Birding in Taiwan



Scheduled Tours

Nov 5-18, 2007

May 5-18, 2008

July 18-20, 2008

Nov 3-16, 2008

2003 Trip Photos

2004 Trip Photos

2005 Trip Photos

2006 Trip Photos

2007 Trip Photos

Trip Reports

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, May (7)8–20, 2007


Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, November (6)7–19, 2006

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST, November (6)7–19, 2006

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, May. 1-14, 2006


Trip Report:

BIRDING IN TAIWAN, Jan 29–Feb. 3, 2006

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, FEB.24-26, 2006

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, NOV.28-Dec.2, 2005

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST, Taiwan, NOV.28-Dec.2, 2005

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, NOV. 7-16, 2005


Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, MAY. 2-11, 2005


Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, MAY. 21-24, 2005

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST, Taiwan, MAY. 21-24, 2005

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, NOV. 8–17, 2004


Taiwan Trip Report, March 21 – 28, 2003

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST, Taiwan, March 21 – 28, 2003

Taiwan Trip Report, November 11-19, 2003

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST, Taiwan, November 11–19, 2003


BirdingASIA -Birdwatching in Taiwan







White-eared Sibia



NOVEMBER 3–16, 2008

Printable Version

To Portuguese sailors in the 16th century, it was Ilha Formosa, “Beautiful Island,” because of its lush forests and the jagged peaks of its mountainous spine.

            The island we now know as Taiwan, situated approximately 175 km (110 miles) off the coast of China, has diverse habitats; from tidal estuaries, cultivated fields, wetlands, lowland mixed forests, to montane deciduous broadleaf and coniferous forests.

            The island still has beautiful forests and mountains, where the 15 generally recognized (some authors recognize up to 29) endemic species reside:  Taiwan Partridge, Swinhoe’s Pheasant, Mikado Pheasant, Styan’s Bulbul, Flamecrest, Formosan Whistling-Thrush, Taiwan Bush-Warbler, Collared Bush-Robin, White-Whiskered Laughingthrush. Steere’s Liocichla, Taiwan Barwing, White-eared Sibia, Taiwan Yuhina, Yellow Tit, and Formosan Magpie.

            Although more than 500 species of birds have been recorded, about 300 can be considered to occur regularly, including more than 60 endemic subspecies.  Perhaps 10 of these subspecies are candidates for full endemic species status.  Seeing the pheasants, partridge and quail requires some luck, especially for the Taiwan Partridge.  The blue, white and red male Swinhoe’s Pheasant is unforgettable, as is the sleek blue, white and red male Mikado Pheasant, “King of the Mist.”  We will watch for the fairly common Black-browed Barbet and uncommon [Taiwan] Hwamei, likely next to be recognized as full endemics.

            The main focus of the tour is on the endemic species and subspecies of Taiwan.  A secondary focus is the endangered Black-faced Spoonbill.  Approximately one half of the world population winters in the Tsengwen River estuary, near the city of Tainan.

            Taiwan is a safe, welcoming country, with good infrastructure, a strong conservation movement, classic mountain scenery, friendly people, wonderful food and much to offer visitors.


Leaders:  Simon Liao, Honourary Chairman, Wild Bird Federation of Taiwan and Jo Ann MacKenzie, Taiwan International Birding Association (Canada)



  • 1 to 12 participants (no minimum)

  • Major habitats of the west coast, central mountains, Taroko Gorge, the southeast

  • Moderate pace

  • Mostly easy to moderate walking; some steep paths in “high mountain” habitat

  • Accommodation with private bathrooms

  • Chilly to cold at high elevations; warm to hot and humid at low elevations

  • Transportation by air-conditioned bus

  • Opportunities to sample Taiwanese culture and cuisine





4 November  (Tuesday), Day 1

Pick-up at hotel in Taipei.  Drive south and begin to climb to Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area in the Anmashan mountain range, birding along Mt. Tahsueh Road on the way.  Arriving at Dasyueshan, we will walk Trail 210, elev. 2000 m (6600 feet) looking for Swinhoe’s and Mikado Pheasants, Collared Bush-Robin,  Taiwan Yuhina, Green-backed Tit, Brown Bullfinch, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Varied and Black-throated Tits.   Continue birding in the afternoon.  Night at Snow Mountain Resort, Dasyueshan NFRA, 2275 m (7500 ft.)


