Bird Watching Events in Malaysia – Complete Guide

Spread the love

Bird Watching Events Malaysia

As birding has been catching up at a moderate pace since the pandemic, numerous bird watching events have been held in Malaysia over the years. Some of these events have been around for 30+ years, while others have surfaced in the last ten or so years.

These events are also divided into different birdwatching categories in Malaysia: bird races, bird counts, bird races, and bird festivals. Almost every state in Malaysia is home to some of these yearly events. This article will highlight all the birdwatching events in Malaysia and provide basic information about when they occur.

Bird Watching Events in Malaysia – Complete Guide

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

Please note that some event dates tend to change yearly, but they are usually held in the same month but on a different date or weekend. Sometimes, the organisers may even change the month. Therefore, I will do my best to update the information put here. As I am independently managed, I may overlook some dates or information.

If you are a visiting birdwatcher in Malaysia, you may find that there may be a birding event happening when you are here. Thus, you may experience one of the Malaysian birdwatching events or festivals. The birdwatching events and festivals in Malaysia are listed below;

Raptor Watch Malaysia
Raptor Watch in Malaysia.

Raptor Watch 

This birdwatching event occurs at the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve, near Negeri Sembilan and Melaka’s border. Every year, hundreds of visitors come here to observe the migratory raptors circling over the Cape Rachado Lighthouse.

The event also includes 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. Politics is often involved, with ministers or other VIP delegates being invited over. Raptor Watch in Malaysia has been Organised for 20 years as of 2019.

  • 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
Johor Bird Race Panti
The poster for the Panti Bird Race.

Panti Bird Race

This is a new addition to the birding events in Malaysia, as the Panti Bird Sanctuary in Johor initiated the Panti Bird Race 2024 at the end of April. This inaugural bird race invites participants from all over Malaysia and Singapore to participate in the bird race, bird photo race and the bird photography contest, which will be held over the last weekend of April 2024.

  • Venue: Panti Bird Sanctuary, Kota Tinggi, Johor
  • Date: Weekend of April
  • Time: 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM
  • Website: Panti Bird Race
  • Tel: None
Frasers Hill International Bird Race
The Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race Poster.

Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race

The Fraser’s Hill Bird Race is Malaysia’s oldest birdwatching event, which is 35 years old in 2024. It has been three and a half decades since this birding event started here in the highlands of Pahang.

It is a two-day event over the weekend that attracts bird watchers and photographers from Malaysia and Singapore. It also attracts foreign participation from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia,  India, and Singapore. Occasionally, you also see participants from the USA, UK, Australia, Peru and other European countries.

At the Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race, there are many activities, including the bird race, bird photography, a bazaar with a lot of birding equipment, and other Nature NGOs participating. The hill’s cooling climate makes birdwatching here very comfortable and relaxing without breaking a sweat.

  • Venue: Fraser’s Hill Clock Tower, Pahang
  • Date: In June
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 5.00 PM
  • Website: http://www.pahangtourism.org.my
  • Tel: +6 09 5681623/ 24

Taman Negara Bird Festival

The 2nd Taman Negara Bird Festival 2024, returning in 2024, was announced at the end of the Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race 2024. This is a wonderful surprise as Taman Negara, Malaysia’s oldest national park, is set to host this event.

When I wrote this on 10 June 2024, there was not much information available, except that it had been officially announced and the dates had been set. So, stay tuned for more details on the Taman Negara Bird Festival 2024.

  • Venue: Kuala Tahan, Taman Negara, Pahang
  • Date: End weekend of September
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 5.00 PM
  • Website: http://www.pahangtourism.org.my
  • Tel: +6 09 5681623/ 24
Taman Negara Bird Count
The on-and-off Taman Negara bird event.

Taman Negara Bird Count / Race

In March, the Taman Negara Bird Count is held in Pahang and at Taman Negara, the country’s largest national park. This low-key event is Organised by the Taman Negara Bird Group, state tourism, and the local council to conserve the birding species in the national park.

  • Venue: Kuala Tahan, Taman Negara National Park, Jerantut, Pahang
  • Date: Unsure of the actual dates as it moves around
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: http://www.pahangtourism.org.my
  • Tel: –
Kenyir Bird and Nature Quest
One of the rare birding events for Lake Kenyir.

