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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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Sunday, 29 September 2013

KINGFISHER 6/13 - Black-backed Kingfisher ( Oriental Dwarf)

Never in my life have I seen a kingfisher as beautiful as this. Saw Weng Chun catch at TRA in OBC which is more reddish back. This is my KF no 6/12 in Peninsula Malaysia. A lifer

You guys seeing this .....better make way to Taman Tasik Ampang Hilir asap. To me its a chance of a life time and in the heart of the city!

This is a 2018 photo in the month of October 2018. Apparently it on transit further down south of Peninsula when it hit the window of my boss house in Bukit rimau Shah alam

KINGFISHER 5/13 - Rufous-backed Kingfisher

 Rufous-backed Kingfisher

KINGFISHER 4/13 - Rufous-collared Kingfisher

Finally I got my male KF in Sg Perdik in Ulu Langat after so many failed sighting in Kemensah. I guess I am the last birder amongst my fellow friends to see it. What a relieve ....getting desperate. This bird can also be sighted in Kemensah Ulu Kelang & Panti Johor.

Rufous-collared kingfishers are medium-sized, plump kingfishers, with a green crown (top of the head); blue (in males) and buff-spotted green (in females) back; and rufous (red) coloring on and below the collar. The bill is black above and yellow below. Rufous-collared kingfisher is 9 to 9.5 in long

Rufous-collared kingfisher like the Banded is usually found in dense, lowland rainforests, and sometimes in secondary forests (that is, in forests where new vegetation has formed after the original vegetation of the forest has been destroyed either by nature or by humans). They are found up to 5,600 feet (1,700 meters) above sea level.They feed on various arthropods; mostly insects and large scorpions, but also fish, snails, small snakes, and lizards. They catch prey by dropping from a low perch to snatch the prey off the water surface or off the ground. Occasionally, they turn over leaves in search of food. When calling out, Rufous-collared Kingfishers produce a monotonous loud, long whistle that rises in tone. They perch mostly in the middle and lower levels of forests. When perched, they will regularly show a slow bobbing head and pumping tail.

They are supposed to be monogamous ie mated only with one other, usually dig nest burrows in earthen banks, but also use rotten tree trunks. They dig out tunnels that end in a nest chamber about 8 inches (20 centimeters) in diameter. Females usually lay two eggs, which are incubated for about twenty-two days.

Rufous-collared kingfishers is uncommon and is considered near threatened, in danger of becoming threatened with extinction, due to extensive removal of lowland forests. With encroachment of humans into the fringes of forest and the use of mist nest along the tilapia ponds I am very afraid that kingfishers will be snarled and killed by our inconsiderate people.............

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

KINGFISHER 11/13 - Banded Kingfisher

Another KF for my collection. Size 7-8" in length with a tiniest of beak among KF. Its name relate to the black & whitee bands on its wing in the case of the male and black on brown in the case of the female.

You Singaporean killed their environment and apparently is extinct down under. Unlike other KF this forest bird has no apparent association with streams or fish ponds. It is not shy and can be called out by imitation or playback of its call...........a slow repeative cadence upto 15 phrases. They usually call during dusk & dawn. Must get the player and sound at Digital Mall PJ. The female is as beautiful as the male but upper part brown with black barring. We missed it at Bkt Rengit got the male thanks to Jason & Lim.

Finally the female Banded Kingfisher was sighted at Awana last weekend. Most of the time it is in the dense foliage in the ravine or hillside of the Awana track. It will sit quietly on its perch unless harrass by some territorial bird like the fantail.

Depending on its mood it can be called out. I have a photo in my collection here of the Male shot 2 years back in Bkt Rengit. anyway for me it was a happy outing though no lifer but some close & good resighting of the Red bearded Beeater and Hill Blue Flycatcher make up the morning session A jungle King like the Rufous collared which is still in my wanted list in Kemensah............

First time meeting ZFWong 
and Samuel. The ShutterAsia Macro gang were there too. Now for the last two kingfisher of peninsula  is the Brown-winged of Langkawi  and the Ruddy the migrant..............


