An Introduction to Peninsular Malaysia - April 9th - May 6th 2005

Published by Paul Jones (pauljodi AT

Participants: Paul Jones (Ottawa, Ontario), Anuar Abdullah Con McAfee


I spent April 9 to May 6, 2005 in Malaysia. People were friendly, the food great and the birding amazing. The trip was my first real encounter with the tropics, so this report contains the kind of basic information that might help plan a first visit to Malaysia.

Itinerary – The classic two week birding expedition to Peninsular Malaysia includes visits to three sites: Kuala Selangor Nature Park (coastal forest/wetlands), Fraser’s Hill (montane forest) and Taman Negara (lowland forest). I modified this schedule, spending the first week at Kuala Selangor and Fraser’s Hill, but the remaining time in Terengganu, a state on the east coast of Malaysia. While I missed the deep rain forest trails of Taman Negara, I was able to sample a variety of lowland forest, coastal scrub and island habitat in Terengganu that provided ample compensation. Throughout the trip I was accompanied by an old friend from Canada (now a resident of Malaysia), Anuar Abdullah Con McAfee. Con’s knowledge of Malaysian birds, geography, language and driving habits made the trip a success. His email is and he would be happy to assist birders visiting Malaysia.

Malaysia – Malaysia consists of Peninsular Malaysia (the mainland) and Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Native Malays, who are Muslim, make up the majority of the population, but there are also substantial Chinese and Indian minorities. In addition to Bahasa Malay, English is widely spoken - rudimentary to excellent. As the country rapidly reaches first-world status, the amount of land devoted to industrial and urban development and rubber and oil palm plantations is staggering. Still, there is a growing conservation movement, and wild areas are receiving a measure of protection. Eco-tourism is boosting this effort.

Health and Safety – Malaysia has an advanced public health system and safe drinking water, but a pre-trip visit to a travel medicine clinic is still recommended. My doctor gave me a Hepatitis A shot and an antibiotic prescription for stomach upset that I never needed to fill as my month-long stay was free from any serious gastric problems. I ate mostly at roadside restaurants, consuming lots of chicken, seafood, rice, fruits and vegetables, including many iced fruit drinks. In lowland areas there is a risk of mosquito borne Dengue Fever, for which no vaccine is available, so it is advisable to cover up and use insect repellent. Anti-malaria medications are needed in Taman Negara. With respect to personal safety, I found everyone to be calm and friendly. Farmers or villagers met on forest trails or country roads showed polite disinterest in our presence, but they would broadly smile if we waved or said hello. No one pestered us to buy anything, and we did not encounter any crime or violence. As with most places in the world, the most probable danger is road accidents, so I left the driving to Con, an able and experienced veteran of Malaysia’s fast and modern highway system. Public transport was readily available, ranging from ultra-luxury coaches to dilapidated old buses.

Weather – Malaysia is hot and humid: a hat, sun screen, light weight clothing and lots of drinking water are necessities. I wore close-toed synthetic sandals most of the time, but also brought along a pair of leather hiking shoes for longer and rougher forest trails. Despite the heat there are a couple of golden hours from first light at 7am until 9am when the air is still cool and bird activity, especially song, is at its peak. As the sun rises higher things quiet down, but I found that by moving slowly, keeping to the shade and drinking lots of water, productive birding was possible throughout the day. At 5pm the temperature moderates and bird activity picks up again until last light around 7pm. Fraser’s Hill, at 1150M, has a much more temperate climate than the lowlands, with cool nights and daytime temperatures that seldom rise above 25 degrees. As a general rule, March to September are the drier months in Peninsular Malaysia, especially on the east coast, and I encountered very little rain during my trip.

Birding – Birds are much warier in Malaysia than in Canada and at first they seemed to be moving too fast or buried too deep in the undergrowth to get a good look at. Moreover, pishing and squeaking were ineffective, and the sun, heat, humidity, screech of insects and neck-craning height of the trees at first left me dizzy and overwhelmed. Fairly quickly, however, I was able to find my footing in the new environment. The most important step was to slow down and calmly track individual birds, or select a location with an open view of the forest and study the procession of species that would inevitably appear. Having this patience was not always easy. The clock starts ticking at 7am towards the mid morning heat, and there is an almost overwhelming urge to quickly cover as much terrain as possible before things get too hot.

Three pieces of birding equipment were very important. The first was a pair of waterproof binoculars that would not fog up internally in the intense humidity. The second was a lightweight scope and tripod combination. I had the scope with me at all times and used it extensively on passerines, something not done much in Canada. It was essential for identifying birds high in the canopy, but also a great help at close range with unfamiliar and tricky species such as Musciapa flycatchers. Neck strain when studying birds directly overhead was eased by having a tripod that extended well above eye level.

The third key piece was an iPod Mini/Altec Lansing portable speaker combination. I loaded the iPod with Malaysian bird songs gleaned from "Birds of Thailand, Songs and Calls" (Tony Ball), "Bird Songs of Singapore" (Singapore Nature Society) and "Birds of Tropical Asia 2 - Sounds and Sights" (Jelle Scharringa). The system, though very small and lightweight, had plenty of power. The only drawback was that the speakers had to be awkwardly flipped open and the iPod inserted for each new use. By starting each track name with the number assigned in the field guide, I was able to spin quickly through the song list and find anything I needed in seconds. Although not everything was responsive, we had good success both playing to birds we could hear and speculatively playing selected tracks in suitable habitat.

To identify sightings I used Allen Jeyarajasingam’s “Field Guide to the Birds of Malaysia (1999).” No field guide is perfect, but this one is very good. Morten Strange’s “Birds of Fraser’s Hill (2004)” was an essential resource for that location. I also relied heavily on the collective wisdom of previous visitors to Malaysia, as compiled in trip reports and generously posted on the internet.

April is migration month in Malaysia, and shorebirds, most just entering alternate plumage, were very conspicuous on the Selangor coast. Migrant passerines, such as Arctic Warbler, were also present through April into early May. The bulk of my sightings, though, were resident birds, and of these a very high percentage were encountered just once or twice during my month long stay. Some of this is my own inexperience, but part of it is the nature of Malaysian bird populations. There is a large pool of things to see, and many are low-density species, so take a good look at what does show up because you might not see another one! Also, if you are new to Malaysian birding, be prepared for triage (important birds first). When time is short and you must choose between a hyperactive Sunbird and a spectacular Hornbill, the Sunbird may have to be left behind.

Money and Food

I carried Canadian dollars to convert to Malaysian ringgit upon arrival but found that the ATMs would happily dispense local currency through my Canadian bank card. Most hotels and department stores accepted VISA, but smaller establishments, especially in rural areas, were cash only. Food, gas and accommodations were cheap relative to Canada. The cost of consumer items is roughly equivalent to back home.

Malaysian cuisine is delicious, inexpensive and one of the highlights of any visit to the country. Roti Canai, a pancake browned on a griddle and served with curry or lentil sauce, was standard for breakfast. Lunch and dinner fare included rice and seafood/chicken dishes such as Nasi Goreng and Nasi Lamak. Chicken Satay, cooked over a charcoal fire and served with peanut sauce and fresh cucumber, was always available. Tom Yum soup, with big chunks of lemon grass, made a nice appetizer or a meal in itself.

