The Ultimate In Birding Tours

Asia (and its islands)

MALAYSIA & SINGAPORE SPECIALITIES – endemics and range-restricted birds of the Malay Peninsula

Saturday 2nd March – Thursday 14th March 2024

Leader: Craig Robson

13 Days Group Size Limit 7
Taman Negara Extension

Thursday 14th March – Tuesday 19th March 2024

6 Days Group Size Limit 7
Monday 2nd March – Saturday 14th March 2026

Leader: Birdquest leader to be announced

13 Days Group Size Limit 7
Taman Negara Extension

Saturday 14th March – Thursday 19th March 2026

6 Days Group Size Limit 7


Birdquest’s Malaysia birding tours combined with Singapore explore one of the richest areas for birds in Southeast Asia. Our travels in the long finger that forms the Malay Peninsula feature Panti Bird Sanctuary (the place to see the monotypic Rail-babbler), Fraser’s Hill, Bukit Tinggi and the famous Taman Negara National Park.

If you have looked at a Southeast Asia field guide, you will have been struck by just how many species are limited to the Malay Peninsula (which comprises West Malaysia and adjacent southern Thailand and Myanmar). Our Malaysia & Singapore birding tour is the chance to see the great majority, including a series of specialities. This is definitely the most reliable tour for seeing the strange Rail-babbler, now in its own bird family plus a series of wonderful endemics and range-restricted specialities such as the splendid Mountain Peacock-Pheasant, Malayan Peacock-Pheasant, Malay Crested Fireback, Malayan and Ferruginous Partridges, Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Plain-pouched Hornbill, Mangrove Pitta, Straw-headed Bulbul, Malayan Laughingthrush and Malayan Whistling Thrush.

The long, narrow Malay Peninsula, which encompasses both West Malaysia and southernmost Thailand and Myanmar, offers some of the most exciting birding in South-East Asia, possessing an enormously rich avifauna. For birdwatchers, it is the awe-inspiring rainforests that still survive here that are the prime attraction. Rainforests are the richest habitat on earth and those of South-East Asia are thought to be the oldest of all. There are more tree species found in the Malay Peninsula than in the forests of Amazonia and this floristic wealth is reflected in the remarkable diversity of the forest avifauna. Formerly the entire Malay Peninsula was covered with these lush forests but clearance for rubber and oil palm plantations and other uses has taken its toll. Nonetheless, extensive areas remain.

Good accommodations and food, and pleasant travelling conditions, make birding in West Malaysia and Singapore a pleasure.

After a short visit to Singapore,  where our main targets are the critically endangered Straw-headed Bulbul and Red-legged Crake, we will cross into Malaysia.

Firstly, we shall visit Panti Bird Sanctuary (also known as Panti Forest Reserve), situated near the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, where the key target is the strange and wonderful Rail-babbler, a species so unique it is now placed in its own family. Naturally, this has made this unusual species even more sought-after by birders than ever before. Panti is very probably the most reliable site for this species anywhere in its range and is also home to an excellent array of other lowland Sundaic forest species, including Red-crowned Barbet, Grey-breasted Babbler and sometimes Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon. We will also visit a reliable site for Mangrove Pitta in the same region.

Afterwards, we will move northwards to Fraser’s Hill, an attractive hill station. The excellent broadleaved evergreen forests surrounding the resort offer a sharply contrasting avifauna to that of the Malaysian lowlands, including a number of species of Himalayan origin such as Pygmy Cupwing and Long-tailed Sibia, as well as more localized specialities like the endemic Malayan Partridge, Fire-tufted Barbet, Black-and-crimson Oriole, the endemic Malayan Whistling Thrush, Rufous-browed and Pygmy Flycatchers, Blue Nuthatch, the handsome Black Laughingthrush and the endemic Malayan Laughingthrush. More difficult specialities include Yellow-vented Green Pigeon, Rusty-naped Pitta and Marbled Wren-Babbler.

Moving on to the Gerik area not far from the border with Thailand, we will be seeking the uncommon and diminishing Plain–pouched Hornbill, a magnificent creature that is still relatively straightforward to find in this location.

