Sarawak & Sabah

Whitehead's Trogon Harpactes whiteheadi ©Chris Lotz Website
Birding Malaysian Borneo

The island of Borneo is shared by the independent country of Brunei, four Indonesian provinces and two Malaysian states, Sarawak and Sabah.SarawakSarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang (‘Land of the Hornbills’), it is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia; the second largest, Sabah, lies to the northeast. The administrative capital is Kuchin.

Having land area of 124,450 km² spreading between latitude 0° 50′ and 5°N and longitude 109° 36′ and 115° 40′ E, it makes up 37.5% of the land of Malaysia. Sarawak also contains large tracts of tropical rain forest home to an abundance of plant and animal species.

The state stretches for some 750 km along the north east coastline of Borneo, interrupted in the north by about 150 km of Brunei coast. Sarawak is separated from the Indonesian part of Borneo (Kalimantan) by ranges of high hills and mountains that are part of the central mountain range of Borneo. These get higher to the north and culminate near the source of the Baram River with the steep Mount Batu Lawi, Mount Mulu in the Park of the same name and Mount Murud with the highest peak in Sarawak.The major rivers from the south to the north include Sarawak River, the Lupar River, the Saribas River, the Rajang River with 563 km the longest river in Malaysia with the Baleh River branch, the Baram River, the Limbang River that drains into the Brunei Bay as it divides the two parts of Brunei and the Trusan River that also flows into the Brunei Bay.Sarawak can be divided into three natural regions. The coastal region is rather low lying flat country with large extents of swamps and other wet environments. The hill region provides most of the easily inhabited land. Most of the larger cities and towns have been built in this region. As the swamps make up much of the coast, the ports of Kuching and Sibu have been built some distance from the coast on rivers, while Bintulu and Miri are close to the coast at the only places that the hills stretch right to the China Sea. The third region is the mountain region along the border and with the Kelabit and Murut highlands in the north.

Sarawak features vast areas of both lowland and highland rainforest. However, Sarawak has been hit hard by the logging industry and the expansion of monoculture tree plantations and oil palm plantations. Malaysia’s deforestation rate is increasing faster than anywhere else in the world. Statistics estimate Sarawak’s primary forest has been depleted by around 90%. Malaysia’s rates of deforestation are among the highest in Asia, jumping almost 86 percent between the 1990-2000 period and 2000-2005. In total, Malaysia lost an average of 1,402 km² —0.65 percent of its forest area—per year since 2000. By comparison, South East Asian countries lost an average of 0.35% of their forest per annum during the 1990s.

Sarawak’s rainforests have been gradually depleted by the demand driven by the logging industry and the following introduction of palm oil plantations. Many of Sarawak’s rural communities have felt changes affected by the economic activity of these industries. Peaceful protests and timber blockades between native communities and logging companies are common, often resulting in preventive police action. The Penan, Borneo’s nomadic hunter gatherers have been most affected by these changes, complaining of illness through polluted rivers, game depletion resulting in widespread hunger and loss of traditional medicines and forest products.

SabahSabah, located in north Borneo, is a heaven for birders searching for montane bornean endemic such as whitehead’s spiderhunter, trogon and broadbill at a cool place of Kinabalu National Park; the view of Mount Kinabalu, highest mountain in Malaysia is amazing. Looking for endangered species at kinabatangan river, the longest river in Sabah is a must, with such species as Storm’s stork, lesser adjutant and the elusive Bornean ground-cuckoo. other wildlife that inhabit this area include the Bornean pygmy elephant, proboscis monkey and orang utan.In the south east of Sabah lies another birding hot spot; Danum Valley Forest Reserve, which is famed for its lowland rainforest that is a must-visit place for birders. A walk around the nature trails would yield the secrets of the forest such as blue-headed and black and crimson pitta, the legendary Bornean bristlehead as well the shy black-throated wren-babbler.

Other birding areas in sabah include:

Tambunan Rafflesia Centre – this is excellent for Bornean bulbul, Bornean and mountain barbet together with black-breasted fruit hunter, which is uncommon at Kinabalu National Park could be seen here.Kota Belud Paddyfield – This huge area of paddy field in Sabah is an interesting place to visit where waterbirds and raptors from north Asia spend their winter, which here is during the migratory season from September until April. Here such as common kestrel, western marsh harrier, black-winged stilt, bar-tailed godwit and grey-headed lapwing. Recently other species have been found such as buff-banded rail in 2006 added another excitement among local birders in this area too.To properly cover the special birds of Sabah 2 to 3 weeks birding is recommended which would cover different zones of vegetation from montane to riverine and lowland rainforest. Access is easy with good places to stay, fantastic food and friendly peoples who will make your birding trip such a unique experience.

