Panti Forest Bunker Trail Bird Checklist 2015

Panti Forest near Kota Tinggi in Johor, Malaysia, is a popular birdwatching destination for people living in Malaysia, Singapore and also for worldwide birders.

Reasons for its popularity include close proximity to large population centres in Johor and Singapore; and it’s ease of access with a gravel track that can be driven on in an ordinary sedan car in all months of the year.  Panti Forest is loaded with Sundaic region lowland tropical rainforest birds, and so is a rich destination that offers a very different experience from birding in an urban environment or any other part of the world, and so should be on every birder’s list.  Having many colorful birds including trogons, broadbills, kingfishers, woodpeckers and some pittas, it is a visual treat and very popular with photographers .  And especially for international birders, it is the relatively common presence of the Rail-Babbler which has earned Panti Forest the reputation as the best and easiest place to see this sought after species.

And so I was very interested when Mr Yong Ding Li¹ published his checklist of birds of Panti Forest back in 2006 and I used that for many years as the basis for keeping track of the birds I’ve seen.  Fast forward to the present, and many years have passed and many birding trips to Panti have been made, and so I thought it time to attempt to put together a more current checklist supported by sighting data over the past 10 years.

A group of us, Danny Lau, Lau Jia Sheng, Tan Kok Hui and I regularly visit Panti, and I’ve also made many independent trips.  Tan Kok Hui and Lau Jia Sheng have been quite rigorous in keeping track of what we’ve seen and entering this data in Bird I*Witness², and Kok Hui’s blog³.  Bird I* Witness is in the process of being merged with eBird⁴, but this hasn’t happened yet, and to me it felt like there was some urgency in retrieving this data from Bird I*Witness before (possibly) it might be gone.

So looking at over 10 years of data and over 100 checklists from TKH and LJS, augmented by my notes from many more independent trips the checklist presented below should give a fairly accurate estimate of the chances of being able to record any given bird on a trip.  With “record” meaning either seeing or hearing it.  Some birds are very difficult to see, so hearing might be the only option.

The checklist is presented in the same taxonomic order as the Peninsular Malaysia Checklist⁵, maintained by the Malaysian Nature Society.  I also used the same frequency of occurrence rank from 1 to 7 as used by the Malaysian Nature Society.  I did modify the “rank” description to reflect the percentage chance of seeing any given species.  With 1 being one sighting or less per year, and 7 being abundant with an 80% or greater chance of seeing or hearing a particular bird.

Panti Forest is fairly large at 10,879 hectares and consequently has a few access points and many fringe areas with a variety of habitat.  However, the main access point used by likely well over 90% of the visitors is Bunker Trail, simply because of the ease of access (gravel road) and relatively good forest cover.  However, there is a power line and consequently open scrubby terrain at the entrance, and at the end of Bunker Trail there is a disused sand quarry with another larger area of disturbed scrubland.

These two areas of scrubland attract a completely different set of bird species than in the largely closed canopy rainforest of the larger portion of Bunker Trail.  Visitors from Singapore and Malaysia likely are not too interested in these scrubland species as they are easily seen elsewhere, but overseas visitors may have more interest.  So with this in mind the checklist includes both forest species and scrubland species.  I did limit the scope of this checklist to birds seen on Bunker Trail to reflect a more relevant view of what to expect.

As of the date of compilation of this checklist, July 2015, I have included 270 species.  Quite likely I have missed several or even many birds that are seen less than once a year, either because no one I know has reported a sighting or there is no data.  Some birds are just very seldom seen in Panti, for instance, the Storm’s Stork gets seen perhaps once every 5 years.  Fully 50 birds on this checklist are seen less than once per year.  With enough observers and a long enough time, almost anything could turn up and probably does!  I suppose a case could be made to identify these as Vagrants to Panti rather than Residents, but I stayed with the Malaysian Nature Society definition of resident/migrant/vagrant status.

