Birdwatching in Malaysia: a vital information – Lonely Planet


Greater than 750 chicken species will be discovered beneath Malaysia’s chattering jungle canopies – that’s an entire lot of feathers for a comparatively small nation. Whether or not you’re an avid birder or a beginner who doesn’t know a heron from a hornbill, the wild plumages, delicate calls and orchestrated actions of Malaysia’s birds are certain to thrill.

Malaysia’s birding habitats

Severe birders might spend a whole journey to Malaysia ticking off the 40-plus documented endemic species discovered within the nation’s massive system of pure parks and preserves. Informal observers are prone to spot a handful of fascinating birds in simply certainly one of Malaysia’s prime birding habitats.

Prime spots embrace Selangor’s Cape Rachado Forest Reserve, Endau-Rompin Nationwide Park in Johor; Fraser’s Hill and Kenong Rimba State Park in Pahang; Bako Nationwide Park and Gunung Mulu Nationwide Park and Lambir Hills Nationwide Park in Sarawak; Mt Kinabalu Nationwide Park in Sabah; and Taman Negara Nationwide Park, which spreads throughout Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu.

There are such a lot of birds in Fraser’s Hill – a straightforward day journey from Kuala Lumpur – that the native authorities celebrates with the Fraser’s Hill Worldwide Fowl Race ( in Might or June. Cape Rachado has a long-running raptor watch the place you’ll be able to sight any variety of migrating raptors – typically seen September to November or March to Might. Prime birds of prey embrace the oriental honey buzzard, ospreys, black baza, black-shouldered kite, Japanese sparrowhawk, better noticed eagle, Chinese language goshawk and grey-faced buzzard.

Malaysia’s coolest birds

Whilst you’ll want a big-boy zoom lens to get the very best pics, you don’t want greater than a set of binoculars (or a eager eye) to go birding. Naturalist guides in most of Malaysia’s parks are good at sighting the A-list species. Hold your eyes peeled for these scene-stealing birds.

Rhinoceros hornbill

There are 10 species of hornbill present in Malaysia – working the descriptor gamut from nice and white-crowned to helmeted, wrinkled and bushy. These resplendent birds are hands-down Malaysia’s signature species. The rhinoceros hornbill is arguably the best-looking of the bunch with its horn-like crown and highly effective determine, however the plain-pouched is the rarest. You possibly can spot all 10 species at Temenggor Lake (Perak) and hundreds of plain-pouched hornbills come right here from August to September.

Kenyir Lake (Terengganu) is one other prime spot for hornbill viewing. Hornbills are a bell-weather species – they require massive habitat ranges, are principally monogamous, and due to their substantial dimension, want massive bushes for nesting. With a lot of logging exterior the nationwide parks, their pure habitat is shrinking, and could possibly be a priority for the longer term.

Malayan peacock-pheasant

Also referred to as the Malaysia peacock-pheasant or the crested peacock-pheasant, this beautiful chicken is endemic to peninsular Malaysia. You’ll know them immediately due to the glowing blue-green eyes and chartreuse tail-feather markings on the male. Due to habitat loss – and within the case of Thailand, searching – this chicken is now listed as weak, with 2500 to 10,000 people dwelling right here principally in tall major and secondary lowland dipterocarp forest. Search them out in Taman Negara, the place you can too discover their cousin, the mountain peacock-pheasant.

Black and crimson pitta

These diminutive floor dwellers are endemic to Sabah. They’ve a stunning purple stomach and the look of a pleasant cartoon animal. You’ll find these guys in tropical rainforest in Sabah from sea degree to 300m. Look in ravines and beneath dense cowl, particularly in major forest just like the Danum Valley Conservation Space.

Dulit partridge

Would you name your self a fortunate particular person? You’ll should be in an effort to search out this Sarawak native, as no sightings have been recorded since 1937. However birding consultants say the very best locations to look embrace the hills of Mount Dulit or Mount Batu Track in Sarawak. Should you spot one, take an image quick! After which contemplate shopping for a lottery ticket.

Storkbilled kingfisher

Arguably essentially the most patriotic chicken in Malaysia’s skies, the outsized orange beaks, blue backs, brown caps, and yellow collars and chests sported by these kingfishers mimic the colors of the nation’s flag. And in welcome information for gender equality within the chicken world, each men and women sport fantastic colouration. The place there’s water, there are kingfishers. Search for them in mangrove forests, rice paddies, lakes and rivers. The island of Langkawi has eight species.

Purple-naped trogon

You’ve by no means seen purple till you’ve noticed a male red-naped trogon, whose broad stomach is such a superb shade of scarlet it might cease visitors. Spot these showstoppers in major evergreen forests at an elevation of round 600m.

Black and yellow broadbill

If Picasso and Matisse bought collectively over a couple of absinthes and painted a chicken, this evocative and somewhat expressionist fellow may take kind. There are seven distinctive species of broadbill in Malaysia. Search for them on Fraser’s Hill, Maxwell Hill, Taiping, Sedim, Taman Negara and Kenyir Lake. Their nests is likely to be the very first thing you see – they hold these elaborate pear-shaped pouches above water, hidden with plant fibres, webs and different camouflage.

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