Malaysia has a well-deserved reputation as one of the world's major birding destinations. Over 720 species of birds have been recorded in Peninsular and Bornean Malaysia. This richness of birds combined with the wonderful scenery and friendly people makes any visit an unforgettable experience for the birder, be he a first timer or veteran. For the intrepid, there are 39 endemic species to go after (37 in Borneo and 2 in the Peninsular). This entails a visit combining sites in Peninsular Malaysia and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.
A typical itinerary covers two-three weeks and usually takes in the montane forest species of Fraser's Hill and the lowland forest species of Taman Negara National Park and Gombak before jetting across to Borneo for the mossy forest species in Kinabalu National park and the lowland forest species of Danum Valley or Kinabatangan River. Over 300 species can be seen if taking this option and commonly encountered birds include such gems as Rhinoceros Hornbill, Red-naped Trogon, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Gold-whiskered Barbet, Garnet and Banded Pittas and several babbler, bulbul and sunbird species. In Borneo, savour the endemics like Crimson-headed Partridge, Bornean Barbet, White-fronted Falconet, Whitehead's Broadbill, Bornean Bristlehead, Blue-headed Pitta and Whitehead's Spiderhunter.
For those with only a couple of days to spare, there are accesible sights near Kuala Lumpur (Gombak); Malaysia's Capital City, and Singapore (Panti Forest Reserve). And don't forget the cultural and food attractions!
I have found it hard to get a definitive list of Malaysian endemics - numbers ranging from 4 to 55! The confusion arises from Borneo. The Malaysian mainland does have as few as 4 endemics… although there is no agreement on this and Borneo as a whole as many as 55 but the Malaysian parts of Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah) have far fewer - my best guess is elaborated below.
Lim Kim Seng and Lim Seng Chuah
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 781
Number of endemics: 19
Campbell's Hill Partridge Arborophila campbelli Mountain Peacock-Pheasant Polyplectron inopinatum Hose's Partridge Rhizothera dulitensis Crested Argus Rheinardia nigrescens Double-banded Argus Argusianus bipunctatus White-fronted Falconet Microheirax latifrons Dulit Frogmouth Batrachostomus harterti Black-and-Crimson Pitta Pitta ussheri Black Oriole Oriolus hosii Black-breasted Fruit-hunter Chlamydochaera jefferyi Eyebrowed Jungle-Flycatcher Rhinomyias gularis White-crowned Shama Copsychus stricklandii Pygmy White-eye Oculocincta squamifrons Mountain Blackeye Chlorocharis emiliae Bornean Stubtail Urosphena whiteheadi Mountain Wren-Babbler Napothera crassa Malayan Whistling Thrush Myophonus robinsoni Everett's Thrush Zoothera everetti Friendly Bush Warbler Bradypterus accentor
Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder
* Field Guides & Bird Song
For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering Asia as a whole - please see the Asia page of Fatbirder
A Birdwatchers Guide to Malaysia
John Bransbury Waymark (1993)
ISBN: 0646145592Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds: A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore
M Strange and A Jeyerajasingam 273 pages, 290 col photos. Sun Tree Publishing 1997
ISBN: 9810032900Buy this book from NHBS.com
The Birds of Borneo
by C. F. Mann. £50 from British Ornithologists' Union | PO Box 417, Peterborough PE7 3FX, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0) 1 733 844 820
Guides & Tour Operators
With over 20 years experience, Bird Malaysia offers the best spots and time for birds and the best accommodation for our fellow birders…
Peninsular Malaysia – with over 700 bird species and home to amazingly rich Dipterocarp forests, among the world's oldest, most fascinating and most diverse. Walk along gently graded forest trails among towering rainforest trees, take boat rides along shaded waterways, and relax in cool montane surroundings.
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
Offer some birding programmes as well as general wildlife tours…
Malaysia Birdwatching & Wildlife Holidays - Northern Malay Peninsula is one of the most diverse bio-geographical regions on earth. Some 640species of resident avifauna, including 120 common migrant, birds to be found in Peninsular Malaysia.
