Plains and Rice Fields

Black-winged stilt

One of the most interesting places for bird watching aficionados is the Tempasuk plain—the flat land between the base of Mount Kinabalu and the sea. Just north of the Kota Belud town, the area is designated as the Kota Belud Bird Sanctuary.

Kota Belud Bird Sanctuary

Although there is no infrastructure such as trails and hides, nor any signage indicating the location of the Sanctuary, the birds in this are protected. Nonetheless, agricultural activities (mostly rice growing) is permitted.

Viewing is done from beside the road away from several small villages scattering the plain and from dirt roads built along the canals. Species to be spotted here include the Cinnamon Bittern, White-browed crake, the Black-winged Stilt and the plump little Rufous-necked Stint, the Streaky Whimbrel, the migratory Oriental Pranticole, the Pacific Golden Plover and long-legged Marsh Sandpiper.

Getting There

A car is the only feasible option. Kota Belud is a little under 1 hour north of Kota Kinabalu. The by-pass road skirting Kota Belud, leading to Kudat cuts across the Sanctuary.