The Malaysian blue-flycatcher (Cyornis turcosus) is a vibrantly coloured Old World flycatcher and is the smallest of the blue Cyornis species. Most of the Malaysian blue-flycatcher’s plumage is a shiny and vivid dark blue, occasionally replaced by various lighter, brighter and greener shades. The breast and flanks are a pale orange that fades into creamy white on the underside of the body (2) (3), and the area between the bird’s beak and eyes is blackish (3).
The male Malaysian blue-flycatcher is a little brighter than the female, which has duller blues in its plumage and a whiter breast (2) (3). The fledglings of this species have darker, sooty-brown plumage. Both the male and female Malaysian blue-flycatcher have glossy black eyes and a black beak which give the birds an intense and focused appearance (2). Like other Old World flycatchers (members of the Muscicapidae family), the Malaysian blue-flycatcher has relatively short, slender legs and small feet (3).
The Malaysian blue-flycatcher has a soft song which consists of simple variants of a melody, producing up to five or six different tunes (2). This species gives a harsh, grating ‘chrrk’ call in alarm (3).
- Also known as
- Malaysian blue flycatcher.
- Cyornis turcosa.
- Length: 13 - 14 cm (2)
Malaysian blue-flycatcher biology
This small bird forages in the lower sections of the riverine forests it occupies, hunting by itself or with its mate. The Malaysian blue-flycatcher generally feeds on small invertebrates such as flying insects, often ambushing them in an aerial pursuit as they fly past its perch (2) (3). Like other members of the Muscicapidae family, this species has long bristles around the base of its beak which help it to catch its prey in flight (3).
The Malaysian blue-flycatcher does not migrate, and breeds from April to July (2) (4). The nest is cup-shaped and is built by the female out of material such as moss, gossamer and plant fibres. The nests of this species can be found up to three metres from the ground on old or rotting trees, often protected by an overhang. The female Malaysian blue-flycatcher lays two eggs, which she alone incubates. The offspring usually hatch from their eggs in September and are fed by both adults until they reach independence (2).
Malaysian blue-flycatcher range
The Malaysian blue-flycatcher is found in areas of lowland forest across parts of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo and Brunei (3) (4).
Malaysian blue-flycatcher habitat
The Malaysian blue-flycatcher prefers lowland forest, including bamboo, swamp and evergreen forest, often situated along the sides of or near to rivers or other waterways. It can be found at elevations of up to 500 metres in Borneo, but no higher than 60 metres in the Malay Peninsula (4).
Malaysian blue-flycatcher status
The Malaysian blue-flycatcher is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).
Malaysian blue-flycatcher threats
The main threats to the Malaysian blue-flycatcher are logging and land conversion, as well as forest fires. For these reasons, it has become rare and local in almost all areas where it survives, except in Borneo, where it is reported to be more common. However, although under threat from habitat destruction, the Malaysian blue-flycatcher is more resilient than many other species because it can adapt to secondary habitats as the lowland forests become scarcer (4).
The Separi Forest Reserve, Taman Negara National Park and Way Kambas National Park are helping to conserve the Malaysian blue-flycatcher by protecting parts of its habitat (2) (4). This species also occurs in the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, one of the largest protected areas in Sumatra, although this park is under threat from illegal encroachment and more work is still needed to protect it (5).
There are proposals to calculate the Malaysian blue-flycatcher’s current population levels in its remaining habitat, as well as to increase the area of habitat that is protected (4).
Find out more
Find out more about the Malaysian blue-flycatcher and its conservation:
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- Evergreen forest
- Forest consisting mainly of evergreen trees, which retain leaves all year round. This is in contrast to deciduous trees, which completely lose their leaves for part of the year.
- To keep eggs warm so that development is possible.
- Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
- Secondary forest
- Forest that has re-grown after a major disturbance, such as fire or timber harvest, but has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.
IUCN Red List (November, 2012)
del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Christie, D. (2006) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 11: Old World Flycatchers to Old World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Jeyarajasingam, A. (2012) A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Second Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
BirdLife International - Malaysian blue-flycatcher (July, 2013)
O’Brien, T.G. and Kinnaird, M.F. (1996) Birds and mammals of the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia. Oryx, 30(3): 207-217.