Trip Report: Sabah (Malaysian Borneo), June 10-27, 1999

Aidan G. Kelly, Ireland;


The East Malaysian state of Sabah in north east Borneo offers the most accessible birding on the island of Borneo. Sabah together with the neighbouring state of Sarawak are semi-autonomous regions in the federation of Malaysia. The remainder of Borneo consists of the Indonesian region of Kalimantan and the State of Brunei.

Most of Borneo was, until relatively recently, one vast rainforest. Sadly this is no longer the case and much of Sabah has been logged. This can be seen only too well when one takes an internal flight across the State. However, many birds can still be seen in certain areas where habitat still exists.

Borneo has close to 40 endemics, the number varying depending on what taxonomic viewpoint you follow. The majority of these can be seen in Sabah. Birdlife International has declared the Bornean Mountains as an Endemic Bird Area (EBA) of Urgent Priority for Conservation (see Stattersfield et al., 1998).

I concentrated the birding on a few key areas: Mount Kinabalu National Park (MKNP) and the nearby Poring Hot Springs (PHS), Danum Valley (DV) and a short visit to Palau Manukan (PM) just offshore from Kota Kinabalu, the State's capital. A short stop was also made at Likas Bay (LB), a few kilometres to the north-east of Kota Kinabalu. All of these sites are covered in Nigel Wheatley's Where to Watch Birds in Asia, but for more comprehensive treatment, a number of trip reports were also obtained beforehand (see below). The trip was fairly successful recording approximately 190 species, including 24 of the island's endemics. Highlights were good views of the three endemic pittas, in particular the much sought after Blue-banded, Whitehead's 'hat-trick' (Broadbill, Trogon and Spiderhunter) at Mount Kinabalu N.P. Hornbill numbers were lower than expected, with many more species seen on the Peninsula the previous year.

On a relatively short trip a number of misses were to be expected and amongst the endemics, the following were the most notable:

At Mount Kinabalu:
Mountain (Kinabalu) Serpent Eagle (none seen in 7 days spent in the area); Black-breasted Fruithunter (despite checking many fruiting trees); Mountain Barbet; Red-breasted Partridge (heard only). I had no success with the rarely recorded Everett's Thrush and seldomly seen Pygmy White-eye.

At Poring:
Bornean (Black-throated) Barbet

At Danum Valley:
Bornean Bristlehead (a major disappointment and one definitely to go back for) and Black-throated Wren-babbler. Bulwer's Pheasant is very rare and was not seen. It has only been sighted rarely in recent years here.

Costs, Accommodation, Food etc.

Return flight to Kota Kinabalu cost IRP630 (c.800 Euros). This included Dublin/London with Aer Lingus and London/Kota Kinabalu (KK) (via Kuala Lumpur) with Malaysia Airlines. For Danum Valley I flew KK/Lahad Datu return at a cost of IRP62. All flights were booked through Twohig Travel Ltd. in Dublin. Although a bit more expensive than Peninsular Malaysia, I found the prices in Sabah to be fairly reasonable. Most of the accommodation was booked in advance from Dublin. This was a good move as the hostels at MKNP HQ and Laban Rata can be booked up for weeks in advance with people intent on climbing Mt. Kinabalu.

The exchange rate during my visit was 1 US$ = 3.762 Malaysian Ringgit (RM).


In Kota Kinabalu I stayed on two different occasions at Jack's B+B, No. 17 , Block B, Karamunsing Warehouse, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Telephone: 006 088 232 367
Mobile: 01985 13140
Conditions are fairly basic here but at 18RM/night including a breakfast it's good value and the owners are very helpful and friendly.

At the end of the trip I stayed at the Trekker's Lodge (formerly known as the Traveller's Rest Hostel), Block L, Lot 5 and 6, 2nd and 3rd Floor Sinsuran Complex.

Telephone: 006 088 252 263
Fax: 006 088 258 263
More comfortable than Jack's and also with friendly and helpful staff.

In MKNP, I stayed at the hostels near the HQ, except on the day I climbed the mountain when I stayed at the Laban Rata hostel below the summit. In PHS I also stayed at the hostel.

I booked all of the hostels (MKNP HQ, Laban Rata and PHS) a number of weeks in advance through The Kinabalu Gold Resorts Sdn. Bhd. Lots 3.46 and 3.47 3rd Floor, Block C, Kompleks Karamunsing, 88300, Kota Kinabalu

Telephone: 0060 88 243629, 245742
Fax: 0060 88 242861
Web site: (Then go to "destinations" link).
Booking in advance is recommended as both areas can get busy with people especially at week-ends. Beds used to be bookable through the Sabah Parks and Forestry Dept. 0060 88 211652/211881, fax: 211585. However it now appears that the Kinabalu Gold Resorts Co. has taken over this administrative job.

Hostels cost 12RM/night at both MKNP and PHS. Laban Rata was 29RM/night. The MKNP hostels are adequate but often noisy when full. The PHS hostel and Laban Rata are more modern and comfortable than those at the MKNP HQ.

At Danum Valley accommodation can be had at the luxurious but very expensive Bornean Rainforest Lodge. The Danum Valley Field Centre is generally reserved for researchers and students.

Bookings for the Borneo Rainforest Lodge (BRL) should be made through:

Innoprise Jungle Lodge
Sadong Jaya Boulevard
PO Box 11622
88817 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Tel: 00 60 88 243245 / 244100
Fax: 00 60 88 254227 / 262050
or in Lahad Datu at:
tel: 0060 11 817624
fax: 0060 11 817619


Food is readily available at all sites with restaurants and shops at MKNP, PHS and Palau Manukan. The overall cost of the trip including all flights, local transport, accommodation and food etc. was approximately US$1400.

Weather, Conditions etc.

During my visit KK was hot and humid but not oppressively so. The temperature at MKNP was noticeably cooler, making for pleasant birding conditions. However, early morning at Laban Rata below the summit was fairly cold, and a few layers of clothes were welcome. It rained on most days at MKNP, sometimes very heavily. The mountain was often obscured by cloud for much of the day. An umbrella came in very handy at MKNP and use was often made of the various shelters along the Power Station Road.

Poring Hot Springs, being at a much lower altitude than MKNP was very hot, humid and sticky, making it often difficult and uncomfortable climbing the steep and slippery trails. Some rain fell most evenings and through the night.

Danum Valley was hot and humid too with rain at times, though again mostly in the evenings and at night.

Leeches were very numerous at Danum Valley. There were so many that it was impossible to avoid regular bites. Some were also present at PHS but just a few were seen at MKNP.

Mosquitoes weren't a problem at MKNP at all. However they were present at both PHS and DV where insect repellent was a must. Larium tablets were taken against malaria.


Public transport is fairly good in Sabah so hiring a car would be an unnecessary expense. Long distance buses leave regularly from the area around the library on Jalan Padang. Taxis are also widely available in Kota Kinabalu.

