Welcome to Birding in Taiwan



Birding in Taiwan - Information about Taiwan, birds, habitats; species accounts, particularly endemics




 About Taiwan                   Birding Stories                 Art Gallery                Bird Tours              Contact Us           Birding in St.Lucia
Birding Stories


David Stirling


Macdonald Burbidge













Dr.Rob Butler


Karen Shih


Madelon Schouten



George Clulow


Bill Keay


Simon Liao


Yang Chung-Tse


Allan Ridley


Hue Mackenzie


Hugh Currie


Kijja Jearwattanakanok


Peter Candido -

Re-Tern to Taiwan


Dave & Carol Roelen


Mark Wilkie


Phil Rostron


Héctor Gómez de Silva

Hanno Stamm



Terry Wright

Valerie Gebert


Max Berlijn






May 17-21, 2008 — Five Days Birding in Taiwan — Simon Liao (leader)

Valerie Gebert

Jacksonville, Florida, USA

             Birding in Taiwan with Simon Liao is a joyful event.  He is an amazing guide and a charming man.  He knows where to find each of the 15 endemic bird species in Taiwan's Central Mountains with minimal effort.  He knows their habitats and their habits.  Our first walk in the woods garnered 22 species, followed by another casual stroll through the jungle mountainside reaping 20 more.  Wow, my first day's total:  42 species, 10 endemics.  Pretty good "Dollar-To-Bird-Ratio," as my friend used to say when we had a particularly bounteous day birding in Texas or Arizona.

            I'm not a hard-core “lister” -- I love to spend time studying new additions to my life list, if possible, getting a feel for the bird's quirks and personality in a real-life setting. Unfortunately, our feathered friends in Taiwan don't hang around very long after being allowing themselves to be spotted.  You're lucky to get your glasses up and focused by the time the little guy has decided that you're not a threat and quickly moves to another perch, deeper in the jungle thicket.  This makes identifying the critter a "challenge" which Simon reminds you of throughout the day.  "It's quite a challenge" he says as you carefully search the verdant copse of bamboo-laced tropical flora searching for the Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler.  When I confirmed seeing the White-browed Shortwing, he "high-fived" me proclaiming that this bird was particularly challenging. (Too challenging to get a photo of the elusive critter.)

            Simon has an honest joy, a true glee for the birds on his native island of Taiwan. If fate does not bring about a meeting of you and the Mikado Pheasant at twilight along the road with 6 local photographers, who are also awaiting its predictable emergence from the steep embankment along the road, he will take a detour and return later for a victorious sighting of a PAIR of these noble creatures.  He seems to know just where and when these mysterious encounters will take place;  a blessing for a visitor with time limitations.

            Often, Simon would stop the car and ask "Do you want more photos of (for example) the Muller's Barbet?  There's one on the telephone wire. "Fantastic! Better light and closer this time. Perfect.  Thanks, Simon.”

I carried a lightweight 12x zoom Panasonic Lumix Digital camera which took very good photos.  I will not lug around heavier options which need tripods and more light, but deliver higher-quality shots of the birds.  My shoulders and back would revolt.  So, I shoot often and with as many variations in exposure as I can before the bird has flown away.  None of my shots will be on the cover of National Geographic, but they make me smile and remember all the great experiences.

            On my fifth and final morning, after staying in the Firefly B&B on a Tea Farm, we sat in a blind at dawn and patiently awaited the arrival of the Taiwan Partridge and Swinhoe's Pheasant. We were rewarded by the arrival of two Swinhoe Pheasant hens, one more dominant than the other followed by the male who proclaimed his eminent domain of the area by drumming his wings a number of times over the course of 20 minutes. Simon was amazed at the length of time we were allowed to watch these creatures; usually they cross the area and leave.  This morning the male was bound and determined to let us know he knew we were watching him.

            I did not see Styan's Bulbul (which is confined to an area far south of where we were birding) or the dramatically painted Taiwan Partridge on this five day trip.  Always leave something to look for on a return visit.  Mission accomplished.


Cattle Egret

Malayan Night-Heron

Crested Serpent-Eagle

Crested Goshawk


Gray-faced Buzzard


Chinese Bamboo-Partridge




Greater Painted-Snipe

Ashy Wood-Pigeon

Oriental Turtle-Dove

Red Collared-Dove

Spotted Dove

Large Hawk-Cuckoo (Heard)

Mountain Scops-Owl (Heard)

Brown Wood-Owl (Heard)

Collared Owlet

House Swift


Black-browed Barbet

Gray-capped Woodpecker

Barn Swallow

Pacific Swallow

Asian Martin

Striated Swallow

White Wagtail

Gray-chinned Minivet

Collared Finchbill

Light-vented Bulbul


Black Bulbul


Brown Dipper


White-browed Shortwing

Zitting Cisticola

Golden-headed Cisticola

Striated Prinia

Yellow-bellied Prinia

Japanese Bush-Warbler (Heard)


Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler (Heard)


Rufous-faced Warbler

Ferruginous Flycatcher

Vivid Niltava

White-browed Bush-Robin


Plumbeous Redstart

White-tailed Robin

Little Forktail


Black-naped Monarch

Taiwan Hwamei



Spot-breasted Scimitar-Babbler

Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler

Pygmy Wren Babbler (Heard)

Rufous-capped Babbler


Streak-throated Fulvetta


Dusky Fulvetta

Grey-cheeked Fulvetta



White-Bellied Yuhina

Vinous-throated Parrotbill

Black-throated Tit

Coal Tit

Green-backed Tit



Varied Tit

Eurasian Nuthatch

Fire-breasted Flowerpecker

Japanese White-eye

Maroon Oriole

Black Drongo

Bronzed Drongo


Gray Treepie

Eurasian Magpie


Eurasian Nutcracker

Large-billed Crow

Common Myna

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

White-rumped Munia

Chestnut Munia

Vinaceous Rosefinch

Gray-headed Bullfinch


Lesser Coucal


Total Species 89  (82 seen / 7 heard) 14 ENDEMICS