Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a bird-watcher’s paradise as the area attracts an amazingly rich diversity of birds.
The relatively low canopy with ample natural light, makes birding and photography a delightful experience.
About 42 indigenous families of bird representing more than 260 bird species have been recorded in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, including all 8 of Sabah’s Hornbill species.
They are 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 abound.
[singlepic id=676 w=320 h=240 float=right]Rarely seen species such as Storm’s Stork, Jambu Fruit Dove, Large Green Pigeon, White-fronted Falconet, Great-billed Heron and Giant Pitta have all been sighted in Tabin Wildlife Reserve.
Arrive at Lahad Datu Airport at 07:55. Your Tabin Wildlife Reserve representative will drive you from Lahad Datu to Tabin Wildlife Reserve on an approximately 1-hour journey across gravel roads.
Arring at Tabin Wildlife Reserve, you will check into a charming timber lodge at the resort, nestled within the rainforest. The resort comes complete with private veranda and hot water shower.
Explore the vicinity of the resort and discover the abundance of bird life. The open-sided Sunbird Café is surrounded by greenery and flowering plants, which attract a number of brightly coloured birds.
As you sip your coffee, you could spot active species such as the Black-backed Kingfisher, Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker, Red-throated Sunbird, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher and the Black and Yellow Broadbills.
[singlepic id=730 w=320 h=240 float=left]Huge boulders in the river are a favourite perch for the Oriental Darter, Stork-billed Kingfisher and Lesser Fish Eagle, especially after rain. A family of otters have been seen up and down this part of the river.
White-bellied Munia can be commonly found in the bushes on roads near the resort, and a family of large black and chestnut Lesser Coucal sometimes make an appearance here.
The rare Storm’s Storks have made Tabin their home and can sometimes be seen. You will most likely be able to spot one or more of Borneo’s eight species of hornbill. Let the guide share with you the tales about the origins of the Helmeted Hornbill’s calls.
After dinner, enjoy a slide presentation on Tabin’s natural wonders, followed by a trip to look for nocturnal wildlife and birds. The Brown Wood-owl and Savanna Nightjar are some of the species that you may sight along the reserve road.
Leopard cats, civet cats, the nomadic bearded pig, the red giant flying squirrel and perhaps even to the clouded leopard and slow loris can potentially be sighted.
Overnight at Tabin Wildlife Reserve (L,D)
[singlepic id=743 w=320 h=240 float=right]After a simple, early breakfast depart with packed lunch for the active Lipad mud volcano. The soccer field-sized Lipad mud volcano serves as a mineral salt lick for wildlife and birds.
The endemic Black and Crimson Pitta has been sighted along the trail leading to the mud volcano.
After jungle-trekking for 20 minutes, arrive at the elevated, bare area of the mud volcano where you can try to identify the multitude of animal footprints.
The adventurous can try the effects of the volcanic mud, said to be responsible for a fine complexion. Climb the observation tower and admire the contrasting landscape of the bare area and its surrounding thick forest.
Finsch’s Bulbul, endemic Bornean and Black-throated Wren-babblers, White-crowned Forktail, Dark-throated Oriole, Malaysian Blue Fly-catcher are some of the species that might 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 from the observation tower, bare branches of towering trees are favourite perching place for Green Imperial Pigeons and Jambu Fruit Dove with its wonderful coloured chest.
After dinner, go for a night walk to try and discover more nocturnal bird species.
Overnight at Tabin Wildlife Reserve (B,L,D)
[singlepic id=710 w=320 h=240 float=left]After an early breakfast, depart for birding along the road leading to the Core Area of Tabin Wildlife Reserve.
The fully regenerated secondary forest with its relatively lower canopy and good natural light provides a great birding experience. Be entertained by wild bird songs and the calls of Borneon Gibbons.
On some bare tree trunks, busy Dollar birds can be found. The Rufous Woodpecker, Bronzed Drongo, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Speckled Piculet, Chestnut-capped Thrush, White-fronted Falconet, Long-tailed Parakeet, Temminck’s Sunbird, Purple-throated Sunbird and are some of the other species that could be sighted here.
The wild ginger plants attract a variety of colourful birds, including the Thick Bellied Flower pecker.
Picnic lunch will be set up overlooking the river or the valley.
[singlepic id=721 w=320 h=240 float=right]If time permits, you will trek along the Tomanggong Road where the Giant Pitta has been sighted. The White-fronted Falconet, Long-tailed Parakeet and Orange-backed Woodpecker as well as other good birds, the Little Spiderhunters, Yellow-rumped Flowerpeckers may also be sighted.
If you’re lucky, Long-tailed Macaque and even Orangutans could be sighted along this road.
Overnight at Tabin Wildlife Reserve (B,L,D)
After breakfast, either relax in Sunbird Café while enjoying more birds in the surrounding garden, or venture to the riverside bird hide to discover further species.
Early lunch and then depart Tabin at 14:30 for the journey back to Lahad Datu Airport (B, L)
Accommodation based on Run of House Basis, scheduled return transfer Lahad Datu/Tabin/Lahad Datu based on shared (non-private), meals as stated, guided programs and activities.
The wildlife at Tabin Nature Reserve are just that; wild. It can therefore be neither predicated nor guaranteed.
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Lahad Datu-Tabin: 08:30 & 12:00
Tabin-Lahad Datu: 14:30
RM 70.00 per person per way (min. 2 persons)
BKI-LDU : MH3010 ETD 06:10 ETA 07:05
LDU-BKI : MH3023 ETD 17:30 ETA 18:25
- Activities are subject to weather condition, and may be re-organised to best meet operational situation.
- Price quoted above is based on minimum 2 persons booking and are valid from 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2015.
- 3 Days 2 Night Birding @ Tabin Wildlife Reserve is also available (please email us for further details).
What to bring
Binoculars, spottingscope (if available), insect repellent, long sleeve shirts & long pants, raincoat, sun hat, swim wear, comfortable trekking shoes, leech socks torch light, water bottle & personal toiletries.