Birding in Taiwan



Scheduled Tours

Nov 6-19, 2006

2007 Tour for Chinese Crested Tern (Matsu Tern)

2003 Trip Photos

2004 Trip Photos

2005 Trip Photos

Trip Reports

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

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST, Taiwan, NOV.28-Dec.2, 2005

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, NOV. 7-16, 2005


Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, MAY. 2-11, 2005


Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, MAY. 21-24, 2005

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST, Taiwan, MAY. 21-24, 2005

Trip Report:  BIRDING IN TAIWAN, NOV. 8–17, 2004


Taiwan Trip Report, March 21 – 28, 2003

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST, Taiwan, March 21 – 28, 2003

Taiwan Trip Report, November 11-19, 2003

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST, Taiwan, November 11–19, 2003


BirdingASIA -Birdwatching in Taiwan





Fairy Pitta



May 1-14, 2006

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To Portuguese sailors in the 16th century, it was Ilha Formosa, “Beautiful Island,” because of its lush forests and the jagged peaks of its mountainous spine.

            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:  Taiwan Partridge, Swinhoe’s Pheasant, Mikado Pheasant, Styan’s Bulbul, Flamecrest, Formosan Whistling-Thrush, Taiwan Bush-Warbler, Collared Bush-Robin, White-Whiskered Laughingthrush. Steere’s Liocichla, Taiwan Barwing, White-eared Sibia, Taiwan Yuhina, 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 Taiwan Partridge.  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.

Leaders:  Simon Liao, 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
  • Moderate pace
  • 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 elevations
  • 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 Swinhoe’s Pheasant.

Night at Atayal Resort, in Huisun Forest Station, 770 m (2530 ft.) elevation.

Black-browed Barbet

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.)



Swinhoe’s Pheasant

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 shy Taiwan Partridge.  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 the night.

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 (1592 ft.)


6 May  (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


7 May  (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.

8 May  (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 Market.

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.) 

Taiwan Barwing

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 Yushan National Park for more “high mountain” specialties.  Yushan National Park is known as “The ridge of the roof of Taiwan.”  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 Taipei; Welcome Supper.  Night in Taipei.

14 May  (Sunday)  Day 14

Morning birding in Yangmin 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



From Vancouver, BC, Canada

CAD $4900 (sharing);  CAD $5400 (single)


From Taipei, Taiwan:

CAD $3800 (sharing);  CAD $4300 (single)



CAD $500



For further information, please contact:



Simon Liao






Jo Ann MacKenzie

15341 – 21 Avenue

Surrey,BC,  V4A 6A8



Phone:  604-538-1676







Good birds, good food, good friends!