5 November  (Wednesday), Day 2

Early morning birding at higher elevation, Hsiaolaishan (Shiaosyueshan), 2600 m (8,530 ft.), looking for White-whiskered Laughingthrush, Vinaceous Rosefinch, Gray-headed Bullfinch and other species of high elevation.  We will have all day to explore the forest trails. Night at Snow Mountain Resort, Dasyueshan NFRA


6 November  (Thursday), Day 3

In the morning, drive south to Huisun Forest Station, 700 m (2300 ft.) elevation, birding along the way.  Look for Swinhoe’s Pheasant, if not found at Dasyueshan.  Watch for Malayan Night-Heron on the lawn, Formosan Magpie, Ashy Wood-Pigeon, Black-browed Barbet, Gray-capped Woodpecker, Gray-chinned Minivet, Gray Treepie, Black Bulbul, Rufous-capped Babbler, Rufous-faced Warbler and White-bellied Yuhina. After dark, try for Mountain Scops-Owl.  Night at Huisun Forest Station.


7 November  (Friday), Day 4

Early morning birding.  Leaving Huisun after breakfast, we backtrack somewhat, then continue eastward through Puli, the geographic center of Taiwan, and begin to climb again via Wushe toward Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area, elev. 1200 m (3900 ft.)  At Aowanda, we will climb the waterfall trail beside Naoliao Creek, looking for Plumbeous Redstart and with luck, the rare Little Forktail.  We will watch for Taiwan Yuhina, Yellow Tit, Varied Tit, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Black-browed Barbet, and after dark, try for Northern Boobook.  Night at Aowanda NFRA.


8 November  (Saturday), Day 5

Early morning birding.  Leaving Aowanda, we will drive to Chingjing, with birding stops along the way, looking for raptors and forest species.  Night in Chingjing, elev. 1750 m (5740 ft.)


9 November (Sunday), Day 6

Text Box: Black-faced Spoonbill


Before leaving Chingjing, we will look for Chinese Bamboo Partridge, Vinaceous Parrotbill and other species of brushy habitat.  Then we will drive higher yet, to the Hehuanshan Forest Recreation Area, elev. 3275 m (10,750 ft.), the highest elevation of the tour, just inside the western edge of Taroko National Park.  (“Shan,” means “mountain “or “hill” in Mandarin; in this case, “mountain.”)  We will look for White-whiskered Laughingthrush, Flamecrest, Yellow Tit, Alpine Accentor,


Vinaceous Rosefinch, and Coal Tit, Periparus ater ptilosus, the crested Taiwan endemic sub-species.  We will continue eastward through the upper part of the Taroko Gorge, in Taroko National Park, to Tienhsiang looking for Styan’s Bulbul. On the way, we will visit the spectacular Taroko “Marble Gorge.” The gorge is one of the scenic wonders of Asia, created by immense tectonic forces combined with erosion by the Liwu River.  We will watch for Brown Dipper, Little Forktail, and Fork-tailed Swift among the hundreds of House Swifts.  Night at Tienhsiang, elev. 485 m (1592 ft.)


10 November  (Monday), Day 7

Early morning birding in the Tienhsiang area.  We will exit through the park’s East Gate, turn south to Hualien and drive along Taiwan’s scenic east coast, crossing the Tropic of Cancer to Chihpen, with birding stops along the way.  Near Chihshiang, we will look for the endemic Taiwan subspecies of the familiar, but native and wild Ring-necked Pheasant.  Night in Taitung.


11 November  (Tuesday), Day 8

Morning birding in the Chihpen area; mid-elevation, looking for [Taiwan] Hwamei, White-bellied Yuhina, Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler, Maroon Oriole, Black-naped Monarch while watching for such raptors as Black Eagle and Crested Serpent-Eagle. Drive south to Kenting in Taiwan’s tropical “far south.”  Night in Kenting.


