14 Day Borneo Birding Tour
Birding in Borneo promises to be an unforgettable birding experience. Selamat datang! Borneo hosts about 15,000 species of flowering plants (including Rafflesia, the largest flowering plant in the world) along with 3,000 species of trees, 440 species of freshwater fish, 221 species of terrestrial mammals and almost 700 species of resident and migratory birds (including 60 endemic and range-restricted species)
Private and small group, birding tours can be booked on request for your preferred travel dates
Next Group Departure date: 21 July 2022 / July 2023
Full Itinerary – Borneo Birding Tour
Arrival in Borneo
You will arrive in Borneo from your international destination via the Kota Kinabalu International Airport in the city of Kota Kinabalu. You will be met by a company representative and transferred to our comfortable city hotel.
You have arrived on the third largest island in the world, and certainly one of the most fascinating places on the planet. The mega-island (slightly larger than Texas) is located north of Java, west of Sulawesi, and east of Sumatra, and straddles the equator. Almost three-quarters of the island is Indonesian territory, with the rest divided between Malaysia and Brunei. The island’s fantastic fauna and flora diversity and sheer numbers are a result of the unique geological, altitudinal and climatic history of the Sundaic region, that includes the Thai-Malay peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Bali, several smaller islands and of course, Borneo.
The flora of the island is among the most diverse on the planet, with more than 10,000 flowering plant species and 3,000 trees, many of them endemic. The island also boasts more than 280 mammal species (44 endemics), 300 reptiles (100 of them endemic) and at least 650 bird species, of which 52 are endemic. Some of the island’s truly exotic inhabitants include the world’s largest insect (Phobaeticus chani or Chan’s megastick), a flying frog that can change colour (Leptomantis penanorum or Penan Flying Frog) and a freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium kelianense or Kelian River Prawn). Amazing indeed!
This Nature Travel Birding trip visits the northeastern part of the island, and takes place entirely in the Malaysian portion, specifically the Sabah province. We will explore the best areas of this mountainous part of Borneo in search of our target birds, including legendary places like Kinabalu National Park, Sepilok, Sukau, Tabin and the Danum Valley, staying in top-notch locations along the way such as the Borneo Rainforest Lodge and a recently recognised National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, the Sukau Rainforest Lodge.
Depending on your arrival time, there might be time to explore the city of Kota Kinabalu. The city is the state capital of Malaysia’s Sabah province in northeastern Borneo, situated close to the South China sea. It is a major tourist destination and a popular gateway for travellers visiting Sabah and the rest of Borneo. There are many tourist attractions in and around the city, including the beautiful Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, often called the “Floating Mosque” due to it being partially surrounded by a man-made lagoon. Kota Kinabalu is also one of the major industrial and commercial centres of east Malaysia, and one of the fastest growing cities in southeast Asia. Kota Kinabalu is named after the mythical Mount Kinabalu (4,095 metres/13,435 ft above sea level), which is situated about 50 kilometres (30 miles) northeast of the city. Amazingly, several hills within the city that are too steep for building on, are still clothed with tropical rainforest!
If everyone has arrived in time and there is an hour or two to spare in the afternoon, we could start our trip lists with a visit to the city’s oldest recreational park, Prince Philip Park. This popular beachside park has some very nice bird species for us to look for, including Nankeen and Black-crowned Night Heron, Pacific Reef Heron, Malaysian Plover, White-winged Tern, White-breasted Waterhen, Blue-naped Parrot, Green Imperial Pigeon, Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Collared Kingfisher, the ornatus subspecies of Olive-backed Sunbird, the leucorynchus subspecies of White-breasted Woodswallow, Ashy and Dark-necked Tailorbird, Common Iora, Yellow-vented Bulbul, the jagori subspecies of Chestnut Munia, Pacific Swallow and more. There is a ‘roller-skating rink’ at one end of the park, and we could also enjoy some coconut drinks and local fruits from the many food stalls.
We will get together at a local restaurant (in the hotel or close by) and get to know each other over our Nature Travel Birding welcome dinner tonight. We will discuss our previous birding trips and which bird species are high on everyone’s target lists for this trip. Then we will get a good night’s sleep; tomorrow we really start birding!