Malaysia & Borneo Bird Watching Tour
Bird Watching Tour in Malaysia & Borneo With Affordable Price…
If you are into plants, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, primates or just about anything that is natural, you will be amazed with the wonderful and exciting experience in Malaysia's forests and gardens. Fill up the Contact Us form at the bottom right of this page or send email to wengchun(AT)gmail.com to request for our assistance to arrange your nature discovery trip in Peninsular Malaysia…
Spécialiste de la Malaisie, je propose des voyages ornitho pour observer les quelques centaines d’oiseaux présents ici, des randonnées dans la plus ancienne forêt primaire du monde, l’observation de la faune, notamment les éléphants à Ulu Muda. Je propose également de la plongée,et peux aussi organiser de l’escalade, du rafting, ou encore de la spéléologie…
Rockjumper Birding Tours
Our tour visits some of the world’s most famous birding sites, including Fraser’s Hill, the grand Taman Negara National Park, Danum Valley and the fabled Mt. Kinabalu. A rich mix of typical Southeast Asian birds, peninsular Malaysian specialties and Bornean endemics combine to make this a truly fantastic birding adventure.
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2004 [August] - Simon Harrap
The 2010 Birdquest to the Malay Peninsula continued our long run of successful trips to this classic birding destination, and we recorded 265 species. At Kuala Selangor we found Mangrove Whistler and Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, had great views of Mangrove Pitta, and enjoyed both Barred Eagle-Owl and Buffy Fish-Owl….
2007 [February] - David Shackelford
We began our adventure leaving the hustling metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, passing by monumental architectural sites such as the national Mosque and the glittering Twin Towers. Within little time we were picking up widespread Southeast Asian birds such as Crested Serpent-Eagle, Red Junglefowl, and the scarce Darien Starling before arriving on the west coast of lowland Peninsular Malaysia. Exploration of the mangroves in Taman Alam Nature Reserve produced a wide variety of wildlife sightings including Silvered Leaf Monkey, some massive Water Monitors, Indian Cuckoo, Tiger Shrike, Sunda and Laced Woodpeckers, the uncommon Crow-billed Drongo, and beautiful migrant Black-capped Kingfisher…
2008 [August] - Keith Valentine
Many of the most sought-after birding gems that Malaysia and the Sabah region of Borneo has to offer were on show during this superb tour of the area. The birding began in earnest when we made a short roadside stop en route to Fraser’s Hill where we were thrilled to find White- browed Crake, Barred Buttonquail, Lesser Coucal and Oriental Dollarbird…
2008 [June] - Sam Woods
This tour turned out to be the first Malay Peninsula birding for everyone in the group, and for most was also their very first taste of the delights of southeast Asian birding. By taking in the coastal habitats around the chilled out town of Kuala Selangor, the montane forests on Bukit Fraser, and birding the steamy lowland jungles of Taman Negara, they got a great introduction to the many fascinating families and birds of this rich Asian country…
2008 [March] - Keith Valentine
Our memorable exploration of this charming region began in the extraordinary first world metropolis of Kuala Lumpur with a backdrop that included the much adorned Twin Towers. We struck out for the coastal city of Kuala Selangor however good birding along the route meant that we were stopping regularly picking up widespread Southeast Asian birds such as Crested Serpent-Eagle and Red Junglefowl. We also racked up Black Baza, Long-tailed Parakeet, Brown-backed Needletail and the regal Stork-billed Kingfisher. In the afternoon we birded the coastal bush and mangroves in Taman Alam Nature Reserve which produced a good variety of sightings that included Silvered Leaf Monkey, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Pink-necked Pigeon, Lineated Barbet, Sunda and Laced Woodpeckers, Common and Greater Flamebacks, beautiful Black-capped and Collared Kingfishers, Pied Triller, scarce Mangrove Blue-Flycatcher, Golden-bellied Gerygone and Ruby-cheeked Sunbird. Our night excursion was exceptional as we enjoyed walk away views of one of Asia’s most seldom encounter owl species, the stunning Barred Eagle-Owl. We also enjoyed some great views of Large-tailed Nightjar…
