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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 May 2020 my countdown of lifers photograph has reached
539/688 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. The Fuji X-T2 is now in hand ; 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.
Meantime I am hoping Sigma or Fuji will come out with with a 200-600mm lens for my Fuji body. As for a new body I will only consider an upgrade when the megapixel hit 30..........

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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Friday, 28 September 2012

BEE-EATER 4/4 - Red-bearded Bee-eater

Red-bearded Bee-eater

Time to hit the Old Pumhouse road fellow birders if you have not sighted this bee eater resident. This my first sighting... lifer for me up close and personal. There were two couples and I think they do give out growling call and its really loud and weird. Who says they are quiet guys.

It was about 10.30am walking back to the Gate about 100m after the square water tank stumble upon them and with the glorious sunshine managed to get some good shots at about 25 ft out. It stayed for more than 10-15mins. Met The Yap family on their morning walk and talked about it. No fellow birders thought.

Many bee-eaters are social creatures of open country of dense Asian jungles such as the wonderful Red-bearded Bee-eater. Nearly all the family 26 nos are assigned to the genus Merops but the Red-bearded Bee-eater of Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra & Borneo is in the genus Nyctornis (as is the more northern Blue-bearded Bee-eater N. athertoni in SE Asia; the purple-headed Celebes Bee-eater Meropogon forsteni is the other non-Merops oddity). These are quiet forest birds found in pairs. Most bee-eaters have spiky tail extensions but Nyctornis does not instead a fan tail for emergency stop in mid air when hunting for flying insects.


BEE-EATER 3/4 - Chestnut-head Bee-eater

Chestnut-head Bee-eater
Another migrant from up north from India. In Peninsula they are found in Thailand down to Penang and fewer further down in Ipoh If you are in Penang you must see the colony congregate at the hill trees in Kek Lok Si temple Air Hitam in the evening.

BEE-EATER 2/4 -Blue-throated Bee-eater

Blue-throated Bee-eater
The bird is one of the migratory bee eater that breed in Singapore and the Malay peninsula in April-September, then strangely migrates to Indonesia thereafter. At the time when they leave, the Blue-tailed Bee-eater arrives. They are probably the only bird to breed here and migrate away during the non-breeding season. They migrate in small groups of not more than 15

Blue-throated Bee-eaters forage over the canopy of lowland forest, but also over mangroves, and relatively open habitats such as grasslands, marshes, beach scrub and even gardens and urban areas. Blue-throated


BEE-EATER 1/4 - Blue-tailed Bee eater

 Blue-tailed Bee-eater

The specie are back to peninsula from the month of Oct when the rainy season starts. The BTB have a distinct black mask and red eyed Chin yellow with rufous patched throat. It has two central tails elongated to sharp point when matured/adult

Additional photos from my Sg Balang Muar Trip October 2017.

MESIA 1/1 - Silver-eared Mesia

Silver-eared Mesia

Rowdy buggers and usually in a bunch. Very active in the early part of morning 8-10 am. Darting here there amongst the undergrowth. Sighted them for the two mornings I was there and then again at the SamPo temple hillside Cameron. They are always sighted at the same spot or route. Looks like they have a routine
or is it that they are curious birds. Saw them feeding on berries.
They are now a common sighting at Jelai Resort in Bukit Fraser where the management have these feeding station on a platform for their guest to watch and see. They are one of the most colourful & beautiful birds you can see up close . They are gregarious and sometimes join other birds in a birdwave combing the valley line in search of grubs and crawlies.

ORIOLE 3/4 - Black-throated Oriole

Black-throated Oriole
The black throated Oriole is commonly seen in evergreen lowland forest of Malaysia and its neighbouring countries. The male has this black head and throat with strong black streaking to its belly.


Thursday, 27 September 2012

ORIOLE 2/4 - Black & Crimson Oriole

Black & Crimson Oriole

Now It was just sheer luck and the rain sort of slow down activities in Fraser most of the 2 days in Fraser. The figs and other berries trees are beariing fruits but not ripe wrong timing. The bird race on 23-24 June will be just perfect timing to see wave and wave of birds. Good luck you guys

Was attracted by this unusual chirping and mimic it and it flew and perch overhead about 30 ft high

Chance on this female at Ole pumphouse trail ( the trogon valley 2nd last turning before the cablecar. Looks a bit lost in a bird wave of fulvettas and leafbirds and scimitars. The red headed trogon was calling that weekend but did not come out into the open.

