Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo is a bird watchers paradise because of the high number of both endemic and common species (over 500). The state of Sabah by itself holds nearly all of the Bornean endemic birds and has some of the best Asian birding sites such as Kinabalu National Park and Danum Valley. For anyone with an interest in Oriental birding it is a must.
The city of Kota Kinabalu itself is home to a large protected mangrove wetland; it is here that you will find the Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary (KKCBS). The sanctuary attracts a large variety of wetland and coastal birds, including four brightly coloured varieties of Kingfisher.
Further afield, into the jungle or to the highlands of Mount Kinabalu and the Crocker Range, a plethora of encounters await, including very high chances of seeing the beautiful and endemic Hornbills. The Danum Valley's bird life includes all eight of the hornbills found in Sabah, as well as more than 230 other species ranging from the stunning Argus Pheasant to tiny vivid sunbirds. Danum is one of the prime areas in Sabah for birdwatching along with the Kinabatangan and Kinabalu National Park. Good accommodations and local guides are available in each of those areas.
SABAH & SARAWAK PLACES OF INTEREST FOR BIRD WATCHING
Kinabatangan River Bird Watching
Known for wildlife and habitats including limestone caves, riverine and lowland forests and both freshwater and salty mangrove swamps, 270sq km of the lower Kinabatangan has been declared a protected area mainly as a bird sanctuary. A trip to the Kinabatangan from Sandakan usually includes the Gomantong Caves, as well as Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre which both present opportunities for further bird watching.
KK Bird Sanctuary Bird Watching
The Bird Sanctuary is an important refuge and feeding ground for many species of resident birds, as well as several migratory species from Northern Asia. Rare sightings include the Lesser Adjutant Stork and Rufous Night Heron. Don't miss out on the egrets, kingfishers, green pigeon, purple herons and many more. During the migratory season (September - April), you can also see sandpipers, plovers, redshanks, etc.
Kinabalu Park Bird Watching
Located about 2 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu city, Malaysia's first World Heritage has an excellent system of trails around Park HQ are home to many interesting birds, including all 3 kinds of Laughingthrushes(Chestnut-capped, Sunda and Bareheaded), Crimson-headed Partridge; in small trees along the roadsides are flocks of black-capped White-eye and Chestnut-crested Yuhina.
Kinabatangan Floodplain Bird Watching
One of the richest and most accessible wildlife regions in all of Southeast Asia, the Kinabatangan is home to a plethora of birds. The lower reaches meander through a vast floodplain of riverine forest dotted by picturesque villages along the banks. The best way to bird watch here is by boat. Jerdon's Baza, Wallace's Hawkeagle and Great-billed Heron can occasionally be spotted from the boat.
Tabin Wildlife Reserve Bird Watching
The Tabin is made up of early to mid-secondary growth rainforest located about 50km from Lahad Datu. Overall, at least 259 species of birds have been recorded here. Tabin is particularly good for Babblers, Broadbills, Hornbills and Raptors.
Danum Valley Bird Watching
The Danum Valley provides visitors with ecological experience into the wilds and wonders of ancient tropical forests. Avid birdwatchers will appreciate the 170-meter-long and 27-meter-high canopy walkway which offers a peek into abundant bird life in the forest canopy.
Mulu National Park Bird Watching
Blessed with diverse natural attributes, it is not surprising that it is home to 262 bird species, including all eight hornbill species found in Sarawak. The variety of lowland forest birds found here includes the Great Argus, Yellow-crowned Barbet, Short-toed Coucal, Jerdon's Baza, Green Imperial Pigeon, Large Frogmouth, Moustached Hawk and Drongo Cuckoo, Black and Crested Partridges. Checker-throated and Buff-rumped Woodpeckers, Diard's and Cinnamon-rumped Trogons, Raffle's and Red-billed Malkohas as well as the Rufous-collared and Blue-eared Kingfishers.
Bako National Park Bird Watching
Bird watchers have recorded over 150 bird species in Bako, including two types of Hornbills, the state bird of Sarawak. In addition to the residents of the region, Bako is also a fantastic place for observing migrant birds.