This page is sponsored by Birding Ecotours

Contributors
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 668

    (As at February 2019 for the whole of Borneo).
Endemics
  • Number of endemics: 42

    There are between 42 and 60 birds endemic to the island of Borneo. of these, almost all occur in Sarawak & Sabah
Useful Reading

  • A Naturalist's Guide to the Birds of Borneo

    (Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan) | By Wong Tsu Shi | John Beaufoy Books | 2018 | Edition 3 | Paperback | 176 pages, 250 colour photos, 2 colour maps | ISBN: 9781912081912 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Birds of Borneo

    By Susan Myers | Christopher Helm | 2016 | Edition 2 | Paperback | 336 Pages | Colour Plates & BW Illustrations & Distribution Maps | ISBN: 9781472924445 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Birds of the Philippines, Sumatra, Java, Bali, Borneo, Sulawesi, the Lesser Sundas and the Moluccas

    By Norman Arlott | William Collins (Harper Collins imprint) | 2018 | Hardback | 416 pages, 179 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780008102395 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Phillipps' Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo

    (Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan) | By Quentin Phillipps & Karen Phillipps | John Beaufoy Books | 2014 | Edition 3 | 372 pages, 141 plates with colour illustrations, 600 colour distribution maps, 12 colour maps | ISBN: 9781909612150 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Pocket Photo Guide to the Birds of Borneo

    (Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan) | By GWH Davison & Chew Yen Fook | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2016 | Paperback | 144 pages, colour photos, 1 colour map | ISBN: 9781472932877 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • The Birds of Borneo

    By Bertram E Smythies | Edited by Geoffrey WH Davison | Natural History Publications Borneo | 1999 | Edition 4 | Hardback | 853 pages, 57 colour plates, b/w plates, map | ISBN: 9789838120289 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Useful Information
  • Facts - Borneo

    601 Bird Species; 31 Endemics.
Festivals & Bird Fairs
  • Borneo Bird Festival

    Website
    Borneo Bird Festival is a celebration of the magnificent birds of Borneo, it is aimed to create public awareness to bird conservation, to promote Birdwatching, and enhance the eco-tourism activities. In Borneo, a total of 688 resident and migratory species of bird, with 60 species are endemic.
Organisations
  • Malaysian Nature Society - Kuching Branch

    Facebook Page
    Our Mission: To promote the study, appreciation, conservation and protection of Malaysia’s natural heritage.
  • Malaysian Nature Society - Miri Branch

    Website
    MNS is a membership based organisation run by the Secretariat, and governed by an elected Board of Trustees and Council. MNS is an avenue where the Malaysian public has the opportunity to be part of a national effort in adding their voice towards the conservation of Malaysia's natural heritage.
  • Malaysian Nature Society Sabah Branch

    Facebook Page
    MNS is Malaysia's largest and oldest environmental non-government organisation.
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • BS Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre

    InformationSatellite View
    Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre is 24 hectares (59 acres) of the only remains of mangrove forest that once existed extensively along the coastal region of Kota Kinabalu. The Centre is an important refuge and feeding ground for many species of resident birds, as well as several migratory bird species from Northern Asia. In addition, it is a breeding ground for marine life protected by the Fishery Department of Sabah.
  • CA Danum Valley

    InformationSatellite View
    Danum Valley Conservation Area is a 438 square kilometres tract of relatively undisturbed lowland dipterocarp forest in Sabah, Malaysia. It has an extensive diversity of tropical flora and fauna, including such species as the rare East Sumatran rhinoceros, Bornean orangutans, gibbons, mousedeer, clouded leopards and over 270 bird species.
  • FR Sepilok

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    A twenty-minute drive from Sandakan, Sabah will bring you to Sepilok Forest Reserve, a enormous area of virgin equatorial rainforest. The wealth of indigenous and rare plants, animals and birds that have found sanctuary here are to be seen to be believed.
  • NP Bako

    InformationSatellite View
    The Bako National Park covers 2,742 hectares of a rugged sand stone peninsula to the east of the Bako River near Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. More than 150 bird species.
  • NP Crocker Range

    InformationSatellite View
    The park covers 1,399 km², making it the largest park in Sabah. The park consists of both hill and mountain forest, with many species of flora and fauna endemic to Borneo.
  • NP Gunung Mulu

    InformationSatellite View
    Within the boundaries of Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak is one of the most extensive and spectacular limestone cave systems on earth, as well as the second highest mountain peak in the state. Gunung also enjoys unusually high rainfall. There are 20,000 species of invertebrates, 81 species of mammals, 270 species of birds, 55 species of reptiles, 76 species of amphibians and 48 species of fish identified in the park area. Eight species of hornbill have been spotted in Mulu including the rhinoceros hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros), the Wrinkled hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) and the helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil).
  • NP Kinabalu