Malaysia’s ethnic mix adds to the choices. One of our best meals was Tandoori Chicken at a place called Lotus (part of the 24 Hour Indian Mamak chain) in Kuala Lumpur. The chicken was served with fresh Naan bread, lemon slices and an amazing coriander sauce. Seafood restaurants are common, especially along the coasts. Sweet and Sour Fish, grilled crisp on the edges and presented in a spicy sauce, was especially good. Iced tea and fruit drinks were cheap and refreshing. Vendors selling fresh fruits (mangos, bananas, watermelon and more exotic selections) were everywhere. The best food was at roadside restaurants; the fare at hotels was not as good.

Locations Visited

One - Kuala Lumpur

I spent two nights in Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia’s modern capital city. House Swifts and House Crows were common around the downtown hotels. The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) station in Kepong, a suburb of KL approximately 16km from the city centre, provides an excellent introduction to tropical birding. Common birds such as Peaceful Dove, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Oriental Magpie Robin, Paddyfield Pipit and Common Myna are readily seen and many other interesting species can show up. The prize for me was a Masked Finfoot spending the off season at a small pond on the station’s grounds. FRIM has an elevated walkway through the rainforest canopy, an interesting experience and a surprisingly good birding spot. On the hike to it we encountered a fledgling Collared Scops Owl right beside the path as well as a Black Giant Squirrel and a troop of Pig-tailed Macaques. From the walkway itself (actually from the tree platforms that link the walkway) we saw Crested Serpent Eagle, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Gray-rumped Treeswift, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Common Iora, Black-winged Flycatcher Shrike and Asian Paradise Flycatcher.

Two - Kuala Selangor Nature Park (Taman Alam Kuala Selangor)

Kuala Selangor is approximately 75 kilometres north-west of KL. The park, which protects an area of Mangrove forest and coastal wetlands, provides great birding, but is a bit tricky to find. The obscure entrance is located on the southern outskirts of Kuala Selangor on Highway 5, just before a gas station. The park has an excellent visitor’s centre and a well-maintained trail system featuring a sturdy concrete observation tower overlooking a water impoundment and, importantly, a functioning boardwalk through the Mangrove forest. The old wooden boardwalk that had collapsed a few years ago has been replaced by a new concrete one. Provided the engineering is sound, the replacement should last many years.

In the mangroves, Great Tit, Ashy Drongo, Flyeater and Mangrove Whistler were easy to find, but we had no success with Mangrove Blue Flycatcher and Mangrove Pitta. On the ordinary forest and wetland trails we had good looks at Crested Serpent Eagle, White-breasted Waterhen, Pink-necked Pigeon, Laced Woodpecker, Greater Coucal and a variety of other expected species. Bonus birds included a Barred-Eagle Owl on the main path at dawn and a female Red Junglefowl near the base of the main observation tower. We also saw Long-tailed Macaque and Silvered Languar (a Leaf Monkey) along the trails and Mudskipper and Water Monitor in the wet areas.

Selangor is hot and humid, so bring a sun hat and plenty of water. The area is famous for its seafood restaurants and we had a great evening meal of Sweet and Sour Fish and Tom Yum soup at a place on the main road south of town. We stayed at the De Palmas Inn in Kuala Selangor which provided good, reasonably priced chalet-style accommodation. Basic birding opportunities were available right on the grounds, including a Large-tailed Nightjar calling outside our window.

Three - Shore-birding in Selangor

We checked three locations for shorebirds along the Selangor coast. It was more of a reconnaissance venture than a systematic survey. We didn’t have tide charts, but we did have some success. We visited:

First, Kampung Bagan Aquaculture Ponds (April 11)

Directions - Proceed north on Highway 5 from Kuala Selangor past Tanjong Karang and across the Sungai Tengi (Tengi River). As the heavily residential area on the far side of the river starts to end, the road splits in a fairly prominent V. At this V the main road (Highway 5) veers right, but keep to the left and follow the lesser road for approximately 3 kilometres to Kampung Bagan. This road ends abruptly. When it does, take a 90 degree turn left on the track that heads to the coast. Drive as far as you can and then walk along the embankment until you reach a series of aquaculture ponds.

Birds - We paid a hurried evening visit to the ponds at high tide and they were teeming with activity. Most prominent were Whiskered Tern (150), Little Egret (100) and Great Egret (50). As the sun set, a number of shorebirds began flying in to feed in the drained ponds. We identified Pacific Golden Plover (20), Common Redshank (25), Black-tailed Godwit (1) and Curlew Sandpiper (2). The ponds may serve as a roosting site for shorebirds at high tide, but our ability to identify more species was limited by the gathering dusk. A Black-headed Munia was seen in the fields on the land side of the embankment. Silvered Languars were in the trees on the coastal side.

Challenges - The ponds are separated from the embankment by a deep drainage ditch, so it was impossible to reach the berms separating individual ponds and have a close look at the birds.

Second, Sungai Tengi Estuary (April 11)

Directions - Proceed north on Highway 5 from Kuala Selangor to Tanjong Karang. After crossing the Sungai Tengi take the first road to the left and follow it to a prominent T junction. At this junction turn left and proceed to a coastal embankment, drive the coastal embankment as far as possible and then walk to the river mouth.

Birds - Not many. We visited this area at high tide and only saw flocks of shorebirds flying north and south far out in the Malacca Straits. Our consolation prize was a pair of Kentish Plover on the sand beach below the embankment. At low tide the estuary apparently has large mudflats and is a good shore birding spot.

Challenges - Don't visit at high tide.

Third, Pekan K Mudflats (April 12)

Directions - Proceed south on Highway 5 from Kuala Selangor to Pekan K. Immediately after crossing the bridge over the Sungai Buloh, note a row of shophouses on the right. Leave Highway 5 and backtrack on the small road in front of these shophouses towards the river. After the shophouses, the road turns abruptly left. Follow the road along the river, past a fishing wharf and over a small bridge (the area around the bridge and wharf can be very good for birds so it is worth stopping here and having a look around). Proceed a fair distance along the gravel road until the sea opens on the right. Stop and scan the mudflats from the first prominent open spot where no trees or scrub obscure the view up or down the coast.

Birds - This was the best spot. We visited at absolute low tide (or very near it) and massive expanses of mudflats stretched for kilometres up and down the coast. Hundreds, if not thousands, of shorebirds were visible, most in the heat shimmer in the far distance, but some very close to our viewing point. The highlight was a LESSER ADJUTANT, roosting far out on the flats. Closer in we identified Pacific Golden Plover (25), Mongolian Plover (4), Whimbrel (10), Common Redshank (30), Terek Sandpiper (8), Common Sandpiper (5), Ruddy Turnstone (3) and Rufous-necked Stint (20). 35 White-winged Tern were at the fishing wharf closer back to town.

Challenges - A visit on the rising tide would be amazing, but we still had fairly good shore birding at the lowest ebb.

Four - Fraser’s Hill

Fraser’s Hill’s convenient access to montane forest, temperate climate and natural beauty make it one of the premier birding locations in south-east Asia. Located about 100 kilometres from KL, it is accessible off the main north-south highway by taking the Rawang exit and driving north to Kuala Kubu Bahru and from there eastwards towards the Gap. Another route to take is the main toll highway from KL to the east coast. Follow the highway past Genting Highlands and exit at Bentong, before reaching Karak. You can then connect to the 55 and follow it to the Gap. This drive, through some beautiful bamboo forest, is very scenic. The narrow road from the Gap to Fraser’s Hill is gated at the top and bottom and alternates between up and down traffic.

At the Hill we had great birding success on the Hemmant and Bishop’s trails. It was dry when we were there and the trails were easily passable, but in the rain I would imagine that they would become very muddy. The dry weather kept leeches to a minimum with just two encounters in four days. We were also very careful, staying only to the well-marked paths. Just before and after our stay, hikers got lost on the less well maintained High Pines and Maxwell trails (Maxwell is an extension of Bishop’s Trail) and spent four or five nights in the jungle before they were rescued. For the trepedatious, Hemmant Trail is a good introduction to forest birding because it is smooth, wide and runs right along the edge of a golf course.

