In all, there are some 640 species of resident, including common migrant, birds to be found in Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia has about 430 resident birds, 120 or so regular migrants and around 70 vagrants. The number of endemic birds are few. Over in Malaysian Borneo, the number of resident species recorded are just over 400, with 120 regular migrants and 50 vagrants. The number of endemic birds, however, is high, with over 30 Bornean endemics to be seen here. For those interested, we have included a list, with notes, of Noteworthy birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo. Do also look up our Birding Directory for more complete checklists of Malaysian birds or recent sightings.
There are numerous birding destinations in Malaysia. A common itinerary, spanning Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo, will include: Kuala Selangor, Taman Negara, Frasers Hill, Kinabalu Park, and Danum Valley. To learn more about some of these, and other, destinations, feel free to browse our Destination Guides. Do also look up our featured bird reports from eminent local ornithologist, Glenda Normamly and others here: Nature History Features.
For a wide range of birding contacts, feel free to browse our Birding Directory.
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There are a number of birding events, some like the Annual Raptor Watch, is fun day out with a whole bunch of birders! You'll find some of the upcoming events posted on our WILDBORNEO.net Travel Help Online. Below are list of the major events for the year. For more specific information on these events, you can email the MNS ornithological officer.
- Twice-Monthly Wader-watch at Kapar Powerstation. Limited places and open only to MNS members. A good location for birding along the mudflats of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
- January Asian Waterbird Census. An annual voluntary census of Malaysian wetlands. You can view the most recent report, Asian Waterbird Census 1994-1996.
- March Raptor Watch Week. A major birding event organised around the annual migration of raptors from Sumatra over to Peninsular Malaysia. The shortest point of which, along the west coast, being Tanjung Tuan (Cape Rachado, Port Dickson, Melaka) and is the focal point of the entire event.
- June Frasers Hill International Birdrace. One of the more popular of annual bird events in Malaysia. Frasers Hill is an important destination for birders, and this annual event gives good publicity for birders and birdwatching, and helps in protecting one of Malaysia's most important forests.
- October Kuala Selangor Bird Count. An annual bird count of KSNP. Essentially birding in mangroves, open swamps and along man-made bunds.
If you are stuck with the identification of Malaysian birds, especially if you have taken a picture or have recorded a call, you can post a query to the Malaysian Birders eGroup or WildBird Singapore. You'll find that there are a number of friendly resource persons that will be more than glad to help you with an ID.
Help us conserve our forests and birds. You can contribute by supporting the Malaysian Nature Society and don't forget to subscribe to its bi-monthly bulletin, Suara Enggang. You can also add to our body of knowledge of Malaysian birds by submitting your trip reports to the MNS ornithological officer.