Kinabalu National Park
We will have an early start today with breakfast in the hotel.
We will then check out and drive about 100 km (60 miles) to our first destination of our trip, the Kinabalu National Park, one of the Sabah province’s premier birding locations and home to some of Borneo’s most exclusive endemics.
The park is one of the most important biological sites in the world, with more than 4,500 species of flora and fauna, including 326 bird and around 100 mammal species, over 110 land snail species, as well as 1,000 orchids, 600 ferns, 78 species of figs and 13 species of Nepenthes pitcher plants.
The park covers an area of 754 km2 (291 sq mi) surrounding Mount Kinabalu, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, the first in Malaysia. The park is located at an average of 1,585 metres (5,200 feet) above sea level and is the main starting point for the very popular and famous summit trail that leads to the top of Mount Kinabalu. The mountain is one of the youngest non-volcanic mountains in the world, formed within the last 10 to 35 million years. It still grows at a rate of 5 millimetres a year! The mountain even has its own ecoregion, namely the Kinabalu Montane Alpine Meadows, which is considered globally outstanding in terms of species richness and endemism.
The park contains a fantastic variety of flora and fauna that ranges over 4 distinct climate zones; from lowland dipterocarp forest (750 to 1,900 metres above sea level) through the montane oak, rhododendron, to the coniferous forests, to the alpine meadow plants, and to the stunted shrubs of the summit zone. The mountain is also known for its many carnivorous plant and orchid species. It is also home to a multitude of endemic animal species, including the Kinabalu Giant Red Leech and Kinabalu Giant Earthworm.
There are numerous trails in the park and we will explore these on foot, ticking our first fantastic species of the trip at this avian wonderland. We will look for Everett’s Thrush, Bornean Whistling Thrush, Chestnut-hooded, Sunda and Black Laughingthrush, Chestnut-crested Yuhina, White-throated Fantail, Yellow-breasted Warbler, Grey-throated Babbler, Temminck’s Sunbird, Black-breasted Triller, Indigo Flycatcher, Golden-naped Barbet, Whitehead’s Trogon, Checker-throated and Maroon Woodpecker, Whitehead’s and Bornean Spiderhunter, Fruithunter, Mountain Leaf Warbler, Black Eagle, Blyth’s Hawk-eagle, Little Cuckoo-dove, Sunda Cuckoo, Black-and-crimson Oriole, Pied Shrike-babbler and many others.
We will stay overnight in the town of Kundasang, just outside the park. It is renowned for its vegetable market which is open seven days a week. It is the closest town to Mount Kinabalu and has a panoramic view of the mountain. At an elevation of almost 1,900m (6,200ft), it is the highest settlement in Malaysia.
We will get together for dinner and to update our lists, realizing just how many species we saw today were endemic! We will get a first taste of Borneo’s fantastic cuisine tonight. It is a very interesting mix of Chinese, Malaysian and indigenous influences, with staples including grilled fish, barbecued prawns, fried rice, noodles, and local vegetables seasoned with garlic, ginger, and rich sauces. Fish and chicken based soups with noodles cooked in a hot clay pot are also a very traditional dish. Practice saying, “Lazat!”, which means “Delicious!” in Malay.
Kinabalu National Park
We have a full day to further explore magical Kinabalu National Park, making sure we get all our target species.
Today we will search for more of the park’s fantastic birds, including Friendly Bush Warbler (confined to the mountain), Bornean Whistler, Black-sided Flowerpecker, Black-capped White-eye, Mountain Blackeye, Mountain Wren-babbler, Bare-headed Laughingthrush, Sunda Cuckooshrike, Bornean Green Magpie, Bornean Treepie, Bornean Stubtail, Crimson-headed and Red-breasted Partridge, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Ochraceous Bulbul, White-browed Shortwing, Mountain Blackbird, Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatcher, Ashy and Hair-crested Drongo, Short-tailed Magpie, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, White-crowned Forktail, Bar-winged Cuckooshrike, Whitehead’s Broadbill, Blue-winged Leafbird, Bornean and Mountain Barbet, Giant Swiftlet, Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch, Rufous-collared Kingfisher, various other warblers, trogons, bulbuls, flycatchers, and many more.
