Malaysia - Weekend twitch: 29-31 Jul 2016






29-31 July 2016.
Hot. Partially cloudy. Mostly dry.
Bukit Tinggi and Taman Negara.

With Richard Carden. A quick weekend trip with the primary aim of seeing the Mountain Peacock-Pheasant that had been showing at the summit of Bukit Tinggi on and off for the past couple of years. The remainder of the trip was left open depending on weather and how we much effort the peacock-pheasant would require.


Mountain Peacock-Pheasant
Mountain Peacock-Pheasant

Crested Fireback
Crested Fireback

Diard's Trogon
Diard's Trogon

Orange-backed Woodpecker
Orange-backed Woodpecker

Buff-necked Woodpecker
Buff-necked Woodpecker

29 Jul. Took Air Asia from Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur, arriving on time early afternoon. However, upon arrival was disappointed to find a sea of people in the immigration hall, with queues exiting the hall and streaming down the corridors. It took a full three hours to clear immigration - an absolute disgrace, with the waiting time longer than the two and a half hours it had taken to fly to Malaysia. The source of the problem was unclear, but clearly more immigration desks and officials were required. An internet search revealed that such queues had been a feature here for the last three weeks. Fortunately meeting Richard was not scheduled till early the next morning, so the massive delay didn't effect our schedule. Relieved to see the baggage still on the carousel after three hours of going around. Early evening pick-up of the pre-arranged car, and an overnight at the adjacent Tune Hotel, being very convenient and meeting requirements.

30 Jul. As success with the peacock-pheasant was more likely early morning, met up with Richard around 05:40 and headed the 90 minutes to Bukit Tinggi. Access was complicated by barriers and checkpoints, and we were forced into a 10 minute detour to visit the Tropicale Hotel to obtain the necessary access tickets. Although the top of the mountain does not open officially until 10:00 security let us through around 07:30. A short walk into the forest at the summit was immediately rewarded with a couple of Mountain Peacock-Pheasant on the trail. In a further couple of hours here they passed through the area three times and despite the poor light some reasonable photos were obtained. Other species around the summit were Sultan Tit, Orange-breasted Trogon, Barred Cuckoo-Dove, Scaly-breasted Bulbul and a calling Helmeted Hornbill. A major surprise was a pair of vocal Ferruginous Partridge, tracked down but unfortunately seen by only one of us.

Having secured the peacock-pheasant so readily we stopped by the Tropicale for coffee and breakfast before continuing on the two and a half hours to Taman Negara, at Kuala Tahan, where we checked into the local Xcape Resort. A very hot afternoon, though we crossed the river to spend the remainder of the day on the forest trails. Given the dry conditions unsurprisingly we struggled to find any species of interest - the best being a possible Cinnamon-rumped Trogon heard. Late afternoon we visited a small area of seeding bamboo near the village recording Great Slaty Woodpecker and Black-thighed Falconet.

31 Jul. Following brief heavy rain the previous evening conditions were foggy and overcast at first light. We started with the short drive back to check out the seeding bamboo, but again met with the same lack of any Pin-tailed Parrotfinch. A quick breakfast at the Xcape and back across the the river and headed onto the trails. Both Crested Fireback and Great Argus near the resort, apparently becoming habituated, but once again pretty quiet in the forest, though we did encounter a few species of interest such as Red-naped Trogon, Chestnut-rumped Babbler, Orange-backed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Bulbul, Large Wren-Babbler and Purple-naped Sunbird.

Around 15:00 we left for the five hour return drive to the airport. Being Sunday afternoon, traffic was heavier than expected and it took us near to five and half hours to complete the 300 kilometres. Flights home thankfully without the immigration queues.


Bird images from this, and other, birding trips here.

Species List

  Bukit Tinggi   Count
  Ferruginous Partridge Caloperdix oculeus 2
  Mountain Peacock-Pheasant Polyplectron inopinatum 2
  Blyth's Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus alboniger 1
  Barred Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia unchall 1
  Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica 2
  Collared Owlet Glaucidium brodiei 1
  Germain's Swiftlet Aerodramus germani 6
  Orange-breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios 1
  Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil 1
  Sultan Tit Melanochlora sultanea 2
  Scaly-breasted Bulbul Pycnonotus squamatus 4
  Hairy-backed Bulbul Tricholestes criniger 2
  Cinereous Bulbul Hemixos cinereus 3
  Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus 6
  Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica 5
  Yellow-bellied Warbler Abroscopus superciliaris 2
  Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis 2
  Buff-breasted Babbler Pellorneum tickelli 1
  Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis 10
  Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 10
  Taman Negara   Count
  Crested Fireback Lophura ignita 1
  Malayan Peacock-Pheasant Polyplectron malacense 1
  Great Argus Argusianus argus 4
  Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela 1
  Common Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica 2
  Zebra Dove Geopelia striata 1
  Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis 4
  Raffles's Malkoha Rhinortha chlorophaea 4
  Chestnut-breasted Malkoha Phaenicophaeus curvirostris 2
  Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus 1
  Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii 2
  Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris 2
  Germain's Swiftlet Aerodramus germani 10
  Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis 6
  Red-naped Trogon Harpactes kasumba 2
  White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis 2
  Red-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis amictus 1
  Rhinoceros Hornbill Buceros rhinoceros 1
  Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil 1
  Golden-whiskered Barbet Psilopogon chrysopogon 2
  Red-throated Barbet Psilopogon mystacophanos 2
  Yellow-crowned Barbet Psilopogon henricii 2
  Crimson-winged Woodpecker Picus puniceus 1
  Orange-backed Woodpecker Reinwardtipicus validus 6
  Buff-necked Woodpecker Meiglyptes tukki 4
  Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus 3
  Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius 1
  Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot Loriculus galgulus 10
  Banded Broadbill Eurylaimus javanicus 3
  Black-and-yellow Broadbill Eurylaimus ochromalus 6
  Rufous-winged Philentoma Philentoma pyrhoptera 2
  Common Iora Aegithina tiphia 1
  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus 4
  Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone affinis 1
  Black Magpie Platysmurus leucopterus 2
  Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni 2
  Spectacled Bulbul Pycnonotus erythropthalmos 4
  Yellow-bellied Bulbul Alophoixus phaeocephalus 2
  Hairy-backed Bulbul Tricholestes criniger 4
  Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica 4
  Rufescent Prinia Prinia rufescens 4
  Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius 1
  Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis 4
  Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler Pomatorhinus montanus 2
  Chestnut-rumped Babbler Stachyris maculata 1
  Black-throated Babbler Stachyris nigricollis 4
  Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera 4
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler Macronus gularis 10
  Large Wren-Babbler Napothera macrodactyla 1
  Abbott's Babbler Malacocincla abbotti 2
  Rufous-crowned Babbler Malacopteron magnum 2
  Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratum 1
  Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus 6
  Common Myna Acridotheres tristis 4
  Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis 6
  White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus 5
  Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae 1
  Purple-naped Sunbird Hypogramma hypogrammicum 1
  Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus 10