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, 31 March 2013

WADER 7/60 - Milky Stork

 Milky Stork

The Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea) is found in coastal wetlands ranging from Cambodia, Peninsular Malaysia and the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sumbawa, Sulawesi and Buton in Indonesia. Due to habitat loss, today there are around 5,500 left in the wild mainly in Sumatra. The Milky Stork feeds on small animals including shellfish, insects, fish, and frogs.

It can reach a length of 97 cm. The sexes look similar. The plumage is general white contrasted with a naked red face and a long shiny green-black tail and flight-feathers. The other cousin is the Painted Stork which differentiate from the former by having more black plum to its b body and its stork is much shorter.

In Peninsula it is a rarity to see them in the wild. The species is a predominantly a coastal resident, inhabiting mangroves and adjacent swamps. In 1989, 40-50 birds were shipped to zoos across south-east Asia. Poisoning may be another significant, as yet unquantified, threat.

Conservation is essential This has prompted MNS, together with Zoo Negara and the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan), to start breeding programme at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park. It was warned that the milky stork will go extinct soon if their habitat is not conserved............sad

Please go to to read more on this bird conservation finding :-

Thursday, 28 March 2013

HORNBILL 3/9 - Wreath Hornbill

Wreath Hornbill
These are huge birds about 3 feet in length. The female have bluish pouch whilst the male slightly larger got a orangy or yellow gular pouch. Notice the black streak below its pouch. Threesome family at Awana .Flew across the path and perch at about 80 ft high. Very lucky to see them as Jason and Gilbert stayed at the end gate.

Give out very loud "Kuk Kwehk" territorial call

HORNBILL 2/9 - Wrinkled Hornbill

Wrinkled hornbill are one of the intermediate size hornbill found in Malaysia about 80 cm in height. They have black plumage and a white or yellow stained tail with a black base. Their wings have ten rounded primaries that allow air to go through creating a loud whooshing sound. Males have yellow feathering on their inflatable throats, chests, and face. Blue skin covers the eye area. Females do not have yellow coloring on their chest or face, but they have blue skin that covers the face and throat area. Their bills are very large and yellow with a casque that looks like an extra beak. The casque is curved with ridges and sits on top the bill. A males casque is usually red or orange in color and females have a slightly smaller, yellow casque. Hornbills get their name from this unique bill. The bill is used to grasp and toss insects and fruits in the air to eat. Other uses for the bill include helping to build and maintain the nest, aiding in defense against poisonous snakes and other predators, sound reception, and it can be used to determine their age. The bill is very powerful because it is fused to the cranium, which in turn articulates with the fused upper vertebrae. This creates a pickax-like beak that is very useful for the young to peck out of the nest.

The monogamous Wrinkled Hornbills are usually found in pairs or in small groups. They are not aggressive and are sometimes clumsy in flight. They have deep echoing calls that sound like harsh kak-kak or deep rowwow or wakowwakowkow and calls can be heard from miles away. They have a life long relationship like married couples and usually breed during rainy seasons when moist soil is available to build nest walls. They do not have the typical bird nesting behavior. Instead of building nests out of twigs, they find a tree hole. The hole is constructed by a woodpecker pecking a hole in the tree. Eventually fungus will grow and enlarge the hole. Bees are attracted to the hole and use the hole to make honey. The honey attract a bear that uses his claws to dig out the honey, further enlarging the hole, making it a perfect nesting site for the wrinkled hornbill. After finding a good nest hole, the female will do most of the nest building by blocking the entry of a tree cavity with a plaster made with mud, droppings, and regurgitated food. The male will bring all the materials needed and finish the outer wall where the female can no longer reach. The main purpose of this wall is to protect the eggs from predators such as monkeys, and snakes. A small hole is left so the male can feed his family, and the female stays locked in the nest with the eggs during incubation period. The incubation period is usually 28-30 days. After a few months the female will break out of the nest, and the chicks will rebuild the wall and continue to be fed by the male until they are ready to leave the nest.

Breeding is usually during the rainy season of December and January. Nest holes are usually located 40-50 meters above ground. After a pre-laying period of 4-6 days, the female will lay an average of two eggs. She can lay extra eggs if the eggs are lost. After a month of incubation, the chicks will hatch. They have pink skin that will turn purple in about 10 days. This is when the female breaks out of the nest, and the male continues to feed the chicks. The chicks will mature and leave the nest after another 65-73 days. The whole nesting cycle takes about four months.

Hornbills eat mostly fruits with numerous small fine seeds such as figs, and small animals such as frogs, lizards, snails, arthropods and young birds. During the nesting period, the male will regurgitate up to 150 figs to feed to his family. These birds do not rely on drinking water because they get water from their food. If the male brings the same food, the female will throw the food back suggesting that he find something else. If the male were never to return, his mate and chicks would starve to death.

