From lush tropical rain forests to the coastal mudflats, there is a rich variety of both resident and migratory species that seek shelter here. In Penang Island the mangroves of Sungai Burung on the southern tip of the island is where you will be able to see raptors, kingfishers, cuckoos and as well as migratory passerines.
Forest birds are struggling to
cope with the pace of development on the island but the central hilly region like
Penang Hill and Bukit Penara is still home to such amazing species like the
White-bellied Woodpecker and Green Broadbill.
But to truly experience the bird life here, one has to go across the narrow straits to the mainland side of
Penang. is a small patch
of freshwater swamp forest at the northern end of the state and it provides
sanctuary to such feathered jewels as the Mangrove Pitta, Ruddy Kingfisher and
Black-And-Red Broadbill. A number of migrants also pass through the locality
and some will also remain here for the winter. It is also for the best places
to see nocturnal species like owls and nightjars. Not too far from here lies
the coastline of Teluk Air Tawar – Kuala Muda which has been gazetted as an Important Bird Area.
Each year, thousands of waders and other shore birds will find refuge here
during the winter months up north and this is certainly one of the best wader
sites in Air Hitam
The vast area of paddy fields of Permatang Pauh in the central region is a great place to see wintering raptors and water birds. The mighty Eastern Imperial Eagle, Steppe Eagle and Greater Spotted Eagles call this place home during the wintering months. It is also one of the best places to see scarce migratory water birds like the ibises, storks and waders. The Pulau Burung landfill at the southern tip is another place where both resident and migratory water birds frequent. As the name implies, the marshlands and mangroves are rich in bird life and notable birds like ducks, rails, raptors and cuckoos can be found here.
The neighbouring state of Kedah offers some of the best birding sites for forest birds. At the
, birding is done
along the fairly easy walking trails within the reserve. The Sungai Sedim Tree
Top Walk is the longest canopy walk in the world and it gives you the
opportunity to observe birds from their point of view. Hornbills, trogons and
babblers are some of the highlights of this birding locality. Other than Sungai
Sedim, there are a few more forest reserves that are pristine and untouched by
human development like the Bukit Wang Forest Reserve. Here, you have a good
chance to observe rare species such as the Malaysian Honeyguide, Wallace’s
Hawk-eagle and Dusky Eagle-owl. Sungai
Birding spots around Penang
Please do not just take my word for it. Here are some articles that highlight birding in this region:
1. Birding and Bird Photography in Penang - myPenang
2. Is it a plane? Is it Superman? No, it's a bird! - Penang Monthly
3. The birds, the bees and the orangutans! - Penang Free Sheet