Bird Watching in Taman Negara
Malaysia is one of the most popular bird watching destination in south east asia and is a paradise for birdwatchers. More than 750 specis of resident as well as migratory birds havd beed recorded in Penisular Malaysis as well as Taman Negara (National Park). The incredible diversity of bird specis are found in variety of habitats ranging from the warm coastal plains and tropical rainforest to cool mountain forest. Due to the high diversity of birds Malaysia is internationally acknowledged as one of the 12 countries in the world with mega-diversity. i.e. countries blessed with very high biodiversity. About a third of bird species are found in the tropical rainforest in Malaysia. Many of the bird species here are truly Asian representatives of bird found on mainland asia. Some endemic bird are only found in Peninsular Malaysia and in Sarawak and Sabah (Malaysian Borneo).
With about 350 species of birds in the whole park including Drongos, Malkohas and the Pied Hornbill, Taman Negara is naturally one of the prime birding spots in the region. First time birdwatchers in Taman Negara often get very excited about the bird numbers they expect to find in the rainforest environment. However it should be remembered that birdwatching is not easy in the dense rainforest and birdwatchers need to be quiet, patient and alert. On trails it is often best to pause for a while and wait quietly for the birds to come to you. A seemingly silent forest can suddenly come to life when a mixed feeding party passes through.
Most birdwatchers will already know exactly what is required to make the most of their pastimes. Binoculars with 7 times magnification are generally adequate for Taman Negara. Taman Negara is home to many sought-after species, such as Storm’s Stork, Bat Hawk, Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle, Ferruginous Wood-Partridge, Crestless Fireback, Mountain Peacock Pheasant (in remote parts of the park), Malaysian Peacock Pheasant, Great and Crested Argus, Masked Finfoot, Red-legged Crake, Large Green Pigeon, Jambu Fruit Dove, Short-toed Coucal, Bay Owl, Barred Eagle Owl, Javan, Gould’s and Large Frogmouth, five species of trogon, Ruddy and Rufous-collared Kingfisher, White-crowned and Wrinkled Hornbill, Great Slaty and Olive-backed Woodpecker, Giant, Banded, Garnet, Hooded and Blue-winged Pitta, Finsch’s and Black-and-white Bulbul, Malaysian Rail-babbler, Rufous-tailed Shama, Chestnut-capped Thrush, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher and Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker and Thick-billed Spiderhunter. Many of these are very difficult to see or incredibly rare; even during our two week stay in the park, we saw only 17 out of these 44 species. However, a lot of other interesting bird species can more easily be seen on a number of trails:
Photo through binocular
Jenut Muda trail: Certainly one of the best trails in the park, the place to see Great Argus (of which WV briefly saw one male). Other sightings along this trail: Malaysian Peacock Pheasant (heard regularly, one male seen briefly), Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle (one adult seen sitting), Helmeted Hornbill (heard only), White-necked Babbler (two seen briefly), Gould’s Frogmouth (one flushed at 15h00 (!!!) and seen briefly by WV), Rufous-chested Flycatcher (a pair), Red-naped Trogon (3), Chestnut-naped Forktail (1), White-crowned Forktail (1), Buffy Fish Owl (1 in early morning), Banded Pitta (at least 4), Dusky Broadbill (5), Asian Paradise-flycatcher (one male of the white phase), Grey-chested Flycatcher (one adult and one juvenile), Black-and-yellow Broadbill, Spotted Fantail (1), Ferruginous Babbler (seen on three occasions), Black-throated Babbler, Banded Kingfisher, Yellow-crowned Barbet, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Buff-necked Woodpecker, Striped Wren-babbler, Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, Crested Fireback, … Lots of leeches.
Tembeling River Trail: Crested Jay (2), Crested Fireback (2), Garnet Pitta (1), Banded Pitta (regularly heard, only one seen (IJ)), Finsch’s Bulbul (a pair seen twice), White-crowned Forktail (1), Chestnut-naped Forktail (1), Malaysian Peacock Pheasant (heard regularly), Diard’s Trogon (one female seen, a male heard only), Raffles’ Malkoha, Emerald Dove (1), Olive-backed Woodpecker (a pair), Banded Kingfisher (heard only), Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Orange-backed Woodpecker (one female), Black-and-red Broadbill, Black-and-yellow Broadbill, Spotted Fantail (2), Dark-throated Oriole, Tickells Blue Flycatcher (one female), Black-capped Babbler, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker.
Bukit Teresek Trail: (including the trail between Bukit Teresek and the resort, and the trail from the second viewpoint down to the River trail) Malaysian Rail-Babbler (three, of which one only briefly seen), Scarlet-rumped Trogon, Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker, Banded Kingfisher (a male between the first and the second viewpoint), Streaked Bulbul, Red-billed Malkoha (one at the first viewpoint), Brown Fulvetta, Rufous Piculet, Puff-backed and Grey-bellied Bulbul, White-bellied (1) and Orange-backed Woodpecker (2 and 1), Crested Fireback, Drongo Cuckoo (1), Blue-winged Pitta (six (!) along the first part of the trail), Black-thighed Falconet (one at the second viewpoint), Black-bellied Malkoha, Spotted Fantail (1), Chestnut-rumped Babbler, …
[This place offers a good chance to see Crestless Fireback.]
Sungai Tahan (‘Sungai’ means river): the boat trip; on 30/07, Niek Bosmans and Rob Bouwman, two Dutch birders, arranged a boat trip (in which we took part in) to the falls, especially for birdwatching. Costs: 120 RM for the boat. We left at 7h30 (earlier than the other boats) and came back at 12h00. This boat trip is necessary to get good views of Blue-banded Kingfisher(3, of which one showed well) and Lesser Fish Eagle (4). The following species also showed well: Red-bearded Bee-eater (1), Chestnut-naped Forktail (2), Oriental Pied Hornbill (2), Black-and-yellow Broadbill (2), Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher ( 3, of which one gave good views), Buffy Fish Owl (1 juv.), Rhinoceros Hornbill (2). A Crested Jay flew over the river. The star bird of this trip was a stunning male Malaysian Blue Flycatcher, which was singing only a few meters from the river.
Kumbang Hide Area: Situated about 11 km from the resort, Kumbang hide offers a better chance to see some species which are difficult to see on the trails around the resort. We spent almost three days here and got Sultan Tit (1), Checker-throated Woodpecker, Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler, Ferruginous Babbler (3), White-chested Babbler (4), Common Kingfisher, Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker (1), Rufous-tailed Tailorbird (2), Crested Goshawk (1), Great Iora (1), Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Spotted Fantail, Scarlet-rumped Trogon, Buffy Fish Owl, Black Magpie (4), Black Hornbill, Chestnut-backed Scimitar-babbler (1), Grey-headed and Black-throated Babblers, Banded Woodpecker, Black-bellied Malkoha, Thick-billed Pigeon (3), Malaysian Peacock Pheasant (heard only), Garnet and Banded Pitta (both heard only)
Bird Watcher Tour Guide in Taman Negara