Highland Birds of Borneo, Kinabalu Parkrootbirdfest
One of the premier birding destinations in Borneo is Kinabalu Park, home of many of Borneo’s endemic species. Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kinabalu Park is a protected area of 75,370hectares. The park encompasses a range of habitats, with lowland rainforest found in the region of Poring Hot Springs (around 550 metres above sea level), and lower montane forest around Park Headquarters (1,500 metres). Around Mesilau Nature Park Resort, on the eastern side of the park (2,000 metres), the area covered by mountain forest. Travelling higher up Mount Kinabalu, the montane forest eventually gives way to sub-alpine forest which prefers out at the bare granite summit plateau.
The richest bird community is found in the lowland rainforest of Borneo, with the number of species diminishing with the increase altitude. Nonetheless, Kinabalu Park offers many birds which are found only in mountainous regions, including 58 strictly montane birds, 17 of which are endemic Bornean species.
In all, Kinabalu Park offers – in the words of one birding expert – “Many local curiosities and specialities”