Birding can also be done very successfully from the roads, and this seems now to be the preferred method. We had a great walk up from the Gap on the old road and several enjoyable treks around the Telekom Loop, but we kept returning to the trails, perhaps because they were so peaceful.

At Fraser’s Hill the birding action starts as soon as you pull into the small town site. Long-tailed Sibia, Silver-eared Mesia and Chestnut-capped Laughing Thrush are immediately in evidence. A bit more searching and Streaked Spiderhunters and Gray-chinned Minivets appear. Once you are in forested areas and find your first bird wave, the number of species begins to climb rapidly. In such habitat we found that we were encountering bird waves every 15 minutes or so. They crept up suddenly, we would hear a few calls and then birds would be all around us. It was usually hard to tell exactly what direction they were moving. Mountain Fulvetta was the core constituent of most flocks, with Golden Babbler a close second. The spectacular Blue Nuthatch was frequently present as well. We spent quite a bit of time sifting through these waves, but it would be a mistake to only devote your attention to them. Some great birds such as Red-headed Trogon, Large Scimitar Babbler and Long-tailed Broadbill appeared on their own out of nowhere. The real Fraser’s Hill rarities such as Malayan Whistling Thrush and Mountain Peacock-Pheasant (none of which we saw) are also non-wave species. We spent four nights at Fraser’s Hill, which was about the right amount of time to get a feel for the place and see many of the expected species. We still missed a lot, and if time had allowed we could happily have spent a week or more at the location.

Fraser’s Hill offers a range of accommodations. We made no reservations but just showed up and began looking. This worked out fine, but it was mid-week. Our first two nights were at the Ye Olde Smokehouse, a charming and expensive faux colonial inn. The next two nights we switched to the much less costly Jelai Highlands Resort. The first room we checked into was incredibly mouldy, even by my relaxed standards. We arranged for a drier room the second night. The Resort leaves its parking lot lights on all night and at dawn a variety of birds come out of the forest to feed on dazed insects attracted by the glow. This phenomenon provided us great looks at Green Magpie, Gray-throated Babbler, Sultan Tit, Black and Crimson Oriole and a host of other species. Apparently, misty mornings are particularly good for this display. We visited but did not stay at the Shazan Inn, a large modern facility that looked like a good place to overnight. In sharp contrast to the rest of Malaysia, it was difficult to find good food at Fraser’s Hill. The best we could do was the Satay place closest to the road near the Mosque.

No report on Fraser’s Hill is complete without mention of Mr. Durai, the local naturalist. He is friendly, knowledgeable, pleased to provide information and, if his schedule permits, lead birding walks. We were able to contact him simply by dropping into the Fraser’s Hill Development Corporation office in the town mini-mall.

Five – Terrengganu

Terengganu is on the north-eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia. The population is overwhelmingly Malay and the state retains many aspects of traditional culture. It is not well-known as a birding location but has enormous potential. The capital Kuala Terengganu (KT) is the adopted hometown of my friend Con, and it formed the base for our birding expeditions in the state. When not staying with his family, my wife and I found accommodations at two coastal resorts to the north of KT. The first was Sutra Beach Resort (, reasonably priced with spacious, clean and comfortable rooms and a beautiful pool and dining area. We splurged at the second, The Aryani (, a luxury resort with individual chalet accommodations, traditional Malay architecture and very fine dining.

The birding spots visited in Terengganu were:

Kusza – a community college in KT. The expansive grounds include ornamental plantings, grassy fields and an extensive wetland. The area is fenced and gated and access is by permission only (best arranged through Con). Common birds on the campus include Chinese Pond-Heron, Red-Wattled Lapwing, Oriental Pratincole, Lesser Coucal, Large-tailed Nightjar, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater and Paddyfield Pipit. Birds of special interest regularly seen include Plain-backed Sparrow and, in the wetlands, Yellow Bittern, Cinnamon Bittern and White–browed Crake.

Gong Badak – a suburb of KT. The best spot was a temporary wetland along Jalan Tok Jembal a few hundred metres east of the KT Golf Course entrance. The wetland was created when bulldozers scrapped the soil off a scrubby area as part of a construction project. During the November monsoon the area filled with water and by the time I arrived in April it was a thriving wetland ecosystem. Cinnamon Bittern, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Chinese Pond Heron, Lesser Tree Duck and Stork-billed Kingfisher were all present. The best sighting was a breeding-plumaged Javan Pond Heron on May 4. The day after I left, two Pheasant-tailed Jacanas appeared.

Batu Rakit – a rural district near KT. Terengganu’s flat coastal plain gradually gives way to hillier inland country, and paddy fields are replaced by secondary forest, rubber plantations and fruit orchards. The transition area immediately to the west of KT is called Batu Rakit, a maze of small kampungs (villages), roads, logging tracks and foot paths surprisingly rich in bird life. Our best find was the nest of a Great Hornbill, the first for Malaysia. Puff-throated Babbler, a species with a restricted range in Malaysia, was also in the area along with many other forest species.

Sekayu - a forest reserve near KT. The reserve protects an area of rainforest just to the south of Taman Negara and features a well-maintained walking trail along a forest river cascading out of the hills. A tropical downpour on our only visit dampened birding opportunities, but Con reports that Chestnut-naped Forktail is a regular along the river and Bat Hawk is occasionally seen in the evening. We did encounter troops of Dusky Languar and Long-tailed Macaque.

East Coast Islands - For the “ordinary” tourist these islands are a great attraction, with beautiful sand beaches and extraordinary snorkelling. They also present the opportunity to see some island specialties, notably Pied Imperial and Nicobar Pigeon. On April 21 we made a day trip to Pulau Redang and Pulau Bidong, chartering a boat from Merang Terengganu. The private boat companies that provide the service are constantly changing so the best bet would be to make arrangements through the Sutra Beach Resort. We paid about rm350 for the day, but that was a price Con was able to negotiate. On our own the cost would be closer to rm600. While the main purpose was snorkelling and visiting a former Vietnamese refugee camp, we did see one Pied Imperial Pigeon and a couple Black-naped Terns on an islet off Bidong. The snorkelling, especially off the marine reserve wharf on Redang was incredible.

On April 29 we made an overnight trip to Pulau Perhentian Besar from Kuala Besut, about 100km north of KT. There are many boat companies providing service to the island, you can simply show up at the harbour on the north side of the river and catch a ride over. The return fare is approximately rm65 for adults, rm35 for children, including a rm5 marine park admission fee to pay when boarding the boat.

We stayed at the clean and reasonably-priced Fauna Chalet in an air conditioned unit and, as with trip to Redang, devoted most of our attention to snorkelling. We did some birding and found Pied Imperial Pigeon to be common, with flocks of between 5 and 15 frequently seen rushing above the forest canopy. The prize bird was Nicobar Pigeon, a single sighting in the area behind the Arwana Resort (see annotated list for full description of the location). An unexpected treat was an alternate male migrant Yellow-rumped Flycatcher on the main forest trail. During an evening search for Nicobar Pigeon we had great looks at Coluga, a peculiar gliding mammal. A pair put on a great show, staring balefully at us as they clung to a tree trunk and then launching in to the air and gliding directly over our heads.

