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

Thursday, 30 May 2013

AVIAN VIDEO 5/100 - Marble Wren Babbler serenading

Video of Marble Wren serenading in a mono 2 syllable "weet chuu" tune. Will investigate further whether it is a alarm call or mating call in the month of May...........enjoy

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

SHARMA 1/2 - White-rumped Sharma

White-rumped Sharma
The male can as long as 1 foot as shown here The backside it got this hairy white spot as a moving target. The front belly entirely brown. Female similar but dark grey and rufous with shorter tail

I tell you they can sing variedly and beat the Magpie on melody and tempo

Found in lowland hill & forest below 1200m. Those in suburban garden have been caught and caged...joking le I did saw one in PJ section 4.
The other sharma that you can see in Peninsula is the Rufous-tailed. Sighting is in Panti Johor and Taman Negara


AVIAN VIDEO 4/100 - Mountain Imperial Pigeon

During a misty & windy morning I saw the largest pigeon in Malaysia perched at telekom loop Bukit Fraser. You seldom see it so low and sitting quietly............

Monday, 27 May 2013

SHORTWING 1/2 - Lesser Shortwing


Lesser Shortwing

This is the contrasting other half. Both the male and female as notice have a white brow which cause much confusion with the White-browed subspecies. The distinct difference of the Lesser and the White-browed is that the latter has uniformed dark throat and breast whereas the Lesser is whitish with streaks.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

WHITE-EYE 1/2 - Everett's White-eye

Everett's White-eye

The other cousin of the White-eye Oriental. One stays in forest hill and the other at coastal landscape. With this I happy to have sighted and photographed both in my lifetime.

WHITE-EYE 2/2 - Oriental White-eye

Oriental White-eye

I was at the RaptorWatch 2007 on 10-11 March in Port Dickson. Got this at the beachfront at the place I was staying overnite at Ancasa Allsuite Resort. Found near coastal marsh and mangrove swamp areas on big foliage trees looking for grubs on its branches. As its namesake it has a white ring patch over its eyes. The other one found in Malaysia is the Everett''s white eye

Monday, 20 May 2013

WADER 10/60 - SNIPES 2/4 Common Snipes

Common Snipes
This Snipes was shot in Bidor - Malim Nawar watershed of tin mining ponds. During the migration season you can see plenty of them snipes but to establish its identity is such a task

WADER 11/60 - SNIPES 3/4 - Greater Painter Snipes

 Greater Painted Snipes

Playing peek a boo with me. I was in the car about 30 ft out to the edge of padi field. Took alot of photos but all the same as it kept very still for more than 20 minutes. Gave up waiting and left it be. Last time shoot the Female in flight. The Female is much better a looker.

Resident of Malaysia amongst SEA country India and Africa. Medium-sized, plump wading bird. About 24cm. Long reddish-brown bill, slightly decurved at tip, and distinct white or pinkish eye patch. Rounded, buff-spotted wings and short tail. White of breast extends up around top of folded wing. The Painted Snipe is not related to the true snipes and differs from them in habits, flight and appearance, being far more colorful and having longer legs than the snipes. It is unusual in showing reversed sexual dimorphism; the female is larger and more brightly colored than the male, with the sides of the head, neck and throat a rich chestnut brown, and a distinct black band across the breast; the male is paler and greyer. The females court the males, are possibly polyandrous with males incubating and raising the young as predicted by parental investment theory. Immature birds resemble the male but lack the broken dark band across the breast. Males are also known to carry the chicks to safety under the wings.

Not a vocal species; the male at times utters a shrill trill, while the female makes a guttural ook sound as well as hissing noises during breeding displays.
Usually found close to the fringes of reed beds along shorelines of marshes, swamps, ponds and streams. Solitary or in pairs, sometimes in groups of up to 12. Rather shy and retiring, skulking close to the vegetation so that it can retreat to cover if disturbed. When flushed, flies like a rail with legs dangling. Bobs hindquarters on landing and sometimes when walking. Probes for food in the mud. The female initiates courtship and may mate with more than one male. The male incubates the eggs. The feed on insects, crustaceans, molluscs and seeds.

The nest is usually a shallow scrape in soft ground, lined with plant material and situated among grass or reeds at the water's edge; sometimes a pad of vegetation or a nest of grass and weeds. The breeding season is between April and July.

WADER 9/60 - SNIPES 1/4 Pin-tailed Snipes

Pin-tailed Snipes

A winter visitor from up north. Sighting in Johor and southern part of Peninsula.

A very beautiful bird of about a foot with a shorter pointed beak compared to Swinhoe's or the Common. It has a shorted orangy pintail. Often found in dry part of Marshland, Paddy fields and in my case in a football field in Tioman isle !


