Best Books on Malaysian Birds

What are the best books on Malaysian birds?

What's a good field guide on the birds of Malaysia?

Is there any photographic guide on the birds of Malaysia and Borneo?

image of Introduction to Malayan birds book by GC Madoc
Those are almost always the questions emailed to us from birders.

So, we are pleased to answer our visitors' queries by listing below some of the best books on Malaysian birds which are essentially the best field guides for birding and bird-watching in Malaysia.

In fact we do have in our possession a few of them which we use for constant reference and bird identifications, and as reading for pleasure.

The books and field guides listed are also the ones which are oftentimes referred to by the specific birding forums and photography groups in Malaysia.

However, being targeted and dedicated to a small number of enthusiasts, these excellent field and photographic guide and to us, being perhaps the best books on Malaysian birds, sadly are hard to come by at the ordinary local bookshops.

They are only available, from our experience looking for them, in the bigger bookstores and their outlets in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, and other big towns in Malaysia.

In Kuala Lumpur, the Kinokuniya bookstore at the KL City Centre (Petronas Twin Towers) and the MPH bookstore at its various outlets at KLCC and Mid-Valley Megamall, usually carry a few of these books.

photographic guide to birds book picture
In Penang, check out the Popular and MPH Bookstores. They have a wide selection of books in their shops.

In Kota Kinabalu, the Borneo Books, Irawase, and Popular bookstores and their outlets most probably carry the books especially the guide books on the birds of Borneo.

In Kuching, the local MPH Bookstore and Popular Bookstore probably have them.

Online, check their availability at the big bookstores of the world such as Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or AbeBooks.

picture of birds of taman negara book by morten strange
We have added text links to the books we listed below to for your easy search.

Do know we receive a commission if you order and buy the books in all our links here. It helps us defray costs for running this website; so thank you if you did.

When buying the books and field guides, do make sure you get the latest up-dated versions of the books as new species and sub-species of birds are always found in the region, and splits of birds species and names seem to be a continuous exercise.

Well then, here is the list of the field guides and the best books on Malaysian birds, that are preferred and popular to birders in Malaysia, and which we recommend to all birders, bird-watchers or bird-photographers coming to Malaysia.

List of the Best Books on Malaysian Birds for birders

  1. Field Guide to the Birds of South-east Asia : by Craig Robson

    image of the book on birds of south-east asia by craig robson
    If you only want one book, this book is adequate for a complete field guide to the birds of Malaysia.

    It is quite portable, though not small and pocketable.

    It is useful for identifying birds not only of Malaysia but of other SE Asian countries as well.

    As a complete field and reference guide to birds of SE Asia, it contains more than 140 full-color plates and more than 1,270 species of the region's birds.

    The text covers the identification, voice, habitat, behavior and range of the species and distinctive sub-species found in the region.

    For those intending to do bird-watching or bird-photography in Sabah or Sarawak, get either the field guide book by Susan Myers (no.2) or the one by Quentin Phillipps (no.3) listed below. Either one will be very adequate for identification of the birds in both states.

  2. Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo : by Susan Myers

    This excellent guidebook contains, among others, the background information on the Borneo climate, avian habitats and topography. It includes the species details and illustrations of the more than 600 bird species known to inhabit Borneo.

    Each of the entries includes species details, behavior, nesting and habitat information, a distribution map and one or more color illustrations, and contains both scientific and English name index.

  3. Phillipps' Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo : by Quentin Phillips

    This book contains about 121 colour plate and 12 maps (illustrator). It is a comprehensive field guide to the birds of Borneo, describing more than 600 species living or reported on the island of Borneo, which includes Sabah and Sarawak.

  4. A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore: by Morten Strange & Allen Jeyarajasingam

    picture of malaysia birds book by morten strange and allen jeyarajasingam
    This book has an attractive lay-out and contains the illustrations on 290 species, presented in their natural habitats. This is one of the best books on Malaysian birds and a classic, still a preferred photographic guide by many birders even today.

  5. Photographic guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore : by GWH Davison and Chew Yen Fook

    A compact, pocket sized photographic guide, ideal when traveling and on the field. Contains more than 250 color photographs of the main bird species found in Peninsular (West) Malaysia and Singapore.

    The text describes the key identification features and pages with distinctive thumbnail color tabs outlining each family group to enable quick identification.

  6. Illustrated guide and checklist of Birds of Taman Negara : by Morten Strange and Dennis Yong

    This illustrated guide and checklist of the birds in Taman Negara also contains the Malay names of the birds.

    Small and pocket sized, it contains description and color photographs of 98 birds taken on location.

    An annotated checklist is included of all 380 species occurring in West Malaysia's largest national park, Taman Negara, a more than 130 million years old rain-forest reserve in the state of Pahang.

  7. Birds of Fraser's Hill: an illustrated guide and checklist : by Morten Strange

    A small pocket book containing 95 photographs and checklist of all the 247 birds in Fraser's Hill, the premier hill-station in Peninsular Malaysia, and one of the top birding locations in Asia.

    This guide book also includes the birds found at the Gap area, the entrance to Fraser's Hill.

    This book is especially useful to participants of the Fraser's Hill International Bird Race usually held in the month of June every year.

    Other good books, field guides and photographic guides on the birds of Malaysia which might interest enthusiasts are as follows:

  8. Wild Malaysia: The Wildlife and Scenery of Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah : by Cubitt, Gerald / Payne, Junaidi

  9. A Pocket Guide to the Birds of Borneo: by Francis, Charles M.; Smythies, Bertram E.

  10. The Birds of Peninsular Malaysia : by Derek Holmes and Karen Phillipps

  11. An introduction to Malayan Birds: by G.C. Madoc

    This an old book originally published by the then Malayan Nature Society. It was one of the best books on Peninsular (West) Malaysian birds back then. Contains black and white photos and drawings of birds and includes the Malay names of the birds as well.

We do hope the above short list of the best books on Malaysian birds will help those who intend to bird in Malaysia by having a good field guide for bird identification.

And again, do get the latest revised edition, if you can.

If you prefer to buy other books or items from, use this search feature to quickly find the book or items you're looking for:


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