Central Region Birding - 6th - 8th August 2018

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

"I would like to thank you about your excellent trip organzation and caring for me during this photography trip. Also, I would  like to thank you for your continuous efforts to bring birds to me and trying to find as many bird as possible." - Saad, Saudi Arabia

This is the first time I am guiding a birder from Saudi Arabia. Saad is a very calm birder, lots of patience and looking out for detail of the birds. We covered the lowland forest near KL and Krau forest before spending a night in Fraser's Hill - my favorite birding spot in Peninsular Malaysia. Birding activities in the lowland forest were relatively slow compared to usual days but up in the highland we were rewarded with many lovely species that you never get tired of.

I also had my unusual sighting on this trip. An uncommonly seen babbler, Collared Babbler or formerly known as White-hooded Babbler.

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Central Region Birding July-August 2018

Sunday, August 5, 2018

A great birding trip with Roland and Nini. Lots of laughter and fun during our 8 days birding. Some targets showed up instantly while some took much longer but also some misses too. Still, we get pretty good list for the trip.

For this trip, Roland had informed me that he wanted to get better photographs of hornbill and kingfisher. I planned out an itinerary to suit his targets and add a few other popular photography targets too. We covered the coastal of Selangor, Putrajaya and then moved further inland into the lowland forest of Hulu Langat, Krau, Kuala Tahan and the highland of Bukit Tinggi as well as Fraser's Hill. A trip to Peninsular Malaysia MUST include Fraser's Hill. 

After 4 days of birding, we managed 6 species of hornbills (White-crowned, Rhinoceros, Great, Black, Oriental Pied and Helmeted). No matter how hard we tried for the next few days, we were unable to add any new hornbill species sighting to add to our trip list. The best we got was a call of Bushy-crested Hornbill. Can't complain much, it has been a great birding for me and them. 4 owls for the entire trip including the not so common sighting of Brown Wood Owl and Mountain Scops Owl. And yes! both of them had tons of photos of the owls (i hope). We worked really hard for it. 

We also saw and photographed 6 species of kingfishers (White-throated, Stork-billed, Collared, Rufous-backed, Rufous-collared and Banded). No sign of the Blue-eared and Blue-banded though, and we were not anywhere near the habitat for Ruddy and Brown-winged. :D

It was surprising to see this Rufous-collared Kingfisher at a good close distance and eye-level. It was very cooperative and stayed for a long time for Roland, Nini and myself to observe and admire it.

Photo taken with iPhone SE, Kowa TSN-IP5, and Kowa TSN501.

And no forgeting the 2 most popular Trogon in Peninsular Malaysia, none other than the Scarlet-rumped Trogon in the lowland forest and Red-headed Trogon on the highland.

The photo on the right showing a Scarlet-rumped Trogon taken with iPhone SE, Kowa TSN-IP5, and Kowa TSN501.




All these 9 photos showing Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Banded Kingfisher, Crested Serpent Eagle, Red-headed Trogon, Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, Malayan Peacock Pheasant, Oriental Honey Buzzard and Banded Pitta were taken with iPhone SE, Kowa TSN-IP5, and either Kowa TSN501 spotting scope or Kowa BDXD 10x32 binocular.

We were driving around a small area surrounded by oil palm and there it was a juvenile Crested Serpent Eagle. Good thing there is not much traffic along this stretch of road. We were able to stopped the car and take photographs of the raptor.

At the location for Rufous-backed Kingfisher. Roland decided to stayed on this spot because this is the best angle to shoot the kingfisher despite that Nini found a leech here. Ok, by now you should have guessed that why Nini is not sitting here.

We met Susan Myers and Greg Greene led by a friend of mine at Taman Negara.

A birder from Netherlands joined us for Chestnut-winged Babbler. There was a Blue-winged Pitta nearby too.

Nini goes after the Blue-winged Pitta!

It finally showed up after a lengthy wait! Patience, patience, patience....but time is very crucial.

