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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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Thursday, 28 February 2013

MALKOHA 2/6 - Green-billed Malkoha

Green-billed Malkoha
With its long tail it is easily 2 feet long. Differentiated from the Green Billed by the missing white eye patch. So another Malkoha to the list..... Yippee!
The anti-climax was when Zoglander commented :
The white is not obvious around the eyes, but this still felt very much like a Green-billed Malkoha, the tail is quite long and the white patches are quite big. The Black-bellied is overall smaller, tail shorter in proportion and white patches seemingly much smaller as well. But both are quite hard to tell in the field unless u have a good zoom in on the face.

Do notice also the shape of the bare skin of the eyes, take the following 2 photos as a reference

My conclusion is that this is a Green-billed Malkoha rather than Black-bellied.

MALKOHA 1/6 - Chestnut-breasted Malkoha

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
Yup this is my Malkoha no1. Last sighted it in LakeClub Taman Perdana in the city but did not manage to photog it then. This time got it at low canopy in TRA. Usually they are way up in dense vegetation

Some say it is most attractive of the malkohas because of its rich colours and striking red facial skin,iridscent green back and greenish bill. They go after flying insects; working hopping upwards and then gliding down. It is quite common to sight it at TRA and if the place is quiet they may drop to lower storey trees

MALKOHA 4/6 - Red-billed Malkoha

Red-billed Malkoha

Another Malkoha to my collection. Got a few shots but this was the best whilst Sue gave up setting up its Benro tripod when I call there is movement in the canopy. The guy keep eluding us. Me with my monopod managed to kept track and walla this shot as ID record. I tell you guys monopod is the way......

Id tread of cause its beak le. Size its long alrite 1.5 ft but looks shorted than the chestnut breasted we saw later which was easily 1.8-2.0ft which the latter was very clumsy in the heavy foliage. At one time it just stumble down to the bottom noisily brushing the branches and all. It slowy hopped up the trees again. Its pride hurt.........

MALKOHA 3/6 - Raffles Malkoha


 Raffles Malkoha

My Malkoha no 3 First time up close and intimidate with a family of 3. We r talking 20-25 ft away and I tried not to startle them as I snap away. I was very surprise to see them so low......usually there r at the tree canopy

It was late morning on the way out just past the bridge on the main track. It was a feeding frenzy as they dart from branch to branch on the wild ficus tree searching for grub. For a moment the male RM started what I think is a mating dance le to entice its mate. It cannot be chilly though the weather was then overcast.

Spend almost a full 30 minutes with them and then suddenly the male just dive down to the ground next to the bridge followed by junior. I never encounter this behaviour. Apparently they found grub - large spider argh!

After the feeding time the threesome just rest on the canopy of the medium size tree as I bid adios & see ya !

Malkohas is actually one of the 7 subspecies of Cuckoo ... Cuculidae allies of southeast Asia. These are mostly big, rangy, long-tailed forest birds which live up in the canopy, but they also include the three species of rare and elusive Asian ground-cuckoos.
Several species are just big gray yellow-billed birds, but some of those in Sumatra or the Philippines are truly striking and colorful. Some species have outrageous crests; one in the Philippines has scale-like rows of odd feathers down the throat and over the crown. Most of the malkohas have bare skin around the eyes, and so do the three species which have evolved a terrestrial life-style.
These latter birds are three ground-cuckoos (genus Carpococcyx) in southeast Asia. Although there are ground-cuckoos in the New World, these Asian ground-cuckoos are not closely related. One species, the large and very impressive-appearing Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo C. renauldi, lives on the Asian mainland in Thailand and Indochina. The others are endemics to Borneo and to Sumatra.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

WADER 3/60 - White-browed Crake

White-browed Crake
 It is a small waterbird of about 8inches 20cm even smaller than the waterhen. A matured bird have a long black eye patch which blends to its greyish head. The white brow and a white stripe below

It is usually found on vegetated wetlands of ex mining pond,  freshwater swampland, marshland and mangrove of peninsula Malaysia. It prefers to stay on water vegetation like water hyacinth and pond weeds. It is not easy bird to spot because of its size and will ducks and run into denser vegetation when approached

At times it will visit padi fields when planting starts. It feeds on the ground hunting for grub, insects and crustachean they find.

