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Friday, 10 June 2011

A main stop for birds to rest - Tanjung Tuan, Port Dickson

A bird of prey circling above Tanjung Tuan. — Pictures by Low Mei May

WHAT are raptors? TheyRaptors are birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, falcons, vultures and owls. They are found in all continents except Antarctica.

The migratory raptors that pass Tanjung Tuan originate from north Asia — Eastern Siberia, Kamchatka, north-eastern China, the Korean peninsula and Japan. As autumn approaches in September, they will make the perilous journey south from their country of origin into Southeast Asia through the so-called East Asian Flyaway. 

From late January till March or April, they will once again make the return journey.

Last year, 71,000 raptors were counted in Tanjung Tuan over a 44-day period. 

Tanjung Tuan is the nearest landfall across the Straits of Malacca from Indonesia and is therefore important for the birds to rest or catch thermals before continuing on their journey north. 

Due to its importance to migratory birds, Tanjung Tuan has been designated by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area.

The Malaysian Nature Society has been actively conserving Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve by promoting Raptor Watch Week yearly by organising guided walks in the forest and on the seashore as national eco-tourism events. 

Among the more regularly sighted raptors in Tanjung Tuan are the oriental honey buzzard, black Baza, Japanese sparrowhawk, Chinese goshawk and grey faced buzzard.

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