Royal Belum State Park &
Kuala Gula Bird
Royal Belum State Park & Temengor Forest
The Belum-Temengor Forest Complex (BTFC) is one of the few remaining pockets of pristine rainforest found in Peninsular Malaysia. Dating back 130 million years, this swathe of rainforest covering 320,257 ha, is older than the Amazon and the Congo basin. It’s populated by some of the world’s most endangered mammals including wild Asiatic elephants, sun bears, Sumatran rhinos, cloud leopards, tapirs, tigers and panthers, as well as over 10,000 indigenous people. The forest complex comprises the Royal Belum State Park, Temengor and Grik Forest reserves. The Temengor dam built in 1978 is one of the most scenic attractions in the area and the forest complex is listed as the only IBA (Important Bird Area – MY07) where all 10 species of hornbills can be sighted, including the globally threatened Plain-pouched hornbill. During the fruiting season between July to November, hundreds of hornbills can be spotted around the Temengor Lake in the mornings and evenings. This is the only known area where thousands of hornbills have been seen at any one time or season. The mass movement or migration of the Plain-pouched hornbills can be viewed during this season – a breathtaking sight for any wildlife enthusiast. It is of no surprise that this complex has been touted as “The Hornbill Capital of the World”. Permission to enter the Royal Belum State Park is required and can be obtained from the Perak State Parks Corporation.
Over 304 bird species have been discovered here including the entire ten Malaysian hornbills. Globally threatened birds such as Great Argus, Wallace’s Hawk Eagle, Large Green Pigeon, Malaysian Peacock Pheasant, Shorttoed Coucal, Blue banded Kingfisher and the Straw-headed Bulbul. Between September and November, the very rare Amur Falcon during the raptor migration period, can be sighted.
Bukit Larut or Maxwell Hill, is Peninsular Malaysia’s oldest hill station, and named after William George Maxwell who was the British Assistant Resident in Perak. Northeast of Taiping and some 1036m above sea level, Bukit Larut as it is known now, is nestled within the Bukit Larut Forest Reserve along the Bintang Range (IBA MY04) which includes the Bintang Hijau and Bubu forest reserves.
The varied range of habitats and altitudes along this hill station offer bird watchers great opportunities to view over 250 species of lowland and montane birds. Located in the wettest part of the country, Bukit Larut also experiences the highest rainfall in the country. So do bring a light jacket or sweater when you visit, as it gets cool very fast. The best time to visit Bukit Larut is in the morning, as it usually rains in the late afternoon.
The endemic Malaysian Hill Partridge, Wedge-tailed Pigeon, Blyth’s Hawk Eagle, Rusty-naped Pitta as well as migrant birds such as the Siberian and White-throated Rock Thrush and the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher. In the middle and upper parts of the forest, you might spot the Long-tailed Broadbill, Red-headed Trogon, Chestnut-capped Laughing Thrush and the Rufous-browed Flycatcher. Hiking up to the peak can be a challenging task, but the possibility of sighting interesting birds such as the Chestnut-naped Forktail, Scaly-breasted Bulbul, Sultan Tit and Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler makes it worth the effort. The hill station also lies on the autumn migration flyway of raptors including the Black Baza, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Grey-faced Buzzard and the Chinese Goshawk during the October – December period.
Bukit Larut Recreational Area Office
Tel: 05 807 7241
Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary
Established in 1970 by the Wildlife & National Parks, the Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary was created to protect migratory and resident birds flocking at this birding hotspot. Located in Kerian district, at the northern tip of the Matang Forest Reserve, the sanctuary is part of the largest expanse of mangrove ecosystems in Peninsular Malaysia. The Matang Forest Reserve is an Important Bird Area (IBA MY05) and the
sanctuary’s diverse habitats include tidal mudflats, estuaries and mangrove forests, making it a perfect host for a large variety of birds which include shorebirds and waterbirds. At the last count, more than 190 species have been recorded in this area, about half of them migratory species.
The best time to visit would be during the migration season between October to December, where birdwatchers would have the spectacular opportunity of sighting the Milky Stork and the Lesser Adjutant, both globally-threatened species. Between late August to April, a variety of waders seeking shelter from their winter homes can be sighted including the Whimbrel, Lesser Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank and Terek Sandpiper. Sighting the globally-threatened Chinese Egret is rare but a possibility. Other unique birds include the Mangrove Pitta, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Mangrove Whistler and the Great Tit can be found in this area, along with the Brown-capped Woodpecker (Pygmy Woodpecker), Laced Woodpecker and the migrant Ruddy Kingfisher.
Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary
Tel: 05 896 2207 / 05 807 0842 | Fax: 05 890 5773
Matang Mangrove Forest, Kuala Sepetang
This little known patch of mangrove is just 10km away from the nearest town, Taiping. The boardwalk allow passage through the mangrove forest where one can enjoy birdwatching and photography at ease. Birdwatching can also be done on a boat with prior arrangement.
Oriental Pied Hornbill, Collared Kingfisher, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Cinereous Tit, Ashy Tailorbird, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Mangrove Whistler, Common Flameback, Greater Flameback, Laced Woodpecker, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch