Tawau Hills Park

Country/territory: Malaysia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 27,984 ha

Protection status:

Malaysian Nature Society

Site description
(I) Physical CharacteristicsTawau Hills Park is located in south-eastern Sabah and is bounded by the Ulu Kalumpang Forest Reserve on the northern side and Mount Andrassy Forest Reserve on the south. The eastern and western sides are bordered by agricultural lands mainly cocoa and oil palm plantations. The terrain within the park is quite rugged and hilly with three main peaks in the form of extinct volcanoes namely; Gunung Magdalena (1,310 m asl), Gunung Lucia (1,189 m asl) and Gunung Maria (1,067 m asl). The mountains consist of Quaternary pyroclastics and lava flows of dacitic, andesitic and basaltic character (Tjia et al., 1995) with subordinate Early Neogene sedimentary rocks of the Kalumpang Formation (Sanudin Haji Tahir, 1995). Only about 8% of the park area lie above 915 m asl, while more than half of the park area is below 457 m asl. The southern perimeter contains some of the last remaining non-swampy land under primary forest in Sabah (Siraj Omar and Jamili Nais, 1995).Seven important rivers with water catchment areas are confined largely or entirely within the park boundary. They are Sungai Tawau and Sungai Kinabutan in the centre, Sungai Mantri and Sungai Balung in the east and Sungai Merotai Kanan, Sungai Merotai Kecil and Sungai Junap (a tributary of Sungai Merotai Besar) in the west. Sungai Tawau is the main river in the park (Lee, 1995; Siraj Omar and Jamili Nais, 1995).(II) Climatic ConditionsTawau Hills experiences the north-east monsoon between November and March and south-west monsoon during the months of May to September. There are also two successive inter-monsoons; April to May and September to October. The mean temperature is 27oC (1990-97) with a relative humidity of 85% (1990-95). About 146 mm of rain falls monthly (1990-97).

Key biodiversity
An estimated 180 species of birds are present in the park, which makes it an important site for lowland forest species in Sabah (Siraj Omar and Jamili Nais, 1995; Stuebing and Shukor Mohd Nor, 1995) especially for hornbills (six species) and pheasants. The Near Threatened Lesser Fish-eagle Ichthyophaga humilis has been recorded as well.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tawau Hills Park. Downloaded from on 23/01/2021.