As a very suitable finale for the main tour, we will pay a visit to Bukit Tinggi, where the once near-impossible endemic Mountain Peacock-Pheasant has become much easier to see! This is also a good site for Ferruginous Partridge and Blyth’s Frogmouth.

During the optional extension, we will travel into the interior of the Malay Peninsula to the immense Taman Negara National Park. The park protects by far the largest remaining tract of virgin rainforest in West Malaysia and indeed the entire Malay Peninsula, and is widely considered to be amongst the finest reserves in the world. A visit to Taman Negara is a profound experience for any naturalist. On entering the forest one is immediately overwhelmed by the awesome tranquillity and timelessness of this vast natural cathedral. Lofty evergreen trees with their huge buttress roots, luxuriant lower-storey undergrowth, clambering lianas, spectacular butterflies and strange-looking insects are all integral features of this superbly balanced and stable environment which is the end-product of millions of years of evolution.

The bewildering variety of birds, ranging from the stately Crested Fireback and magnificent Rhinoceros Hornbill to forest floor gems like Garnet Pitta and Striped Wren-Babbler, includes the full range of South-East Asia’s lowland forest families. Other specialities we have a good chance of observing include Black-thighed Falconet, Large Green Pigeon, Black-bellied Malkoha, Blue-rumped Parrot, Reddish Scops Owl, Rufous-backed Kingfisher, Banded Woodpecker, Malayan Banded Pitta, Black Magpie, Crested Jay, Black-throated and White-necked Babblers, Large Wren-Babbler, Long-billed Spiderhunter and Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker.

We should also come across several of Taman Negara’s more difficult specialities, which include the extraordinary Great Argus, Malayan Peacock-Pheasant, Rufous-collared Kingfisher and Grey-chested Jungle Flycatcher.

Birdquest has operated Malaysia birding tours since 1987.

In 2024, this tour can be taken together with CAMBODIA & LAOS

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/lodges are of good standard throughout. Road transport is by small coach or minibus/passenger van and roads are good.

Walking: The walking effort during our Malaysia birding tour is easy for the most part, but occasionally moderate.

Climate: At lower altitudes, many days are hot, dry and sunny, but overcast and rainy weather is not infrequent. At higher altitudes at Fraser’s Hill conditions are similar but temperatures range from warm to cool. It is often very humid in the lowlands.

Bird Photography: Opportunities during our Malaysia birding tour are worthwhile.


  • Experiencing the lush tropical rainforests and incredible bird and animal diversity of South-East Asia’s Sundaic Region
  • Seeking the Critically Endangered Staw-headed Bulbul in Singapore
  • A roosting Barred Eagle-Owl peeping out between the palm leaves
  • Flashing Mangrove Pittas!
  • The gripping excitiment before setting eyes on the amazing Rail-babbler, sole member of its family and so hard to see elsewhere, at Panti Bird Reserve
  • Close-ups of a feeding group of Malayan Partridges, after a patient wait
  • A Malayan Whistling Thrush bounding along a deserted roadside before dawn
  • The tameness of the montane birds at the cool heights of Fraser’s Hill, the species composition giving an almost Himalayan feel to the place
  • Watching the magnificent and sought-after Plain-pouched Hornbill
  • Unparalleled close encounters with the rare endemic Mount Peacock-Pheasant and stunning Ferruginous Partridge
  • Stepping out from our luxurious accommodation, straight into the intensity of the ancient tropical rainforest of Taman Negara
  • The whoosh of Rhinoceros Hornbill wingbeats over the primary forest canopy
  • The ringing cries of Great Argus emanating from the inner depths of the great forests of Taman Negara
  • The chance to see superb Garnet and Malayan Banded Pittas in the lush forest understorey
  • The excitement of night-walks, with Reddish Scops Owl and Gould’s and Blyth’s Frogmouths to be seen


