Sunday, April 15, 2018

Taman Negara Bird Count 2018

Orange-backed woodpecker
Once again, Taman Negara Bird Group successfully organized the Taman Negara Bird Count for the 5th year,  from 16th to 18th March 2018, and Wild Bird Club Malaysia was glad to be invited to be part of the Count. The 2½ days event attracted 300 participants, some of whom were from Germany, France, Nigeria, Thailand and Spain, including students from University Malaysia Terengganu and College Poly-Tech Mara Campus. The main objective of the bird count, as informed  by TNBC secretary, Mr. Sabri Abdullah and committee members, Mr. Abdul Jalil Rahman, Mr. Roslan Abu Kasim (TNBC President), was to survey and establish an accurate record of the avian diversity in Kuala Tahan, especially at the two  focused sites this year: Tembeling Hornbill Valley and Benus Bird Camp. Secondly, to promote sustainable ecotourism especially birdwatching, plus nature conservation work in Kuala Tahan area, especially against logging activities. As an invited NGO to the TNBC 2018, Wild Bird Club Malaysia were represented by 7 members: Mr. Tang Tuck Hong, Mdm. Yeo Yee Ling, Mr. and Mrs. Hiew, Mr. and Mrs. Alan Koh  and Mr. Ng Jia Jie. Upon reaching Kuala Tahan on 16th March, we decided to birdwatch in Taman Negara Mutiara Resort before and after registering for TNBC. We covered the area around the resort chalet, the trail towards Tahan Hide and the plank walk trail towards Lubok Simpon, where we managed to spot Orange-backed Woodpeckers, Chestnut-breasted Malkohas, Raffles’ Malkohas, Korean Flycatchers, Thick-billed Green Pigeons, Brown Needletails, Pacific/Cook’s Swift, White-bellied Woodpeckers, Black-backed Kingfisher, Little Green Pigeon, the star of Taman Negara: Crested Fireback, and of course the friendly female Great Argus. For more detailed checklist, please click the ebird checklist link: ( (
Crested Fireback

White-Bellied Woodpecker

Korean Flycatcher
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (M)

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (F)

                                                                            On the 17th and 18th, we visited and birded at the Lubok Simpon trail of Mutiara Resort, Tembeling Hornbill Valley in Kg. Dedari and Benus Bird Camp in Kg. Gol. Both days were sunny and blazing hot, although we were all fired up for birding,  the weather seems to be too hot for the birds as the bird counts were rather low at Hornbill Valley and Benus Bird Camp. However, we were glad to share the beauty of our wild birds with the students and exchange stories with the experienced local guides like Mr. May and Mdm. Aida. Despite the absence of hornbills at the hornbill valley, we were delighted to enjoy sighting a few Violet Cuckoos vocalizing and foraging along with a single Plaintive Cuckoo, a single perched Whiskered Treeswift, and a male Greater Green Leafbird in the distance. We had another bird count along the trail to Lubok Simpon,  the endangered Straw-headed Bulbul at the riverside of Lubok Simpon, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Black-naped Monarch, Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Tiger Shrike, Lesser Cuckooshrike, Long-tailed Parakeet, being some of the highlights for the day. The local torquatus race Oriental Honey Buzzard exhibited breeding display flight – wing clapping behavior mid-flight. While at the Benus Bird Camp, we spotted Rufous Woodpecker, Black Magpie, Rufous-backed Dwarf Kingfisher, Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, and several bulbul species, however, the highly sought after Garnet Pitta was missing, but Mr. Arif and Mr. Sulaiman from NEST had rather easy personal experiences with Garnet Pitta sighting in BBC. The Malaysian Honeyguide was also seen by Mr. Arif in BBC. With the support from local community in Kampung Gol and Mr. Arif Ahmad, the Benus Bird Camp was established  3 or 4 years ago, and has  great potential in not only being a birdwatching site but also a research site related to mammals and plants, subsequently capable of providing an income for the local community.
Straw-Headed Bulbul (a pair)
Black-backed Kingfisher

Red-bearded Bee-Eater
ebird checklist:
1. Mutiara Resort on 17th Morning:
2. Tembeling Hornbill Valley in Kg. Dedari on 17th Afternoon
3. Benus Bird Camp in Kg. Gol on 18th Morning:
With the support from  the Jerantut Parliment Member YB. Dato’ Haji Ahmad Nazlan Bin Idris, Tourism Pahang, The Habitat Foundation and The Habitat Penang Hill, Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, Taman Negara Bird Count 2018 was concluded with a total of 120 bird species recorded, with 19 of these being  threatened species. As the slogan of TNBC 2018 goes: Count for fun! Count for Conservation! Count for Future Generation! ; we had fun and wished them all the best for their nature conservation work.
Text by Ng Jia Jie
Pictures by Yeo Yee Ling and Tang Tuck Hong