2009 [August] - Eustace Barnes
A spectacular trip on which we found many beautiful and spectacular species, including 7 Broadbills, 4 Pittas, 8 Hornbills and 7 Trogons. These species were accompanied by numerous Barbets, Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters and Jays which all combined to give too many highlights to recount. Indeed we resorted to designating the worst ten species rather the top ten. Red-eyed Bulbul came out bottom…
2009 [December] - John van der Woude
This was a combined trip to Peninsular Malaysia and South Annam, Vietnam. We had booked a cheap flight Amsterdam - Kuala Lumpur and first spent a few days at Fraser's Hill in Malaysia, to get used to the birds in this Oriental region again…
2009 [June] - Lim Kim Seng
…Bunker Track, Panti Forest Reserve at 10h15, after a short roti canai stopover. We spent time at the shrine area and birded till 13h00. Highlight was a stunning Rufous-backed Kingfisher perched close and a pair of White-crowned Forktail in addition to the usual crowd of bulbuls and babblers…
2009 [March] - Fraser Gear
On our first morning in Malaysia we began our journey from Kuala Lumpur to the coastal town of Kuala Selangor. A roadside stop on the way produced a fine selection of birds. A highlight of this stop was fine views Grey-headed Fish Eagle – a species not encountered again on the tour. Pink- necked and Thick-billed Green Pigeon rested on the tree tops, flocks of Daurian Starlings flew overhead and we had great looks at a pair of the striking Black Baza…
2010 [August] - Simon Harrap
The 2010 Birdquest to the Malay Peninsula continued our long run of successful trips to this classic birding destination, and we recorded 265 species. At Kuala Selangor we found Mangrove Whistler and Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, had great views of Mangrove Pitta, and enjoyed both Barred Eagle- Owl and Buffy Fish-Owl…
2010 [March] - Frank Lambert
On our first morning in peninsular Malaysia, we birded near the airport before heading towards the coastal town of Kuala Selangor. Around the airport we found a few open country species, such as Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Asian Koel, Black-naped Oriole, White-breasted Waterhen and three species of winter visitors; Black Baza, Brown Shrike and Purple-backed Starling…
2011 [December] - Rosemary Royle
We had booked a birding trip with Birdtour Asia in Sabah from 20th Nov to 4th Dec and decided that, while we were in that part of the world, we could do some birding in Peninsular Malaysia (PM). We therefore planned a circuit of the most popular birding sites in PM - Fraser’s Hill, Taman Negara and Kuala Selangor – travelling by means of a hire car. We realised that it was the start of the rainy season in PM but decided to take the risk – in the event, the time of the year was not a problem because of the rain but because it was completely out of the breeding season. The birds were hard to find as they were not calling or singing – often the forest was eerily quiet….
2011 [March] - Erik Forsyth - Peninsular Malaysia & Borneo
On this tour we visited some of Asia’s most famous birding sites, including Fraser’s Hill, the grand Taman Negara National Park, Danum Valley and Mt. Kinabalu. Habitats ranged from lowland and montane rainforest to mangrove swamps and extensive coastal mudflats, and these hosted a rich mix of typical South East Asian birds, as well as a number of rare species and Bornean endemics…
2011 [October] - Mano Tharmalingam
Rockjumper’s first ever Budget Borneo Tour ended with a satisfactory haul of 226 bird species, 29 species of mammals and many other interesting wildlife species peculiar to this fantastic and species rich part of the world…
2012 [August] - Colin & Alison Parnell - Peninsula & East Malaysia
If we were to do the trip again we would not spend time around Kuala Lumpur, going instead straight to Taman Negara for 4 days. We would probably go to Fraser’s Hill rather than the Cameron Highlands and also spend more time around Sepilok, possibly visiting the Rainforest Discovery Centre where there is an canopy walkway. We would also spend some time in the Mount Kota Kinabalu National Park and probably climb Mount Kota Kinabalu….
