Visit your favourite destinations
Western Europe
North America
Eastern Europe
South America
Middle East
East Indies

A Report from

Brunei, 10th-16th June 2011,

Nigel Milius & Wendy Hare

Brunei hadn’t really been on our radar as a destination, until our travel agent came up with it when we asked for a cheap flight to the UK. After a bit of a look on the web it sounded interesting, so we spent 6 days here on route from New Zealand to Britain. Before leaving, much of our logistics were put in place through Intrepid Tours ( who were very helpful, listening to our requests and adapting their more standard tours accordingly. They organised our 1st nights accommodation in BSB (Jubilee Hotel, basic but more than adequate, $79), the trip to Selirong, a 2 night, 3 day tour to Ulu Temburong, and car hire for 3 days, all for Brunei $1441 for the two of us which seemed very reasonable. They also booked two nights at the Government Rest House (again, basic but friendly and adequate) in KB for us (additional Brunei $60 per night).

Overall, it was an interesting, safe and friendly place with a very laid back attitude (when asking about the procedure for returning the hire car we were told to leave it anywhere in the airport car park with the keys under the mat!), though the birding was often frustrating with lots of things calling but frequently only being glimpsed briefly, if at all. As we had virtually no knowledge of the calls, our lists were a bit smaller than hoped for, but we still thoroughly enjoyed our time here and would recommend it as a stopover to anyone in the same position as us.

10th June, arrive Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB)
Arrived just after 6pm, some light while we did the formalities at the airport, but dark by the time we got out!

Pacific Swallow
Asian Glossy Starling, 1st bird in Brunei!

11th June, Selirong Island
5am pick up from hotel, dark and raining, though very warm. Rain stopped as we arrived at the island (6.15am). 1-2km of boardwalks through the mangroves (6.40-8.30am) then back (via a breakfast stop) to BSB late morning. Many birds calling, but very little seen. (Most of the following seen from the boat in Brunei Bay rather than on the island itself).

Great Egret
Striated Heron
Brahminy Kite, 2
Whiskered Tern
Roseate Tern, 1
Collared Kingfisher
Ruddy Kingfisher
Pied Fantail
Mangrove Blue-Flycatcher, 1, 1st lifer of trip.
Copper-throated Sunbird, 1, male

A short look at a small patch of vegetation close to the Jubilee Hotel produced nothing remarkable, but, at this early stage, a few new birds for the trip.

Peaceful Dove
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Yellow-bellied Prinia
Oriental Magpie-Robin
Chestnut Munia
Eurasian Tree Sparrow

BSB to Bangar (Temburong District)
2.30-3.20pm, boat far too fast with quite restricted viewing  to see a lot, but did get brief views of a couple of great birds!

Whimbrel, 2
White-crowned Hornbill, 1
Stork-billed Kingfisher, 1
House Swift

Ulu Temburong NP
4.30-8pm, longboat trip up river to our campsite, and exploring in the vicinity. Warm and fine.

Asian Palm-Swift
Silver-rumped Needletail
Black Hornbill, 1
Dusky Munia, 3


Prevosts Squirrel (presumably the caroli subspp.?), 1
Long-tailed Macaque, 1

8-9.30pm, Night walk up river. No birds or mammals seen, but interesting none the less.

Poisonous Rock Frog
Lesser Swamp Frog
Bornean Narrow-mouthed Frog
River Toad
Large, hairy, black spiders, and fireflies.

12th June, Canopy Walkway, Ulu Temburong NP
5-11.20am away from camp, on walkway 5.45-10.10am. Walked up in the dark to be on the famous canopy walkway at first light. An amazing structure, c.45 mtrs up in the canopy, supported by 5 scaffold towers and, at a guess, c.80-100meters long. Our guides waited at the bottom and told us to take as long as we liked, so we did! Morning mist cleared from the valleys and we had the place virtually to ourselves. As we descended, the masses were just heading up, you really need to avoid the “standard” tours here and we were very pleased with our arrangements!

Brown-backed Needletail, giganteus
Gray-rumped Treeswift
Little Green Pigeon, pair
Pacific Swallow
Wreathed Hornbill, 1
Finsch’s Bulbul, 1
Black and Red Broadbill
Brown Barbet
Lesser Green Leafbird
Silver-rumped Needletail


Gibbon, an amazing cacophony of sound of what must have been dozens as we walked up to the walkway, distinctive and very loud! Saw a couple from the walkway and while they continued to be heard, the noise dropped off markedly after it got light.


