Sabah is located on the northern most tip of Borneo and because of the varied habitats contained within its borders, supports one of the most stunning arrays of flora and fauna. This includes an amazingly rich bird life that is becoming a star attraction for bird watchers from around the world.
Sabah has a remarkable range of habitats from montane forest to peat swamp, lowland rainforest to interior plains, and from the largest floodplain in Malaysia to coastal regions and islands that offer a truly exciting and rewarding experience for bird watchers.
A total of 699 resident and migratory species of birds have been recorded for Borneo, with 54 endemic species. Of major interest is the fact that 33 of these endemic species are found on Sabah’s hill and montane forest. The number of montane species is so significant that Mt Kinabalu, at 4,095m and one of the highest mountains in South East Asia is regarded as a distribution centre for all but one of Borneo’s montane birds.
There are several well-established bird watching destinations in Sabah that are supported by a network of good quality transportation, comfortable accommodation and experienced local bird guides. These destinations are characterized by its unique habitat and bird specialties. Less established sites are often added to the itinerary for the more serious birders who want to take full advantage of Sabah’s birding opportunities.
The best way to start a birding holiday in Sabah is to travel east from the capital Kota Kinabalu to Kinabalu Park and across the central mountain range to Sandakan and the massive Kinabatangan Floodplain. From there, travel south-east to the wildlife and nature reserves of Danum Valley and Tabin Wildlife Reserve before flying back to Kota Kinabalu.