Notes on Sites Visited

Mount Kinabalu National Park

Mount Kinabalu is Malaysia's and South East Asia's highest mountain. At 4101m (13455 ft) it's a very impressive sight, and the whole area is very beautiful and scenic. Two thirds of Borneo's endemics are to be found here, and the place deserves a lot of time. The birding can be slow at times with the specialities taking time to see. In total I spent 7 days birding here and still missed a number of them. On the lower slopes the main habitat consists of rich montane evergreen forest, much of which is endemic itself. Higher up the vegetation becomes more stunted. The NP is about 90km from Kota Kinabalu, and the gates of the park (altitude 1623m) can be reached by public bus (about 2 hours from KK). The HQ is situated just inside the park gates. Any bus going to Ranau or Sandakan passes the gates. The park has two restaurants and a shop and a wide choice of accommodation with chalets, cabins and 2 hostels. Accommodation used to be bookable through the Sabah Parks Office but the Kinabalu Gold Resorts Co. seems to have taken over the job (see Accommodation section). If planning to stay at the park it is advisable to book in advance as it is a very popular area with many people visiting to climb the mountain.

If planning to climb the mountain (something which has to be done to see Kinabalu Friendly Warbler and Mountain Black-eye as well as Island Thrush) one night's accommodation should also be booked at the Laban Rata hostel which is situated at an altitude of 3353m. The usual procedure for most climbers is to climb as far as Laban Rata on the first day, overnight here, and leave in the early hours to be at the summit of Low's Peak for the dawn. I decided to only go as far as Laban Rata as it is possible to see all the birds by doing this. This also meant that I could climb from the HQ as far as Laban Rata without a mountain guide. I still had to pay the climbing fee of 50 RM. and also had to sign an insurance-exclusion form stating that I was climbing alone as far as Laban Rata, without a guide. This must all be done at the HQ before you begin to climb the mountain.

At MKNP the main birding areas to concentrate on are: the loop road around the HQ, chalets and hostels (this area can be very good just before dawn when many birds come to feed on the insects attracted to the street lights); the trails themselves which are usually totally devoid of people (most are only intent on climbing the mountain and never go near the trails). Also productive was the road to the Power Station (altitude 1950m and 4.5 km from the HQ) on the way to the summit. The Power Station marks the limit of paved road and is as far up the mountain that vehicles can go. Heading towards the summit, birding was reasonably slow, but it's necessary to do the fairly gruelling climb to see some of the specialities, as mentioned above.

Poring Hot Springs

This area is still technically within the Kinabalu National Park and situated 40km from the gates of the NP. At an altitude of c.460m it has a different variety of birds. The area is famous for its hot sulphurous baths, and these are what attract most of the tourists to the area. There are chalets and a hostel which can be booked through the Kinabalu Gold Resorts (see under Accommodation). Decent food can be had at the fairly newly opened restaurant just before the baths. The area around the baths can get fairly crowded at week-ends. PHS can be reached by public bus from the gates of the MKNP by taking a passing bus to Ranau and then getting another from Ranau to Poring. Alternatively, there is the more expensive option of chartering a park bus from the MKNP directly to Poring.

Poring consists of rainforest with some more open clearings. The open areas around the HQ and the baths have many fruiting and flowering trees, and the birding can be good here in the early morning, before the crowds arrive. There is a shortish trail just beyond the baths to the Kipungit Waterfall which from here continues up steep and slippery slopes past the bat caves before eventually reaching the spectacular Langanan Waterfall. Birding can be difficult and uncomfortable at times here due to the high humidity and temperature combined with the rough terrain, not to mention the leeches and mosquitoes! However, one must suffer to see the good birds, and they don't come much better than Blue-banded Pitta, this trail to Langanan Waterfall being one of the most reliable spots for the species. A canopy walkway provides good views of many species, though as with all areas of the forest it can be very quiet at times.

Danum Valley

Danum Valley consists of 438 sq. km. of lowland rainforest. For its size it contains a huge variety of bird species (c.275 species recorded) and is regarded by many as one of the world's best forest birding locations. Danum Valley is probably the 'pitta capital' of the world with 7 species present, including the three endemics. The Bornean Rainforest Lodge is located 36km from the Danum Valley Field Centre, but the habitat is similar, and most of the birds are found in both areas.

Danum Valley is located 85 km north of the town of Lahad Datu in south eastern Sabah. To reach Lahad Datu it is best to fly from Kota Kinabalu. There are daily flights from KK to Lahad Datu with Malaysia Airlines. If travelling from KK, it is possible to reach Lahad Datu on public transport, by taking a bus to Sandakan and taking another south to Lahad Datu. This would be a lot more time consuming than flying.

Orang-utans are present at Danum Valley, but unfortunately during my visit I never came across any. The nearest thing I saw was a Maroon Langur. I only spent 4 nights at DV, far too little time to do it any sort of justice.

Palau Manukan

The small island of Palau Manukan is part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman NP. This is probably the most easily accessible site in Sabah to see Tabon Scrubfowl. Boat trips take 20 minutes and leave from the jetties near the Hyatt Hotel in Kota Kinabalu. The scrubfowls are best located by walking slowly along the paved jogging track and listening for them rustling in the dry leaf litter. Although fairly shy, with patience it should be possible to obtain some views. A day trip ought to be enough to see them (I managed it in a short evening visit). It is possible to stay over-night on the island provided accommodation is booked in advance through the Kinabalu Gold Resorts Co. However, the only place to stay would appear to be an expensive chalet, there being no hostels or camp sites on the island. Other notable bird species to be found on the island are Mangrove Whistler and Mangrove Blue Flycatcher. Frigatebirds are sometimes seen during and after on-shore gales.

The snorkelling is reportedly very good around the island and generally it's a great place to chill out and relax (once you've seen the Scrubfowl!).

Likas Bay

This area consists of a small pool and lagoon near the large mosque at the roundabout on Jalan Pasir about 3km north east of KK. It's before the Sabah Foundation Building. It is reportedly good for waders, herons and other water birds but during my brief visit, the water levels were too high and there was no mud exposed. I didn't record very much of note apart from a few herons. LB is noted for the group of Chinese Egrets which winter in the area.



Trip Reports/Articles etc.



Thanks to Tomas Carlberg and David Cooper for help and advice received before the trip. Richard Ranft at the British Library supplied tape recordings of some of the Bornean endemics. Steve Whitehouse supplied some additional trip reports and recordings.


10 June Left Dublin for London and onward flight to Kuala Lumpur (KL).

11 June Arrived KL and took onward flight to Kota Kinabalu (KK).

12 June Travelled KK to Mount Kinabalu National Park (MKNP).

13 June MKNP.

14 June MKNP. Climbed up Mt. K. (overnighted at Laban Rata).

15 June MKNP. Climbed down Mt. K.

16 June MKNP; travelled in evening to Poring Hot Springs (PHS).

17 June PHS.

18 June PHS.

19 June PHS; travelled in evening to MKNP.

20 June MKNP; travelled in evening to KK.

21 June Flew KK to Lahad Datu and then took vehicle to Danum Valley (DV).

22 June DV.

23 June DV.

24 June DV.

25 June Travelled DV to Lahad Datu and then onward flight to KK. Boat to Palau Manukan in afternoon. Returned to KK towards dusk.