Whitehead’s Pygmy Squirrel, a tiny creature with crazily long ear tufts, is a nice mammal we will hope to add to our lists, along with some other squirrels and tree shrews. If we are extremely lucky, we might see a Moonrat or even a Sunda Pangolin!
We will once again get together for dinner at our accommodation in Kundasang just outside the park.
Poring & Sepilok (Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre)
We will enjoy some morning birdwatching at Poring after breakfast. Poring is a small tourist resort, known for its hot springs, 40 km east of the Kinabalu National Park.
Poring is situated in lowland rainforest, contrasting with the montane and submontane rainforest of Kinabalu National Park, and therefore has other species we will look out for. These include the very difficult to see but spectacular Hose’s Broadbill, Diard’s Trogon, rare Chestnut-capped Thrush, White-tailed Flycatcher, White-necked, Moustached and Grey-headed Babbler, Pygmy White-eye, Bornean Banded and Blue-banded Pitta, Bold-strip Tit-Babbler, White-bellied Woodpecker, Red-throated, Golden-naped and Bornean Barbet, Thick-billed Spiderhunter, Purple-naped Sunbird, Chestnut-naped Forktail, White-crowned Shama, Dusky Munia, Siberian Blue Robin, Crested Jay, Wreathed Hornbill, Scaly-breasted and Streaked Bulbul, Banded Kingfisher, White-fronted Falconet, and various others.
If we are very lucky, we might hear about a flowering Rafflesia from the locals (news of such an event spreads fast), affording us the opportunity to witness this (smelly) floral wonder. They are actually a genus of parasitic flowering plants that contains 28 species (7 of them occurring on Borneo), some of them growing to over 100 centimetres (40 in) in diameter, and weigh up to 10 kilograms (22 lbs)! The flowers look and smell like rotting flesh, hence its local names which translate to “corpse flower” or “meat flower”.
After birding at Poring we will depart for Sepilok, approximately 4 hours away to the east. Sepilok is famous for its Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, located about 25 kilometres west of Sandakan within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, which covers an area of 4,294 ha (10,610 acres), much of which is virgin rainforest.
It was opened in 1964 and today around 60 to 80 Bornean Orangutans are living free in the reserve. These critically endangered great apes share about 97% of their DNA with humans. The centre has become one of the island’s top tourist attractions. The Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is next to another important conservation centre, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
We will enjoy a night walk in the evening, with a fair chance of encountering the incredibly cute Horsfield’s Tarsier, the goggle-eyed Bornean Slow Loris, Lesser Mouse Deer and Malay Civet, and maybe a nocturnal bird or two. We will overnight at Sepilok.
*Note on Camera Use at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre: for any camera with zoom lens from 100 to 400mm, video camera or other video recording equipment for personal use are chargeable at RM10.00 per unit. For any camera (fixed-lens – 400mm and above ) or any film-making equipment are chargeable at RM1,000.00 per unit. Mode of payment is cash only.
Sepilok (Rainforest Discovery Centre)
We will start with a scrumptious breakfast and then head out.
We will enjoy a full day of birdwatching in the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) closeby. The RDC is also in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, and the highlight is a truly impressive canopy walkway that spans hundreds of metres, and up to 25 metres above the ground in places!
The canopy offers excellent birding opportunities and may remind you of the similar structure in Kakum National Park in Ghana in Africa, half a world away if you have ever been there! Here at the RDC’s canopy walkway we hope to see the truly bizarre Bornean Bristlehead, a regal species in its own family, and one of Borneo’s top avian attractions. Other top species to be found from the canopy walkway are Van Hasselt’s Sunbird, Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker, Banded and Black-and-yellow Broadbill, White-bellied Woodpecker, Lesser and Greater Green Leafbird, Rhinoceros, Black, Bushy-crested and White-crowned Hornbill, and many more.