    InformationSatellite View
    New arrivals at the park headquarters might wonder where Borneo`s famed birdlife is hiding. The forest initially seems quiet and devoid of birds. Patience, however, will be rewarded when flocks of mixed species swoop down from the upper canopy to feed in the lower canopy. These are the famous bird-waves in which a diverse range of species act in unison to flush out insects and other prey. The bird photographer, having waiting patiently with his camera and tripod for hours, suddenly has roving bands of Flycatchers, Whistlers, Tailorbirds, Warblers and Fantails chaotically feeding a few yards from where he stands…
  • NP Lambir Hills

    InformationSatellite View
    It is a small park, at 6,952 hectares (17,180 acres), and is composed largely of mixed dipterocarp forest, with some small areas of 'kerangas' (heath forest). Its forest is home to gibbons, tarsiers, bearded pigs, flying squirrels, deer and 157 types of bird…
  • NP Niah

    InformationSatellite View
    The Niah National Park, Sarawak is the site of the Niah Caves, one of the largest limestone caves in the world. The caves are also well known for the birds' nest (Swiftlet) industry. The Park covers 3,102 hectares (7,756 acres) of forest and limestone.
  • NP Tunku Abdul Rahman

    InformationSatellite View
    It comprises a group of 5 islands located between 3 and 8 km off Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. The park is spread over 4,929 hectares, two-thirds of which cover the sea.
  • National Parks of Sarawak

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Malaysia's Sarawak State on the island of Borneo is, compared to much of the world, untouched by development: two-thirds of Sarawak is rainforest, and a sizeable part of it is protected in the form of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries…
  • WR Tabin

    InformationSatellite View
    Tabin Wildlife Reserve (TWR or Tabin) comprises a rectangular area of approximately 122,539 ha. in the centre of the Dent Peninsula, north-east of Lahad Datu town, south of the lower reaches of the Segama River and north of the Silabukan Protection Forest Reserve.Of bird species, 42 families representing 220 species have been recorded.
Guides & Tour Operators


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  • Birding Tours in Sabah

    Tour Operator
    Birding tours at Tambunan Rafflesia Centre, Kinabalu National Park, Sepilok Forest Reserve, Kinabatangan River and Danum Valley Forest Reserve
  • Borneo Birds

    Tour Operator
    Hi, my name is Ceekay. I am a full time bird guide based in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. I have been birding since 1987, having previously shown particular disregard for birdwatching until I saw a White-Browed Shrike Babbler through the eyepiece of a visiting birder’s spotting scope. Since then I have improved just a bit more, at times graduating to the birds of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, India and Nepal.
  • Borneo Eco Tours

    Tour Operator
    Our Top Tours for wildlife are Sukau Rainforest Lodge, winner of Sabah's Best Nature Lodge, Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley, Selingan Island and Tabin Wildlife Sanctuary. Our Top selling Day tours are to Kinabalu National Park and to Sepilok's Wildlife and Sandakan. Featured in our Nature selection are overnight tours to Mount Kinabalu and diving at the world class Sipadan island. For Adventure lovers, Climb Mt Kinabalu with us or be enamored by our custom designed treks to Maliau Basin and Crocker Range. We've put the together the best of the best in our Holiday Packages. We can even book your stay at Beach Resorts and City Hotels at rock-bottom prices. Our latest product is the community based tourism The Fig Tree at Kiulu Farmstay.
Trip Reports


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  • 2011 [08 August] - Oscar Campbell - Western Sarawak

    Report
    …We visited three national parks, all of which are documented in any travel guide: Bako, Gunung Gading and Khubah. We stayed one night in each, using National Park Service accommodation (the only practical option at any of them). Staying overnight is essential to get a proper feel for the place and to enjoy some peace and quiet…
  • 2011 [12 December] - Rosemary Royle

    Report
    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…
  • 2012 [08 August] - Bent Otto Poulsen

    PDF Report
    Little Cuckoo-Dove, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Sunda Cuckoo, Golden-naped Barbet, Mountain Barbet, Bornean Barbet, Bornean Leafbird, Bornean Ibon, Mountain Leaf- Warbler subsp. sarawacensis (only place seen), Bornean Treepie and Chestnut-crested Yuhina.
  • 2012 [08 August] - Dave Sergeant

    PDF Report
    …a feeding flock that held endemic Bornean Whistlers, Bornean Treepie, Chestnut-crested Yuhinas, Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrushes, a Bornean Spiderhunter for some plus Black-capped White- eyes, Temminck's Sunbirds, Mountain Tailorbirds, Yellow-breasted Warblers, Grey-throated Babblers, Indigo Flycatchers, Little Pied Flycatcher and White-throated Fantails…
  • 2012 [10 October] - Katie Philips

