Birdwatching at Sungai Serdang Mudflats, Selangor

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Sungai Serdang mudflats birdwatching

For shorebirds in Selangor, birdwatching at Sungai Serdang mudflats is undoubtedly one of the best. Located near the Kapar Power Station, many of the birds there are also seen here. Outside of the power station, this spot offers the best chance to spot uncommon shorebirds. Moreover, the location is also good for a variety of other coastal birds.

I’ve only recently rediscovered this location, and it has quickly become my favourite shorebird watching spot in Selangor.

Update 26/2/2024: I’ve added a photo of a car parked at the parking spot, to show scale and space available.

Birdwatching at Sungai Serdang Mudflats

The birding location is a seawall overlooking the mudflats, with an adjacent mangrove forest and oil palm plantation. Birding here is straightforward; simply pick a spot and observe the birds from the seawall. The furthest areas are better, as the birds alight near the mangroves as soon as the mudflats are exposed.

The shorebirds/terns will usually be quite far; therefore, a spotting scope is highly recommended. During early morning, large flocks of birds stream out from their roosting site within the power station. Some of them will fly near the seawall, thus allowing decent photos.

Don’t forget to check the nearby mangroves and plantations, as these spots may yield other interesting birds.

location for birdwatching
The birdwatching location in relation to Kuala Lumpur
Sungai Serdang location
Location of Sungai Serdang in relation to other birding spots.

How to go birdwatching at Sungai Serdang mudflats?

Sungai Serdang mudflats map
Map of Sungai Serdang mudflats

Use the landmark ‘Pantai Sungai Serdang (PSS)’ on Google Maps or navigation apps. 

GPS coordinates: 3.142520, 101.311357

Update 27/2/24: It seems using the landmark ‘Pantai Sungai Serdang (PSS) on Google Maps will give you a path that passes through non-existing roads. Therefore,  for Google Maps, use the following directions instead:

  1. Use the Landmark ‘Sungai Serdang Rural Clinic’.
  2. Once you arrive there, put ‘Sungai Serdang Rural Clinic’ as your start location. Then, put ‘Pantai Sungai Serdang (PSS)’ as your destination. It shall now point towards the correct path.
  3. Proceed to drive down the road until you reach a gravel road.
  4. Turn left at the junction, then immediately turn right at the following junction
  5. Drive along the gravel road until you reach the parking spot pictured below.

This location is roughly 60 km from Kuala Lumpur (1 – 1.5 hours drive time). Unfortunately, there’s no way to access this spot using public transport.

The main downside to birdwatching at Sungai Serdang mudflats is the tricky access. The access road is very narrow and unpaved, culminating in a dirt path at the birding site. There’s very limited parking space, with only a small dirt clearing to park and turn the car around. Therefore, large, unmaneuverable vehicles aren’t recommended. Motorcycles, on the other hand, are ideal.

Access road to sungai Serdang
The narrow, unpaved access road is wide enough for a car to pass. The surface is generally fine; however, a few potholes are present.
Parking at Sg. Serdang
There’s a small area to park and turn the car around at the start of the seawall.
parking spot
The parking spot, with a Perodua Axia as scale.
Seawall at Sg. Serdang
The birding areas are along the seawall. The dirt path is wide enough for cars; however, there’s no space to turn around. Note the lack of shelter.
Sungai Serdang mudflats birdwatching area
The furthest section of the seawall is the best for birding. The birds will alight on the mudflats here as soon as it’s exposed. Moreover, fewer people utilize this spot for fishing. The whole seawall is about 700 m long.

What birds to look for when birdwatching at Sungai Serdang mudflats?

Shorebirds

Most of the common shorebirds are present here, and include:

  1. Common Redshank
  2. Common Greenshank
  3. Tibetan and Greater Sand-Plovers
  4. Eurasian Curlew
  5. Whimbrel
  6. Curlew Sandpiper
  7. Red-necked Stint
  8. Broad-billed Sandpiper

The following species are easily seen and are quite numerous here: 

  1. Bar-tailed Godwit
  2. Black-tailed Godwit
  3. Great Knot
  4. Marsh Sandpiper
  5. Black-bellied (or Grey) Plover
Sungai Serdang mudflats Black-tailed Godwits
Black-tailed Godwits are easily seen here. In flight, they’re easy to differentiate from the Bar-tailed Godwits. The bright white wing-bar is absent on the Bar-tailed.

