Birds of Fraser’s Hill – Part 2

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Fraser's Hill birds part 2

This is the second part of my article on the birds of Fraser’s Hill, which is also great for those who have heard so much about this former British hill station in Pahang.

Bukit Fraser, as it is also called among Malaysians, is one of the highly popular bird watching locations in Malaysia. You can read my other articles on the birds of Fraser’s Hill by clicking the links below:

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

The Star Birds of Fraser’s Hill – Part 2

Silver-eared Mesia

This bird is often considered the most iconic of the birds of Fraser’s Hill, and it’s easy to see why. It is a small bird; nevertheless, it packs a colourful punch! Predominantly yellow, it has red highlights on its wings and a black head with silver-coloured feathers around the ears, which gives the species its common name. This bird can be seen in small groups, noisily foraging in the under or middle story of the forest.

Fraser's Hill silver eared mesia
This bird was hopping around the undergrowth, pausing only momentarily to show off for the camera!

Unfortunately, this delightful species is no longer as easy to see as it was before. At Fraser’s Hill, you may have more luck if you search for them along quieter roads or jungle trails. A good area seems to be the abandoned Jelai Resort and Jalan High Pines.

Common Green Magpie

It’s hard to imagine this colourful species is actually a member of the crow family! This large, green bird can sometimes be tricky to find at Fraser’s Hill. During the recent trip, I managed to spot a group of three deep within Hemmant’s Trail. On a previous trip in 2018, I encountered them frequently; conversely, in 2022, I didn’t see a single bird. 

Fraser's Hill Common Green Magpie
I was lucky enough to chance upon this magpie feeding on insects at the Telekom Loop in 2018.

It’s possible that this bird now favours quieter sections of Fraser’s Hill; therefore, the best places to look for them might be jungle trails or less trafficked roads. You might also get a better chance if you visit on weekdays when there are fewer people around. While it might take some effort (and luck) to see this bird, undoubtedly, it would be worth it!

The Flycatchers of Fraser’s Hill

There are a few resident species of flycatchers at Fraser’s Hill, all of them unique in their own way.

Little Pied Flycatcher

This cute bird is a specialist in mountain forests in Malaysia, including Fraser’s Hill. A small flycatcher, the male is smartly attired in black-and-white. Conversely, the female is far less conspicuous in its plumage, being grey overall with a slight rufous tint to the tail. Listen for its distinctive song, which often betrays its presence in an area. You can spot this bird throughout Fraser’s Hill.

Fraser's Hill little pied flycatcher
This male was photographed at a feeding station, even though no food was present at the time.

Rufous-browed Flycatcher

This flycatcher isn’t as beautifully coloured as its relatives, although it is still attractive. Brownish overall, it has rufous coloured feathers above and around its eyes, earning it its common name. However, the white throat stands out the most, gleaming like a white headlight amongst the gloom of the understory. 

Fraser's Hill rufous-browed flycatcher
This bird can be hard to photograph amidst the dark understory of the forest.

This bird prefers staying low near the ground; accordingly, look for it low down along jungle trails or among the vegetation by the roadside. Also, listen for its high-pitched song, which is often the easiest way to confirm its presence.

Common Blue Flycatchers of Fraser’s Hill

Large Niltava

While it doesn’t come with the word ‘flycatcher’ in its name, this brilliantly coloured bird is most certainly one. A large flycatcher, this bird often perches unobtrusively amongst the vegetation, occasionally sallying forth to catch small insects. Unlike many birds, this species is relatively unafraid of people; consequently, it is one of the easier birds of Fraser’s Hill to observe and photograph! The niltava is found along the forested roadsides and jungle trails throughout Fraser’s Hill.

Fraser's Hill large niltava
The male bird was photographed at Hemmant’s Trail, while the female was spotted along Jalan Mager.

Verditer Flycatcher

This shining blue bird is a versatile species at home in lowland jungles and lower montane areas like Fraser’s Hill. The male bird often perches prominently while singing its lovely undulating song. Similarly to the niltava, this bird is relatively easy to observe and photograph. Of note, ‘verditer‘ refers to the shade of blue adorning this species!

Fraser's Hill Verditer Flycatcher
This pair was displaying near the entrance of Shahzan’s Inn, much to the delight of the hotel guests!

More Blue Flycatchers of Fraser’s Hill

Pygmy Blue Flycatcher

To spot this bird, you will need some patience, as well as a little bit of luck! This tiny bird is a flycatcher but behaves more like a warbler. It can be encountered flitting around amongst the vegetation unobtrusively, occasionally flicking and stretching its wings. The male bird is brilliant blue with orange underparts, while the female is brown with pale orange underparts. During the recent trip, I spotted this bird in Hemmant’s trail as part of a ‘bird wave’.

Fraser's Hill Pygmy Blue Flycatcher.
I barely managed to get this photo as the bird was flitting around quickly amongst the vegetation.

Hill Blue Flycatcher

The Hill Blue is similar to the Pygmy Blue, but is much larger. This bird prefers hill slope areas, especially near streams. Search for it along the Old Gap Road, the New Gap Road or the road down to Jeriau Waterfall.

Fraser's Hill hill blue flycatcher
I located this male bird by its song; it was singing near a stream along the new Gap Road.
Conclusion

For those into bird watching or photography, this former hill station is also home to the world-renown Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race which takes place yearly.

And for the curious birder, there certainly is no shortage of wonderful bird species in Fraser’s Hill, and part 3 will highlight several more species.

Head over to the ‘Birdwatching at Fraser’s Hill’ article page for more information on visiting and birding at Fraser’s Hill.

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