Portuguese sailors in the 16th century, it was Ilha
Island,” because of its lush forests and the jagged peaks of its
The island we now know as Taiwan, lying 160 km (100
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 15 endemic species reside:
Partridge, Swinhoe’s Pheasant, Mikado Pheasant, Styan’s Bulbul,
Bush-Warbler, Collared Bush-Robin, White-Whiskered Laughingthrush.
Steere’s Liocichla, Taiwan Barwing, White-eared
Yellow Tit, and Formosan Magpie.
Although 470 species of birds have been recorded, about
300 can be considered to occur regularly, including 69 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 shy, solitary
The blue , white and red male Swinhoe’s Pheasant is
unforgettable, as is the sleek black, white and red male Mikado
Pheasant, “King of the Mist,” the national bird of Taiwan.
The main focus of the tour is on the endemic species and
subspecies of Taiwan. Secondary focuses are the Fairy Pitta, a
beautiful and uncommon species which is present only in the breeding
season, and the specialties of Lanyu Island.
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.
Honourary Chairman, Wild Bird Federation of Taiwan, and
Ten-Di Wu, President,
Changhua Wild Bird Society.
6 to 10 participants with 3 leaders
Major habitats of the west coast, central mountains, Taroko Gorge,
the southeast, and Lanyu Island
Mostly easy to moderate walking; occasional steep steps and paths
in “high mountain” habitat
Accommodation with private bathrooms
Chilly to cold at high elevations; warm to hot and humid at low
Transportation by air-conditioned bus
Opportunities to sample Taiwanese culture and cuisine
1 May (Monday), Day 1
Fly EVA Air at 1:55 a.m., from Vancouver to Taipei. It will be
necessary to be at Vancouver International Airport by 10:00 p.m. on
the evening of April 30, for flight check-in.
2 May (Tuesday), Day 2
Arrive Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport (situated near Taoyuan,
50 km west of Taipei) at 5:30 a.m.
We will transfer to our bus and drive south to
Taichung where we will pick up our co-leader Ten-Di Wu. After
Taichung, we continue south and begin to climb to the Wufeng area,
300 to 400 m (1,000 to 1300 feet) elevation. We will make stops in
suitable habitat to look for Collared Finchbill, Formosan
Whistling Thrush, Black-browed (Muller`s) Barbet, Gray-capped
Woodpecker, Formosan Magpie. Then we will turn east and
climb higher to Huisun Forest Station. Possibilities include Ashy
Wood-Pigeon, Black-browed Barbet, Gray-capped Woodpecker,
Gray-chinned Minivet, Gray Treepie, Black Bulbul, Rufous-capped
Babbler, White-bellied Yuhina, Chinese Bamboo Partridge and
Night at Atayal Resort, in Huisun Forest Station, 770 m (2530 ft.)
3 May (Wednesday), Day 3
Early morning birding on the trails at Huisun Forest Station.
Leaving Huisun after breakfast, we backtrack somewhat, then continue
eastward through Puli, the geographic center of Taiwan, and begin to
climb again toward Auwanda National Forest Recreation Area (elev.
1200 m (3900 ft.). At Auwanda, we will check the stream for
Plumbeous Redstart and with luck, the rare Little Forktail, and
watch for Taiwan Yuhina, Yellow Tit, Fire-breasted and
Plain Flowerpeckers, Black-browed Barbet, minivets and raptors.
Leaving Auwanda, we continue to climb to Chingjing. Night in
Chingjing, elev. 1750 m (5740 ft.)
4 May (Thursday), Day 4
We will make an early morning start to the Meifeng area in “high
mountain” habitat, to walk Blue Gate Trail #1, known locally as the
Shuiyen (Water) Trail, because of the water pipes that lie alongside
the trail. Possibilities include White-tailed Robin, Mikado
and Swinhoe’s Pheasants and perhaps with much luck, the very
We will also be alert for White-eared Sibia, Taiwan Yuhina,
Collared Bush Robin, Taiwan Barwing, Steere’s Liocichla, Pygmy
Wren-Babbler, White-browed Shortwing (the wren-babbler and shortwing
are both hard-to-see skulkers), Vineous-throated Parrotbill,
Eurasian Nuthatch, and others.
In the afternoon, we will drive to lower elevation
montane forest, Beidongyen Shan (Northeast Eye Mountain), where we
will continue to look for mountain species. Return to Chingjing for
5 May (Friday), Day 5
Early morning birding at Blue Gate Trail #2. Then, we will drive
higher yet, to the Hehuan Shan 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,” pronounced “sahn”
means “mountain “or “hill” in Mandarin; in this case, “mountain.”)
We will look for White-whiskered Laughingthrush,
Flamecrest, Vinaceous Rosefinch, Coal Tit, Green-backed Tit
and Yellow Tit. We will continue eastward through the upper
part of the Taroko Gorge, inTaroko National Park, to Tienhsiang
looking for Styan’s Bulbul. Night at Tienhsiang, elev. 485 m
(Saturday), Day 6
Early morning birding in the Tienhsiang area. Then we will drive
eastward, through 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 walk part
of the Shakadang Trail, along the Shakadang River, a tributary of
the Liwu, looking for Brown Dipper and Little Forktail. We will
exit through the park’s East Gate and turn south to Hualien and
drive along Taiwan’s scenic east coast, crossing the Tropic of
Cancer, to Taitung, arriving at Fugang Harbor in time for our ferry
to Lanyu (Orchid) Island, about 65 km east of the southern tip of
Taiwan proper. The crossing will take about 2 hours, during which
we will watch for any birds at sea, with much luck perhaps
Bonin Petrel. Bulwer’s Petrel or Swinhoe’s Storm-Petrel.
