Birds of Fraser’s Hill – Part 3

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Fraser's Hill Birds part 3The sheer variety of birds in Fraser’s Hill is something to be cherished. My previous articles have put the spotlight on some notable species. The third part of this article series will highlight some more birds of Fraser’s Hill, including two species endemic to the Malay Peninsula (which means they are only found in Peninsular Malaysia and southernmost Thailand).

You can read my previous articles on the birds of Fraser’s Hill by accessing the links below:

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

Star Birds of Fraser’s Hill – Part 3

Malayan Partridge

The first of the two Malay Peninsula endemics. This small chicken-like bird is among the most desirable birds of Fraser’s Hill. Like most partridges, this shy bird moves about unobtrusively amongst the undergrowth. Listen out for its distinctive calls. Occasionally, a lucky birdwatcher may stumble upon a group crossing a quiet road or jungle trail. Indeed, my first encounter with this species was a group of six crossing Jalan Mager!

Birds of Fraser's Hill Malayan Partridge
This bird was photographed at the feeding station, where they can be quite tame.

Most sightings and photographs of this bird occur at the feeding station located at the end of Jalan Richmond. 

Silver-breasted Broadbill

An exquisite-looking bird that is a highlight of any birdwatching trip. This broadbill is relatively tame; as a result, it has become a favourite subject for photographers.

Birds of Fraser's Hill Silver-breasted Broadbill
This bird was photographed carrying nesting materials to a nest hidden nearby.

Usually, this bird can be seen reliably at Jeriau Waterfall; however, that area is currently off-limits. Instead, search along the road down to the waterfall (Jalan Air Terjun). It’s also possible to see this broadbill in Bishop’s trail.

‘Thrushes’ of Fraser’s Hill

Neither one of the following species are actually thrushes!

Malayan Laughingthrush

The second Malay Peninsula endemic species. A beautiful bird that is sometimes difficult to spot at Fraser’s Hill. This bird prefers to move about on or near the ground, unlike its ubiquitous relative, the Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush. One possible location to see it is the feeding station near the abandoned Jelai Resort (near the exit of Mager trail). I usually see this bird along Jalan Mager and Jalan Richmond.

Update June 2023: It appears this bird has been encountered regularly near the start of Jalan Mager, just after you arrive to Fraser’s Hill. The bird often moves together with the Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush, and can sometimes be seen foraging amongst the trees behind the public toilet area.

Birds of Fraser's Hill Malayan Laughingthrush.
This bird was singing in the open along Jalan Richmond.

Blue Whistling-Thrush

One of two Whistling-Thrushes of Fraser’s Hill. This bird is not a thrush but a large, ground-dwelling relative of the flycatchers. Normally this bird is shy and reclusive; occasionally, you may see one foraging on the road at the crack of dawn. Look for it along Jalan Mager or near the Jalan Lady Maxwell feeding station. Try and listen out for its loud whistle, which is how it got its common name! 

Birds of Fraser's Hill Blue Whistling-Thrush
After the photographers had left, this bird was foraging at the Jalan Lady Maxwell feeding station. The small, blue spots at the bend of the wing identify this as a Blue Whistling-Thrush.

The Malayan Whistling-Thrush is a nearly identical-looking species that is less common than the Blue. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this species in years.

Forktail and Robin

Slaty-backed Forktail

This long-tailed bird looks superficially similar to the familiar Magpie-Robin. Its preferred habitat is forested areas near streams; nevertheless, it can often be seen foraging on the wet road after a shower or in the early morning. It gives out a shrill, high-pitched call when chasing other forktails. Look for them along the New Gap Road, Bishop’s Trail or Jalan Air Terjun. 

Birds of Fraser's Hill Slaty-backed Forktail.
This forktail was spotted near a stream along the New Gap Road, just after the school.

White-tailed Robin

This bird earns its name due to the white patches on either side of its tail, visible when it is fanned out. The male is mostly black, while the female is brown. This bird can be found throughout Fraser’s Hill, occasionally perching on branches by the roadside. A good area to see them is the area near the junction of Jalan Valley and Jalan Lady Maxwell. They are also frequently attracted to feeding stations, making them easier to photograph.

Bird of Fraser's Hill White-tailed Robin
The white tail patches can barely be seen on this male bird as it was perching on a rope in Hemmant’s Trail.

And Finally…

Little Cuckoo-Dove

This delightful dove is quite common around Fraser’s Hill. You can often see the bird rocketing above the forest canopy and even the town centre. The long tail and rusty brown plumage make this bird unmistakable. Listen out for its long, repetitive song.

Birds of Fraser's Hill Little Cuckoo-dove.
I was lucky enough to photograph this cuckoo-dove while it was still relatively sluggish in the early morning.

Although common, this is a skittish bird; consequently, photographing one is a bit tricky. Look for distracted birds feeding on fruits! The efforts are worth it; undoubtedly, this is one of the most beautiful doves in the country.

Conclusion

The diversity of birds of Fraser’s Hill is mind-boggling; indeed, many more species deserve a mention. Fraser’s Hill is a world-class birdwatching destination due to this, and hopefully, it will continue to be so well into the future.

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

 


References:

Puan, C.L., Davison, G. & Lim, K.C. (2020). Birds of Malaysia. Covering Peninsular Malaysia, Malaysian Borneo and Singapore. Lynx and BirdLife International Field Guides. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

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