Tasik Kenyir Road – our name for a four lane highway project cutting through the centre of Terengganu to Kelantan state to the north. Still in its early stage of construction, the road commences at the edge of the Terengganu coastal plain at Tasik (Lake) Kenyir, a large hydro-electric reservoir. Tasik Kenyir is approximately 60km inland from KT and can be reached by following the signs for the lake off the main KT-Kota Bahru road.

The main jetty at Tasik Kenyir is called Pengkalan Gawi and features small stalls selling food and cold drinks. There are also tour operators offering boat trips on the lake to various locations including Taman Negara. Pengkalan Gawi is reached by taking the last junction to the left before the main road reaches the side of the lake. If you go straight, rather than left to Gawi, you will be on the main road that penetrates the forest reserves surrounding Kenyir. As of April 2005 this road is paved for 20km, after which it becomes a 4x4 track.

For now, the only traffic on the forest road is the occasional construction vehicle heading to the work front, so the area offers an excellent birding opportunity through relatively intact forest. This was THE place to see hornbills. In our two morning visits we saw Bushy-crested, Wreathed, Black, Oriental-Pied, Rhinoceros, Great and Helmeted Hornbill, their presence announced by looming airborne silhouettes, a roaring whoosh of wings and booming vocalizations. The same birds are present in Taman Negara, but the open vista provided by the road presented an extraordinary opportunity to spot and study them. Other highlights included Crested Goshawk, Lesser Fish Eagle, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher and Black Magpie. At the lake itself we saw a Grey-Headed Fish Eagle. Malaysia’s original people, the Orang Asli, live in the area and at the start of a forest trail we encountered one of their recently abandoned camps. The road also offers the chance to see rare rain forest mammals (Con saw a bear on the road, shortly after my departure). At the end of our visits we lunched at the Kenyir Lakeview Resort, an establishment that would make an excellent, though not inexpensive, base from which to explore the road.

Closing Thoughts

I had a great time in Malaysia and would enthusiastically recommend a visit to anyone. As noted, the people, food and birds were wonderful, and local conditions, with a bit of work, were easy to adapt to. The most obvious adjustment, especially for a Canadian, was to the sun, heat and humidity. The sheer number of people and the massive level of economic development also took me by surprise, but we could always find peaceful places. Finding birds required more effort than in Canada and a hard day’s work would yield 40 to 50 species, not the 100 or more expected back home. The rewards were spectacular, though. I can pick at random from a host of memories - the astonishing roar of Hornbill wings, a Scimitar Babbler coming into focus at the forest’s edge, the jewel-like glitter of a Bee-eater. I cannot wait to return.

Species Lists

KL – Kuala Lumpur
KSNP – Kuala Selangor Nature Park
KT – Kuala Terengganu

1. Grey Heron – Ardea cinera
Common at KSNP, one at Gong Badak, KT (April 24, 25)

2. Purple Heron - Ardea purpurea
One at KSNP (April 11), one at Gong Badak, KT (April 19, 25, 28 and May 4), two at Kusza, KT (April 22)

3. Cattle Egret. Bubulcus ibis
Fairly common in Terengganu

4. Pacific Reef-Egret ( Egretta sacra )
Strictly coastal, one at Merang Harbour, Terengganu (April 21), three on Pulau Redang on same day, one on Pulau Perhentian Besar (April 30)

5. Plumed Egret (egretta intermedia).
One at KSNP (April 11)

6. Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
Common on Selangor coast, fairly common in Terengganu

7. Great Egret - Casmerodius albus
Common on Selangor coast

8. Little Heron - Butorides striatus

9. Yellow Bittern - Ixobrychus sinensis
Two at Kusza, KT (April 22)

10. Cinnamon Bittern - Ixobrychus cinnamomeus
Seen at FRIM-KL, KSNP and Gong Badak, KT

11. Chinese Pond-heron - Ardeola bacchus
Individuals at KSNP (April 11 and 12), daily sightings of 20-30 birds in and around KT (April 19 to May 3) – no noticeable decline in numbers during this period

12. Javan Pond-Heron (Ardeola speciosa)
One alternate plumage bird photographed at Gong Badak, KT (May 4), rare in Malaysia

13. Lesser Adjutant - Leptopilos javanicus
One at Pekan K Mudflat, Selangor coast, at low tide (April 12)

14. Lesser Treeduck (Dendrocygna Javanica).
Nine present April 19 to May 3, Gong Badak, KT

15. Black-shouldered Kite - Elanus caeruleus
Common in agricultural areas along Selangor coast, 20 between Kuala Selangor and Kampung Bagan (April 11)

16. Brahminy Kite - Haliastur Indus
Common along Terengganu and Selangor coasts

17. White-bellied Sea-Eagle - Haliaeetus leucogaster
Seen daily along Terengganu coast

18. Grey-headed Fish-Eagle - Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus
One sub-adult at Tasik Kenyir Resort (April 23), two adults along coast road at border of Besut and Setiu districts, Terengganu (April 30)

19. Lesser Fish-Eagle - Ichthyophaga humilis
One, Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23)

20. Crested Serpent-Eagle - Spilornis cheela
The commonest raptor, excellent views from observation tower, KSNP (April 12), also regular in Batu Rakit, Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu

21. Changeable Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus)
One along transmission line cut, Tasik Kenyir Road (April 23)

22. Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle - Spizaetus alboniger
Sightings at Fraser’s Hill and along Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu

23. Japanese Sparrowhawk - Accipter gularis
One female at Fraser’s Hill (April 14)

24. Crested Goshawk - Accipiter trivirgatus
One, Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23)

24. Black Eagle - Ictinaetus malayenis
One adult soaring low over canopy, Bishop’s Trail, Fraser’s Hill (April 14)

25. Eurasian Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
One flying north along Terengganu coast near Merang (April 27)

26. Black-thighed Falconet - Microhierax fringillarius
Regular, Batu Rakit and Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu, invariably atop a dead tree

27. Barred Buttonquail (Turnis suscitator)
One flushed underfoot, Kusza, KT (May 1)

28. Red Junglefowl - Gallus gallus
One female midmorning at base of main observation tower, KSNP, (April 12), others heard calling in same area, also seen and heard along the Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23 and 28)

29. Great Argus - Argusianus argus
Heard along Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23 and 28), a close calling Great Argus and Helmeted Hornbill along this road was a great rain forest moment

30. Ruddy-breasted Crake (Porzana fusca)
Two at Kusza, KT (April 22)

31. White-browed Crake (Porzana cinerea)
One at Kusza, KT, (April 22)

32. White-breasted Waterhen - Amaurornis phoenicurus
Commonest rallidae, seen at the FRIM-KL pond, KSNP and most wet areas in Terengganu, sometimes in urban ditches

33. Watercock (Gallicrex cinerea)
One, Kusza Wetland, KT (April 22)

34. Masked Finfoot - Heliopais personata
One, FRIM-KL pond (April 10 and 17), present since previous November, a great bird!