HORNBILL 1/9 - Rhinoceros Hornbill

Rhinoceros Hornbill

Rhino Hornbill is a very large (110 cm), black and white hornbill with yellow and red bill and casque, and diagnostic white tail with a broad black band. Head, back, wings, and breast black; belly and thighs white. Iris-white to blue in females, red in males; skin around eyes-dark grey; bill yellow with red base and surmounted by upturned spiralling casque; feet-greenish grey.

Pairs inhabit the crowns of the tallest trees. A regular visitor to fruiting giant strangling figs. Gives a dramatic whooshing sound of wing-beats in flight.

The courtship and bonding of these birds are critical, as the female must trust the male to provide her with everything when she is incubating and raising chicks. These Hornbills lay their eggs inside tree trunks, the females stay inside with the eggs, while the male will bring her and the young food. After the eggs are laid the male collects mud, and the male and female pack that mud, food, and feces to 'mud-up' the tree cavity entrance. This creates a very small hole, only large enough for the male to feed the female (and later chicks) and for the female to defecate out the hole. Once the babies are old enough (fully feathered)to leave the nest the female and male chip away the dry mud so the babies can get out.

I have yet to see it in its natural habitat................

Sunday, 24 March 2013

WADER 6/60 - Painted Stork

Painted Stock

This stork can be confused with the Milky Stork which the latter have a whiter wing feathers.

Some say its ugly but when they r in flight they r majestic especially in formation of a V. You don't have to go into Zoo Negara to see them. For the past month from about 5pm the birds return from their feeding grounds as far as Shah Alam and Putrajaya to roost. Perch on the lamp post and trees along MRR2 highway to Genting

It is quite a huge bird as tall as 1m in height. Beak is a pale yellow whilst its cousin Storm's Stork are red found in forest swamp land.

They have adapted to the city life I guess. Kuala Gula, Perak is the only place that they are reside and brood freely.


The photo below shows the bird at rest on its knee.........

ROBIN 3/5- Oriental Magpie Robin

Oriental Magpie Robin

This is one of the most adaptive bird which can be seen all over Malaysia whether in the urban scape to virgin forest and highland.  It melodious whistling is well documented and is prized caged bird by bird enthusiast.

The male is in same color tones but shinier coat and black breasted while the female bird has a duller feathers and greyish chested body

Thursday, 21 March 2013

VIDEO 1/200 - Long-tailed Parakeets

Long-tailed Parakeets

For the past 3 weekends I was in Krau /Bkt Rengit, a colony of a dozen or so LtP were seen scouting & selecting tree hollows for nesting in one particular tree next to Perhilitan. It was a difficult reach for my 400mm lens at 70-80 ft high.

Besides that there were 3-4 pairs dollarbirds also eyeing the same spots.................

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

WADER 5/60 - Marsh Sandpiper

Marsh Sandpiper

Left to the experts to id for me in Malaysian Bird Photography Forum. http://www.mybirdforum.net .For birders like me it is a good place to post your record shots or seeking help in identifying birds you see in the wild or captured especially waders and migrants water birds when a difference in color tone feather features or size can means a lifer or rare find.

The Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) is a medium wader 2 inches short of a footer. It is a rather small shank, and it breeds in open grassy steppe and taiga wetlands from easternmost Europe to central Asia.

It  resembles a small elegant Greenshank, with a long fine bill and very long yellowish legs. Like the Greenshank, it is greyish brown in breeding plumage, paler in winter, and has a white wedge up its back that is visible in flight. However, it is more closely related to the Common Redshank and the Wood Sandpiper Together, they form a group of smallish shanks which tend to have red or reddish legs, and in breeding plumage are generally a subdued, light brown above with some darker mottling, with a pattern of somewhat diffuse small brownish spots on the breast and neck.

It is a migratory species, with majority of birds wintering in Africa, and India with fewer migrating to Southeast Asia namely Malaysia and as far as Australia. They prefer to winter on fresh water wetlands such as swamps and lakes and are usually seen singly or in small groups. My sighting was in Malim Nawar off Bidor Perak if you want to know.

These birds forage by probing in shallow water or on wet mud. They mainly eat insects, and similar small prey.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

PIGEON 8/14 - Thick-billed Pigeon

Thick-billed Pigeon
They were in a family of 6 birds. Kept to the high canopy of 50 ft up. Picture enough for id. Their beak is thicker than the others pigeon with a reddish tinge at the nostril Both male and female have this bright greenish eyering but the former have chestnut maroon wing whilst the female plainer green

Uncommon find in low land forest upto 1200m because seldom seen at lower storey. Very suspicious of humans because they eat them...........size about 25-27cm almost a footer yummy to them kampung folks and orang asli.

