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 March 2018 my countdown of lifers photograph has reached
492/688 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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Thursday, 28 December 2017

TREEPIE - Bornean Treepie (Borneo Endemic Lifer 486)

This is my first Treepie  that I have encounter. The other one to see is the Racquet-tailed Treepie in Perlis Chuping side near to Thai Border. It is often seen in small flock accompanying other birds like the Bornean Green Magpie 

It is fairly common in most mountain ranges in the northern and central parts of Borneo. It mainly occurs between 300 and 2,800 metres above sea-level, being most common in valleys and foothills at the lower end of that range. It inhabits forest, forest edge, bambo thickets and scrubland and is sometimes seen in cultivated areas. It forages in the tree canopy, alone or in small groups, searching for small fruit, seeds and large insects such as beetles and cockroaches. It can become tame, visiting villages to feed on scraps.

Little is known about its breeding habits. The nest is shallow, built of fine twigs and placed in a low tree. The eggs are greenish-white with brown markings concentrated in a ring at the wider end.

Adult has blackish-brown forehead, lores and cheek, crown to nape and rest of upperparts silvery grey, wings black with white wing patch at base of primaries. Long uppertail feathers grey with broad black terminal band. Neck and rest of underparts fawn brown. Black under-tail feathers are of progressive length and are much shorter than uppertail feathers. Iris reddish brown; bill, legs and feet black.

The Bornean treepie is a noisy bird with a variety of loud, explosive calls including a bell-like whistle and various grunting and chattering calls. It is able to mimic the calls of other birds.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

THRUSH - Bornean Whistling Thrush (Borneo Endemic 485)

This is the first bird I saw in Kinabalu Park PowerStation post in the wee morning. The resident bird stayed for sometime hunting for moths and insects on the road and fringe. As usual it would not let me come near to it. I could only get these shots from afar and in dimmed lighting.

Nevertheless I am still happy for this lifer.


MUNIA - Dusky Munia (Borneo Endemic Lifer 484)

This is an endemic bird of Borneo. My sighting  was a pair of Dusky Munia not like the  other species which are gregarious and flock together in numbers. I would chalk it as a lifer. The bird was shoot in Ranau Sabah behind a hill cropped of a housing estate.

In the month of December it was a bit wet and cold. I was just birding from the back patio of ...my inlaw house. There was also a pair of Black-headed Munia

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

DRONGO - Ashy Drongo (Borneo Lifer 483)

In the month December 2017 my family went to Sabah to visit my sis-inlaw in Ranau about 30 km after Kinabalu Park passing Kundasang. In one of outing to Mahau Waterfall near Tambunan we saw many pairs of Ashy Drongo perch on the electrical lines along the road.

This is a subspecie (Leugenis) Ashy Drongo of Borneo ad south Peninsula. I would consider it a lifer which have distinct features namely paler color  and white eyed patch in comparison to the coastal swamp land of Selangor or Perak (Mouboti)

They are found active in the morning in the open sailing for flying  insects. There were many pairs along the road to  Mahau Forest Reserve.  Later passing back thru the same road in the late morning they were not sighted anymore.  Perhaps they have move to the shadier of the jungle fringes to avoid the heat or the insects have gone hibernating.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Avian Nesting 13/100 in October 2017 - Pin-tailed Parrotfinch

In late October 2017  I witness a single parent (male)  preparing a nest in Sg Congkak. The female was not seen for the two hour I spend monitoring its activity. The bird come in quite regularly 15-30 minutes interval in the morning but during noon  it kept away. I left at about 1.30pm

The nest looks like a broadbill hanging clump of messy  twigs and straws weaved to a living vine. The nest is about 30ft high up above a stream. Across the stream there is a hugh bamboo grove to which it presumably  feed on its seeds.

I have always thought its nest would be in a trunk hollow like the parakeet.

Last visit in last week of October there was no activity around the nest. Was it abandoned or damaged by inclement  weather.............

