Bird Watching Events in Malaysia – Complete Guide

Bird Watching Events Malaysia

As bird watching is catching up on a moderate pace here in Malaysia, there have been numerous bird watching events in Malaysia held over the years.

Some of these birding events have been around for 30 plus years, while others have surfaced in the last ten or so years.

These events are also broken into different bird watching categories in Malaysia, namely bird races, bird counts, bird races and bird festivals. Almost each state in Malaysia is home to some of these events that take place yearly.

In this article, we will highlight all of the Bird Watching Events in Malaysia with basic information and when they take place.

Malaysia Bird Watching Events

Birding Event Festival in Malaysia
A couple of birders in Sabah.

Please note that some of the event dates tend to move around yearly, but usually the events are always held in the same month, but may be on a different date or weekend.

If you are a visiting bird watcher to Malaysia, you may find that there may be a birding event happening when you are here, and thus an opportunity to experience one of the Malaysian bird watching events or festivals.

The bird watching events and festivals are listed below;

1. Raptor Watch 

Raptor Watch Malaysia
Raptor Watch in Malaysia.

This bird watching event has been going on for a while now at the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve, near the border of Negeri Sembilan and Melaka.

Every year, hundreds of visitors will come here to observe the migratory raptors circling over the Cape Rachado Lighthouse.

The event also observes multiple activities like nature walks, exhibitions, demonstrations, talks, and vendors selling nature related products.

The Malaysian Nature Society or MNS is one of the key players in this event. At tmes, politics is often involved with ministers or other VIP delegates being invited over.

Fun activitiy for all walks of life, Raptor Watch in Malaysia has been organized for 20 years as of 2019.

Raptor Watch 

  • Venue: Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve, Melaka
  • Date: Weekend of March
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: https://mnsraptorwatch.wordpress.com/
  • Tel: +6 09 5681623/ 24

2. Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race

Frasers Hill International Bird Race
The Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race Poster.

The oldest bird watching event in Malaysia, the Fraser’s Hill Bird Race will be in its 31st year in 2018. That is a whopping three decades that this birding event has been taking place here in the state of Pahang.

It is a two day event over the weekend that attracts bird watchers and photographers from all over Malaysia and Singapore.

There are also foreigners who participate at Malaysia’s oldest bird race, that come from Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore and a number of other countries.

At the Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race, you have a number of activities, which include the bird race, bird photography, a bazaar with birding equipment and other Natur NGOs participating.

The cooling climate of the hill makes bird watching here very comfortable, and very cooling.

Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race

  • Venue: Fraser’s Hill Clock Tower, Pahang
  • Date: 3rd week of June
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: http://www.pahangtourism.org.my
  • Tel: +6 09 5681623/ 24

3. Taman Negara Bird Count / Race

Over in the countries largest national park at Pahang, there is the Taman Negara Bird Count, which is a very low key birding event that is held in the month of March.

This event is Organised by the Taman Negara Bird Group, state tourism and the local council in order to conserve the birding species found at the national park.

Taman Negara Bird Count / Race

  • Venue: Kuala Tahan, Taman Negara National Park, Jerantut, Pahang
  • Date: Early March
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: http://www.pahangtourism.org.my
  • Tel: 013-331 9822 (Meor)

4. Kenyir Bird and Nature Quest

One of the more obscure birding events in the state of Terengganu, the Kenyir Bird and Nature Quest attracts more locals and a few tourist in the area.

Their objective is to promote bird watching activities involving the locals, and to the visiting birders to this part of Malaysia. There are birding activities, and talks on birds and nature.

Kenyir Bird and Nature Quest

  • Venue: Bukit Lawit, Lake Kenyir, Terengganu
  • Date: End March to Early April
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: None
  • Tel: +6 09 5681623/ 24

5. Wings of KKB or Pesta Sayap Kuala Selangor

This event goes by many names – Wings of KKB, Selangor International Bird Race and also Pesta Sayap Kuala Selangor, and I wish the authorities would stick to one branding so that it does not get confusing.

The Wings of Kuala Kubu Bharu is a three day event, and the bird race starts at Kuala Kubu town, and ends up at Fraser’s Hill.

This event however, caters more to education and you will see more schools, colleges and university students participating here.

Pesta Sayap Kuala Selangor

  • Venue: Kuala Kubu Bharu, Kuala Selangor and Fraser’s Hill
  • Date: April 3rd week
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: http://wingsofkkb.blogspot.com/
  • Tel: +6 09 5681623/ 24

6. Sarawak International Bird Race

Sarawak
The banner for the Sarawak International Bird Race.

Over in Sarawak Borneo, the ministry of tourism initiated the Sarawak International Bird Race which started in 2015. Since then, the ministry has held it on a yearly basis.