Complete our target for Malayan Peacock Pheasant in Taman Negara, we took the short river crossing on a boat. It was a hot day indeed!

We spent a late morning at this location of an abandoned hotel in the hill station. It rained for a minute then it stopped and we got good lighting but maybe Nini felt it was better to shoot from inside the car while Roland prefers to sit out in the open. We had a good show put up by Silver-eared Mesia, Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush, Fire-tufted Barbet, Long-tailed Sibia and the friendly squirrels too.

Nini was tired, so she had the afternoon OFF while Roland continue birding with me in a quiet afternoon.

Nini need a massage, but the only massage available in Fraser's Hill, is this massage chair at Shahzan Inn hotel lobby.

On the way down from Fraser's Hill, we had Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike and Grey-chinned Minivet. New for the trip, so they both jumped out from the car and spent a few minutes waiting for the birds to give us a good view. Reaching KL, we had a short session going through the photographs taken by Roland and Nini. Label them one by one before we end this trip. Another good trip! Well done to both of them.
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Central Route Birding - July 2018

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Starting off from KL, we drove towards the coastal open field with patches of Mangroves in the early morning. Found most of the birds we wanted but missed a few. In the afternoon, we went up to Fraser's Hill which we spent 3 days. The hill station proved to be a challenge with the low birding activities throughout the day and night. We managed to find 2 out of 3 targeted owls, but again, the Collared Owlet is rather quiet just like any of my previous trips. Brown Wood Owl was difficult, we only managed to find it on our last owling session up here. The Mountain Scops Owl was not easy either, many birders would agree that even though you may got near to a Mountain Scops Owl, does not necessary mean you will get even a split second look at it. But luckily we did pretty well. The scops owl stayed long enough for record shots with the camera. Red-headed Trogon requires 2 days of searching and waiting but we finally got 1 female and 2 male. Lots of Common Green Magpie, we saw them every day while we were there. Other highlights from the hill station include Malayan Laughingthrush, Malayan Partridge (7 of them), Malayan Whistling Thrush (heard only), Slaty-backed Forktail and Bushy-crested Hornbill (we saw 4 flying by).  After Fraser's Hill, we covered a nearby lowland forest in the late afternoon and morning the following day. The highlights from this forest were (but not limited to) Black-throated Babbler, Black-capped Babbler, Short-tailed Babbler, Ferruginous Babbler, Chestnut-rumped Babbler, Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Rufous-backed Kingfisher, Banded Woodpecker, Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Buff-necked Woodpecker, Hairy-backed Bulbul, Grey-cheeked Bulbul, Spectacled Bulbul, Cream-vented Bulbul, Buff-vented Bulbul, Red-eyed Bulbul, Stripe-throated Bulbul, Black-and-Red Broadbill, Black-naped Monarch and not forgetting the most tricky of all, a Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler. Next, we drove up to the hill of Bukit Tinggi for overnight. The next morning, we waited for our targets but only one appeared while the other target is no where to be found. However, we saw a star bird of the trip. We also found Scaly-breasted Bulbul, Blue-eared Barbet, Yellow-vented Pigeon, and Large Woodshrike. For our final destination, we covered the lowland forest near KL where we managed to include Rufous-backed Kingfisher, Pale Blue Flycatcher, White-chested Flycatcher, Banded Kingfisher, Red-bearded Bee-eater and few others.
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Weekend Birding with Mike and Claire - July 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

Another good weekend trip with Michael and Claire. I have guided both of them before, this time we spent more time in the lowland forest of Pahang focusing on the just the "missing" or target species that Michael needed.

From KL, we set off to Pahang and arrived at our destination right on time! We spent the whole day until it gets dark. By the end of the day, we nailed White-bellied Woodpecker, Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Long-tailed Parakeet, Black-thighed Falconet, Black-throated Babbler and others.

