Peninsular Malaysia

Red-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis amictus ©Lim Kim Seng Website

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia with a population of nearly 35 million people. It covers a total land area of nearly 331,000 km2 (c. 128,000 square miles). The country consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions: Peninsular (Western) Malaysia and Borneo’s East Malaysia.

Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore (via a narrow causeway and bridge), Vietnam, and Indonesia. Most of Peninsular Malaysia’s interior is forested, mountainous and rural; the majority of Malaysia’s population and economy are concentrated on the coastal western half, which is where the country’s prominent urban areas are located. Peninsular Malaysia consists of 11 out of the 13 states and two of the three federal districts. They are: Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor, and Terengganu, and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Kuala Lumpur (see its Fatbirder page) is the national capital, the country’s largest city, with nearly nine million inhabitants. It is the seat of the legislative branch of the federal government. Putrajaya was designed to be the administrative centre of the federal government. Malaysia is also one of the world’s tiger economies and is far along the development route with a very good infrastructure and relatively high standard of living.

SouthBeach Curve

Birding Peninsular Malaysia

Information about Malaysia can be found on the main Malaysia page. However, the peninsular is one the most bio-diverse regions on earth. It is a treasure house of some of the most exotic plant life, birdlife, animal life and marine life on the planet. People seem unaware that its rainforest is inhabited by tigers, leopards, sun bears, gibbon, rhino and elephants as well, of course, as a very wide range of bird families particularly hornbills, barbets and babblers to name just a few. Over 700 species in all and 18 IBAs.

The range of habitats include lowland rainforest, mountain forest, mangrove forest, mudflats, beaches, scrubland, rocky islands. Malaysia also holds a lot of native birders, particularly those who enjoy photographing birds and so some of the world’s very best bird photographers.

Whiskered Treeswift Hemiprocne comata ©Lim Kim Seng

Malaysia is also one of the world’s tiger economies and is far along the development route with a very good infrastructure and relatively high standard of living.

Top Sites
  • Fraser's Hill

    InformationSatellite View
    The avifauna here and in a few other higher altitude spots in Malaysia is very different from the surrounding area and rather like that of similar altitudes in the Himalayas. The hill station has over 270 species of local and migratory birds flocking here together. The annual International Bird Race is held in the second weekend of June each year, organized by the Fraser's Hill Development Corporation in collaboration with WWF It sees participants throughout the world converging on the hill station in a team competition to sight, identify and record the highest number of species of birds stated in the official checklist.
  • Pulau Langkawi

    InformationSatellite View
    Off the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, near the border with Thailand, lies a group of over 100 stunning tropical islands the largest of which is Pulau Langkawi. Langkawi is clean, green and friendly. Tourist development, on the whole, appears to be as low impact as possible and the islands still possess uncrowded beaches, thickly forested hillsides and unpolluted mangroves where monkeys, otters, kingfishers and hornbills abound.
  • Putrajaya Wetlands Park

    InformationSatellite View
    Putrajaya Wetland is the first constructed wetland in Malaysia - consisting of 24 wetland cells. A variety of bird life can be sighted in this wetland park which includes: purple heron, grey heron, little heron, common moorhen, purple swamphen, painted stork, and yellow bittern. The surrounding vegetation which has been preserved is made up of oil palm and rubber trees. Flowering and fruiting plants were also planted during the constuction of the park. These are good habitat for other birdlife and among those are barred eagle owl, barn owl, collar scops owl, large-tailed nightjar, savanna nightjar, and red-whiskered bulbul. During the migration season, raptors can be seen soaring above the wetland.
  • Sungai Tekala Recreational Forest

    WebpageSatellite View
    Sungai Tekala Recreational Forest is a lowland dipterocarp forest located adjacent to Semenyih Dam. This forest is easily accessible by road. There is a small stream running through the forest providing crystal clear water with gentle rapids. There is also a forest trail and along the trail there is a few exits. It is best to stay near clearings and along the stream. The road leading to the forest is also rewarding and keep observing along the way as you may catch a glimpse of hornbills, barbets, bulbuls, falconet, and many more.
  • Cheong Weng Chun

