Thursday 29 May 2014

Kinabalu National Park, Sabah - May 2014 (Part 7)

17th May: Our last morning before flying back to Hong Kong, our flight was scheduled at 4:25pm, so we could still spend the morning birding. We decided not to go far as we didn't want to leave too late, so we birded the area around the resort and to Kipungit Waterfall. It started as usual near the trail gate, here we saw a Spectacled Bulbul and a very distant Gold-whiskered Barbet; they are more commonly heard then seen.

Spectacled Bulbul

Gold-whiskered Barbet

On our way towards the Kipungit Waterfall we heard a Raffle's Malkoha making it's unusual yelping call near by, we waited and soon got our eyes on them, a pair tending to a juvenile, feeding it in turns. This gave us an opportunity to finally appreciate this beautiful bird up close, the male differs from the grey headed female with it's rusty orange head. They gave us prolonged views for over 15 minutes, then we decided to leave them in peace to tend for their young.

Raffle's Malkoha male


We saw very little else on the trail so we headed back towards the trail entrance. There we encountered a few Black-capped Babbler, a very peculiar bird that walks like a wagtail half the time and when alarmed will hop onto branches in a very babbler like fashion. They continue to make their fairly distinctive "pi-weee" whistle as they hop into the bushes. Not far off, a pair of Crested Jays started calling, we heard the bird the day before but it never showed, this time they came upon our paths, however our meeting was short lived, they were only visible for ten seconds and flew straight off, disappearing into the trees, leaving us with their machine gun like call.

Black-capped Babbler

Crested Jay

At 7:45am, we saw a park staff walking up to the canopy walkway gate and opening it. We asked whether we can go in a little early but he insisted we waited till 8am; in the end he let us in five minutes early. The canopy walkway at Poring is quite popular amongst tourists, they are really just a series of very unstable rope bridges connected to wooden platforms between trees. However, having heard the Banded Broadbill and the Black-and-Yellow Broadbills calling constantly for two days made us want to go look for them up at the canopy. Early morning will be the best time to go up as all the tourists have yet to arrive, the walkway is quite crowded in late morning and afternoon. On our way up to the walkway we found a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo with no racket, hawking on insects from its perch. Suddenly, we were interrupted by a Buff-necked Woodpecker! With a little help of an audio playback, it came into full view and perched right above us! A very curious bird indeed.

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Buff-necked Woodpecker

On the canopy walkway we kept our eyes out for the Broadbills, but by 8:30am most have fallen silent. We did find a Verditer Flycatcher and a Red-throated Barbet up on the platform though. Then a Dark-throated Oriole came into sight, a fine male perched on a branch close-by, it circled around us a few times and left us in peace. Another bird was flushed, this time a Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo, distinguished from other Hawk Cuckoos by it's neck collar. On our way down, a Bornean Spiderhunter hopped into view, seems we interrupted it from feeding on a banana flower.

Dark-throated Oriole

Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo

Bornean Spiderhunter

Feeling quite content from the birds we saw on the last morning, we headed back to our room and packed our stuff. The drive was suppose to be three hours long so we spared some time and left at 10:45am, we arranged with the car rental company to pick the car up at the airport at 2pm. However, we were very much delayed by a car accident on the A4 on the way. The road was completely blocked for a solid two hours! The accident was horrific, a lorry crashed into two cars and killed one driver, others badly injured. So, advice will be to leave a little earlier if you can because the A4 and A1 are pretty much the ONLY road from Ranau to KK.

So that sums up our short trip to Kinabalu National Park. Some useful information below:

Book used:
"Birds of Borneo" - Susan Myers, Princeton Field Guides

Mobile Company:
-DIGI, 1 week data plan, 15RM

Car Rental:
- Extra Rent A Car :

- Tahubang Lodge (Mt. Kinabalu) [url][/url]
- Serindit Hostel, Sutera Harbour (booked through Agoda)


  1. Stumbled upon your blog while I am researching for my birding trip to Borneo next month. A great blog, thanks a ton. I too blog birds in
    see you there some times.