12 November  (Wednesday), Day 9

Birding in the Kenting area, including Kenting National Park and Long Luan Tan (Lake), looking for Ruddy-breasted Crake, White-breasted Waterhen and other wetland species.   Endemic Styan’s Bulbul is easily found in the Kenting area.  Drive northward; night in Tainan.


13 November  (Thursday), Day 10

Birding in the Tainan-Chiku area wetlands, where a large percentage of the world’s Black-faced Spoonbills winter. Saunders’ Gull also winters in the area.  Cinnamon Bittern and Yellow Bittern are possible.  We will visit the very specialized water-chestnut habitat in the Kwangtien wetland for Pheasant-tailed Jacana.  Turning east, we will pass the city of Chiayi and begin to climb toward Alishan.  Night in Kwanghua, elev. 1,000 m (3,300 ft.)




14 November  (Friday), Day 11

Early morning birding in private broadleaf forest in the Kwanghua area; best chance for Taiwan Partridge.  Swinhoe’s Pheasant is also possible.  Continue to “high mountain” habitat in Alishan Forest Recreation Area.  After reaching Alishan, we will have the rest of the day to look for species we may have missed in montane habitat earlier.  Night in Alishan NFRA.


15 November  (Saturday), Day 12

Early morning birding, Alishan, and Tataka Recreation Area, 2600 m (8,536 ft.) in Yushan National Park for more “high mountain” specialties. The drive will provide our best chance for Mikado Pheasant.  Yushan National Park is known as “The ridge of the roof of Taiwan.”  We will be within sight of Yushan Peak, also called Jade Mountain.  At 3952 m (just under 13,000 ft.), Yushan Peak is the highest mountain in East Asia.  We will look for Eurasian Nutcracker, Gray-headed Bullfinch, White-whiskered Laughingthrush, Flamecrest, Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler, Streak-breasted Fulvetta, Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler and Golden Parrotbill.  With much luck, we might come across Taiwan Bush-Warbler (very difficult to find outside of the breeding season).  Then it will be time to leave the high mountains and return to lowlands.  The post-harvest fields in Huatan, south of Changhua are often productive in fall for migrant and wintering seed-eaters such as Black-faced Bunting,  Oriental Skylark, Yellow Wagtail, Zitting Cisticola, and if we are lucky, Siberian Rubythroat.  Night in Changhua.


16 November  (Sunday), Day 13

After breakfast, drive north to Taipei county, with a stop for a cultural highlight, the Sanshia Temple, noted for its exquisite stone and wood wildlife carvings, including more than 100 different birds.  We will stroll along an artisans’ street.  Continue to Taipei (elev. 6 m; 20 ft.)  to Chinese Handicrafts Mart, for a shopping opportunity.  The 4-floor store has a wide range of Taiwan items, from inexpensive souvenirs to fine art at fair, government–approved prices.  Supper.  The tour concludes.



TRAVEL NOTE:  Please arrange your incoming flight so that you arrive in Taipei on Monday, Nov. 3 at the latest.  We can book accommodation for you at either the YMCA International House or the Grand Hotel.  On the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 4, you will be picked up at the hotel to begin the tour.

            Please arrange your departing flight for late on the evening of Nov. 16, or the following day, Nov. 17. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is situated about 40 km west of Taipei; driving time is about 1 hour, sometimes more because of traffic.  If you wish to stay on in Taipei for a day or more, we can book accommodation for you.




Maximum of 12 participants with 2 leaders



 From Taipei, Taiwan:  13 days

$4000 (sharing);  $4500 (single)



EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT:  Register at least 60 days before start date; get 5% off trip price.


DEPOSIT:  $500



Ì  For further information, please contact:


Simon Liao






Jo Ann MacKenzie

15341 – 21 Avenue

Surrey, BC,  V4A 6A8



Phone:  604-538-1676








The Taiwan Specialists



Good birds, good food, good friends!