WADER 31/60 - Black-tailed Godwit

 Black-tailed Godwit

This one of the other Godwit you can see in Malaysia during the migration period. The other is the Bar-tailed Godwit which have a slightly upturn beak compared to the Black-tailed.
The Black-tailed Godwit is a medium wader with long bill (upto 15 cm long), neck and legs. During the breeding season, the bill has a yellowish or orange-pink base and dark tip; the base is pink in winter. The legs are dark grey, brown or black. The sexes are similar, but in breeding plumage, they can be separated by the male's brighter, more extensive orange breast, neck and head. In winter, adult Black-tailed Godwits have a uniform brown-grey breast and upperparts (in contrast to the Bar-tailed Godwit's streaked back). Juveniles have a pale orange wash to the neck and breast.


Why Bird


1. Birds are everywhere. You will never have to travel far to see birds. They are as close as your backyard or neighborhood park. For more variety, try your nearest suburb park, cemetery, airport or even your local land fill. Will you be traveling? Watching birds on your next vacation, camping trip or fishing expedition is a great way to see new birds. No matter where you are, you will find birds.

2. You can enjoy birds every day - there is no closed season when it comes to birding. Different seasons bring different birds, but there are always birds to see on any given day of the year.

3. There are many kinds of birds to watch and keep things interesting. Almost any location will have at least a hundred species and most locations will have many, many more.

4. The element of surprise is always present with birds. Birds have a tendency to show up in unexpected places and at unexpected times of the year. There is always a chance you will see something unusual when birding from what they feed, courting, nesting and aerial duel etc

5. Birds are beautiful. Birds are one of nature's most colorful groups for a variety of biological reasons, but for us, that makes them all the more enjoyable to watch.

6. Birds are active when we are. With obvious exceptions, such as owls, birds are daytime creatures just like us and can be observed easily during daytime hours.

7. Birding is for everyone. Young or old, male or female, techno or aesthetic type, casual or fanatic - there is something for everyone in birding.

8. Birding is very popular and can become a conversation piece of your encounter. In fact, birding is one of the fastest growing outdoor activities today and more people watch birds than any other outdoor pastime. This means there is plenty of help and lots of company to get started. Birders love to share the fun with others.

9. Birding is a fun way to learn about science, nature and the environment. It is a great way to connect to the natural world.

10. Birding cost nothing. Equipment needs are simple. A
binocular and a good field guide will get you started nicely. You can add a spotting scope later to expand your birding opportunities, but the basic tools for birding are within anyone's budget.




ROBIN 1/5 - Siberian Blue Robin

Siberian Blue Robin
Siberian Blue Robin is a passage migrant to Malaysia from the northern wintering countries which coincide with the raptors migration Oct-Dec.

Male has a uniformed blue top coat upto the head and the underside clean white from the throat. Female is brownish with scally throat and noticable brow.

Long limbs for ground feeding. Very shy bird skulking in the undergrowth. giving a 2 syllable call high tone "chit" sound. At times if you are patient enuff it will jump out into the open 10 m from you before jumping back into the undergrowth. A small Robin of 14cm compared to our local Magpie Robin of 18cm

 Latest Photos  of the Female Robin - November 2015 Venue Bukit Tinggi Pahang

Latest Sighting 1 January 2019 at Bukit Rengit Pahang A beautiful matured Male

WADER 1/35 - Pied Oystercatcher

Pied Oystercatcher

Also known as Eurasion Oystercatcher is one of the largest waders in the region. It is 40–45 centimetres (16–18 in) long (bill 8–9 cm) with a wing-span 80–85 centimetres (31–33 in). They are obvious and noisy plover-like birds, with black and white plumage, red legs and strong broad red bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs such as mussels or for finding earthworms.  Despite its name, oysters do not form a large part of its diet. The bird still lives up to its name, as few if any other wading birds are capable of opening oysters at all.

The bill shape varies; oystercatchers with broad bill tips open molluscs by prising them apart or hammering through the shell, whereas pointed-bill birds dig up worms. Much of this is due to the wear resulting from feeding on the prey. Individual birds specialise in one technique or the other which they learn from their parents.

The Oystercatcher has yet to be recorded within Indonesia, although a single record from Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo; Yeap Chin Aik ) in 2006 suggests it is a potential vagrant. No sighting record in Peninsula as yet that I know of. Hopefully we will see one in our lifetime. This one was sighted in Australia.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

FROGMOUTH 1/3 - Javan Frogmouth

 Javan Frogmouth
It was JT & Sue tipped off that we rush to Bkt Lancang to search for this once in a lifetime sighting. What a lifer it was because it a norturnal creature.

