Articles from May 2008

Birding in Borneo

The island of Borneo, the third largest in the world, has 620 recorded birds of which 44 are endemics. The Malaysian state of Sabah offers easy access to most of these birds.

Visiting birders will most probably arrive at Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah and start their quest from here. This city of about half million residents is served by various airlines from different points within Malaysia, from around South East Asia and Hongkong, China, South Korea and Japan. Once arrived here, it’s time to go birding.

This is a land of great geographical contrasts, from coastal mangrove habitats to lowland rainforest dominated by tall dipterocarp trees, to the montane oak vegetation of Mt Kinabalu and the Crocker Range.

Birding in tropical Sabah (lying 4 to 7 degrees north of the Equator) has a great deal of relevance to the weather and the vegetation. Tall trees up to 80m strain your neck muscles while thick foliage, constant humidity and friendly leeches add to test the determined birdwatcher. Sometimes you get a break with fruiting and flowering trees attracting species which you would otherwise have to work hard for. First time visitors will be amazed by the volume and variety of the forest sound. Cicadas, frogs, squirrels and co. compete with barbets, babblers, laughing thrushes and hornbills for your attention.

The added bonus of birding here is that most of the birding spots share habitat with many of Borneo’s varied flora and fauna.