Marvelous Malaysian Peacock-pheasant at Taman Negara

Living in Kuala Lumpur, there's some fascinating wildlife to be seen in the town, but an excursion to the rainforest-covered hills to the northeast opens up the possibilities for encountering some very vivid and unusual wild creatures.

Last Saturday (23rd September 2017), we visited Taman Negara for the first time, a vast rainforest reserve roughly in the centre of peninsular Malaysia.

After a boat ride across the river to the park head quarters we went for a wander on the boardwalks through the forest. At the Tahan hide, an elevated observation structure built next to a clearing, we looked out and saw movement in the long grass. A number of grey-brown backs were visible. One came towards us and revealed a face - a Eurasian wild pig (Sus scrofa).

Looking in the opposite direction from the open grassy area, there was a small gap in the forest and this was soon to be the site of a much more spectacular wildlife display.

A male Malaysian peacock-pheasant appeared, followed a little later by a female. And then the dance began. He lay down on the ground and gave her a spectacular broadside of brilliant feathers. He walked beside her, then turned to face her, head down, showing the full fan of greens and blues like an exotic anemone. She looked bashful.

 As the two peacock-pheasants wandered back into the forest, we continued to watch the area. The next performer was a bullying flamboyant crested fireback who strutted along at some speed with two females in tow.

looking back towards the clearing, one of the wild pigs came forwards before the group exited stage right.

I looked down and saw the trail of blood where a leech had been feasting on my leg. I didn't begrudge it the meal.

We wandered back to the jetty to continue on to the next stop, the Krau Reserve, where more wildlife spectacles awaited.


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