Bornean Bristlehead (Pityriasis gymnocephala)
Crows and jays are a family of generally large birds with powerful, straight bills and strong feet. They occur almost worldwide. They are intelligent wily birds and several species have learned to live as commensals with man. Most species have a lot of black in their plumage though some of the jays and magpies are colourful, with bright blue, green, and brown feathers. They have harsh calls, make large, untidy, stick nests, and feed on a mixture of fruit and animal material. Some are scavengers.
Description: Smallish (26 cm), very unusual, red and black bird with massive black, hook-tipped bill, black wings, lower back, and tail; bare red head with short straw-coloured bristles on crown and long, thick, streaky, grey-brown bristles over ear. Upper breast, upper back, and thighs scarlet and lower breast covered in bristle-like brown and red feathers. Female has red patches on flanks. Tail short and feet rather small giving a top-heavy look.
Iris - red-brown; bill - black; feet - yellow.
Voice: Loud, curious honks and chortles.
Range: Endemic to Borneo.
Distribution and status: Scarce but well distributed in lowland forests, up to 1000 m.
Habits: As strange as its appearance. This species has unusual calls and curious behaviour, crouching and peering around like a tailless coucal, looking for insects. Lives in noisy groups. Flies with fast shallow wing-beat.
Diet: Large insects and small vertebrates.