The total Resident (non-migratory) population of birds reported in this checklist is 231 species.  Perhaps more relevant to visiting birders are those species which are seen at least twice a year or more, as these birds would make up the bulk of what you might expect to see.  This subset includes 196 resident species.

Regarding the 39 Migratory species reported in this checklist, they are likely a bit under represented, because during migratory season we spend less time in Panti Forest, and more time chasing migrants in Singapore.  Still the major migrants should be captured.


¹Yong Ding Li:  Preliminary List of Larger Vertebrates in the Panti Forest Reserve, South Johore (2002-2006)

²RSPB/BirdLife:  Bird I*Witness (Malaysia)

³Tan Kok Hui:  Our birding trips

⁴Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society: eBird

⁵MNS-BCC Records Committee:  Peninsular Malaysia Checklist


No S/H Common Name Latin Name IUCN R/M Freq
1 Long-billed Partridge Rhizothera longirostris NT R 1
2 Crested Partridge Rollulus roulroul NT R 2
3 Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus R 3
4 Crestless Fireback Lophura erythrophthalma VU R 1
5 Great Argus Pheasant Argusianus argus NT R 4
6 Storm’s Stork Ciconia stormi VU R 1
7 Malaysian Night-heron Gorsachius melanolophus M 1
8 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis M 1
9 Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius R 2
10 Jerdon’s Baza Aviceda jerdoni M 1
11 Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes M 2
12 Oriental Honey-Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncha R/M 3
13 Bat Hawk Macheirhamphus alcinus R 2
14 Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus R 2
15 Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus R 1
16 White-bellied Sea-Eagle Halieetus leucogaster R 2
17 Lesser Fisher-Eagle Ichthyophaga humilis NT R 1
18 Grey-headed Fish-Eagle Icthyophaga icthyaetus NT R 2
19 Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela R 6
20 Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus R 2
21 Chinese Goshawk Accipiter soloensis M 2
22 Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis M 2
23 Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga VU M 1
24 Rufous-bellied Eagle Hariaeetus kienerii R 2
25 Changeable Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus R 5
26 Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus alboniger R 4
27 Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus R 3
28 Red Collared-Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica R 1
29 Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis R 5
30 Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica R 5
31 Zebra Dove Geopelia striata R 4
32 Cinnamon-headed Green-Pigeon Treron fulvicollis NT R 1
33 Little Green-Pigeon Treron olax R 5
34 Pink-necked Green-Pigeon Treron vernans R 2
35 Thick-billed Green-Pigeon Treron curvirostris R 3
36 Jambu Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus jambu NT R 1
37 Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus NT R 4
38 Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot Loriculus galgulus R 7
39 Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda NT R 3
40 Malaysian Hawk Cuckoo Hieroccocyx fugax R 4
41 Hodgson’s Hawk Cuckoo Hieroccocyx nisicolor M 1
42 Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus R/M 4
43 Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonnerati R 3
44 Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus R 4
45 Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis R 4
46 Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysoccocyx malayanus R 2
47 Violet Cuckoo Chrysoccocyx xanthorhynchus R 5
48 Asian Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris R/M 5
49 Black-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus diardi NT R 2
50 Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus NT R 4
51 Raffles’s Malkoha Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus R 6
52 Red-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus rubrirostris R 3
53 Chestnut-breasted Malkoha Phaenicophaeus curvirostris R 5
54 Short-toed Coucal Centropus rectunguis VU R 2
55 Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis R 2
56 Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis R 2
57 Reddish Scops-Owl Otus rufescens NT R 1
58 Sunda (Collared) Scops-Owl Otus lempiji R 1
59 Barred Eagle-Owl Bubo sumatranus R 1
60 Buffy Fish-Owl Ketupa ketupu R 2
61 Brown Wood Owl Strix leptogrammica R 1