There is also a good trail system at RDC and we are going to see many lowland species for the first time. We will search for Rufous-collared and Banded Kingfisher, beautiful Crested Jay, the aterrimus subspecies of Black Magpie, Diard’s, Scarlet-rumped and Red-naped Trogon, Giant, Blue-headed, Hooded and Black-crowned Pitta (what a spectacular bird family!), Scarlet Minivet, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Dusky and Chestnut Munia, Indian Cuckoo, Wallace’s Hawk-eagle, Bat Hawk, White-fronted Falconet , Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Great Slaty and White-bellied Woodpecker, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, various other bee-eaters, babblers, bulbuls, flowerpeckers, sunbirds, drongos, hornbills and others.
We will again overnight at Sepilok after having dinner and updating our growing trip lists.
Sepilok to Sukau
Once again we start our day with breakfast and coffee. We will enjoy some more Sepilok birdwatching in the morning, picking up some tricky-to-find species that we might still need for our lists.
At noon, we will depart for Sukau by boat (shared transfer) on Malaysia’ second longest river, the Kinabatangan. The 560 km (350 mi) long Kinabatangan is known for the remarkable wildlife that can be spotted from the water, as well as for the varied habitats along its shore. These range from dryland dipterocarp forests, riverine forest, freshwater swamp forest, oxbow lakes and salty mangrove swamps near the coast. There are also the famous limestone caves at Gomantong hill. Unfortunately, the upper part of the river has been severely damaged by excessive logging, while the lower section is largely surrounded by oil palm plantations. This means nearly all the fauna and flora species of the region have been forced into a narrow forest corridor next to the river.
Upon arrival, we will check into the award-winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge, our accommodation for the next three nights. The lodge is built on stilts using Borneo hardwood species and is completely self-sufficient in water (harvesting rainwater) and solar energy for hot water heating. Electric motors are used for river safari tours to wildlife areas to minimise air and noise pollution and reduce stress to the wildlife.
We will have our first cruise on the river for birdwatching in the afternoon, and this promises to be a highlight of the trip. From the comfort of the quiet boat we will look for the rare Bornean Ground Cuckoo, Grey-headed and Lesser Fish Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Wallace’s Hawk-eagle, Jerdon’s Baza, Moustached Hawk-cuckoo, Buffy Fish Owl, Brahminy Kite, White-fronted Falconet, Oriental Darter, Great Egret, the endangered Storm’s Stork, Lesser Adjutant, White-breasted Waterhen, White-chested Babbler, Brown Barbet, Blue-eared, Ruddy, Stork-billed and Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Pied Fantail, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Hooded and Blue-winged Pitta, Blue-throated Bee-eater, and many others.
Some good mammals can also be found along the river and these include Maroon Leaf Monkey, Silvered Leaf-monkey, Crab-eating and Southern Pig-tailed Macaque, and the critically endangered Bornean Orangutan, fondly called the “Old man of the forest”.
Today we will enjoy early dawn and late afternoon river cruises. These boat trips are simply amazing, allowing us to get very close to both birds and mammals.
Birding wise, we will search for Bornean Bristlehead, Black-and-yellow Broadbill, Oriental Bay Owl, Brown Wood Owl, Great-billed Heron, Blue-headed, Blue-winged, Hooded and Black-crowned Pitta, Crested Fireback, Diard’s, Scarlet-rumped and Red-naped Trogon, Rhinoceros, Helmeted, Wrinkled, Wreathed, White-crowned and Oriental Pied Hornbill, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Great Slaty and White-bellied Woodpecker, and many others.
From a mammal perspective, we have a great chance to see 10 primate species, including the bizarre-looking Proboscis Monkeys and Müller’s Gibbon, as well as other mammals like Bearded Pig and the “Bornean Pygmy” Elephant, which is actually not a recognised subspecies of Asian Elephant according to some experts.
Tonight we will have another exciting excursion when we visit the Gomantong Caves. Hundreds of thousands of bats (mostly Wrinkle-lipped Free-tailed Bats, but sometimes as many as 20 different species) and swiftlets of four different species (Edible-nest, Black-nest, Mossy-nest and Plume-toed Swiftlet) make their home in the limestone caves, and at night their mass exodus from the caves is a spectacular sight. There is the added spectacle of seeing a number of raptors that may include Bat Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle and Rufous-bellied Eagle coming in for an easy meal. Since at least 500 AD, these caves have been renowned for their valuable edible swiftlet nests, which are harvested twice a year for bird’s nest soup.