The following day, we returned to the forest for more targets (but due to limited time, we only spent less than half day here) which includes Great Slaty Woodpecker, Rufous-collared Kingfisher and others. Next we drove to Hulu Langat for a very quick birding session for Rufous-backed Kingfisher, Orange-backed Woodpecker and a few others. 

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Birders from Brazil visiting Fraser's Hill 12 July 2018

Thursday, July 12, 2018

This is my 2nd time guiding birders from South America. Last year, I had Hugo based in Ecuador and today, I had this couple from Brazil with me in Fraser's Hill. So, now I have guests coming from almost all continents. Before they come over to Peninsular, both of them spent a few days in Sarawak and Sabah. So, they already had a taste of birding in this part of the world.

We start looking for birds once we arrived at the hill station, and the first bird we saw is a Black-throated Sunbird. Then, we added Long-tailed Sibia, Silver-eared Mesia, Spectacled Laughingthrush, Large Niltava, Fire-tufted Barbet, Orange-bellied Leafbird and Streaked Spiderhunter. We were only focusing on specific birding spots in the hill station to ensure we get higher chance to see more species. We were unlucky with the Red-headed Trogon, but we still managed to locate Common Green Magpie, Blue Nuthatch, Black-browed Barbet, Pygmy Cupwing, Buff-breasted Babbler, Grey-throated Babbler, Rufous-browed Flycatcher, White-tailed Robin, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Mountain Bulbul, Stripe-throated Bulbul, Malayan Laughingthrush, Malaysian Partridge, Mountain Tailorbird, and few others great species! All new birds (lifers!) except Oriental Magpie Robin for the couple.

We waited for about an hour to get this species of partridge. Photo taken with iPhone through the binocular.

Sent them back to their overnight accommodation at the end of the day, bid them farewell before I make my way home to KL.

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Singapore Birders in Taman Negara June-July 2018

Monday, July 9, 2018

Nice to meet this team of birders from Singapore again. One didn't come and replaced by another birder. But still lots of laughter and jokes, just like the previous outing.

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UK Birders June 2018

I arranged an 8 day birding trip with Weng Chun in June 2018 for my wife and myself. Weng Chun provided alternative itineraries and we decided to go with a tour that encompassed Kuala Selangor, Fraser’s Hill, Taman Negara and Bukit Tinggi but in fact was much more as Weng incorporated stops between locations that gave us opportunities to see many more species. Weng Chun’s enthusiasm and determination that we see as much as possible was brilliant. If one of us missed a bird he would persevere until we had both seen it. Accommodation was good throughout and he ensured we had water, rest breaks and meals throughout the trip. He would sort out the hotel check-ins, help with luggage and was a joy to spend time with, helping us get the most from the trip. He was interested in our previous birding experiences and other wildlife interests and was delighted whenever we achieved a good sighting or obtained a good photograph of a particular or difficult species. We had early starts and night time excursions for owls and nightjars and by the end of the trip had amassed 240 species. I would not hesitate in recommending Weng Chun as a guide when visiting the Malaysian Peninsular. - Graham & Christine

This is another great trip! 😄 Love to share the birding activity with enthusiastic birders. I've just realized I took more than 500 shots with my iPhone on this trip. There was an unfortunate incident, my compact spotting scope fell and joint was opened, had to send it back to the manufacturer for repair. 😢

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Singapore Family birding in Fraser's Hill 13 June 2018

Just about a month ago, I received an enquiry from Kenny based in Singapore. I suggested to him that it would be better to go up to the hill station because that will provide him with many new species rather than going to Kuala Selangor which he will be seeing almost the same species back home. We met early in the morning in KL city centre and drove up to Fraser's Hill with a breakfast stop in Kuala Kubu Bahru. We start birding upon reach the hill station. No time to waste.

One of the first few species seen and the highlight for Fraser's Hill is no doubt a Red-headed Trogon. There is also a few Common Green Magpie at the same location.  For the next few hours in the hill station, we added Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Fire-tufted Barbet, Long-tailed Sibia, Silver-eared Mesia, Spectacled Laughingthrush, Malayan Laughingthrush, Emerald Dove, Malaysian Partridge, Large Niltava and so much more.

It was a short trip but a memorable one. It is always nice to see a family enjoying this "birding" activity. What a nice way to spend quality time together with family members!
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Central Route 3rd - 9th June 2018

Sunday, June 3, 2018

"Thanks for the best birding and photography trip...ever!!! Your untiring efforts to locate the most beautiful birds of Malaysia (day and night), your patience and kindness with kids (...and responding to their unending questions!), your overall company - all made our adventure into Malaysia's forests so wonderful. Without a doubt, I'd recommend you to anyone considering a trip to Malaysia and looking for wildlife. We learnt much from you and the importance of doing homework before embarking on these trips, to see all the variety the forest has to offer. Will definitely be going back for Season 2! Take care." - Momo, Bilal & Umar (Pakistan)

This trip, I guided 3 guests but the main birder was an 11-year old boy, my youngest ever guest.  We covered the usual birding sites in the central region of Peninsular Malaysia. Upon arrival at the hill station, we had a supposedly quick lunch but the food arrived little too late so that delayed our afternoon birding. Our afternoon main target is the Malayan Partridge but we made a stop along the way for Large Niltava, Rufous-browed Flycatcher, Buff-breasted Babbler. It was an almost 2 hours wait at the Partridge station. We were the first to arrived, then a few photographers from Thailand joined us. An hour later, 3 more birders came. While waiting for the partridge to show up, we were entertained by 2 species of Laughingthrush, Streaked Spiderhunter, Emerald Dove, Oriental Magpie Robin, Streaked Wren-babbled and a Red-cheeked Squirrel. 2 more birders came and joined us but after a short wait they walked away from the station. As soon as they left, one partridge showed up! Then 2nd, 3rd,4th and 5th bird came out. Perfect! We continue birding until dusk and we found Green Magpie, Verditer Flycatcher, Black-browed Barbet, Fire-tufted Barbet, Silver-eared Mesia, Lesser Yellownape, Black-throated Sunbird, Mountain Imperial Pigeon and many more. We didn't go out looking for owls tonight. Everyone was feeling a bit tired. So, rest early tonight.

We started the morning of Day 2 with Mountain Scops Owl and a glimpse of Brown Wood Owl. A bit of hard work in the morning, all of us felt tired even before mid-day. We added White-tailed Robin, Pygmy Cupwing, Bay Woodpecker, Black-browed Barbet (again), Greater Yellownape, Slaty-backed Forktail, Ochraceous Bulbul, Black-crested Bulbul, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Banded Broadbill, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Bronzed Drongo, Yellow-bellied Warbler, Little Spiderhunter, Mountain Fulvetta and a few others.

During the afternoon session, we drove around another part of the hill station. We added Red-headed Trogon, Great Hornbill, Hill Blue Flycatcher, Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, Blue-winged Minla, Long-tailed Broadbill and Sultan Tit. Almost get the Collared unfortunate!

During the afternoon session, we drove around another part of the hill station. We added Red-headed Trogon, Great Hornbill, Hill Blue Flycatcher, Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, Blue-winged Minla, Long-tailed Broadbill and Sultan Tit. Almost get the Collared Owlet....Almost...sigh

The next morning we covered the New Road, followed by a mid-day break and birding resume later part of the afternoon. Today we added Orange-breasted Trogon, Red-billed Malkoha, Green-billed Malkoha, Blue-eared Barbet, Gold-whiskered Barbet, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Blue-winged Minla, Blue-winged Leafbird, and more.

Day 4, we drove down to Krau forest with morning birding along New Road. Nothing much exciting in the morning but we had many good birds in the afternoon which includes (not limited to) Black-throated Babbler, Short-tailed Babbler, Grey-cheeked Bulbul, Yellow-bellied Bulbul, Hairy-backed Bulbul, Scarlet-rumped Trogon, Green Broadbill and glimpse of Banded Pitta.