    PDF Report
    I am an amateur birder, and though have birded the Malay Peninsula and the Philippines; this was my first excursion to Borneo. Some bird complexes required a lot of work on my part, and some I never felt confident in calling; they are omitted. Of the 280 species seen, playback was used sparingly and as note.
  • 2013 [03 March] - James Eaton

    PDF Report
    The birds certainly didn’t disappoint us this time, from the ‘Whitehead’s trio’, Bornean Green Magpies admiring a displaying Bare-headed Laughingthrush, Everett’s Thrush and other endemics of the mountains, the Kinabatangan River where we enjoyed superlative views of Bornean Ground Cuckoo and plenty of hornbills, to the lowland rainforests of Sepilok and Danum Valley where the unique Bristlehead didn’t disappoint, and neither did the plethora of exciting pittas, broadbills, trogons and other forest wonders.
  • 2013 [04 April] - Rob Gordijn

    PDF Report
    Since Martijn Hammers, Sjoerd Radstaak and Mark de Vries(MSM)were in Borneo around this time (as a part of their longer trip) we decided tojoin them for a bit.Because they had more time we decided we would join them in Danum (and do Sepilok & Kinabatangan by ourselves while they werealready there). After Danum wewent to Mt. Kinabalu together, from where we travelled back, and they went onto Poring and Rafflesia.
  • 2013 [07 July] - Chris Kehoe

    PDF Report
    …Later on we enjoyed improved views of Chestnut- hooded Laughingthrushes along with our first Sunda Laughingthrushes and a couple of stunning Bornean Green Magpies from the road before visiting the Silau Silau Trail where Grey-throated Babblers and Snowy- browed Flycatchers showed well along with a few previously seen species…
  • 2013 [08 August] - Rob Hutchinson

    PDF Report
    A last gasp Giant Pitta on the last morning for good measure! Danum also weighed in with Bornean Wren Babbler, Bornean Ground Babbler, and several hornbill sightings to complete the set of eight possible species, although we cut it fine with Helmeted Hornbill only adding it on the way to the airport on the last day! It was also great to find good numbers of Jambu Fruit Dove and Black-and-white Bulbul, both nomadic frugivores which only sporadically invade in these number.
  • 2013 [11 November] - James Eaton & Mark Villa

    PDF Report
    It was quite an afternoon with the endemics coming thick-and-fast soon after our arrival; scope views of both Bornean and Mountain Barbets chonking away, Temminck’s Sunbird, a tiny gem of a bird was encountered for the first time, as was Black-sided Flowerpecker, Bornean Treepie, Bornean Spiderhunters, Bornean Whistler, Sunda and Rufous-hooded Laughingthrushes, Cinereous Bulbuls, Sunda Cuckooshrikes, Brown Barbet, Orange-backed Woodpecker, surprisingly numerous Bornean Leafbird though a pair of Fruit-hunter were frustratingly brief while at dusk several Hair-crested Drongo came out of the woods
  • 2014 [08 August] - Jurek D

    PDF Report
    ...Highlights were Whitehead's Trogon and Broadbill and multiple Bare-headed Laughingthrushes at Mt Kinabalu, Hose's Broadbill and Bornean Spiderhunter at Poring, Blue-naped Parrot, Hooded and Black-and-crimson Pittas and White-faced Falconet at Sepilok, Bornean Ground Cuckoo, Whitecrowned Hornbill and camp-visiting Storm's Storks at Kinabatangan, and at Danum lots of lowland birds with multiple Bristleheads and Great Arguses...
  • 2014 [11 November] - Dave Bakewell - Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia

    PDF Report
    ...Thus it waswith these chiefly in mind that this custom tour was arranged as a follow-on from the scheduled Sabah, BorneoOctober 2014 tour. Additionally, a few days in Peninsular Malaysia had as their main target another countryendemic, Mountain Peacock-Pheasant....
  • 2015 [01 January] - Mike Nelson

    PDF Report
    Borneo is the third largest island in the world and hosts over 50 endemics. This tour encompassed some of the best lowland forest birding sites including Sepilok and its famous canopy walkway and Orang-utans, the Kinabatangan River with elusive forest dwellers like the Bornean Ground Cuckoo and an array of magnificent hornbills, and we finished in the amazing Danum Valley where a good tract of primary forest harbours babblers, broadbills and pittas.
  • 2015 [03 March] - Bengt Sjoman

    PDF Report
    ...There is a small diesel powerstation here to pollute the sound-waves…but birding is good with a lot of fruiting trees that attracts Fruit-hunters, Black-eyes, White-eyes, Bornean Treepies, Flycatchers, Mountain Warblers, Thrushes etc.
  • 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 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 [03 March] - Rob Hutchinson

