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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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

DUCK 7/15 - Mallard

Ducks are rarity which do visit  Peninsula Malaysia. They are categorises as vagrant and  Mallard is one of them. I have yet to see any sighting in Malaysia except the domesticated one that origin from this species. The photos I shot are in Jeju Korea whilst holidaying in December 2015.

Mallards usually occur throughout North America and Eurasia in ponds and parks as well as wilder wetlands and estuaries. The male’s gleaming green head, gray flanks, and black tail-curl arguably make it the most easily identified duck. Mallards have long been hunted for the table.

Mallards are large ducks with hefty bodies, rounded heads, and wide, flat bills. Like many “dabbling ducks” the body is long and the tail rides high out of the water, giving a blunt shape. In flight their wings are broad and set back toward the rear

Male Mallards (as in top picture) have a dark, iridescent-green head and bright yellow bill. The gray body is sandwiched between a brown breast and black rear. Females and juveniles are mottled brown with orange-and-brown bills. Both sexes have a white-bordered, blue “speculum” patch in the wing.

Mallards are “dabbling ducks”—they feed in the water by tipping forward and grazing on underwater plants. They almost never dive. They can be very tame ducks especially in city ponds, and often group together with other Mallards and other species of dabbling ducks.

Mallards can live in almost any wetland habitat, natural or artificial. They are monogamous and paired for life but the male do have "extra marital affairs"  lol. Look for them on lakes, ponds, marshes, rivers, and coastal habitats, as well as city and suburban parks and residential backyards.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Avian Sighting - When the Ficus tree fruits the birds congregate

The solitary ficus tree of the Japanese Garden is an attraction for many frugivorous birds.  The barbets are the predominant ones as size matters. Mark was there to catch the Sultan Tit but alas it was a no show. My apology to Sim for not calling him out to bird as I had a target bird to catch..............

Vincent was there too and gave me a lot of tips on how to catch my lifer. I guess I have to make more often trips next year as 2015 is coming to a close.

It fruited again in month of May 2016

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

SWALLOW 2/4 - Pacific Swallow

Pacific Swallows eat insects, catching them during flight. To feast on swarming insects, they may join other birds like Swifts. But unlike Swifts that simply trawl the air with their mouths open, Swallows don't hunt on the wing. They perch and wait, then actually chase after individual prey and perform aerial acrobatics to catch them. Swallows also hunt at lower levels than Swifts.

Unlike Swifts, Swallows can perch and also come to the ground to drink or gather nesting material.

Pacific Swallows are found everywhere, but usually near water and open country. In Singapore, they are particularly common along the coasts, and also found in mangroves.

Pacific Swallows are resident. They are never found in such huge flocks as the visiting Barn Swallows, which they closely resemble.

Although they may feed together with Barn Swallows, they don't join the Barn Swallows huge roosts.

Resident Pacific Swallows nest on vertical surfaces with overhangs to protect their mud nest (which would disintegrate in the rain). These may be cliffs with an overhang but are often bridges, dams and other man-made structures. But they shy away from humans and prefer unoccupied buildings. They build solid nests out of mud pellets brought by the beakful from puddles and river banks. Combined with dry grasses, these pellets are arranged much like bricks to form shallow cups. These may be lined with dry grass and feathers. At a particularly suitable nest site, they may form large colonies. Usually 3 white eggs are laid. These are long and pointed and have brown spots.

SWALLOW 3/4 - Barn Swallow

When perched, the sparrow-sized Barn Swallow appears cone shaped, with a slightly flattened head, no visible neck, and broad shoulders that taper to long, pointed wings. The tail extends well beyond the wingtips and the long outer feathers give the tail a deep fork.

Barn Swallows have a steely blue back, wings, and tail, and rufous to tawny underparts. The blue crown and face contrast with the cinnamon-colored forehead and throat. White spots under the tail can be difficult to see except in flight. Males are more boldly colored than females.

Barn Swallows feed on the wing, snagging insects from just above the ground or water to heights of 100 feet or more. They fly with fluid wingbeats in bursts of straight flight, rarely gliding, and can execute quick, tight turns and dives. When aquatic insects hatch, Barn Swallows may join other swallow species in mixed foraging flocks. 

You can find the adaptable Barn Swallow feeding in open habitats from fields, parks, and roadway edges to marshes, meadows, ponds, and coastal waters. Their nests are often easy to spot under the eaves or inside of sheds, barns, bridges and other structures

SWALLOW 1/4 - Rufous-rumped Swallow

There five races of Striated Swallow. The Malaysian Peninsula's one is called H.s.Badia. It has faintly streaked deep rufous underparts, and an unstreaked rump. It is sometimes raised to species status as the Rufous-bellied Swallow, Hirundo badia except it is larger, more heavily streaked, and has a less distinct neck collar. Striated Swallow is 19 cm long with a deeply forked tail.
The sexes are alike but juveniles are duller and browner, with a paler rump and shorter outer tail feathers.