Kenyir Bird and Nature Quest

One of Terengganu’s more obscure birding events, the Kenyir Bird and Nature Quest, attracts more locals and a few tourists. Their objective is to promote birdwatching activities involving the locals and visiting birders in this part of Malaysia. There are birding activities and talks on birds and nature.

  • Venue: Bukit Lawit, Lake Kenyir, Terengganu
  • Date: End March to Early April, and in 2024, it was moved to August
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: None
  • Tel: +6 09 5681623/ 24
Wings of KKB
Selangor Bird Fair.

Wings of KKB Selangor Bird Race

This event goes by several names – Wings of KKB and Selangor International Bird Race and I wish the authorities would stick to one branding so that it does not get confusing. The Wings of Kuala Kubu Bharu started as a three-day event, and the bird race starts at Kuala Kubu town and ends at Fraser’s Hill.

However, this bird event caters to education; you will see more schools, colleges, and university students participating here. Over the last few years, the event has changed to just one or two days.

Update: The race is now focused mainly on Kuala Kubu Bharu only.

  • Venue: Kuala Kubu Bharu in Selangor
  • Date: Moves around the year, the last in May
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: http://wingsofkkb.blogspot.com/
  • Tel: +6 09 5681623/ 24
Sarawak International Bird Race
The banner for the Sarawak International Bird Race.

Sarawak International Bird Race

In Sarawak, Borneo, the tourism ministry initiated the Sarawak International Bird Race, which started in 2015. Since then, the ministry has held it every year. However, due to the small budget, the event became more of an invited-guest campaign, where they only focused on the local industry of Sarawak. Only relevant governmental departments, a couple of tour agents and neighbouring state birders were invited to participate in this event.

The Sarawak bird race needs more online presence than mainstream media, which is losing appeal to younger nature lovers and possibly upcoming birders. Since there is little publicity, this event will eventually cease to exist. Unless the Sarawak Tourism Ministry seriously considers promoting it internationally, it will become another dormant event.

However, in a sudden turn of events, a one-day Sarawak Bird Race 2023 was held in November 2023 at the Tun Ahmad Zaidi Nature Reserve in Sibu, central Sarawak. The Sarawak Forestry Department Organised this with the help of the Malaysian Nature Society Sarawak Chapter.

  • Venue: Around Sarawak
  • Date: Moves Around but unsure of its status
  • Time: –
  • Website: –
Borneo Bird Festival
The banner for the Borneo Bird Festival in Sabah.

Borneo Bird Festival

Borneo’s biggest birdwatching event, the Borneo Bird Club’s Borneo Bird Festival, has been running since 2008 and is probably the largest birdwatching event in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. Organised by the Borneo Bird Club and endorsed by the Sabah Tourism Board, the BBF, which is commonly called, promises a weekend of birdwatching fun for beginners and serious birders.

The event looks into promoting flora and fauna to school children, families, and those interested in learning more about birds and bird watching. The event is held yearly at the home ground, the Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) in Sandakan, Sabah Borneo.

On two occasions, the festival was held at Kinabalu National Park and even in a dual location of Kota Kinabalu and Crocker Range National Park. However, many locals feel the event should be held at the RDC in Sandakan, known worldwide as the Nature City of Malaysia.

  • Venue: RDC, Sandakan, Sabah Borneo
  • Date: Usually in October
  • Time: 7.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: http://www.borneobirdfestival.com/
  • Tel: +6 089 666 196
Borneo Bird Race
The unique Borneo Bird Race.

Borneo Bird Race

Malaysia’s biggest international bird race is the Borneo Bird Race, held in 2013 and again in 2014 around Borneo’s island. The last race in 2014 saw 11 countries take part, travel over 1000 kilometres, and spot 251 species during an 11-day birdwatching expedition all over Borneo, from Sabah to Sarawak and Brunei.

Due to state and country tourism funding issues, the race has been put on hold until an organisation, company, or tourism board agrees to fund this auspicious event. This event will raise international awareness of Borneo birding and put Malaysia Borneo on the world birdwatching map, attracting birdwatchers worldwide. Until the next bird race, we can only wish for the best outcome for this to happen.

  • Venue: Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei
  • Date: TBC
  • Time: –
  • Website: –
  • Tel: –
Taiping Raptor Watch
Poster for Taiping Raptor Watch.

