Considered to be the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia with a total area of 122,539 hectares, Tabin Wildlife Reserve comprises of primarily virgin lowland dipterocarp forest covering surrounded by an outer zone of secondary forest which has been selectively logged in the past. Read on to get an insight on Tabin – Malaysia’s Natural Bird Aviary.
There are three Virgin Forest Reserves within Tabin, about 1,000 hectares of freshwater swamp forest and 200 hectares of mangrove forest can be found in the northeast part of the wildlife reserve. The reserve is characterized by flat lowlands and moderate to steep slopes, ranging from 100-300 meters above sea level with Hatton Hill as the highest point at 571 meters above sea level.
Another unique characteristic of Tabin being its natural mineral sources resulting from young sedimentary formation in the area, this includes three active mud volcanoes which provides salt licks for large mammals. Mud volcano is a rare geological feature in Sabah.
Because of this, several different types of ecosystem are able to coexist within Tabin’s enclosure giving way to the amazing wildlife diversity – especially its bird life!
Among the 688 species of birds of Borneo, some 300 species can be found in Tabin Wildlife Reserve arguably making Tabin the host of more species of birds compared to Danum Valley. With better light penetration in its forest canopies, birding in Tabin is a delight! All of which makes Tabin an excellent natural bird aviary.
Up to a hundred species can be spotted and heard during one day of birding activity in Tabin. Apart from having its own resident bird expert, the Tabin Wildlife Resort also designs its facility to make birding a most rewarding activity. Open sided restaurant as well as observation towers and bird hides are strategically located within the reserve to benefit its visitors.
All 8 species of Borneo’s hornbills are recorded here, with the Rhinoceros Hornbill, White Crowned Hornbill and Wrinkled Hornbill topping the most sightings. At least 9 of the 56 species of Borneo’s endemic bird species are also recorded in Tabin namely Blue-Headed Pitta, Blue Banded Pitta, Bornean Banded Pitta, Black Throated Wren Babbler, Bornean Frogmouth, Bornean Black Magpie, Bornean Blue Flycatcher, Bornean Ground Cuckoo, and White Crowned Shama. To top this list, 9 species of highly threatened bird species also recorded in Tabin as per the Birdlife Data Zone are Large Green Pigeon, Short-toed Coucal, Storm’s Stork, Wallace’s Hawk Eagle, Blue Banded Kingfisher, Blue Headed Pitta, Hook Billed Bulbul, Bornean Wren Babbler and Large-billed Blue Flycatcher.
Tabin Wildlife Reserve was listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA : MY027) in 2003, firmly stating its status as a prominent area for birds and biodiversity. Important Bird and Biodiversity Area or IBA is an area identified using an internationally agreed set of criteria as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations. IBA was developed and sites are identified by BirdLife International, currently there are over 12,000 IBAs worldwide and only 55 in Malaysia including Tabin Wildlife Reserve.
We are birding enthusiasts ourselves so we’ve scouted out the best places in Sabah for birding experiences. Our 3D/2N Specialised Birding package in Tabin Wildlife Reserve is among the best in Asia and its this months PROMOTION.
Contact us for more information on tailored wildlife packages.