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  • Photograph of Garnet Pitta

    A fabulous Garnet Pitta in the Krau Forest of Malaysia by David Beadle.

    MALAY PENINSULA

    Best Wildlife in the Malay Peninsula

    Mammals
    Siamang, White-handed Gibbon, Banded, Dusky and Silvered Langurs, Long-tailed (Crab-eating) Macaque, Red Giant Flying Squirrel, Sunda Flying Lemur (Colugo), Sunda Slow Loris, Sambar, Cream-coloured and Black Giant Squirrels, Prevost's Squirrel, Malayan, Asian Palm and Small-toothed Palm Civets, Common (Southern) Tree Shrew, Sambar, Greater Mouse and Lesser Mouse Deer, Indian Muntjac, Wild Boar and Long-tailed Giant Rat. Also a chance of Malayan Tapir (mostly at mineral licks and particularly in July at the peak of the dry season), Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine and Smooth-coated Otter.

    Birds
    Banded (irena), Garnet and Mangrove Pittas, Black & Oriental Pied Hornbills, Banded, Black-and-red, Black-and-yellow, Dusky, Green and Long-tailed Broadbills, barbets including Fire-tufted, Diard’s, Orange-breasted, Red-headed, Red-naped and Scarlet-rumped Trogons, leafbirds, Asian Fairy Bluebird, sunbirds, Banded, Black-capped, Blue-banded, Collared, Rufous-collared, Stork-billed and White-throated (Smyrna) Kingfishers, Great Argus, Crested Fireback, Sultan Tit, Rail Babbler, Blue Nuthatch, Common Green Magpie, Whiskered Treeswift and three endemics; Malayan Whistling Thrush, and Chestnut-crowned (Spectacled) and Malayan Laughingthrushes, as well as Red Junglefowl, Chinese Pond Heron, Cinnamon Bittern, Brahminy Kite, Lesser Fish Eagle, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Blyth’s Hawk Eagle, Black-thighed Falconet, Red-wattled Lapwing, green pigeons, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Blue-rumped Parrot, Violet Cuckoo, malkohas, Greater Coucal, Reddish and Mountain Scops Owls, Collared Owlet, Malaysian Eared Nightjar, Germain’s Swiftlet, Brown-backed and Silver-rumped Needletails, Grey-rumped Treeswift, Red-bearded, Blue-tailed and Blue-throated Bee-eaters, Dollarbird, piculets, Greater and Lesser Yellownapes, Common and Greater Flamebacks, Crimson-winged, Great Slaty and Orange-backed Woodpeckers, Maroon-breasted and Rufous-winged Philentomas, White-breasted Woodswallow, Grey-chinned and Scarlet Minivets, Golden-bellied Gerygone (Flyeater), Green Iora, Javan Cuckoo Shrike, Pied Triller, Mangrove Whistler, Black-eared and White-browed Shrike Babblers, orioles, Greater Racket-tailed and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongos, fantails, Black-naped Monarch, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Crested Jay, Black Magpie, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, bulbuls including Scaly-breasted and Straw-headed, tailorbirds, leaf warblers, Lesser Shortwing, Slaty-backed and White-crowned Forktails, flycatchers including Mangrove Blue and Pygmy Blue, Large Niltava, White-rumped Shama, babblers, wren babblers including Marbled, Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler, Black Laughingthrush, Silver-eared Mesia, Long-tailed Sibia, Asian Glossy Starling, Hill Myna, flowerpeckers and spiderhunters. Also a chance of the endemic Malayan and Mountain Peacock Pheasants, as well as Buffy Fish Owl, Bushy-crested, Great, Helmeted, Rhinoceros and Wreathed Hornbills, Crested, Ferruginous, Long-billed and Malayan Partridges, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Blue-winged and Hooded Pittas, Brown Wood Owl, Gould’s and Large Frogmouths, Jambu Fruit Dove, Himalayan Cutia, Chestnut-naped Forktail and Rusty-naped Pitta.

    Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
    Water Monitor, flying lizards and numerous coral reef fish. Also a chance of Green, Hawksbill and Leatherback Turtles.

    Invertebrates
    A rich diversity of butterflies including Common and Rajah Brooke's Birdwings, and the chance to see synchronised Fireflies at Kuala Selangor.

    Plants
    The lowland rainforest in Taman Negara, the largest tract of ‘protected’ lowland rainforest on mainland South East Asia, is estimated by some to be about 130 million years old, making it possibly the oldest rainforest on Earth. It is also the richest forest in the world in terms of tree species.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in the Malay Peninsula

    Best Times for Wildlife in the Malay Peninsula

    Any time between March and October is a good time to visit the Malay Peninsula, although March is a particularly good time for birds, as is July, at the peak of the dry season, which is also the best time to look for Malayan Tapirs visiting mineral licks. The wet season, when it can be very wet, usually lasts from November to February.


    Recommended Books etc. for the Malay Peninsula

    A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore by A Jeyarajasingam. OUP, 2012. (Second Edition).

    Birds of South-East Asia by C Robson. Helm, 2014. (Second Edition)

    Birds of South-East Asia Concise Edition by C Robson. Helm, 2015.

    A Field Guide to the Mammals of South-East Asia by C M Francis. New Holland Publishers, 2008.

    A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia by I Das. Bloomsbury, 2015.

    Where to watch birds in Asia by N Wheatley. Helm, 1996.

    Don’t know which country/countries/regions to visit in Asia? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them in the region, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for the Malay Peninsula

    Many trip reports, some for the Malay Peninsula, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to the Malay Peninsula. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to the Malay Peninsula' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in the Malay Peninsula

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in the Malay Peninsula

    Some Organized Tours to the Malay Peninsula

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who are running organized tours to the Malay Peninsula in the next couple of years include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.