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.



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Sunday, 29 December 2013

RAPTOR &ACCIPITER 15/35 - Black Baza

Just 2 of them sighted in the sky of Tanjung Karang catching the 10am morning thermal and moving south. These are passage migrant to Indonesia. The great migration starts as early as September annually.


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

RAPTOR & ACCIPITER 13/35 - Crested Goshawk

 Crested Goshawk

Okay it is confirmed a male Crested Goshawk by my acclaimed guru an expert in accipiter and raptors. If you have any doubt of your bird you can email Mike Chong at mikechn@pc.jaring.my for a second opinion.

Crested Goshawk is a medium size accipiter of 40cm In the picture the crest is quite at the back so cannot see. A resident that can be found at lowland forest of Peninsula Malaysia. Prefer coniferous trees and mix broadleaved forest. My sighting was in Kiara suburban......maybe in Sg Buloh a coniferous forest ground is another possible site to see it.


RAPTOR & ACCIPITER 14/35 -Common Buzzard

Common Buzzard
 The Common Buzzard measures between 40 and 58 cm (16 and 23 in) in length with a 109–136 cm (43–54 in) wingspan and  making it a medium-sized raptor.

It is a migrant to Malaysia during the winter period.

RAPTOR & ACCIPITER 23/35 - White-bellied Sea Eagle

It is a common raptor that can be seen at coastal line of Peninsula Malaysia and Islands. The White-bellied Sea Eagle is the  largest resident raptor  with a wingspan of 50cm and body length of 70cm.

It is also called White-bellied Fish Eagles are more commonly seen on warm early mornings riding the coastal thermals, holding their wings in a V-shape (other raptors hold them horizontally). White-bellied Fish Eagles primary hunt prey that are found near the water surface mainly sea snakes, and fish. They do  prey onbirds, turtles, swimming crabs and even bats when staple prey is less.

Like other raptors, they have excellent eyesight. To forage, they circle on a thermal to gain height, then glide over water usually low and within 1 km from the shore.They catch their prey by skimming the water surface then snagging the prey in their talons with a backward slash. They don't plunge into the water like Osprey do.

White-bellied Fish Eagles don't appear to be highly territorial towards others of their kind. But they make loud harsh cries near important spots like a perch or nest. These can be heard up to 1 km away, perhaps helping to space out the birds and avoid confrontations.


Monday, 16 December 2013

HORNBILL 9/10 - White-crowned Hornbill

White-Crowned Hornbill

Got to shoot my last hornbill subspecies at Tiger Temple in  Bangkok Thailand. It was place in a  large aviary amongst several other hornbill and ground birds. 

WCH looks  monotonous unlike the other brightly coloured hornbills. It is the rarer bird to see amongst 9 species of hornbills of Malaysia. This species is found in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. This bird inhabits rainforests of low and medium altitudes, usually at an elevation below 900 meters. It may also be found into fruit, oil-palm and rubber plantations when food is scarce.

It  is a large hornbill, reaching a length of 83–102 centimetres (33–40 in). Females are smaller than males. The plumage is black and white. The head, neck, breast and tail are white, while the rest of the feathers is black. It has a white crown feathers erected in a crest (hence the common name). Between the eye and the bill and on the throat there is bare dark blue skin. The bill is mainly black, with a yellowish base. Similarly to most of hornbills it has a kind of blackish casque on the top if its bill. Female have black neck and underparts. These birds are territorial and feed on various fruits, lizard, antropods and larvae.

Photos shot from Fuji X-2

New sighting at Nuang Perdik in November 2016. A pair was sighted for a duration of 2-4 weeks here.  This shots taken with Fuji XT-2 This is the first time I sighted them in the wild. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

FLOWERPECKER 6/11 - Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker

A sure see bird in TRA. This happy go lucky bird will be found among the low vegetation along the riverside. Their familiar busy whit-whit call is very distinct. Approachable upto 10ft when they are obliging.......

People will think that it has a bloody injured breast but not to worry it is their macho mark. The female also have the red crown but body is just plain olive to yellow.

Monday, 11 November 2013

PHILENTOMA 2/2 - Maroon-breasted Philentoma

Maroon-breasted Philentoma (MBP)

This is the cousin to the Rufous-winged Philentoma. Both are part of the flycatcher family. Because of the broader beak with a curved tip of the Maroon it now being considered to be grouped in helmeted-shrike family.