    PDF Report
    ...We began in the mountains where Whitehead’s Spiderhunter, Whitehead’s Broadbill, Bornean, Mountain and Gold-naped Barbet and Bornean Bulbul got us off to a great start. This continued on Mount Kinabalu where we saw Whitehead’s Trogon to complete the ‘Whitehead’s Trio’, Everett’s Thrush on the first morning, cracking views of both endemic partridges, Bornean Stubtail and Mountain Black-eye, then a stomp up the summit trail gave us a Friendly Bush Warbler that lived up to its name, and a great encounter with Fruit-hunter.
  • 2015 [04 April] - Mans Grindsten

    PDF Report
    Rarely seen Grey-breasted Babbler at Klias. • Many Copper-throated Sunbirds at Sepilok entrance road. • Amazing scenery from the Canopy walkway at Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Center. • All good raptors along Kinabatang River.
  • 2015 [06 June] - Erik Forsyth

    PDF Report
    ...in Kota Kinabalu, we took a quick walk around the hotel grounds, picking upseveral of the commoner city birds including confiding Pink-necked Green Pigeons sunning in the earlysunlight, Peaceful Dove, Glossy Swiftlet, a calling Asian Koel, Collared Kingfisher, Asian GlossyStarling and Yellow-vented Bulbul.
  • 2015 [07 July] - Dave Bakewell

    PDF Report
    ...Highlights of the tourwere many, and included Black Oriole, Dulit, Bornean and Sunda Frogmouths, Bornean Banded and BluebandedPittas, Hose’s and Whitehead’s Broadbills, Whitehead’s Spiderhunter, Rail-Babbler, Mountain HawkEagle,Ferruginous Partridge, Rufous-tailed Jungle-Flycatcher, Pygmy Ibon, Hook-billed and Black-andWhiteBulbuls, Fruithunter and Everett’s Thrush, the latter possibly the first recent record for the area.
  • 2015 [08 August] - Pritam Baruah - Sepilok, Kinabatangan, Danum Valley, Crocker Range NP, Kinabalu NP

    PDF Report
    ...Holding about 60 endemic bird species (taxonomy dependent) and the majority of bird species restricted to Sundaland (Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra and Java), Borneo is one of the classic birding destinations of the world....
  • 2015 [09 September] - David & Sarah Blair

    PDF Report
    ...there were some good birds such as Blue-naped Parrot, Striated Heron, White-breasted Wood Swallow, Collared Kingfisher, loads of Green Imperial Pigeons and surprisingly two fly in Grey Imperial Pigeons.
  • 2015 [09 September] - David & Sarah Blair

    PDF Report
    ...there were some good birds such as Blue-naped Parrot, Striated Heron, White-breasted Wood Swallow, Collared Kingfisher, loads of Green Imperial Pigeons and surprisingly two fly in Grey Imperial Pigeons.
  • 2015 [09 September] - Mike Nelson - Sarawak & Sabah

    PDF Report
    ...We managed 50 endemics, three heard only, from stunning Bristlehead, Crimson-headed Partridge and Bornean Ground Cuckoo to the less known but equally desired Black Oriole and Dulit Frogmouth.
  • 2015 [09 September] - Peter Ericsson

    Report
    ... On the way, we saw a pair of Black-red Broadbills. These exciting birds are quite common in Sabah and impossible to get tired of. We also saw Gold-whiskered Barbet, Sunda Bush Warbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Bornean Bulbul, Mountain Leaf Warbler, Bornean Treepies and a few more but generally it was pretty quiet. Both Bornean and Mountain Barbets kept singing.
  • 2016 [03 March] - Rob Hutchinson

    PDF Report
    The Sarawak extension began with a morning in peat-swamp forest which got us off to a flying start with RedcrownedBarbet, Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker, Grey-breasted Babbler and Hook-billed Bulbul all found. Fromhere we headed up into the Kelabit Highlands to cover two separate sites. At the first we found the rare BlackOriole, a colourful Hose’s Broadbill, Rufous-tailed Jungle Flycatcher, Bornean Banded and Blue-banded Pitta,Bornean Bulbul, Bornean Leafbird, Bornean Barbet and fabulous views of Bornean Frogmouth. At the last site weeventually had point-blank views of Dulit Frogmouth with Barred Eagle Owl as night-time bonus, and during theday Whitehead’s Spiderhunter, another Mountain Serpent Eagle, Sunda Cuckoo, Bock’s Hawk Cuckoo and Fruithunter.
  • 2016 [04 April] - Dave Stejskal