2012 [March] - Glen Valentine - Peninsular Malaysia & Borneo
Rockjumper’s 2012 tour to the south-east Asian birding hotspot of Peninsula Malaysia and Sabah in the northern sector of Borneo was yet another great success and yielded an amazing list of mouth-watering and highly desirable south-east Asian species, including great sightings of the bizarre Bornean Bristlehead….
2013 [July] - Erik Forsyth
…here we saw a few species largely confined to this type of habitat in Malaysia, such as Mangrove Blue Flycatcher feeding a fledgling, Cinereous (Great) Tit, Laced Woodpecker and Common Flameback. Brown-throated and Ruby-cheeked Sunbirds, Pied Fantail and the elusive Mangrove Whistler also put in an appearance…
2013 [March] - Andy Walker
…This was my first ‘proper’ birding trip to Malaysia. I’d visited Borneo in about 2007 and Indiain about 2009 so I was familiar with some of the birds but neither of these trips werespecifically for birding but obviously I saw as much as I could. I recorded about 320 species(I probably missed some species due to not knowing all the calls too); the following aresome of my highlights…
2013 [September] - Mike Nelson
…We also spent some time around some hill forest near Taiping at Bukit Larut where we picked up Purple-naped Sunbird, Grey-and-buff Woodpecker, Tiger Shrike, Large Woodshrike, Yellow-bellied Erpornis, Verditer Flycatcher, Changeable Hawk-Eagle and Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker…
2014 [March] - Paul Sharp - Peninsular Malaysia
The only bird of note on my walk North of Damansara Perdana was a single Blue-tailed Bee-eater, the walk by the water treatment works and alongside the grasslands adding White-breasted Waterhen, Daurian Starling, Nutmeg Mannikin and Javan Myna to my list.
2014 [November] - Danny Lau and Lau Jia Sheng
...Although “all” the migrants come from the northern hemisphere, some have discriminative preference for one route over the other. For example, the majority of the Chestnut-Cheeked Starlings, the Narcissus Flycatchers and the Grey-Streaked Flycatchers would migrate through Taiwan, Philippines and Borneo...
2014 [November] - Dave Bakewell - Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia
...Thus it was with these chiefly in mind that this custom tour was arranged as a follow-on from the scheduled Sabah, Borneo October 2014 tour. Additionally, a few days in Peninsular Malaysia had as their main target another country endemic, Mountain Peacock-Pheasant....
2014 [October] - Mike Nelson
...This day tour was to target some rare highland species of Peninsular Malaysia, particularly Mountain Peacock Pheasant, during a stopover following our Maluku tour. We had good weather for most of the day with heavy rains having fallen the night before making things a bit damp. We had great looks at most of the target species we saw along with some nice mammals and butterflies....
2015 [April] - Mike Nelson - South Peninsular Malaysia
This short trip to southern peninsular Malaysia was to target Rail-Babbler. There was much more available in several areas of good forest and we made the best of the opportunities picking up some great species. Rail-babbler showed well every day of the trip particularly on the first afternoon. We birded in dry sand forest and peat swamp forest where we found some great habitat specific birds.
2015 [April] - Oliver Simms
During the trip, I identified 218 species of bird (10 + Heard Only) and 22 species of mammal. I am pretty happy with this for a first visit and it included some real crackers like Garnet Pitta, Rail-babbler, Malayan Laughingthrush and Great Argus. I think I would have got a few more species with a guide but the species I seemed to miss were Hornbills and Trogons – only one species of each – which I did not imagine would be difficult to find! In the case of Banded Pitta, I think I was desperately unlucky to flush two off the path and not get any sort of tickable views.
2015 [July] - Rob Gordjin
...Birding along the roads is perfect for flock birding, especially a full day along the old road was good. We found the trails easy but very quiet, especially Hemnant. We started every morning before dawn to try for the whistling thrush. Two times at the spot mentioned by Collaerts and once at the old gate. No Whistling Trush but these early light moments were good for species like Pygmy Wren-babbler, Rufous-browed Flycatcher and Large Niltava. Spot collaerts: between Shazan inn & paddock: around the middle picnic area with some small streams on the right-hand side of the road.
