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A natural Red Riding Hood in the wild - The Red Faced Malkoha

Sinharaja Rainforest 

Where to find them

Pictured here is the Red Faced Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus at the Sinharaja Rainforest, captured by our naturalist Mindaka Mahela. The Red Faced Malkoha is a canopy species who prefer being on the tops of all trees found in thick undisturbed forests. It occasionally glides to the forest floor in areas of particularly dense undergrowth. These birds are said to breed during the months of January to May and possibly during the month of August, during summer - which is however yet to be confirmed as there is no evidence to support the second breeding cycle. 

Lesser known facts

During the period of breeding, it was seen that the birds work on creating a nest, which is however observed to be ‘carelessly’ put together with saucers of grass, roots and twigs. Although their nests are observed to be untidy to the human observer, the nests should not be anthropomorphized as careless - as it is built to look so to be camouflaged from predators.

Fun facts

In May 1978, Shirley Perera observed a breeding attempt on the banks of the Walawe River, at the Udawalawe National Park. It was observed that this well-anchored and well-concealed nest was built on the topmost fork about 9 to 12 meters off the ground in a Kunumella tree Diospyros malabarica. The nest was created using 15 to 20 centimeter long twigs, with a deep cup which was neatly lined with leaf midribs and presumably created to have an untidy appearance to keep away predators on top of this Kunumella tree. 

During this time, Shirley Perera observed that both sexes worked together to build this nest, with the male often following the female uttering a soft ‘kree-kree-kree’ during this building process. However, this nest was unfortunately abandoned owing to the disturbance caused by a pair of Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, Dicrurus paradiseus, that were nesting nearby.
 

 

Amazing experience - great company values

We had a wonderful stay at yala camp - great accommodation / food / safari. The staff were all outstanding - all full of passion for their role to make sure we had an unforgettable experience and absolutely committed to providing an ethical product. This company provides a perfect safari experience - no plastics / sustainable / local produce / knowledgeable committed staff. An honour to be a guest and support them."

J K wrote, Traveled as a couple
December 2019

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