26 June Went from KK to MKNP and returned to KK in evening.

27 June Left KK in the early hours for KL, and onward flights home.

Daily Account

10 June

Left Dublin at 16.00 hrs. for Heathrow and onward flight to Kuala Lumpur.

11 June

Arrived into KL Int. Airport in evening. Phoned ahead to Jack's B+B in Kota Kinabalu and booked a room for the night (18 RM). Flew KL to KK arriving 23.30 hrs. Taxi from airport to Jack's B+B. A basic room but clean with helpful and friendly owners.

12 June

After a breakfast at 06.00hrs, I left Jack's and began the journey to the Mount Kinabalu National Park, about 2 hours by bus from Kota Kinabalu. The people at Jack's showed me to a bus stop from where I took a short bus ride (1/2 RM) to the 'long distance bus-park' on Jalan Padang. On arriving I was immediately accosted by touts trying to get me to travel on 'their' bus. Also many 'hawkers' around selling everything from bags of hard-boiled birds eggs to digital watches. The first long distance bus to Sandakan was already full, and I eventually got away at c.07.40 hrs. All buses which go to Sandakan or Ranau pass the gates of the NP. Along the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu, I soon got my first view of the mighty Mt. Kinabalu, an impressive sight alright. The bus trip to the Park cost me 15RM, (I suspect it should really be about 10RM, if I haggled more).

Arrived at the Park's HQ at around 10.00 hrs. Was told that I couldn't check-in to the hostel (Asrama Mengilan) until 13.00hrs. Left bags at locked reception room and started birding the trails around the HQ loop (Liwagu Trail to river, Silau Silau Trail). Weather was sunny and bright until 12.30hrs., when it rained quite heavily for about two hours, a good excuse to eat in the restaurant opposite the reception building. Checked into hostel and birded the Silau Silau and Kiau View Trails for remainder of evening. By now a blanket of heavy fog and mist covered the Power Station road, making birding impossible here. Birding was generally quite slow on the trails, but eventually I struck lucky with my only Whitehead's Spiderhunter sighting of the trip on the Kiau View Trail. The bird passed through at head height with a feeding flock and gave excellent close views. Other highlights today were Sunda Whistling Thrush, Sunda Cuckoo-shrike, Yellow-breasted Warbler, White-browed (Eye-browed) Jungle Flycatcher.

13 June

Out birding just after 05.30hrs. Concentrated on areas around HQ before going as far as Power Station, doing some of upper Kiau View Trail on the way. Returned to HQ via Mempening Trail and part of Silau Silau Trail. Lunch at restaurant opposite the reception and HQ buildings. In the afternoon went down Silau Silau Trail to the Liwagu river and back to the reception area. Got soaking wet in heavy afternoon rains. Back to hostel to change clothes. Spent some time on Power Station road in late evening in drier weather. Ate again at restaurant. Met Howard and Thaïs from USA who were on an extensive birding trip of SE Asia. Birding highlights: Whitehead's Broadbill (2 separate sightings of this brilliant species, the only ones of the trip, Crimson-headed Partridge (many calling, but only managed a brief view on Mempening Trail), Maroon Woodpecker, Short-tailed Magpie, Indigo Flycatcher, Snowy-browed Flycatcher.

14 June

Birded around the hostel for a while before heading to reception to sort out paperwork for ascent of Mt. Kinabalu. With fairly limited time, I decided that I wasn't going to go right to the top of the mountain, so I did not need to get the services of a guide to bring me up the mountain. I was only going as far as the resthouse of Laban Rata, having booked accommodation here in advance. Was allowed to go without a guide after I signed an insurance-exclusion form and promised not to go any further than the resthouse. The park buses from the reception building to the Power Station cost 10RM but saved the usual 4.5 km walk, before the 6km gruelling climb up to the top. The ascent to Laban Rata was tough going, with frequent stops necessary. It remained dry and clear all day, unusual for the area and perfect for viewing the scenery as I climbed. Arrived at Laban Rata Resthouse c. 14.30 hrs., having began the journey from the Power Station just before 08.00 hrs. Birds were generally in short supply most of the way up, with the Mountain Black-eyes being the main species of note. After a lunch at the resthouse, went out searching for the other two specialities: Friendly Bush-warbler and Island Thrush. Strangely no Island Thrushes could be found. But after a while I eventually managed excellent views down to a couple of feet of the Bush-warbler. An attractive warbler with both locustella-warbler and chat-like features combined. Its world range is entirely restricted to the upper slopes of Mount Kinabalu and the nearby mountain of Trus Madi. I found them to be easier to see below the Laban Rata resthouse than above it.

15 June

Awoken at c.02.30 hrs. by the exodus of people leaving Laban Rata with their guides to make the final ascent to Low's Peak for dawn. Since I wasn't going to the peak, I was able to have a 'lie-on' until 05.45 hrs. Birded around Laban Rata, eventually seeing one Island Thrush, a species I had expected to be much commoner around here. At least four Friendly Bush-warblers were singing their high pitched songs below Laban Rata, and excellent views were obtained of two of them. Sunda Bush-warblers were also in the same areas. After a breakfast at Laban Rata, I began the long descent of the mountain. From the Power Station road went down via Mempening Trail and Liwagu Trail to river and out at reception area.

Had some food at restaurant and then booked transport to take me to Poring Hot Springs at 17.00hrs. tomorrow. I decided to take the Park's transport to PHS rather than relying on public transport. At 65RM it's ridiculously overpriced. [The public buses would have cost about 5RM. However this would involve two bus trips: a bus to Ranau and another onward to Poring (of which the latter are not very frequent in the evening). Since I had fairly limited time, I wanted to spend the full day at MKNP and travel to PHS when I wanted, so I opted for the Park's bus]. Towards evening went up the Kiau View Trail from the park entrance and came out at Silau Silau Trail entrance. Went up Silau Silau and came out at Power Station Road. Back to hostel just after dark. A male Whitehead's Trogon half way along the Silau Silau Trail in the late evening was definitely the highlight of the day and meant that Whitehead's famous 'hat-trick' had now been achieved. The trogons have been reportedly fairly difficult to see at Mt. Kinabalu in recent years. The bird was watched for five minutes before flying off deep into the forest.

