Bird Photography / Borneo / Wildlife

Bird photography at Mt Kinabalu

24 Jan ’16

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

So far I have written four posts about our time in Borneo but haven’t yet covered our trip to Mt Kinabalu. Mt Kinabalu Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was our last stop before reaching the capital of Sabah (Kota Kinabalu) and catching our flight out of the country. We drove from Sandakan in the north east of the island to the entrance of Mt Kinabalu Park, with a few issues, see image below. It is worth noting that we found great accomodation about 2min drive from the gates of the park (much cheaper than staying inside the park!).


One of the many technical stops while going up the steep roads leading to Mt Kinabalu Park.

Mt Kinabalu Park has a wide range of ecosystems and vegetations types from rich tropical lowland and hill rainforest to tropical mountain forest, sub-alpine forest and scrub on the higher elevations. Due to the recent earthquake (June, 2015), our plan to hike to the top of the mountain were cancelled, however the trails around the headquarters are well worth the visit regardless.


We only spent one day in the park but it was enough to see a lot of species. Below is a selection of the bird images I managed to make during our short trip to Mt Kinabalu.


The bornean flowerpecker (Dicaeum monticolum) was one of my favorite bird encounters from this area. It posed on the mossy branch for a little while enabling me to get closer and the overcast light that day made it perfect for showing the plumage details and colors!

Whitehead's-Trogon-Harpactes whiteheadi

A female Whitehead’s trogon (Harpactes whiteheadi). One of the beautiful Borneo endemic that can be found in the park, we did see the male but he was never in a suitable position for photography.

Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush-Garrulax-treacheri

Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush (Garrulax treacheri). Another bird endemic to Borneo found in Mt Kinabalu Park and other high elevation parts of the island. As you might have noticed it has bands on it’s legs, most likely for a research purpose.


 The ashy drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus) above was photographed just outside the park from our accommodation’s veranda but you can see this species in the park as well. We did see and photograph the ashy drongos inside the park but I didn’t manage to get such a nice close up.


An indigo flycatcher (Eumyias indigo) sitting below the viewing platform at the Kinabalu Park Headquarters. It kept on flying back onto the same branch, all I had to do was wait!


Not a bird but one of the many beautiful rainforest streams in Mt Kinabalu Park.

The summit of Mt Kinabalu has been reopened so we will definitely be back to climb to the top and experience the dramatic change in vegetation and hopefully get to see some of the higher altitude bird species. We would also like to explore the park surrounding the headquarters in more detail as there are plenty more species to photograph including animals other than birds. Next time we will plan to have more than one day.

Check out our Borneo – Wildlife photography video below.



I am a nature photographer specialising in wildlife photography. I have a special passion for this type of photography which comes from my background as an ecologist & conservation biologist.

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.