62 Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata R 2
63 Gould’s Frogmouth Batrachostomus stellatus NT R 2
64 Blyth’s Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis R 3
65 Malaysian Eared-Nightjar Eurostopodus temminckii R 4
66 Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus M 1
67 Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus R 4
68 Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis R 4
69 Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta R 2
70 Black-nest Swiftlet Aerodramus maximus R 6
71 Germain’s Swiftlet Aerodramus germani R 7
72 Silver-rumped Spinetail Rhapidura leucopygialis R 4
73 Silver-backed Needletail Hirundapus cochinchinensis M 1
74 Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus M 2
75 Asian Palm-Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis R 1
76 Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus M 2
77 Asian House Swift Apus nipalensis  R/M 2
78 Grey-rumped Treeswift Hemiprocne longipennis R 4
79 Whiskered Treeswift Hemiprocne comata R 6
80 Red-naped Trogon Harpactes kasumba NT R 5
81 Diard’s Trogon Harpactes diardii NT R 4
82 Cinnamon-rumped Trogon Harpactes orrhophaeus NT R 2
83 Scarlet-rumped Trogon Harpactes duvauceli NT R 6
84 Common Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis R 3
85 Rufous-collared Kingfisher Actenoides concretus NT R 5
86 Banded Kingfisher Lacedo pulchella R 5
87 Stork-billed Kingfisher Halcyon capensis R 2
88 White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis R 4
89 Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris R 1
90 Black-backed Kingfisher Ceyx erithacus M 1
91 Rufous-backed Kingfisher Ceyx rufidorsus R 5
92 Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis M 1
93 Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting R 2
94 Blue-banded Kingfisher Alcedo euryzona VU R 2
95 Red-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis amictus R 6
96 Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis M 5
97 Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippensis M 2
98 Bushy-crested Hornbill Anorrhinus galeritus R 2
99 Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris R 2
100 Black Hornbill Anthracoceros malayanus NT R 4
101 Rhinoceros Hornbill Buceros rhinoceros NT R 3
102 Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis NT R 1
103 Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil NT R 1
104 White-crowned Hornbill Berenicornis comatus NT R 1
105 Wrinkled Hornbill Aceros corrugatus NT R 2
106 Wreathed Hornbill Rhyticeros undulatus R 2
107 Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii NT R 7
108 Yellow-crowned Barbet Megalaima henricii NT R 3
109 Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis R 4
110 Brown Barbet Calorhampus fuliginosus R 4
111 Malaysian Honeyguide Indicator archipelagicus NT R 2
112 Rufous Piculet Sasia abnormis R 3
113 Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus R 1
114 Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus R 4
115 White-bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis R 4
116 Banded Woodpecker Picus miniaceus R 5
117 Crimson-winged Woodpecker Picus puniceus R 5
118 Checker-throated Woodpecker Picus mentalis R 6
119 Olive-backed Woodpecker Dinopium rafflesii NT R 2
120 Maroon Woodpecker Blythipicus rubiginosus R 3
121 Orange-backed Woodpecker Reinwardtipicus validus R 3
122 Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis R 5
123 Buff-necked Woodpecker Meiglyptes tukki NT R 3
124 Grey-and-Buff Woodpecker Hemicircus concretus R 3
125 Great Slaty Woodpecker Mulleripicus pulverulentus VU R 2
126 Green Broadbill Calyptomena viridis NT R 4
127 Black-and-red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos R 2
128 Banded Broadbill Eurylaimus javanicus R 6
129 Black-and-yellow Broadbill Eurylaimus ochromalus NT R 4
130 Dusky Broadbill Corydon sumatranus R 4
131 Giant Pitta Pitta caerulea NT R 2
132 Malayan Banded Pitta Hydrornis irena R 2
133 Garnet Pitta Pitta granatina NT R 1
134 Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida M 1
135 Blue-winged Pitta Pitta moluccensis M 1
136 Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea R 5
137 Rail-Babbler Eupetes macrocercus NT R 5
138 Green Iora Aegithinia viridissimia NT R 6
139 Great Iora Aegithina lafresnayei R 2
140 Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis gularis R 6
141 Bar-bellied Cuckooshrike Coracina striata R 2
142 Lesser Cuckooshrike Coracina fimbriata R 4
143 Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus M 2