16 June

Up at 05.30 hrs. Did Silau Silau Trail and then out onto Power Station Road. Went some way up the top end of Kiao View Trail and then someway down the Mempening Trail and back to the road. Continued up towards Power Station. Went up Bukit Ular Trail coming out at Power Station. Then went the full length of the Liwagu River Trail and back to Silau Silau Trail exit. Went up Pantrus Trail and exited at lower end of Khao View Trail at Park entrance. Main highlight was a brilliant Bornean Stubtail at the top end of the Liwagu River Trail, where you first meet the river. Other highlights were a count of 6 Mountain Wren-babblers. Heard Red-breasted Partridge calling from a distance away, but unfortunately no sightings were obtained. The amazing nasal buzzing call of Whitehead's Spiderhunter was heard too on the Kiau View Trail, but the bird was not seen this time. Generally the trails were fairly quiet, and a lot of work for a few good species.

Ate in Restaurant and then got my pre-booked minibus to Poring at c. 16.45 hrs. Arrived Poring just before dusk (c.18.00 hrs). Checked in at reception and dumped gear at hostel. Had a short walk around the hot springs before dusk. Due to the huge altitude difference, the very high humidity and temperatures here compared with Mt. Kinabalu were very noticeable. A Black-and-yellow Broadbill heard calling from the tall trees at the springs was the only bird of note.

17 June

Out birding by 06.00hrs. Stayed around hot springs for a while, then went up to Kipungit Waterfall and onward to the Langanan Waterfall. Quite a long and tough climb due to the very high humidity and temperature. Spent a long time at the bamboo areas on the way back down trying for Blue-banded Pitta, but nothing heard or seen. Main highlight was a 10 second perched view of a Rufous-collared Kingfisher in the forest some way above the Kipungit Waterfall. Otherwise reasonably quiet on the trails. Back to the hot springs area and ate at the restaurant here. Went up to Canopy Walkway and spent some time here. Remainder of day at the large clearing before the Kipungit Waterfall.

18 June

Spent first hour or so around the reception area and hot springs. Went up to Kipungit Waterfall and came back to hot springs on other half of loop trail. A load of people going towards the Canopy Walkway made me delay my visit there. Looped around to Kipungit Waterfall again and back later to Canopy Walkway until midday. Had lunch in restaurant. In afternoon went up the Langanan Waterfall Trail as far as the bamboo. Still no success with Blue-banded Pitta here. However after a while I walked for about 15-20 minutes beyond the last of the bamboo. The highlight of the trip was to come: A Blue-banded Pitta was calling close to the trail (a bit further along and up over the ridge on that part of the trail where there's a flat rock formation on the left hand side of the trail). After some very tense minutes of slow stalking, prolonged views were obtained of the bird. At one stage, it sat still for about ten minutes in full view, on a low branch just beside the trail, puffing its body and throat feathers out as it called. A sought after species, and one I didn't really expect to see so well.

Returned to the clearing beyond Kipungit Waterfall and stayed here 'til dusk. Later on met some tourists in the restaurant and celebrated the pitta sighting with a few drinks there. Arranged a park vehicle to bring me back to Mount Kinabalu N.P. tomorrow evening at 17.00hrs.

19 June

Out birding by 05.45 hrs. Birded around the reception and hot springs area for a while. Then had breakfast in the restaurant. Went up the trail towards Langangan Waterfall. No sign of the pitta in the area where I saw it yesterday. A number of tourists were present on the trail however. Went slowly back down towards the reception area. Did the loop to Kipungit Waterfall and back to springs twice. Heavy rain began in the afternoon so I left for Mt. Kinabalu in one of the park vehicles at 16.40 hrs. Went to reception at MKNP and checked into hostel. This time the Asrama Mengilan (New Hostel) was full, and I was put into the Old Hostel (Asrama Medang) beside it. The older hostel actually has a bit more room. Birding highlights: 2 Crested Jay near Kipungit Waterfall, Grey-headed Babbler.

20 June

Out birding by 06.00hrs. From hostels area went up the Power Station road. Went some way up the top end of the Kiao View Trail and then some way down the Mempening Trail and then back to the road the same way and continued up to Power Station. The rain began at about midday, and the mountain was soon totally obscured. The rain continued on and off for the rest of the day here, torrential at times. Came back down Power Station road and went down the Mempening Trail to Bukit Tupai and then to Bukit Burung. Back to restaurant for lunch. Birded around the HQ area doing the full loop a few times. Left the park in heavy rain and took a bus from outside the gates to Kota Kinabalu for 10RM. Arrived KK and took a taxi back to Jack's B+B, which I had phoned from the park to reserve a room. Later, walked to the Karamunsing Complex where a KFC provided dinner...

Birding highlights: Heard both partridges again at MKNP, but no sightings; first prolonged views of Golden-naped Barbet; nice views of Snowy-browed Flycatchers feeding fledged young.

21 June

Had a lie-on at Jack's B+B until 08.00hrs. as flight to Lahad Datu wasn't leaving until 11.50hrs. Had breakfast and took a taxi to the airport at KK. Black-headed Munia, a few Crested Mynas and Purple Herons around the airport grounds were noted.

Took flight to Lahad Datu, arriving at 12.55hrs. Eventually got vehicle to Danum Valley. A few kilometres before we reached Danum, a large mammal was seen sitting on the track onfront of us. It turned out to be a Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa, and we watched it sitting on the middle of the track for a few seconds before it walked away and disappeared into the forest. An extremely fortunate sighting of a rare and secretive species.

When I arrived at Danum, I met up with Thaïs and Howard whom I had met at Mount Kinabalu. After eating we obtained fantastic views of a Buffy Fish Owl.

It was good to hear from Thaïs and Howard that the pittas were showing 'no problem'. I was then treated to viewing the video footage they had obtained of both Blue-headed and Black-and-crimson Pittas. Roll on tomorrow...

22 June

Out at 05.45 hrs. and headed straight for the trails. Within a minute or so of walking onto the trails, I heard the high monotone whistle of a 'Garnet'-type pitta calling very close to the trail. After a minute or so of scouring the thick undergrowth, a stunning Black-and-crimson Pitta revealed itself. Although a fair number of Black-and-crimson Pittas were subsequently heard today, none was seen, the undergrowth usually being too dense to see anything.

Within an hour I had also seen both male and female Blue-headed Pittas further along the trails. The male really is an absolute stunner and rivals Blue-banded Pitta for bird of the trip. (Blue-banded probably just edges it as I didn't expect to see that species so well).

Further into the trails, and I started notching up more and more species. The most impressive animal however wasn't a bird but a reptile: just as I was about to cross a small stream I saw a huge python over 15-18ft (5m) long sitting in the stream. I cautiously crossed the stream a bit further down and then observed from a height as the large snake swam downstream. I later found out that the species I had seen was Reticulated Python Python reticulatus (one of the largest snakes in the world). I also saw my first scorpion: a very large one, shiny black in colour overall.

Went back for lunch and then out again for the remainder of the day. Birding was very slow at times this afternoon. Towards dusk met up with Thaïs and Howard. Birding highlights: good views of Blue-headed and Black-and-crimson Pittas; a female Great Argus briefly; Rhinoceros Hornbills; excellent views of two Bornean Wren-babblers and a single female Rufous-tailed Shama. What were presumably Chestnut-necklaced Partridges were heard calling off the trail, but unfortunately they never approached.

