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MikeBirder - Malaysian Birds


Welcome to my Malaysian Birding Blog. I migrated to as my blog at closed shop in 2012. I wish to showcase all Malaysian birds that I have photographed whether here or overseas. My countdown of lifers started in 2005. Coming to Oct 2022 my countdown of lifers photograph has reached
559/688 species of birds of Malaysia in photos.

My shooting gear was a EF400mm f4 DO lens and Canon 7D body which to me is the ideal setup for mobility and bird chasing at that time. Eventhen the weight over my shoulder is more that 5.5 kg. As of June 2016 I have also acquired a Fuji XF 100-400mm OIS lens to complement my travelling cum birding trip overseas. My Fuji X-T2 went kaput recently and I upgraded to the X-T5 in 2023 ; the weight over my shoulder is much lighter now by 30%. In December 2018 I acquired the Nikon Coolpix P1000 as supplementary camera for distance shooting of 3000mm.
Fuji have finally made available their new XF 200-600mm lens which I yet to decide to spend another RM10,000. As for Fuji body I will stop with X-T5 36megapixel ..........

I am a weekend birder. Do feel free to drop me a line at and I see whether you can tag along in my outings. My usual day trip is just an hour ride away to Hulu Langat, Lancang, Kemensah, Krau, Awana, Hulu Kali, Gombak Ole Road, Fraser's Hill , Bukit Tinggi and KSNP & Coastal Sg Janggut Jeram side of the coast . Overnite trip to Merapoh & Cameron, Air Hitam and further north to Kuala Sidim is a seldom affair but for lifer we travel. Panti in Johor is another good birding site that I yet to go. Then there are the Borneo birds of Sabah and Sarawak of Malaysia which I seriously much go to chalk up more lifers. This I did in 2018 to Sepilok Sandakan and Kinabalu Park. Next Danum and LahatDatu.......

WARNING Birding is an addiction once you started its hard to stop. The wifey and children are now birding widow and orphan.



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Wednesday 25 October 2023

SWIFTLET (6/9)- Black-nest Swiftlet (Lifer 575/688)

Shooting from the Canopy walk you can see this Swiftlet year round. I was never good in BIF shots. Even at 1/4000 or 8000 I still get soft shoot like above. Nevertheless a lifer .Narrated as a small dark Aerodramus swiftlet that is nearly impossible to distinguish from closely-related species such as Mossy-nest and White-nest Swiftlets. Dark above and paler gray below; rump varies from dirty white to dark depending on subspecies. Tail averages more squared-off and less prominently forked than White-nest and Germain’s swiftlets, but best identified when on feather-and-saliva nests, which are dark, as the name suggests. Nests in large colonies in caves, often with other species of swiftlet. Chitters at nest, but usually fairly quiet. Need to find their roosting cave to get better pictures lol.

Monday 23 October 2023

Avian sighting Oct 2023 - Changeable Hawk Eagle- Black morph and White morph Copulation

We sighted a pair of Changeable Hawk Eagle copulating near an incomplete nest in middle of October 2023 at RDC Sepilok (Pitta Trail). It was a distance viewing of about 1000m away. As it will not disturb them I don't mind posting the encounter so that other birders can see and report  the progress of the birds. ID by my sifu Tou.

                                   Photo taken with Fuji X-T5 with 100-400mm XF telephoto lens


Thursday 19 October 2023

MAGPIE 4/4 - Bornean Black Magpie (Borneo endemic / Lifer 574)

The Bornean Black Magpie is a Treepie in the family Corvidae.

The Bornean (Platysmurus aterrimus)  is split  from our peninsula Malaysia cousin and can be  differentiated  by having a patchy crest like (parrotlike) and no white barring to its wings. Size wise It is slightly larger at about 43 cm or 1.5ft. Vocal wise they are quite different so if you manage to have its call, chances it will response to it. 

It is almost a sure see in RDC Sepilok  especially at the Pitta Trail. In fact, it is a common bird to see. My MO to get it to come to you is by playing the- call of the other bird which often feed together with it. 

The magpie is a garrulous (always calling) and sociable bird feeding amongst others, often seen in family parties. But my encounter was only a single bird at RDC that 2 days. It has a variety of whistling and chattering calls and is also a v
ocal mimic. It flies with shallow wing beats that produce a distinctive low throbbing whoo or boobooboo 

The magpie is an insectivore and frugivore. It can take to the air catch insects or finding crawlies on foliage and also opportunistically taking small mammals and reptiles.

The magpie is found in the lowlands of Borneo, ranging in altitude up to about 300 m above sea level. It inhabits primary forest, including dipterocarpkerangas and peat swamp forest, and is also found in secondary forest, overgrown tree plantations and scrub. (Wiki)

As a comparison Racquet-tailed Drongo 

Friday 14 April 2023

DUCK 12/15 - Sunda Teal (Lifer 573/688)

 This is a medium size duck of upto 43cm; I always thought teal is small in size like grebe. The Sunda teal (Anas gibberifrons), also known as the Bebek cokelat or Itik benjut, is a dabbling duck found in open wetlands in Indonesia. The species formerly included the Andaman teal Anas albogularis and the grey teal, Anas gracilis as subspecies, but is currently considered monotypic. 

Subki mentioned that they are breeding now in Tawau port; but he is afraid soon the abandoned fish ponds will reactivated and the manmade habitat may be disturbed. In the evening I only got to shoot a single duck. The following morning the duck was missing from the pond

By the way the Sunda Teal was not mentioned in my bird bible (CraigRobson) as a Malaysia bird.....

It is a dull, brown duck with ruby-red eyes. Also note rounded forehead with noticeable bulge and bright green-and-white wing patches. Found in freshwater, brackish, and occasionally marine habitats, forages primarily by dabbling. Typically moves in pairs or small groups.

Wednesday 12 April 2023

DUCK 13/15 - Wandering Whistling Duck (Lifer 572/688) April 2023

In peninsula Malaysia we usually see the Lesser Whistling Duck but in Sabah waters the Wandering Whistling is easily seen at watersheds like flood retention pond, housing estate lakes and abandoned fish ponds. It is fortunate that there are not hunted by the town folks and they still propagate in abundance in man made habitat. 

Breeding occurs during the tropical wet season usually between December and May. During this time six to fifteen eggs are laid in a nest not far from water and usually in high grass or a sheltered area.

Formerly named tree ducks, the wandering whistling duck has its new name because of their loud whistling calls and the whistling noise their wings make during flight. They have long necks and legs and look like a cross between a 
goose and a duck. They have a strong head and neck with a darker crown and hindneck. The breast contains black spotting and the feathers are mostly dark brown. They range in size from 54–60 cm in height and weigh on average 750 grams. They mainly feed on grasses, waterlilies, water plants and occasionally insects and aquatic vertebrae.

Tuesday 11 April 2023

PITTA 9/12 - Blue Banded Pitta (Lifer 571/688) Borneo Endemic

I extended 3 weekdays to my diving trip to Tawau -Semporna  with Subki. Unfortunately he is a working teacher in a Chinese school and can only spare me his guiding in the afternoon. He has created a nice port (abate without a shelter against the rain) for this special pitta. I would agree with you if you say that this is the most elegant and beautiful pitta in Malaysia. The RM300 fees to see this bird is worthy won't you agree.

This was my target bird in Tawau; you guys should not miss. Usually you have to go to Maliau Basin about 6-7 hours out from Tawau.   The bird is most active in the morning. In my encounter it came out only twice but stayed a while until the bloody squirrel came  and the pitta scuttered down the ravine in a hurry.  Apparently there is a pair of them there but only one of them come out at a time I think.....meaning they are breeding I would not know. So if you are lucky you may see a family of the pitta coming out to feed in the coming May. After that the bird would probably move on as pittas are known to be nomadic. 

This colourful bird has a black head with a yellow/orange streak above the eye, an orange-red nape, a brown throat, a chest barred with orange and dark blue (more orange towards the sides and more blue towards the centre), and a blue belly. The back is brown and the tail is blue.

Size wise its about 16-17  cm slightly the size of the Garnet. 
The Malayan banded pitta is native to tropical south-eastern Asia where its range includes Malaysia, Thailand and Sumatra. It typically inhabits primary lowland evergreen forests, including swamp forests, but can occur at altitudes of up to 1,500 m (5,000 ft). It also occurs in secondary forest, but may not persist well in this environment. Its diet is mainly insects and fruits
I would rather call it Blue-necklaced Pitta as the blue band is more speckled and patchy. 

Other birds that I  missed  in Tawau is the Rufous-tailed Sharma, White-fronted Falconet, Jerdon's Baza

Sunday 9 April 2023

Jungle Flycatcher 5/5 - Rufous-tailed Jungle Flycatcher (Lifer 570/688)

Yes I can close the chapter on Jungle Flycatchers (5 species) of Malaysia. This is a resident bird of Borneo Sabah and more a Sulawesi descent. It is a highland flycatcher where else the Grey-chested Fc is a lowland bird in Malaysia. It is also called Crocker Jungle Fc,

 There is not much writing of this bird. It is almost similar looking as the Grey-chested but smaller at 18cm