Covering more than 4,300km2, this is the largest tract of relatively undisturbed lowland forest in mainland South-East Asia and its very size makes it a difficult area for birding. More than 350 species have been recorded in the park but visitors on short trips often come away disappointed.
Birding is notoriously difficult in such forests and unless the birder comes across a mixed-species feeding flock many species are easily missed. However, the birds are there and a lengthier visit will guarantee some of the best birding in South-East Asia.
Among the specialities of the park are Malayan Crested Fireback, Great Argus and Mountain Peacock-Pheasant and Malayan Peacock-Pheasant, and Masked Finfoot and raptors such as Bat Hawk, Crested Serpent Eagle, Indian Black Eagle and Lesser Fishing Eagle, and Black-thighed Falconet.
Kingfishers include Banded Kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Black-capped Kingfisher, Malayan Blue-banded Kingfisher and Rufous-collared Kingfisher and there is a good range of malkohas, hornbills, trogons, bee-eaters, barbets and woodpeckers plus numerous passerines.
Birds you can see here include:
Green-backed Heron, Malaysian Night Heron, Storm's Stork, Osprey, Black Baza, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Bat Hawk, Lesser Fishing Eagle, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Asian Crested Goshawk, Chinese Goshawk, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Indian Black Eagle, Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Blyth's Hawk-Eagle, Wallace's Hawk-Eagle, Black-thighed Falconet, Long-billed Wood Partridge, Black Wood Partridge, Ferruginous Wood Partridge, Crested Wood Partridge, Red Junglefowl, Malayan Crestless Fireback, Malayan Crested Fireback, Mountain Peacock-Pheasant, Malayan Peacock-Pheasant, Malayan Crested Argus, Great Argus, Red-legged Crake, Band-bellied Crake, White-breasted Waterhen, Masked Finfoot, Common Sandpiper, Emerald Dove, Little Green Pigeon, Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Large Green Pigeon, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Jambu Fruit Dove, Green Imperial Pigeon, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Blue-rumped Parrot, Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Moustached Hawk Cuckoo, Small Cuckoo, Short-winged Cuckoo, Oriental Cuckoo, Violet Cuckoo, Plaintive Cuckoo, Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Black-bellied Malkoha, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, Raffles' Malkoha, Red-billed Malkoha, Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, Short-toed Coucal, Greater Coucal, Lesser Coucal, Bay Owl, White-fronted Scops Owl, Rufous Scops Owl, Spotted Scops Owl, Oriental Scops Owl, Collared Scops Owl, Malay, Brown Wood Owl, Collared Owlet, Brown Hawk Owl, Large Frogmouth, Gould's Frogmouth, Javan Frogmouth, Malaysian Eared Nightjar, Long-tailed Nightjar, Silver-rumped Spinetail Swift, White-vented Spinetail Swift, Brown Spinetail Swift, Asian Palm Swift, Pacific Swift, House Swift, Grey-rumped Treeswift, Lesser, Red-naped Trogon, Diard's Trogon, Cinnamon-rumped Trogon, Scarlet-rumped Trogon, Orange-breasted Trogon, Common Kingfisher, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Malayan Blue-banded Kingfisher, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Banded Kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Black-capped Kingfisher, Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Indian Roller, Eastern Broad-billed Roller, White-crowned Hornbill, Bushy-crested Hornbill, Wrinkled Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Black Hornbill, Southern Pied Hornbill, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Great Hornbill, Helmeted Hornbill, Gold-whiskered Barbet, Red-crowned Barbet, Gaudy Barbet, Golden-throated Barbet, Mueller's Barbet, Yellow-crowned Barbet, Blue-eared Barbet, Sooty Barbet, Malaysian Honeyguide, Speckled Piculet, Rufous Piculet, Rufous Woodpecker, Banded Red Woodpecker, Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Checker-throated Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, White-bellied Woodpecker, Olive-backed Woodpecker, Common Goldenback Woodpecker, Orange-backed Woodpecker, Bamboo Woodpecker, Maroon Woodpecker, Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Buff-necked Woodpecker, Grey and Buff Woodpecker, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Dusky Broadbill, Black-and-Red Broadbill, Banded Broadbill, Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, Long-tailed Broadbill, Green Broadbill, Barn Swallow, Pacific Swallow, Grey Wagtail, Forest Wagtail, Giant Pitta, Garnet Pitta, Hooded Pitta, Malayan Banded Pitta, Moluccan Cuckooshrike, Large Cuckooshrike, Bar-bellied Cuckooshrike, Lesser Cuckoo-Shrike, Ashy Minivet, Small Minivet, Yellow-throated Minivet, Scarlet Minivet, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Large, Straw-headed Bulbul, Black-and-White Bulbul, Black-crested Bulbul, Black-headed Bulbul, Scaly-breasted Bulbul, Puff-backed Bulbul, Yellow-vented Bulbul, White-eyed Brown Bulbul, Red-eyed Brown Bulbul, Lesser Brown Bulbul, Grey-bellied Bulbul, Stripe-throated Bulbul, Olive-winged Bulbul, Finsch's Bearded Bulbul, Grey-cheeked Bearded Bulbul, Ochraceous Bearded Bulbul, Crested Olive Bulbul, Hairy-backed Bulbul, Green-backed Bulbul, Cinereous Bulbul, Common Iora, Green Iora, Greater Green Leafbird, Lesser Green Leafbird, Blue-winged Leafbird, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Tiger Shrike, Lesser Shortwing, Siberian Blue Robin, Oriental Magpie Robin, White-rumped Shama, Rufous-tailed Shama, Slaty-backed Forktail, Chestnut-naped Forktail, White-crowned Forktail, Blue Whistling Thrush, Siberian Thrush, Chestnut-capped Ground Thrush, Orange-headed Ground Thrush, Eye-browed Thrush, Malaysian Rail-Babbler, White-chested Jungle Babbler, Ferruginous Jungle Babbler, Horsfield's Jungle Babbler, Abbott's Jungle Babbler, Short-tailed Jungle Babbler, Black-capped Jungle Babbler, Moustached Tree Babbler, Sooty-capped Babbler, Scaly-crowned Babbler, Golden-headed Tree Babbler, Rufous-crowned Tree Babbler, Grey-breasted Babbler, Long-billed Babbler, Sunda Scimitar Babbler, Striped Wren-Babbler, Large Wren-Babbler, Streaked Wren Babbler, Lesser Wren Babbler, Pygmy Cupwing, Rufous-fronted Babbler, Black-throated Tree Babbler, Chestnut-winged Tree Babbler, Grey-headed Tree Babbler, Chestnut-rumped Tree Babbler, White-necked Tree Babbler, Pin-striped Tit-Babbler, Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Brown Fulvetta, Mountain Fulvetta, Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush, Malayan Laughingthrush, Silver-eared Mesia, White-browed Shrike-Babbler, Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, Chestnut-tailed Minla, Long-tailed Sibia, White-bellied Erpornis, Yellow-breasted Flycatcher-Warbler, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher-Warbler, Yellow-bellied Prinia, White-browed Prinia, Mountain Tailorbird, Common Tailorbird, Dark-necked Tailorbird, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, Ashy Tailorbird, Arctic Warbler, Pale-legged Willow Warbler, [(recorded in Mar), Eastern Crowned Warbler, Mountain Leaf Warbler, Siberian Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Verditer Flycatcher, Ferruginous Flycatcher, Mugimaki Flycatcher, Rufous-browed Flycatcher, Thicket Flycatcher, Little Pied Flycatcher, Grey-chested Flycatcher, Rufous-chested Flycatcher, Blue-and-White Flycatcher, Blue-throated Flycatcher, Large Blue Flycatcher, Pale Blue Flycatcher, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Pygmy Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Black-naped Blue Monarch Flycatcher, Golden-bellied Flyeater, Rufous-winged Philentoma, Maroon-breasted Philentoma, Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher, White-throated Fantail, Spotted Fantail, Sultan Tit, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Azure Nuthatch, Yellow-throated Flowerpecker, Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker, Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker, Thick-billed Flowerpecker, Green-backed Flowerpecker, Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Plain Flowerpecker, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Plain-coloured Sunbird, Brown-throated Sunbird, Red-throated Sunbird, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Blue-naped Sunbird, Black-throated Sunbird, Little Spiderhunter, Thick-billed Spiderhunter, Long-billed Spiderhunter, Spectacled Spiderhunter, Yellow-eared Spiderhunter, Grey-breasted Spiderhunter, Hume's White-eye, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, White-backed Munia, White-bellied Munia, Pin-tailed Parrotfinch, Brown Bullfinch, Common Mynah, Common Hill Myna, Dark-throated Oriole, Black-naped Oriole, Crow-billed Drongo, Bronzed Drongo, Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo, Lesser Racquet-tailed Drongo, Crested Shrike-Jay, Green Magpie, Slender-billed Crow, Large-billed Crow
History and Use
Areas of Interest
The best area for mountain birds is the Gunung Tahan, a 2,187m peak which requires a trip of several days.
Access and Facilities
The park is located 330km north-east of Kuala Lumpur and can be reached by road from the capital by heading east to Mentakab. 3km past Mentakab turn left and head north for 50km to Jerantut and from there drive another 15km to Kuala Tembeling.
The park can only be entered by boat from Kuala Tembeling which leaves at daily at 14.00 and takes 2.5hours.
Accommodation at the park HQ at Kuala Tahan requires advance booking. Many forest birds can be seen around the HQ but the more elusive and upland species require a hard trek further into the park.
Content and images originally posted by Steve
Travelled on organised excursion in early August 2004 and stayed in forest lodge. Good value and gave good exposure to rain forest, insects, reptiles and mammals. However, guide too fast moving for birdwatching. As a result, bird list, apart from kingfishers, very poor. Time of year probably not good either. Plenty of bird activity at first light, but usually very misty, making viewing difficult. Best time for seeing birds late afternoon. Challenges include the heat, 100% humidity and the biting insect. Main recommendations are to allow plenty of time, get your eye and ear in for Malaysian birds at easier sites first or travel with someone who knows the local birds.
- Tropical rain forest experience. Huge insects. Snakes. Mammals.
- Birds very difficult to see except on forest edges and if you have a lot of time.