There are many experts' description out there on the differences between Pintail Snipes and Swinhoe Snipes but most of them would end up with a suggestion of counting the number of its tail feathers to be exact or 100% sure.  However there are also experts out there who are confident that the differences can also be determined in flight. Using the matrix checklist procedure Rodney of ron-nature-adventure.blogspot.com have summarised his findings  to identify the different  snipes which can be seen in Malaysia

                                                                                Pintail         Common       Swinhoe
i) Zig zag flight patterns                                           Yes               Yes           More direct
ii) White trailing edge to secondaries                Almost none        Yes          Almost none
iii) Belly - white and unbarred                            More barred        Yes          More barred
iv) Brown on top with cream lines                      Pale brown         Yes          Pale brown
      down their back
v In flight legs extend beyond tail                             -                    Yes             Shorter

Sunday, 19 May 2013

WREN BABBLER 4/5 - Marbled Wren Babbler

 Marbled Wren Babbler
I am no longer envious of Davey as I finally in his league to shoot this elusive bird in Fraser hill. Like any other Wren Babbler,  MWB are beautiful crooner and can duet for long period of time. In the months of March-June they tends to be most approachable and can be enticed to show itself but not entirely; as you can see in my pictures.

Why it is called marbled wren is because  of the uniform white fringed black scaly feather on its entire chest and belly. It is even larger than its lowland cousin Large Wren Babbler  (8 in/20cm) by a good cm. It has a longer tail I suppose. Come to think of them they do have some similarities........

The Marbled Wren-babbler  is a species of bird in the Pellorneidae family. It is a resident of Indonesia and Malaysia. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. In Peninsula it is more on hill forest  upto an altitude of 1,000m or so.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

STONECHAT 1/1 - Siberian Stonechat

 Siberian Stonechat

Bird alert - SS sighted at Sg Balang Melaka by Ang. I did not know we have this bird visiting us in Peninsula Malaysia. I got my lifer in Inle Lake Myanmar in Nov 2011.

Though it is considered widespread & common in many parts of the northern hemisphere; it is a rarity for us in Malaysia. The breeding range covers most of temperate Asia, from about latitude 71°N in Siberia south to the Himalaya India and southwest China, and west to eastern Turkey and the Caspian Sea area. It also breeds in the far northeast of Europe, mainly in Russia.

The wintering range of the migratory bird is from southern Japan south to Thailand and India, and west to northeast Africa. On migration, small numbers reach as far west as western Europe, and exceptionally as far east as Alaska in North America.

The Siberian Stonechat is insectivorous. It breeds in open rough scrubland or rough grassland with scattered shrubs, from sea level to about 4,000 m ASL or more. The birds seem to avoid even cool temperate conditions and stay up north only during the hot continental summer. In the montane regions of the Himalaya foothills of Bhutan, migrants can on occasion be seen foraging in fields and pastures more than 2,000 m ASL, but most move further down and south to winter in tropical regions.


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

WREN BABBLER 3/5 - Large Wren Babbler

Large Wren Babbler
Surprise surprise a rare sight for the month May.

Normal size Wren Babbler is about 4-6 inches. This one is about 8 inches Not really large........mmmph. Distinguish blue eyering with black and white lore. Have a clear & beautiful voice call and yet very elusive and shy bird.

Found in broadleaved forest . Like many babblers it keep itself in dark corners of understorey bushes. It can mimic call of various other birds just like the Lyre bird.


WREN BABBLER 1/5 - Streaked Wren Babbler


 Streaked Wren Babbler

It was another outing with Jason This time to Awana for the morning. That morning was misty........ very misty than usual. We were there to catch the Blue Hill Flycatcher.

With the familiar chirping of "chiuee" or "chuuii or something like that of the tailorbird. Apparently the chirping is important to id a babbler. So many of them. Jason point me to the movements in the undergrowth. The ST Babbler is a resident in Malaysia hills upto 750m but the hot weather may push them higher. For me its a lifer but Jason he have encounter them before...... tell me to be patient and stay still and it will come down onto the road. And indeed it flew down a pair of them maybe a family of 2 with their offsprings. 6 inches in length. Adult the crown is darker black and red eyed.

It is nice to know they are flourishing and their habitat still there. Sad to see people are dumping building debris and furniture down the ravine at the track

WREN BABBLER 2/5 - Pygmy Wren Babbler

 Pygmy Wren Babbler

The smallest of the Wren Babbler at 8.5 cm in size made worse with no tail. A very rounded bird keeps to the mossy wet slope and ravine wall of trails and road of Awana, Frasers and Cameron birding grounds. Most of the time you hear it with 2 high low syllable call "wheeuit chuuuit" sulking in the undergrowth. Hops about in search of grubs rather than fly. I observed they do move about on a common trail...... so the idea is to wait patiently along any clear route. Best time is about 7-9 am.