144 Fiery Minivet Pericrocotus igneus NT R 2
145 Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus R 5
146 Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike Hemipus picatus R 3
147 Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike Hemipus arundinaceus R 4
148 Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus M 3
149 Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus M 2
150 Dark-throated Oriole Oriolus xanthornotus NT R 6
151 Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis R 2
152 Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans M 2
153 Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus R 1
154 Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus R 7
155 Spotted Fantail Rhipidura perlata R 2
156 Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea R 4
157 Asian Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi M 4
158 Crested Jay Platylophus galericulatus NT R 2
159 Black Magpie Platysmurus leucopterus NT R 4
160 Slender-billed Crow Corvus enca R 1
161 Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos R 2
162 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica M 3
163 Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica R 4
164 Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica M 1
165 Yellow-bellied Prinia Prinia flaviventris R 5
166 Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus VU R 1
167 Black-and-white Bulbul Pycnonoctus melanoleuca NT R 1
168 Black-headed Bulbul Pycnoncotus atriceps R 5
169 Grey-bellied Bulbul Pycnonoctus cyaniventris NT R 4
170 Puff-backed Bulbul Pycnonoctus eutilotus NT R 2
171 Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni R 1
172 Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonoctus goaiver R 5
173 Olive-winged Bulbul Pycnonoctus plumosus R 5
174 Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonoctus simplex R 7
175 Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonoctus brunneata R 6
176 Spectacled Bulbul Pycnonoctus erythropthalma R 5
177 Hairy-backed Bulbul Hypsipetes criniger R 7
178 Buff-vented Bulbul Hypsipetes charlottae NT R 7
179 Streaked Bulbul Ixos malaccensis NT R 4
180 Finsch’s Bulbul Criniger finschi NT R 3
181 Grey-cheeked Bulbul Criniger bres R 3
182 Yellow-bellied Bulbul Criniger phaeocephalus R 5
183 Cinerous (Ashy) Bulbul Hemixos cinereus R 3
184 Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius R 4
185 Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrigularis R 6
186 Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus R 7
187 Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps R 2
188 Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis M 4
189 Eastern-crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus M 3
190 Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratum R 7
191 White-chested Babbler Trichastoma rostratum NT R 4
192 Ferruginous Babbler Trichastoma bicolor R 3
193 Abbott’s Babbler Malacocincla abbotti R 1
194 Horsfield’s Babbler Malacocincla sepiarum R 5
195 Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis NT R 5
196 Moustached Babbler Malacopteron magnirostre R 5
197 Sooty-capped Babbler Malacopteron affine NT R 5
198 Scaly-crowned Babbler Malacopteron cinereum R 4
199 Rufous-crowned Babbler Malacopteron magnum NT R 4
200 Grey-breasted Babbler Malacopteron albogulare NT R 2
201 Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus montanus R 1
202 Striped Wren-Babbler Kenopia striata NT R 1
203 Large Wren-Babbler Napothera macrodactyla NT R 1
204 Rufous-fronted Babbler Stachyris rufifrons R 4
205 Grey-headed Babbler Stachyris poliocephala R 5
206 White-necked Babbler Stachyris leucotis NT R 3
207 Black-throated Babbler Stachyris nigricollis NT R 4
208 Chestnut-rumped Babbler Stachyris maculata NT R 5
209 Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera R 4
210 Pin-striped Tit-Babbler Macronous gularis R 7
211 Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler Macronous ptilosus NT R 6
212 Brown Fulvetta Fulvetta brunneicauda NT R 2
213 White-bellied Yuhina Erpornis zantholeuca R 4
214 Everett’s White-eye Zosterops everetti  R 4
215 Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella R 6
216 Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis R 4
217 Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis R 3
218 Hill Myna Gracula religiosa R 6
219 Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus R 1
220 Javan Myna Acridotheres javanica R 5
221 Daurian Starling Agropsar sturninus M 2
222 Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus M 1
