On a recent birdwatching trip, I managed to photograph a Brown Boobook Owl in Bakelalan Sarawak, which is known to be a resident noctornal bird here.
This was also my first time spotting the Brown Boobook which is considered a ‘Lifer’ for me. I have pretty much seen a few owls around Sabah and Sarawak, but not this species.
Boobook Owl in Bakelalan Sarawak
The Brown Boobook or Ninox scutulata is a resident in Bakelalan, and is also spotted around Sabah and Sarawak, on the island of Borneo.
It’s big yellow eyes are quite prominant, and when the light is on it, you get to see it extremely bright. In some of the photos, you see a red color in the eye, and that is from the white light shining on the Boobook.
They are not that easy to spot, but not that hard either. One needs to have a sharp eye, and of course, luck is the main factor when looking for these beautiful nocturnal birds.
My sighting was actually considered a lucky one, as I was out looking for the endemic Dulit Frogmouth, which is known to be spotted around Bakelalan in Sarawak.
After three nights of looking for the Dulit Frogmouth, the final night was the closest I have been to hearing the call of this highly sought after bird.
Our specialist guide had called the Dulit Frogmouth, and it responsed with a call back, only to be hidden high up in the canopy.
Attempts to lure it to a lower and more open branch was unsuccessful as it was playing games with us. We must have spent a good three hours waiting for this prized bird to show itself.
In the end, we moved to another spot in Bakelalan to look for the Dulit Frogmouth, but attempts to call it were unsuccessful. However, the bird guide did mention that at times, they would be lurking somewhere without making a sound.
And it was then when we were scanning the forest with our torches when one of us caught an eye reflection, and we were pretty much excited about this.
It was quite far in the distance, perhaps about a hundred meters in, and high up in the open. Looking through my 600mm lens after the mild light was focused on the subject, it was actually a Brown Boobook.
Due to the distance, the light was not powerful enough, but most of us got the shot afrer many attempts. As you can see in the photos here, they are quite decent and I am happy with the Boobook sighting in Bakelalan, Sarawak.
Brown Boobook Names
These beautiful owls also go by other names such as Brown Hawk-Owl or Oriental Hawk-Owl, and are spotted in various countries in the region.
The Brown Boobook has been spotted in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.