Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Birding Events in Malaysia

Birding Events Festivals in Malaysia

As bird watching in Malaysia is growing, a number of birding events in Malaysia is available throughout the country. These events and festivals take place on different times of the year and do not clash making it feasible for bird watchers to attend them all.

Malaysia is home to over 1000 species of birds which range from all conditions making it one of the up and coming prime destinations for birding. Birders can choose different areas ranging from coastal, montane, rainforest and lowland to spot birds here. There are also a number of Important Birding Areas or IBA's found all over Malaysia.

A number of tour companies also specialise in birding tours and photography tours throughout Malaysia making it easy for bird watchers and bird photographers to move around. 

List of Birding Events in Malaysia

Raptor Watch Tanjung Tuan

Raptor Watch at Port Dickson

Held at the Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse in Melaka, the Raptor Watch is a one day event will see the migratory raptors on their journey from the northern hemisphere all the way via the East Asian Flyway. The location is also part of a Tanjung Tuan National Park which borders two states, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka. Suitable for anyone who loves spotting raptors as there are easily over 12 types of raptors seen during the Raptor Watch here.

It used to be a two day event, but was cut to one day due to budget cuts. The event has been going on for many years now, but quite a number of people have found the event to be not as exciting anymore and new concepts or ideas need to be introduced to bring this event to the next level.

Raptor Watch 2017
Date: 11th March 2017
Day: Saturday
Time: 9am - 5pm
Info: https://mnsraptorwatch.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/raptor-watch-2017/

Kenyir Bird and Nature Quest 2016


Kenyir Bird and Nature Quest in Terengganu

The Kenyir Bird and Nature Quest focuses around the majestic Lake Kenyir, namely the Terengganu state area and includes talks on wildlife in the Kenyir area. Topics covered include Hornbills, Owls, Using Field Guides, Bird Photography, Camera Traps, Mammals of Kenyir and Elephant Tracking which is also organised by the Malaysia Nature Society of Terengganu. This is also the 3rd time the event is taking place here.

For bird watchers, there are over 290 species of birds that can be seen here and the highlight is that 9 out of the 10 hornbill species in Malaysia are also found here. Another special spotting is also the world's fastest eagle, the Peregrine Falcon.

Kenyir Bird and Nature Quest 2017
Date: 25-26 March, 2017
Location: Kenyir Lake Resort and Spa


Selangor Bird Race

Wings of KKB at Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor

The Wings of KKB or Selangor Bird Race event is organised by Majlis Daerah Hulu Selangor (MDHS Council) and supported by Tourism Malaysia with a clear mission to cultivate the appreciation of nature, especially among schoolchildren. The overall area is also part of the Important Bird Area (IBA) and rare birds such as the Marbled Wren Babbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Large Niltava, Silver-Breasted Broadbills and three hornbills namely Rhinoceros, Great and Bushy Crested can be spotted here.

Participants go through 10 different checkpoints starting from the charming town of Kuala Kubu Baru, past the Kalumpung Hot Springs and ending at the Genting Highlands Awana Resort. Among the types of birds spotted here include garden birds, hot spring birds, waterfall birds and montane birds. This is another council and state level organization, where it really needs to be privatized in order for this event to grow to an international level. 

Wings of KKB 2017
Date: 21-23 April, 2017
Location: Kuala Kubu Baru, Awana Genting


Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race

Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race  

Usually in the month of May and held in the quiet and beautiful colonial town of Fraser's Hill or Bukit Fraser in Pahang. It is a 2 hour drive from Kuala Lumpur and uphill too. Weather is cooling with lots of montane birds to spot and great for beginners or family birders.

The last Fraser's Hill Bird Race 2015 saw 44 team participating with some international participants from Singapore and Cambodia. Birders raced around the main IBA of Fraser's spotting over 260 species of montane birds here. The even is organized by NGO's and the state tourism board which still needs serious improvements. Protocol is still observed due to the involvement of the state.

Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race 2017
Date: 25-26 February, 2017
Time: 8am-6pm


2015 Borneo Bird Festival

Borneo Bird Festival in Sabah

From 23-25 October, this event is running in it's 7th year now, the Borneo Bird Festival is the main birding event held in Sandakan, Sabah Borneo. This event showcases the endemic birds found around the Kinabalu National Park in Sabah. This is also the most professional organized bird festival in Malaysia as the event is organized by a bird club and also open minded birders who prefer to give to the people rather than the politicians.

This 3 day event sees over 3000 people attending the festival and a huge number of birders and bird watchers from all over. There are special talks conducted by birding authorities while bird races and bird photography contests are organized. A number of birding equipment companies also participate to showcase new birding products.

Borneo Bird Festival 2017
Date: 27-29 October 2017
Venue: Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok, Sandakan Sabah
Sarawak International Bird Race

Sarawak International Bird Race

A new additions into the list of Birding events in Malaysia, Sarawak has learned much from neighbor Sabah and started their own Sarawak Birding Event called the Sarawak International Bird Race. The first Sarawak bird race took place in 2015, where around 10 teams participated and for the second race in 2016, saw three international teams participating with the local teams and explored three main birding areas in Sarawak.

For the next race, there are no details out as of writing this, but many are excited to see where the Sarawak Bird Race 2017 will take its participants. Hopefully to the north of Sarawak at the areas of Mulu, Lawas or even Paya Maga Highlands? Well, we look forward to the news on this.

Sarawak International Bird Race 2017
Date: August, 2017
Venue: Around Sarawak


Bird Race Borneo

Borneo Bird Race at Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei

The most prestigious bird race in Malaysia is the Borneo Bird race that takes international participants across three states and two countries on the island of Borneo. Birders will race over 1000 kilometres across Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei in search of over 400 species of birds in various types of locations.

The Borneo Bird Race has also brought birding to the next level here in Borneo as the cross participation among the three states gives birders a chance to also explore the culture and heritage of these places apart from just bird watching. This is now the premier birding event in Borneo too.

*Update 3rd Feb 2017 - The Borneo Bird Race saw a break in 2015 and 2016, and is now slated for 2017.

Borneo Bird Race 2017
Date: Pushed to 2016
Locations: Sabah, Sarawak & Brunei

Taman Negara Bird Race 2015

Taman Negara Bird Count

The Taman Negara Bird Count is usually held at the Kuala Tahan National Park which is also one of the tourist destinations for bird enthusiasts from around the world. In total, 250 species of birds have been identified within the National Park area and the vision, is to make the Kuala Tahan National Park an 'Important Bird Area' (IBA) in time to come, complementing Fraser's Hill, Sabah and Genting Highlands.

Previously, this event was known as the Taman Negara Bird Race but was re-branded to be a bird count event. It was held at the end of the year, but due to the monsoon and floods during this time, the event saw much problems and delays, hence for 2017, they have decided to bring it earlier in the year. the event still needs professional organization in order for it to grow to an international level.

Taman Negara Bird Race 2017
Date: 3-5 March, 2017
Locations: Kuala Tahan National Park, Pahang

Pesta Sayap 2015

Pesta Sayap Kuala Selangor (Festival of Wings)

Known as the Festival of Wings, this birding event is organised by the Malaysia Nature Society or MNS with the support of the Kuala Selangor District Council (MDKS) and the Selangor State Government. Pesta Sayap also sees dozens of species flying from their wintering homes, crossing seas and continents to warmer climates. Besides birds, visitors also see fireflies and many species of butterflies at Kuala Selangor.

The Pesta Sayap objective is to promote the importance of birds as a natural indicator for earth health, awareness of the environment as well as promoting the nature park itself as an eco-tourism destination here at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park. In most cases, the actual information of the date will only come out last minute. Don't ask me why, but it has been like that for many events in Malaysia.

Pesta Sayap 2017
Date: October, 2017
Time: 7.00am
Venue: Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP)

Festival Helang Taiping

Taiping Raptor Watch/Festival

The Taiping Raptor Watch or Festival takes place in the town of Taiping in Perak and at the event, you will find a mini exhibition, audio video presentation on raptors, birds and nature. Nature-related merchandise will also be on sale while there are special mangrove and firefly tours available. The raptor watching takes place at Scott's Hill in Taiping, Perak.

To date, there is no confirmation on the upcoming Taiping Raptor Festival 2017 but if the organizers follow last years timing, it will be as below. However, anyone interested should double check on the dates for this birding event. Suitable for beginners, families and anyone who loves raptors. 

Taiping Raptor Festival 2017
Date: October, 2017
Time: 9.30am - 5pm
Location: Taiping Town and Scott's Hill


Bird Watching Malaysia
Birders in action
The above are just the main birding events and festivals held in Malaysia and there are quite a number of smaller events which take place on a local level. Most of them are organised by the birding clubs in Malaysia and a number of them are over in Sabah Borneo due to the rise of bird watching in Borneo by the various clubs.

Overall, Bird Watching in Malaysia is currently growing on a very fast pace due to more awareness to this niche hobby. NGO's, camera makers and bird clubs are one of the main contributors as well.

If there are any other birding events missed out, please let me know by contacting me here and I will update the list. Otherwise, see you at some of the Birding Events in Malaysia as I make it a point to attend them. 

Author:

Malaysia Asia is a multiple award-winning travel blog site with information on unique and interesting places around Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Southeast Asia and the World. Malaysia Asia is also under MyAsia Services, a Digital Travel Solutions Company based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest. We are also not your regular travel bloggers. 

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