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Avian Birding Site 4/10 - Sungai Balang Muar-Batu Pahat Johor

Sg Balang Padi Field near the seashore between Muar & Batu Pahat is a homing bird  stop-over for many rare and  migrants birds in  transit during the winter of the northern hemisphere. So the best time to visit  this place is during the period of October- early December of the year in their winter colors.

Then in Feb- March when the waders may starts their return journey back to their breeding grounds. You can see  bitterns  and waders in their breeding coats.

Beside Sg Balang padi field you can drop by the seashore of Parit Jawa to chance on other shore birds and pelagic birds.

If you travel from Kuala Lumpur it will take you about 2.5 to 3 hours reach Sg Balang which is a 225km journey. Exiting Tangkak interchange you will drive toward Muar and detour off at the new bypass to Batu Pahat. Quite easy with Waze nowaday.

There is a chinese restaurant at the  nearest town  Sarang Buaya (aka Crocodile Nest) for quick breakfast and lunch  meal of "chapfan" or noodles. Homestay are aplenty around but  I prefer Muar town 23 km  away cos you can savour  hawkerfood  and otak-otak to your heart content. There are  many budget hotels with room rates as low as RM78- 98 per nite. You  just  google them and make your booking.

There is a colony of  Lesser Adjutant here.  You can shoot them in full frame from your car. Beside that  many egrets species can be sighted here too.

They can be seen as early as 7am flying from their roosting trees from the hinterland.


Greater Coucal and Lesser Coucal  are quite easily spotted amongst the peripheral tree along the bunds and amongst the reed   in the open padi field. Open perch is seldom affair. No short-toed though which is a jungle fringe bird.

The "Christmas tree" of Weaver nest is so photogenic dont you think.

The sight of  Egrets and Heron in close range of 50-60 ft give you full frame shot even if you are using a 400mm lens. Stork and Asian Openbill I have not seen here as yet.

And then there are frequent raptor visitors  like the Spotted Eagle and Steppe Eagle, Booted Eagle  and Harriers here.

Then you can also  shoot the  resident Black-winged Falcon, Changeable Hawk Eagle, White-bellied Sea Eagle,  Crested Serpent Eagle and Brahminy Kite in close quarters.

You can see 3 species of Munias namely the White headed Scaly and Black -head here

Wish the Feral Javan Munia have reach  the place from Singapore.

I will still list it as lifer of Malaysia if I see one like the Javan Sparrow of Ipoh.

This Bittern looks different but is actually a Juvenile Cinnamon Wish it was a Von Schrenck's...... now that is a rare bird.
 The Oriental Pranticole is a  regular seasonal visitor but the rare Little Pranticole is the one that everyone want here in Sg Balang. I missed it for past 2 years and will wait for the news of their arrival in anticipation in 2017 to chalk up another lifer.

The Yellow wagtail striding in the muddy field ever vigilant of our present .............

The Brown Shrike is another winter visitor. It  can be obliging as you shoot from your car but   once you try maneuver closer to  ; it will always fly away to a further perch . This the most frus part.                                                                                                     
 A pair of Lesser Whistling Duck was seen at the water canal parallel to the Sg ...............
 That is if there are cooperative enough when you shoot from a distance of 50-60 ft.

 Lawrence in  its suzuki jeep is the hometown  birder here in Sg Balang. Udi of Tokki Group is the other local birder here who can give you a head up on any rarity vagrants and migrant birds here. Not forgetting my good acquaintance Ang TH who will take all effort to come down from Melaka to join you in any rare hunt.

In the month of October ;  juvenile Cinnamon Bittern were common bird to see here as the open canal drains and padi field which are still devoid of vegetation. MO is to drive around in your 4x4 and shoot from the car. I drive around my MPV. It have suffered much  to its underside  because of the undulating track. At one time  it drop off  a  RC canal crossing which I did not realise the bridge was a feet off the dirt track. So be careful.