35. Red-wattled Lapwing - Vanellus indicus
One or two seen daily in and around KT (April 19 to May 3)

36. Pacific Golden Plover - Pluvialis fulva
Good numbers, Kampung Bagan Aquaculture Ponds, Selangor (April 11) and Pekan K mudflat, Selangor, (April 12), small numbers seen around KT until April 25

37. Kentish Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus
Pair on beach at high tide at the Sungai Tengi Estuary, Selangor (April 11)

38. Mongolian Plover - Charadrius mongolus
Four at Pekan K mudflat, Selangor, at low tide (April 12)

39. Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus
Ten at Pekan K mudflat, Selangor, at low tide (April 12)

40. Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
One, Kampung Bagan Aquaculture Ponds, Selangor (April 11)

41. Common Redshank - Tringa tetanus
Twenty-five, Kampung Bagan Aquaculture Ponds, Selangor (April 11), Thirty, Pekan K mudflat, Selangor, at low tide (April 12)

42. Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia
Fifty-seven at KSNP from the main observation Tower (April 12)

43. Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola
One, Gong Badak, KT (April 19)

44. Terek Sandpiper - Xenus cinereus
Eight at Pekan K mudflat, Selangor, low tide (April 12)

45. Common Sandpiper - Actiti hypoleucos
Common along Selangor coast, also small numbers at Gong Badak, Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Redang, Terengganu

46. Ruddy Turnstone - Arenaria interpres
Three on Pekan K mudflat, Selangor, low tide (April 12)

47. Rufous-necked Stint - Calidris ruficollis
Twenty on Pekan K mudflat, Selangor, low tide (April 12)

48. Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Two at Kampung Bagan Aquaculture Ponds, Selangor (April 11)

49. Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum
Five to ten seen daily in and around KT (April 19 to May 3)

50. Whiskered Tern - Childonias hybridus
150 at Kampung Bagan Aquaculture Ponds, Selangor (April 11)

51. White-winged Tern - Chlidonias leucopterus
Thirty-five at the Sugoi Buloh Wharf near Pekan K, Selangor (April 12)

52. Black-naped Tern - Sterna sumatrana
Two off Pulau Bidong (April 21), 47 off Pulau Perhentian Besar (April 30)

(Bridled Tern - Sterna acuticauda)
Two dark-backed terns seen off Pulau Redang (April 21) were likely this species

53. Thick-billed Pigeon - Treron curvirostra
One (April 19), ten (April 25) Batu Rakit, six (April 23) Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu

54. Little Green Pigeon - Treron olax
Two (April 25), fourteen (May 4), Batu Rakit, one (April 23) Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu

55. Pink-necked Pigeon - Treron vernans
Common (hundreds), KSNP, fairly common on Terengganu coastal plain

56. Wedge-tailed Pigeon (Treron sphenurus)
One at Fraser’s Hill at top of new road (April 15)

57. Pied Imperial Pigeon (Ducula bicolor)
Common on Pulau Perhentian Besar (April 29-30), flocks of between five and fifteen regularly seen against the hill forest backdrop

58. Mountain Imperial Pigeon - Ducula badia
Common at Fraser’s Hill, usually heard or seen flying overhead

59. Rock Pigeon - Columba livia
Commonly in urban areas, most probably not truly feral

60. Little Cuckoo-dove - Macropygia ruficeps
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill

61. Spotted Dove - Streptopelia chinensis

62. Peaceful Dove - Geopelia striata

63. Nicobar Pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica)
One seen mid afternoon on April 29, on a trail behind the Arwana Resort, Pulau Perhentian Besar. Arwana Resort is last development on right end of beach. Immediately past the resort a sand road cuts into the forest. Follow this road and bear left at the first clearing, continuing on a short distance to another smaller clearing. Follow the trail that starts at a small stream at the back right of this second clearing. On my mid afternoon visit I was lucky to flush the bird from beside this trail. Evening and early morning visits were pigeonless, although I did see two Colugos at dusk and it is a beautiful place to listen to White-rumped Shamas.

64. Long-tailed Parakeet - Psittacula longicauda
One at KSNP (April 12)

65. Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot - Loriculus galgulus
Fairly common Batu Rakit and Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu, usually seen in flight, has distinctive call and angular silhouette

66. Indian Cuckoo - Cuculus micropterus
One seen, many heard at FRIM-KL (April 10), also heard along the Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23 and 28)

67. Plaintive Cuckoo - Cacomantis merulinus
Frequently heard in Terengganu, one sighting (April 25) at Batu Rakit

68. Drongo Cuckoo - Surniculus lugubris
Regularily heard, three sightings, one at Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 22) and two along Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23 and 28), responded well to recording

69. Common Koel - Eudynamys scolopacea
Common, but difficult to see, loud, distinctive song (Co-ell!) a constant presence

70. Black-bellied Malkoha - Phaenicophaeus diardi
Two along Tasik Kenyir Road (April 23), one in Batu Rakit, Terengganu (May 4)

71. Chestnut-bellied Malkoha - Phaenicophaeus sumatranus
One along Tasik Kenyir Road (April 23)

72. Green-billed Malkoha - Phaenicophaeus tristis
One at Arianyi Resort, Merang, Terengganu (April 27)

73. Raffles' Malkoha - Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus
One at Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 19)

74. Red-billed Malkoha - Phaenicophaeus javanicus
One (April 23) Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu

75. Greater Coucal - Centropus sinensis
Common in disturbed forest, seen and heard, for example, at KSNP

76. Lesser Coucal - Centropus bengalensis
Regularly seen at Kusza, Kuala Terengganu

77. Collared Scops Owl - Otus lempiji
Two sightings, both during daylight, one downy fledgling at the FRIM-KL Canopy Boardwalk Trail (April 10) and one adult being mobbed by a group of scolding Stripe-throated Bulbuls at Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 19)

78. Brown Hawk-owl - Ninox scutulata
One heard at 6 a.m. (April 23) along final access road to Tasik Kenyir, Terengganu, responded to recording but did not approach

79. Collared Owlet - Glaucidium brodiei
Heard daily at Fraser’s Hill

80. Barred Eagle-Owl (Bubo sumatranus)
One (April 12) at first light at KSNP perched above the trail from the Visitors Centre to the main observation tower

81. Large-tailed Nightjar - Caprimulgus macrurus
Single bird heard (April 11) from the De Palmas Inn, Kuala Selangor

(Aerodramus swift species)
Many small Swiftlets seen daily at locations through Malaysia, but none were identified with certainty

82. Asian Palm Swift - Cypsiurus balasiensis
Uncommon in Terengganu

83. White-bellied Swiftlet - Collocalia esculenta
Fairly common at Fraser’s Hill

84. Silver-rumped Swiftlet - Rhaphidura leucopygialis
Regularly seen in lowland forest areas in Terengganu, usually just above the canopy at dawn, very distinctive paddle-shaped wings and fluttery flight

85. House Swift - Apus affinis
Common, a familiar urban sight

86. Brown Needletail - Hirundapus giganteus
One individual skimming over a forest pond at Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 19)

87. Grey-rumped Treeswift - Hemiprocne longipennis
Regular in Batu Rakit and along Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu, also seen from FRIM-KL Canopy Boardwalk

88. Whiskered Treeswift - Hemiprocne comata
Not as common (or as big) as above species, but seen daily at Terengganu locations

89. Red-naped Trogon - Harpactes kasumba
One bird heard along Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23)

90. Red-headed Trogon - Harpactes erythrocephalus
One observed along Bishops Trail, Fraser’s Hill (April 14), others heard

91. Common Kingfisher - Alcedo atthis
Two sightings, FRIM-KL Pond (April 10) and Pulau Redang (April 21)

92. Blue-eared Kingfisher - Alcedo mentioning
One, Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 25)

93. Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher - Ceyx rufidorsus
One, an orange backed bird, along the Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 28)

94. White-throated Kingfisher - Halcyon smyrnensis
Common, a familiar roadside sight

95. Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata
One seen at Kampung Bagan Aquaculture Ponds (April 11), an above expected altitude bird was also seen at the central golf course, Fraser’s Hill (April 14)

96. Collared Kingfisher - Halcyon chloris
Common along Selangor and Terengganu coasts, has an incongruously raucous call

97. Stork-billed Kingfisher - Halcyon capensis
One, Gong Badak, KT (April 19)

98. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti)
Fairly common (April 18 – May 4) in Terengganu, both inland and along the coast