223 Siberian Blue Robin Luscinia cyane M 2
224 Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis R 2
225 White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus R 7
226 Rufous-tailed Shama Trichixos pyrropygia NT R 4
227 Chestnut-naped Forktail Enicurus ruficapillus NT R 2
228 White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti R 4
229 Rufous-winged Philentoma Philentoma pyrropterum R 5
230 Maroon-breasted Philentoma Philentoma velata NT R 1
231 Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher Rhinomyias brunneatus VU M 2
232 Grey-chested Jungle-Fycatcher Rhinomyias umbratilis NT R 4
233 Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica M 3
234 Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica M 3
235 Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea M 2
236 Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni M 1
237 Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia M 3
238 Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki M 1
239 Rufous-chested Flycatcher Ficedula dumetoria NT R 2
240 Pale Blue-Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor R 4
241 Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher Culicapa ceylonensis R 1
242 Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati R 5
243 Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon NT R 5
244 Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis R 7
245 Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum maculatus R 7
246 Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker Prionichilus percussus R 6
247 Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker Prionichilus thoracicus NT R 2
248 Thick-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum agile R 2
249 Brown-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum everetti  NT R 2
250 Yellow-vented Flowerpecker Dicaeum chrysorrheum R 2
251 Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma R 7
252 Plain Flowerpecker Dicaeum unicolor R 2
253 Plain Sunbird Nectarinia simplex R 5
254 Red-throated Sunbird Anthreptes rhodolaema NT R 4
255 Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Anthreptes singalensis R 5
256 Purple-naped Sunbird Hypogramma hypogrammicum R 5
257 Purple-throated Sunbird Nectarinia sperata R 4
258 Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja R 2
259 Temminck’s Sunbird Aethopyga temminckii R 2
260 Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostris R 3
261 Thick-billed Spiderhunter Arachnothera crassirostris R 3
262 Long-billed Spiderhunter Arachnothera robusta R 1
263 Spectacled Spiderhunter Arachnothera flavigaster R 4
264 Yellow-eared Spiderhunter Arachnothera chrysogenys R 4
265 Grey-breasted Spiderhunter Arachnothera affinis R 4
266 Javan Munia Lonchura leucogastroides R 1
267 White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata R 2
268 Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata R 1
269 Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea M 2
270 Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus R 4
Total IUCN:   NT or VU 74
R=Resident, M=Migrant
IUCN:  NT=Near Threatened, VU=Vulnerable
 1 Very rare Less than one report per year
 2 Rare Less than 10% chance of seeing or hearing
 3 Very uncommon or seasonal Less than 20% chance of seeing or hearing
 4 Uncommon or seasonal Less than 40% chance of seeing or hearing
 5 Fairly common From 40% to 59% chance of seeing or hearing
 6 Common From 60% to 79% chance of seeing or hearing
 7 Abundant Greater than 80% chance of seeing or hearing

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4 Responses to “Panti Forest Bunker Trail Bird Checklist 2015”

  1. Hello Con

    What would usually be the most fruitful month/months of the year for a visit to Panti, please. (generally)


    Grahame Finnigan

  2. Nicholas C. says:

    Hi Con, I heard that a license is required to enter Panti Bird Sanctuary, however most people do not bother to get one because it is extremely troublesome.

    Do you recommend getting a license? How did you handle the license issue when you visited Panti?


  3. Dear Con,
    I am an Italian photographer and I may be interested to visit Panti Reserve next year ; I have few questions , can you guide me for photographing / birdwatching ? How many days are needed to get the best birds ? Which time of the year are you free ? I can combine Panti with Singapore and other Malaysian spots.
    Thank you
    Francesco Veronesi

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