The Maroon-breasted Philentoma is also bigger and slender at 20cm. The pictures here is the female. The male has this maroon patch breast below a black upper throat and sides of head otherwise the bird is of dull blue plumage. Hope to see the male soon.

The female MBP can be mistaken for the Blue morph RWP if you do not know the tell tale signs which include:-
1.  MBP  has broad beak with curved tip compared to the straight and sharp beak of the latter.
2.  MBP vent is uniformly blue whilst the latter is whitish to buff.
3. Size of course is a factor but in the field you seldom see them together.  



These are birds of the virgin lowland forest like Bukit Rengit and Merapoh to name a few. Both species of Philentomas, seldom feed together or in contact, If you see one subspecies you can expect to  see other in these same location but at different canopy level. The Maroon prefers the middle to upper storey of the trees looking down on you  whilst the Rufous you can shoot it at eye level. So it is more rare to see the former than the other. The presence of both species of birds in the area can be alerted by their calls...................

Finally in the month of June 2015 I was back in Taman Negara and this time the male MBP showed up quite willingly with the female in tow. Nesting and feeding was seen in the undergrowth in a dark section of the trail 2km from the bridge. Did venture from the fringe opening but better not to disturb it for its sake.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

DOVE 7/9 - Red-collared dove aka Red Turtle Dove

Red Collared Dove

Running thru some of my old pictures and walla a lifer of a dove. Nothing fantastic. Red-collared Dove is specific to a locale. In peninsula it is more commonly seen in northern part Chuping-Jitra flat lands, coastal side of Johor and Melaka.

This species of dove, with a round body and short tail, measures 23 centimetres. Males have a black bill, grey head with a dark stripe on the back of the neck, red-brown body, black wing and tail tips and a pinkish light brown underside.Females are dull brown.

Mating takes place from April to July. Their bulare nests are built on tree branches using twigs. Each clutch usually consists of two white eggs. They are seed and berries eaters.

Monday, 4 November 2013

DOVE 6/9 - Little Cuckoo Dove

Little Cuckoo Dove

This dove is not really that small at 29cm or a footer. It is a common dove to see in the many submontane forest in peninsula Malaysia. Apparently there are 8 races of this subspecies Ours is the Malayana.

It's head & nape is cinnamon; neck & upper mantle vaguely glossed green & lilac, some feather shaving dark subterminal bars. Mantle to rump dark brown, very obscurely barred on the mantle. Wing shields blackish brown with broad chestnut fringes. Flight feathers blackish brown. central tail feathers dark brown with bold dark black subterminal band. Throat pale yellow buff, rest of underparts cinnamon shading into chestnut on the undertail coverts, flanks & wing lining. breast tinged vinous & many feathers of the breast & upper belly with broad creamy buff tips giving a mottled appearance. iris greyish white to bluish white. Eye cere dark grey; bill brown at base blackish tip; legs & feet coral red.

 Female: differs from male in the dark chestnut crown is spotted with black mostly on the forehead. Neck yellow buff barred black & lacking iridescence. Wing coverts more broadly fringed chestnut. Ear coverts yellow buff speckled black. Throat pale buff with feathers around it edged blackish. Upper breast feathers pale basally, blackish laterally & subterminally & variably tipped chestnut which gives a mottled appearance. Belly more yellow rufous vaguely barred. Bill blacker than in male; feet & legs duller purplish red. Juvenile: similar to females but having a more barred & mottled appearance.

Nesting: single buff, cream or white egg laid; incubation 12-17 days; fledgling another couple of weeks.

PHILENTOMA 1/2 - Rufous-winged Philentoma

 Rufous-winged Philentoma

Another amazing catch in the old hunt. Bird life have been in a doldrum here where ground clearing and deforestation is continuing in front of Perhilitan frontyard but nothing is been done. SOS to Elizabeth W

Sometimes it is best to walk up and down the track as such rarely seen bird pop out out of the green. The RWP looks like Asian Paradise at first glance but lack full brown wings and is the size of the common Black-naped Monarch in Bkt Rengit of about 6 inches or so.

Now this Juvenile was seen together with its Dad. Its beaks is a pale of pink and yet to turn dark. The Mum is no where to be seen. So its the job of the dad to teach it the ropes I guess...............

I notice Philentoma tends to cling to vertical growth besides horizontal branches unlike flycatchers or bulbuls.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

FERAL 1/10 - Eurasian Collared Dove

Eurasian Collared Dove

Likely not Red Turtledoves, the Red Turtledoves should be much redder in tone, these are likely the Barbary Doves (either originated from Eurasian Collared Dove or African Collared Dove, its still under debate but African seemed to be the more favored choice for the time being, the Barbary Dove, which is completely domesticated is usually regarded as a distinct species, or a subspecies of the African/European).