What makes birdwatching at Sungai Serdang mudflats so exciting are the uncommon or rare shorebirds in Selangor. This location offers a decent chance to see the following species:

  1. Nordmann’s Greenshank
  2. Far Eastern Curlew
  3. Red Knot
  4. Kentish Plover
  5. Asian Dowitcher
Sungai Serdang mudflats Far Eastern Curlew
The Far Eastern Curlew is uncommon in Selangor but can be reliably seen here. In this photo, the Far Eastern Curlews are the darker brown birds with brown rump/back/belly. The paler ones are the Eurasian Curlews.
Non-shorebirds

Migratory non-shorebirds include the following species:

  1. Whiskered Tern
  2. White-winged Tern
  3. Gull-billed Tern
  4. Caspian Tern is difficult to see elsewhere in Malaysia. These birds roost within the power station’s ash ponds.
  5. Black-capped Kingfisher – there’s usually one present along the seawall. This species is very skittish, though.
Sungai Serdang mudflats Caspian Tern
Caspian Terns are difficult to spot elsewhere in Malaysia. However, they’re regularly seen here, especially early in the morning.

Resident birds include the following species:

  1. Collared and White-throated Kingfishers
  2. Crested Serpent-Eagle, Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea-Eagle
  3. Sunda Pygmy-Woodpecker and Common Flameback
  4. Lesser Adjutant and Painted Storks
  5. Greater Coucal and Little Bronze-Cuckoo
  6. Various herons and egrets.
  7. A variety of passerines, for example, the Golden-bellied Gerygone and Yellow-bellied Prinia
Sungai Serdang mudflats Lesser Adjutant
The impressive Lesser Adjutant occasionally forages close to the seawall.

Check out the eBird checklists from my visits to this spot. This will give you a better idea of what to expect here.

  1. Checklist from 30/12/2023
  2. Checklist from 28/1/2024

Anything else other than birds?

Yes! This location is great for nature photography:

  1. Mudskippers fighting for territory
  2. Fiddler Crabs waving their enlarged claws
  3. Scenic vistas of the mudflats, sea and sky.
Sungai Serdang mudflats mudskippers and crabs
Colourful crabs and feisty mudskippers provide excellent photography subjects.

Timing for birdwatching at Sungai Serdang mudflats

  • Migrant birds are typically present from late August until early May.
  • Check the tide charts well beforehand. I usually use tide-forecast.com and refer to Port Klang tide charts.
  • Timing is important to avoid arriving when the birds are already too far out: 
    1. Arrive at the highest tide and wait for the birds to arrive as the tide recedes. For example, if the highest tide is at 8 am, arrive around 8 am. 
    2. Alternatively, arrive 3-4 hours before high tide and observe the birds coming closer as the tide rises. For example, if the highest tide is at noon, arrive before 8 am.
  • Mornings are preferable, as afternoons frequently bring rain showers.

Be aware of the following:

Only a handful of people use this site for fishing/shellfish collecting. Therefore, take safety precautions and avoid coming here alone if possible.

There’s no shelter from the sun or weather at this location; therefore, prepare accordingly. Public amenities are also absent at the site. The nearest food/drink stalls are located along the main road, roughly 2 km away. 

It’s a good idea to bring along the following items:

  1. Sun protection – sunblock, wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirts.
  2. Waterproof gear in case it rains.
  3. Plenty of water and/or snacks.

More photos from Sungai Serdang mudflats

Flying Bar-tailed Godwits
Bar-tailed Godwits frequently fly close to the seawall.
Resting Bar-tailed Godwits
…….subsequently resting on the mudflats along with other shorebirds, such as the Great Knot.
Shorebird mixed flock
A mixed flock of shorebirds, comprised mainly of Tibetan and Greater Sand-Plovers.
Sungai Serdang mudflats Whiskered Tern
Whiskered terns are numerous here and often fly close to the seawall.
scope at mudflats
A spotting scope is highly recommended here, as the birds are usually a reasonable distance away.

More information

Read our articles on shorebird watching in Malaysia at the links below:

  1. Common Shorebirds of Malaysia
  2. The Malaysian Plover
  3. The Eurasian Curlew
  4. Shorebird Watching in Malaysia –  a general guide, with tips on timing, optical equipment, birdwatching locations, etc.

Conclusion

Birdwatching at Sungai Serdang mudflats offers a decent chance to spot uncommon or rare shorebirds elsewhere in Selangor. Additionally, a variety of coastal bird species are seen here as well. Despite the hidden location and slightly tricky access, birdwatching at Sungai Serdang mudflats is undoubtedly worthwhile!

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