2015 [June] - Scott Watson
...Next we went up to world famous Bukit Fraser or Fraser’s Hill where we enjoyed massive feeding flocks of montane species and a host of cool raptors from the striking Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle to the diminutive Black-thighed Falconet
2015 [March] - Bruce Wedderburn - Peninsular Malaysia & Central Thailand
Saw many interesting birds including brief views of Crestless Fireback, six Crested Partridge, Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Square-tailed Drongo-cuckoo, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Banded Woodpecker, Maroon Woodpecker, Buff-necked Woodpecker, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Black-and-red Broadbill, Rufous-winged Philentoma, Lesser Green Leafbird, Ochraceous Bulbul, Chestnut-winged Babbler, Rufous-crowned Babbler and Asian Fairy-bluebird.
2015 [March] - Mike Nelson - Peninsular Malaysia & Sabah
...Our final morning in the peninsular was to find Mountain Peacock Pheasant. We showed up while it was still dark and proceeded to wait for first light. Thankfully we got here when we did as a group of noisy photographers came after us and set up their cameras. The birds though are a bit familiar with people now and soon enough a female and her chick came in to investigate and were soon joined by a rather boisterous male that would chase after her and flash all his purple and green occelai at her before running off. She showed no interest and he soon gave up. It was then time to catch a flight across the South China Sea, to East Malaysia, basing ourselves on the lower flanks of Mount Kinabalu in anticipation for the following days birding.
2015 [May] - Peter Waanders & Lee Kok Chung - Peninsular Malaysia
Our second Peninsular Malaysia tour was another resounding success. Designed for those who have always wanted to bird South-east Asia, but have had some reservations, this tour visits the birding highlights of Peninsular Malaysia while staying at comfortable, quality lodgings with a range of food to suit all taste-buds.
2015 [September] - Dave Bakewell - Peninsular Malaysia
...a creditable total of 294 species was recorded over the 15 days of the tour, including such sought-after species as Rusty-naped, Malayan Banded and Garnet Pittas, Malayan Peacock-Pheasant, Oriental Bay, Mountain Scops and Barred Eagle Owls, Blyth’s and Gould’s Frogmouths, Greybreasted Babbler and Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker, as well as mouth-watering views of the Rail-Babbler.
Places to Stay
Mesilau Nature Resort
Located in the Kinabalu area, Mesilau stands in between the Kinabalu Park and the Poring Hot Springs. Its elevation is at approximately 2,000 metres above sea level. One will feel a strong sense of nature as Mesilau is on the Pinousuk Plateau which is richly endowed with flora and fauna. The cool climatic condition in the highlands combines with the mist and evergreen environment creates an exotic and mysterious atmosphere.
Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Among the 200 species found in the region are 8 species of hornbill (rhinoceros, helmeted, black, pied, wreathed, wrinkled, white crowned and bushy crested); oriental darter, several species of egret, Storm`s stork, Sunda ground cuckoo, kingfisher, brahminy kite, crested serpent eagle, greater coucal, red-crowned barbet, black and yellow broadbill, white-rumped shama, white-chested babbler, heron, hawk, osprey, falcon, pheasant, parakeet, buffy fish owl, frogmouth, nightjar, trogon, bee eater, roller, woodpecker, pitta, swallow, bulbul, forktail, warbler, flycatcher, flowerpecker, spiderhunter, drongo, oriole and crow.
Malaysian Nature Society
P0 Box 10750, 50724 Kuala Lumpur. + 603 2873820 email@example.com
Established in 1940, the Malaysia Nature Society is the oldest scientific and non-government organisation in Malaysia dedicated to nature conservation and appreciation.
Malaysias National Parks & Preserves
It would be difficult to overstate the attraction of Malaysia for anyone who appreciates the natural world. Its primal forests, ranging from shoreline mangrove to mountaintop oak, are of the sort that most of the world now knows only in myth. Although Malaysia`s size is similar to that of Norway, natural trees and forests cover almost three quarters of the land, an area equivalent to almost the entire United Kingdom. One can walk for hundreds of miles in Malaysia under a continuous canopy of green, marveling at an abundance of plant and animal species equaled by no other location in the entire world.