Taiping Raptor Watch (Festival Helang Taiping)

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

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

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

  • 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

Taiping Bird Week

This week-long event will occur in August at the Taiping Lake Gardens area. The Taiping Bird Week has also been Organised several times; the last was in August 2023. This Perak birding event focuses on conservation and education, with many on-ground activities catering to students.

During the weekend, several birding activities are held, such as the Taiping Bird Race and a bird photography contest that attracts photographers from all over the country.

  • Venue: Taiping Lake Gardens
  • Date: Around August
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: –
  • Tel: –

Perlis Bird Race

The Peris Bird Race has been scheduled to take place in October at Wang Kelian. This will be something unique and different as it will be held in the north of Malaysia under the sub-name The Northernmost Bird Race of Malaysia. The event is Organised by NEST and the Wildlife Department of Perlis (Jabatan Perhutanan Perlis). Not much information is available at the time of writing this (19 June 2024), but we will provide more information when it becomes available.

  • Venue: Wang Kelian
  • Date: 26-27 October 2024
  • Time: 8.00 AM till 6.00 PM
  • Website: –
  • Tel: –
Malaysia Birding Festivals
Some birds were spotted in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Putrajaya Bird Race

The Putrajaya Bird Race and Festival took place at the end of the year in November and at the Putrajaya Wetlands in the administrative capital, about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur. This local bird race is also supported by the Putrajaya Council and started in 2019, having run twice.

However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed for two years, and in 2022, it was also postponed again as the event coincided with the country’s general election, which took place on the same weekend. No news has been announced for the next Putrajaya Bird Race.

  • Venue: Putrajaya Wetlands, Putrajaya
  • Date: Unknown
  • Time: –
  • Website: –
  • Tel: –

Negeri Sembilan Bird Race

In an unexpected turn of events, one of Malaysia’s quiet states announced that it will host the first-ever Negeri Sembilan Bird Race in September 2024. This was a pleasant surprise, as not much is heard about birdwatching in Negeri Sembilan, or N9, as the locals call the state. The tentative venue is said to be PD Forest Sungai Menyala, a state forest reserve.

  • Venue: PD Forest Sungai Menyala
  • Date: Possibly around September
  • Time: –
  • Website: –
  • Tel: –

Rompin State Park Bird Race

The decision of Pahang’s State Park to organise the first-ever Rompin State Park Bird Race in 2022 was exciting. Several teams from Kuala Lumpur, Johor, and Singapore participated, and Birdwatching Asia was also invited as a media outlet to cover this inaugural event. Since then, the organiser who arranged the Rompin Bird Race has left, and no one has been able to fill his shoes and continue this bird race.

  • Venue: Rompin State Park, Pahang
  • Date: –
  • Time: –
  • Website: –
  • Tel: –

Birding Events Across the Border

Singapore Bird Race

For those south of Malaysia, there is the Singapore Bird Race, which takes place around November in the island republic and has been running for 40 years in 2024. That is a whopping four decades of bird races in Singapore, making this one of the oldest birding events in the region. They are also open to Malaysian participants, so if you want to try your luck, go ahead. The race is also a 24-hour race around the island republic.

  • Venue: Singapore
  • Date: November
  • Time: –
  • Website: –
  • Tel: –

Brunei Bird Race

For those in Sarawak and Sabah, the Kingdom of Brunei also held the Brunei Bird Race just before the pandemic in 2019. However, after that, the organisers, who were part of Brunei Tourism and another NGO, did not provide any news. There is no further information about whether they will continue this bird race in Brunei.

  • Venue: Bandar Seri Bagawan, Brunei
  • Date: –
  • Time: –
  • Website: –
  • Tel: –

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 Organised, which may not be promoted; therefore, please let me know if you see or hear of one.

For the record, the Asian Bird Fair was held in the city of Kuching in Sarawak in 2019 and is one of the largest birding events in Asia.

Update Jan 2023: Asian Bird Fair 2023 also took place in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, and this is the third time the world-class event is happening in Malaysia.

Conclusion

Please contact me if any other bird watching events are not listed here. Doing so lets me get the relevant information and list it here. You can also contact me to advertise your birding services, such as birdwatching tour companies, birding products, or birdwatching guides, on this website.

I hope you have found this article on birdwatching events in Malaysia helpful and that you can 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.

About Bird Watching Asia

Bird Watching Asia is a self-funded project to promote bird watching in Malaysia and around Asia.

View all posts by Bird Watching Asia →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *