The Dream Shot?
For the past few evenings, around 6 pm when the lighting is poor, I have been hearing a light hearted chirping from a small and unfamiliar bird in my garden. I managed to capture some pictures of this bird and more on other days as he returned. It turned out to be the Malaysian pied fantail, a common resident bird measuring between 17.5-19.5 cm.in size. The Malaysian pied fantail is a species of bird in the fantail family and one of 47 species in the genus Rhipidura. It is locally referred to as murai gila, literally “crazy thrush” in the Malay language.
This bird is found in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.
Fantails are so called because they have the habit of opening and closing the tail like a fan in hand. This species is pied overall with a combination of dark upper-parts and white underparts with a thick black breast band. They feed on insects like dragonflies, etc., by catching them in mid-air, or sometimes picking up ants and other insects on the ground.
On one of the several days he appeareed, he was spotted on the roof of my car, having caught an insect and was about to swallow this down. This bird appears shy and will take off when he sees people approaching.
He sees his reflection on the glass and thinks there’s another bird in there! Flipping his tail, showing off and chirping!
Caught the bird in flight as he took off one day. A very enthusiastic bird photographer in India commented in my FaceBook post, “John! See if you can get a shot of it with the wings spread and the tail fanned upwards. That would be a dream shot for this bird.” In my mind, I frankly didn’t think that this would happen. Later that day, I spotted this bird four times in my garden, each time for less than a minute. On the fourth spotting, the bird was on the roof of my car and I was pleasantly very surprised to capture the photograph shown at the top of the post, which is probably close enough to a dream shot of the Rhipidura javanica!