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12 Days Birding & Bird Photography Tours In Sabah, Borneo

Friday, January 18, 2008

Best Of Tabin Wildlife Reserve - 94 Species Of Birds In Single Day !

4th - 17th january 2008

I was invited by Tabin Wildlife Lodge management to update their birds list with CK for 4 days 3 nights. Took the early morning flight with MASwings from Kota Kinabalu at 0700hrs and arrived at small town of Lahad Datu around 0755hrs.

Transfered to Tabin Wildlife Lodge through gravel road for one and a half hour along the oil palm plantations which belongs to few private companies and managed to see 4 Raptors namely, Black-winged Kite, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Wallace's Hawk Eagle and Crested Serpent Eagle perched on a tree near with the main road.

Type of accomodation available at the lodge

Birding started after lunch around 1430hrs along the Tomanggong road which is excellence for forest birds as it is in between the plantation and secondary forest and trees that grows here around 40 - 50 metres in heights only and provides shades and more lights can penetrates into the floor of the forest, means good for photography too.

Scanning for Bronzed Drongo with local guides

1st day ended at 1800hrs with birds seen and heard around 50 species.

Early starts on the next day and birding was done on the same road like yesterday and main mission for today was to get at least 100 birds ! Good weather the whole day with blue sky helped us a lot to identify many birds especially Bulbuls and Sunbirds together with babblers as well Warblers. Videoscoped Dusky Broadbill nesting too

Jerdon's Baza 1st digiscoped bird !

By lunch time, recorded 73 birds and it breaks my own record as my last count was last week within a day was only 51. So another 27 more birds to go ...

Continued on the same road around 1430hrs, the driver dropped us next to the junction to the mud volcano and walked back slowly to the lodge until around 1830hrs.

Best place in tabin for birding about 26 km altogether

So did we see 100 birds that day ?

No! Only 94 birds. So another excuse to come again next time hahaha!

Moon taken from the lodge ...

Dusky Broadbill with nesting material, my lifer

Wallace's Hawk Eagle perched very low on a tree next to the restaurant while it was still drizzling

Scarlet-rumped Trogon

Female Scarlet-rumped Trogon

Malaysian Blue Flycather

Comfortable room offered by Tabin with attached bathroom and balcony overlooking the river

One of the highlight, Blue-banded Kingfisher ! With the helped of technology, able to see this bird after CK contacted me via cellphone

Pig-tailed Macaque came to the resort area after the rain

It rained on the 16th afternoon until we left the resort on the 17th january after lunch. So birded around the resort and saw 6 species of birds which we didnt see during the walked on the Tomanggong road

Big smile after finding the rare Blue-banded Kingfisher

Trying hard to identify another lifer of mine, Rufous-tailed Jungle Flycatcher which kept on hoping along the river bank

Time to go back ...

30 new species was recorded for the reserve and the last bird seen by CK on the 17th afternoon before lunch was a single White-crowned Hornbill and it completed the 8 species of Hornbills that could be found at Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

Main highlight;

  • Malaysian Honeyguide
  • Blue-banded Kingfisher
  • 2 Rufous-tailed Jungle Flycatchers
  • Crested Goshawk (The closest I could get with the scope's minimum close focus)
  • White-crowned Hornbill

Number of species seen and heard according to the family;

  • Pelicans and commorants - 1
  • Storks, Ibises and Spoonbills - 1
  • Osprey, Hawks, Kites, Eagles, Harriers, Buzzards and Hawk-Eagles - 7
  • Megapodes and Patridges - 1
  • Fireback Pheasants - 1
  • Rails - 2
  • Sandpipers - 1
  • Green-Pigeons - 1
  • Pigeons - 3
  • Parrots - 1
  • Large Cuckoos - 2
  • Small Cuckoos - 3
  • Malkohas, Coucals and Ground-Cuckoo - 5
  • Swifts and Treeswifts - 4
  • Trogons - 3
  • Kingfishers - 4
  • Bee-Eaters, Rollers and Hoopoes- 2
  • Hornbills - 8
  • Barbets and Honeyguides - 3
  • Woodpeckers - 7
  • Broadbills - 3
  • Pittas - 2
  • Larks and Swallows - 2
  • Cuckoo-Shrikes and Fruithunter - 2
  • Minivets - 2
  • Leafbirds - 2
  • Bulbuls - 8
  • Drongos - 2
  • Orioles and Fairy Bluebird - 1
  • Crows and Bristlehead - 1
  • Jungle-Babblers - 5
  • Scimitar-Babbler and Wren Babblers - 1
  • Tree-Babblers - 2
  • Tit-Babblers, Fulvettas, Sibias, Yuhinas and Rail-Babbler - 4
  • Shamas and Forktails - 3
  • Flyeater, Leaf-Warblers and Reed-Warblers - 1
  • Tailorbirds and Prinias - 4
  • Jungle Flycathers and Flycatchers - 5
  • Paradise Flycatchers, Fantails and Monarchs - 4
  • Wagtails and Pipits - 1
  • Starlings - 1
  • Sunbirds - 6
  • Spiderhunters and Honeyeaters - 1
  • Flowerpeckers - 2
  • Finches and Munias - 2
  • Sparrows - 1