This is a common cage bird, it is also often wrongly called the Javanese Turtledove which is in fact another species! I have seen this species as an escapee as well once opposite my house.

The real Red Turtledove has a grey head and very reddish body.
Red turtle dove is essentially a plains species, extending to Taiwan and the Philippines but uncommon on the Malaysian archipelago. In Malaysia it is a feral species that make it their home. Probably brought over by the Indians migrants a long time ago. It is the commonest dove throughout the Punjab region. It is a summer migrant visitor to Pakistan and the Republic of India where it is more or less resident.

They prefer open drier country,cultivation plantation and shrubs areas better-wooded tracts such as canal or roadside tree plantations regions. My doves photos are taken in captivity in the state of Kedah opposite my in-laws place. There is even a white one

DOVE 3/9 - Barred Cuckoo Dove

 Barred Cuckoo Dove

One of the bigger dove of 16 in (41 cm). Long tail and upright stance gives a cuckoo-like appearance. Upper parts barred black with chestnut. Display plumage iridescent green and violet.

A resident but not so common to see in our Malaysian jungle as yet. Their preference is dense broad-leaved forest. Defends fruiting trees by chasing competitors. While displaying, the male inflates his crop so that it reaches the ground, but the rear is held straight. In display, the bird flies up steeply with clapping wings and glides down in a spiral.

The nest is a large platform of twigs in a tree. Lays one egg, slightly glossy or cream-colored, occasionally with a small number of olive-yellow speckles and spots. Incubation 16 days, fledging after 19 days.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

THRUSH 6/9 - Malayan Whistling Thrush

 Malayan Whistling Thrush

It is endemic to the highlands of the Main range, central peninsular Malaysia, at least historically ranging from the Cameron Highlands south to the Genting Highlands, and probably remaining uncommon to more or less common. It has been recorded in several places in Peninsula namely Bukit Larut, Cameron Highland, Bukit Tinggi/Awana. You have better chance to see it in Fraser's Hill than any places.This species is resident in the ground and lower storey of hill and montane evergreen forest, usually near streams, at c.750-1,750 m.

It is very shy, occasionally frequenting quiet mountain roadsides at dawn and dusk feeding on insects, moths and critters attracted to lamp-post lightings. I have personally see them feeding on fruits too.
It nests with eggs (clutch-size 1-2) and young have been found in March and September, described as "massive half-cup" structures, which have been found in roots, ferns and behind waterfalls.

It is medium-sized about 25cm, Mainly dark black-blue plumage. Bright metallic blue lesser coverts and base of median coverts to wing-bend. Juvenile generally sootier black.
MWT has a soft mix of fluty and scratchy notes. Call a loud, thin tsee.

It similar cousin; Blue Whistling-thrush M. caeruleus as a comparison is slightly larger, heavier-billed and proportionally shorter-tailed, with dull whitish median covert tips and bluish speckles on mantle, scapulars, sides of head and throat. The main difference is the indigo blue patch on the Malayan WT's wing......see it.

Below is a interesting article by Amila Salgado on his exploit to see this elusive bird in Fraser Hill. Wish to thank Tay & Durai aka FH birdman and nice meeting up Tony & family.............. 


Sunday, 20 October 2013

DOVE 4/5 - Jambu Fruit Dove

 Jambu Fruit Dove

One of the rare find in TRA Ampang. Sighting record include Merapoh Taman Negara and Wetland Putrajaya.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

FERAL 2/10 - Japanese Quail

Japanese Quail

It is not  a Blue-breasted Quail or Barred Buttonquail.......................photo taken in pet shop in Setapak. You know what they selling them RM5-6 each as life feed to pet snakes

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

DOVE 2/9 - Peaceful dove

 Peaceful Dove

Found all over the country at sandy coastal or lakeside and grassland areas as well as suburban roadside. It has a greyish beak and pleated or barred Prize for their singing ability and champion doves can fetch tens of thousand. I rather enjoy their beauty in the wild

It is also known as Zebra Dove because of its barring .........

DOVE 1/9 - Spotted Dove

Spotted dove
It is a common bird of Malaysia . From island to mainland adaptive to human suburbs and garden.
This guy was so tame and cooperative I was just 12ft to it. Larger than the Peaceful Dove.