Mike Birder - Malaysian Birds


Welcome to my Malaysian Birding Blog. I migrated to blogspot.com as my blog at multiply.com 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. As of April 2018 my countdown of lifers photograph has reached
494/688 species of birds of Malaysia.

My shooting gear are a EF400mm f4 DO lens and Canon 7D body which to me is the ideal setup for mobility and bird chasing. 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%.

I am a weekend birder. Do feel free to drop me a line at mikebirding@gmail.com 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

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



Search for Malaysian Bird Photos

Monday, 29 October 2012

CUCKOO 10/14 - Drongo Cuckoo

 Drongo Cuckoo

Aptly called "drongo" cuckoo I think because of the similarity of its same shape & slender tail. Slightly larger than a pigeon. Can compare with a Bronze Drongo later. The glossy bluish feathers are almost the same. Only difference is in the shape of the beak and head features. You wonder it a mixed breed..........

They are very approachable and not easily spooked unless you move exaggerately. They are curious bugger too and will come 20-25 feet. near u which I did encounter the specie at ISI Rimba site in Kemensah last week.

CUCKOO 9/14 - Banded Bay Cuckoo

Banded Bay cuckoo

A lifer if it is correctly id as the BB Cuckoo Size about a Rock Pigeon 8-9 inches long. This adult just popped infront of me whilst I was shooting a couple Chestnut Chested Malkoha at close quarters.

Found in broadleaved forest in open area. Just have to call them in. Surprisingly this is a resident of Malaysia but can be found in open parkland in the city and suburbs.

CUCKOO 8/14 - Chestnut-winged Cuckoo

  Chestnut-winged Cuckoo

This  is a migrant Cuckoo to our jungle in Peninsula Malaysia. As usual Cuckoo are easier to photog as they frequent low vegetation and do come out in the open to look for insects. In fact the rainy season is the best period to see them.
This is a large size cuckoo as long as 41cm or 18 inches. This is the only Cuckoo that has a crested head that you can see in here. Thailand's also have a vagrant  Pied Cuckoo that has a crest too. You never know one will just extend its visit down to Peninsula.

CUCKOO 7/14 - Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo

Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo
The splitting of subspecies of the migratory Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo (HHC) and Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo (MHC) has caused much confusion amongst birdwatchers in Peninsula Malaysia. Actually the differences is there when comparing mature adult birds. It is only when you want to id the immature or subadult HHC based on poor photos like mine here.

Yong Ding Li did a superb writeup on the differences of features of the birds. For the adult bird; the easy tell tale is that the HHC has rufous wash on its neck to breast (like the Large Hawk Cuckoo) whilst the MHC has a cleaner and heavy vertical streaking. The MHC also have more puffy white throat to go; see my shot at :

A summary of visible immature features between the species are as follows:

Immature Features Comparison

a. White nape patch MCC - Present / HHC - Absent
b. Wings Fringes MCC - Pale whitish & faint / HHC - Buffy to Rusty
c. Innermost Tertial feathers MCC - More Brownish / HCC - Paler & very faint
d. Bands on underside primaries MCC - broader / HHC - Less broad
e. Underparts MCC - Whiter & cleaner / HHC Rufous orangy wash
f. Plumage Color MCC - Darker Brown / HHC lighter and true brown

Further to that timing of sighting of the HHC should be during the period between the coming of northern wintering period initiate the migratory period starting as early as October and the arrival of Spring/Summer call for the return trip back to northern hemisphere as late as May of the year. Another fact is according to Craig Robson's bird guide MHC is a resident lowland bird and seldom go higher than 500m whilst the HHC prefers the cooler coastal lowland to highland upto 1500m.

CUCKOO 6/14 - Large Hawk Cuckoo

 Large Hawk Cuckoo

Still hunting for my elusive Speckled Piculet last weekend in the month Oct 2011. Instead got 2 lifers. One of them is this large bird of 15 inches or 40cm at the Telekom loop left of the junction.

Large Hawk Cuckoo is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The resident subspecies of the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo is sometimes considered a separate species, the Dark Hawk-cuckoo (C. s. bocki ). It feeds on insects, mainly caterpillars, spiders, birds eggs and berries. In Peninsula they can be seen at highland tropical forests at altitude upto 2,500m like Fraser's Hill. LHC can also be seen in Awana side but may be the migrant ones.

It has a greyish-brown back, a grey head and a tail with broad bars. The throat is white and the breast is rufous and both have dark streaks. The belly has broad black bands on white. The eyering is yellow and the iris is orange to buff in colour.

It is a brood parasite and its hosts tend to be Laughingthrush, Barwings and similar. Its scientific specific name sparverioides means "resembling a Sparrowhawk" and, in flight, it looks just like a Sparrowhawk. It is possible that this may cause potential hosts to flee allowing the Large Hawk-cuckoo to lay its eggs.

CUCKOO 5/14 - Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo

Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo

Keeping pace with Madi I got the Malaysia Hawk Cuckoo in the deep side of Kemensah Hill whilst waiting for bird wave. The bugger just flew out and perch on a branch of the large tree in the ravine. Against the glaring background I only manage poor shot. The distance from Madi catch and mine is about 3 klicks. Comparing the birds It is unlikely the same bird though cuckoo do move around. Mine looks like a juvenile.