It was so well camouflaged as part of the tree branch you will never know it was there if you look from afar. Just like the Monarch nest which is blended to the dark shaded foliage with mossy .... again there is another new nest which I am not telling at Rengit. Only if they twirl that give them away.

A lot of whiskers and fluffy size when stretch can reach a foot. Ugly brute. Very Aptly call a "frog mouth" . What a lifer. After so many years since the last sighting in Bkt Rengit/ Lancang I stumble upon a passive Female in Kemensah. Tried looking for the Male but zilt. Nothing was mentioned whether they are monogamous birds.

All frogmouths roost during the day and are active from dusk through part or all of the night until around dawn. Daytime roosts of several species including the tawny frogmouth and Sri Lanka frogmouth are on branches in trees or bushes, where the birds remain quiet and still unless approached so closely that they suddenly fly away to escape just like Nightjar. They give an impression of remaining immobile if not asleep when approached, with the beautifully camouflaged plumage sleeked to aid concealment, but in fact they watch intruders through nearly closed eyes and keep them in view with very slow head movements.

There are a few reports of daytime roosting in tree holes by the marbled frogmouth and large frog-mouth, which, if observations are typical, may explain why these species are rarely encountered during the day. However, there have been other daytime sightings of Asian frog-mouths in thick tangles of vines in forests, where a small motionless and well-camouflaged bird is remarkably inconspicuous.

Nocturnal activity consists largely of movements around the territory to hunt from different perches, and singing or calling to defend the territory. Asian frogmouths are less well known, but females of several species give loud territorial whistling, mewing, or trilling calls, while the males have different and often more subdued calls.

Latest sighting in Kemensah 2014

DRONGO 6/9 - Lesser Racquet-tailed Drongo

Lesser Racquet-tailed Drongo

I do not know how Jason says it is a Lesser RT Drongo

Another lifer in the bird wave in Awana. Jason says its a juvenile and the feathers are moulding and cruffy looking. Even the racquet tail is a bit flatten.

DRONGO 5/9 - Greater Racquet-tail Drongo

Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo
The sight of this beauty is beholding. In Bukit Rengit you can see them fly low in the canopies. Size is about a foot long but its tail shaft can extend another foot long. It gives out a mimicry churring call.

DRONGO 4/9 - Crow-billed Drongo

Crow-billed Drongo
This is a migrant bird to Peninsula Malaysia. It keep to the middle storey of forest tree. Its silhueotte is similar to the Black Drongo but can be differentiated by a rounder body, shorter but shallow curving tail and a prominent beak. The immature bird has white spotted breast like the one shot here. Size wise it is about a footer long when matured.

The Crow-billed Drongo (Dicrurus annectans) is a species of bird in the Dicruridae family. It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forests. Breeds in the month of Mar- Oct; their nest is a shallow cuplike basket and hangs from tree branch about 5-12 metres from the ground. i do not think they breed here in Malaysia though.............


DRONGO 3/9 - Bronzed Drongo

 Bronzed Drongo

One of the several species of Drongos found in Peninsula. It has glossy bluish coat and red eyed. Seen mainly in montane areas like Fraser's hill.

Many a times the general species likes to be in the open out of the shades. So very likely to be sighted. In Awana you can spot the Lesser Racquet Drongo ( 2 elongated spocked tail) with their loud growling call. Hope to photograph it one of these visit.

DRONGO 2/9 - Black Drongo

Black Drongo

The Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus is a medium sized passerine of temperate and tropical Asia. They are aggressive and fearless slender birds, 28 cm in length, and will attack much larger species if their nest or young are threatened. This behaviour led to the former name of King Crow. They fly with strong flaps of the wing and are capable of fast manoeuvres to capture insect prey. The Black Drongo has short legs and sits very upright on perches or electricity wires like swallows. They may also perch on grazing animals. Sighted in a threesome on a tree fringing the padi field in Alor Setar.

These drongos feed predominantly on insects such as grasshoppers, cicadas, wasps, bees and dragonflies. They often associate with Common Mynas, Cattle Egrets and other birds that share a similar diet. Drongos benefit from the association with more successful foraging. There is only partial overlap in the insect prey sought by mynas and drongos. There are however cases of Drongos preying on small birds. They have also been on occasion seen feeding on dead fish. Flowers of trees such as Erythrina and Bombax may be visited for water and nectar and they are sometimes known to feed on grains.They are only rarely known to take larger arthropods such as scorpions and centipedes.

They often feed on insects late in the evening under electric lights and often forage at night as well as anting.

As they are winter visitors they do not breed here. It breeds in south-east Iran, Afghanistan, India, south-east Tibet, and from northern China discontinuously south through south-west Thailand, to Bali and Java. Northern populations migrate, wintering at lower altitudes and latitudes, reaching as far south as central India in the west, and Malaysia and Sumatra in the east, where they occur in tropical savanna, grassland and agricultural areas (Jeyarajasingham and Pearson 1999). The nesting of the Black Drongo is mainly from April to August. The usual clutch is four eggs laid in a cup nest placed in the fork of a outer branch of tree. Their habit of driving away predators from near their nests is believed to encourage other small birds to nest in the vicinity.Cases of brood parasitism by the Asian Koel have been noted. An intriguing case of a Red-vented Bulbul feeding Black Drongo chicks at their nest has been noted

DRONGO 1/9 - Ashy Drongo

Ashy Drongo

You see one drongo you see it all....... Very similiarity in features and colours from shades of blue and blackish coat. All Drongos have red eyes and forked tail. In southern peninsula there is supposed to be lighter grey morph yet to see though.........maybe Panti.

Their call is distinctive shrill note "chik weet" and very loud.

The Ashy Drongo is endemic to coastal and mangrove habitat. Common sighting at Kuala Selangor Nature Park runned by MNS

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

RAPTOR & ACCIPITER 11/35- Bat Hawk

Bat Hawk

BH is a medium-sized bird of prey is dark brown, with white ‘eyelids’ and small patches of white on the throat and belly. It has a pointed crest, large yellow eyes and a deceptively small beak for the size of prey it takes . The legs and toes are long and slender and the talons are incredibly sharp. Juveniles are similar in appearance to the adults, but are less dark and more mottled white, particularly on the breast .

The bat hawk typically spends the day perched sedately in tall tree, becoming active for short periods around dusk, and occasionally at dawn, in synchrony with the peak activity of its main prey. Leaving the perch at twilight, this unconventional raptor will patrol open areas where bats are emerging from their roosts or feeding over lakes and rivers. The bat hawk hunts on the wing, using its large eyes to pierce the fading light in all directions for a target. With prey sighted, it accelerates rapidly from behind, snatching a bat out the air and swiftly transferring the catch from its talons to its beak. Despite having only a small beak, with the aid of an enormous gape, the bat hawk is able to swallow most of its catches whole in flight . Although bats are the main component of its diet, small dusk feeding birds, such as swifts and nightjars, are also caught, as well as large flying insects.

At the start of the breeding season in February and nesting in March-May; bat hawks uncharacteristically take to the air during the day to perform impressive courtship displays. This involves high speed aerial chases accompanied by tumbling dives, acrobatic rolls, talon touching, display of flying with branch in talon and high pitched calling. The large stick nest is built high up in a pale-barked tree, which probably makes it easier to locate at night.

Normally each year, a single egg is laid and incubated by the female, whilst the male does most of the hunting. The chick hatches after around a month and is fed by both parents over a short period just before dark. The young fledge after around 35 to 40 days and do not remain in the vicinity of the nest for very long.

Found in a range of habitats wherever there are large numbers of bats, from tropical forest through to open areas near caves. In Peninsula Malaysia there is record resident at Bukit Wang Kedah, Grik hilly area and nearer to KL the Sg Congkak  Ulu Langat forest.

SPIDERHUNTER 4/10 - Yellow-eared Spiderhunter

Yellow-eared Spiderhunter

SPIDERHUNTER 5/10 - Streaked Spiderhunter

Streaked Spiderhunter

SPIDERHUNTER 3/10 - Little Spiderhunter

Little Spiderhunter

Another one for the record at Kemensah. Distinctive white flange to the eyes is the give away marking At times they are oblivious of your present whilst they visit the torches of the ginger plants

SPIDERHUNTER 2/10 - Grey-breasted spiderhunter

Grey-breasted Spiderhunter

Kemensah have always surprise me with spiderhunter. Maybe because IsiRimba have planted plenty of sweet ginger plants and yam. This is the second one and the third one is the Little Spiderhunter.