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 656

    (As at May 2024)
  • Number of endemics: 5

    Malay Partridge Arborophila campbelli
    Malaysian Crested Argus Rheinardia nigrescens
    Mountain Peacock-pheasant Polyplectron inopinatum
    Malay Whistling-thrush Myophonus robinsoni
    Malay Bullfinch Pyrrhula waterstradti
  • Avibase

    PDF Checklist
    This checklist includes all bird species found in Malaysia , based on the best information available at this time. It is based on a wide variety of sources that I collated over many years. I am pleased to offer these checklists as a service to birdwatchers. If you find any error, please do not hesitate to report them.
  • Birding Malaysia

    Birds of Peninsular Malaysia
  • eBird

    PDF Checklist
    This checklist is generated with data from eBird (, a global database of bird sightings from birders like you. If you enjoy this checklist, please consider contributing your sightings to eBird. It is 100% free to take part, and your observations will help support birders, researchers, and conservationists worldwide.
Useful Reading

  • A Checklist of the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia

    | By MNS Bird Conservation Council | Malaysian Nature Society | 2010 | Edition 2 | Paperback | 60 pages, 1 b/w map, tables | ISBN: 9789839681482 Buy this book from
  • A Field Guide to the Birds of Malaysia

    | Including Sabah and Sarawak | By Lim Kim Seng, Yong Ding Li & Lim Kim Chuah | John Beaufoy Publishing | 2024 | Paperback | 396 pages, 170 plates with colour illustrations; colour photos, 2 colour maps | ISBN: 9781913679712 Buy this book from
  • A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore

    | By Allen Jeyarajasingam & Alan Pearson | Oxford University Press | 2012 | Edition 2 | Paperback | 628 pages, 74 colour plates, b/w illustrations, 2 b/w maps | ISBN: 9780199639434 Buy this book from
  • A Handbook of Important Bird Areas in Malaysia

    | By Yeap Chin Aik, Anthony C Sebastian & GWH Davison | Malaysian Nature Society | 2005 | Paperback | 94 pages, Col photos, tabs, maps | ISBN: 9789839681239 Buy this book from
  • A Naturalist's Guide to the Birds of Fraser's Hill

    | By Geoffrey Davison, Con Foley & Adam Hogg | John Beaufoy Books | 2019 | Paperback | 176 pages, 300 colour photos | ISBN: 9781912081547 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore

    | By GWH Davison & Chew Yen Fook | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2017 | Paperback | 144 pages, 280 colour photos, 1 colour map | Out of Print | ISBN: 9781472938237 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Taman Negara - An Illustrated Guide and Checklist

    | By M Strange & Dennis Yong | Draco Publishing | 2006 | Paperback | 120 pages, Colour photos | ISBN: 9789810544416 Buy this book from
  • Malaysia Nature Society - Kelantan Branch

    Address : 204, Jln Sultan Yahya Petra, 15150 Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
  • Malaysia Nature Society - Langkawi

  • Malaysia Nature Society - Penang Branch

    Address : Nature Information Centre (NIC), 673-B Jln Kebun Bunga,10350 Penang.
  • Malaysia Nature Society - Perak Branch - Perak Birding Links

    Address : 70,Jln Chan Chee Keong, Ipoh Garden South, 31400
  • Malaysia Nature Society - Selangor Bird Group

    Local branch news, trips, photos etc.
  • Malaysia Nature Society - Sembilan/Melaka Branch

  • Malaysia Nature Society - Terengganu Branch

    Address : 1926, Bkt Kubang Jambu, 20050 Kuala Terengganu.
  • Malaysia Nature Sociey - Johore Branch

  • Malaysian Nature Society - Kedah Branch

    Address : 3, Jalan Timur 1, Kawasan Perusahaan Mergong Barrage, 05150 Alor Setar, Kedah.

