Malaysia

Buffy Fish Owl Bubo ketupa ©Laurence Poh Website
Birding Malaysia

Malaysia has a well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s major birding destinations. Well over 800 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, whether first timer or veteran. Moreover, the mainland infrastructure is modern so transport across country is trouble free. For the intrepid, there are many endemic species to go after (most in Borneo and just a few in the Peninsular). This entails a visit combining sites in Peninsular Malaysia and the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. There are separate pages for the Peninsular and for Borneo and one for the Kuala Lumpur area for those who are passing through and only have a day or too to spend there.

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 accessible 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 60! The confusion arises from Borneo. The Malaysian mainland does have as few as two endemics… although there is no agreement on this and Borneo as a whole as many as 58 but the Malaysian parts of Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah) have far fewer.

Contributors
  • Lim Kim Seng and Lim Seng Chuah

    | ibisbill@yahoo.com

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 823

    (As at February 2019)
Endemics
  • See Sabah & Sarawak page for Borneo endemics and Peninsular Malaysia for endemics to mainland only
Checklist

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • A Handbook of Important Bird Areas in Malaysia

    By Yeap Chin Aik, Anthony C Sebastian & GWH Davison | Malaysian Nature Society | 2005 | Paperback | 94 pages, Coour photos, tables, maps | ISBN: 9789839681239 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • A Naturalist's Guide to the Birds of Malaysia Including Sabah and Sarawak

    By Geoffrey WH Davidson & Yeap Chin Aik | John Beaufoy Books | 2018 | Edition 3 | Paperback | 176 pages, 300 colour photos, 2 colour maps | ISBN: 9781912081639 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Organisations
  • Malaysian Nature Society

    Website
    For Malaysia’s natural heritage and rich biological diversity to be effectively protected, managed and conserved for the benefit and appreciation of all Malaysians.
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • Malaysias National Parks & Preserves

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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.
  • Wetlands

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Malaysia presently has 7 sites designated as a Wetland of International Importance…
Guides & Tour Operators


Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

  • Bird Malaysia

    Tour Operator
    With over 20 years experience, Bird Malaysia offers the best spots and time for birds and the best accommodation for our fellow birders…
  • Birding Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    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.
  • Jungle Walla

    Tour Operator
    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.
  • Nidasia

    Tour Operator
    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

    Tour Operator
    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.
Trip Reports


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  • 2013 [03 March] - Andy Walker

    Report
    …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 [09 September] - Mike Nelson

    Report
    …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 [11 November] - Dave Bakewell - Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia

    PDF Report
    ...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....
  • 2015 [03 March] - Bruce Wedderburn - Peninsular Malaysia & Central Thailand

    Report
    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 [03 March] - Mike Nelson - Peninsular Malaysia & Sabah

    PDF Report
    ...Our final morning in the peninsular was to find Mountain Peacock Pheasant. We showed up while it was still darkand proceeded to wait for first light. Thankfully we got here when we did as a group of noisy photographers cameafter us and set up their cameras. The birds though are a bit familiar with people now and soon enough a femaleand her chick came in to investigate and were soon joined by a rather boisterous male that would chase after herand 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 lowerflanks of Mount Kinabalu in anticipation for the following days birding.
  • 2015 [06 June] - Scott Watson

    PDF Report
    ...Next we went up to world famous BukitFraser or Fraser’s Hill where we enjoyed massive feeding flocks of montane species and a host of cool raptors fromthe striking Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle to the diminutive Black-thighed Falconet
  • 2015 [07 July] - Rob Gordjin

    PDF Report
    ...Birding along the roads is perfect for flock birding, especially a full day along the old road was good. We found thetrails 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. Spotcollaerts: between Shazan inn & paddock: around the middle picnic area with some small streams on the right-hand side of the road.
  • 2016 [06 June] - Rich Lindie

    PDF Report
    …We then left the wetland and drove directly to the town of Kuala Selangor, where our first stop was Taman Alam. There, among the mangroves and coastal forest, we picked up a Lineated Barbet without much trouble, several Olive-winged Bulbuls, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Brown-throated Sunbird, Coppersmith Barbet, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Malaysian Pied Fantail and Common Flameback, among others. We then checked into our hotel before popping to town for a riverside lunch in the company of our first Pacific Swallows.…
  • 2018 [01 January] - Wilbur Goh

    PDF Report
    This custom tour was designed to see some of the more difficult species found in Malaysia as well as to ‘cleanup’ some misses from previous tours to both Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia. We first headed to Mount Kinabalu before heading to the highlands of Sarawak and from there, a foray into the peat swamp forests of Johor in southern Peninsular Malaysia. Although the number of species recorded weren’t large, it was all about the quality, and the number of targets seen exceeded expectations. Highlights were numerous and many could be top birds of any standard tour: Whitehead’s Broadbill, Fruithunter, Bloodhead (Crimson-headed Partridge), Dulit and Bornean Frogmouth, Rail-babbler, Bornean Banded Pitta, Black-and-white Bulbul, Jambu Fruit Dove, White-fronted Scops Owl, Grey-breasted Babbler, Cinnamon-rumped Trogon and Short-toed Coucal were some of the selection of scarce regional Sundaic endemics seen.
  • 2018 [02 February] - Rob Hutchinson - Malaysia & Myanmar

    PDF Report
    This tour was loosely centred around a desire to see two monotypic families – Rail-babbler and Elachura, but in visiting some of the main birding sites in both Malaysia and Myanmar also allowed for a wide variety of iconic Southeast Asian birds. In Malaysia we first visited the highlands of Fraser’s Hill, with a special mention to Malaysian Partridge, Malayan Laughingthrush and Blue Nuthatch before the usual feeding frenzy of Mountain Peacock Pheasant and Ferruginous Partridge.
  • 2018 [06 June] - Mark S,miles

    PDF Report
    With the end of Ramadan bringing the possibility of an extended weekend in Dubai, where I am based, this was a short solo trip aimed at targeting a few (usually elusive) species at well-known stakeouts as well as an opportunity to enjoy some excellent and easy SE Asian birding and escape the extreme summer heat of the UAE. On the latter score, it really was a case of out of the frying pan and into the steamer...
  • 2018 [06 June] - Rich Lindie

    PDF Report
    This year’s first tour of Malaysia & Borneo will go down in Rockjumper’s history books as one of the most successful ever. Not only did we record the highest number of species on any of our summer tours to the area, this included the highest number of regional endemics thus far recorded on our tours! What’s more is, many of these were seen exceptionally well. And who can forget the mammal sightings we enjoyed – very much a highlight of any visit to Borneo.
Other Links
  • Birding in Malaysia

    Website
    Image database, reports etc
  • Singing Bird Collection

    Website
    Tentang burung kicauan
Blogs
  • Dig Deep

    BLOG
    Terrific photos and info… but I wish he would give his location and contact details!
  • Jasn John

    BLOG
    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…
  • Kamal Muda - Malayan Paradise

    BLOG
    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…
  • Mike Birder

    BLOG
    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…
  • Sulaiman Salikan - Birds of Malaysia

    BLOG
    Enjoy the a large variety of colorful birds images from Malaysia all year round…
  • Wai Yien Chu - Ideals

    BLOG
    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…
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - C S Ling

    Gallery
    Many very fine images from all over S E Asia

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