Langkawi Island, located in Malaysia, is considered extraordinary not only because of the beauty of its nature but also the incredible number of local birds. Roughly, 267 different kinds of birds can be found on the island. The Great Hornbill is among the largest of them; it can grow up to 1.5 meters. This is one of the reasons why we decided we had to see the birds out in the wild with our own eyes. 

Our trip to see the native birdlife was planned out with the help of the Junglewalla Tours company, which among other things organizes various trips and tours around the Langkawi Island. They offer several different eco-tours on their web site, including a tour to the mangrove forest and many others. We decided to choose birdwatching, because the Langkawi Island is home to the Great Hornbill, which we wanted to see very much.

Alt text

Flying Great Hornbill

Almost one third of the birds on the island are migrating from China and Egypt, and some actually fly here from far-away Europe. The birds travel all around the Southeast Asia, depending on the fruit season. They stay on the Langkawi Island roughly from September to December. Birdwatching takes place twice a day, usually in the morning and later in the afternoon, because birds are often hidden away throughout the hot midday. The morning tour will take you to different places than the afternoon one, which is why we recommend carefully reading the JungleWalla website, as there are different kinds of birds at each location.

Alt text

Our Guide Fendi looks for the hornbills in the trees

We chose the JungleWalla afternoon tour to the highest peak in Langkawi, where hornbills usually have their nests. Hornbills are unique birds that spend their whole lives with a single mate. They usually inhabit the highest levels of tropical forests, so it’s not easy to spot them. The diet of the largest types of hornbills mainly consists of fruit, but also insects and small mammals. Breeding these birds in captivity is very difficult and only a few Zoos in the world were able to breed them successfully.

Alt text

Flying Wreathed Hornbill

Our driver and a tour guide picked us up right in our hotel. We received bottles of water, binoculars and were ready to set out. Before we even got to the place, the driver and our guide were already searching for birds we could see on the way. Our guide’s name was Fendi and he probably knew almost everything there was to know about birds. He immediately started telling us about the types of birds that live on the island. On the way, we saw several Kingfishers on the rice fields and Fendi told us about them immediately. The driver was also a very experienced bird watcher and often helped Fendi look for birds. After we arrived at the location, we watched for every movement in the crowns of the tall trees. It was astonishing from what distance could Fendi spot and find the birds. Every time, he pulled a huge set of telescope from the car, so we could see all the details, because birds often sat at the very tops of the tallest trees. He very generously took a couple of photos on a phone right through the telescope.

Auto od Junglewalla

Our car with a driver who also helped to find birds

We were very lucky that day, because apart from seeing several kinds of hornbills we also saw the Mountain Hawk-Eagle, which is said to be a true superstar among the birds. Fendi told us that we were very lucky as this bird is seen usually about a dozen times a year. It was incredible watching the eagle through the binoculars while knowing that it could see us about ten times better and without the binoculars. Fendi told us that hornbills themselves are afraid of the eagles, even though the hornbills are much larger.

Alt text

Mountain hawk-eagle

We even saw the Crested serpent eagle that mainly hunts reptiles and snakes. We were a bit worried that other birds would be hidden away as eagles have excellent eyesight and can see their prey perfectly up to three kilometres. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. On our way back, we saw several hornbills and of course the largest hornbill – the Great Hornbill. Watching the hornbills as they flew from tree to tree was an amazing experience.

Alt text

The telescope had a perfect zoom

In addition to the birds, we also saw several macaques and Dusky Langurs, which truly are beautiful monkeys. We were even lucky enough to see the oriental giant squirrel Ratufa. They mainly inhabit the tropical forests of Southeast Asia and can grow up to a meter.

We very much enjoyed the whole birdwatching trip with JungleWalla. It was very professionally done and perfectly organized. Ideal for anyone who loves nature and animals. Birdwatching in the wild is a completely different experience than seeing birds in a Zoo.

Alt text

Dusky Langurs on the tree


Address : NO. 1C LOT 1392 Jalan Tanjung Rhu, 07000 Langkawi, Malaysia
Phone : +6019 590 2300

Alt text

A flying couple of hornbills

Thanks to Jungle Walla Tours for support during our visit to Langkawi Island. All our views are based on our own experiences.

Liked this post? PIN IT FOR LATER!!

Bird Watching in Lankgkawi