Every country will have its own birding glossary or terms, and in Malaysia, it is not very different apart from the local languages mixed into these terms.
In this article, I have come up with some of the local birding terms and glossary in Malaysia for local and visiting bird watchers, so you don’t get caught off guard with some of the names used.
Most of the bird watching terms are internationally recognized in many countries, and here in Malaysia, the most common ones used are as below.
Birding Terms and Glossary in Malaysia
Birder: A person who enjoys bird watching, spotting birds, documenting them in their checklist.
Bird Photographer: Those who carry super huge lenses and are constantly rapid, firing their cameras to get the shot.
Bird Wave: When a group of mix species feeding a flock of birds suddenly appear at a location.
Bino or Bins: Short form for binoculars.
BOP: Bird of Prey, such as raptors, hawks and eagles.
Digiscope: A common field scope used as a spotter or attached to a camera.
Flyway: A passage or route for migratory birds.
Juvenile: A young bird that has not reached adulthood.
Lifer: A bird species that the observer has not seen before or seen for the first time in their life.
Lister: Those who are going all out for their bird life list, someone obsessed with spotting the most number of birds.
Migrant: A bird that has relocated from another part of the world to the current location.
Perched: Indicating that a bird is perched on a branch.
Scope: Usually, to use a spotting scope for far distances. In Malaysia, digiscopes are often used by some of the bird guides.
Rubbish Bird/Trash Bird: Extremely common bird which is always spotted at locations. Locally known as Sampah or Rubbish.
Vagrant: Species usually thought of as a migrant is seen in a part of the world where it is not commonly seen.
For more detailed birders or twitchers vocabulary, check out this Wiki article that highlights all the terms and so on.
Do take note that there are, in fact, many other birding terms and glossary used by international birders, but over here in Malaysia, only a handful of them are used, but you can always double check with your bird guide if he or she is up to date.
And if you are a visiting birder to Malaysia and use some of those terms not listed here, your bird guide may look confused. So, it would be wise to share the knowledge with your guide when this happens.
Remember, Malaysia is an English speaking country, but it is mainly our second language, and we are British English educated, not American English.
For the local birders or bird watchers in Malaysia, if you have any other local terms for birding, please share them below in the comment form, and I will update this list.
And if you are a visiting birder to Malaysia, take note of the birding terms and glossary in Malaysia when you are here and feel free to share what you know with your bird guides.