The next morning, we covered the forest again and added Black Hornbill, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Black-thighed Falconet, Black-and-red Broadbill, Puff-backed Bulbul, Spectacled Bulbul, Rufescent Prinia, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Changeable Hawk-eagle, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Banded Woodpecker, Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Grey-capped Woodpecker, Gold-whiskered Barbet, and so much more.  In the afternoon we drive towards KL.

Day 6, we spent time in Hulu Langat forest. We made several stops for my usual favorite species and the highlights for the day include Rufous-backed Kingfisher, Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Drongo Cuckoo, White-chested Babbler, and Rufous Woodpecker.

Our final day we birded at a coastal open field with patches of Mangroves. We started the day with Stork-billed Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, Lesser Coucal, Greater Coucal, Little Bronze Cuckoo, Copper-throated Sunbird, Ashy Tailorbird, Common Iora, Savannah Nightjar, Brahminy Kite, Black-shouldered Kite, Laced Woodpecker, Common Flameback and we ended it with a mega tick of a Mangrove Pitta.

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Day Trip in Krau - 31st May 2018

Friday, June 1, 2018

Andrew is a twitcher who have a list of target species. He was birding on his own in Panti, Bukit Tinggi and Fraser's Hill because he had visited those places before. But some of his target species are easier to tick in Krau forest. We were planning to arrive early in the morning for a few species, unfortunately, his car had a punctured tyre. We tried to replaced it with a spare tyre but there is a problem taking off the punctured tyre so I advised him to transfer all his luggage into my car.

We drove towards our destination for our first target. After waiting for a short while, we heard a Green Broadbill. With a little more patience, it came and showed up well for us. While Andrew was observing the bird, I noticed a second individual. Nice start for the morning. We continue driving with my side window down to listen for calls....babbler! Got out from the car and tried to get the bird to come forward. We waited....It called...We waited...It called...then there was a movement. A Horsfield's Babbled preaching well...very good view then it started to call out again. Wow! Not a pretty looking babbler but still a tick for this skulky bird. Other species that are new for Andrew include Banded Broadbill, Grey-cheeked Bulbul, Black-capped Babbler, Chestnut-rumped Babbler, Black-throated Babbler and Rufous-collared Kingfisher. Since Andrew need to drive to Taman Negara on the same day, it is best to get his car tyre replaced. After mid-day break and had the spare tyre installed, we went back into the forest for more birding. Our most notable sighting is a Puff-backed Bulbul. Weather doesn't look too promising after getting the Bulbul, so we decided to call it a day. At the toll plaza I bid farewell to Andrew and hope that he get his targets in the national park.
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Day Trip with a Singaporean border 28th May 2018

It was Pamela's first birding in this part of Malaysia. So, I decided to bring her to my favorite spots around Hulu Langat forest. We started the day very early in the morning, yes we arrived at location before sunrise and continue birding until afternoon. Our highlights include Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, Black-naped Monarch, Blue-banded Kingfisher, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Rufous-backed Kingfisher and much more.

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French Birders - May 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
"I had the opportunity to come to Malaysia for a second time around mid-May 2018 as a side-trip to a professional visit to Singapore for a conference.  My daughter Pauline (22 yo) came along, she was finished with her exams and was glad to seize this opportunity to try her new Nikkor 18-300 mm lens on exotic wildlife.  We choose Cheong Weng Chun as a guide because we knew him from our previous visit to Taman Negara back in 2013.  I provided Weng Chun with the list of regional birds that I had missed on other occasions and he built a trip to maximize our possibilities to fill up the “gaps”.  I must say that he did an outstanding job, succeeding in finding a great number of my missing species, including some difficult ones.  He worked relentlessly from early morning (before dawn!) until late at night, making sure that not a single minute was wasted.  His talents to detect bird calls (even while driving!) and his knowledge of the places where he took us were impressive. He was also very helpful for the identification of mammals (monkeys, squirrels, palm civets, otters…) and reptiles. He provided Pauline with excellent photographic opportunities. As every “twitcher”, I appreciated very much this dedication to make sure that my bird list would be as good as possible in the end.  If you are an avid birdwatcher, I highly recommend relying on Weng Chun as a guide to optimize your chances to find the greatest possible number of species during your trip."