  • Day 1: Evening tour start at Singapore.
  • Day 2: Singapore.
  • Day 3: By train and road to Kota Tinggi in Malaysia. First visit to Panti Forest.
  • Days 4-6: Exploring Panti Forest.
  • Day 7: Panti Forest, then drive to Fraser's Hill.
  • Days 8-9 Fraser's Hill.
  • Day 10: Fraser's Hill, then drive to the Gerik area.
  • Day 11: Gerik area.
  • Day 12: Gerik area, then drive to Bukit Tinggi.
  • Day 13: Bukit Tinggi then transafer to Kuala Lumpur international airport.
  • Day 1: Travel to Taman Negara National Park.
  • Days 2-5: Taman Negara National Park.
  • Day 6: Taman Negara, then transfer to Kuala Lumpur airport for late afternoon tour end.

To see a larger map, click on the square-like ‘enlarge’ icon in the upper right of the map box.

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Birdquest Inclusions: Our tour prices include surface transportation, accommodations, meals and entrance fees.

We also include all tipping for local guides, drivers and accommodation/restaurant staff.

Deposit: 20% of the total tour price. Our office will let you know what deposit amount is due, in order to confirm your booking, following receipt of your online booking form.

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: Click here (you will need the tour dates)

2024: £3730, $4790, €4260, AUD7130. Singapore/Kuala Lumpur.
Taman Negara Extension £1630, $2090, €1860, AUD3110. Bukit Tinggi/Kuala Lumpur2026: provisional £3890, $4990, €4440, AUD7430. Singapore/Kuala Lumpur.
Taman Negara Extension £1670, $2150, €1910, AUD3200. Bukit Tinggi/Kuala LumpurSingle Supplement: 2024: £460, $600, €530, AUD890.
Taman Negara Extension £190, $250, €220, AUD370.
Single Supplement: 2026: £480, $620, €550, AUD920.
Taman Negara Extension £200, $260, €230, AUD380.

The single supplement will not apply if you indicate on booking that you prefer to share a room and there is a room-mate of the same sex available.

This tour is priced in US Dollars. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.


Malaysia & Singapore: Day 1  Our tour starts this evening at Singapore where we will stay for two nights.

Malaysia & Singapore: Day 2  Singapore tends to be overlooked by birders but this small city-state holds some good birds.

One of our prime targets today will be the Critically Endangered and rather attractive Straw-headed Bulbul, a species that has been trapped to the verge of extinction because of its popularity as a cagebird. Singapore is now the last place with a reasonable surviving population of this mega-speciality.

Another good bird, and one that is surprisingly easy to see in Singapore, is Red-legged Crake. If we have time we will check out an area of mangroves for Mangrove Blue Flycatcher.

Many other birds will be seen today, but these are also likely in and around Panti Forest in Malaysia.

Malaysia & Singapore: Day 3  We will take the express train across the causeway linking Singapore to the city of Johor Bahru in Malaysia and then continue by road to Kota Tinggi for a four nights stay. This afternoon we will commence our exploration of Panti Bird Sanctuary.

Malaysia & Singapore: Days 4-6  Panti Bird Sanctuary (formerly known as Panti Forest Reserve) protects a large tract of mainly lowland dipterocarp and peat-swamp forest that was partly logged in the past, but which is now well regenerated.

Above all, we will be on the lookout at Panti for the unique Rail-babbler, the sole member of the family Eupetidae. This beautiful and mysterious species is notoriously shy and difficult to see, but Panti Forest offers a better chance than anywhere else of observing it, and our chances during a stay of this length are very high. As we walk along the reserve’s trails, we should hear the long mournful whistles that betray the presence of our quarry and then we will attempt to watch it stalking through the leaf litter like an elongated rail, or calling from a stump or low branch.

We will also be focussing on the very localized and uncommon Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon, the near-threatened Red-crowned Barbet and the uncommon Black-and-white Bulbul, all of which Panti is well-known for.