There are two morphs the dark and the pale morph. The one pictured is the latter with the whitish scaly-liked chested whilst the dark morph have a more tanned scaly breast.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

SCIMITAR BABBLER 2/2 - Large Scimitar Babbler

Large Scimitar Babbler LSB

There is only 2 subspecies of Scimitar Babblers in Malaysian jungle. Large Scimitar Babbler is really a forest skulker; keeping to the undergrowth and behind foliage. For a size of nearly a footer; it is surprisingly  a bit shy and timid bird.  Unlike in Thailand which they are fed by bird photogs until they are so tame you can see them in the open in forest park. Not in Malaysia sigh.

Most scimitar-babblers are jungle species, difficult to observe in the dense vegetation they prefer, but like other babblers, these are noisy birds, and the characteristic bassy calls are often the best indication that these birds are present.
 LSB has a bassy vocal and unmistakable booming 2-3 syllable calls. They can be quite territorial and remain at  a locale for a period of time like pittas. They can duet for umpteen minutes.

In Peninsula Malaysia I have encounter them in montane forest upto 1,500 m; once in Awana sometime back and now I am very happy to get this lifer photo in Fraser Hill Pahang recently. I have to thank Davey for his tip off.


More often it forage on the ground and low storey foliage; by turning leaves over using its long slender scimitar like beak, in search for grubs and insects. It do not hunt & feed together with other species in birdwave unlike the Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler.

Generally Scimitar-babblers are rangy, medium-sized, floppy-tailed land birds with soft fluffy plumage. They have strong legs and are quite terrestrial. This group is not strongly migratory, and most species have short rounded wings, and a weak flight. Scimitar-babblers have long down curved bills, used to work through the leaf litter, which give the group its name. They are typically long tailed, dark brown above, and white or orange-brown below. Many have striking head patterns, with a broad black band through the eye, bordered with white above and below.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

THRUSH 5/7 - White-throated Thrush

 White-throated Thrush

This bird was photographed in Bkt Tinggi. Size about 6-8 in. Another rare winter visitor to Peninsula Malaysia from China, Hong Kong, Japan, North Korea, South Korea visiting down south upto Singapore.

Its natural habitat is temperate forests. so when visiting they keep to the highland. Last year a male was sighted in Maxwell hill.

THRUSH 4/7 - Blue Rock Thrush

Blue Rock Thrush
Found on cliff and stony areas Come down to eye level and approachable to 30 ft in open ground. Size about 7-9 inch in length. Stay very still on open rock like in photo. I have seen them in pairs.

The Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius) breeds in southern Europe and northwest Africa and from central Asia to northern China and Malaysia.In Peninsular Malaysia, the thrush, true to its name, breeds in limestone outcrops and according to Collar (2005), is has been observed recently to breed also in city buildings. Here, it is a resident as well as a migratory bird.

Such limestone habitat is where the bird builds its nest, a shallow cup or rough pad of grass, leaves and rootlets lined with soft grass, and sometimes also feathers and/or plant floss. The nest is placed under a rock overhang or in a cliff crevice.

The male is smoky blue with dark wings (top) while the female and immature have dark brown upperparts and paler brown and scaly underparts (above). The bird is omnivorous, taking insects and other arthropods on the ground as well as on the wing. It also eats snails, lizards and berries.

The male has a clear and rich melodious song.

Incidentally, the bird is Malta’s national bird


Monday, 6 May 2013

THRUSH 3/7 - Blue Whistling Thrush

Blue Whistling Thrush

Broader and fatter then the Common Myna about 10-12in in length. With its large orange beak it scavenge food on the ground and do a lot of hopping than flying. Yellow billed which turns blackish in its later life. A broad fan tail. Lives in broadleaved forest usually near stream and waterfall.

THRUSH 2/7 - Orange -headed Thrush

 Orange-headed Thrush

The Orange-headed Thrush is a shy, secretive bird usually occurring alone or in pairs, but is comparatively more easily seen than many other Zoothera Thrushes. OHT are winter visitor to Malaysia come November and stayed on until March.

It has a swift, silent flight, but when disturbed will often sit motionless until the threat has passed.

Calls of the Orange-headed Thrush include a soft chuk or tchuk, a screeching teer-teer-teer, and a thin tsee or dzef given in flight. However, this bird is generally silent especially in winter I wonder why maybe not breeding and do not want any attraction. In fact during the entire encounter in FRIM it keep silent for the entire shootout with Dr Manjeet.
It also can do imitation calls of other birds like bulbuls, babblers and Common Tailorbird. It sings from a perch in a leafy tree, mostly early morning and late afternoon.Like other Thrush they tends to stay at lower storey and frequent wet grounds looking for grubs and insects

Wish to thank Ong CheHo on the tip off and precise direction to its location. Bird luck to you and Merry Christmas