Birds of Fraser’s Hill – Part 1

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Fraser's Hill Birds

Malaysia is blessed with a multitude of spectacular birds, and this is exemplified perfectly by the birds of Fraser’s Hill. A smorgasbord of species awaits the patient birdwatcher, including the Long-tailed Sibia, Malayan Partridge, Green Magpie and Whistling Thrushes. Fraser’s Hill is a destination synonymous with birdwatching, attracting many visitors because of its biodiversity, lush surroundings, colonial-era charm and cool climate.

This article series aims to explore just a fraction of the bird diversity of Fraser’s Hill, in addition to highlighting some of the more interesting species that can be seen here. Additionally, these articles will also include the locations where these birds can be found, and tips on how to spot them in the wild. 

You can the rest of my article series showcasing the birds of Fraser’s Hill by accessing the links below:

  1. Birds of Fraser’s Hill – Part 2
  2. Birds of Fraser’s Hill – Part 3

The Star Birds of Fraser’s Hill – Part 1

Red-headed Trogon

One of the more sought-after birds of Fraser’s Hill. Undeniably, it is a gorgeous bird. The male’s pinkish head and red belly contrast nicely with the brown back and black wings. The female bird is only slightly less colourful, lacking the male’s pink head. They can be spotted along many of Fraser’s Hill forested roads, sometimes perching prominently on the telephone lines, as can be seen in the photograph below. 

Fraser's Hill Red-headed Trogon
This male Red-headed Trogon was more than willing to pose for the camera!

One reliable location to see this bird is the junction of Jalan Valley and Jalan Lady Maxwell. The birds can often be seen perched on the telephone wires in early morning, searching for insects attracted to the streetlights. You might see more than one if you arrive early enough, just as the streetlights are turned off around 7am.

Long-tailed Broadbill

One of the star birds of Fraser’s Hill is undoubtedly the Long-tailed Broadbill. A magnificently attractive bird, this species is splendidly attired in greens, blues, blacks and yellows. The head pattern resembles large sideburns, correspondingly earning this bird the nickname ‘Elvis bird’!

Fraser's Hill Long-tailed Broadbill
This Long-tailed Broadbill perched at eye level for a few seconds, allowing this photo to be taken. Notice the head pattern, which resembles large sideburns!

A pair of these birds were nesting in a very prominent location along Jalan Valley, seemingly oblivious to the birders and photographers observing them. This nesting pair provided great views and photographic opportunities, attracting visitors from as far away as Singapore!

Pair of Long-tailed Broadbills at Fraser's Hill
This pair was perched side-by-side for only a split second. They were carrying back dried leaves to construct their nest.

Some Uncommon Birds at Fraser’s Hill

Speckled Piculet

An uncommon species in Malaysia, with Fraser’s Hill being one of the better places to see it. This was only my second sighting of this piculet; obviously, I was ecstatic! The bird foraged around as part of a ‘bird wave’, making soft tapping noises as it scoured the branches for food. This bird was spotted at Jalan High Pines in early afternoon.

Fraser's Hill Speckled Piculet
This piculet was actively foraging around and stopped only briefly, allowing me to take this photo. The orange forehead indicates that this is a male.

Update June 2023: Just before the bird race in June 2023, I spotted this piculet again at Jalan High Pines,  near the same location as the sighting above. I saw it only briefly this time; as a result, I was unable to photograph it.

Bay Woodpecker

There are several exclusively montane woodpeckers in Malaysia, and the Bay Woodpecker is one of them. I saw a pair at Mager Trail, foraging together, occasionally giving out loud, rattling calls. At first glance it looks rather dull; however, a closer look reveals an intricate pattern of black and reddish-brown bars on its wings and tail (‘bay’ refers to the reddish-brown colour), as well as a bright yellow bill.

Fraser's Hill Bay Woodpecker
Like most woodpeckers, the Bay Woodpecker forages along tree trunks and branches, using its specialized feet and stiff tail feathers for support. The barring pattern adorning this bird is quite attractive.

This woodpecker can be difficult to locate at Fraser’s Hill. In addition to Mager Trail, I have previously spotted this bird at the partridge feeding station. Others have recently (May & June 23) encountered this bird near the Silverpark Resort, and at Jalan High Pines. Listen out for its calls, which may be the easiest way to confirm its presence.

Owls of Fraser’s Hill

Brown Wood-Owl

This owl was seen at the civil defence training camp near Jalan Padang. I was overjoyed to see this species as it was my lifer! It was perched silently on a telecommunications pole for a few minutes; therefore, I was able to get great views of it despite being already dark.

Fraser's Hill Brown Wood-Owl
This image is very noisy as it was quite dark at the time. Nevertheless, I was still happy at this sighting!

Update June 2023: I spotted this owl at the same place during the recent bird race. According to the workers at the camp, the owl can be seen there frequently; therefore, this is likely the best place in Fraser’s Hill to see this bird.

Other notable sightings

In addition to the birds, I was also fortunate enough to encounter a group of Siamangs. These gibbons were seen feeding on the fruits of a fig tree near the Silverpark Resort. I have seen Siamangs before; nonetheless, this sighting was special as there was a baby present, as well as a really close encounter!

Fraser's Hill Siamang
I waited unsuccessfully for the mother siamang to look at the camera, which would have made for a perfect shot!


In summary, I observed a total of 110 species of birds during my recent trip to Fraser’s Hill. Part 2 will highlight several more species of birds that can be seen here.

For more information on visiting and birding at Fraser’s Hill, head over to the ‘Birdwatching at Fraser’s Hill’ article page. 

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