Focussing on the vertebrate
 fauna of SE Asia
  

 

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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2019
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Birds of  Southeast Asia
 

There are an estimated 10,000 living species of bird, around one fifth of which occur in Southeast Asia.  The greatest diversity occurs in lowland primary rainforest and coastal mangrove.  Broadly, birds can be divided into passerines and non-passerines. Passerines, or perching birds (Order : Passeriformes) comprise around one half of all bird species.  They are also known as 'songbirds' and are grouped together in a single order on the basis of the arrangement of their toe and leg musculature.  Non-passerines comprise birds from 28 other orders in existence today.

Birds have undergone remarkable adaptive radiation, with many examples of convergent evolution i.e. unrelated bird groups have evolved similar body form in response to the demands of adapting to specific ecological niches. For example, swifts and swallows are of similar body shape, but are quite unrelated.

The casual observer need understand nothing of the complex evolutionary history of birds. Its simply enough to appreciate the stunning beauty and diversity of these creatures, particularly the brightly coloured kingfishers, barbets, trogons, woodpeckers, broadbills and majestic hornbills which inhabit the region's forests.


Acknowledgements : Ng Bee Choo, Morten Strange and Yeo Suay Hwee helped identify some of the less common birds in these pages. Thanks !
  

 

Waterfowl  (Anseriformes)
  

Grebes
(Podicipediformes)
  
Finfoots, Rails
(Gruiformes)
   
         
Ducks
  
  Grebes
   
      Finfoots
 
  Rails
  

Darters
(Suliformes)
  

Pheasants
(Galliformes)
  
Ibises
(Pelecaniformes)
   
Tropicbirds
(Phaethontiformes)
 
         
Darters
  
  Pheasants, Junglefowl       
   
  Ibises
 
  Tropicbirds
 
   
Gulls, Waders, Plovers, Stilts, Jacanas and allies
(Charadriiformes)
  
     
       
Terns
 
  Waders
 
  Snipes
 
  Lapwings & Plovers
 
  Stilts
 
               
Jacanas
 
 
   
 
   
       

Bitterns, Herons, Egrets and Storks
(Ciconiiformes)
 

         
Bitterns
 
  Small Herons & Egrets
 
  Large Herons & Egrets
 
  Storks
 
   
 

Raptors
(Acciptriformes)
 

Swifts and Treeswifts
(Apodiformes)
  
         
Raptors (1)
 
  Raptors (2) 
 
        
 
  Swifts 
 
  Treeswifts
 

Pigeons and Doves
(Columbiformes)
  

Cockatoos, Parakeets and Parrots
(Psittaciformes)
 
         
Pigeons & Doves
 
 
 
  Cockatoos   
 
  Parakeets 
       
  Parrots
  

Cuckoos, Coucals and Malkohas
(Cuculiformes)
  

 
           
Cuckoos
 
  Coucals
 
  Malkohas
 
 
 
 
 

Owls
(Strigiformes)
 

Nightjars and Frogmouths
(Caprimulgiformes)
  
           
Owls
 
  Nightjars
 
  Frogmouths
 
 
 
 
 

Kingfishers, Bee-eaters and Rollers
(Coraciiformes)
  

 
         
Tree Kingfishers
 
  River Kingfishers
 
  Bee-eaters
 
  Rollers
 
   

Woodpeckers and Barbets
(Piciformes)
  

 
           
Woodpeckers (1)
 
  Woodpeckers (2)
 
  Barbets
 
 
 
   
 

Trogons
(Trogoniformes)
  

Hornbills
(Bucerotiformes)
  
             
Trogons
 
      Hornbills   
   
 
 
 
 

Broadbills and Pittas
(Eurylaimoidea)
  

Honeyeaters
(Meliphagoidea)
  
           
Broadbills
 
  Pittas
 
   
 
  Honeyeaters
 
   
 

Crows and allies
(Corvoidea)
  

       
Minivets
 
  Cuckooshrikes & Trillers
   
  Orioles
 
  Shrike-babblers
   
  Woodswallows & Peltops
   
       
Whistlers
   
  Ioras
   
  Woodshrikes
   
  Drongos
   
  Monarchs
 
       
Fantails
 
Shrikes
 
Oriental Magpies & Treepies
 
True Crows
 
  Leafbirds & Fairy Bluebirds 
        

Swallows, Bulbuls, Tailorbirds, Warblers, Laughingthrushes, Babblers etc. 
(Sylvioidea)
  

       
Swallows
 
  Bulbuls (1)
 
  Bulbuls (2)
 
  Tailorbirds & Prinias
 
  Warblers
   
       
White-eyes
   
  Laughingthrushes
 
  Minlas, Sibias & Mesias
 
  Old World Babblers
 
  Jungle Babblers
 
               
Fulvettas
   
               

Shamas, Old World Flycatchers, Forktails, Thrushes, Mynas, Starlings etc.
(Muscicapoidea)
  

       
Magpie Robins & Shamas
 
  Flycatchers & allies
    
  Niltavas & allies  
 
  Forktails 
 
  Thrushes 
 
               
Mynas & Starlings
 
               

Canary Flycatchers
(Paroidea?)
 

Nuthatches etc.
(Certhioidea)
  
Canary Flycatchers 
 
   
 
  Nuthatches 
 
   
 
   
 

Wagtails, Sparrows, Munias, Finches, Weavers, Tits etc. 
(Passeroidea)
 

 
       
Wagtails & Pipits
    
  Sparrows
   
  Munias
   
  Finches
   
  Weavers
   
               
Tits
    
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   

Spiderhunters, Sunbirds, Flowerpeckers etc.
(Dicaeoidea)
 

 
           
Spiderhunters 
     
  Sunbirds     
      
  Flowerpeckers