Abbreviations Key

  • BS Kuala Gula Birds Sanctuary

    WebpageSatellite View
    The mangrove forest and mudflats of Kuala Gula are particularly important for more than 60 species of water birds including egrets, herons, storks, rails, shore birds terns and gulls, as well as some wetland dependent raptors and kingfishers.The flagship species of Kuala Gula is the globally threatened Milky Stork. Kuala Gula is currently the only known resident area for this vulnerable species in Malaysia. Another Vulnerable stork species, the Lesser Adjutant can be found here easily.
  • FR Pasoh Forest Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    It has a total area of 2450 hectares, with a core area of 600 ha surrounded by a buffer zone. Palm oil plantations surround the reserve on three sides while the other side adjoins a selectively logged dipterocarp forest.
  • NP Endau-Rompin

    InformationSatellite View
    It covers an area of approximately 870 km2 (340 sq mi), making it the second-largest national park in Peninsular Malaysia after Taman Negara. It has approximately 26 km (16 mi) of trail.
  • NP Malaysia Taman Negara

    InformationSatellite View
    Attractions found near Kuala Tahan (Park headquarters for Pahang) include a canopy walkway, Gua Telinga (cave system), Lata Berkoh (rapid). Visitors can enjoy the tropical rainforest, birdwatching or jungle trekking (e.g. Tenor Rentis) and the river views along the Tahan River. Birds such as the great argus, red junglefowl, and the rare Malayan peacock-pheasant are still found here in some numbers.
  • NR Kenong Rimba Park

    InformationSatellite View
    Kenong Rimba Park is a protected rainforest area in Malaysia, which borders on Taman Negara. The park covers 128 km2. Available activities include caving, jungle trekking, night walking, hill climbing, bird and animal observation.
  • NR Kuala Selangor Nature Park

    InformationSatellite View
    The Kuala Selangor Nature Park is managed by the Malaysian Nature Society, under a co-operative arrangement with the Selangor State Government. Resident birds (98 species such as pink-necked pigeon, peaceful dove, great egret, grey heron, little heron, milky stork, collared kingfisher, and brahminy kite) Migratory birds (57 species such as Mongolian plover, common redshank, blue-tailed bee-eater, and black-capped kingfisher)
  • SP Kukup Island Johor

    InformationSatellite View
    Part of a large area of mangroves in the South-west region of Johor be given protection and conservation status, which includes the Sungai Pulai MFR and Tanjung Piai State Park.
  • SP Perlis State Park

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Park consists of Mato Ayer Forest Reserve and Wang Mu Forest Reserve with a total area of about 5,000 hectares. The forests are rich in animal life, including the Serows, Panthers and 6 species of Hornbills. Perlis State Park is also the only place in Malaysia where the Stumped Tail Macaque is found. The forests are located next to the Thaleban National Park, across the Thai border and the two areas form a forge forested area rich in wildlife. The Timah Tasoh Dam, which located in the migratory path of the birds become the first stop of birds such as the Cotton Bellied Sea-Eagle species.
  • WII Tasik Bera

    InformationSatellite View
    As the largest freshwater swamp in Peninsular Malaysia, Tasik Bera or Bera Lake remains both a unique and remote wetland wilderness. Surrounded by a patchwork of dry lowland dipterocarp forests, the lake environment includes islands of peat swamp forests.
  • WII Tasik Chini Wetlands

    InformationSatellite View
    Lake Chini is Malaysia’s second-largest natural freshwater lake, 12.565 acres of lush wetlands comprising a dozen interconnecting bodies of water. Historians believe that the lake is the site of an ancient Khmer city, from an era when the Khmer empire extended into the Malay peninsula.
  • WP Langkawi

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    Caged birds are not my thing but this is an introduction...
  • WR Bukit Fraser

    InformationSatellite View
    The Reserve was established in 1922, comprising of steep area of 2,979 ha. Most of the area is above 1,000 metres in altitude. The hill station has over 270 species of local and migratory birds flocking here together. The annual International Bird Race is held in the second weekend of June each year, organized by the Fraser's Hill Development Corporation in collaboration with WWF It sees participants throughout the world converging on the hill station in a team competition to sight, identify and record the highest number of species of birds stated in the official checklist.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Bird Malaysia

    Tour Operator
    Bird Malaysia’s team consist of specialist birder guides who are members of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and BirdLife International Partners for Malaysia with intimate local knowledge of the rich habitat of East and West Malaysia birds. With a collective birding experience of over 25 years, the team is well-respected in the Malaysian birding circle, and have been honored and respected by organizations and peers alike.
  • Junglewalla