99. Blue-tailed Bee-eater – Merops philippinus
Thirty between Kuala Selangor and Kampung Bagan (April 11)

100. Blue-throated Bee-eater - Merops viridis
Fairly common (April 18 – May 4) in Terengganu, both inland and along the coast, also seen at KSNP (April 11 and 12)

101. Red-bearded Bee-eater - Nyctyornis amictus
Two provided spectacular views 1K up from the Gap on the Old Road (April 13), one also seen at top of New Road (April 16), a beautiful but bizarre bird

102. Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)
Single birds (April 22, 25, 26, 27), Terengganu, usually around coastal Coconut Palm plantations, restricted in Malaysia to the north-east

103. Dollarbird - Eurystomus orientalis
Daily sightings along Selangor coast and in Terengganu

104. Bushy-crested Hornbill - Anorrhinus galeritus
Two (April 28), 11:30 am, Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu

105. Wreathed Hornbill - Rhycticeros undulates
One perched by the Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23) 7:30 am, another seen flying overhead at 10:30 am, field guide illustration does not do justice

106. Black Hornbill - Anthracoceros malayanus
One, Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 28), 9:00 am

107. Oriental Pied Hornbill - Anthracoceros albirostris
Occasional sightings in and around KT, sometimes in urban settings

108. Rhinoceros Hornbill - Buceros rhinoceros
One, FRIM-KL Canopy Boardwalk (April 10), twelve, Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23), two also seen there April 28

109. Great Hornbill - Buceros bicornis
On April 20 Con and I discovered and photographed the nest of this species, apparently the first breeding record for Malaysia, in a heavily degraded forest area in Batu Rakit, Terengganu. Great Hornbills were regularly seen in this area and also on the Tasik Kenyir Road, where five were observed on April 23.

110. Helmeted Hornbill - Rhinoplax vigil
Two (April 28) on the Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu at 7:25 am, others heard calling at close range in same area at 10:30 a.m., another incredible bird

111. Fire-tufted Barbet - Psilopogon pyrolophus
Common at Fraser’s Hill, the most visible Barbet - as a rule Barbets are more often seen than heard, their monotonous calls a constant presence

112. Lineated Barbet - Megalaima lineate
Heard at KSNP, seen and heard daily along Terengganu coast

113. Gold-whiskered Barbet - Megalaima chrysopogon
One, the Gap (April 13)

114. Red-throated Barbet - Megalaima mystacophonos
Fairly common at Batu Rakit, Terengganu

115. Black-browed Barbet - Megalaima oorti
One seen, many heard at Fraser’s Hill

116. Blue-eared Barbet - Megalaima australis
Several seen, many heard in Terengganu

117. Brown Barbet - Calorhamphus fuliginosus
Two individuals seen along the Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23)

118. Speckled Piculet - Picumnus innominatus
Two, Hemmant Trail (April 13) Fraser’s Hill, small and inconspicuous

119. Laced Woodpecker - Picus vittatus
Common at KSNP, easily observed from trails and boardwalk

120. Greater Yellownape - Picus flavinucha
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill, inconspicuous

121. Crimson-winged Woodpecker - Picus puniceus
One (April 16) at top of New Road, Fraser’s Hill, one Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 22)

122. Lesser Yellownape - Picus chlorolophus
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill, inconspicuous

123. Banded Woodpecker - Picus miniaceus
One, in coastal Coconut Palm grove, KT (April 19)

124. Common Goldenback - Dinopium javanense
Common in Terengganu

125. Buff-necked Woodpecker - Meiglyptes tukki
Two sightings (April 25, May 4) in disturbed forest, Batu Rakit, Terengganu

126. Brown-capped Woodpecker - Picoides moluccensis
Seen easily on each visit to the Mangrove Boardwalk, KSNP

127. Grey-capped Woodpecker - Picoides canicapillus
Pair at nest, Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 24)

128. Greater Goldenback - Chrysocolaptes lucidus
One identified through toe count (four), Mangrove Boardwalk, KSNP (April 12)

129. Dusky Broadbill - Corydon sumatranus
One (April 13), 1K up from the Gap on the Old Road to Fraser’s Hill

130. Black-and-red Broadbill - Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos
A single sighting of a nest building individual at a forest lake, Batu Rakit, Terengganu

131. Long-tailed Broadbill - Psarisomus dalhousiae
Two seen on the Telekom Loop, Fraser’s Hill (April 13), responded well to recording

132. Rusty-naped Pitta - Pitta oatesi
One heard and then seen briefly, two others heard only (April 14), Bishop’s Trail, Fraser’s Hill. The birds responded immediately to iPod by racing in then halting about 20M out. They could not be coaxed in further and could not (with one brief exception) be stalked and seen. They also responded well to a whistled imitation of their song.

133. Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
Seen along Selangor and Terengganu coasts, less common than next species

134. Pacific Swallow - Hirundo tahitica

135. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike - Hemipus picatus
Two, the Gap (April 13)

136. Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike - Hemipus hirundinaceus
Two, FRIM-KL Canopy Boardwalk (April 17), one, Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 20)

137. Large Wood-Shrike - Tephrodornis virgatus
One (April 13) 1K up from the Gap on the Old Road to Fraser’s Hill, one, Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 20)

138. Malaysian Cuckooshrike - Coracina javensis
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill, a morning visitor to the lights at the Jelai Resort

139. Lesser Cuckooshrike - Coracina fimbriata
One female, Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 24), one male, same location (May 3)

140. Pied Triller - Lalage nigra
Seen and heard daily in coastal forest, Selangor and Terengganu

141. Grey-chinned Minivet - Pericrocotus solaris
Common at Fraser’s Hill

142. Scarlet Minivet - Pericrocotus flammeus
Fairly common in lowland forest

143. Green Iora - Aegithina viridissima
Pair (April 28), Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu

144. Common Iora - Aegithina tiphia
Common in coastal scrub, Terengganu, also seen from the FRIM-KL Canopy Boardwalk

145. Lesser Green Leafbird - Chloropsis cyanopogon
One (April 28) at Tasik Kenyir Road, many sightings of leafbirds not identified to species

146. Greater Green Leafbird - Chloropsis sonnerati
Pair (April 16) FRIM-KL Canopy Boardwalk

147. Blue-winged Leafbird - Chloropsis cochinchinensis
Three, 2K up from the Gap on the Old Road to Fraser’s Hill (April 13)

148. Orange-bellied Leafbird - Chloropsis hardwickii
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill, present in bird waves

149. Black-headed Bulbul - Pycnonotus atriceps
Fairly common in forest edge habitat, for example along the road at the Gap and in the Tasik Kenyir area

150. Black-crested Bulbul - Pycnonotus melanicterus
Fairly common in forest/forest edge habitat, for example at the FRIM-KL Canopy Boardwalk and along the road at the Gap,

151. Stripe-throated Bulbul - Pycnonotus finlaysoni
Very common in open forest/forest edge habitat

152. Yellow-vented Bulbul - Pycnonotus goiavier

153. Olive-winged Bulbul - Pycnonotus plumosus
Regular in coastal scrub, Terengganu, responds to pishing! One at KSNP (April 12)

154. Cream-vented Bulbul - Pycnonotus simplex
Fairly common in secondary forest, Terengganu

155. Red-eyed Bulbul - Pycnonotus brunneus
Fairly common in forested areas (FRIM-KL, Batu Rakit and Tasik Kenyir Road in Terengganu)