For 1 week, together with father-daughter from France, we covered Fraser's Hill, Lanchang / Krau, Bukit Tinggi and Hulu Langat to look for specific target species. We did not manage to cover all species due to limited time to cover all birding sites in Peninsular Malaysia, however, we did a pretty awesome job covering some of the difficult birds as well seeing some unexpected species too!

From the airport at night, we drove up to the highland for overnight. Early morning, as we were walking towards the stake out, we nailed the first target in Silver-breasted Broadbill. I heard the call nearby and whistled a few times. It responded and showed up well, not eye level but still pretty good view. Next, we waited for the Mountain Peacock Pheasant which took some waiting time but we still managed to see but dipped on Ferruginous Partridge. Met another small photography tour group at site (and which we met again at a lowland forest and in Fraser's Hill). After lunch, we headed to the lowland forest and track down a few more targets. We came back to the same forest the following morning to add a few more into our trip checklist. Simply wonderful session! Babbler, trogon and woodpecker! We continued our birding in Fraser's Hill where we stayed for 3 nights. More woodpecker and trogon. We spent another night in Kuala Lumpur and finally got them their first ever frogmouth! Both were extremely happy and we finished the trip with short stop at Putrajaya. Nothing new but they were still amazed with the number of nesting birds in the heronry.

Admiring the nesting birds in Putrajaya Heronry

One of the many photos from their camera

Violet Cuckoo with iPhone SE + Kowa TSN-501

I stepped on many ant trails and yes, I got bitten by the ants alot on both legs. For the past few days, the bites were very itchy and still are (at the time of writing this post).

Weather in Fraser's Hill wasn't perfect all the time, we experienced rain during our stay. no problem...we still able to get most of the targets.

If it still rains, then no choice, just watch the birds at the feeder

Waiting patiently for an elusive bird under the light shower

It is usual to see bird waves in the hill station while going out birding

Yes, everyone is required to look up the tree canopy for birds sometimes

Just wait and wait calmly......and at the end rewarded with a family of partridge

Its not just about birds. We also stopped the car by the roadside for primates. Here in particular, we saw a family of Siamang. Amazing!

What was behind the leaf? It was perching so low to the ground, we had to kneel down to see it!

We walked through the dense forest to hunt down a Diard's Trogon

Wait and more waiting....that's part of the game isn't it?

A rewarding morning session! Mountain Peacock Pheasant!!!!

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Birds & Wildlife in Malaysia

About Me

I'm a bird watcher, digiscoper, photographer and a licensed nature guide. Welcome to my 'A Malaysian Birder' blog. I will post my bird sightings and photographs on this blog. I started bird watching while studying in university. After graduating with a degree in forestry specializing in parks and recreation management, I have been attached to the parks and gardens industry. My past work experiences involve conducting environmental education program, bird watching and many more.

Bird Watching Tours

There are quite a number of birding groups from Australia, United States and United Kingdom that come over to Malaysia annually visiting the traditional key sites that include Kuala Selangor, Fraser's Hill and Taman Negara. There is not doubt that the 3 sites are the preferred birding sites in Peninsular Malaysia. So if you are coming over for birding and intend to hire a guide, you can send me an email at and go over to posting section to view photos and summary of trip reports with testimonials from past clients.

Besides following the traditional route, I also customized trip according to clients needs, preference and interests. So there are some local patches that I can introduce to all bird watchers, digiscopers and photographers.

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