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

Brown-eared Bulbul

Chinese Bamboo-Partridge

Collared Finchbill

Collared Scops-Owl

Collared Owlet

Coal Tit

Crested Goshawk

Crested Serpent-Eagle

Dusky Fulvetta

Eurasian Jay

Eurasian Nutcracker

Gray Treepie

Gray-cheeked Fulvetta

 Gray-headed Bullfinch

Green-backed Tit

House Swift


Island Thrush

Lanyu’ Scops-Owl

Maroon Oriole

Mountain Scops-Owl

Oriental Skylark

Oriental Turtle-Dove

Plain Prinia

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


More Birds in Taiwan

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-faced Spoonbill

Black-naped Oriole

Black-throated Tit

Black-winged Stilt

Cattle Egret

Chinese Crested Tern

Cinnamon Bittern

Common Kingfisher

Common Kestrel

Common Moorhen

Daurian Redstart

Eurasian Wigeon

Fairy Pitta

Fork-tailed or Pacific Swift


Gray-chinned Minivet

Gray-faced Buzzard

Gray Heron

Great Egret

Greater Painted-Snipe

Ijima’s Leaf-Warbler

Intermediate Egret

Japanese White-eye

Little Forktail

Little Grebe

Malayan Night-heron

Northern Shoveler


Pale Thrush

Red Collared-Dove

Russet Sparrow

Spot-billed Duck

Spotted Dove

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.




Pandion haliaetus



The Osprey, Pandion haliaetus is a medium-sized, fish-eating hawk.  Its distribution is quite widespread, found near both fresh and salt water on every continent except Antarctica, mainly below 1,000 metres elevation but locally to 3,300 m.  Its appearance is somewhat gull-like (but bigger), with long, pointed, angled wings.  The head is white with a wide dark brown stripe through the eye.  When perched, the adult appears all dark brown above (juvenile appears scaly above); underparts are white.  Seen in flight, from below, the throat is heavily streaked with brown; the underwings are mostly white with a conspicuous black “wrist” patch. The wing beats are rather slow and shallow; it glides and soars on arched wings, often with a kink or crook in the wing.

The Osprey is a large (M 56 cm; F 61 cm) bird of prey which is mostly white below with dark barring on the flight feathers, and chocolate brown above.  Sexes are alike, except for the larger size of the female.  The iris is yellow, the bill is black with a gray cere, and the legs are gray.

            The Osprey frequents coastlines, lakes, reservoirs and rivers. The Osprey’s food is almost entirely live fish of surface-swimming species weighing 100 to 300 g.  Occasionally, it will take small mammals, birds, turtles and other reptiles, frogs and crustaceans.  It mainly hunts in flight, flapping and gliding, or soaring in circles, sometimes hovering over the water.  Seeing a fish, the bird plunge-dives into the water, feet first, sometimes going completely under water.  The fish is grasped with large feet equipped with long curved claws and spiny soles adapted for holding on to slippery prey.  The bird resumes flight, usually carrying the fish head forward, to a perch or bare ground where it is eaten.


            The Osprey is quite vocal.  The calls consist of high-pitched, short, shrill whistles, yelps and squeals, which sounds like:  twep, twep, twep, teelee, teelee, tewp, teeeaaa or kip, kip, kip, kiweek, kiweek or piu, piu, piu, pweee.

            In Taiwan, Osprey (subspecies P. h. haliaetus) is an uncommon winter visitor.




An Osprey Story Powerpoint


An Osprey Story

            On March 7, 2007, Mr. Du, a photographer, happened to be driving past Feitsui Reservoir, a large lake in Taipei County, about 30 km south of Taipei city.  He noticed something moving in the water.   Stopping to look, he saw that the moving object was a bird, an Osprey, uncommon in Taiwan.  As he watched, the Osprey tried to take off, but could only rise a short distance before falling back into the water.  The bird was having difficulty, but Mr. Du could not see what the problem was.  So, he watched for a few minutes.  Then he saw that the bird’s legs and neck had somehow become entangled in some netting.  He grabbed his camera to document the unusual situation while he thought about what to do. 

            The Osprey repeatedly tried to fly—and failed, falling back into the water again and again.  It was fighting for its life.  The bird’s struggles were gradually bringing it closer to shore.  Mr. Du decided that he would try to rescue it.   But how?   He had no way of knowing how long the bird had been caught in the netting and struggling to escape.  Time was important, and there was no one else around.   He must try to help, alone.

            There was only one thing to do.  Mr. Du removed most of his clothes and waded into the cold water, hoping he could get hold of the bird before it became more frightened and perhaps go into deeper water.  Good luck!  He was able to reach and catch the bird.  It was too tired to fight any more but it was still able to flex its strong feet.  Its sharp talons pierced Mr. Du’s hands; that hurt!  But, slowly and carefully, he was able to remove the netting and carry both the bird and the remains of the net to shore.  He set the bird on the beach, moved some distance away, put his clothes back on, watching to see that no further harm would come to the bird while it recovered from its ordeal, and taking more photographs as it rested.  He noticed that it had a small spot on its left eye.  If he ever saw the bird again, he would recognize it by that spot.  After a while, the Osprey shook itself a few times, then took off, flying strongly.  Success, and happiness at a good outcome!

            Next, Mr. Du examined the netting, which contained a small fish.  Probably, the bird had seen the fish from the air and tried to catch it, becoming caught in the net itself.

            The above article was published in the Liberty Times in the first week of March, 2007.

            Following the newspaper report and after seeing the photographs of the Osprey, Legislators Tien Chiu-chin, Yang Cheng-te, and the Taiwan International Taiwan Birding Association team discussed the situation.  They asked for government help in combating the problem of unattended and discarded nets, and the collateral damage such nets cause to wildlife.



References:  Field Guide: Birds of Taiwan; by Wang, J., C. Wu, G. Huang, X. Yang, Z. Cai,  M. Cai and Q. Xiao.  (1991)

                    Field Guide to the Birds of China, John MacKinnon and Karen Phillipps.  (2000)

                    Raptors of the World, James Ferguson-Lees and David A. Christie.  (2001)


References:  Handbook of Birds of the World Vol. 2; A Field Guide to the Birds of China (Mackinnon and Phillipps); 100 Common Birds of Taiwan (Wild Bird Society of Taipei)