Chinese Francolin

I visited an area close to Mae Ngat Dam where I usually go for birding on June 1, 2014 right after I arrived back from Bangkok. While I was taking photos of a family of Red-wattled Lapwings, I heard a Chinese Francolin calling from a forest edge not far away. I drove up to look for the bird and found the area where it seemed to be calling from. I tried the playback and the bird responded almost immediately but still kept hidden in a large tree. After a while, the call stopped and I waited for some minutes. I later noticed something moving in the grass not far from my car. It was the francolin! The bird came walking up to where I was waiting but it was impossible to take a photo since the grass was too tall. It later disappeared and mysteriously went back to call from the tree.

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Male Chinese Francolin calling from tall tree

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I tried using the playback hoping to lure it back again. This time, the bird flew up and perched on a tree right in front of me. It kept calling from that tree for almost 5 minutes before flying back into the bush. It was the best view I’ve ever got of this extremely shy species.

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I could actually hear 2 more birds calling from different directions. It is still quite a common bird in the right habitat which is grassland in or near deciduous forest. However, hunting still poses as the biggest threat because it is one of the most well known and popular game birds in Thailand.

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One of the two Common Hoopoes found in the same area

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A confiding Green Bee-eater

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Adult Red-wattled Lapwing guarding the fledglings

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2 of 3 Red-wattled Lapwing fledged chicks

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Other birds found in the same area included a pair of resident Common Hoopoes which was feeding on an open lawn along with a family of Red-wattled Lapwing with 1 adult and 3 fledged chicks. A pair of Yellow-eyed Babblers seemed to be nesting nearby too, as well as a pair of Cinnamon Bitterns which were seen flying back and forth indicating that a nest is located somewhere near.

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