Other species of particular interest we may well encounter at Panti, or in the surrounding area, include Great Argus (more likely to be heard than seen), Little Cuckoo-Dove, Little and Pink-necked Green Pigeons, Raffles’s, Red-billed, Chestnut-bellied and Black-bellied Malkohas, Malaysian Eared Nightjar, Whiskered Treeswift, Diard’s and Scarlet-rumped Trogons, the stunning Red-bearded Bee-eater, Oriental Dwarf and Banded Kingfishers, Yellow-crowned and Sooty Barbets, Banded, Checker-throated and Crimson-winged Woodpeckers, Blue-rumped Parrot, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Green, Black-and-red, Black-and-yellow and Dusky Broadbills, Rufous-winged Philentoma, Green Iora, Fiery Minivet, Bar-bellied Cuckooshrike, Dark-throated Oriole, Black-headed, Grey-bellied, Puff-backed, Olive-winged, Cream-vented, Asian Red-eyed, Spectacled, Yellow-bellied, Hairy-backed, Buff-vented and Streaked Bulbuls, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler, Grey-headed, Chestnut-rumped, Chestnut-winged, Rufous-fronted, Horsfield’s, Short-tailed, Moustached, Rufous-crowned, White-chested, Ferruginous and Malayan Black-capped Babblers, Greater Green and Lesser Green Leafbirds, Yellow-breasted and Crimson-breasted Flowerpeckers, and Plain, Red-throated and Copper-throated Sunbirds, and Thick-billed, Spectacled, Yellow-eared and Grey-breasted Spiderhunters

More widespread species often seen at Panti include Crested Serpent Eagle, Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Common Emerald and Zebra Doves, Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Plaintive and Violet Cuckoos, Germain’s Swiftlet, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Blue-eared Barbet, White-bellied, Laced and Rufous Woodpeckers, Common Flameback, Common Iora, White-bellied Erpornis, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Malaysian Pied Fantail, Large-billed Crow, Pacific Swallow, Pin-striped Tit-babbler, White-crowned Forktail, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, the introduced Javan Myna, Common Hill Myna, White-rumped Shama, Blue-winged Leafbird, Orange-bellied and Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers, Ruby-cheeked, Van Hasselt’s, Olive-backed and Purple-naped Sunbirds, and Little Spiderhunter.

More uncommon species at Panti, a number of which we could encounter during our visit, include Crested Partridge, Malayan Crested Fireback, Crested Goshawk, Red Junglefowl, Jambu Fruit Dove, Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo, Lesser Coucal, Gould’s Frogmouth, Grey-rumped Treeswift, Red-naped and Cinnamon-rumped Trogons, Rufous-collared and Black-capped Kingfishers, Bushy-crested and White-crowned Hornbills, Malaysian Honeyguide, Orange-backed Woodpecker, Black-thighed Falconet, Garnet and Malayan Banded Pittas, Grey-cheeked Bulbul, Maroon-chested Philentoma, Malayan Black Magpie, Crested Jayshrike (a monotypic bird family), White-necked, Black-throated, Scaly-crowned and Grey-breasted Babblers, Large Wren-Babbler, Rufous-tailed Shama, Rufous-chested Flycatcher, Grey-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker, Crimson Sunbird and Long-billed Spiderhunter.

While based at Kota Tinggi, we will also visit a mangrove area to look for yet another regional speciality, the brightly coloured Mangrove Pitta. Other birds in this area are likely to include the splendid Barred Eagle-Owl as well as Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Little Bronze Cuckoo, Collared Kingfisher, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Golden-bellied Gerygone, House Crow, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Common, Dark-necked and Ashy Tailorbirds, Swinhoe’s White-eye, Asian Glossy Starling and Scaly-breasted Munia.

Malaysia & Singapore: Day 7  After some final birding at Panti we will head northwards through West Malaysia to Fraser’s Hill for a three nights stay.

Malaysia & Singapore: Days 8-9  Fraser’s Hill is an attractive hill station set amidst mature montane forest. From the highest point in the area (at about 1300m) there is a breathtaking vista of forested hills stretching away as far as the eye can see. Trails run into the forest but in fact, the low density of development means that many species can actually be found along the roads.

