Borneo Island Birds

Borneo Island Birds

Layang Layang Island

This world famous dive destination is known as the jewel of the Borneo Banks. it is made up of a group of tiny atolls with some very impressive 2000meters wall dive. This offshore island is also a protected bird sanctuary with large congregations of Sooty Terns, Black-naped Terns, Great Crested Terns, Brown Boobies and Brown Noddies.

Bruit Island

It is a low-lying island, totaling 40,000 hectares, with extensive mudflats and mangrove forests on the northern and western shores. The northern area of 1776 hectares around Tanjong Sirik has been proposed as a national park. A visitor during migration may record 10,000 waders, 14,000 terns, 500 egrets and 20 Lesser Adjutants, although numbers, especially of waders, have fallen recently.

Species recorded include: Gargany, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Eurasian and Far Eastern Curlew, Marsh, Green, Sharp-tailed and Broad-billed Sandpipers, Asian Dowitcher, Red Knot, Temminck’s and Long-toed Stints, Black-winged Stilt, Grey-headed Lapwing, Caspian, Common and Whiskered Terns, Chinese, Cattle, Great, Intermediate and Little Egrets, Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Schrenck’s Bittern, Lesser Adjutant, Wheatear and Middendorff’s Warbler.

Borneo Wetland Birds

Borneo Wetland Birds

Kinabatangan Floodplain

This is a low lying area and it is permanently waterlogged and covered with fresh water swamp forest. Patches of forest and caves exist along the floodplain corridor. Traveling by boat allows for the best way to observe more lowland rainforest species like Cinnamon Headed Pigeon, Borneon Ground Cuckoo, Straw Headed Bulbul, Hooked Billed Bulbul as well as water birds like Ruddy Kingfisher, Blue-banded Kingfisher the endangered Storm Stork and Lesser Adjutant.

Along the coast road from Sukau to Sandakan you will have opportunities to see several species of terns and the critically endangered Christmas Island Frigatebirds.

Loagan Benut National Park

The Park is about 70 kilometers from Miri and centers around a large freshwater lake in which there are crocodiles, and which is fished by the Berewan tribe. Oriental Darters breed on an island in the lake.

Similajau National Park

The Park comprises habitats of beach forest, mangroves, kerangas or pole forest, and mixed dipterocarp forest. 185 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including all seven species of hornbill occurring in Borneo, Brown Hawk-Owl, Malaysian Eared-Nightjar, White-bellied Fish-Eagle, Storm’s Stork, Mangrove Whistler and Bornean Bristlehead.

Borneo Lowland Birds

Borneo Lowland Birds

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

The reserve occupies over 200,000 acres of lowland rainforest and is home to over 200 species of birds as well as nearly all of Borneo’s wild animals. Thousands of species of insects and plants abound here, to be shared with a fair share of hornbills, barbets, spiderhunters, pitas, sunbirds, trogons, babblers, pheasants and many others.

Danum Valley Conservation Area

It is located in eastern Sabah, near Lahad Datu. The protected area occupies much of the upper catchments of the Segama River and comprises mostly rugged terrain at between 150 -1,000 m asl. The species recoded here include Storm Stork, Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle, Bulwer’s Pheasant, Bonaparte’s Nightjar, Fairy Pitta, Blue-headed Pitta, Large Billed Flycatcher and others.

Lambir Hills National Park

A relatively small park occupies only 6,952 hectares. The sandstone hills are covered with heath or kerangas forest, while the lower slopes are clothed in mixed dipterocarp forest of many species. There is a tree tower and canopy walk through primary forest. Birds include: Black Hornbill, Grey-chested Jungle-Flycatcher, Bornean Blue-Flycatcher, White-crowned Fork tail, Abbott’s Babbler, Grey-breasted Babbler, Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler and Long-billed Spiderhunter.

Borneo Montane Birds

Borneo Montane Birds

Kinabalu Park

This is a favorite destination for nature tourist visiting Borneo and for birder in search for montane specialties. There is easy accessibility and availability of accommodation here. Birding is both inside the park as well as along the road passing the park entrance. Over 17 species of endemics have been recorded here including the Friendly Bush warbler and the Island Thrush.
Crocker Range

The Crocker Range is a giant backbone of ridges that stretches down the west coast from mount Kinabalu’s granite peaks, across the gorge of the Padas River and down the swamp forest of the Sarawak border. There are sightings of Mountain serpent Eagle, Bulwer’s Pheasant, Strew-headed Bulbul as well as 20 other Bornean and 52 Sundiac bird species.

Kelabit Highlands

The Kelabit Highlands are the upper catchment of the Baram River. The broad Kelabit Plateau is over 1100metres above sea level, and surrounding slopes rise to peaks as high as 2424 meters (Gunung Murud). Rice is grown on all suitable land on the plateau. Accommodations are in guest houses and are rather basic.

Kerangas forest and secondary forest exist on the plateau where land is unsuited to growing padi. These give way to sub-montane forest on the slopes, and montane forest as the peaks are ascended. A large number of species, which are normally considered to be lowland inhabitants, are found at 1100 meters and above in the Highlands.

