (Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesia). Found in forest, and distributed from India, throughout south-east Asia, north to China, south east to the Lesser Sundas.

(Kelani, Sri Lanka)

Terpsiphone paradisi ceylonensis, 'Ceylon Paradise Flycatcher'.

Family Corvidae: Crows, Jays, Magpies, and Treepies

Dendrocitta formosae, 'Grey Treepie', (Jigme Dorji National Park, Bhutan). Found in the lower mountain forests of tropical Asia.

Urocissa flavirostris, ' Yellow-billed/Golden-billed Blue Magpie', (Lampelri Gardens, Bhutan). Found in the mountain forests of Himalayas and small pockets of the south-east Asian mainland.

Family Stenostiridae: Crested-Flycatchers

Chelidorhynx hypoxanthus, 'Yellow-bellied (Fairy-) Fantail', (Bhutan). Looks and acts just like a fantail, and thus the common name, but is in a different family, thus the addition of 'Fairy'. Found in hill forest around Himalayan region and northern part of south-east Asian mainland.

Family Paridae: Tits & Chickadees

Family Cisticolidae: Cisticolas

Orthotomus sutorius'Common Tailorbird' (Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand). One of the most commonly noticed smaller birds in various habitats across south-east Asia.

Orthotomus atrogularis, 'Dark-necked Tailorbird' (Singapore). Found across south-east Asia, from extreme north-east India to northern Borneo.

for the
Family Pycnonotidae: Bulbuls

Family Phylloscopidae: Leaf-Warblers

(Doi Inthanon Natrional Park, Thailand)

Phylloscopus sp. 'Leaf Warbler'.

(Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia)

Phylloscopus montis 'Yellow-breasted Warbler'.

Family Sylviidae: Old World Warblers

Family Paradoxornithidae: Parrotbills, 'true' Fulvettas

Family Zosteropidae: White-eyes and Yuhinas

(Horton Plains, Sri Lanka)

'Ceylon White-eye'. Endemic to Sri Lanka. 

(Kinabalu National Park HQ, Malaysia)

Zosterops atricapilla, 'Black-capped White-eye'.

Yuhina spp.

 Yuhinas tend to be found in higher altitude forest across tropical Asia, from the Himalayas across to China.

for the: Family Timaliidae: Babblers, Tit-Babblers, Scimitar-Babblers,
Family Pellorneidae: Fulvettas, Ground Babblers, 
and Family Leiothrichidae, 'Laughing-thrushes'

Family Sturnidae, Mynahs & Starlings

Ampeliceps coronatus, 'Golden-Crested Myna'.

(Bali Barat National Park, Indonesia)

Leucopsar rothschildi, 'Bali Myna', 'Bali Starling'. Found only in Bali and surrounding islands, where it is extremely rare.

Sarcops calvus, 'Coleto'. Endemic to the Philipines.

Family Muscicapidae: Old World Flycatchers

(Jigme Dorji National Park, Bhutan)

Niltava macgrigoriae, 'Small Nitava'.

(Kithugala, Sri Lanka)

Muscicapa muttui, 'Brown-breasted Flycatcher'. They have HUGE eyes compared to the size of their head. They often perch still on exposed branches in gaps in the forest.

(Kithugala, Sri Lanka)
(Samarn Bird Camp, Thailand)

Copsychus saularis, 'Oriental Magpie Robin'. Adult on left, juvenile on right. One of the commonly seen birds in tropical Asia. Found in a variety of habitats including forest edge.

(Khao Yai National Park, Thailand)

Myophonus caeruleus, 'Blue Whistling Thrush'. Usually feeds around streams, so often seen near waterfalls. Found in high altitude temperate forest, down to lowland rainforest, from Afghanistan across the south-east Asian mainland to Indonesia.

(Mesilau, Malaysia)

Myophonus borneensis, 'Bornean Whistling Thrush'.

Family Dicaeidae:, 'Flowerpeckers'

(Baan Maka Lodge, Thailand)

Dicaeum trigonostigma, 'Orange-bellied Flowerpecker'.

Family Nectariniidae: 'Sunbirds'

(Kithugala, Sri lanka)

Sunbirds are one of the most beautiful groups of birds in the world (and I think my own favourite). 

(Tanjung Puting, Indonesia)

They have evolved to feed mainly on nectar from flowers, using their long curved bills.

The rainforests of tropical Asia, particularly the higher altitudes, are one of the best places in the world to appreciate their diversity. Some species are also quite common on the forest edge and in gardens throughout tropical Asia, and can thus be easily seen and photographed. 

(Nature Lodge, Cambodia)
(Kinabatangan, Borneo)

Aethopyga siparaja'Crimson Sunbird'.  Found in rainforest and edge, including gardens, throughout tropical Asia, from Himalayas to Java.

(Kota Kinabalu National Park, Malaysia)

Aethopyga temminckii, 'Temminck's Sunbird'.  Found in montane rainforest in Malaysia and Indonesia. Looks similar to Crimson Sunbird, except this species has a red tail.

(Labuan, off Malaysian Borneo)

Anthreptes malacensis, 'Plain-throated Sunbird'. Widespread in forest throughout south-east Asia, and often seen on forest edge and in gardens. My photograph does not do this taken-for-granted-bird any justice: with the right light, the males are stunning.


Aethopyga saturata, 'Black-throated Sunbird'. Found in the hill rainforests of northern India and south-east Asian mainland.

(Kithugala, Sri Lanka)

Cinnyris lotenius'Loten's Sunbird'.

(Sinharaja, Sri Lanka)

Leptocoma zeylonica, 'Purple-rumped Sunbird'. Endemic to Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh.

(Bohol, Philippines)

Leptocoma sperata, 'Purple-throated Sunbird'. Endemic to Philippines and nearby islands off northern Borneo.


(Doi Inthanon, Thailand)

Spiderhunters are a distinct group of larger sunbirds. They feed on nectar from long -tubed flowers with their long strong bill, but have also been recorded as nectar thieves, piercing the side of the flower. As suggested by their common name, they also hunt spiders, plucking them from their web while they hover.

(Seima, Cambodia)

Arachnothera longirostra, 'Streaked Spiderhunter'.

(Our Jungle House, Thailand)

Arachnothera longirostra, 'Little Spiderhunter'.

Family Irenidae: 'Fairy Bluebirds'

Irena puella, 'Asian Fairy Bluebird' (Cambodia).

Family Chloropseidae, 'Leafbirds'

Chloropsis cochinchinensus, 'Blue-winged Leafbird' (Jahoo Gibbon Camp, Cambodia).

Chloropsis hardwickii, 'Orange-bellied Leafbird' (Bhutan). Found in forests across mainland south east Asia, from Himalayas to China.

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