Birding in Taiwan

Birding In Taiwan


Black Browed Barbet

Black-faced Spoonbill Fairy Pitta Taiwan Whistling Thrush Taiwan Blue Magpie


Welcome to Birding in Taiwan 來臺灣賞鳥 


Birding in Taiwan - Fairy Pitta,


What's New

Bookmark this site to find the latest news on birding in Taiwan, our bird tours and more.

歡迎你來參加2007年, 我的母親舊濁水溪攝影比賽


Birding in Matsu


July 18-20, 2007 Tour for Chinese Crested Tern (Matsu Tern)



Bev Day, O.W.L. Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, Canada, visits Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute


Spring Migration of the Gray-face Buzzard in the Central and Southern Taiwan in 2005


Earth Day, Taipei, April 22, 2007

Earth Day, 2007 was celebrated on April 22, in Bali Park, on the shore of the broad Damshui River, in northwest Taipei County.  The Taiwan International Birding Society’s booth was very popular, especially with children, who were eager to cast their ballots for National Bird.

Earth Day Taipei Photos


Rare Bird:  Eurasian Eagle Owl

            A Eurasian Eagle Owl, Bubo bubo, appeared from time to time during May and early June, 2007, at the harbor of Kaohsiung.  This is a first record for Taiwan.

            The Eurasian Eagle Owl is one of the world’s largest and most powerful owls; length 58-71 cm (23 -28 inches), and wingspan of 1.53–1.82 m (5–6 feet).  It is widespread but rather rare.  Its breeding range is from Europe eastward across Russia to the Pacific, south to Iran and Pakistan; across to China and Korea.  Its habitat is chiefly remote rocky areas, river valleys, ravines, quarries; but also open forest, Taiga, steppe and semi desert.


2007 Birding Tour for Chinese Crested Tern (Matsu Tern)



Birds in Taiwan – New Species Account: 

Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler, Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler, Common Snipe, Eurasian Teal


Birds in Taiwan – New Species Account : Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon Story 

The Falcons of Kaohsiung Part 1

The Falcons of Kaohsiung Part 2


Abstracts of ornithological masters’ theses from Taiwan, 1977–2003


Birds in Taiwan – New Species Account: Osprey; and An Osprey Story.


2007 Gray-Faced Buzzard Migration – Daily Tally by Changhua Wild Bird Society

A Brief History of Grey-Faced Buzzard Conservation in Taiwan

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, November (6)7–19, 2006

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST, November (6)7–19, 2006


Peter Candido describes the National Bird Campaign Vote Choices

Jo Ann MacKenzie describes the National Bird Campaign Vote Choices

Rob Butler describes the National Bird Campaign Vote Choices


Hank Tseng Art Gallery Updated


Liao Pen Shing Art Gallery Updated


Kuo K.K. Art Gallery Updated




Birds In Taiwan - New Species Accounts

Little Egret, Chinese Goshawk, Brown-headed Thrush, Northern Pintail Great Cormorant, Black Kite, Dusky Fulvetta, Plain Prinia, Rufous-capped Babbler, Eastern Marsh Harrier

Cattle Egret, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Wigeon, Fork-tailed or Pacific Swift,,Garganey,Intermediate Egret, Lesser Coucal,

Little Grebe, Northern Shoveler, Osprey, Pale Thrush, Russet Sparrow,

Great Egret8u

Scheduled Birding Tour Updates

July 18-20, 2007 Tour for Chinese Crested Tern (Matsu Tern)

Nov 5-18, 2007


Birds In Taiwan - New Species Accounts

Striated Prinia, Varied Tit, House Swift, Coal Tit, Barred Buttonquail


Phil Rostron on Birding in Taiwan


Birds In Taiwan - New Species Accounts

Ijima’s Leaf-Warbler, Maroon Oriole, Black-crowned Night Heron, Cinnamon Bittern, Yellow Bittern, Streak-throated Fulvetta, White-throated Laughingthrush, Rusty Laughingthrush


Birding Story - Mark Wilkie on Birding in Taiwan


Xie Wen-Yu Art Gallery Added


Birds In Taiwan - New Species Accounts

Spot-billed Duck, White-tailed Robin, Vinous-throated Parrotbill

Mountain Scops-Owl, Collared Owlet, Grey-headed Bullfinch, Green-backed Tit, Brown Bullfinch


Birding in Aowanda


Huang Wen-Hsin Gallery Updated


2006 Trip Photos

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, May. 1-14, 2006



Birding Story - Dave & Carol Roelen on Birding in Taiwan


Birding Story - Peter Candido - Re-Tern to Taiwan


Invitation to Taiwan to see the rediscovered Chinese Crested Tern!