We will return to our fantastic lodge for dinner and a good night’s rest after a superb day of wildlife viewing and birdwatching.
Today we have another full day to explore everything that makes Sukau so famous.
We will target specific species that we may still need for our trip lists, and also try to get better photographs of some of the species we may have already seen.
The lodge boasts a 1,500 metre long walkway that we will certainly spend some time on today. All 8 hornbill species of Borneo have been recorded from here! The forests around the lodge is also good for babbler watching. We could see Black-throated, Chestnut-rumped, Rufous-crowned, Sooty-capped, White-chested Babbler and more! Other species close to the lodge include Hooded Pitta, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Brown-throated Sunbird, Plaintive Cuckoo, Black-and-red and Black-and-yellow Broadbill and Rufous Piculet.
Tonight before or after dinner we will go out on a night boat ride. This exciting excursion offers a good chance of seeing Buffy Fish Owl, roosting Stork-billed and Blue-eared Kingfisher, Bearded Pig, Asian (“Bornean Pygmy”) Elephant and even Flat-headed and Leopard Cat if we are lucky.
Sukau to Tabin Wildlife Reserve
We will start our day with breakfast and then check out of the lodge, thanking the wonderful staff as we depart.
We are heading south for a drive of about 3 hours to our next destination. We will proceed past many palm oil plantations via the town of Lahad Datu. A century ago, most of Borneo was covered in forest. But the region has lost over half of its forests, and a third of these have disappeared in just the last three decades. Palm oil plantations, the most important tropical vegetable oil in the global oils and fats industry, is the main driver of deforestation in Borneo.
With a current deforestation rate of 1.3 million hectares per year, only peat and montane forests would survive in the coming years. One of the main initiatives to try and stop the deforestation is the “Heart of Borneo”, a conservation agreement initiated by the WWF to protect a 220,000 km² forested region on Borneo. The agreement was signed by the governments of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia in 2007. Here’s hoping…
In the afternoon we will reach our destination, the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in the lowlands of eastern Borneo.
The reserve (known to the locals simply as TWR or Tabin) is another haven for bird watching enthusiasts which boasts approximately 220 species of birds in 42 different families! Tabin comprises a rectangular area of 1,225 km2 (473 sq mi) in the centre of the Dent Peninsula, northeast of Lahad Datu town. Created in 1984, Tabin has been declared a Wildlife Reserve due to the high number of endangered mammals found in the reserve.
“Borneo Pygmy” Asian Elephant, the critically endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros and wild Banteng are all found within the reserve, along with seven species of primate, Sambar Deer, Bornean Yellow Muntjac, as well as three species of cats all of which are on the protected wildlife list, including the vulnerable Sunda Clouded Leopard.
Covered in euryspecies lowland rainforest, Tabin nurtures a colossal number of tropical plants; some of which are rich in medicinal and therapeutic values. Natural mud volcanoes are an important natural attraction for wildlife seeking salt (especially the rhinos), and these have become a bonus for visitors coming to see wild animals.
From a birding perspective, we will look for Blue-eared and Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pied Fantail, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Storm’s Stork, Bornean Bristlehead, Blue-headed, Blue-banded, Bornean Banded and Black-crowned Pitta, Dusky Munia, Black-throated and Bornean Wren-babbler, Bulwer’s Pheasant, Rufous-tailed Shama, Brown Fulvetta, White-bellied Erpornis, Chestnut-necklaced Partridge, Rufous Piculet, Thick-billed, Long-billed and Grey-breasted Spiderhunter, Fiery Minivet, Green Iora, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Orange-bellied and Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker, and many others.
We will enjoy dinner at our accommodation and update our trip lists before turning in for a good night’s rest.
Tabin Wildlife Reserve
We will enjoy a full day of birdwatching in Tabin today.