Taman Negara, the oldest national park in Peninsular Malaysia was established in 1939. Formerly known as the King George V National Park, this park houses one of the oldest rainforest in the world - it spans at least two states, Kelantan and Pahang
Malaysia presently has 1 site designated as a Wetland of International Importance, with a surface area of 38,446 hectares…
Forums & Mailing Lists
To post to list: firstname.lastname@example.org
List contact: email@example.com
To subscribe to list: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a mail list started for MNS (the Malaysian Nature Society). The objectives of starting this list is to promote information exchange between birders who are mostly but not necessarily MNS members. Our focus will be on birding in Malaysia but any other relevant matters will also be welcomed.
Malaysia Bird Photography Forum
To post to list: email@example.com
List contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe to list: email@example.com
A mailing list for nature-lovers & birdwatchers in Singapore & Malaysia. Discussion of birds, bird sightings, birding events and other nature related activities. Members can post their sightings & topics on birding, birdwatching or nature related topics, sharing of wildlife & nature pictures. Annoucement of upcoming birding related events & trips to birding spots in Singapore & the region.
Bird in Malaysian
Birding Blog in Malaysia…
Birds of Malaysia 1
Mike is the name Birding is the game (Malaysian birds in photos) - Welcome to my Malaysian Birding Blog. My blog showcases my sightings of Malaysian bird in my lifetime - countdown to 668 species and beyond…
Birds of Malaysia 2
Enjoy the a large variety of colorful birds images from Malaysia all year round…
Birds of Malaysia 3
Novice birder Ammar Yusof's site with photos etc…
Birds of Peninsular Malaysia
The Collection Birds of Peninsular Malaysia ( Burung - burung di Semenanjung Malaysia)…
Terrific photos and info… but I wish he would give his location and contact details!
Nature, birds of Malaysia, nature of malaysia, wildlife of malaysia, birds of frim, waders, shorebirds, forest research institute of malaysia (frim), kuala gula, photography, beautiful birds, kuala sepetang, birds of parit jawa, fraser's hill, birds of bukit tinggi, kuala gula sanctuary, black and white photography, nature lover, travel, scenes of malaysia, heritage of malaysia, parks, mangrove forest, birds of mangrove forest, mudflats, malaysia heritage, flowers, insects…
Welcome to jasnjohn.com. This site has been put together to serve as a resource to those interested in birds and other wildlife, and also as a catalogue of information for our own sightings, photographs and other media…
Malayan Paradise bird photography blog. I am blessed to see a large variety of birds year round in my country, Malaysia. With its rich bio-diversity, there are more than 741 species of birds in Malaysia…
Photographers & Artists
Photographer - C S Ling
Many very fine images from all over S E Asia…
Photographer - Choo Tse Chien
I'm just an aspiring amateur trying to get a grip on some level of creative consistency and after seriously fooling around 5+ years, I think I am finally starting to develop an emerging style that is reproducible and one that I feel comfortable doing…. so he says but his work is very professional! Fatbirder
Photographer - Khong Tuck Khoon
Beside the photographs that I have selected as passable, what happened to the lot & lots of excesses and those not so good pictures? Well, I thought it will be good if I create my own pictorial guide. It will take some time for me to extract all the images I have on video. The listings will be slowly extended…
Photographer - Laurence Poh - Laurence's Digital Birds
The late, great Laurence Poh - This site is a collection of bird pictures I have taken since Feb 1999 with the Nikon Coolpix 950 and Coolpix 990 digital camera in combination with a Leica Apo-Televid 77mm spotting scope. All photos were taken by natural available light with exception of one nightjar which was lit by incandescent bulb. Most of the birds are Malaysian species with some foreign birds shot abroad. In Malaysia we have over 600 species of birds. Some are migratory birds that are seen only during the northern winter months. What I have here is just a small collection. In my own way, I am trying to promote Malaysia as a birding destination as the birds are much prettier in real life than my pictures can depict.
Wild Eye View
Some excellent images of Malaysian wildlife from John Smith…