    Tour Operator
    Irshad Mobarak is one of Malaysia’s most celebrated naturalists with over 26 years experience in the field. A former banker, Irshad is a strong advocate for the conservation of Langkawi’s fragile natural heritage. In early 1994 he set up Junglewalla with the help of his best friend’s and mentor Miles Baddeley (Wildlife for the Future-UK). Irshad’s main objective is to educate and inspire people to experience Langkawi’s rich natural history. As pioneer in of Eco-Tourism in Langkawi, he develop a series of ” Junglewalla’s Signature Tours” that has shaped Langkawi’s nature tourism today.
  • Terengganu River Safari

    Along the mangrove swamp river, you will be greeted by wild animals like monitor lizard, monkeys, crabs, colourful birds, eagles
Trip Reports
  • 2018 [01 Jan] - Matthew Kwan - Peninsular Malaysia

    We woke up before dawn and got ready for some early morning birding. Being situated in the Telecom Loop, we decided to leave the car at the lodge and do some birding on foot. It took some time to acclimatise to the different sounds of the forest, but once we got tuned in birds started emerging...
  • 2018 [08 August] - Wilbur Goh

    PDF Report
    Plain-pouched Hornbills are one of the least known species of Asian hornbill. Often confused with the similar looking Wreathed Hornbill, it is now known that its core (and only!) range is the narrow stretch of land from Southern Myanmar to northernmost Peninsular Malaysia. With almost consistent yearly sightings in this part of the world, this tailor-made tour to the wilds of Ulu Muda was designed to see this enigmatic hornbill plus a handful of other possible lifers while spending as little time as possible. Once at the right spot, we counted a total of 360 birds flying to their roosting grounds (and this is a low count!), truly one of Malaysia’s best nature spectacle.
  • 2018 [09 September] - Hans Mathese

    With only limited traveling/birding time available, Peninsular Malaysia came into our mind. Clearly, it wasn't sufficient to cover all areas and see all specialties. Luckiliy, it is an easy stopover option when coming from further East.
  • 2019 [02 February] - Wilbur Goh

    PDF Report
    The weather was wet in Fraser’s Hill but very dry in Taman Negara but that didn’t stop us from finding some of the region’s best birds such as Great Argus, Mountain Peacock Pheasant, Crested Fireback, Ferruginous and Malaysian Partridges, Yellow-vented Green Pigeon, all possible frogmouths, trogons and broadbills, Lesser Fish Eagle, White-crowned Hornbill, Blue-banded and Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Malayan Banded, Garnet and Blue-winged Pittas, Jay Shrike, Rail-babbler, Black-and-white Bulbul, Large and Striped Wren Babblers, Chestnut-naped Forktail and the MEGA Rufous-headed Robin. All in, there were 237 species seen.
  • 2019 [05 May] - Wilbur Gog

    PDF Report
    Highlights were many and included Mountain Peacock Pheasant, Malayan (Crested) Fireback, Large Green Pigeon, Bock’s Hawk Cuckoo, Large and Gould’s Frogmouths, four species of trogons, White-crowned and Wrinkled Hornbills, Fire-tufted Barbet, Rufous-collared and Blue-banded Kingfishers, all but one of the broadbills that occur here, Malayan Banded and Garnet Pittas, Straw-headed Bulbul, White-necked Babbler, Blue Nuthatch, Malayan Whistling-thrush and Chestnut-naped Forktail, to name a few. In total, we recorded 212 species of birds with 10 species heard only.
  • 2019 [08 August] - Wilbur Goh

    PDF Report
    ...Reddish. Scops Owls. Moving to the southern end of the Peninsular, we visited peat swamp forests in the state of Johor. Here, we found Cinnamon-rumped Trogon, Garnet Pitta, Rail Babbler, Short-toed Coucal and a last gasp Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon. Next was Taman Negara where the untouched forests never fail to spring surprises.
  • 2022 [05 May] - Sin Yong Chee Keita

    Taman Negara, Malaysia
  • 2022 [10 October] - Simon Janssens

    PDF Report
    Having birded in Thailand extensively the last couple of years I was eager to explore another South-East Asian country nearby while my wife could visit her family. Peninsular Malaysia was an easy choice due to its proximity, ease of travel and its mouthwatering array of species.
  • 2023 [11 November] - Jules Eden