23 June

Out towards dawn and went down the trails. Spent the morning on the trails and then back for lunch. In the afternoon walked out the road towards Lahad Datu. Then back to the trails for the evening. Back for dinner and then took a walk on the Lahad Datu road with torches.

Birding highlights: a juv. Wallace's Hawk Eagle, a single White-fronted Falconet, a Bar-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, a Red-bearded Bee-eater, two Dusky Broadbills and a Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler were all seen from the main track towards Lahad Datu. The trails produced a male Crested Fireback walking along the trail (with the yellowish buff tail feathers unlike the birds on the Peninsula, which have white tails), a male Great Argus (a tail-only view disappearing into the vegetation), a male Red-naped Trogon, a Chestnut-naped Forktail. A male Rufous-collared Kingfisher and the same pair of Blue-headed Pittas showed well at the start of the trails in the evening. At least 5 different Black-and-crimson Pittas were heard calling today, but none showed themselves, not helped by the fact that they were invariably calling from extremely dense vegetation in the forest. The walk with torches back along the Lahad Datu road with Howard and Thaïs produced a Brown Hawk-Owl catching insects in flycatcher fashion.

24 June

Out again by dawn. Birded the trails until 12.30hrs. when returned for some lunch. Returned to the trails where I continued birding. Unfortunately it rained, sometimes quite heavily, for most of the afternoon and evening. Still no sign of any Bornean Bristleheads or Black-throated Wren-babblers. Birding highlights: Whiskered Treeswift, Banded Broadbill, Black-and-crimson Pitta (second and final sighting of the trip), Greater Green Leafbird, and a group of Black Magpies on the trails. Good views were had of a Blue-banded Kingfisher near a stream along the trails.

25 June

Thaïs, Howard and myself were all leaving Danum today, so just had time for a few hours birding before leaving for Lahad Datu. Got a final view of the male Blue-headed Pitta hopping about on the trail. Also had brief flight views of a Pygmy Kingfisher. Left for Lahad Datu at 08.30 hrs. Went for some food in Lahad Datu with Howard and Thaïs, and then said our goodbyes. They were continuing towards Sukau. I went to the small airport to catch the13.05 hrs. flight to Kota Kinabalu. Took a taxi from KK airport to the Trekker's Lodge Hostel. Booked in for the next two nights. Left the bags and walked down towards the jetties near the Hyatt Hotel. Managed to get a boat that was going over to Palau Manukan for a few hours with other tourists (20RM rtn.). Slowly walked the 'jogging track' on the island and eventually saw two pairs of Tabon Scrubfowls. Returned to KK and Trekker's Lodge. Birding highlights: See above; also Mangrove Whistler on Palau Manukan.

26 June

Since I didn't need to revisit P. Manukan, having had fairly decent views of the Scrubfowls the previous evening, I decided to do a day trip back to MKNP to try for some of the species I missed in the Park previously, most notably, Black-breasted Fruithunter, Mountain Serpent Eagle, Mountain Barbet and Black-sided Flowerpecker. Left the Trekker's Lodge by 06.30 hrs. and walked to the 'long distance bus depot'. A bus to MKNP left at 07.15 hrs. and cost 15RM. Arrived at the gates of the N.P. at 09.20 hrs. Walked as far as the Power Station spending some time along the Mempening Trail on the way. From the Power Station walked down as far as the river at the Liwagu Trail. Then returned to the Power Station Road. Spent time at some fruiting trees hoping to see a Fruithunter, but no success. Many Little Cuckoo Doves were present. The rain began by 11.30 hrs. however, more or less putting an end to any chances of seeing Mountain Serpent Eagle. Went back down the Power Station Road and then the full length of the Kiao View Trail to the reception buildings, seeing very little due to the fairy heavy rain. Stayed around the HQ loop area for some time and eventually succeeded in getting the first decent views of Black-sided Flowerpecker.

Left the Park at 15.30 hrs. and after waiting for some time eventually got a mini bus going to KK (10RM). The rain soon cleared as we descended. Got off the bus at the Likas Bay pools for the last half hour of light. Then took a bus to centre of KK getting off near the Trekker's Lodge. Arranged an early morning wake up call and taxi to the airport for 03.15 hrs. Birding highlights: three sightings of Black-sided Flowerpeckers (two males, 1 female), Chestnut-crested Yuhina nesting in a hole in an embankment along the Khao View Trail.

27 June

Up at 03.00hrs. and got taxi to KK Airport for 04.20 hrs. flight to Kuala Lumpur. Onward flight to London at 11.00hrs. Arrived Heathrow and took onward flight to Dublin at 20.10hrs.

Annotated Species List

Site abbreviations:
MKNPMount Kinabalu National Park
PHSPoring Hot Springs
DVDanum Valley
PMPalau Manukan
LBLikas Bay (near Kota Kinabalu)
Numbers refer to those in MacKinnon J., Phillips K., 1993 A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali. New York.

Species endemic to Borneo are underlined.

34. Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
3 seen flying over near Kota Kinabalu Airport and 4 present at LB.

36. Striated (Little Green) Heron (Butorides striatus)
3 seen at LB.

40. Pacific Reef Egret (Heron) (Egretta sacra)
1 white phase bird present on the beach at PM.

42. Great White Egret (Egretta alba)
1 seen between the Airport and KK.

45. Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
2 flew over at LB.

93. Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela)
1 gave prolonged perched views in a clearing at PHS.

102. Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus)
1 seen perched high up at DV.

108. Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis)
1 probable seen briefly at DV.

113. Blyth's Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus alboniger)
1 seen from the canopy walkway at PHS.

114. Wallace's Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus nanus)
1 immature seen along the road to Lahad Datu at DV. This species is classed as Vulnerable by Collar et al. (1994).

116. White-fronted Falconet (Microhierax fringillarius)
1 seen perched in a dead tree along the road to Lahad Datu at DV. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. (1994).

124. Tabon Scrubfowl (Megapodius cumingii)
Two pairs seen rustling in the vegetation towards the end of the paved jogging track at PM. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. (1994).

131. Red-breasted Partridge (Arborophila hyperythra)
Heard on two occasions at MKNP but never seen.

132. Chestnut-necklaced Partridge (Arborophila charltoni)
Arborophila-type calls heard at DV on two occasions were undoubtedly from this species, the only 'arborophila' partridge on the Danum Valley bird checklist. This species is classed as Vulnerable to extinction by Collar et al. (1994). Its small populations are isolated, and it is severely threatened by deforestation.

134. Crimson-headed Partridge (Heamatortyx sanguiniceps)
Heard daily at MKNP, often very close, but only one brief view obtained along the Mempening Trail.