The last I saw the male Black and Crimson Oriole was way back in time in Fraser Hill. This is my second time and a female is my first sighting. It is not a common bird to see as it moves around much . It preferred submontane moist forest of Malaysia and Indonesia.

ORIOLE 1/4 - Black-naped Oriole

Black-naped Oriole

Black-naped Oriole is a very common bird ("lup sup bird") to see flying amongst trees along roads and garden parks in the suburb and urban landscape. Nevertheless, they are not birds of the deep forest. Originally from coastal woodlands and mangroves, they have adapted to cultivated areas and parks and gardens. They usually keep to the middle storey and canopy of trees and seldom comes to the ground. They are very vocal birds with loud call cracking & hissing which I do not think is melodious. They are more often seen in a pair and likely together for their entire life.

The Black-naped Oriole is medium sized about 27cm and overall royal yellow with a strong pinkish bill and a broad black mask and nape. The adult male has the central tail feathers tipped yellow and the lateral ones are more broadly yellow. The female has the mantle colour more greenish or olive. The juvenile has a streaked underside. The nestling has dull greenish with brown streaks. The head and nape are more yellowish and the undertail coverts are yellow. Several variations exist in the populations that have been separated as subspecies.

Black-naped Orioles have been recorded to feed on a range of berries of Ficus and others apart from insects. There are also record of them being nest predators on smaller birds. So they are not liked by other birds and will be chased away like the common Koel. The breeding season is April to June and the nest is a deep cup in a fork of a tree.The eggs, two to three, are salmon pin with reddish spots and darker blotches. Two or three nests may be built by the female and one is finally chosen for laying eggs. Males may sometimes sit beside the unused nests as a distraction. Incubation is by the female alone and the eggs hatch after 14 to 16 days and the chicks fledge after another two weeks. Females stay closer to the nest, taking part in nest sanitation by removal of fecal sacs, driving away predators and feeding the young. The males take a more active role in feeding and guarding.

Zoglandboy commented:

The bird wasnt that lup sup in the past, it started as a rare or uncommon migrant from northern parts in the past and only started to get lup suppish when probably by nature or by human intervention, reaches the Malay Peninsular from Singapore (may had introduced itself from Java/Sumatra to here?) and spread upwards and now becoming a very common species in the West Malaysian town. In Borneo, it had yet to be established that way.

Now, problem came, the new studies suggested that the new resident (what we have now, the "maculatus" is probably a different species from the original migrants ("diffussus") which may still be a rare migrant or more regular migrant now but technically not much of the local birds care to seek them out, I would try to scan through whenever the view is good, but so far with no confirmation of the migrant, the migrant is still visiting Malay Peninsular with the evidence of migratory individuals seen passing south through Chumphon.

If the split is finally agreed upon by all, now mainly due to the non decisive decision for some untested taxons between Indonesia and Philippines. The proposed species are Black-naped Oriole (chinensis) of the Philippines, probably include some other nearby island races. Our common resident is the Sunda Golden Oriole (maculatus), some Indonesia island races are assumed to be of this but need better confirmation. And our migrant would be Asian Golden Oriole (diffussus), perhaps the split would squeeze people to try look out for the taxon more seriously, a similar situation with Richard's/Paddyfield Pipit pair..... not much of us actually bother if it was a migrant or not back then, not until the split is supported, accepted and leaving the migratory Richard's under a strongly disputed situation even up to today where it's status remained pretty uncertain.

MYNA 6/6 - Jungle Myna

Jungle Myna

The last  subspecie of the Myna family of Malaysia that I have yet to photograph.  Jungle Myna occur more in the northern and central side of peninsula Malaysia but not in proper Kuala Lumpur.

These 23 cm long birds have grey plumage, darker on the head and wings. There are large white wing patches obvious in flight, and a white tail tip. The head has a forehead tuft. The bill and strong legs are bright yellow with a telltale bluish tinge to the back of the beak, and there is no bare skin around eye. The sexes are similar, but juveniles are browner.