Non bird species;

  • Orang Utan
  • Bornean Gibbons
  • Pig-tailed Macaques
  • Striped bronze-backed Snake
  • Barking Deers
  • Wild Boars

Total species within 4 days 3 nights was 128 birds. Total lifer for myself was 6 species.

One of my best birding trip so far with the number of species seen during my stayed as it out numbered other well know birding sites in Sabah. What else can I say, Tabin Wildlife Reserve deserved to be acknowledged as another premier birding spot and a must visit for local and overseas birders.

I would like to extend my deepest thanks for the hospitality by Tabin Wildlife Lodge staffs during our stay and the warmth welcome given to us.

For more info, kindly log to their website at

Ck's website

Further reading about birding in Tabin, click Borneo's bodacious birding heaven

Pictures digiscoped with Nikon Fieldscope ED82, SRB-Griturn adapter and Fujifilm f31d

Happy birding !


Anonymous said...

Ha...ha.. Well done, Horukuru. The list looks impressive. Must arrange to go and photograph them birds this year.

Regards. TSWong.

Denis Degullacion said...

Great pictures , jealous I.

Wish I was there!!!!


Unknown said...


You have a perfect trip....which I can be there one day.... and thanks for sharing here.

As TS Wong said....must visit this year and hope can meet both of you there soon.... let plan..

Nelson Khor

Tun Pin Ong said...

Jason, Congratulations on your sighting of Blue-banded Kingfisher.

Did you manage to see its flanks? Black or rufous? Appreciate if you could share with me other shots of the kingfisher.
c o p s y c h u s @ y a h o o . c o m
Thanks Tunpin

Jordan Sitorus said...

Uih! Happening your trip man! The list is extra long this time! My goodness!!! Some unbelievable shots here fren. BIG congratulations to you! Dunno how you managed to shot them sharply. Salute!

Borneo Born said...

Hi horokuru,
Memang post yang boleh tahan, love it. Visit my humble blog if you are free.
Congrats on the great photography long bird list!

Joe Pan

Thaibirder said...

Tx for sharing....looks very interesting....

Unknown said...

Nice Blog, beautiful photos BUT why don't you give us the species instead of just the families????
This would be particularly useful to us who will be spending 4 nights in Tabin in July as there is not a single birding report on the Reserve, apart from yours.
I have also written to the reserve for a complete list.
Do you think they'll reply?
Congrats anyway.

Movers in Ajman said...

شركة نقل اثاث هي شركة تقدم خدمات نقل العفش المنزلية و أثاث المكاتب و الفنادق داخل الإمارات المتحدة في أي وقت و في كل مكان.
نقل اثاث دبي
نقل اثاث عجمان
نقل اثاث الشارقة
نقل اثاث الفجيرة

SALWA said...

افضل شركات نقل اثاث في دبي شركة بي بي سي لنقل الاثاث في الامارات توفر خدمات نقل وتخزين وتغليف الاثاث بأسعار منافسة
نقل اثاث سريع مريح ورخيص

نقل اثاث دبي
شركة نقل اثاث دبي
نقل اثاث الشارقة
نقل اثاث ابوظبي
نقل اثاث العين
نقل اثاث الفجيرة

LIN said...

افضل شركات الشحن في دبي الامارات شركة بي بي سي لخدمات الشحن البري والجوي البحري من الامارات الى جميع دول العالم الخليج العربي بلاد الشام المغرب العربي اوربا افريقيا
شحن السيارات الاثاث الفرش البضائع بأقل الاسعار
شحن من الامارات الى العراق
شحن من الامارات الى لبنان
شحن من الامارات الى السعودية
شحن من الامارات الى الكويت
شحن من الامارات الى البحرين