Birding in Taiwan


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
























Taiwan Endemics and Near-endemics Nov. 6–19 2006


Phil Rostron

Smithville Texas U.S.A.

            As a keen world birder I was looking forward to heading to Taiwan to try to get to grips with the 15 current endemics.  In addition I wanted to see as many of the distinctive endemic taxa which are currently classified as subspecies only (two of these namely the Hwamei and Black-browed [Muller's] Barbet have been published in English recently and raised to the species level).  I signed up with Birding Taiwan understanding that I would be very lucky to see all my targets.  

            On arrival in Taiwan after talking to Simon and checking with the other participants he quickly re-vamped the trip to give us more time in the mountains and a better chance at the more difficult endemics.  Initially we were unlucky with the weather at Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area formerly called just Anmashan. (Too hot and sunny!) and missed both pheasants.  
            Simon made more changes in the itinerary to give us additional time at Alishan
later in the trip.  In the meantime we wanted to visit Lanyu Island but flights were disrupted because of high winds.  Just when we were about to give up trying to get there Simon came through and managed somehow to get us all on a flight.  We had fantastic looks at the Elegant “Lanyu” Scops-Owl so we were happy we made it over there finally.
            On to Alishan National Forest Recreation Area with high hopes of catching up with the pheasants.  Both Simon and Lee (our driver) had been in touch with their contacts and came up with a new spot on the way up to Alishan where we were treated
to great looks at a female Swinhoe's Pheasant and the tail of a male as it crept away in the forest.  Higher up in Yushan National Park the next morning we had ten minute views of a male Mikado right along the road as promised (!) by Simon.  Later on we even managed to get views of the very shy Taiwan Partridge.
            In the end we managed to see of all the current endemics plus most of the
interesting subspecies.  Of my targets only the Island Thrush remained invisible (although it was seen by the leaders as the rest of us were prowling the trails in search of pheasants).  We would not have done so well were it not for Simon's hard work in re-organizing the trip (multiple times) and giving us several shots at the key species.
            Thanks Simon — I can not wait to return in Spring for the Fairy Pitta.