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


Endemic Sub-Species

Alpine Accentor


Black-browed Barbet

Black-naped Monarch

Black Bulbul

Black Drongo

Bronzed Drongo

Brown-eared Bulbul

Chinese Bamboo-Partridge

Collared Finchbill

Collared Scops-Owl

Crested Goshawk

Crested Serpent-Eagle

Eurasian Jay

Eurasian Nutcracker

Gray-cheeked Fulvetta

Gray Treepie


Island Thrush

Lanyu’ Scops-Owl

Oriental Skylark

Oriental Turtle-Dove

Pygmy Wren-Babbler

Ring-necked Pheasant

Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler

Vinaceous Rosefinch

Whistling Green-Pigeon

White-bellied Green-Pigeon

White-browed Bush-Robin

White-browed Shortwing

Winter Wren


More Birds in Taiwan

Black-faced Spoonbill

Black-naped Oriole

Black-throated Tit

Black-winged Stilt

Chinese Crested Tern

Common Kingfisher

Common Moorhen

Daurian Redstart

Fairy Pitta

Gray-chinned Minivet

Gray-faced Buzzard

Gray Heron

Greater Painted-Snipe

Japanese White-eye

Little Forktail

Malayan Night-heron

Red Collared-Dove

Spotted Dove

White-breasted Waterhen



Accipiter virgatus fuscipectus


Endemic subspecies

The Besra is a medium-sized (23-36 cm) dark hawk.  The adult male is dark gray above, with blackish bars on the tail.  The underparts are white with rufous and brown bars, and the throat is white with a black mesial stripe.  The iris, legs and feet are yellow, and the bill is black with a yellow cere.  The female is larger than the male, and generally browner.  The barring on the male of the Taiwan race fuscipectus is more brownish than rufous, and it is brownish-gray above rather than pure gray as in the mainland races, so that differences between males and females are small when viewed from above.  Immatures are brown, with a more strongly streaked breast.  In flight, the Besra shows rounded wings and a longish tail.

The Besra inhabits a wide variety of forests from sea level to 2400 m.  Its food consists mainly of birds, but also of insects, lizards and small mammals.  It hunts by sitting quietly in the forest waiting for its prey.  Avian prey is usually captured following a quick aerial chase.  Both sexes participate in building the small nest which is usually placed 15-25 m. up in a large tree in the forest and is lined with green leaves.  Usually 2-4 eggs are laid.  The Besra is a common resident of Taiwan year-round.


References:  A Field Guide to the Birds of China (Mackinnon and Phillipps);  Handbook of Birds of the World Vol. 2; N. J. Collar, “Endemic subspecies of Taiwan birds—first impressions”, in Birding ASIA, Number 2, December 2004