The avifauna here is strikingly different from that of West Malaysian lowland forest areas, consisting largely of montane forms. Major targets during our stay will include no fewer than three West Malaysian endemics; Malayan Partridge (easy to hear, more difficult to see), Malayan Whistling Thrush and Malayan Laughingthrush. Other important specialities include Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle, Fire-tufted Barbet, the elusive Rusty-naped Pitta (fairly easy to hear but a devil to see!), Black-and-crimson Oriole, Rufous-browed and Pygmy Flycatchers, the tricky Marbled Wren-Babbler, the handsome Black Laughingthrush, the restricted-range Hume’s White-eye and Blue Nuthatch. If we are very lucky, we will encounter the patchily-distributed Yellow-vented Green Pigeon.

The thickly vegetated treetops shelter larger species like Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Little Cuckoo-Dove, Golden-whiskered and Red-throated Barbets, the restricted-range Black-browed Barbet (found only in the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra) and the handsome Banded Broadbill. Skulking in the understorey are more subtly-plumaged, though no less interesting birds, such as Streaked Wren-Babbler, Pygmy Cupwing and Lesser Shortwing. Long-tailed Broadbill and Common Green Magpie are amongst the more colourful forest inhabitants, though hard to see while hiding in the darker forest recesses will be stunning Red-headed and Orange-breasted Trogons. An excellent variety of more widespread flycatchers occur, with Verditer, Little Pied and Hill Blue Flycatchers, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher and Large Niltava all possible.

Other species that we are likely to encounter include Plume-toed Swiftlet, Speckled Piculet, Greater and Lesser Yellownapes, Maroon Woodpecker, Large Cuckooshrike, Grey-chinned Minivet, Blyth’s and Black-eared Shrike-babblers, Black-crested, Scaly-breasted, Stripe-throated, Ochraceous and Mountain Bulbuls, White-throated Fantail, Bronzed and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongos, the spectacular Sultan Tit, Rufous-bellied Swallow, Large Scimitar Babbler, Buff-breasted, Golden and Grey-throated Babblers, Chestnut-capped (or Spectacled) Laughingthrush, Silver-eared Mesia, Blue-winged Minla, Mountain Fulvetta, Long-tailed Sibia, Slaty-backed Forktail, Yellow-bellied and Chestnut-crowned Warblers, Mountain Tailorbird, Oriental Magpie-Robin, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Black-throated Sunbird and Streaked Spiderhunter.

We are also likely to encounter a few of the area’s more uncommon but widespread inhabitants, which include Rufous-bellied and Black Eagles, Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Green-billed Malkoha, Dark Hawk-Cuckoo, Sunda Cuckoo, Collared Owlet, Mountain Scops Owl, the splendid Rhinoceros Hornbill, Wreathed and Great Hornbills, Bay Woodpecker, Ashy Bulbul, Mountain Leaf Warbler, Himalayan Cutia, Collared Babbler and Pin-tailed Parrotfinch.

Amongst the local mammals, we can expect to see a variety of squirrels, as well as Banded Leaf Monkeys and, if we are lucky, a family of Siamangs. The latter is a large species of black gibbon, and their extraordinary vocalizations can frequently be heard echoing around the hills in the early mornings.

Malaysia & Singapore: Day 10  After spending the morning at Fraser’s Hill we will drive northwards to the Gerik area not far from the Thai border for a two nights stay.

Malaysia & Singapore: Day 11  To the west of Gerik is a large reservoir and protected area that still has large tracts of primary forest.

We will be concentrating on this fine area today as it is the last stronghold in Malaysia for the range-restricted and sought-after Plain-pouched Hornbill. This species is restricted to southeast Myanmar and southwest Thailand as well as northernmost West Malaysia, but the Gerik area is by far the most accessible place to find this rarity.

We are sure to see a variety of other birds today, probably including some that will be new for the list.

Malaysia & Singapore: Day 12  After some final birding in the Gerik area we will transfer to Bukit Tinggi for an overnight stay, arriving in time for some late afternoon birding.

Our main reason for coming to this second ‘hill station’ is to look for the once-hard-to-see endemic Mountain Peacock-Pheasant, which has now become regularly observed at Bukit Tinggi thanks to bird photographers leaving food for them!