Tsu-Sze Temple, Sanshia

The Tsu-Sze (“Divine Ancestor”) Temple, popularly known as the Sanshia Bird Temple, situated in Sanshia, Taipei County, is one of the most magnificent temples in Taiwan.  It is a Taoist temple, dedicated to Chingshuei TSu-Sze (real name Chen Tsao-Yin), born in China during the Sung Dynasty (960–1279).  He became a famous general and was knighted as “Protector of the Country” for his achievements and valour.   Subsequently, he came to be called Chingshuei Tsu-Sze for establishing the Chingshuei Yan Memorial Temple in Anshi County, China.  Hundreds of years later, when people migrated from that area, they brought a statue of Chingshuei Tsu-Sze with them to enshrine as guardian spirit in a new temple that they constructed in the place known today as Sanshia (Sansia, San-Hsia, San Xia), Taiwan. 

More About Tsu-Sze Temple, Sanshia



About Us


The Taiwan International Birding Association was formally registered as a not-for-profit society on May 21, 2005, at a meeting at the Council of Agriculture, Taipei, Taiwan.  Officers elected:  Yang Chung-tse, Chairman; Lin Maw-nan, Vice Chairman; Tso Chien-hui, Executive Secretary; Zheng Shu-kai/Kerry Zheng, Treasurer.

 Our objective is to encourage birding eco-tourism in Taiwan.

TIBA was first organized as the International Taiwan Birding Association in July, 2003, in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.   Officers appointed were:  Simon Liao, President; Dr. Robert Butler and Dr. Shing Kuo Shih, Vice Presidents; Jo Ann MacKenzie, Executive Secretary; Karen Shih, Treasurer.  After TIBA came into being in Taiwan, ITBA continued to operate as a parallel branch in Canada.  On March 17, 2007, ITBA merged with TIBA, and remains as the Canadian chapter, under the name of the Taiwan International Birding Association (Canada).


The class and culture that is inherent in every game of

Major Sponsors

Birding in Matsu

Wild Bird Federation Taiwan

Council of Agriculture, Taiwan

Changhua Wild Bird Society


CPC Corporation, Taiwan

Government Information Office, Taiwan

 Taipei Economic & Cultural Office, San Francisco


Birding in Taiwan Breaking News

Chinese Crested Tern in Taiwan:  2007 Update

            Good news this year from the Matsu Tern Reserve about Chinese Crested (Matsu) Tern, Thalasseus bernsteinii: 13 have been observed in the Reserve.  Surveys found that there were 4 pairs and 1 chick on Sanlianyu Islet, and 3 pairs and one chick on Shershan (Snake Mountain) Islet, off the west cost of Sijyu Island, Jyuguang Township.  This is the greatest number since 2004, and the second greatest number overall.

            These photographs were taken by Liao Pen-shing on July 22.

History of the Chinese Crested (Matsu) Tern in the Matsu Tern Reserve:

    2000:  12 – 4 pairs, each with 1 chick;

    2001:  1 – adult, disappeared;

    2002:  9 – 3 pairs, each with 1 chick;

    2003:  2 – adults, breeding success unknown;

    2004:  15 – 6 breeding pairs on two islands; 3 chicks observed;

      2005:  2 – adults, breeding success unknown;

      2006:  8 – 2 pairs, 3 chicks, 1 yearling on Sanlianyu Islet.

      2007: 13 – 4 pairs, 1 chick on Sanlianyu Islet; 3 adults, 1 chick on Shershan Islet.





On June 30th, 2007, Wang Chien-hua and Chen Teng-chuang witnessed and took pictures of 4 pairs of Chinese Crested Tern on Sher Mountain.

On July 10th, 2007, Wang Chien-hua captured a picture of Chinese Crested Tern at Chingfan Port



[馬祖日報] 今年的燕鷗特別多,東莒國小校長王建華表示,近來因為港內小魚多,除增加許多釣魚機會外,許多燕歐從蛇島[蛇山]飛過來覓食,拿起相機也許就有機會拍到神話之鳥。




Wang Chienhua Captured a Picture of Chinese Crested Tern at Chingfan Port, Sijyu Island, in the Matsu Archipelago

[Matsu Daily Newspaper] “The number of terns has significantly increased this year”, as Wang Chien-hua—the principal of Tungchu Elementary School said. Due to the recent boosted quantity of small fish around ports, the chances of catching fish have increased, which also attracts terns from Sher Mountain* to prey on the fish for food. So, you may have a chance to capture pictures of the “mythical bird” by just picking up your camera.