KINGFISHER 10/13 - Black-capped Kingfisher

KINGFISHER 9/13 -Blue Banded Kingfisher

Blue Banded Kingfisher

Finally my encounter with this local in Taman Rimba Ampang after 8 visits to TRA. Luckily got some fellow birders to guide me where to look. Actually it is always there. It's a question whether you have the patience to sit there and wait. Of cause the dim condition do not help but once sighted u can spend a good 15-30 minutes snapping away even with flash. But try getting close to it will fly away.

There is suppose to be a male BBKF which have the blue band which the name is coined. The female looks more colourful with its myriads of colors. Found in clean fresh water streams hunting for fishes and insects. Not really tiny but b'cos it has short tail it look small........ 4 inches from head to back.

Now these latest photos confirmed my first sighting of BBKF ( almost 7.5 inches) in Kemensah about more than a month ago . What we commonly see in Kemensah is the resident smaller Blue-eared KF (6 inches). Madi coincidentially was also eyeing to see the BBKF as I tagged along later distracted by bulbuls feasting on a fruiting ficus trees at the carpark. Then a Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo was anting or something on a tree trunk. Reaching Madi at about 9 am near a likely corner of the stream Madi sighted it but was flushed out when he positioned his gears. Whilst he kept vigilant for its return I move ahead to the other end to find the Broadbill nest. And as bird luck was with me; the BBKF had perched on a bamboo twig with a fish in its beak at the end of the open track. I quickly snap some shots as insurance. I struggle to call Madi on the hphone but alas it was gone in just a minute spooked by some local folks.

The Blue banded was once the darling of Taman Rimba Ampang The last sighting there was about 3 years ago. The photos here are of the Male BBKF. I managed a short video which I am trying hard to post hopefully Kemensah is drawing a new list of bird species and I hope to see more.............My suggestion birding fellas is to go in 2 or on your own if you want to see it. Too many people will just stress the bird okay and too many photog joistling for position will just scoot it away.................bird luck to u.

Mission accomplished. Madi your opportunity will come..........

KINGFISHER 8/13 - Blue-eared Kingfisher

Went birding with Jason again this Saturday and I suggested Kemensah after uneventful morning at Bukit Melawati. Got to join the morning Taichi group there though.... so all stretched up and ready to try our luck at IsiRimba

Our luck break when the Blue eared swooshed along the stream and perched about 20 ft off the exposed roots at the water bank. A resident and very shy one at that Did not stayed long and Jason tried to get closer but alias............another KF to my lifer list capped can wait.

KINGFISHER 7/13 - Common Kingfisher


What bird luck got to photograph a Male Common KF in the city No need to go KSNP which was the last I saw.

A very small bird of 16 cm Almost similar features as the Blue-eared in colours but have distinct the rufous (brownish) eared and turquoise back. Found visiting wetlands and streams of West side of Peninsula.

KINGFISHER 2/13 - White-breasted Kingfisher

I believe this specie is the most common in Peninsula Malaysia. Breed in Dec-Mar if not a loner as usual. They have adapted well on wetland and hither land as well as urban areas. White-throated Kingfishers as a group eat a wide range of food, but each bird may specialise in a particular prey. They take fish (particularly during the wet season). But other prey make up the bulk of their diet. These include tadpoles, grasshoppers, lizards, insects. They basically take any small creature that they can catch and kill.

While hunting along the water, they prey on crabs, amphibians (frogs) and reptiles (skinks, lizards). On land, they hunt large insects and arthropods (grasshoppers, beetles, termites, scorpions, centipedes). They beat these against their perch to kill and remove venomous stings. They even take small mammals (rats, mice, voles), snakes up to 65cm long, and nestling birds.

The male features: Medium size(28cm); throat and breast white, but no white collar; head and rest of underpart chocolate brown. Wings, tail and back turquoise; bill large (6-7cm), red; feet red. Its other half brown parts not so dark. Juvenile: Duller; bill initially dark; fine dark scallops on white breast; lesser wing-coverts mottled black. It beak is rather disproportionate to its body

Call: Described as a loud shrill whinnying kek-kek which trails off; a harsh repeated klip; a piercing staccato laugh. Loudest I must say.