They are usually found close to water or rice fields. Like most starlings, the Jungle Myna is fairly omnivorous, eating fruit, grain and insects.

MYNA 5/6 - White vented Myna (Great Myna Grandis)

White-vented Myna

To say it is common bird is an understatement. Though found in suburb landscape, urban gardens and open park. Its population and territory northward into Perak is extending in the  fastest pace amongst the Mynas in Malaysia. In other SEA country it is also known as Great Myna.

Its features yellow bill reddish brown eyes and blackish head with a floppy crest with contrasting greyish body and obvious plump white vent.  Surprise it a feral resident meaning introduced to Malaysia maybe from India and now adapted to our land as immigrant lah all of us at one time.

It has this conspicious  floppy crest which is the most striking feature of this bird

MYNA 4/6 - Javan Myna

Javan Myna A. Javanicus
Javan Myna are not commonly found in urban scape but in kampung  village and outskirt coastal farmland and padi field. It is sometimes called Buffalo Myna. As its name it is primarily found originate from Java.  In Malaysia & Singapore it is co-exist, and thought to be in competition with the Common Myna (A. tristis)
The feral  Javan Myna is in shades of grey to freckle black, with a white vent, an inconspicious  white wing patch, white on the underside of the tail, and has a thick yellow eye ring for grown adults, legs and beak. It sometimes has grey (white) flecking on its belly. It can raise the feathers on its forehead into a dramatic crest.

It call is similar to the Common Myna.

Padi fields and cultivation farmland are their natural habitat, where they will prey on insects disturbed by water buffalo.  It lays 2-6 eggs in crevices and holes.  Javan Myna can live 8 to 20 years. It eats ants, worms, fruits, human feeds, insects and grains.

MYNA 3/6 - Hill Myna

 Hill Myna

At last a better sighting of the Hill Mynas. We were actually talking about them in the car and wishing they will show up..........and indeed reaching the Deerland sighted them on this dead tree at 150 ft. For its size of a foot you can still manage some reasonable pictures from a distance.....cropped of course.

The bird prefers the canopy and seldom come down low. Nests in unused holes of dead trees in lowland forest and fringe.

The local Malays call them Burung Tiong because it give loud call "tiong". It is a popular caged bird. Like parrots it can mimic other bird calls and human speech. Some say it a good "watchdog bird" if trained ....................

Another good place to see it is in Pulau Tioman which is named after this bird

MYNA 2/6 - Crested Myna

Crested Myna
Following the tip off from my sifu yet again; the family went to Air Hitam for Penang assam laksa and to capture this feral myna right in town itself. The colony is doing quite well and adapted to the town life here.

The Crested Myna (Acridotheres cristatellus) is a species of starling native to south-eastern China and Indochina. It can be differentiated from its other myna cousins by its bill is dull whitish - ivory like with a pinkish taint at its lower mandible rather than orange-yellow. Its eyes is pale red and its crest looks like a turf overgrown over its beak compared to the White-vented Myna's crown crest which the latter is more regal-like & prominent. I guess this is the last of the Myna species I can see in Malaysia until I stumble upon the supposedly extinct and maybe vagrant Golden-crested Myna in lowland forest in the northern part.....tough luck for us.

MYNA 1/6 - Common Myna

Common Myna
Common Myna is not really common. They are being overrun by the White-vented Myna in urban scapes and road fringes in KL.

It differentiate from the others by its yellow orbital skin. Omnivorous eats anything from fruits to insects. Adaptive and nest in building cervices than trees. Safer amongst humans but not rats...........

MAGPIE 2/2 - Black Magpie

Black Magpie

Black Magpie is a huge bird similar in size of a Crow and is more closer to a Treepie than a Jay or Magpie subspecies. It can be seen in lowland forest in Malaysia, Thailand, Mynammar and Indonesia. In Peninsula I have occassionly encounter the bird in Kemensah Selangor, Krau Pahang and Hulu Langat Selangor but no good photos.

