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Borneo Bird Festival is a celebration of the magnificent birds of Borneo, it is aimed to create public awareness to bird conservation, to promote Birdwatching, and enhance the eco-tourism activities. In Borneo, a total of 688 resident and migratory species of bird, with 60 species are endemic.

It has imparted knowledge and awareness of these wonderful natural creatures especially to the younger generations. Through a number of birding and photography competitions, giving due recognition to our passionate birders and photographers. Furthermore, the event has created bonds among its participants from different walks of life both local and international and in one way or another, they are now incline to support more conservation acts.

Among the highlights of the 3-day programme are the different categories of the Bird Race, Bird Photography Contests, Talks and Photography Workshops, Booth Exhibitions, and Youth Camp amongst others. The event is sponsored by Sabah Tourism Board and jointly organized by the Sabah Forestry Department and Sandakan Borneo Bird Club.

Since the event was first introduced in 2008, the festival has gained momentum and generated much interest among the general public, both young and adult with an overwhelming more than 6,000 visitors during the 3 days event.

Additional Info


Sabah Malaysian Borneo, a renowned eco-tourism destination among nature lovers for its flora and fauna as well as the vast array of bird habitats.

Borneo’s accumulated record, a total of 688 resident and migratory species of bird; 60 endemic species where 33 of these endemics are found in Sabah’s hill slopes and montane forest.

Kinabalu Park is regarded as an apex of montane and lowland birds in Borneo. Among the sought after endemic species are the Whitehead’s Trogon and the Whitehead’s Broadbill. Birds like the Blue-headed Pitta, the vividly coloured Blue-banded Pitta, the large and distinctly coloured Bornean Ground Cuckoo, the iconic Bornean Bristlehead, and the Golden-naped Barbet with its signature trilling call, are just some of the reasons why Sabah is a must-visit for all birds’ aficionados out there.

Winter in the north and south hemisphere influences the number of birds in Borneo. Borneo is a perfect pit stop for migrating birds on their long journey and the birds are able to go foraging along coastal area and interior Sunda archipelago. Waders and raptors are the majority types of birds for this long journey, along with the Pied Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Red-necked Phalarope, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Eastern Marsh Harrier and the less common migrant, the Peregrine Falcon. There are also migratory forest birds including the Crow-billed Drongo, Siberian Blue Robin, Blue-winged Pitta and Fairy Pitta.

Good network of transportation made all major birding destinations easily accessible. Cozy accommodations available, ranging backpackers lodges, chalets and hotels.

Birds of Borneo    : 688 species
Borneo Endemic     : 60 species

Borneo's Best Birding Locations

Although the north Borneo remains warm throughout the year, the weather – and consequently the birdlife – are influenced by the wet northeast monsoon from November until March or April. During this time, which is the northern hemisphere autumn and winter, birds escape the cold by migrating to Borneo vie the island chain of the Philippines, returning home the springtime. The majority of migrants are waterbirds, but there are also raptors such as the Japanese Sparrowhawk, Eastern Marsh Harrier and the less common migrant, the Peregrine Falcon. There are also migratory forest birds including the Crow-billed Drongo, Siberian Blue Robin, and Blue-winged and Fairy Pitta.

Many resident birds breed during the end of the monsoon season. At this time, waterbirds are protected by their nesting trees being surrounded by water, while a peak period for insects mean that insectivorous birds also breed at the end of the northeast monsoon. When many forest trees are bearing fruits, from May to October, fruit-eating birds breed while birds of the open country and paddy field breed during the driest time of year, usually April. Generally speaking, the time when the most birds reproduce is in April and May.