How Kevin got his shots so close I do not know...............bird luck to u

PIGEON 7/14 - Rock Pigeon

 Rock Pigeon

Very common indeed but still wonderful iridescent colors.

PIGEON 6/14 - Pink-necked Pigeon

 Pink-necked Pigeon

Always in a pair. I think they are couple for life. They have this unique flapping sound when they are in the air. If not they hang around quietly together. This is my old photo collection of encounters at my place


PIGEON 5/14 - Pied Imperial Pigeon

Pied Imperial Pigeon


Pied Imperial Pigeon is found in abundance at Berjaya Resort at Lalang Beach. They colonised the Pulau Renggis just 300m out from Lalang jetty They gather in the hundreds during dusk and fly into the forest at dawn in several flocks at a time. It is quite spectacular.

Pulau Renggis was also reported to house the Frigate birds but none were sighted when I was there.


These pigeons were hunted by the villagers at one time but less I hope now when tourism and business boom in the island. Size is 40 cm all in white with black tip feathers to the wings and tail


PIGEON 4/14 - Nicobar Pigeon

Nicobar Pigeon

This is the most gorgeous pigeon you can find in Malaysia that is if you chance on it during their visit to our islands in the month of February. Resident of Nicobar Island off Andaman/Coco Isles off Myammar and Indonesia. I have yet to know of any sighting though by fellow Malaysian birders in our waters.

This is a large, heavy pigeon at 40cm in length. It is mainly metallic green with green and copper hackles on the neck. The head and upper neck, flight feathers and breast are dark grey. The tail is very short and pure white. There is a black knob on the base of the bill, and the strong legs are dark red. This is not a very vocal species, but possesses a low pitched repetitive call.

Females are slightly smaller than males; they have a smaller bill knob, shorter hackles and browner underparts. Immature birds have a black tail.

The Nicobar Pigeon roams in flocks from island to island, including inhabited sites, seeking its food of seeds, fruit and some invertebrates, and is attracted to areas where grain is available; usually, it sleeps on offshore islets where no predators occur and spends the day in areas with better food availability. Its flight is quick, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general. Peculiarly, groups tend to fly in columns or single file, not in a loose flock as most other pigeons do; the white tail seems to serve as a sort of "taillight" when crossing water at dawn or dusk. These observations are also supported by inexperienced birds, which could lead a group astray, lacking this feature.

This species nests in dense forest, building a stick nest in a tree and laying one elliptical, faintly blue-tinged white egg.

For my lifer here it is shot in Penang bird park. Well if you cannot find them in their natural habitat pay and see lor .............I am not so crazy a birder to hunt them in the wild de chance is 1:1000. Bird luck to you.............


PIGEON 1/15 - Little Green Pigeon

 Little Green Pigeon

PIGEON 3/14 - Mountain Imperial Pigeon

Mountain Imperial Pigeon

A lifer and it was huge In fact the largest species in SEA Asia. Matured as plump as a chicken 45-50cm Early morning 8.00am when they are less light they hang around in the top of canopy 60-80 feet. do not expect them to come down to lower levels though. Always in a pair for life I think

PIGEON 2/14 - Green Imperial Pigeon

  Green Imperial  Pigeon

Jason asked me to look out for the Pied but got this one. This is a 100m or 300ft shot into the virgin jungle of Tioman Isle. There was a pair of them

Size 45cm or more which very large bird indeed.No wonder the kampung folks hunts them with the Pied. Have this green metallic winged with pale uniform grey head to body unlike the Mountain .

Friday, 15 March 2013

SUNBIRD 4/11 - Crimson Sunbird


 Crimson Sunbird

I always wanted to get this bird and I was lucky to sight it at Kek Lok Si Temple hill top road just below the KuanYin statue venue. The better place to see it in the Penang botanical garden.

The Crimson Sunbird, Aethopyga siparaja is a small passerine bird (11cm) which feed mainly on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time. They have medium-length thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding.

The adult male has a crimson breast and maroon back. The rump is yellow and the belly is olive. The female on the other hand is plain with an olive-green back, yellowish breast and white tips to the outer tail feathers. Their call is sharp "chit-chit wee".

By the way Crimson Sunbird is the national bird of Singapore.
My latest sighting was in Kek Lok Tong Ipoh early 2013.

SUNBIRD 2/11 - Black-throated Sunbird

Black-throated Sunbird
 A very common bird in Cameron Highland. With all the blooming flowers all over town; these sunbirds in pairs can be approached in close proximity. Because of their diet of nectar they are active all day long. Their favorite tree is the Bottlebrush

Its length is just a finger long 10-13cm. It can be differentiated from the Purple throated from its abdomen color. The latter has crimson breast merging into black. The female black throated is the plainer half.