Sarawak Bird Watching Sites – Bako National Park, Gunung Mulu National Park & Similajau national Park. The Bako-Buntal area of 2727 km was designated by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area.
BAKO NATIONAL PARK
Established in 1957, the Bako National Park is located about 30 km from Kuching and is the oldest national park in Sarawak. The Bako-Buntal area of 2727 km was designated by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area. This national park has a fascinating variety of habitats that include Kerangas Forest, beach vegetation, grassland, mangroves as well as mixed dipterocarp and peat swamp forest. Despite its size, it has outstanding beauty with secluded sandy beaches, unique rock formations and spectacular scenery. About 150 species of both resident and migrant birds exist here. The park headquarters and mangroves of Telok Assam are good places to start bird watching. Here you might find the Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Ashy Tailorbird, Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Common Flameback and Sunda Pygmy Woodpeckers, Stork-billed, Collared and Black-capped Kingflshers as well as the Chestnut-breasted and Chestnut-bellied Malkohas. Head for the Lintang and Serait trails if you are searching for forest birds such as the Red-naped Trogon, Long-tailed Parakeet, Emerald Dove, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, White-chested Babbler, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, White-bellied and Buff-necked Woodpeckers, Red-crowned and Brown Barbets, Blue-eared and Oriental Dwarf Kingfishers, Fiery and Scarlet Minivets as well as the Spotted Fantail, Asian Paradise and Grey-chested Jungle Flycatchers. Lucky bird watchers might find Bornean endemics such as the Large-billed Blue Flycatcher and the Dusky Munia. The best time to visit the Bako National Park is from March to October when you get to see most the resident birds and some of the migrant birds on their spring or autumn migration.
Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation, Sarawak Forestry Corporation
Tel: +6082 – 302 301
Bako National Park Visitors Information Centre
Tel: +6082 – 248 088
GUNUNG MULU NATIONAL PARK
The largest national park in Sarawak, the Gunung Mulu National Park covers an area of 52,865 ha consisting of a primary rainforest and an extensive system of rivers and streams. Mulu has eight different types of forests, ranging from the humid lowland to the high montane forests. The landscape is dominated by three mountains – Gunung Mulu (2,376m), Gunung Api (1,750m) and Gunung Benarat (1,585m). Although more synonymous with giant caves and limestone mountains, Gunung Mulu National Park is also a great bird watching area. Blessed with diverse natural attributes, it is not surprising that it is home to 262 bird species, including all eight hornbill species found in Sarawak. The variety of lowland forest birds found here includes the Great Argus, Yellow-crowned Barbet, Short-toed Coucal, Jerdon’s Baza, Bat Hawk, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Jambu Fruit Dove, Green Imperial Pigeon, Large Frogmouth, Moustached Hawk and Drongo Cuckoo, Black and Crested Partridges, Crestless and Crested Fireback pheasants, Checker-throated and Buff-rumped Woodpeckers, Diard’s and Cinnamon-rum ped Trogons, Raffle’s and Red-billed Malko has as well as the Rufous-collared and Blue-eared Kin gfishers. In the caves of the Mulu National Park, you may find the Black-nest and Edible-nest Swiftiets. Much sought after Bornean endemic birds spotted here include the Red-breasted Partridge, Bulwer’s Pheasant, Whitehead’s Trogon, Golden-naped Barbet, Hose’s Broadbill, Barnean Whistling Thrush, Black-throated Wren Babbler, Bornean Blue Flycatcher, Bornean Whistler and the Black-sided Flowerpecker. Birds can be found along most of the trails in Mulu. The trails leading to the Deer and Lang Caves are popular for bird watching. The 4-kilometre long trail to Clearwater and Wind Caves are also recommended as it traverses through mostly lowland forest. Energetic bird watchers can try the Summit Trail to Gunung Mulu where many montane bird species, including the Whitehead?s Trogon and Broadbill, are found. Not to be missed is the unique phenomenon of hundreds and thousand of bats exiting Deer Cave and watching Bat Hawks and other raptors hunting the bats as they fly out in the evening. It is advisable to inform park authorities before going on your treks and hire a guide to accompany you if you plan to go on the longer trails.
SIMILAJAU NATIONAL PARK
The Similajau National Park is situated about 25 km northeast of Bintulu town and is listed as an Important Bird Area by Bird Life International. The park covers an area of approximately 71 km of flat and mildly undulating rainforest, with the eastern part of the park facing the South China Sea. Habitats here consist of lowland beach, Kerangas, mixed dipterocarp and mangrove forests, running in a north-south direction. Among the 185 species of birds found here include six hornbill species as well as three Bornean endemic species-Bornean Wren Babbler, Yellow-rum ped Flowerpecker and Dusky Munia. Some of the notable birds found here include the Bat Hawk, Wallace’s Hawk Eagle, Great Argus pheasant, Violet Cuckoo, Short-toed Coucal, Buffy Fish-Owl, Brown Wood Owl, Large Frogmouth, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Garnet Pitta, Hook-billed Bulbul, Diard’s and Scarlet-rum ped Trogons as well as the Crested Jay and Malaysian Blue Flycatcher. There is a good trail system for bird watching in Similajau National Park. The main trail is usually recommended as it is the longest, providing more chances of spotting birds. You need not finish the trail as you might find birds even along the first kilometer of the trail. Another trail is the 450’m boardwalk along the mangroves that joins a 600’m forest trail. The short View Point Trail leads to the viewing point shelter, where you can look for White-bellied Sea Eagles and seabirds, and if you are lucky, spot dolphins frolicking in the sea. It is not advisable to swim in the sea and rivers due to the presence of saltwater crocodiles.
Similajau National Park
Tel: +6086 – 391 284