    PDF Report
    ...t. I have been there before 4 years ago but we nixed the CRT then as we were focused on the Rail Babbler which took 2 days to get. With renewed vigour we head South...
Places to Stay
  • Fraser Hill Shahzan Inn

    The Fraser Hill Shahzan Inn hotel is located in the famous tourist area - Fraser Hill, can make your journey more comfortable and convenient. Hotel facilities allows your stay becomes memorable. Guests are free to use the restaurant, business center, room service, meeting facilities, parking lots and other facilities.
  • Gem Island, Terengganu

    Facebook Page
    A private island with only 45 sea frontage water villas for your private holidays. 15 mins. boat ride from Marang jetty. Relaxing, tranquil & good food
  • Kapas Island Resort, Off Marang, Terengganu

    Walking along the beach seems to be a good idea and if you're interested, you can collect a variety of wonderful sea shells of various shapes and sizes and maybe catch glimpse of wildlife such as birds and lizards.
  • Mutiara Taman Negara - Pahang

    Discover the wonders of an ancient forest at Mutiara Taman Negara. Pitch tent or check-into this forest reserve and bask in the natural surroundings of the Taman Negara park. Mutiara Taman Negara, an eco-tourism Resort that offers a variety of accommodation types promises guests this unique experience with basic amenities and sufficient modern comforts.
  • Penang Mutiara Beach Resort Penang

    Penang Mutiara Beach Resort heralds a new standard for Asian resort hotels. Located on a prime beachfront at Teluk Bahang, otherwise known as the glowing bay, it nestles in 7.3 hectares (18 acres) of landscaped tropical greenery. All 438 of its spacious rooms enjoy sea and garden views. Here in this paradise of comfort and luxury, it has been claimed that nothing is unusual.
  • Birds of Fraser's Hill (Bukit Fraser)

    Fraser's Hill is a perfect destination for bird watchers (in this blog I will use the term "birder"). Birders can start spotting birds from the Gap and all the way up to the hill station. We have heard some birders saying that Fraser's Hill is one of the best birding sites in Asia
  • Choy Wai Mun - The Penang Birder

    I was born and raised in Penang Island, a small tropical paradise off the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It may not be the best place in the world to live in but it does have its fair share of good points and the bird life is not too bad as well. I guess that is why I still call it home after all these years. For as long as I could remember, I have always been fascinated with animals and I do not mean puppies and rabbits. Even my preschool storybooks were illustrated books on wildlife. As I got older, I did not outgrow this fascination. In fact, it grew ever stronger on me - especially my love for birds. Unfortunately, birding could not really put food on the table and it remains more of a hobby.
  • Mike Birder - Birding in Malaysia

    Welcome to my Malaysian Birding Blog. I migrated to as my blog at closed shop in 2012. I wish to showcase all Malaysian birds that I have photographed whether here or overseas. My countdown of lifers started in 2005. Coming to February 2019 my countdown of lifers photograph has reached
  • Redzlan A Rahman - Love for Bird and Nature

    This blog evolved from my personal rambling, to my addiction to GPS and Digital Mapping, to Digital SLR camera and photography in general. Over time this blog focuses more about bird and nature. I love nature and bird photography when I have a free time or on holiday. Mostly birding around my backyard, around Raub, Fraser's Hill and Bukit Tinggi.
  • Wengchun's Birding

    I enjoy doing what i like - nature photography particularly into birds. During my time at work I also take people around Putrajaya Wetland for birdwatching. If you enjoy the same hobby as I do or if you would like to join me in my outings, stay on my blog or contact me.
  • Zul Ya - Birds of Peninsular Malaysia

    Like the natural beauty, especially colourful birds in Peninsular Malaysia.
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Nelson Khor

    …my name is Nelson Khor, a citizen of Malaysia, as a own hobby in photograph. Come over to the photograph start from year 2001 with the Sony compact camera, in year 2003 start to increase and upgrade the hobby in DSLR System, Canon 300D will be my first DSLR, start to photograph, Landscape, Model, Man at Work, Sport, Macro.

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Skip to content