Bornean bristlehead

Bornean bristlehead
Pityriasis gymnocephala
Photo by James Eaton (Birdtour Asia)

Common name:
Bornean bristlehead (en); gimnocéfalo-do-Bornéu (pt); barite chauve (fr)gimnocéfalo (es); warzenkopf (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Pityriaseidae

This species is endemic to the island of Borneo, where it is patchily distributed in eastern Malaysia, Brunei and in Kalimantan, Indonesia.

These birds are 25 cm long and weigh 130 g.

The Bornean bristlehead is found in moist primary and secondary forests, in peat swamp forests and in mangroves. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

They mainly eat insects, namely Orthoptera, Phasmida, Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Hemiptera and Blattodea, but also spiders, small reptiles, amphibians and sometimes fruits.

There is little information regarding the breeding biology of the Bornean bristlehead. They possibly breed in May-October. They are believed to make a cup-shaped nest with  sticks and grasses and the eggs are white with grey and brown spots. They may nest communally as two females where once observed feeding the same fledgling.

IUCN status – NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has a relatively large, even if patchy, breeding range. The population is believed to be declining as a result of widespread and rapid forest destruction within its range, but this threat may be allayed by the species tolerance of logged, secondary and hill forest, although more research is required to determine the full habitat requirements of this species.

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