Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Forest Dragons of Borneo

The Forest Dragons that i am referring to are reptiles from the beautiful lizard genus of Gonocephalus. The Gonocephalus are a medium-sized genus of a distinctive looking agamids distinguished by thier quite unique head shape, which gives them the scientific and common name of "Angleheads". As with other species from the agamidae family, these lizards have a unique ability to change colour which happens when the lizards mood changes and is also an an adaptation to camouflage from potential predators.

Most Gonocephalus lizards live in forested area from an elavation of 0 - 1600 metres a.s.l. The majority are found fairly high up in the trees, either clinging to vertical tree trunks or sitting on the end of thin branches. They are always found nearby to a source of running water mainly a stream.

Among some key characteristics of this genus are the following - body laterally flattened, has a throat and shoulder fold, a distinctive gular pouch and crest on its naped, fairly visible hearing organ or ear drum (tympanum) always present in both sexes, a rather triangular head, and a strong tail that unfortunately does not regenerate if broken.

This species of forest dragon is the Doria's Anglehead Lizard (Gonocephalus doriae). This species was found clinging on a tree trunk about 1 metre high from the ground in the rainforest of Kubah National Park in Sarawak along the waterfall trail.

Photo taken with a Nikon D300 + 16 - 85 mm lens on 5th August 2010.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thick-billed Green Pigeon (Treron curvirostra)

The Thick-billed Green Pigeon (Treron curvirostra) is a common bird of Borneo's lowland rainforest and can be found up to an elevation of 1500m above sea level. This species has a wide distribution in around South East Asia stretching all the way to Hong Kong, Bangladesh and also to India. According to the IUCN Red List this species is evaluated as Least Concerned due to thier large range and population.

This species comes from the family of Columbidae, a big family of Pigeons and Doves. They are all mainly frugivorous birds and eat a wide variety of fruits, berries and also seeds. According to Smythies - The Birds of Borneo (1999), two subfamilies are represented in Borneo - The primarily arboreal and frugivorous Treroninae family represented by the green pigeons, fruit doves and imperial pigeons and the remainder in the predominantly terrestrial seed eating family Columbinae.

Sexes of this species differ greatly in where the back, mantle and upper inner wing coverts are maroon in the male but dark green in the female. Both though have a grey crown and a distinctive heavy bill with a red base.

This Thick-billed Green Pigeon "couple" photo is taken in the Sepilok Forest Reserve.

All photos taken with a Nikon D 300 + 70-300mm VR at ISO 400 f5.6

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