137. Crested Fireback (Lophura ignita)
A single male was seen feeding out in the open on the trails at DV. This species is classed as Vulnerable by Collar et al. (1994).

145. Great Argus (Argusianus argus)
A female was seen briefly along the trails at DV. The next day a fleeting view of a male's tail disappearing through the vegetation was obtained on the trails.

157. White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
2 seen at LB.

159. Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
c. 12 seen at LB.

257. Pink-necked Pigeon (Treron vernans)
2 birds seen on PM.

264. Green Imperial Pigeon (Ducula aenea)
A few seen at DV almost daily.

272. Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia)
Recorded in urban areas at KK.

275. Little Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia ruficeps)
Large numbers were seen feeding in fruiting trees along the Power Station Road at MKNP.

277. Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)
Recorded in the open countryside outside of KK.

279. Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)
Recorded on three occasions at MKNP and PHS.

288. Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (Loriculus galgulus)
Recorded at both PHS and DV.

294. Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus)
Heard daily at DV but not seen.

306. Common Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea)
1 heard on PM.

307. Black-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus nardi)
1 seen at PHS.

310. Raffles' Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus)
2 birds seen well at PHS.

312. Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris)
2 seen well at PHS.

315. Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
2 seen near DV.

333. Buffy Fish Owl (Ketupa ketupa)
1 gave excellent views at DV on the first evening there, but was not seen on subsequent evenings.

336. Brown Hawk Owl (Ninox scutulata)
One spotlighted along the Lahad Datu Road at DV. The bird was catching prey in flycatcher fashion.

346. Malaysian Eared Nightjar (Eurostopodus temminckii)
3 flew over and were heard calling at the PHS hostel one evening.

[354. Edible-nest Swiftlet (Collocalia fuciphaga)
A few swiftlets were seen at PHS and DV and may have been this species or the following two. Without seeing their nests they are notoriously difficult to identify in the field.

355. Black-nest Swiftlet (Collocalia maxima)
356. Mossy-nest Swiftlet (Collocalia salangana)].
358. Glossy (White-bellied) Swiftlet (Collocalia esculenta)
Seen almost daily at most sites visited.

359. Cave Swiftlet (Collocalia linchi)
Some swiftlets seen at MKNP had a definite green cast to the upperparts and were thus more likely to be this species as opposed to the latter species.

363. Silver-rumped Swift (Paphidura leucopygialis)
Seen at PHS and DV.

365. Little (House) Swift (Apus affinis)
A few seen in KK.

367. Grey-rumped Tree-swift (Hemiprocne longipennis)
Up to 10 seen at PHS.

368. Whiskered Tree-swift (Hemiprocne comata)
1 bird seen perched along the trails, DV.

370. Red-naped Trogon (Harpactes kasumba)
A male seen along the trails, DV.

371. Diard's Trogon (Harpactes diardii)
A female was seen just before the bat caves at PHS.

372. Whitehead's Trogon (Harpactes whiteheadi)
A male was watched for a few minutes along the Silau-Silau Trail, close to the Power Station Road, at MKNP. One of the trip highlights.

379. Blue-banded Kingfisher (Alcedo euryzona)
One seen well at a river along the trails at DV.

382. Rufous-backed (Oriental Dwarf) Kingfisher (Ceyx rufidorsa)
One seen briefly along the trails, DV.

389. Collared Kingfisher (Todirhamphus chloris)
1 seen on the outskirts of KK and up to 4 seen on PM.

391. Rufous-collared Kingfisher (Actenoides concretus)
A female seen between the Kipungit Waterfall and the Bat Caves at PHS. At DV, a male was seen one evening along the trails. Another trip highlight.

394. Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis)
Seen almost daily at DV with up to 4 birds seen one day.

396. Red-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis amictus)
1 seen along the Lahad Datu Road at DV.

402. Wreathed Hornbill (Aceros undulatus)
Small groups of birds were seen (and heard) flying over on two occasions at PHS and once at DV.

406. Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)
Seen or heard calling daily at DV.

412. Gold-whiskered Barbet (Megalaima chrysopogon)
Heard at PHS.

414. Red-throated Barbet (Megalaima phanos)
Heard at PHS and at DV.

418. Yellow-crowned Barbet (Megalaima henricii)
Heard calling at PHS and DV, but never seen.

420. Golden-naped Barbet (Megalaima pulcherrima)
Heard daily at MKNP and seen on a few occasions but only seen well once.

421. Blue-eared Barbet (Megalaima australis)
Probably heard at PHS and at DV.

424. Brown Barbet (Calorhamphus fuliginosus)
1 seen well at DV.

427. Rufous Piculet (Sasia abnormis)
1 seen very well along the trails at DV.

428. Rufous Woodpecker (Celeus brachyurus)
1 seen at PHS.

432. Crimson-winged Woodpecker (Picus puniceus)
This or the following species seen briefly at MKNP and also at DV.

434. Checker-throated Woodpecker (Picus mentalis)
2 seen at MKNP. Also two brief sightings of this or the previous species at both MKNP and DV.

439. Buff-necked Woodpecker (Meiglyptes tukki)
1 seen at PHS and another at DV.

445. Grey-and-buff Woodpecker (Hemicircus concretus)
4 seen at PHS.

446. Maroon Woodpecker (Blythipicus rubiginosus)
Seen well at both MKNP and PHS.

449. Dusky Broadbill (Corydon sumatranus)
2 birds were seen on the Lahad Datu road at DV. One of these gave excellent prolonged 'scope views with the orange-buff patch on the mantle clearly visible.

450. Black-and-red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos)
1 seen at PHS and seen almost daily at DV.

451. Banded Broadbill (Eurylaimus javanicus)
1 seen and another heard along the trails at DV.

452. Black-and-yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus)
Heard daily at PHS and almost daily at DV. Two birds seen at DV.

457. Whitehead's Broadbill (Calyptomena whiteheadi)
2 sightings at MKNP. Both on the same day: 1 at the upper end of the Kiao View Trail. Seen well and heard calling. Two hours later another was seen from the Power Station Road in loose company with a feeding party of Short-tailed Magpies and laughingthrushes.

460. Blue-banded Pitta (Pitta arquata)
One gave stunning and prolonged views for c. 15 minutes beyond the last of the bamboo on the Langanan Waterfall Trail at PHS. Bird of the trip.

461. Blue-headed Pitta (Pitta baudii)
A pair showed well most evenings and mornings along the trails at DV. Another male crossed the trail further into the forest. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. (1994).

467. Black-crowned (Black-headed / Black-and-crimson) Pitta (Pitta ussheri)
Heard regularly at DV. Only two sightings of the same bird at the start of the trails. This bird has been given species status by Lambert et al in their book Pittas, Broadbills and Asities. Other authorities have lumped it with both Garnet Pitta (Pitta granatina) or with Graceful Pitta (Pitta venusta) of Sumatra.

474. Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica)
Regular at both PHS and DV.

478. Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike (Hemipus picatus)
1 seen at PHS.