Most of Lanyu’s inhabitants are aboriginal Yami people,
whose culture is closer to that of the Philippines than of Taiwan.
After transferring to Hungtou (Red-head) village, we will spend the
rest of the day birding this fascinating island. Lanyu is very
different from Taiwan and we will look for the specialties of this
island: Philippine [Brown] Cuckoo Dove, Japanese [Black] Paradise
Flycatcher, Brown-eared Bulbul and Japanese White-eye (a subspecies
endemic to Lanyu). After dark, we will search for another endemic
subspecies, the Lanyu Scops-Owl. Night in Hungtou.
Japanese Paradise- Flycatcher
(Sunday), Day 7
Early morning birding on Lanyu Island. Afternoon temperatures on
the island are too hot for birding, so we will use the time to
travel by ferry back to the Taiwan mainland. After docking at
Taitung and boarding our bus, we will drive southwest to the Chihpen
Forest Recreation Area. Night at Chihpen Forest Resort.
(Monday), Day 8
Early morning birding at mid-elevation in Chihpen Forest, looking
for Maroon Oriole, Swinhoe’s Pheasant and other mountain species.
Afternoon drive to Kenting, Taiwan’s “far south”. Birding in
Kenting National Park. Night in Kenting.
9 May (Tuesday), Day 9
Morning birding at Long Luan Tan Lake, Kenting National Park,
looking for Ruddy-breasted Crake, White-breasted Waterhen and other
wetland species. Drive north to Inda Ecofarm, the only place in
Taiwan where Black-naped Oriole can still be reliably found.
Continue northward to bird the wetlands in the Tainan area until
dusk. Night in Tainan County.
10 May: (Wednesday), Day 10
Morning birding in the Tsengwen Dam area, elev. 220 m, (859 ft.),
looking for Maroon Oriole, Collared Finchbill, Spot-breasted
Scimitar-Babbler, Oriental Cuckoo and other species of mid-elevation
woodland below the dam. At the Kwantien Wetland, we will look for
Pheasant-tailed Jacana. We will return to the coast to bird the
extensive wetland habitat of Aougu. Then we will continue north,
re-crossing the Tropic of Cancer, to Chiayi. Night in Chiayi.
There may be an opportunity to browse through the lively Night
11 May (Thursday) Day 11
Morning drive to return to “high mountain” habitat in A Li Shan
Forest Recreation Area. We will have the rest of the day to look
for species we may have missed in this habitat earlier.
Night in A Li Shan village, 2200 m (7,200 ft.)
12 May (Friday) Day 12
Early morning birding, A Li Shan. In mid morning, we will drive
higher, to the Tataka Recreation Area, 2800 m (9,192 ft.) in
National Park for more “high mountain” specialties. Yushan National
Park is known as “The ridge of the roof of
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. Possible species are Taiwan Bush-Warbler
(which should be singing, and therefore “findable”. Eurasian
Nutcracker, Gray-headed Bullfinch, White-whiskered
Laughingthrush, Flamecrest, Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler,
Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler. Then it will be time to leave the
high mountains and drive to lowlands, to Yunlin County’s humid Mango
Valley, to look for the beautiful Fairy Pitta. The males should be
on territory now, and we have a good chance of seeing this very
special bird. Next, we will drive to the historic city of Lugang
for lunch. If time permits, a cultural highlight will be a visit to
the 400-year-old Matsu Temple, dedicated to Matsu, Goddess of the
Sea. On the outskirts of Lugang, there is a large open area where
we will look for Oriental Pratincole, Oriental Skylark and Zitting
Cisticola. If there is sufficient time, we will go to Hambao for
another opportunity for wetland species. Night in Changhua.
13 May (Saturday) Day 13
Drive north to Taipei county, with a stop for another cultural
highlight, the Sanshia Temple noted for its exquisite carvings,
including more than 100 different birds. Lunch; drive east to Wulai
for afternoon birding in mid-elevation habitat. Drive to
Welcome Supper. Night in Taipei.
14 May (Sunday) Day 14
Morning birding in
Shan National Park. After lunch, visit the superb National Palace
Museum, which holds the world’s largest collection of Chinese
artefacts. Possible shopping opportunity in the extensive Chinese
Handicraft Mart, where a vast array of quality goods are available
at fair prices. Relax at hotpsring followed by supper. Drive to
Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport to await our EVA Airways
departure at 11:50 p.m., to Vancouver; arriving at
7:20 p.m. the same day.
Maximum of 10 participants with 2 leaders
COST PER PERSON,
From Vancouver, BC, Canada
CAD $4900 (sharing); CAD $5400 (single)
From Taipei, Taiwan:
CAD $3800 (sharing); CAD $4300 (single)
For further information, please contact:
Jo Ann MacKenzie
15341 – 21 Avenue
Surrey,BC, V4A 6A8
Good birds, good
food, good friends!