156. Ochraceous Bulbul - Criniger ochraceus
Six, Bishops Trail, Fraser’s Hill (April 14)

157. Yellow-bellied Bulbul - Criniger phaeocephalus
Two, Sekayu Forest Reserve, Terengganu (April 25)

158. Hairy-backed Bulbul (Hypsipetes criniger)
One, trail to FRIM-KL Canopy Boardwalk (April 17)

159. Buff-vented Bulbul - Hypsipetes charlottae
One, Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 28)

160. Mountain Bulbul - Hypsipetes mcclellandii
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill, much greener than field guide illustration

161. Streaked Bulbul - Hypsipetes malaccensis
Two, 2K up from the Gap on Old Road to Fraser’s Hill (April 13)

162. Ashy Bulbul - Hypsipetes flavala
Four, 1K up from the Gap on Old Road to Fraser’s Hill (April 13)

163. Bronzed Drongo - Dicrurus aeneus
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill

164. Ashy Drongo - Dicrurus leucocephalus
Seen easily on each visit to the Mangrove Boardwalk, KSNP (April 11-12)

165. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo - Dicrurus remifer
Common at Fraser’s Hill

166. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo - Dicrurus paradiseus
Common Batu Rakit, Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu, also seen at FRIM-KL

167. Dark-throated Oriole - Oriolus xanthonotus
One, Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 28)

168. Black-naped Oriole - Oriolus chinensis
Common, a familiar urban sight

169. Black-and-crimson Oriole - Oriolus cruentus
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill

170. Asian Fairy Bluebird - Irena puella
Common in forested areas, Terengganu, seen also at FRIM-KL Canopy Boardwalk,

171. Green Magpie - Cissa chinensis
One feeding under the lights at Jelai Resort, Fraser’s Hill at dawn, three others seen late afternoon along Waterfall Road (April14)

172. Black Magpie - Platysmurus leucopterus
One (April 23) Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu

173. House Crow - Corvus splendens
Abundant in KL

174. Slender-billed Crow - Corvus enca
One individual above expected altitude at Fraser’s Hill garbage dump (April 14)

175. Large-billed Crow - Corvus macrorhynchos
Seen daily at KSNP and in Terengganu

176. Great Tit - Parus major
Seen easily, Mangrove Boardwalk, KSNP (April 11-12)

177. Sultan Tit - Melanochlora sultanea
One at first light, Jelai Resort, Fraser’s Hill (April 16)

178. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - Sitta frontalis
Two sightings of family groups at the FRIM-KL Canopy Boardwalk (April 10 and 17)

179. Blue Nuthatch - Sitta azurea
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill, present in 25% of bird waves, a great bird

180. Puff-throated Babbler (Pellorneum ruficeps)
Family group (including a nest-building pair) April 25 in Batu Rakit, Terengganu, also seen and heard May 4 in same locale. A northern Malaysia specialty, great song, like a happy person whistling – dee, diddly-do, diddly do

181. Buff-breasted Babbler - Trichastoma tickelli
Single sighting, Fraser’s Hill, Hemmant Trail (April 14), learn the song

182. Abbott's Babbler - Trichastoma abbotti
Commonest Babbler in lowland forest, mournful three note song worth learning

183. Large Scimitar-babbler - Pomatorhinus hypoleucos
Spectacular sighting of a single individual at Fraser’s Hill, Bishops Trail (April 13), suddenly appeared 3M away at eye level, responded well to recording

184. Pygmy Wren-babbler - Pnoepyga pusilla
Heard on Hemmant and Bishops trails, Fraser’s Hill

185. Rufous-fronted Babbler (Stachyris rufifrons)
One in Bamboo thicket beside Highway 55 near the Gap (April 14)

186. Golden Babbler - Stachyris chrysaea
Common at Fraser’s Hill, in most bird waves, but small, flighty and not very golden

187. Grey-throated Babbler - Stachyris nigriceps
Two at dawn under lights at Jelai Resort, Fraser’s Hill (April 16), responded to recording

188. Striped Tit-babbler - Macronous gularis
Fairly common in edge habitat, lowland forest, Terengganu, learn the song

189. Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush - Garrulax mitratus
Common at Fraser’s Hill

190. Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush - Garrulax erythrocephalus
Uncommon, two seen at lights at Jelai Resort, pair found nesting along Hemmant Trail

191. Silver-eared Mesia - Leiothrix argentauris
Common at Fraser’s Hill

192. Black-eared Shrike-babbler - Pteruthius melanotis
A very inconspicuous member of bird waves at Fraser’s Hill

193. Blue-winged Minla - Minla cyanouroptera
Fairly common in bird waves at Fraser’s Hill, but non-descript and not very blue

194. Mountain Fulvetta - Alcippe peracensis
Common at Fraser’s Hill, the core constituent of bird waves

195. Long-tailed Sibia - Heterophasia picaoides
Common at Fraser’s Hill

196. White-bellied Yuhina - Yuhina zantholeuca
Two at the Gap (April 14), one1K down the New Road to Fraser’s Hill (April 16)

197. Lesser Shortwing - Brachypteryx leucophrys
Heard along Hemmant and Bishops Trail, Fraser’s Hill

198. Oriental Magpie-robin - Copsychus saularis
Common, a familiar urban sight

199. White-rumped Shama - Copsychus malabaricus
Common in Batu Rakit and Tasik Kenyir area and on Pulau Perhentian Besar (one of very few passerines on Perhentian), beautiful song, characteristic of Malaysian forests

200. Slaty-backed Forktail - Enicurus schistaceus
Two sightings at Fraser’s Hill, one at the dump, two along road to external golf course

201. Flyeater (Golden-bellied Gerygone) - Gerygone suphurea
Two seen, others heard in mangroves at KSNP (April 12), responded well to recording

202. Chestnut-crowned Warbler - Seicercus castaniceps
Two on Bishop’s Trail, Fraser’s Hill (April 14)

203. Yellow-bellied Warbler - Abroscopus superciliaris
One at dawn feeding under the lights at Jelai Resort, Fraser’s Hill (April 14)

204. Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis)
Singles on Mangrove Boardwalk, KSNP (April 11 and 12), one in Merang, Terengganu coastal scrub (April 26), one at Batu Rakit, Terengganu (May 3)

205. Mountain Leaf Warbler - Phylloscopus trivirgatus
Three at dawn feeding under the lights at Jelai Resort, Fraser’s Hill (April 14)

206. Common Tailorbird - Orthotomus sutorius
Common in Terrengganu

207. Dark-necked Tailorbird - Orthotomus atrogularis
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill

208. Ashy Tailorbird - Orthotomus sepium
Common in Terrengganu

209. Mountain Tailorbird - Orthotomus cuculatus
One, Hemmant Trail, Fraser’s Hill (April 13)

210. Rufescent Prinia - Prinia rufescens
Common in roadside scrub, Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu

211. Yellow-bellied Prinia - Prinia flaviventris
Common, wet scrub, Terengganu, also seen and heard at KSNP (April 11-12)

212. Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola jucidis)
Three on land side of dyke at Kampung Bagan Aquaculture Ponds, Selangor (April 11)

213. Dark-sided Flycatcher - Musciapa sibirca
One, Batu Rakit, Terengganu (May 3)

214. Asian Brown Flycatcher - Musciapa dauurica
One (April 11), Mangrove Boardwalk, KSNP

215. Ferruginous Flycatcher - Musciapa ferruginea
One, Hemmant Trail, Fraser’s Hill (April 14), an accommodating gem

216. Verditer Flycatcher - Eumyias thalassina
One, top of New Road, Fraser’s Hill (April 16), one at Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 20)