Giant Angle-headed Lizard, female
Common Tree Skink, 1
Common Flying Lizard? 1, probably this species
Also saw a variety of butterflies

Back at camp (middle of the day)

Glossy Swiftlet
Also, a fantastic assorted of butterflies, but without a field guide, unable to put names to any!

After leaving camp just after 2pm, we travelled back down the river, then a short drive brought us to out accommodation for the night in the village of Sibulu, not far from Bangar. As we had a little free time, we went for a short walk (2.50-4pm) in the vicinity.

Glossy Swiftlet
Pacific Swallow
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Asian Glossy Starling
Blue-throated Bee-eater
Rufous Woodpecker, 1
Pied Fantail
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Chestnut Munia

Limpang River
5.20-7.45pm, river cruise along the Limpang River which forms the border between Brunei and Malaysia, downstream in daylight, back upstream after dark.

Little Egret, nigripes
Glossy Swiftlet
Black Hornbill, 1 flew over
Asian Glossy Starling
Scaly-breasted Munia, 2 nr start of cruise


Long-tailed Macaque, c.6 seen but plenty of others crashing about in the trees.
At least a couple of bats.


Saltwater Crocodile. Several (5 or 6) seen after dark. Picked up by their red eyeshine. Tiny! Between c. 50cm and 70cm.

13th June, Bukit Patoi, Temburong
6.30-10am. Light rain stopped just as we started up, and it became quite sunny. Quite a few birds heard, but almost nothing seen.

Changeable Hawk-Eagle, 1 dark morph, seen from road as we drove to the starting point for the walk.
Glossy Swiftlet, a few near the top.
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker


Long-tailed Macaque, some on powerlines as we approached.

10.45am, Waiting for the boat back to BSB added one more bird to the trip list.

White-breasted Woodswallow

1.20am, just as we arrived back…

White-bellied Sea-Eagle, 1

BSB to Kuala Belait
Left BSB c.2pm in hire car, and added a few more birds to the trip list on route.

White-breasted Waterhen, 38km from KB
White-bellied Sea-Eagle, nest with adult and large chick, 29km from KB
Rock Pigeon, 29km from KB
Brahminy Kite, 38km from KB

13th-15th June, KB to Belai road (KB road)
This road, the mainstay of Jeremy Moore’s report (and, indeed, of our trip list), was visited several times over these 3 days, in mornings and afternoons, as well as at night. 5-9.20pm on 13th (some cloud, some sun), 6.10-11am, 3.40-6.20pm and 8.15-10pm on 14th (early morning cloud, soon becoming sunny, clouding over again in the afternoon, and some rain during our night excursion), 5.45-10.40am and 8.05-10.20pm on 15th (morning was dull and dry, and the coldest temps we experienced (though still warm, nothing more than a T-shirt and shorts required), by evening it was dry and warm again). It did provide us with many great sightings, but again, there was a lot we could hear that we didn’t see.

Oriental Darter, 1, 15th
Brahminy Kite, 1, 15th
Crested Serpent-Eagle, 1, 15th
White-breasted Waterhen
Little Green Pigeon
Pink-necked Pigeon, 15th only
Peaceful Dove
Blue-rumped Parrot, several flew over on 14th. Identified largely from the bright orange underwings, a feature not mentioned or illustrated in our field guide, but fortunately mentioned in Jeremy Moore’s report.
Greater Coucal, 14th and 15th only
Lesser Coucal, 13th and 15th only
Buffy Fish Owl, all 3 evenings after dark.
Savannah Nightjar, after dark on 13th, early in morning on 15thSilver-rumped Needletail
Glossy Swiftlet
Gray-rumped Treeswift, 1 on 14th
Stork-billed Kingfisher, great views of one on 14th, the only bird I managed to photograph in Brunei!
Collared Kingfisher
Blue-throated Bee-eater
Oriental Pied-Hornbill, 14th and 15th only
Black Hornbill
Wrinkled Hornbill, 1 on 15th
Blue-eared Barbet, 14th and 15th
White-bellied Woodpecker, 14th and 15th
White-breasted Woodswallow
Green Iora, 15th only
Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo
Pied Fantail, 14th and 15th
Slender-billed Crow, 14th and 15th
Pacific Swallow
Black-and-white Bulbul, 1 on 14th
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Red-eyed Bulbul
Yellow-bellied Prinia, 14th and 15th
Oriental Magpie-Robin, 14th only
Asian Glossy Starling
Hill Myna, 15th only
Chestnut-winged Babbler, 14th only
Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker, 14th only
Red-throated Sunbird, 14th only
Purple-throated Sunbird, 14th only
Olive-backed Sunbird, 13th only
Eastern Crimson Sunbird, 14th only
Little Spiderhunter, 15th only
Dusky Munia
Chestnut Munia
Eurasian Tree Sparrow


Long-tailed Macaque, several seen on each daylight visit.
Prevosts’ Squirrel, 1 on morning of 15th.
Oriental Short-clawed Otter, 2 by the road, morning of 15th.

A note on the Binturongs or Bear Cats; According to Jeremy Moore, they are, “Recorded frequently along Kuala Belai Rd where it is a common sight on any visit after dark with as many as 3 different animals seen, particularly from May to July”. After 3 night drives we failed miserably to even get a sniff of one and have therefore renamed them Binturgons! Don’t know if we were just very unlucky, or if something has happened to the population of them here in the two years since his observations.


Monitor Lizard, 1 large animal a long way up a tree on morning of 14th.

14th June, Kuala Belait
6am, Cnr of Jalan Paglina and Jalan Maula

Oriental Pied Hornbill, flock of 18, seen regularly on the edge of the town subsequently.


Spotted Dove, our first of the trip.

15th June, Kuala Belait

White-breasted Woodswallow, adults with chicks on lamppost nr town centre.

1.30-2pm, fairly cool for the middle of the day!

Common Iora
Rufous-headed Tailorbird
Olive-backed Sunbird

Labi Road
Something of a recce to some of the sites mentioned by Jeremy Moore up this road to see where we wanted to go looking in the morning.

Andalau Forest (Site 1)
2.45-3pm. Nothing of note seen, but looked like a good place for morning.

Bukit Sawat Road
3.15-4pm, now in very poor repair, and we didn’t go more than a couple of kms in our small, 2WD rental car. Nothing of note seen.

Luagan Lalak
4.15-4.45pm, boardwalks now fully restored and whilst there may not be as many birds as at other sites, there were still some good ones and things were more visible! Really enjoyed this place the following morning (see below).

Gray-headed Fish-Eagle, 1
Common Hill Myna, 2

Badas Road
5.20-5.55pm, no sign of the Long-tailed Parrot roost, but did see…


Silver Langur Monkey, at least 3.

16th June, Labi Road

Andalau Forest (Site 1)
7.05-8am, started sunny, but beginning to cloud over as we left.

Red-billed Malkoha, 1, great views of a stunning bird.
Glossy Swiftlet
Gray-rumped Treeswift
Blue-throated Bee-eater
White-breasted Woodswallow
Red-eyed Bulbul
Blue-winged Leafbird
Purple-throated Sunbird


Flying Gecko spp., 2, 1 bright green, 1 dull olive (Common Flying Gecko?)

Luagan Lalak
8.20-9.10am, sky got very black and started raining heavily causing us to leave a little sooner than we might have!

Oriental Darter
Purple Heron, 2
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, 2
Whiskered Treeswift, 1, perching regularly
Slender-billed Crow
Pacific Swallow
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, 2, nice views.
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Rufous-headed Tailorbird
Yellow-bellied Prinia
Common Hill Myna
Plain-throated Sunbird
Dusky Munia

Later morning drove up to the end of the road at Teraja hoping it would stop raining; it didn’t!

Crested Serpent-Eagle, 1, c.4km from Labi

Tutong Sewage Works
12.45-1pm, almost stopped raining.

Oriental Darter, c.50
Great Egret
Little Egret
Peaceful Dove
Asian Glossy Starling
Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Berekas Forest/Meragang Beach

1.30-2.45pm, cloud clearing, but quite windy. As the site information in our bird field guide said, “Macaques common, birds harder to spot”. How true! Only one bird seen, and that not the most amazing record of the trip!

Eurasian Tree Sparrow


Long-tailed Macaque, common, and clearly well habituated to humans.

Nr Airport
Last couple of birds noted before flying out.

Spotted Dove, only mentioned here as it was a bird George Watola listed as “ubiquitous” on his visit whereas it was only our 2nd sighting after the ones in KB. 
Gray-rumped Treeswift


We had the following with us;

A Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo” Junaidi Payne & Charles M. Francis

“Phillipps’ Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo” Quentin & Karen Phillipps

 “Birdwatching and Bird Records in Brunei, August 2005-September 2007” Jeremy Moore (Panaga Natural History Society, available on internet)

 “Birding Brunei- December 2010” George Watola (found on internet)

Amphibians and Reptiles of Brunei, a pocket guide” Indraneil Das (Not ours, but our guide at the camp in Ulu Temburong had a copy so we were able to put names to a few things we saw there)

Nigel Milius & Wendy Hare, June 2011


Why not send us a report, or an update to one of your current reports?