Wang Chien-hua said that he was originally going to take a boat to look for terns, but due to the stormy wind from the south, the boat was unable to depart. Nevertheless, he took a walk to Chingfan Port remembering that he had heard someone mention seeing Chinese Crested Terns around ports. On the way to Chingfan Port, he casually took some pictures of terns that flew from Sher Mountain to feed on the recently increased schools of fish. He said: “Perhaps I was lucky. When I checked the random pictures that I took, I realized that I had just taken a photo of the Chinese Crested Tern!”

This summer, you may not have to take a boat to Sher Mountain for tern-watching. Chingfan Port and Kunchiu Beach could be the place where you have your first encounter with Chinese Crested Tern!

* “Snake Mountain” is an islet off the west coast of Sijyu Island.

Chinese Crested Terns (Matsu Tern), Sterna bernsteini, have Returned!


During a survey on June 21, 2007, Chang Shou-hwa located three pairs of Chinese Crested Terns (Matsu Tern) on Xijyu Shershan islet in the Matsu Tern Reserve.  Survey work will continue to look for any more of these extremely rare terns and monitor their activities during the breeding season.


On May 20, 2007, Legislator Tien Chiu-chin met with a Birding in Taiwan group in Taipei.  The birders were an international group, from Canada, Mexico, Taiwan and the United States.  The birders had been traveling in Taiwan for two weeks and had visited every county (except Yilan), and had also gone to Lanyu Island. 


TIBA Goes to the 2007 Fair

          The Taiwan International Birding Association will again represent Taiwan at the British Birdwatching Fair, 17–19 August, to be held in the Egleton Nature Reserve, Rutland Water, Oakham, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom.  Legislator Tien Chiu-Chin and Jo Ann MacKenzie invite you to attend a talk on “Birding in Taiwan Chinese Crested Tern” on Friday, August 17, 12:00–12:20 p.m. in the Lecture Marquee.

            We look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones this year. 

Taiwan National Bird Vote Results

The Taiwan National Bird Vote campaign, which began in January, 2007, came to a close at midnight, April 29, 2007.  There were over 1 million votes cast (987,063 by computer and 70,000 by paper ballot) from 53 countries, representing every continent except Antarctica.  There were 1,300 downloads for teaching purposes in educational institutions.

The winning bird, FORMOSAN MAGPIE, with 491,572 votes, was announced at a media event on May 2, 2007.  In second place was MIKADO PHEASANT, with 277,178 votes.  The random draw for prizes (20 Olympus digital cameras) took place; 19 names were drawn by computer, and one, on paper, drawn by hand.  Winners have been notified, and the prizes will be mailed promptly. MORE


Rare Bird:  Desert Wheatear at Changhua

            A Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti spent two weeks (January 28 to February 16) near Dacheng (Tacheng) city in southwestern Changhua County.  Photos by Dr. Wang Yu-quen.

            Desert Wheatear is an “Old World Flycatcher.” This species is fairly common in stony deserts.  Its breeding range is Arabia, the Middle East to Mongolia, western Himalayas; west, north and central China and the Tibetan Plateau.  The wintering range includes Arabia, northeast Africa, Pakistan and northwest India. 

            Desert Wheatear is classed as “Vagrant” in Taiwan.  There have been five records:  the most recent in Changhua County (above); October 2004, Yehliu; 1997, Matsu; May 1995, Penghu Islands; April 1989, Lanyu Island.

Rare birds:  Tundra Swans, Winter 2006–2007

            A family of five Tundra Swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii has been wintering on the west coast of Taiwan.  They have ranged from south to north, back and forth, from Tainan to Hsinchu.   Photo by Mark Wilkie.

            The Asian race of Tundra Swan, C. c. bewickii (sometimes Olor columbianus bewickii) was formerly considered a separate species, called Bewick’s Swan.  It was named for Thomas Bewick (1753–1828), British engraver, who specialized in illustrations of birds and animals.

            C. c. bewickii breeds across most of high-Arctic Siberia.  Western populations winter in Europe; eastern populations winter chiefly in eastern Asia, mostly in Japan, Korea and China.  It is “Vagrant” in Taiwan.

            The earliest record in Taiwan is of a party of 12 in the Taoyuan area in mid-November, 1929.  On December 6, 1929, hunters shot five of them; the remaining seven escaped.  Further known records are from 1971, 1976, 1989 and January 25, 2003.

            BirdLife International considers the population of C. c. bewickii to be Stable.