As well as this magnificent pheasant and the attractive Ferruginous Partridge (which likewise comes out regularly for treats here but which is hard to see elsewhere), we will have another opportunity to see some of the montane birds listed for Fraser’s Hill. In addition, we have good chances of encounters with Blyth’s Frogmouth, Bushy-crested Hornbill, Grey-and-buff and Buff-rumped Woodpeckers, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Cinereous Bulbul and Brown Fulvetta.

Malaysia & Singapore: Day 13  After some final birding at Bukit Tinggi you will be transferred to Kuala Lumpur international airport where our tour ends this afternoon.



Taman Negara: Day 1  After some final birding at Bukit Tinggi, we will travel to Kuala Tahan in Taman Negara National Park for a five nights stay. First, we drive through tracts of forest and large areas of rubber and oil-palm plantations before travelling through pristine rainforest inside the park.

Taman Negara: Days 2-5  Taman Negara is Malaysia’s foremost national park, protecting over 4300 square kilometres of virgin tropical rainforest extending from the lowlands to the highlands. The upland areas of the park are very hard to reach, and much more accessible as places like Fraser’s Hill and Bukit Tinggi, so there are no problems as regards concentrating on the more faunistically more diverse lowlands. There are no roads inside the park, beyond the resort area of Kuala Tahan, but an excellent network of trails allows access to many areas.

Taman Negara is undoubtedly one of the two best places in the entire region for seeing the greatest diversity of Sundaic lowland rainforest birds (the other is Danum Valley in Sabah in the Malaysian part of Borneo). Many of these Sundaic species occur widely in the Malay Peninsula and also Sumatra or Borneo (or both), but some are more range-restricted and it is these that we will be concentrating on.

The only species of Taman Negara that are wholly restricted to the Malay Peninsula are Malayan Peacock Pheasant and Malayan Crested Argus. The Malayan Crested Argus is an extreme rarity and is hardly recorded in recent times, but the Malayan Peacock-Pheasant occurs more widely and is regularly heard around Kuala Tahan. Seeing one, however, definitely takes luck as well as persistence.

We will no doubt hear the frustratingly hard-to-locate call of the Garnet Pitta and we should eventually be able to track down this gem of the forest glowing in the shadows as it calls from a low perch. Another range-restricted pitta we can expect to find here is the lovely Malayan Banded Pitta.

Other range-restricted specialities we should encounter include Malayan Black Magpie (much easier in the Malay Peninsula than in Sumatra) and Large Wren-Babbler (primarily a speciality of the Malay Peninsula and Java). Malayasian Honeyguide is a widespread Sundaic species that has a very patch distribution and that is hard to see anywhere, but Kuala Tahan is a place where we have seen it from time to time.

There is a fantastic variety of fauna and flora within the park and many bird families reach their greatest diversity in rainforests such as this. For anyone who has not been birding in primary Sundaic lowland rainforest before, there is going to be a mass of new birds!

Woodpeckers are a typical example and we will be in with a good chance of seeing Rufous Piculet, Rufous, Crimson-winged, Checker-throated, Banded, Buff-rumped, Buff-necked, Great Slaty, White-bellied, Grey-capped, Maroon and Orange-backed Woodpeckers and also Greater Flameback. There is an equally wide variety of bulbuls, with likely species including Black-headed, Puff-backed, Stripe-throated, Cream-vented, Asian Red-eyed, Spectacled, Grey-cheeked, Yellow-bellied, Hairy-backed, Buff-vented and Streaked Bulbuls.

Inside the forest, sounds are all-important. A host of babblers are found here, and we should see Black-capped, Short-tailed, Ferruginous, Moustached, Sooty-capped, Scaly-crowned, Rufous-crowned, Chestnut-rumped, Chestnut-winged and Black-throated Babblers, Pin-striped Tit-babbler and Striped Wren-Babbler, and perhaps also Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler, Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler and Brown Fulvetta.

