Borneo is the third largest island in the world and one of the best places to bird in Asia. Once almost entirely covered in rainforest, a plethora of exotic species can be found in an excellent series of montane and forest reserves, especially in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. In fact, Borneo is the perfect destination for anyone from the keen birder to the general naturalist as not only is there an amazing selection of endemic birds but added bonuses in the form of some very exciting mammals, like Bornean Orang Utan, Bornean Pygmy Elephant, Proboscis Monkey and many more. There is magnificent forest, an array of unique insects, and fascinating frogs and reptiles. The island is known for its “flying” animals, a number of disparate species that have adapted to the tall and dense rainforests by evolving the ability to glide through the trees. These include Red Giant Flying Squirrel, Colugo, Wallace’s Flying Frog, Paradise Treesnake, and Flying Dragon Lizards. As for birding, the northernmost state of Sabah is the best place to start.
The unique geological history of the region has led to the development of a remarkable natural heritage on the island and as many as sixty bird species are endemic here. A visit to three sites in particular will reward one with a wonderful list of birds unique to the island or to the region. The World Heritage Site of Kinabalu Park protects the montane forest blanketing the slopes of Mount Kinabalu, Borneo’s highest peak. Next the Kinabatangan River is a wildlife haven containing some of Borneo’s highest concentrations of wildlife. Here one can find an excellent selection of mangrove and lowland forest dwelling birds and other animals. Finally the Danum Valley Conservation Area, arguably Asia’s finest rainforest reserve, is a wonderful area of exceptionally high biodiversity and an exceptionally exciting place to explore nature. Credit: Susan Myers.