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News and Information on Birding Sites Throughout Thailand and the Andaman

Seven distinct colors, plus two shades of blue and two shades of green … nine colors in all. Yes, nine colors on a bird less than 30 cm in length.

As much as this sounds like a serious case of fashion faux pas, the Long tailed Broadbill is never viewed as an embarrassment; in fact, its appearance is greeted with the same admiration one would expect from a supermodel prancing down a NYC Fashion Week catwalk.

Of all the broadbills of Thailand, the Long tailed Broadbill is one that makes the fashionistas turn their heads. While the Silver breasted Broadbill dresses in a gown of creamy pastels adorned with a luxurious necklace of silver, the Black and Red Broadbill sports a stunning black and red tuxedo and the Green Broadbill wears a shimmering green suit with black trim, the Long tailed Broadbill looks like a Hollywood star who turned down Versace and opted to have Disney Studios dress her for the Grammys.

I think, in this situation, Disney really performed above and beyond expectations.

Sure it looks a little corny. Between the oohs and wows there are those out there mumbling “How the hell does that all come together?” and “- Is that a helmet on its head?”

The Long tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae is one of seven species of broadbill found in Thailand. The bird is restricted to forests of continental Thailand and is the only species of broadbill not found in the peninsula. At 28 cm long it’s the same length as the Dusky Broadbill, the largest broadbill in the country. However, compared side by side the birds are clearly not the same mass; the winner of that category is the Dusky hands down. The Long tailed Broadbill is more the size of a Banded Broadbill, just with a longer tail.

Like other broadbills, the Long tailed Broadbill is a social bird. It is often found in small loose flocks as it forages for berries and fruits. Being a social bird means that it also responds well to playback, especially in the courting and breeding season.

In the breeding months the Long tailed Broadbills build a messy, pear-shaped nest which hangs from drooping branches, usually over a stream or river. In many national parks the birds will build their nests over roads and trails, thinking they are dried riverbeds.

The IUCN ranks the Long tailed Broadbill as Least Concern. While their forest habitat is dwindling, they are not under threat from hunting or poaching.

In Thailand the Long tailed Broadbill is found from the mountains of the north to the forests of Kaeng Krachan National Park on Thailand’s western borders. I have seen them in Doi Suthep and Doi Intanon National Parks in Chiang Mai, Nam Nao National Park in Petchabun and Kaeng Krachan in Petchaburi.

This individual was photographed by Peter Ericsson in Kaeng Krachan and used with his permission.

Categories: Bird of the Month

One Response so far.

  1. Harry Miller says:

    Love these guys. Look like they’re wearing football player helmets from back in the day.

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    Special Thanks to Peter Ericsson, Ian Dugdale, Weine Drotz and Hermann Drotz for contributing their photos to this website. All photos displayed in this website are used with permission from the owner.
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