One of the best ways of seeing large numbers of species is to find a fruiting tree and wait nearby as fruit-eating birds fly in to reap the forest’s bounty. The park’s wide variety of frugivores include Thick-billed, Little and Large Green Pigeons, Blue-rumped Parrot, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Black, Oriental Pied and Rhinoceros Hornbills, Golden-whiskered, Red-throated, Yellow-crowned, Blue-eared and Sooty Barbets, the gorgeous Green Broadbill (which seems to glow like an emerald amongst the leaves), and Yellow-breasted, Crimson-breasted and Orange-bellied Flowerpeckers.

The park is well-watered and the variously sized rivers and streams provide niche habitats for a variety of more striking species. Along the larger waterways, we will watch for resting Stork-billed and Blue-banded Kingfishers and we may even hear the beautiful melodious song of the critically endangered Straw-headed Bulbul (although this sought-after species is easier in Singapore). The smaller streams and rivulets support the striking White-crowned Forktail, as well as the more sombre White-chested and Horsfield’s Babblers.

Other typical forest and edge species that we will search for include Crested (or Oriental) Honey Buzzard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black-thighed Falconet, Crested Fireback, Common Emerald Dove, Long-tailed Parakeet, Banded Bay and Plaintive Cuckoos, Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Black-bellied, Raffles’s, Red-billed and Chestnut-breasted Malkohas, Silver-rumped and Brown-backed Needletails, Grey-rumped and Whiskered Treeswifts, Red-naped, Diard’s and Scarlet-rumped Trogons, Banded Kingfisher, Black-and-red, Banded and Dusky Broadbills, the striking Black-and-yellow Broadbill, Bar-winged and Black-winged Flycatcher-shrikes, Lesser Cuckooshrike, Large Woodshrike, Scarlet Minivet, Green Iora, Greater Green, Lesser Green and Blue-winged Leafbirds, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Dark-throated Oriole, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Black Magpie, the bizarre Crested Jay, White-rumped Shama, Dark-necked and Rufous-tailed Tailorbirds, Rufous-chested and Tickell’s Blue Flycatchers, Rufous-winged and Maroon-breasted Philentomas, Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch, Common Hill Myna, Plain, Red-throated, Ruby-cheeked and Purple-naped Sunbirds, and Little, Spectacled, Yellow-eared and Grey-breasted Spiderhunters.

Now that it has been placed in its own family, the strange and shy Rail-babbler is of huge interest to visiting birders. We have a moderate chance of seeing one here at Taman Negara, but the odds of seeing this much-wanted speciality are much better at Panti Forest.

Although we shall hear the loud calls of the Great Argus every day, for most of the time one has to be very fortunate to catch even a glimpse of this huge but elusive pheasant, but from time to time a male becomes habituated to the presence of people and will stand guard over its dancing ground seemingly oblivious to one’s presence!

We should come across a few more of Taman Negara’s shyer or more uncommon inhabitants, which include Lesser Fish Eagle, the extraordinary Crested Partridge, Jambu Fruit Dove, Rufous-collared Kingfisher, White-crowned and Wrinkled Hornbills, Grey-and-buff Woodpecker, Black-and-white Bulbul, Fiery Minivet, White-necked Babbler, Rufous-tailed Shama, Grey-chested Jungle and Malaysian Blue Flycatchers, Spotted Fantail and Long-billed Spiderhunter.

As evening descends we may hear the distinctive whistles of Malaysian Eared Nightjars and watch them as they patrol the darkening skies around the headquarters. We will venture out in search of other nightbirds and with luck, we will find Reddish Scops Owl and perhaps even one of the more difficult species such as Gould’s or Blyth’s Frogmouths.

A wide variety of mammals occur in Taman Negara but, apart from Crab-eating Macaque and a variety of squirrels, most are rather retiring. However, we should encounter Wild Boar and perhaps Lesser Mouse-Deer.

Taman Negara: Day 6  After some early morning birding at Taman Negara we will head for Kuala Lumpur international airport where our tour ends in the late afternoon.


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Other mainland Southeast Asia birding tours by Birdquest include: