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Watching Langkawi’s Rich Avian Heritage

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LANGKAWI – The majestic twelve-metre tall reddish brown eagle sculpture at Dataran Lang in Kuah town serves as the iconic landmark of the resort island of Langkawi.

The reddish brown eagle (Brahminy Kite) has always been the pride of the island that boasts for the Mahsuri legend and its rich natural heritage, including its white beaches and panoramic landscapes.

However, it is not the eagles alone that dwell on the island. The eagles are in fact among the 221 different bird species that have made the island as their home.

The coastal areas consisting of limestone ridges and the extensive surface area of forest covered mountains, hills and natural vegetation inland provide the perfect habitat for humankind’s feathered friends.

Even most Malaysians are oblivious to the fact that the island is rich in its avian heritage and a heaven for birdwatchers.

Birds are an important attraction on the island. The scene of the eagles feeding at the waters in Langkawi Kilim Geoforest Park provides a wonderful spectacle of nature.

Apart from the eagles there are many other small birds including the colourful kingfishers. All the eight species of the colourful kingfisher on the island are a sight to behold.

THE MAGNIFICENT BIRDS

Hornbills can bee seen flying or perched on the trees. However, most people are not aware that Langkawi is even dubbed as the Hornbill Island of the World.

This may come as a surprise to many as Sarawak is where the bird enjoys an exalted status and lesser known in Peninsula.

So there are lots of birds to watch in Langkawi and to watch them in their natural habitat, birdwatchers and the public should not miss the 5th Asian Bird Fair from 29-30 Nov that takes place on the island.

Themed Flying High Island Style, the event will showcase Langkawi’s unique avian residents and ecology through fun and nature-inspired activities, tours and talks all within the surroundings of the lush tropical island.

Putra Hilmy Elias, the Senior Assistant Manager for LADA’s Tourism Division told Bernama recently that the bird fair is important in showcasing the island’s rich avian heritage and enhancing the conservation of the birds and their habitats.

IT IS THE HORNBILL’S TURN

The bird on the spotlight during the fair is the hornbill, including the great hornbill that could measure up to 1.3 metres in length. Though they may be noisy, the stunning colours of their oversized beak, peculiar horn and fe thers is set to captivate anyone.

Langkawi is the home for three of the 10 hornbill species found in Malaysia.

Bird watchers will also be exposed to many of the unique characters of the hornbill like how they nurture their young and their collective way of living.

“The hornbills fly together as a family, they allow their nests to be used by other hornbills for nesting,” said Putra pointing to the bird’s way in nurturing its young and living in a flock.

The bird fair is also important in drawing local and foreign tourist from the nature lover’s segment. The fair is organised by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and hosted by Lembaga Pembangunan Langkawi (LADA) with the support of Tourism Malaysia.

The Asian Bird Fair (ABF) is an annual event founded by 6 organisations from Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia with the aim to highlight and showcase the different bird fairs across Asia.

The six founding organisations took turns in hosting the ABF starting with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (Davao, 2010), Chinese Wild Bird Federation (Tainan, 2011), Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (Bangpoo, 2012) and The Wild Bird Society of Taipei (Taipei, 2013).

For more information on the fair, please refer to www.asianbirdfair.net or find us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/asianbirdfair. – BERNAMA

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