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.
Mantanani comprises of three islands off the north-west coast of the state of Sabah, Malaysia, where the nearest land town is Kota Belud, in northern Borneo. The largest island is called Mantanani Besar; the other two are Mantanani Kecil and Lungisan. Well known for recreational diving as there are three nearby dive wrecks dating from the Second World War, the island attracts many day trippers and also divers. Macro life is also abundant. A few years ago, Mantanani island was well known for its dugongs or sea cows.
Philippine Glossy Starling
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 is the only place in Sabah to see the unique Mantanani Scops Owl. Other island specialists include the Pied Imperial, Grey Imperial and Nicobar Pigeons, and the Philippine Megapode. The Blue-naped Parrot is locally extinct. Lungisan Island has a nesting cave colony of German's Swiftlets and is an important roost for frigatebirds where you can find one of the main roosting place for 3 species of Frigatebird in Sabah.
There are a few Sabah Tour Companies that arrange for trips here but for the serious bird watcher, you should inquire with the tour company and let them know your reason for going there. At least they can prepare the necessary itinerary for you. The best part is that you can bring your family along her as there is a beautiful beach which is pretty quiet for sun tanning, snorkeling and even general photography. There are many well known areas for bird watching in Sabah but apart from other districts in Sabah Borneo, this is one of the preferred locations for Bird Watching in Mantanani Island.