This is a resident of Malaysia wherelse there is another subspecies Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo which winter over here from China - Nepal side. Similar in size and shape. The separation is the Malaysian has a cleaner black streak marking over whitish chest whilst the visitor have buffy rustic chest and the latter have darker grey overall. Both have a bit of puff throat and flatten tail. Calls is almost the same. During the same time of my sighting a Hodgson's was sighted in Singapore. Very rare to see the latter......

It is a medium size cuckoo reaching less that a foot with a flattened out tail.

CUCKOO 4/14 - Oriental Cuckoo

Oriental Cuckoo

Caught it in FRIM Kepong during a rainy morning. With its greyish coat and clear barred white chest The Indian Cuckoo have a more brownish and distinct coat.

The other two photos inbetween here; are the Hepatic breed I can only deduce that cuckoo with yellow eye ring is this two. This shots were taken at Rimba Kemensah a week after the Banded Bay Cuckoo was sighted at the same spot.

CUCKOO 3/14 - Plaintive Cuckoo

Plaintive cuckoo

The Plaintiff frequent the open ground and perched on dead stumps, post and fences on lowland and jungle fringes. The closest u can approach them is about 30-40 ft if you walk slowly and zig zagging to it. They will just fly off to a similar distance from where you started off.

It is the size of a pigeon with a greying head, red eyed with a beautiful tail and chestnut winged. Last seen in TRA. It is seasonal traveller and not local to an area.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

PARROT 4/5 - Blue-rumped Parrot

Blue-rumped Parrot
It is found in lowland forests, generally below 700m, in forest, open woodland, orchards and plantations, mangroves, dense scrub, and coconut groves. It occurs in flocks up to 20 birds. They eat seeds, fruit and blossoms.

This small parrot - averaging 7 inches or 18 cm in length - is primarily green, with bright red shoulder patches, and yellowish margins on the wing coverts.

The male has a black mantle, red upper mandible, and greyish-blue head and rump, with a brighter blue to the forehead and crown. The breast and abdomen are greyish-olive. The thighs and under tail-coverts greenish-yellow with bluish tips. The back is blue-black with each feather edged greenish-grey. The lower back and upper tail-coverts are deep blue. The sides of the body and the wing-coverts and bend of wing are red. The outermost lesser wing-coverts are brownish-red. The wings and greater wing-coverts are dark green. The secondaries and wing-coverts have a greenish-yellow edging. The upperside of the tail-feathers are greenish-yellow and the underside is yellow. The upper mandible of the male is red and his lower mandible is brown-blackish. The irises are pale yellow and the feet are grey.

It is common caged bird with similar fate of the Blue crowned hanging parrot. It is getting rare to see them in the wild in Malaysia.

PARROT 3/5 - Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot

Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot

PARROT 2/5 - Red-breasted Parakeet

Red-breasted Parakeet
Native of Thailand and Burma. Supposedly used to be recorded in northern part of Peninsula Malaysia but now all gone. This one captured in Penang Bird Park amongst the local Long -tailed.

PARROT 1/5 - Long-tailed Parakeet

Long-tailed Parakeet
It was in a flock of 7-9 birds flying around and this my best shot. Fly like a rocket whilst giving single screeches. Waited for it to comeback but alas not my day. Well there will be other morning. They are found in oil palms estates,lowland and hilly forest depending on fruiting season. Yup they are residents of Malaysia

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

FLOWERPECKER 5/11 - Fire-breasted Flowerpecker

 Fire-breasted Flowerpecker

Got this Fire-breasted Flowerpecker in FraserHill outside Hernmant's Trail junction. The other FP yet to be photograph are the Scarlet-breasted and Plain Flowerpecker.....they are the rare and uncommon one to be found.

Latest shot in Awana Genting April 2013

Monday, 22 October 2012

FLOWERPECKER 4/11 - Orange-bellied Flowerpecker

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
I encountered my flowerpecker specie no 3 in Awana. One shot and its gone. Sayang lah it was quite a distance and the size of 8cm is among the smallest.

The Orange-bellied can also be observed in TRA and it a regular appearance on fruiting figs.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Friday, 19 October 2012

BABBLER 22/23 - Abbott's Babbler

Calling my Sifus....Horsfield's, Abbot's or Short tailed..................in the end compared the call recorded by Sifu Khong's its a Abbot's Babbler alrite...... a lifer still. Size about 16.5cm or 7 inches Very broad looking pale whitish chest with rufous vented and side. I have seen pictures by others the belly and chest can turn orangy too.

During my encounter it stays in one tree for a long period of half an hour. Unlike other babblers it tend to sit out on open branches. It continuous give out a three syllable clear sharp call which I recorded .....will attach later. Occasionally It will drop onto the ground and slowly climb up the tree upto 15 ft high. You notice the photos are top up. The bird was on its own. No mate yet for the breeding season. Apparently the nesting period of Abbott's Babbler can starts as early in late January until September as recorded in Thailand. Can also be sighted in KSNP and Taman Negara

The Abbott's Babbler (Malacocincla abbotti) is a SEA bird in the Timaliidae family as it is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The name of the species commemorates William Louis Abbott (1860-1936), American naturalist and collector, who studied the wildlife of the Indo-Malayan region.