Among species found on and around the Plateau are: Red-breasted Partridge, Crested Fireback, Gargany, Olive-backed Woodpecker, Blue-banded Kingfisher, Brush Cuckoo, Oriental Bay Owl, Grey Nightjar, Watercock, Common Moorhen, Red-necked Phalarope, Oriental Plover, Besra, Purple Heron, Malaysian Rail-Babbler, Green and Short-tailed Magpies, Ashy and Hair-crested Drongos, Narcissus and Snowy-browed Flycatchers, Chestnut-cheeked Starling, Lanceolated Warbler, Black-throated and Eye-browed Wren-Babblers, Brown-backed and Plain Flowerpeckers, Spectacled and Whitehead’s Spiderhunters and Pin-tailed Parrotfinch

Mt. Mulu National Park

This park reaches to a maximum altitude of 2376 metres and covers an area of approx 52,866 hectares this is one of the most accessible parks in Sarawak with relative good accommodation available. The Park encompasses montane sandstone and limestone forest down to lowland primary forest. 252 species of birds have been recorded in the Park.

Montane Borneo endemics include: Red-breasted Partridge, Bulwer’s Pheasant, Golden-naped Barbet, Whitehead’s Trogon, Rajah’s Scops-Owl, Whitehead’s Broadbill, Bornean Whistler, Black-breasted Fruit-hunter, White-browed Shortwing, Mountain Blackeye and Black-sided Flowerpecker. In the lowland primary forest Sunda Ground-Cuckoo, Storm’s Stork, Giant and Blue-headed Pittas, Hose’s Broadbill, Bornean Bristlehead and Bornean Blue-Flycatcher occur.

Borneo Birding Sites

Borneo Birding Sites

Borneo is the third largest island in the world and has about 620 recorded bird species of which 41 are endemic. Malaysian Borneo is made up two states, which are Sabah and Sarawak.

For most birders, the Malaysian state of Sabah is the gateway for the quest of the Borneo birds. Kota Kinabalu is the state capital, and most journeys begin from here. Sabah has montane forest, lowland rainforest, mangrove forest, river and estuarine environments thus satisfying any birder with a diverse range of birds.

Lesser known as a birding destination but most undeserving so is Sarawak, with a recoded 533 species of birds, of which 31 are endemic to the island of Borneo. In addition Borneo offers other endemic wildlife like Orangutans, Proboscis monkeys and the Borneo Pygmy elephants.
Habitat Type and Key Birding Sites

Montane birds
Lowland birds
Wetland birds
Island birds

Borneo (East Malaysia) Birding Routes

Sabah Route : Kota Kinabalu – Tambin – Kinabatangan – Sepilok – Mount Kinabalu + Layang-Layang Island
Sarawak Route: Mt. Mulu Park – Kelabit Highlands – Lambir Hills – Similanjau Park – Bruit Island
The Short Route **: Crocker Range – Poring Hotsprings – Mount Kinabalu

**This route is designed for those clients who have a shorter time for birding, we have tried to include as many life zones as possible during the time frame.

Malaysia Country Facts

Malaysia Country Facts


The Federation of Malaysia comprise of Peninsular Malaysia and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.


Located between two and seven degrees north of the Equator, Peninsular Malaysia is separated from the states of Sabah and Sarawak by the South China Sea. To the north of Peninsular Malaysia is Thailand while its southern neighbor is Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak are bordered by Indonesia while Sarawak also shares a boundary with Brunei Darussalam.


329,758 sq km.


25 Million


Kuala Lumpur (KL)


Malays make up about 57
Of the population and are the predominant group with Chinese, Indians, and other ethnic groups making up the rest.


Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) is the national language but English is widely spoken. Malaysian also speak various languages and dialect.


Islam is the official religion but all other religions are freely practice


A parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislative system, the head of state is the Yang Di Pertuan Agong and the head of the Head of Government is the Prime Minister.


Malaysian has a tropical climate and the weather is warm all year round. Temperature range from 21degrees to 32degrees and the annual rainfall range from 2000mm to 2500mm.


Apart from the local Malays and the native groups, immigrants from china, India and Indonesia and other parts of the world have all contributed to the multiracial compositions of its population. Its interesting cultural diversity can be largely attribute to the country long and ongoing interaction with the outside world and colonial rule by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. The evolution of the country into a cultural melting pot is evident in the unique blend of religion, sociocultural activities, traditions, languages and food. The country achieved independence on august 31 as the federation of Malaya and subsequently with the entry of Sabah and Sarawak in 1963, Malaysia was formed.


Visitors must be in possession of a valid passport or travel document with a minimum validity of 6months beyond the intended visiting period. Citizens of most countries do not require visas for social or business visits.
For further information, please visit or call the nearest Malaysian diplomatic mission or Tourism Malaysia office.


The unit of currency is the Malaysian Ringgit which is indicated as RM. Foreign currencies can be converted at banks and money changers. All travelers, both residents and non residents, are required to complete the Travelers Declaration Form (TDF). The revised TDF has two separate sections for residents – the blue section for residents and white section for non residents.
Non Residents are required to declare the exact amount of foreign currency carried when they enter and leave the country only if the amount exceeds the equivalent of
USD2, 500.00. Non residents are required to keep their TDF in their passport and surrender it upon leaving the country.


Most states- Monday to Friday: 9.15am to 4.30pm
Saturday and Sunday: closed


Eight hours ahead of G.M.T and 16 hours ahead of U.S. Pacific time


Voltage is 220 -240 volts AC at 50 Htz cycles per second.




Local calls can be made from local phones using coins or prepaid cards. International calls can be made from the hotels and/or your local mobile phone operator using a roaming.


The main getaway to Malaysia is through the new International airport at Sepang which is located approximately 50 kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur. Other major international airports that serve as entry points are located in Penang, Kuching, kota Kinabalu and Langkawi.


Malaysia has excellent domestic air links and a well developed public transport system served by busses, taxis as well as trains. There are several car hire operators and the traffic system is based on the English system. British Commonwealth driving license are valid in this country.