479. Black-winged Flycatcher Shrike (Hemipus hirundinaceus)
Recorded at PHS daily with a maximum of 6 one day.

482. Sunda Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina larvata)
Recorded on just two days at MKNP.

483. Bar-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina striata)
2 birds showed well along the road to Lahad Datu at DV.

490. Grey-chinned Minivet (Pericrocotus solaris)
Seen almost daily at MKNP and PHS.

494. Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)
1 seen at PHS.

495. Lesser Green Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons)
Seen in small numbers at PHS and DV.

496. Greater Green Leafbird (Chloropsis sonnerati)
A female seen in a fruiting tree at DV.

504. Black-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus atriceps)
Recorded once at PHS.

510. Puff-backed Bulbul (Pycnonotus eutilotus)
Recorded once at DV.

514. Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)
Seen at DV. Also recorded at PM and MKNP.

515. Olive-winged Bulbul (Pycnonotus plumosus)
Recorded at PHS and DV.

517. Red-eyed Bulbul (Pycnonotus brunneus)
Recorded at PHS and DV.

520. Ochraceous Bulbul (Alophoixus ochraceus)
Recorded a few times at MKNP.

522. Yellow-bellied Bulbul (Alophoixus phaeocephalus)
Recorded regularly at DV. Also seen at PHS.

524. Hairy-backed Bulbul (Tricholestes criniger)
4 seen at PHS.

530. Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
Recorded on most days at MKNP in small numbers.

532. Bronzed Drongo (Dicrurus aeneus)
Seen in small numbers at MKNP, PHS and DV.

534. Hair-crested (Spangled) Drongo (Dicrurus hottentottus)
Recorded at MKNP in small numbers.

536. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)
Recorded at both PHS and DV.

537. Dark-throated Oriole (Oriolus xanthonotus)
A male and female showed well in different parts of the clearing between the Hot Springs and the Kipungit Waterfall at PHS. Another female was seen at DV.

541. Black-and-crimson Oriole (Oriolus cruentus)
3 birds were seen around the HQ loop area at MKNP, one morning.

542. Asian Fairy Bluebird (Irena puella)
Just one recorded, a male at PHS.

543. Crested Jay (Platylophus galericulatus)
2 gave good views around the Kipungit Waterfall, PHS. One was heard calling at DV. Bornean birds are of the dark brown form coronatus.

544. Short-tailed Magpie (Cissa thalassina)
Seen on 4 dates at MKNP, where excellent views were usually had. A maximum count of 6 birds was made one day. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. (1994).

547. Bornean Treepie (Dendrocitta cinerascens)
Common at MKNP, where seen daily in good numbers. The first endemic to be recorded on the trip. This species was also seen at PHS, but in much smaller numbers. This species is classed by some as a subspecies of Sumatran Treepie (D. occipitalis) and often referred to as Malaysian or Sunda Treepie. Recent authors have given it full species status.

549. Black Magpie (Platysmurus leucopterus)
A group of 4 birds was seen in tall trees along the trails at DV on one occasion. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. (1994).

550. Slender-billed Crow (Corvus enca)
Up to 8 birds were seen from the Lahad Datu track out of DV.

557. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis)
A bird was seen at PHS and 2 at MKNP.

559. Black-capped Babbler (Pellorneum capistratum)
2 were seen at PHS and also recorded at DV on one occasion.

[560. Temminck's Babbler (Pellorneum pyrrogenys)
2 birds which were probably this species were seen briefly along the Kiao View Trail on one occasion.]

562. White-chested Babbler (Trichastoma rostratum)
5 birds were seen at PHS. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. (1994).

563. Ferruginous Babbler (Trichastoma bicolor)
Seen at DV on a few occasions, with a max. of 3 birds in a day. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. (1994).

564. Short-tailed Babbler (Pellorneum malacocincla)
Seen fairly regularly at DV.

565. Horsfield's Babbler (Malacocincla sepiarium)
4 birds were seen at PHS.

566. Abbott's Babbler (Malacocincla abbotti)
A few were seen at PHS. Heard also at DV.

570. Sooty-capped Babbler (Malacopteron affine)
Recorded regularly at DV.

571. Scaly-crowned Babbler (Malacopteron cinereum)
Seen on one occasion at DV.

572. Rufous-crowned Babbler (Malacopteron magnum)
Recorded fairly regularly at PHS and DV.

574. Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus montanus)
1 bird was seen very well at PHS. 2 were also seen at DV.

576. Bornean Wren Babbler (Ptilocichla leucogrammica)
2 responded to tape playback on the trails at DV and eventually showed very well. Brilliant birds with real character. A further 2 birds were heard calling but didn't show. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. (1994).

582. Mountain Wren Babbler (Napothera crassa)
Recorded on two dates at MKNP with 6 birds seen one day and a group of 4 birds on the other.

588. Grey-throated Babbler (Stachyris nigriceps)
Recorded almost daily at MKNP.

589. Grey-headed Babbler (Stachyris poliocephala)
1 seen at PHS and 2 at DV.

591. Chestnut-rumped Babbler (Stachyris maculata)
4 seen at MKNP and 2 at DV.

595. Chestnut-winged Babbler (Stachyris erythroptera)
A few seen at PHS and seen daily at DV.

599. Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler (Macronous ptilosus)
1 seen well at DV, along the track to Lahad Datu.

601. Sunda (Grey-and-brown) Laughing Thrush (Garrulax palliatus)
Common at MKNP, where seen daily.

604. Black Laughing Thrush (Garrulax lugbris calvus)
Seen almost daily at MKNP, though not as common as the latter species. The Bornean form calvus is bare headed and sometimes regarded as a separate species from the Black Laughing Thrush of the Peninsula.

605. Chestnut-capped Laughing Thrush (Garrulax mitratus)
Very common at MKNP, where seen daily.

607. White-browed Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius flaviscapis)
Seen on two occasions at MKNP, pair and a single male.

609. Brown Fulvetta (Alcippe brunneicauda)
Seen daily at PHS, especially from the canopy walkway.

613. Chestnut-crested Yuhina (Yuhina everetti)
Seen daily at MKNP where flocks were common. A bird was seen to fly from a nest containing 4 eggs in a hole in an embankment right beside the track, on the Kiao View Trail.

614. White-bellied Yuhina (Yuhina zantholeuca)
A few were seen at PHS.

617. White-browed Shortwing (Brachypteryx montana erythroggma)
Both males and females were seen on two dates along the Silau Silau trail at MKNP.

621. Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis pluto)
Seen daily at PHS and DV.

623. White-browed (crowned) Shama (Copsychus stricklandi)
Seen daily at PHS and DV.

624. Rufous-tailed Shama (Trichixos pyrrhopygus)
A female was seen along the trails at DV, on one occasion.

627. Chestnut-naped Forktail (Enicurus ruficapillus)
1 was seen at a small stream along the trails at DV.

628. White-crowned Forktail (Enicurus leschenaulti)
Recorded at MKNP on three dates along streams on the trails. Usually seen briefly.