Rare Birds:  Common Crane and Black-chinned Fruit-Dove

            A Common Crane Grus grus and a juvenile Black-chinned Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus leclancheri visited Taiwan in February, 2007.  The crane was at Ilan (Ee-lan); the fruit-dove was at Kaohsiung.  The Wild Bird Society of Taipei classes both as “Vagrant” in Taiwan.

             The Common Crane breeds in northern Eurasia and winters in northern Africa, southern India and Southeast Asia.  It is becoming rare. 

            The presently-known range of the Black-chinned Fruit-Dove is the Philippines and Palawan.  However, some authors recognize an endemic subspecies, P. l. taiwanus, on Lanyu Island.  Its status there is unclear at this time. 

*Ripley, S. Dillon. 1962.  A new subspecies of the Black-chinned Fruit Pigeon IN Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, Vol. 75.


Rare Geese at Ilan  (Ee-lan)

A small party of Swan Geese Anser cygnoides, was present during January, 2007 at Ilan.  A few Bean Geese Anser fabalis arrived at the same time.  Both species of geese are classed as “Vagrant” in Taiwan.

            The former breeding range of the Swan Goose (the ancestor of the domesticated “Chinese Goose”) extended widely across eastern Siberia into northern China and Mongolia, but the present breeding range is severely fragmented.  Swan Goose numbers have been in decline since the beginning of the year 1900.  The remaining population (perhaps only 300–400 pairs) breeds primarily in steppe and forested steppe marshes and lakesides of eastern Siberia.  The former wintering range included Korea, Japan and a large part of eastern China; now it is regular only in a smaller area of eastern China.

            Swan Goose is listed as Endangered on the 2006 IUCN* Red List (as evaluated by BirdLife International) because its population is declining very rapidly as a result of habitat loss, particularly to agricultural development, and unsustainable levels of hunting.

*International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

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            The Bean Goose breeds across northern Europe and Asia. The two major wintering areas are temperate lowlands of Europe and East Asia.  In East Asia, the chief wintering areas are China, Korea, and Japan.

Pacific Seabird Group to Meet in Taiwan

            The Pacific Seabird Group, an international organization dedicated to the study of Pacific Ocean seabirds and their environment, will hold a conference in Lugang, Taiwan, in early October, 2007.  The event will be co-chaired by Dr. Robert Butler, Senior Research Scientist, Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service and Adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia; Dr. Ron Ydenberg, Professor, Director of the Centre for Wildlife Ecology at Simon Fraser University; Director of Pacific Seabird Group, and Simon Liao, Taiwan International Birding Association.  A planning meeting was held in Vancouver, BC, Canada on December 9, 2006.  Those present were Dr. Robert Butler, Gloria Candido, Dr. Peter Candido, Gail Kenner, Dr. Rex Kenner, Simon Liao, Jo Ann MacKenzie, Tom Middleton, Karen Shih and Dr. Shing-Kuo Shih.



Ijima’s Leaf-Warbler in Taiwan


Photo Credit: Government Information Office, Taiwan.

Only 130Km off the coast of the Chinese mainland, Taiwan occupies a strategic position in East Asia at the intersection of sea currents and navigation routes. When Portuguese navigators sighted Taiwan in the 16th century, they were struck by its tremendous beauty and called the island Ilha Formosa or "beautiful island".

More About Taiwan



Fairy Pitta by Chen Wen Wang
Chen-wen Wang


Mongolian Plover

John Wei

Hank Tseng

Ten-Di Wu

The Fairy Pitta in Taiwan, a Photographic Essay

Huang Wen-Hsin



Jo Ann on Birding in Taiwan

It was an honour and privilege to be part of the first Taiwanese-organized and led birding tour to Taiwan in March 2003. I considered the opportunity to be a special treat because I had been interested in Chinese life and culture since my childhood. Before the trip, I read all I could about Taiwan, the birds and everything else....MORE



Taiwan is a safe country, with good infrastructure, a strong conservation movement, classic mountain scenery, friendly people, wonderful food, and much to offer visitors.

Come with us to enjoy the birds and culture of Taiwan!

More Bird Tours Info

Scheduled Tours

May 1-14, 2006

Nov 6-19, 2006


Trip Report:

BIRDING IN TAIWAN, Jan 29–Feb. 3, 2006

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, FEB.24-26, 2006

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, NOV.28-Dec.2, 2005


Birdwatching in Taiwan,” Parts 1, 2, and 3, are presented with permission from BirdingASIA, the bulletin of the Oriental Bird Club.  (See our Links page for the benefits of membership in the OBC.)  The December 2004 issue (BirdingASIA No. 2) features 59 pages of “Spotlight on Taiwan”, including “Endemic subspecies of Taiwan birds – first impressions”, by N. J. Collar.

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3