Birding in Taiwan



Birds in Taiwan

Endemic Species

Collared Bush-Robin


Formosan Magpie

Formosan Whistling-Thrush

Mikado Pheasant

Steere's Liocichla

Styan's Bulbul

Swinhoe's Pheasant

Taiwan Barwing

Taiwan Bush-Warbler

Taiwan Partridge

Taiwan Yuhina

White-eared Sibia

White-whiskered Laughingthrush

Yellow Tit


Possible Future Full Species


Endemic Sub-Species

Alpine Accentor

Barred Buttonquail


Black Bulbul

Black Drongo

Black-browed Barbet

Black Kite

Black-naped Monarch

Bronzed Drongo

Brown Bullfinch

Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler

Brown-eared Bulbul

Chinese Bamboo-Partridge

Collared Finchbill

Collared Scops-Owl

Collared Owlet

Coal Tit

Crested Goshawk

Crested Myna

Crested Serpent-Eagle

Dusky Fulvetta

Eurasian Jay

Eurasian Nutcracker

Gray Treepie

Gray-cheeked Fulvetta

 Gray-headed Bullfinch

Green-backed Tit

House Swift


Island Thrush

Kentish (Snowy) Plover

?Lanyu? Scops-Owl

Little Ringed Plover

Maroon Oriole

Mountain Scops-Owl

Oriental Skylark

Oriental Turtle-Dove

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Plain Prinia

Plumbeous Redstart

Pygmy Wren-Babbler

Ring-necked Pheasant

Rufous-capped Babbler

 Rusty Laughingthrush

Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler

Streak-throated Fulvetta

Striated Prinia

Varied Tit

Vinaceous Rosefinch

Vinous-throated Parrotbill

Whistling Green-Pigeon

White-bellied Green-Pigeon

White-browed Bush-Robin

White-browed Shortwing

White-tailed Robin

White-throated Laughingthrush

Winter Wren

Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler


More Birds in Taiwan

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-faced Spoonbill

Black-naped Oriole

Black-throated Tit

Black-winged Stilt

Brown-headed Thrush

Cattle Egret

Chinese Crested Tern

Chinese Goshawk

Cinnamon Bittern

Common Kingfisher

Common Kestrel

Common Moorhen

Common Snipe

Daurian Redstart

Eastern Marsh Harrier

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Teal

Fairy Pitta

Fork-tailed or Pacific Swift


Gray-chinned Minivet

Gray-faced Buzzard

Gray Heron

Great Cormorant

Great Egret

Greater Painted-Snipe

Ijima?s Leaf-Warbler

Intermediate Egret

Japanese White-eye

Lesser Coucal

Little Egret

Little Forktail

Little Grebe

Malayan Night-heron

Northern Pintail

Northern Shoveler


Pacific Golden-Plover

Pale Thrush

Peregrine Falcon

Red Collared-Dove

Russet Sparrow

Spot-billed Duck

Spotted Dove

Tufted Duck

White-breasted Waterhen

Yellow Bittern


SPOTLIGHT ON TAIWAN ?Endemic Subspecies of Taiwan birds?first impressions?, by N. J. Collar, from BirdingASIA No. 2, December 2004.  Presented with permission.  BirdingASIA is the bulletin of the Oriental Bird Club.  Please see our Links page for benefits of membership in the OBC.



Black-browed Barbet

Megalaima oorti

Endemic subspecies

Black-browed BarbetTwenty centimeters in length, the Black-browed Barbet (nuchalis subspecies) is mainly bright green, with a blue back and neck; black circles with red spots around its eyes; and red spots on its nape.  The multitude of colorful green, yellow, blue, black, and red feathers earns the bird its alternate name: ?Bird of Five Colors.?  Its other characteristics include a thick and heavy bill, large head, and short tail.

   The Black-browed Barbet is usually found in broad-leaved and secondary subtropical forests below 2,500 meters, resting in the upper and middle levels of the tree canopy.  Like most barbets, they sit motionless for long periods, giving their monotonous, repetitive call tok-tr-trrrrrrt call.  While they are easily identified by voice, their natural camouflage makes them difficult to see.