Striated Swallow breeds from February to September alone or semi-colonially with scattered nests. The nest is a retort or bottle shaped structure, made from mud pellets and lined with dried grasses and feathers. The clutch is usually four, sometimes five, white eggs except for badia, where two eggs is normal. Both sexes build the nest, and share incubation and the care of the young. Nests are constructed in natural caves, but very often in artificial sites on bridges, in culverts and on buildings.

They are found water shed open ground and cliff side upto an elevation of 2,400m. Striated Swallow feeds low over the ground or at cliff faces on flying insects. It has a slow buoyant flight compared to Barn Swallow. It will feed with other swallow species.

zoglandboy wrote on Nov 10, '11
These fascinating swallows recalls me of Frigatebirds when I first saw them flying around my high school during weekly assembly, if split, this Rufous-bellied (badia) would be a regional endemic to the Malay Peninsular, definitely going to be one of the most regular species of regional endemic here I guess since it was capable to enter urban settings near limestone cliffs. You can see a lot on Fraser's nowadays also.

Photo taken at Kuala Kedah coastal side. There is a swiftlet farm in the middle of the padi field inland side........

The Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica) is a small passerine bird in the swallow family. It breeds in open hilly country of temperate southern Europe and Asia from Portugal and Spain to Japan, India and tropical Africa. The Indian and African birds are resident, but European and other Asian birds are migratory. They winter in Africa or India and are vagrants to Christmas Island and northern Australia. So in Peninsula Malaysia they are passage migrant or visitor.

They have blue upperparts and dusky underparts. They resemble Barn Swallows, but are darker below and have pale or reddish rumps, face and neck collar. They lack a breast band, but have black undertails. They are fast fliers and they swoop on insects while airborne. They have broad but pointed wings.

Red-rumped Swallows build quarter-sphere nests with a tunnel entrance lined with mud collected in their beaks, and lay 3-6 eggs. They normally nest under cliff overhangs in their mountain homes, but will readily adapt to buildings such as mosques and bridges.

They do not normally form large breeding colonies, but are gregarious outside the breeding season. Many hundreds can be seen at a time on the plains of India.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Avian Sighting Melawati - The migrants are coming..................

The month of October 2015  see the wintering birds arriving in the hazy condition in Klang Valley. Amongst the first Kingfisher is the Common. The Plaintive Cuckoo is a regular sighting here in Melawati.whilst the Arctic Warbler and Asian Brown FC is a sure see here too.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Avian Sighting 14/100 - Blue Nuthatch

 Awana still have many blooming fauna. NK & Dr R wanting to bird with me last weekend so I obliged to show them the ole hunt. We encountered 2 birdwaves. The earliest was at 9.30 am. The Blue Nuthatch is another laggard in the birdwave.  This time there were a pair and they stayed for a while for my gang to shot.  They were posing in various gravity defying manoeuvre -  upside down sideway you name it.....

 The other birds avian sightings worthy of postings are as below. The hazy month of October 2015 (no thanks to Indonesia) make photography a bit more challenging in the highland here in Awana. I hope NK and Dr R manage better shots than me......................and yes the migrants are trickling in - a tiger shrike was sighted but  no wagtails though.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Avian Sighting 13/100 - Sultan Tit of Awana

The Sultan Tit is a majestic bird in royal yellow. It is commonly sighted in a birdwave in Awana usually following the leading birds of the Grey Minivets. Their stay is brief and will move on within seconds so you must be ever ready with your setup to snap away whenever there is a perched opportunity.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Avian Sighting 12/100 - Lesser Yellow Naped Woodpecker

The Lesser Yellow-naped  is common woodpecker that you can see in Awana. This one was found resting quietly for a long period at noon at the ravine edge at the Chin Swee Temple near the pagoda.
I was using my Nikon  P900 superzoom 2000mm for this shot. If it is a moving bird it will be tough for me.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Avian Sighting 11/100 at Awana - Blue Whistling Thrush

The Blue Whistling Thrush is a common bird that can be sighted at the Temple at Awana Genting Highland where there is a water stream and waterfall. It is a beautiful whistler and response to  your playback. My Nikon  P900 was handy enough to get the pictures of this bird which can handle 9 shots per second le.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Avian Sighting 10/100 - Pseudo Rail-babbler

This Beautiful Garnet Pitta  can mimic the call of the Rail-babbler to some extend that it  fool me.  Nevertheless  it is a good sighting in the open in Lancang Pahang. The month of September  is very quiet at this front.

Maybe have to switch to the coastal plains to see the incoming waders.................

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Avian Sighting 9/100 - Dusky Broadbill

This is the first time I am sighting  this Broadbill at close quarters of 25 ft. This adult Dusky was chasing after a flying hopper  close by where I was standing. Later it turn around and faces me and suddenly swopped over me and snared the green hopper with its broad bill ......get it. I even managed to video the feeding but alas blocked by a twig. Will post it once converted.

It was in a group of 5 birds. It stayed for quite a bit of time. The others were at the higher canopy. Amongst its species the dusky is less seen because they tends to stay at higher canopy and have a wide range.  For the record this is my first encounter in Bukit Rengit Pahang.