Monday, 1 April 2013

Malaysia Birding March 2013: Summary

Just back from a 3 week birding trip to a few sites on Peninsula Malaysia: Kuala Selengor (KS), Fraser's Hill  (FH) and Taman Negara (TN). I've wanted to go to Taman Negara for years and it certainly lived up to it's reputation (199 species in 10 days).  There were many varied highlights from the trip from all locations.  I'll put a proper Trip Report together when I have time... but for now, some of the highlights included:

Rusty-naped Pitta: 2 heard FH (1 of these seen Bishop's Trail, FH) - note 3 Dutch birders and 1 Danish birder also had sighting of a RNP on the Maxwell Trail at FH either side of my sighting.
Garnet Pitta: 3 heard TN (2 of these seen TN)
Banded Pitta: 1 heard TN (not seen unfortunately)
Hooded Pitta: 4 heard TN (3 of these seen TN)
Blue-winged Pitta: 4 recorded. 1 heard KS, 1 heard TN and 2 others seen TN

Rail-Babbler: 3 heard TN (1 of these seen TN)
Goulds Frogmouth: 2 seen TN, one during daylight (+ 1 other heard at TN)

Malaysian Partridge: 3 seen FH
Malaysian Peacock-Pheasant: 3/4 heard/seen in TN
Malaysian Laughingthrush: several seen at FH

Rufous-collared Kingfisher: 3 seen TN
Banded Kingfisher: 1 seen TN (+ 1/2 others heard TN) and 1 seen near Kuala Lumpur
Blue-banded Kingfisher: 2 pairs seen along Tahan River TN

Green Broadbill: 2/3 pairs seen at TN
Banded Broadbill: 1 male seen at TN (+ others heard TN)
Black-and-Yellow Broadbill: 3/4 seen at TN (+ others heard TN) and 1 seen near Kuala Lumpur
Long-tailed Broadbill: 4/5 pairs seen at FH including 2 pairs found nesting FH
Black-and-Red Broadbill: Very common TN

A massive range of other species including 19 species of Woodpecker (including Bamboo at the Gap FH), 4 Trogons, 23 species of Flycatcher, 21 species of Bulbul (including Black-and-White and Finch's), 32 species of Babblers and a really good mix of migrants including Oriental Honey Buzzard (one flock of 126 was quite impressive over FH), Black Baza (KS), Siberian, Eye-browed and Orange-headed Thrushes, Tiger and Brown Shrikes, Asian Brown, Yellow-rumped and Mugimaki Flycatchers, Arctic, Eastern Crowned and Yellow-browed Warblers.

Plenty of other birds too.. sunbirds, flowerpeckers, spiderhunters, warblers, bee-eaters, raptors, owls, nightjars, cuckoos, barbets, hornbills, orioles, herons, kingfishers, swifts (inc Whiskred and Grey-rumped Treeswifts), forktails, leafbirds, pigeons etc... the list goes on.

I think I recorded in the region of 320 species in 3 weeks - note I didn't do the rice paddies/estuaries while near the coast which would have upped the 'trip-list' considerably by providing a large range of waders (most of which I've already seen so not that fussed)... I got around via taxi mainly which worked out a lot cheaper than hiring a car and was generally not a problem.

An interesting range of animals also seen including several snakes (almost stood on a 10ft long Black Cobra!), Tapir, White-handed Gibbon, Siamang, Langurs, Macaques, Orb-spiders, Bird-eating spiders (all spiders huge and hideous!), giant millipedes, tonnes of butterflies - some huge, some tiny, many incredibly colourful, plenty of moths - some big ones!, lizards - some flying, geckos, huge Monitor Lizards, bats, squirrels - tiny to giant, rats, tree shrews, deer (Sambar and Mouse), ants etc and the odd Mosquito and Leech!

A few pictures of some birds below: lots more photos of birds/animals/landscapes etc to sort through and will follow as and when I have time to go through them! Due to the conditions (e.g. dark forests etc many pics are taken on very high ISO, hence why they may be grainy, but in the most part I was just happy to get a record shot!)

I met some really nice visiting birders while in Malaysia (and a few local guides), all of who helped massively in finding birds, passing on gen etc and generally making the whole trip really enjoyable. Looking forward to heading back over there... Pittas are addictive!

Garnet Pitta - Taman Negara

Garnet Pitta - Taman Negara

Gould's Frogmouth - Taman Negara
Hooded Pitta - Taman Negara

Rail-Babbler - Taman Negara

Rufous-collared Kingfisher - Taman Negara

Malaysian Peacock-Pheasant - Taman Negara


  1. Looks brilliant Andy sounds like you had an amazing time, looking forward to seeing all the pics, glad you didn't stand on the Cobra!!

    1. Cheers Andy, not as glad as I was!! It was huge!!

  2. Sounds like you did considerably better than us Andy - no pittas (heard several), no frogmouths and worst of all, no Rail Babbler (heard 2)
    Did you go "off-road" much at TN? We didn't and I'm guessing this is what led to our poor return.

    Chris W

  3. Matt Slaymaker2 April 2013 at 09:27

    Cool, sounds like a good trip! You saw more than me at TN although I was only there for 2-3 days. I look forwrd to more gripping photos

    1. Cheers Matt, will stick some more up tonight if I can stay awake after first day back at work!
      Where are you these days??

    2. Currently Denmark, off to Chinafor 2 months as of next week, then Sweden until September than Denmark again to mid-November - busy, busy, busy!!
      I think we are well overdue a catch-up ... will get in touch next time I am back in the UK for a reasonable amount of time (not this year!)

    3. Nice one Matt, sounds great! Yeah drop me a line when you're free, would be good to catch up again!

  4. I went bush-whacking a couple of times but not too much really, I went about 400m off a couple of times but not too far as didn't want to get lost, which would be quite easy crawling round on the floor spinning around!!
    I really enjoyed it and will probably go back to some different parts of TN in December.

    You got some great photos by the way, really enjoyed looking through them.

    Cheers, Andy

  5. Cheers mate, would've sacrificed all my photos to see Rail Babbler and any frogmouth though...

    Chris W

    1. yeah I know what you mean! I was gutted I didn't actually see Banded Pitta, but will get that next time!

  6. I think you saw enough!

  7. Hi Andy
    two of us from Scarborough are birding TN + FH the last two weeks in June.
    Any particular trails you'd recommend at TN? Any tips? We're doing 7 days at TN + 5 at FH.
    Nick Addey

    1. Hi Nick drop me your email address to andywalker 1000 AT and I'll drop you some info. I'm in the process of writing a trip report which should be done in the next couple of weeks,
      Cheers, Andy