We will look for species we may have missed yesterday, but also try to add Grey-streaked Flycatcher, Purple-throated and Plain Sunbird, Black-naped Monarch, Buff-rumped and Buff-necked Woodpecker, Red-naped and Scarlet-rumped Trogon, Changeable Hawk-eagle, Crested Goshawk, Black-bellied and Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, Maroon-breasted Philentoma, Ashy Tailorbird, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Stork-billed and Black-backed Kingfisher, Rhinoceros, Helmeted, Wrinkled, Black, Wreathed and White-crowned Hornbill, White-fronted Falconet, Crested Fireback, more raptors and various others species.
Tonight there is a chance to go on an optional night drive through the reserve. These exciting drives often produce Leopard Cat, Sunda Flying Lemur, Common Palm, Bornean Small-toothed Palm and Malay Civet, and both Common Giant and Black Flying Squirrel. Buffy Fish Owl and Brown Wood Owl are also often seen on these nocturnal excursions, while even the rare and elusive Bornean Clouded Leopard occasionally appears!
We will enjoy dinner together and update our trip lists. We will also have a chance to maybe start chatting about possible trips we would like to do in the future to some more exotic places on our beautiful planet.
Tabin to Danum Valley
We will start our day with breakfast and then pack our bags as we head to our final destination of the tour.
This morning we will drive through Lahad Datu town and continue westwards into the Danum Valley for about 3 hours.
We are heading for the Danum Valley Conservation Area. It is a 438 km2 (169 sq mi) tract of relatively undisturbed lowland dipterocarp forest, with the forest canopy reaching a height of over 70 metres in some places! The area is truly unique in the sense that before it became a conservation area there were no human settlements within the area (it used to be a land of headhunters in the past!), meaning that hunting, logging and other human interference was non-existent, making the area almost unspoiled. There have been proposals to nominate the site as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Danum has an extensive diversity of tropical flora and fauna, including such species as the rare Sumatran Rhinoceros, Bornean Orangutan, Sun Bear, gibbons, wild cats, deer, 72 reptile species, 56 different amphibians and over 270 bird species. Furthermore, at least 61 species of land snail have been recorded from a 1 km plot, and a staggering 200 species of plants occur per hectare! The newly described Spectacled Flowerpecker was first seen in Danum in June 2009 from the suspended walkway at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. It only received its scientific name, Dicaeum dayakorum, in 2019. The specific epithet, dayakorum, is intended to honor the Dayak people, whose knowledge of the ecosystem is critical for conservation efforts in Borneo.
We will check into our fantastic lodge, the above-mentioned award-winning Borneo Rainforest Lodge, and settle in. We will stay in these luxurious surroundings for the next three nights. The lodge is located along the Danum river and near the conservation area. The lodge area includes an extensive network of trails through the forest and the now famous canopy walkway that stretched over 300 metres and is over 25 metres high at its highest point.
We will walk in the extensive lodge grounds and try to tick our first species in this area.
Many mammals inhabit Danum Valley and some of the species that we could see during tonight’s optional night excursion are Greater and Lesser Mouse Deer, Sambar Deer, Thomas’s, Common Giant and Black Flying Squirrel, “Bornean Pygmy” Asian Elephant, Common Palm, Masked Palm, Banded Palm and Malay Civet, Binturong, Leopard Cat and Malay Weasel. Tomorrow we explore Danum fully!
We will enjoy a full day’s birdwatching in Danum. We will enjoy all our meals at the lodge and go out birding in the morning and afternoon, returning for lunch.
The most spectacular of Danum’s birds are surely the hornbills, and the raucous trumpeting of Rhinoceros Hornbills should become a familiar sound. We will also target Helmeted, Bushy-crested, Wreathed and Asian Black Hornbills.
Here we will also look for Bornean Wren-babbler, Black-throated Babbler, Giant, Blue-headed, Black-crowned and Banded Pitta, Bornean Bristlehead, Great Argus, Crested Fireback, Chestnut-necklaced Partridge, Buff-rumped, Buff-necked, Grey-capped and Orange-backed Woodpecker, Red-billed Malkoha, Grey-rumped Treeswift, Oriental Dollarbird, Brown, Red-throated, Yellow-crowned and Blue-eared Barbet, Black-and-yellow, Banded and Green Broadbill, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Lesser Cuckooshrike, Large Woodshrike, Fiery and Scarlet Minivet, Green Iora, Lesser Green and Greater Green Leafbird, Grey-bellied, Spectacled, Puff-backed, Grey-cheeked, Yellow-bellied, Hairy-backed , Streaked and Buff-vented Bulbul, Asian Fairy-Bluebird, Greater Racket-tailed and Bronzed Drongo, Dark-throated Oriole, Crested Jay, Slender-billed Crow, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Red-naped, Diard’s and Scarlet-rumped Trogon, and many more.
