Tabin is a bird-watcher’s paradise as the forest of Tabin attracts an amazingly rich diversity of birds, including rare and endemic species, due to the abundance of food plants here. The relatively low canopy with sufficient natural lights makes birding and photography a delightful experience.
About 42 indigenous families representing more than 300 species have been recorded here including all the 8 of Sabah’s Hornbill species; Black Hornbill, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Pied Hornbill, White-crowned Hornbill, Wrinkled Hornbill, Bushy-crested Hornbill and Helmeted Hornbill. Other sought-after species, such as the Blue-headed Pitta, Black-and-crimson Pitta, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher, Temminck’s Sunbird, Purple-throated Sunbird, Everett’s White-eye, Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker, and rarely seen species such as Storm’s Stork, Jambu Fruit Dove, Large Green Pigeon, White-fronted Falconet, Great-billed Heron and Giant Pitta have been sighted in Tabin.
Good Places For Bird Watching
Around The Resort
Explore the vicinity of the resort and you will be pleasantly surprised by the abundance of bird life found here. The Sunbird Café is wonderfully surrounded by greenery and flowering plants that attracts a number of brightly coloured birds. Sipping your coffee, your eyes will be kept busy following active species such as the Black-backed Kingfisher, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker, Red-throated Sunbird, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher, Large Green Pigeon, Dusky Broadbill and Black-and-Yellow Broadbill. Be entertained by the melodious calls of Black Magpie in the nearby ground.
A bird hide built facing the flowing Lipad River provides a wonderful site for the viewing of birds. Huge boulders in the river are favourite place for Oriental Darter, Stork-billed Kingfisher and Lesser Fish Eagle to perch especially after the rain. Happy families of Otters; Small-clawed Otter and Smooth-coated Otter have been seen up and down this part of the river and delights guests.
Take a stroll along the road nearby the resort. White-bellied Munia and Dusky Munia can be commonly found in the bushes. A family of Lesser Coucal sometimes make their appearances here. The rare Storm’s Storks have made Tabin their home and can sometimes be seen. You will most likely be able to see one or more of the eight species of hornbills in Borneo such as Black, White-crowned, Rhinoceros, Wreathed, Oriental Pied and Wrinkled Hornbills either flying in groups across the sky, or in pairs perching on bare branches. Let the guide share with you the tales and origins of the Helmeted Hornbill’s calls.
The Lipad Mud Volcano & Tomanggong Road
Tabin has several mud volcanoes and salt-water springs that are high in minerals of importance to wildlife. Frequently visited by animals and birds, the mud volcanoes are ideal locations to view wildlife or find evidence of their visits. Lipad mud volcano is the one nearest to the main base. The endemic Black-and-Crimson Pitta and Blue-headed Pitta has been sighted along the trail leading to the mud volcano. After jungle-trekked for twenty minutes, arrive at the elevated bare area of the mud volcano. Try to identify the multitude of animal footprints here. Those adventurous can experiment the effect of the volcanic mud said to be responsible for fine complexion. Walk up the observation tower and admire the contrasting landscape of the bare area and its surrounding thick forest.
Finsch’s Bulbul and Black-throated Wren-babblers, White-crowned Forktail, Dark-throated Oriole, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher are some species that can be seen around the area. A nearby fig-tree is a busy feasting place for hornbills and other birds and primates during the fruiting season. Across the observation tower, bare branches of towering trees are favourite perching place for Green Imperial Pigeon, Large Green Pigeon and Jambu Fruit Dove with its wonderful coloured chest.
Strolling along the Tomanggong Road is likely to yield a superb bird list. The Giant Pitta has been sighted along this road. The White-fronted Falconet, Long-tailed Parakeet and Orange-backed Woodpecker as well as other good birds, Red-naped Trogon, Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker may be sighted. You will most likely be able to observe Long-tailed Macaque and Orang-Utang along this road.
Road To The Core Area
The Core Area lies in the heart of Tabin Reserve. Walking along the initial stretch of the road leading to the core area, you are likely to be entertained by wild bird songs and the calls of Borneon Gibbons. On some bare tree trunks, busy Dollarbird can be found along with Rufous Woodpecker, Bronzed Drongo, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Speckled Piculet, Chestnut-capped Thrush, White-fronted Falconet, Long-tailed Parakeet, Black Eagle, Black Magpie and are some of the species that can be seen. The abundance of wild ginger plant attracts colourful varieties of birds, including the Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Temminck’s Sunbird, Purple-throated Sunbird, Red-throated Sunbird, Thick-billed Spiderhunter, Grey-and-Buff Woodpecker and many others. This road would also be the best place to look for the very rare Bornean Bristlehead.