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Bird Watching in Mantanani Island

Mantanani Island Bird Watching

Bird Watching in Mantanani Island, Sabah is one of the highlights when you visit this beautiful tropical paradise.

According to many bird watchers, this island is one of the top spots to see some of the migrating birds in this region and also to spot some rare species too.

Apart from the island having only three resorts there, they cater mostly to divers and snorkels who mostly go there for day trips, therefore, it is quite peaceful if you decide to spend a couple of nights on the island.

Mantanani Bird Watching

Mantanani comprises of three islands off the north-west coast of the state of Sabah, Malaysia, where the nearest land town in Kota Belud, in northern Borneo.

The largest island here is called Mantanani Besar while the other two smaller islands are known as Mantanani Kecil and Lungisan.

For birdwatchers, Mantanani island is good for seeing birds that usually nest on islands, because of their relative lack of terrestrial predators. and are rarely or unpredictably seen on the mainland.

Mantanani Besar (Big Island) is the only place in Sabah where you can spot the endemic and unique Mantanani Scops Owl, while you can also spot a number of water birds.

Other island birds spotted include the Pied Imperial, Grey Imperial and Nicobar Pigeons, and the Philippine Megapode. They are quite easy to spot as the island is no very big too.

One of the star birds is the Blue-naped Parrot, but it is locally extinct. Lungisan Island has a nesting cave colony of German's Swiftlets and is an important roost for Frigate birds where you can find one of the main roosting places for three species of Frigate bird in Sabah.

Mantanani Birding
A Philippine Glossy Starling spotted at Mantanani Island
What Else Does Mantanani Island Offer?

The island on the west coast of Sabah is also well known for recreational diving as there are three dive wrecks dating from the Second World War.

On a busy weekend, the island tends to attract many day-trippers and also divers from the city of Kota Kinabalu, which is about two hours away.

For scuba divers, macro life is abundant and promises of crystal clear visibility. However, there are not many large fish spotted.

A few years ago, Mantanani island was quite well known for its dugong or sea cows, but from my last visit, the locals informed me that the Dugong is no longer spotted here. 

Bird Watching Binoculars Malaysia
Omicron Optics in Malaysia, binoculars I use for my bird watching
Bird Watching Tours to Mantanani Island

There are a few Sabah tour companies that arrange for bird watching trips to Mantanani and other islands around Saba's west coast.

But for the serious birder, you should inquire with the respective tour company and let them know your reason for going there. At least they can prepare a proper and necessary itinerary for you and your team.

The best part about visiting this island paradise is that you can bring your family along as there is a beautiful beach which is pretty quiet for sun tanning, snorkeling, and even general photography.

Pulau Mantanani
View of Mantanani island beach

As for other locations around the country, I have also done an article about the best bird-watching spots in Malaysia if you would like to explore these beautiful places.

There are also many well-known areas for bird watching in Sabah which is spread out at rainforests, forest reserves, and even mountains.

Those are mainly for the land birds hence this island is one of the sought after and preferred locations for bird watching in Sabah Borneo.


Happy walker said...

thanks for sharing~

http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

Unknown said...

I also want to do bird watching because discovering new species of birds sounds fun and also knowing that you contributed for their discovery is an achievement. American Visa

Indo Telematika Education said...

blogwalking, nice blog, thanks

Indo Telematika Education said...

blogwalking, nice blog, thanks

Unknown said...

Hello birdies,
It is a migrate time for birds in Mantanani. Great chance to see endemic of Otus mantanensis, migran flycatcher, island's pigeon..

Great to see u all
Wesley Yongoi
Mari Mari mantanani