217. Yellow-rumped Flycatcher - Ficedula zanthopygia
One alternate plumage male, main forest trail, Pulau Perhentian Besar (April 29)

218. Mugimaki Flycatcher - Ficedula mugimaki
One, Mangrove Boardwalk, KSNP (April 11)

219. Rufous-browed Flycatcher - Ficedula solitaries
Seen daily in small numbers at Fraser’s Hill, inconspicuous but unwary

220. Little Pied Flycatcher - Ficedula westermanni
Seen daily in small numbers at Fraser’s Hill

221. Large Niltava - Niltava grandis
Seen daily in small numbers at Fraser’s Hill

222. Grey-headed Flycatcher - Culicicapa ceylonensis
One1.5K down from top of New Road, Fraser’s Hill (April 16)

223. White-throated Fantail - Rhipidura albicollis
Common at Fraser’s Hill, at least one in most bird waves

224. Pied Fantail - Rhipidura javanica
Fairly common, often seen in brushy areas within urban settings

225. Black-naped Monarch - Hypothymis azurea
Pair, Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23)

226. Asian Paradise-flycatcher - Terpsiphone paradise
One, FRIM-KL Canopy Boardwalk (April 17)

227. Mangrove Whistler - Pachycephala grisola
Seen easily, Mangrove Boardwalk, KSNP (April 11-12)

228. Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae)
Common in grassy areas

229. Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)
Common early to mid April, numbers diminished towards end of month, fifteen seen on April 11 between Kuala Selangor and Kampung Bagan

230. Tiger Shrike (Lanius tigrnius)
One female, Mangrove Boardwalk, KSNP (April 12)

231. Philippine Glossy Starling - Aplonis panayensis
Common, a familiar roadside sight

232. Common Myna - Acridotheres tristis
Common, a familiar roadside sight

233. Jungle Myna - Acridotheres fuscus
In Terengganu a few birds were identified as this species by the blue base to the bill, but many other Acridotheres mynas in Terengganu and elsewhere, most with yellow bases to the bill, were not identified, the exact status of this species and the next is unclear to me

234. White-vented Myna - Acridotheres javanicus
A few individuals identified as this species in KL

235. Hill Myna - Gracula religiosa
Two, Mangrove Boardwalk, KSNP (April 12), seen and heard daily in Batu Rakit, Terengganu

236. Brown-throated Sunbird - Anthreptes malacensis
Common in Terengganu coastal scrub

237. Purple-naped Sunbird - Hypogramma hypogrammicum
One male seen along Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu (April 23)

238. Purple-throated Sunbird - Nectarina sperata
Common in disturbed forest, Terengganu

239. Olive-backed Sunbird - Nectarinia jugularis
Common in coastal scrub, Terengganu

240. Black-throated Sunbird - Aethopyga saturate
Common at Fraser’s Hill

241. Long-billed Spiderhunter - Arachnothera robusta
One, Tasik Kenyir Road (April 23)

242. Grey-breasted Spiderhunter - Arachnothera affinis
One, Batu Rakit, Terengganu (May 4)

243. Streaked Spiderhunter - Arachnothera magna
Common at Fraser’s Hill, a good call to learn.

244. Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker - Prionochilus percussus
One, top of New Road, Fraser’s Hill (April 16), one Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 19)

245. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker - Dicaeum trigonostigma
Fairly common Batu Rakit and Tasik Kenyir Road, Terengganu

246. Yellow-vented Flowerpecker - Dicaeum chrysorrheum
One, Batu Rakit, Terengganu (April 19)

247. Buff-bellied Flowerpecker - Dicaeum ignipectus
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill

248. Oriental White-eye - Zosterops palpebrosus
Common at KSNP

249. Everett's White-eye - Zosterops everetti
Three at the Gap (April 13), forty 1K down the New Road, Fraser’s Hill (April 16)

250. Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Passer montanus
Abundant in urban settings

251. Plain-backed Sparrow - Passer flaveolus
Two at Kusza, KT (April 22)

252. Baya Weaver - Ploceus philippinus
5 to 6 nests and accompanying adults, Batu Rakit, Terengganu, April 25 - under tremendous pressure in the area because nests are collected and sold as novelty items

253. White-rumped Munia - Lonchura striata
Seen daily at Fraser’s Hill

254. Scaly-breasted Munia - Lonchura punctulata
The commonest Munia, seen in urban and agricultural areas

255. Black-headed Munia - Lonchura Malacca
One at Kampung Bagan Aquaculture Ponds, Selangor (April 11)

Mammals (Reference: A Photographic Guide to Mammals of South-East Asia by Charles M. Francis)

1. Common Treeshrew - Tupia glis
What I had thought was just a very homely squirrel catching insects under the lights at the Jelai Resort, Fraser’s Hill, was upon subsequent reconsideration, this species.

2. Colugo/Flying Lemur - Cynocephalus variegates
Two of these amazing animals were observed at dusk at the Nicobar Pigeon spot on Pulau Perhentian.

3. Island Flying Fox - Pteropus hypomelanus
A number of these extraordinary giant bats were observed at dusk flying over the beach resorts on Pulau Perhentian.

4. Short-nosed Fruit Bat - Cynopterus spp.
Two of these beautiful bats were scoped at close range along a forest track in Batu Rakit, Terengganu. They were hanging at eye level under a large leaf.

5. Long-tailed Macaque - Macaca fascicularis
The most frequently seen monkey in Malaysia

6. Pig-tailed Macaque - Macaca nemestrina
Seen only at FRIM-KL, along trail to Canopy Boardwalk, they spend the midday heat resting under the base of the storage structures at the Canopy Walk trailhead

7. Silvered Languar - Trachypithecus cristatus
Seen only at KSNP and at the Aquaculture Ponds

8. Dusky Languar - Trachypithecus obscurus
Several troops seen Tasik Kenyir Road, Sekayu Forest Reserve, Terengganu

(Banded Languar - Presbytis femoralis)
A dark-faced Languar seen along Tasik Kenyir Road may have been this species

9. Siamang - Hylobates syndactylus
Frequently heard at Fraser’s Hill, it would have been wonderful to see one, but listening to the amazing vocalizations is an experience in itself

(White-handed Gibbon - Hylobates lar)
A Gibbon species heard in the Tasik Kenyir area was presumably this species.

10. Eurasian Wild Pig - Sus scrofa
One sighting, a female beside a forest lake, Batu Rakit, Terengganu

11. Black Giant Squirrel - Ratufa bicolour
One sighting, at base of trail to the Canopy Boardwalk at FRIM-KL

12. Plantain Squirrel - Callosciurus notatus
Common in most forest settings

13. Himalayan Striped Squirrel - Tamiops mclellandii
Fairly common at Fraser’s Hill, often seen slinking lizard-like along tree trunks and branches, resembles a North American Chipmunk with white ear tufts

Reptiles (Reference: A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand by Peter Paul Van Dijk et al)

Skink sp. - Scincidae
Often seen along forest rails

Agama sp. - Agamidae
Often seen in open sandy areas

Gecko sp.
In every house

Gliding Lizard sp. - Draco
Surprisingly common, caught out of the corner of the eye they resemble a falling leaf, except they are on a straight 45 degree glide path instead of a vertical, fluttering drop

Clouded Monitor - Varanus bengalensis
The common terrestrial monitor, a frequent road kill victim

Water Monitor - Varanus salvator
Often seen in still ponds and ditches

Impressed Tortoise – Manouria impressa
Bishop’s Trail, Fraser’s Hill, April 14