We will return to the lodge after our fantastic day and freshen up. Then it’s time to update our trip lists with Danum’s birds before having dinner. By this time we would have had some of Borneo’s superb tropical fruit, including the pineapple-sized durian, vibrantly coloured dragonfruit, strange tarap, juicy rambutan and maybe even wild forest berries. Enjoy!
Our final full day has unfortunately arrived.
We will enjoy another full day’s birdwatching in Danum, again having our excellent meals at the lodge and birding the rest of the day.
Some of the other birds to look for will include Bornean Bristlehead, Great Argus, Blue-rumped Parrot, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Crested Honey Buzzard, Plaintive Cuckoo, Raffle’s Malkoha, Greater Coucal, Brown-backed Needletail, Silver-rumped Spinetail, Whiskered Treeswift, Fiery Minivet, Black Magpie, Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker, Large-billed and Malaysian Blue Flycatcher, Buffy Fish Owl, Brown Wood Owl, Barred Eagle-owl, White-fronted Falconet, Crested Wood Partridge, Bornean Ground Cuckoo, Rufous-fronted, Black-capped, Short-tailed, Ferruginous, Horsfield’s, Sooty-capped, Moustached, Rufous-crowned, Scaly-crowned, Chestnut-rumped and Chestnut-winged Babbler, Striped Wren-babbler, Bold-striped and Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler, Brown Fulvetta, White-bellied Yuhina, Rufous-tailed Shama, White-crowned Forktail, Dark-necked, Ashy and Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, and many others.
The valley also has one of the largest populations of Bornean Orangutans in Borneo and we should see these magnificent apes in their forest kingdom, a truly thrilling sight. Other regularly seen primates include Southern Pig-tailed Macaque, Maroon Leaf Monkey and Müller’s Gibbon.
We will return to the lodge to freshen up and then get together for our official farewell dinner after an incredible Borneo birding tour. We will socialise into the evening, having made friends for life, and then head to bed for a good night’s sleep.
Danum Valley to Kota Kinabalu (via flight from Lahad Datu); departure from Borneo
We will start with an early breakfast and then enjoy some more Danum Valley birdwatching, making sure we see all the local specials we need to. This could include Black-naped Monarch, Maroon-breasted and Rufous-winged Philentoma, Spotted Fantail, Yellow-breasted, Thick-billed and Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, Plain, Plain-throated, Red-throated, Ruby-cheeked and Purple-naped Sunbird, Little, Spectacled, Thick-billed and Yellow-eared Spiderhunter, Common Hill Myna, Chestnut-necklaced Partridge, Crested Fireback, Jambu Fruit Dove, Banded Bay and Drongo Cuckoo, Blue-banded and Banded Kingfisher, Olive-backed Woodpecker, White-crowned Hornbill, Dusky Broadbill, Black-and-white and Finsch’s Bulbul, Chestnut-backed Scimitar-babbler, Chestnut-naped Forktail, Rufous-chested Flycatcher and many more.
We will then check out of the lodge, thank the wonderful staff and hop into the vehicle.
We then drive to Lahad Datu (about 3 hours), reminiscing about an unforgettable Borneo birding experience. We then fly across the island from Lahad Datu Airport to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (about 1 hour).
Some international flights depart in the evening, so if this is the case for your flight, you will transfer from the domestic to the international area and get on your homeward flight.
If your flight only leaves the following day, we will transfer you to a nearby city hotel, for dinner and your overnight stay. After breakfast in the hotel, you will be transferred to the Kota Kinabalu International Aiport for your homeward flight. *Please note this final evening’s dinner and overnight stay will be for your own account.
Do you have a quick question about this birding tour? Speak to a specialist at