    Report
    ...We finished the trip up in the cool highlands of Crocker Range National Park and Kinabalu National Park. What a wonderful difference in temperatures to wind up this fabulous trip! The numbers of tourists in the park has yet to rebound to levels like those seen before last year's tragic earthquake, but we didn't mind the diminished activity on our full days of birding here. Every day we were there held numerous surprises for us, like our cooperative trio of Whitehead's Broadbills, a gorgeous adult male Whitehead's Trogon, incredible Rafflesia keithii in full bloom near Poring Hot Springs, a female Fruit-hunter sitting on a nest and being fed infrequently by her mate, a 'frozen' Crimson-headed Partridge right next to the trail, calling Bornean Collared Owlet at a curve in the road, and a rare decent look at the poorly-known Waterfall Swift at the mountain overlook. And that's just the start! It was a super conclusion to our time together...
  • 2016 [05 May] - Arjan Brenkman & Jan van der Laan - Ba’kelalan, Payeh Maga, Klias Peat Swamp and Danum Valley

    PDF Report
    In 2016 we had our five-year lustrum of the Virtual Birders® and we thought Borneo would be a good ideato celebrate. Dulit Frogmouth was high on our priority list followed by Hose’s Broadbill, all endemic pitta’s,Black Oriole plus Bornean Bristlehead and Bornean Ground Cuckoo. Arjan had visited Mount Kinabalu andthe Kinabatangan River already in 2003, but missed some species. James Eaton advised us to do theBornean Rain Forest Lodge as the best chance to see the Bristlehead and also we had a reasonable chanceto see the Ground Cuckoo. For the Payeh Maga part we decided to contact Yeo Siew Teck, a Malaysianbased birder with good organization and birding skills. James Eaton made the contact for us with Sang Sigar,owner of a homestay and the person who rediscovered the Dulit Frogmouth in 2013.
  • 2016 [05 May] - Mike Nelson - Sarawak and Sabah

    PDF Report
    Our Borneo tour is always a hit and with the regular inclusion of Sarawak there is a real chance for some onceonly dreamt of megas like Dulit Frogmouth, Black Oriole and Hose’s Broadbill. Sarawak also affords theopportunity at several more species more difficult in Sabah...
  • 2016 [06 June] - Megan Edwards Crewe

    Report
    ...the birds were amazing! Where do you start a "highlight list" for a trip with so many highlights? Perhaps with the quiet little gang of Bornean Bristleheads rummaging through the branches of trees near the canopy walkway on our very first morning together. Or maybe with the jewel-bright Black-crowned Pitta, spilling his pure whistled song into a warm afternoon along the Sukau boardwalk trail. ...
  • 2016 [06 June] - Rich Lindie

    PDF Report
    ...While there, we had great views of nesting Blue-naped Parrots, confiding Oriental Pied Hornbills, a very active Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Zebra Dove, White-breasted Woodswallows and our first Bornean endemic, Dusky Munia...
  • 2016 [06 June] - Rob Hutchinson

    PDF Report
    Our pioneering Sarawak trips have proved very popular, not only with first time visitors hoping to enjoy somethingdifferent to the ‘usual’ Borneo birding circuit but also return visitors hoping to catch up with several endemicswhich are difficult to find in Sabah. This trip began with a morning in peat-swamp forest where we found RedcrownedBarbet and Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker in spite of the rain, and on a return visit at the end of the weekwe also caught up with Hook-billed Bulbul. Our two higher altitude birding sites on the trip proved successful withmost of the hoped-for Sarawak species found including excellent views of both Dulit and Bornean Frogmouths, andBlack Oriole. There was of course a fine supporting cast which included Bornean and Mountain Barbets, BorneanBulbul, Pygmy White-eye, Bornean Leafbird, Fruit-hunter and Hose’s Broadbill.
  • 2016 [07 July] - Sam Woods

    PDF Report
    ...dashing Blue-banded Pitta, similarly spectacular Blue-headed Pitta; Whitehead’s Broadbill and Trogon, (part of the infamous “Whitehead’s Three”, which we completed with the spiderhunter too); a quartet of White-fronted Falconet sightings; “Bornean” Banded Kingfisher (Black-faced Kingfisher); Golden-naped Barbet, and Bornean GreenMagpie. However, aside from the endemic species, there are plentiful spectacular species that are not confined to the island, like Rhinoceros and Wrinkled Hornbills; Black-and-yellow and Black-and-red Broadbills; Checker-throated Woodpecker, and Rufous-collared Kingfisher...
  • 2016 [10 October] - Birding2Asia

    Report
    ...The Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot isn't uncommon in well protected forest reserves. The resorts at Sepilok smartly sit at the forest edge and it was no wonder we had the usual thing going on in the grounds; fly-over at rocket speed, perched distant at best. I kind of started wondering about getting good close-up shots....
  • 2017 [02 Feb] - Matthew Kwan - Sabah, Malaysia

    Report
    Seeing that we still got two hours of sunlight we thought we should not waste it and headed up the park. We didn't drive up too far and soon encountered a flock of beautiful and endemic Bornean Green Magpie and Bornean Treepies...
  • 2017 [03 March] - Jean-Yves Barnagau

    PDF Report
    ...There are several open points where we found Raffle’s and Chestnut-bellied Malkohas, Crested Serpent Eagle (common around), several Bulbul, Barbet and Babbler species. We eventually stopped as a herd of 3-4 Pygmy Elephants were feeding just near the trail behind a large fallen tree.Afternoon spent on our way back to Lahad Datu without any major sighting. Flight to Kota Kinabalu late afternoon, arrival at dawn...
  • 2017 [04 April] - Zoothera

    PDF Report
    ...The boardwalk that takes us across the canopy at Sepilok produced our first looks at Orang-utan, as well as a Black-crowned Pitta that flew up to our lofty vantage point to take a look at us. Severalboattrips along the Kinabatangan River gave us access to numerous tributaries and creeks where Storm’s Stork and Wrinkled Hornbills paraded alongside bizarre-looking Proboscis Monkeys. And then we enjoyed a pitta-fest at the incredible Danum Valley to round off another magical Sabah tour...
  • 2017 [07 July] - John Buckens

    PDF Report
    Consideringour limited time we had a successfultrip in Borneo. Highlights were numerous, and mostof the possible endemicswere seen. Memorable moments weretheBlue-banded Pittaforagingon the grid trail at DVFC, no less than 11sightingsof Blue-headed Pitta, great views ofthe Whitehead’s trioand the 3 endemic Wren-Babblers, the unexpected Rail-babblerat Paya Maga, prolonged views ofa group of BorneanBristleheadsat DVFC, Black Orioleand Bornean Frogmouthat Paya Maga, a great trip to Kinabatangan with close-up views ofBornean Ground Cuckoo, the Hook-billed Bulbulsat Klias and so on.
  • 2017 [08 August] - Anjana

    Report
    After our marathon road-trip across India and a few short trips thereafter; the plan was to wait out the monsoon season at home and take some much deserved rest. However, the nomads in us were soon yearning for another adventure and to escape the Indian monsoons, the world map was spread out to scout for potential destinations.
  • 2017 [09 September] - Marcel Gil Velasco

    PDF Report
    ...Other interesting birds seen in this area included se-veral Bornean Whistling Thrushes, at least 2 Sunda Bush Warbler, some Mountain Leaf Warblers, some Yellow-breasted Warblers and a flock of Pale-faced Bulbuls, the only sighting we managed of this hi-ghland species...
  • 2017 [10 October] - Yeo Siew Teck

    PDF Report
    ...After an hour search none of the broadbills and pittas were active, but just as we exited theforest a male Hose's Broadbill was seen briefly, it appeared too close to us and flew away after we made some minor movement, with only Ron getting a view....
  • 2018 [01 January] - Marten Hornsveld

    PDF Report
    ...Birding at the river is relatively straightforward. You get on a boat andfind some birds. The day was divided in two sessions, an early as possible session based on the amount of fog in the morning and a combinedafternoon and night session depending on the rain. In our case we focused on our main targets: Bornean Ground Cuckoo, White-crowned Hornbill, Storm’s Stork, Giant Pitta, Oriental Bay Owl andLarge Frogmouth...
  • 2018 [01 January] - Wilbur Goh

    PDF Report
    ...All three targets done in under twohours! To top it off, a pair of Bloodheadwere then found feeding quietly on the trail and we enjoyed prolonged views as we headed out to the road. Visiting other areas of the park, we were fortunate to have a pair of Pale-faced Bulbuls feeding next to the road but we failed to connect with Whitehead’s Trogon for photographs (good thing it wasn’t one of our targets!)....
  • 2018 [02 February] - Alex Berryman

    PDF Report
    I generally did well, cleaning up in Kinabalu Park, getting the most sought-afterspecies along the Kinabtangan (Bornean Ground-cuckoo, White-crowned Hornbill, Oriental Bay-owl etc.), and seeing all the pittas (bar Giant which let the side down) at Danum Valley. The trip list isn’t without its embarrassing omissions. The original plan was to follow this trip with a week-long trip to Sarawak to search for Dulit and Bornean Frogmouth, Hose’s Broadbill etc., however I ended up returning to the UK for a week, vowing to save Sarawak (and probably Kalimantan for Bornean Peacock-pheasant etc.)for a future venture. There were a few other species I was relying on this part of the trip for; as a result, I didn’t bird the Crocker Range and so species such as Bornean Barbet and Bulbul are conspicuous by their absence.
  • 2018 [03 March] - Dave Stejskal