637. Sunda Whistling Thrush (Myiophoneus glaucinus)
Seen almost daily at MKNP, with a maximum of 3 in a day recorded.

645. Eye-browed Thrush (Turdus obscurus)
One was seen in a bush at the Power Station gate (from the look-out platform) on 13 June. An unusual date for a bird that usually only winters.

646. Island Thrush (Mountain Blackbird) (Turdus poliocephalus seebohmi)
Only 1 seen, below Laban Rata, on the upper slopes of Mt. Kinabalu.

650. Yellow-breasted Warbler (Seicercus montis)
Seen daily at MKNP, where fairly common.

651. Yellow-bellied Warbler (Abroscopus superciliaris)
Recorded on two dates at MKNP, with a maximum of 4 birds one day.

655. Mountain Leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus trivirgatus)
Seen daily at MKNP. The race on Mt. Kinabalu is much duller according to McKinnon et al. They were certainly a lot duller and less yellow than individuals of this species I had seen at Fraser's Hill on the Malay Peninsula.

665. Ashy Tailorbird (Orthotomus ruficeps)
Seen on two dates at PHS.

667. Rufous-tailed Tailorbird (Orthotomus sericeus)
2 birds seen at MKNP.

668. Mountain Tailorbird (Orthotomus cuculatus)
Seen on four dates at MKNP.

677. Bornean Stubtail (Stub-tailed Bush Warbler) (Urosphena whiteheadi)
A single bird was seen moving through the undergrowth, about 3 feet away, at the top end of the Liwagu River Trail, beside the river. Another trip highlight.

678. Sunda (Mountain) Bush Warbler (Cettia vulcania)
Seen almost daily at MKNP, especially along the Power Station Road, where common.

680. Friendly Bush Warbler (Kinabalu Friendly Warbler) (Bradypterus accentor)
At MKNP seen eventually on both dates spent around the upper slopes, where they were present below and above the Laban Rata resthouse. They were fairly elusive however, but were extremely responsive to tape playback, approaching to about 1 metre range! Another bird was seen at much lower elevation on the descent from the mountain.

683. Grey-chested Jungle Flycatcher (Rhinomyias umbratilis)
2 were seen at DV on two different dates.

684. Rufous-tailed Jungle Flycatcher (Rhinomyias ruficauda)
1 bird seen at PHS.

685. Eye-browed (White-browed) Jungle Flycatcher (Rhinomyias gularis)
2-3 were seen on the first day at MKNP, on the Liwagu Trail and the Kiao View Trail, but none was seen subsequently.

690. Verditer Flycatcher (Eumyias thalassina)
Seen at PHS on two dates.

691. Indigo Flycatcher (Eumyias indigo)
Seen almost daily at MKNP, especially at dawn, around the HQ loop.

697. Snowy-browed Flycatcher (Ficedula hyperythra)
Seen on four occasions at MKNP, including adults feeding recently fledged juveniles.

699. Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni)
1 or 2 seen almost daily at MKNP.

707. Large-billed Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis caerulatus)
A male was seen at DV. This species is classed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. (1994).

708. Bornean Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis superbus)
A female was seen at DV.

712. Pygmy Blue Flycatcher (Muscicapella hodgsoni)
1 was seen briefly at MKNP.

713. Grey-headed Flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis)
Seen once at PHS and 2 seen at DV.

716. White-throated Fantail (Rhipidura albicollis)
Seen daily at MKNP where common.

717. Spotted Fantail (Rhipidura perlata)
Seen along the trails at DV, with a maximum of 5 birds seen one day.

718. Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica)
2 seen near MKNP and another bird at DV.

719. Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)
Seen in small numbers at PHS and DV.

721. Rufous-winged Flycatcher (Philentoma pyrhopterum)
Seen on two dates at DV with a maximum of 3 birds one day.

723. Asian Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi)
Seen in small numbers at both PHS and DV.

724. Bornean (Mountain) Whistler (Pachycephala hypoxantha)
Seen almost daily at MKNP.

725. Mangrove Whistler (Pachycephala grisola)
1 bird seen on PM.

736. White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorhynchus)
1 seen near PHS and a few near MKNP. Another 4 were seen on PM.

742. Asian (Philippine) Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis)
Seen on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu and also near PHS.

751. Crested Myna (Acridotheres cristatellus)
2 were seen near KK Airport and a further 3 near LB.

754. Plain Sunbird (Anthreptes simplex)
2 gave good views near the Kipungit Waterfall at PHS.

756. Red-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes rhodolaema)
2 were seen at DV.

757. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Anthreptes singalensis)
2 were seen at DV and 1 at PHS.

758. Purple-naped Sunbird (Hypogramma hypogrammicum)
3 were seen at PHS and a male was seen well at DV.

764. Scarlet Sunbird (Aethopyga mystacalis)
Recorded daily at MKNP, mostly females and immature, though some adult males were seen.

766. Little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra)
1 seen at PHS. Seen almost daily at DV in small numbers.

769. Spectacled Spiderhunter (Arachnothera flavigaster)
Seen on two occasions at DV.

770. Yellow-eared Spiderhunter (Arachnothera chrysogenys)
Seen once at DV.

771. Grey-breasted Spiderhunter (Arachnothera affinis)
Seen at DV on most dates.

772. Bornean (Everett's) Spiderhunter (Arachnothera everetti)
2 birds seen at PHS, one giving good views from the Canopy Walkway. Did look slightly bigger, longer billed and more heavily streaked than Grey-breasted Spiderhunter.

773. Whitehead's Spiderhunter (Arachnothera juliae)
On the first afternoon at MKNP, one gave excellent views along the Kiao View Trail. The only subsequent encounter was a bird heard on the Kiao View Trail, four days later.

777. Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker (Prionochilus xanthopygius)
Seen twice at PHS and a few seen at DV.

781. Yellow-vented Flowerpecker (Dicaeum chrysorrheum)
1 seen at DV.

782. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma)
Common at PHS.

787. Black-sided Flowerpecker (Dicaeum monticolum)
Eventually seen at MKNP with 2 males and a female on the last day there.

792. Black-capped White-eye (Zosterops atricapilla)
Common at MKNP where seen daily.

799. Mountain Black-eye (Chlorocharis emiliae)
Common on the upper slopes of Mount Kinabalu. 1 also seen just below the Power Station.

800. Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
Common around Kota Kinabalu outskirts, PHS etc.

811. Dusky Munia (Lonchura fuscans)
Common in open areas at PHS. A few were seen at DV. This is arguably not a true endemic as it is also to be found on Cagayan Sulu (SW Philippines).

814. Black-headed Munia (Lonchura malacca)
Up to 8 were seen near KK airport.

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This page served with permission of the author by Urs Geiser;; January 16, 2000; revised May 23, 2000