Raptor Watch 2020

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Every March, Raptor Watch Malaysia takes place at Tanjung Tuan in a gazetted forest reserve located at the border of Negeri Sembilan and Melaka.

For this year, the Raptor Watch 2020 event takes place from the 14 to 15 of March, and due to the Coronavirus or Covid19 pandemic, there may be less visitors attending.

However, bird watching or doing a bird count can be done at safe distances from one another. Hence, if you have never experienced watching raptors fly high in the Tanjung Tuan skies, this is your chance to do so.

Raptor Watch 2020

Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse
The Cape Rachado Lighthouse at Tanjung Tuan in Melaka.

If you did not know, Tanjung Tuan has been designated as an IBA or Important Bird Area by international non-profit organisation BirdLife International, one of 55 found around Malaysia.

The coastal-forest is also designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary by Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN). Originally, this area was gazetted back in 1921 as a permanent forest reserve until this very day.

At the Raptor Watch event, visitors can spot up to 46 species of raptors, and out of that, 25 are migrant species.

The migration periods are usually from January to April, but mid-March is the peak period to spot the raptors. The best time to spot them is also around 11.00 AM to 3.00 PM.

Why is Tanjung Tuan a good location to spot Raptors?

Tanjung Tuan is also known by its Portuguese name Cape Rachado, is very well known for its virgin old-growth forest where huge tropical lowland forest trees can be found.

Its waters are rich with coral life and seagrass, which attracts a myriad of fish and turtles. Its secluded beaches are ideal as turtle egg-laying grounds.

Overall, the naturalist will be happy to know that 177 different species of plants are found at the forest reserve, with numerous hiking or trekking trails.

Grey Faced Buzzard Raptor Watch
A Grey Faced Buzzard spotted during Raptor Watch.

What is the Best Time to See the Raptors Flying?

Because the event is held for two days, the best time to watch the raptors will be between 11.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m. However, there have been sightings of raptors during other times and some as late as 6.00 pm.

Why from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm? The raptors choose to fly during the hottest period of the day because the birds need thermals, and thermals are hot air columns produced by the land due to the heat from the sun.

Due to raptors being huge birds, they require these thermals to help them glide in the sky without using energy to flap their wings.

Taptors of Tanjung Tuan
A compilation of raptors spotted at Tanjung Tuan. Photo by MNS Malaysia.

What else is available at Tanjung Tuan?

Tanjung Tuan is also home to a very historical lighthouse. The Cape Rachado Lighthouse is believed to be the oldest in the country, with a history dating back to the Portuguese rule of Malacca during the 16th century.

History states that the Cape Rachado Lighthouse was built around 1528 to 1529, after the Portuguese took hold of Melaka in 1511, and in 1863, the lighthouse was rebuilt once again.

Apart from this, a coastal forest reserve attracts many nature and outdoor lovers. Bird watching, hiking and trekking are popular at the Cape Rachado Permanent Reserved Forest.

Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve
One of the trails at the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve. Photo from Tourism Malaysia.

Activities at Raptor Watch

During this two-day event, there will be several activities happening, and below are some of them;

  • Raptor Training Programme
  • Raptor counting by Bird Conservatory Council
  • IBA Seminar
  • Visit Tanjung Tuan Lighthouse
Tanjung Tuan Raptor Watch
A signboard at the forest reserve showing the migration path and raptors. Photo by Tourism Malaysia.

Raptor Watch
Date: 14 to 15 March
Venue: Tanjung Tuan, Melaka
Organizer: Malaysia Nature Society (MNS)
Phone: +603 2287 9422
Website: https://www.mns.my/
Open Daily: 7.00 am to 6.00 pm
Entry fee: RM1.00

Cape Rachado Lighthouse
The Cape Rachado Lighthouse at Tanjung Tuan. Photo by MNS Malaysia.

Where is Tanjung Tuan?

It is located at the Melaka Alor Gajah district by the border of Negeri Sembilan and Melaka and is a 20-minute drive from Port Dickson.

From Kuala Lumpur, you need to take the North-South Expressway (AH2) and exit at Linggi and drive in towards Tanjung Tuan using Highway 5.

You can also drive via Port Dickson as this would be a nearer option and a scenic route.

A map showing where Tanjung Tuan is located in Melaka.

How to Go to Tanjung Tuan?

Basically, you can only drive here as there are no buses or trains that stop anywhere nearby. This means that the closest town is Port Dickson, and you need to take a taxi to Tanjung Tuan.

Visitors can always rent a car and self-drive to Tanjung Tuan from Kuala Lumpur, and this will cost you around RM150 to RM300 per day, depending on the type of car or van you rent.


If you have not been to the Raptor Watch event at Tanjung Tuan, this would be a good time to experience this here. However, with the Coronavirus or Covid19 in Malaysia, I strongly recommend being careful when attending the event.

Raptor Watch 2020
Tanjung Tuan,, Jalan Pantai,Tanjung Tuan,Melaka-71050
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A 2-day bird count done for migrating raptors at Tanjung Tuan in Melaka.

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Bird Watching Asia is a self-funded project to promote bird watching in Malaysia and around Asia.

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