KINGFISHER 1/13 - White-collared Kingfisher

 White-collared Kingfisher

This specie is usually found near swamp, river and stream where water insects and critters are in abundance. I have yet to see Kingfisher going for fishes in water though maybe mudskippers and crustaceans. This is my first time I managed to capture it in photo. They have the habit of staying put at the same location but they seldom let you come close to them 40-50 ft max. I can assume it live a life of celibate until mating season. Sighted at Klang Gates Taman Melawati 0706

Copied the description as medium size(24cm); turquoise head and upperparts; broad white collar bordered by narrow black line; underparts white; feet black; bill- maxilla black, mandible dirty white.
Adult: As above. In a mated pair, the male tends to be slightly more blue, while the female tends to be more green. Juvenile: Duller; broader black collar margin; fine black scalloping across the breast.

Call: Described as variable laughing calls from a soft quiet chuckle to harsh loud maniacal kek-kek, kek-kek. At rest, has a gentle chup-kree. It's back varies from greenish-blue to turquoise.

Apparently they are the commonest Kingfisher in Singapore where else ours is the white throated.

LAUGHINGTHRUSH 2/3 - Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush

Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush

This is one of three Laughingthrush you can see inmontane forest in peninsula Malaysia. A sure see in Ulu Kali Genting Highland.

 Terence & friend

LAUGHINGTHRUSH 1/3 - Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush

Chestnut-capped is the most common Laughingthrush you can see in submontane forest like in Awana. They are gregarious and often feed amongst others in a bird wave.

LAUGHINGTHRUSH 3/3 - Black Laughingthrush

 Black Laughingthrush

Days of Lifers. A couple came out to play but at a distance of 25-30m away. Because of its footer size; manage some decent shots enough to id it.

Resident of montane forest in Peninsula Malaysia. It is omnivorous and the season of fruiting trees of July-Sept brings them out for a feast. Unlike its fellows in Fraser Hill these guys are a bit shy to human in Awana.

Black Laughingthrush  is also a submontane bird but can also be sighted in lowland forest.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

WADER 49/60 - Bar-tailed Godwit

 Bar-tailed Godwit

Notice the pinky beaked (wintering) bird on the right with the Whimbrel behind.  Yes that is the one with a upturn beak compared to straight billed  Black-tailed Godwit which can be seen below in breeding plumage. It is about the same size as the Whimbrel coming in at about 40cm. The one I saw must be the female as it had an extremely long beak of 20cm/8 inches.

Now is to look for the  Asian Dowitcher which is similar in features with Black-tailed but slightly smaller (36cm) ; short-necked and flattened forehead with a thick black beak with a buldged tip. If you see one please call me please.

Friday, 20 September 2013

WADER 48/60 - Little Stint

Little Stint
Compared to the Red-necked Stint , the Little got this slight downward curvature beak which taper to fine tip whilst the latter have a broader beak. It poses with a bulge-shaped body with a small head up on top. I got mine in Jeram Selangor ; at the same time Dave reported sightings in Malim Nawar and Penang mainland.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

DUCK 4/15 - Little Grebe

Little Grebe

This is the common resident bird to see in freshwater ponds and marshland in peninsula Malaysia. They are quite shy birds and will often lurk within easy reach of cover along the margins of the water and will dive or disappear amongst the reeds when disturbed. they feed underwater and can dive and swim 30-50m to hunt for preys.

The usual clutch consists of between four and six eggs, laid in April in a floating nest of vegetation anchored to submerged water plants. Young grebes are frequently carried on the adult birds' backs and are fed with small fish,
crustaceans and molluscs. Grebes often give feathers to their chicks, which the young birds swallow in order to form a protective lining to their stomachs. This avoids the possibility of the stomach being damaged by the bones of their fish meals.