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Fraser's Hill (Bukit Fraser), Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia.

All images are Copyrighted © Simply Stunning Birds. All Rights Reserved.

All bird artworks are Copyrighted © Birds of the World, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

  1. Get directions (Google Maps)

  2. View species list (eBird)

  3. Trails (fraserhill.info)

  4. Accommodation (Agoda)

 

About Fraser's Hill


Fraser’s Hill (1456m), known as Bukit Fraser in Malay, is located just inside Pahang's border with Selangor. This picturesque highland village is famous for its montane rainforest and extensive biodiversity. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded in the surrounding area. The Hemnant and Bishop trails are the most popular forest trails amongst birders, although Telekom loop has proven to provide the most consistent and productive birding, and its diverse mixed flocks, superior accessibility and well-lit clearings offer a plethora of exciting and unique photography opportunities. The diversity of flora and fauna varies rapidly with changes in altitude, and lower elevation birding at The Gap and Jeriau Waterfall offers additional specialty species not found in the higher elevation cloud forest. Bird feeders at the Shahzan Inn always attract attention, and a hidden feeding station at the abandoned Jelai Highland Resort offers photographers the opportunity to get up close and intimate with species that wouldn't otherwise show well. Travelling to Fraser's hill requires a car, as other transport options are limited; although several companies offer guided tours if renting a car isn't possible. There are two one-way roads, each designated to either ascend or descend, which function as a loop to coordinate traffic up and down the hill.

 

Top Targets


The top targets are based on a number of factors, including allure, rarity and photographic appeal; although this isn't an exhaustive list, rather an assortment of fascinating species.


1. Silver-eared Mesia - Leiothrix argentauris


Mesias are part of the genus Leiothrix which is part of the higher classification of Laughingthrushes. They often give a warbled song as they move around in foraging groups.

As a result of their beautiful song Silver-eared Mesias are victims of the illegal cage bird trade. Mesias are a relatively common sight on the hill, although as this is one of their only strongholds in Peninsular Malaysia, they're one of our top targets. This photo was taken at the hidden feeding station at the dilapidated Jelai Highland Resort.

Silver-eared Mesia - Leiothrix argentauris, Fraser's Hill














Black Laughingthrush (Melanocichla lugubris) - fraser's hill

2. Black Laughingthrush - Melanocichla lugubris


One of the specialty species of the mid-elevation hill forest, Black Laughingthrushes are locally uncommon, and relatively difficult to observe. The best place to see them is along the one-way road down the mountain towards The Gap, as the forest type descending from 1456 to 877 metres is characterised by a transition from oak-laurel to upper hill dipterocarp; and thus, represents ideal habitat. The birds probably aren't that rare; likely, just unreported in an area lacking comprehensive access. Nevertheless, if you bird there enough, you may just run into a small flock.

3. Blue Nuthatch - Sitta azurea


The Blue Nuthatch has a restricted range, occurring only in high elevation (900+ metres) rainforest in the southern Malay Peninsular, along with similar habitat on the island of Sumatra. It is sexually dimorphic, and its dramatic azure colouration and fluty twitter make it a feat for the eyes and the ears. Fraser's Hill is undoubtedly the best place in continental Asia to try and see this species, and the photo below was taken on Telekom Loop.

Blue Nuthatch (Sitta azurea) - Fraser's hill

Blue Nuthatch (Sitta azurea) - Fraser's Hill

4. Malayan Laughingthrush - Trochalopteron peninsulae


Once considered conspecific with the Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush (Trochalopteron erythrocephalum), the Malayan Laughingthrush is essentially an endemic, in that in addition to inhabiting Peninsular Malaysia, it only lives in the extreme south of Thailand. This species is uncommon to locally fairly common on Fraser's Hill; although in decline. The photo below was taken at the hidden feeding station at the run down Jelai Highland Resort.


5. Malaysian Partridge - Arborophila campbelli


On a small patch of gravel right before Richmond Bungalow, that at first glance could not look less enticing in a landscape blessed with natural beauty, a family of Malaysian Partridges frolic. They're happy, they're well fed, they're incredibly confiding and they're pretty much your only chance at an intimate and almost guaranteed encounter with one of the nations few Peninsular endemics. Yes, you might luck out and briefly see one running across the road, however if you really want to enjoy them in all their glory, head down Jalan Richmond, sit, be patient, and enjoy as they plonk themselves less than 10 metres away from your camera lens.

Malaysian Partridge fraser's hill Arborophila campbelli

6. Long-tailed Broadbill - Psarisomus dalhousiae


On the Peninsular, the Long-tailed Broadbill is of a different subspecies (psittacinus) to that of its other mainland cousins; and most closely resembles those of its species that inhabit Sumatra. As a result of this subspecies' restricted range in continental Asia, its worth putting in the time and seeing it on Fraser's Hill, even if you've already observed the species elsewhere (i.e. India, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar or Bhutan). You never know when a species split is coming! This photo was taken on Telekom Loop.

Long-tailed broadbill psarisomus dalhousiae fraser's hill

7. Black Eagle - Ictinaetus malaiensis


Black Eagle Ictinaetus malaiensis, Fraser's Hill

Although relatively widespread across Asia, the Black Eagle is uncommon on the Peninsular, and fairly local. Its range is restricted to the mid-high elevation forests of Malaysia's central forest spine, and therefore, is locally fairly common on Fraser's Hill. It's easily distinguished from other raptors in flight by its long, projecting primaries, and is the only member of its genus.




8. Long-tailed Sibia - Heterophasia picaoides


The race on the Malay Peninsular (wrayi) is genetically distinct from the nominate race (picaoides). Long-tailed Sibias frequent the feeders scattered throughout the gardens on the hill, and gorge on the nectar of introduced ornamental flora species, such as the Bottlebrush. This photo was taken as a Sibia enjoyed fresh papaya put out by staff at the Shahzan Inn.

Long-tailed Sibia Heterophasia picaoides Fraser's hill

Rusty-naped Pitta Hydrornis oatesi, Fraser's Hill

9. Rusty-naped Pitta - Hydrornis oatesi


First things first, the chances of actually seeing a Rusty-naped Pitta in Malaysia, are extremely low. They are highly elusive, unlikely to be heard calling and photographing them is very difficult. They're also very hard to plan for, and seem to show up when they're least expected to; although if you learn their call, a sharp two-noted "wheeww pweee", you'll know when to stop and focus your absolute attention on locating the bird. Alternatively, certain individuals, somewhat sporadically, show themselves at feeding stations. These are usually immature birds, or adults maximising their caloric intake to support chick-rearing.


10. Fire-tufted Barbet - Psilopogon pyrolophus


One of the most charismatic, beautiful and easy to see specialties of Malaysia's hill forests above 1,070m. Just wait until you hear this thing call! This photo was taken at the hidden feeding station at near the Jelai Highland Resort.

fire-tufted barbet Psilopogon pyrolophus Fraser's Hill

After having a read through our Top Targets, we hope you've gained some useful insights on the the best way to plan for the species you hope to see.

 

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All images are Copyrighted © Simply Stunning Birds. All Rights Reserved.

All bird artworks are Copyrighted © Birds of the World, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.