    Report
    ...Other memorable moments on this one include point-blank views of a perched Storm's Stork along the Kinabatangan R. near Sukau, a very confiding male Crested Fireback at BRL on our last morning there after multiple fruitless tries, tiny Mountain Scops-Owl and Collared (Bornean) Owlet at Kinabalu Park (plus four other species of owls seen this trip!), a swirling flock of 50+ Waterfall Swifts, a gorgeous calling Whitehead's Trogon and multiple Whitehead's Broadbills at Kinabalu Park, a scarce (and tailless) Cinnamon-rumped Trogon at BRL, great views of seven species of hornbills (Wreathed was a 'heard only' this year), good looks at all five of the Bornean endemic barbets (including the difficult Bornean Barbet), both Black-crowned and Blue-headed pittas within five minutes of each other at BRL...
  • 2018 [04 April] - Raphael LeBrun

    PDF Report
    Mount Kinabalu - The following endemics are common and were seen along different trails in the park: Crimson-headed Partridge (commonly heardbut difficult to see), Bornean Green Magpie, Bornean Treepie, Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush, Chestnut-crested Yuhina...
  • 2018 [07 July] - Henk Hendriks

    PDF Report
    Afterdawn we walked the boardwalk and we took the left fork towards the observation tower at the end of the board walk. We heard Scarlet-breasted Flowerpeckertwice but no views. Near the observation tower we connected with anotheroneof our targets the Hook-billed Bulbul. We had nice views of at least 2 birds. Then we tried for the Grey-breasted Babblerbut we did not even hear the species which was ofcourse disappointing. Other species seen included Thick-billed Green Pigeon, a singleRed-crowned Barbet, Blue-eared Barbet, Rufous Piculet, Banded Woodpecker,nice views of a pair of Great Slaty Woodpecker, Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot, Fiery Minivet, Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Black-naped Monarch, Ashy Tailorbird, Red-eyed Bulbul, Chestnut-rumped Babbler, Bold-striped Tit-Babbler, Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler, Grey-hooded (Chestnut-winged) Babbler,Yellow-rumped Flowerpeckerand Orange-bellied Flowerpecker.
  • 2018 [07 July] - Megan Edwards Crewe

    Report
    Our adventure began at Sepilok's Rainforest Discovery Center, where we connected with many common lowland species -- starting right in the parking lot, where we had a great look at our first endemic Dusky Munias. From the wonderfully sturdy towers and walkways, we studied our first handsome Green Ioras, Yellow-vented and Plain flowerpeckers, Buff-rumped Woodpeckers, flyby Cinnamon-headed Pigeons and Brown-backed Needletail, and a handful of nest-prospecting Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrots.
  • 2018 [10 October] - Tom Mabbett

    PDF Report
    Birds were superb along the way with various hornbills, kingfishers, bulbuls, owls, pittas and frogmouths. We had a lot of fun along the way of course and despite not finding Clouded Leopard on this occasion, it was a most memorable visit to this special island.
  • 2019 [05 May] - Matthew Kwan - Kinabalu National Park & Kota Kinabalu

    Report
    A short trip for Whitehead's Trogon and other montane endemics of Borneo.
Places to Stay


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

  • Mesilau Nature Resort

    Accommodation
    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

    Accommodation
    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.
Blogs
  • Birders of Borneo Island

    BLOG
    Photoblog
  • CK Leong - Borneo Birds

    BLOG
    Hi, my name is Ceekay. I am a full time bird guide based in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. I have been birding since 1987, having previously shown particular disregard for birdwatching until I saw a White-Browed Shrike Babbler through the eyepiece of a visiting birder’s spotting scope. Since then I have improved just a bit more, at times graduating to the birds of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, India and Nepal.
  • Denis Degullacion

    BLOG
    Last updated May 2015
  • Jason Bugay Reyes

    BLOG
    Freelance photographer cum bird guide specialised in Birds, Sports and Digiscoping for a living. Ambassador for Swarovski Optik, Austria.
  • Jordan Sitorus - Amazing Borneo

    BLOG
    Birds and Wildlife found in Borneo
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Paul Huang

    Gallery
    This gallery showcase some of the birdlife that can be found in Kinabalu National Park and the lowland forest around Poring Hot Springs, Sabah, Malaysia. The national park is now a world heritage site and is considered to be one of the best places in the region for birding…
  • Photographer - Wong Tsu Shi - Wild Birds of Borneo

    Gallery
    Welcome to my collection of images for Birds of Borneo. A record of my humble efforts to photodocument the avifauna of Borneo in general and Sabah in particular. My starting point is to record the varied avifauna so the images are geared towards this objective. All birds photographs are of wild birds…

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