Sabah Birdwatching Locations

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Birding Locations in Sabah

Here is a list of the latest Sabah birdwatching locations for anyone planning to visit this part of Borneo. Over the years, there has been a steady increase in birding worldwide, thanks to the pandemic, which has resulted in potential places being discovered.

Sabah has been the leader in birdwatching in Malaysia, and this dates back to the late 90s when wildlife was one of the top-selling genres for North Borneo. Of course, this resulted in some specialised nature tour agents embarking on birdwatching tours in Sabah.

Sabah Birdwatching Locations

Birding at Crocker Range
Birding at Gunung Alab, Crocker Range.

Sabah’s transformation into Southeast Asia’s leading birdwatching destination since the late 2000s is remarkable. The Sabah Tourism Board’s efforts, including various promotional campaigns and establishing numerous birdwatching locations, have significantly boosted the region’s appeal among global birding enthusiasts.

A pivotal moment in this journey was the inauguration of the Borneo Bird Festival in 2009. This annual event, hosted at the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) in Sandakan, has been instrumental in elevating Sabah’s status in the birding community. Over the years, it has showcased Sabah’s diverse avian species and contributed to discovering and exploring new birdwatching sites across the region.

Now celebrating its 14th year in 2024, the Borneo Bird Festival remains a cornerstone event for birdwatchers. It fosters a deeper appreciation for Sabah’s rich biodiversity and unique habitats. As such, Sabah continues to attract birding enthusiasts worldwide, drawn by its pristine rainforests, endemic bird species, and well-organised infrastructure that supports sustainable ecotourism initiatives.

Birdwatching at Kinabatangan River
The Kinabatangan River is one of the top birding locations in Sabah.

List of Sabah Birdwatching Locations.

Each birding location is supported by the district or area in which it is located. Some of the places may be visited for casual birdwatching. However, most of the places mentioned require a bird guide or tour to access.

Map of Sabah Birdwatching Locations
The 2022 Sabah Birdwatching Location Map.

The Sabah Birdwatching Guide, a unique map highlighting all the known birding locations throughout Sabah, was launched in 2022 at the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sandakan. Tourism Malaysia Sabah, RDC representatives, and North Borneo Safari officiated at this event.

This list was compiled by our team at Birdwatching Asia, a specialised birding media group based in Malaysia. One day, we hope to attend the Global Birdfair in the UK, possibly to discuss birding in Malaysia.


Numerous local tour companies in Sabah offer specialised birding tours across various categories, catering to enthusiasts planning to explore the region’s rich avian diversity. These tours range from themed excursions to tailor-made experiences designed to meet specific preferences. For more information or to plan your birding adventure, please get in touch with us.

I trust this article on Sabah’s birdwatching locations has provided you with a comprehensive overview of the key sites. Refer to the map above for the precise locations of these renowned birding destinations.

About Bird Watching Asia

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

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