However, due to small budgets for this, the event became more of a who’s who in the industry that was invited to attend or participate.

Only relevant governmental departments, a couple of tour agents and neighboring state birders were invited to take part in this event. The Sarawak bird race needs more online presence versus the mainstream media, which is losing appeal to the younger nature lovers and possibly upcoming birders.

Since there is not much publicity is done and eventually, this event will cease to exisit in the near future. Unless the Sarawak ministry of tourism seriously looks into promoting this on an international level, it will become another dormant event.

Sarawak International Bird Race

  • Venue: Around Sarawak
  • Date: August
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: https://sarawaktourism.com/
  • Tel: +6 082 423 600

7. Borneo Bird Festival 

Borneo Bird Festival
The banner for Borneo Bird Festival in Sabah.

Borneo’s biggest bird watching event that has been running for 10 years since 2008, is now probably the largest bird watching event in Malaysia, and maybe even Southeast Asia.

Organised by the Borneo Bird Club, with endorsement from the Sabah Tourism Board, the Borneo Bird Festival or BBF promises a weekend of bird watching fun for both serious birders and also beginners.

Well Organised, the event looks into promoting flora and fauna to school children, families and those interested to learn more about birds and bird watching.

Every year the event seems to be held at different locations throughout Sabah, and the Borneo Bird Festival’s homeground is at the Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) in Sandakan, Sabah Borneo.

In the past, the festival was held at Kinabalu Park, Crocker Range, and even in a dual location of Kota Kinabalu and Crocker Range National Park. However, many locals feel that the event should just be held at the RDC in Sandakan.

Borneo Bird Festival 

  • Venue: Sandakan, Sabah Borneo
  • Date: September or October
  • Time: 7.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: http://www.borneobirdfestival.com/
  • Tel: +6 089 666 196

8. Borneo Bird Race

Borneo Bird Race
The very unique Borneo Bird Race.

The biggest international bird race in Malaysia ever done to date is the Borneo Bird Race, which was held in 2013 and then again in 2014, and around the island of Borneo.

The last race in 2014 saw a total of 11 countries take part, and travel over 1000 kilometers, and spotting a total of 251 species during a 11-day bird watching expedition all over Borneo, from Sabah to Sarawak and to Brunei.

Due to state and country tourism funding issues, the race has been put on hold until an organization, company or tourism boards agree to work together in funding this auspicious event that brought international awareness for birding in Borneo.

This event has a huge possibility of putting Malaysia Borneo on the world bird watching map, attractinng bird watchers from all over the world. Till the next bird race, we can only wish for the best outcome in order for this to happen.

Borneo Bird Race

  • Venue: Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei
  • Date: TBC
  • Time: –
  • Website: http://www.borneobirdrace.com/
  • Tel: +6 089 666 196

9. Taiping Raptor Watch (Festival Helang Taiping)

Taiping Raptor Watch
Taiping Raptor Watch.

For the central region of Malaysia, the Taiping Raptor Watch (Festival Helang Taiping) is more of a NGO event. The Malaysia Nature Society takes lead in doing a count during the raptor season in October or early November (Autumn season).

It is very low key, and does not really attract tourist. But if you are into raptors, this would be a decent event to attend, and it is held at Scotts Hill in Taiping, Perak. There are video presentations, nature tours, souvenirs being sold and some talks conducted at this event.

It is said that overall, there can be anywhere around 7,000 to 10,000 raptors at the peak of the autumn season. The highest count was in 2012 where 64,268 raptors represented by 13 migratory raptor species and eight resident raptor species were counted.

Taiping Raptor Watch

  • Venue: Scotts Hill, Taiping, Perak.
  • Date: Around October or even early November
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: –
  • Tel: +6 09 5681623/ 24
Malaysia Birding Festivals
Some birds spotted in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Other Birding Events in Malaysia

Currently the above are the main birding festivals and events that take place around Malaysia. At times, there may also be some smaller scale birding events organized, which may not be promoted.

Also, there is the Asian Bird Fair that will be held in the city of Kuching in Sarawak for 2019, which is slated to be one of the largest birding events in Asia.

Conclusion

If there are any other bird watching related events not listed here, please feel free to contact me. By doing so, I can then get the relevant information and list it down here.

For bird watching tour companies, products related to birding or even bird watching guides, you can also contact me to advertise your birding services on this website.

I hope that you have found this article on bird watching events in Malaysia helpful, and that you will have the opportunity to attend or even visit some of them.

Summary
Event
Bird Watching
Location
Malaysia,
Description
A complete guide to Bird Watching Events and Festivals in Malaysia.

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