It is gregarious and move around the middle storey of trees in pairs or more. It has a straight black body with a white patch on its wings and has red eyed. Like crow they eat about anything from berries, fruits to vertebrae, carcasses of small mammals and the likes. When ever they are present other birds keep their distance.

It has a variety of calls from croaking, chattering and hollow howling and crowing calls. For its size, it is a shy bird maybe hunted by the aborigines here as food.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

MAGPIE 1/2 - Common Green Magpie

Common Green Magpie
The  Common Green Magpie can be seen occassionally in montane forest in peninsula of Malaysia besides Thailand  Sumatra & Borneo until lower Himalayas of India. So far my sightings are in Fraser's and Ulu Kali. Nothing yet in Brincang.                                                                  

Magpie is consider a member of the Crow family related to Jay in other continents. The other one is the Black Magpie.

It's  body is  vivid green in colour (Very interesting to note that if this Magpie is in captivity  it's color  can turn turquoise  - possibly change in diet). Lighter on the underside and has a thick black band from the bill (through the eyes) to the nape. Compared to the other members of its kind; GM's white-tipped tail is quite long. This all contrasts vividly with the red fleshy eye rims, bill and legs. The wings are brownish maroon.

This bird seeks food both on the ground and in trees, and takes a very high percentage of animal prey from countless invertebrates, small reptiles and small mammals and young birds and eggs. It will also take flesh from a recently killed carcass.

The nest is built in trees, large shrubs and often in tangles of various climbing vines. There are usually 4–6 eggs laid. Most of the time it is alone when not breeding in the months of April -June.

The voice is quite varied but often a harsh peep-peep. It also frequently whistles and chatters.


This shot taken in Hulu Kali Sept 2012

GROUND BIRD 1/16 - Red Junglefowl

Red Junglefowl

Red Junglefowl are wild birds which can be found even in suburbs like Petaling Jaya This one was taken at the open ground along Sprint highway across Kiara next to Universiti Malaya.

The bird is 2 feet in length and can fly short distances. Adapted for hunting in open ground at forest edges and undergrowth Very vigilant and territorial. Notice the white ear patch. This is gallus male in its full colorful splendor............

Their habitat is shrinking.... with the privatisation of housing development in MU it will be sad that you need to go further out to see them.

SHRIKE-BABBLER 2/2 - White-browed Shrike-babbler

White-browed Shrike-babbler

Black head with white supercillum, grey upperpart with slick black tail and wing, throat can be whitish to grey. The male has this orangy to chestnut tinge to its wing tertial. Very short and stout beak. Size about 6-7 inches.

A montane bird from 700m- 2000m. Common sighting at Fraser's Hill and Ulu Kali are easier to see this species. The call is loud and sweet,very close to the call of the Large Woodshrike.................a cross breed I wonder.

The peninsula's   specie is now called Blyth's Shrikebabbler which have also 4 different subspecies I saw the Borneo version in December 2017 while biridng at Kinabalu Park Bukit Ular Power Station  Road

SHRIKE-BABBLER 1/2 - Black-eared shrike-babbler

Black-eared Shrike-babbler
            The female

It is a sure see in Gng Brinchang Cameron Highlands& Hulu Kali Radar station.

This is a tiny colourful Babbler of 12cm. Very small indeed. A highland bird upto 2,200 metres. They usually keep to the higher storey unlike the ground Babblers. Have a lot of similiaritys to the Chestnut-fronted Shrike Babbler of Northern SEA of Thailand & Myanmar etc except for the black marking to ear covert. Female is a bit plainer without the reddish chest.

Caught in a bird wave amongst Sibias, Mesias and Fulvettas Fantails and a twosome Yellownape Woodies. There was a family of 3 hoping and very active amongst the branches searching for grubs and insects. They do feed on fruits and nectars.

Monday, 24 September 2012

BROADBILL 1/7 - Silver-breasted Broadbill

 Silver-breasted Broadbill

All the silver breasted from Awana have migrated to Bkt Tinggi where they are striving in the dozen. Living amongst human at arm length. Best time to see them is during April - May when they start to nest and breed.

The Silver breasted is one of the smaller Broadbill at only 17cm slightly bigger than the Green. Notice the silver neckline which the name derive from. Next is to find the Dusky Broadbill which is the largest of them all..............