   Barbets are closely related to woodpeckers, and have the same arrangement of toes, 2 pointing forward, and 2 back, which enables them to cling to tree trunks.  They usually fly only for short distances.  Although they are omnivores, their favorite foods are berries, papayas and figs.

   Black-browed Barbets breed from April to June, nesting in tree cavities.  They may utilize an existing natural cavity, or use their stout bills to excavate a new one.  The male and female take turns incubating the eggs and rearing the chicks, which are fed a diet of insects and berries.

            The bird is also known in Taiwan as Muller?s Barbet.


Black-browed Barbet Photo Gallery



Reference : The complete guide to birds in Taiwan (Jin-yuan Wang)

Mr. Chen and the Barbets

Jo Ann MacKenzie

Taiwan International Birding Association


Mr. Chen, May 2007

            Mr. Chen Ruei-liang is Executive Director of the Hepin Community Society, Chichi, Nantou County, Taiwan.  He owns a farm, at elevation 200m, growing crops of mulberry, sunflower, banana, and peanut.  Many birds nest on or near the farm.  Mr. Chen noticed and began to take an interest in them, particularly the endemic ?Five-colour Bird,? the Black-browed Barbet (Muller?s Barbet), Megalaima oorti nuchalis.  He liked the barbets very much and saw that they needed trees of a certain size, with the wood partially rotted and softened, in which to excavate a chamber (with their beaks) for nesting and rearing their young.  Unfortunately, rotting trees and branches were vulnerable to breakage and blow-down during storms, leaving barbets with a shortage of suitable nest sites.



Initial Concept

            Mr. Chen had an idea for a way he might help the barbets.  In February, 2003, he searched the area and found a log of the India-charcoal tree, Trema orientalis, that had been partially submerged in water for a long time, had become rotten and soft.  The log was an appropriate thickness for barbet nesting, so he took it back to his farm.  He fastened the ?nest? log to a betel nut palm, Areca catechu, and kept an eye on it for a few days.  Soon a barbet found the log, dug an entrance hole and nest chamber with its beak, and the female laid 2 eggs.  In time, the eggs hatched, and the experiment seemed a success.  Unfortunately, it was not to be.  In June of that year, a typhoon blew the tree down, killing the two chicks.  The nest had failed after all.



The Outcome

            The next year, 2004, Mr. Chen put up another log.  Barbets adopted the log, nested and reared their chicks successfully.

            In 2005, success again.

            In 2006, another seemed destined for success, but for unknown reasons, the log was abandoned after entrance holes had been begun.  Mr. Chen tried another experiment; he took the trunk of a tree that had been cut down for road widening in Chichi and erected it on his farm, then fastened a trema log to it.  Barbets accepted the log on the re-located tree trunk and nested successfully.

            Now, Mr. Chen had a good understanding of what would work; wood of the trema tree was best.  He also observed that natural nest sites were so scarce that a ?nest? log put up in the morning was often claimed by a barbet in the afternoon. 

            In early 2007, he erected 40 ?nest? logs on his farm and surrounding community.  One of these had an unfortunate outcome.  The barbet first began to excavate the lower part of the log, but found it too soft.  The bird then tried the upper part, but it was too hard.  Determined, the bird pounded the wood until its bill broke.  Still it tried, then had to give up, defeated.  Another log, erected high on an exposed post, was adopted by another barbet and the nesting was successful. 

            ?Nest? logs were also erected around Chichi town, in public places and on private property.  One of these is on the property of the Chichi Resort Hotel.   The hotel?s owner, Mr. Lin Yue-feng is very proud and protective of ?his? barbet.  He has a closed-circuit television camera placed on another tree, focused on the nest log, with a live view presented to guests in the hotel?s dining room.



            Mr. Chen wants to be sure of a steady supply of ?nest? logs, so searches around fresh water sources for logs that have been naturally buried in the mud and silt.  Sometimes, if he finds a good log elsewhere, he takes it home and buries it, waiting for it to rot.  Depending on the conditions, it takes 3 to 8 years for a log to rot to suitable softness. 

            Mr. Chen intends to continue to help the Black-browed Barbets for a long time to come.