How Many Bird Species Are There in Malaysia?

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Malaysia How Many Bird Species

Have you ever wondered how many bird species are there in Malaysia? This is probably a question that most bird watchers or ornithologist would be asking.

While it has been quite speculative on the actual number of birds in Malaysia over the last few years, several websites have stated that there are around 700 plus birds and fear not as I have done the work and found the actual number to date.

How Many Bird Species Are There in Malaysia?

There is no accurate number in today’s world, as everyone wants a piece of the cake with different websites and groups claiming different numbers. So who do you believe, and which one is correct?

Most people will Google and read the topmost article or number that comes out, and when I did that, Wikipedia was the top search result with 834 species of birds in Malaysia. However, scrolling down, I noticed Avibase with 837 birds, which is four more than Wikipedia.

Anyway, I have compiled a few different sources for the bird species in Malaysia below;

  • Wikipedia lists 834 species of birds in Malaysia, where 16 are endemic, and humans have introduced 19 with 63 globally threatened species.
  • Avibase and Clements Bird Checklist of the World list down 837 species of birds in Malaysia, which is currently the highest number of birds.
  • A Malaysia Bird Checklist excel sheet done by senior Malaysian birders lists a total of 827 birds in Malaysia, which was last updated in Dec 2019.
  • Birdlife International lists 721 bird species in Malaysia when checked on 7th June 2021.

Many other independent websites and blogs have bird numbers of Malaysia, but many are not accurate or outdated. I saw a few of them which still list 640 or 730 birds of Malaysia.

Remember, this article is written for the layman out there, and I will not be going into technical or scientific terms and jargons. Why? So that anyone can understand this article easily.

Over the years, many websites or blogs on bird watching tend to be too technical; sometimes, I feel it was written for serious birders or academic people rather than the common person.

So, with all the above, I have concluded to follow Avibase statistics and state that as of June 2021, the total number of birds in Malaysia is 837.

Number of birds in Malaysia 2021
Local bird watchers in Malaysia.

Why is the Number of Birds Important?

*Edited to remove a statement that can confuse; therefore, the number of birds is important for the following;

It can help in avitourism or avian tourism, which is still something very new in Malaysia. However, some states like Sabah have been active n this for the last 10 years and have developed this genre well.

To help boost this, the country should be looking at training more professional bird guides and provide proper birding education among the locals. There should also be more bird tour companies or existing tour companies that can offer bird tours.

Another place in Malaysia that is doing well in this area is Langkawi Island. Again, they focused on nature and bird watching due to the amazing mangrove and other ecosystems around the island.

The state of Perak is also up and coming destination for bird watching in Malaysia due to the many different bird sanctuaries and forest reserves.

Selangor, where I live, is also a popular birding destination within Kuala Lumpur’s capital, and I have been bird watching in Selangor since the start of the Covid19 pandemic.

Malaysia Bird Species Numbers
A White-Throated Kingfisher photographed at the KL Lake Gardens.


This article was done purely for bird watchers, bird photographers, ornithologist and nature lovers interested in the statistics. However, it may come in handy for your academic work, thesis or any other project that you may be working on.

At the end of the day, many of us would like to know the actual number of bird species found in Malaysia, and thankfully, there are multiple sources for this, including the professional groups.

With this, if anyone asks you how many birds Malaysia has, the answer is 837 and is probably going to increase again in the next couple of years.

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