Birding in Taiwan



Jo Ann Mackenzie describes the NATIONAL BIRD CAMPAIGN Vote Choices


Formosan Magpie

Formosan Magpie, sometimes called Taiwan Blue Magpie, is a very beautiful bird.  Birding in Taiwan participants, seeing it for the first time, always react with words as “Wow!  Gorgeous!”

             Similar to the Swinhoe’s and Mikado Pheasants, it is coloured black, blue, red and white, but it is usually easier to locate and to see.   With a body length, from beak tip to tail tip of 63 to 69 cm, it is large, but not as large as the pheasants.  It is a species of hills and mountains, found at elevations of 300 to 1200 m, but does not require the solitude of the pheasants.  Taiwanese who have a never seen a pheasant or a Yellow Tit, have perhaps seen a Formosan Magpie.   This bird can be found in Yangmingshan National Park, just to the north of Taipei, and so may be familiar to people who don’t travel to Taiwan’s Central Mountains, where Swinhoe’s and Mikado Pheasants, and Yellow Tit, reside. 

            My most memorable encounter with Formosan Magpie took place in November 2003, in Yangmingshan, where our group saw ten magpies, flying in single-file, “long-tailed formation,” through the park.  “Wow!  Gorgeous!”




Swinhoe’s Pheasant & Mikado Pheasant

I have been to Taiwan 7 times, and always enjoy the birds.  On my first trip, in March 2003, the group and I were lucky to see two stunningly beautiful male Swinhoe’s Pheasants on a rainy day at Beidongyenshan.  I promised myself that someday, I would be lucky enough to see a Mikado Pheasant, too.  That day came soon after.


            Our Birding in Taiwan tour group was at Anmashan in November, 2003; we were going to walk the famous Trail 210 to look for pheasants, guided by Simon Liao and Wu Ten-Di, whose excellent birding skills are well known.  We had been told that a female Mikado with young were often seen near the trailhead at first light.  And so, we were there very early in the cold morning.  We waited and watched.  The sun rose; the morning grew brighter.  The hen pheasant and her chicks did not appear.  Disappointed, some of the group decided to walk on; others decided to stay near the trailhead.  I walked on.  After a while, I thought I should return to the trailhead and check on my husband, Hue, who had decided to stay behind.  I found that he was fine, and I turned around to continue on the trail, hoping to catch up with the others.  They soon met me, returning triumphantly, as they had seen Mikado Pheasant not long after I had left them!  Disappointment for me, again! 

            Determined not to be defeated, I walked on slowly, accompanied by Ten-Di.  About 2 km from the trailhead, Ten-Di stopped and motioned for me to look quickly down the trail.  A red, white and blue male Swinhoe’s Pheasant was slowly stepping along in the middle of the track!  Beautiful—but not quite what I was hoping for.  We kept going, walking very slowly, softly, as quietly as possible, peering cautiously around each bend in the trail.  Suddenly, silently, Ten-Di grabbed my arm and urgently motioned ahead.  Astoundingly, there were TWO gorgeous, blue-black male Mikado Pheasants standing on the trail!  Oh, joy!  I had been cautioned that if we saw Mikados at all, it would be a fleeting, split-second glimpse—in view one second, gone the next.  On the contrary, these two just stood there, unconcerned.  I was enchanted!   We watched them for about 2 minutes, then the birds calmly, sedately, walked off the trail and disappeared through the undergrowth on the mountainside.  Success!!!  Ten-Di and I looked at each other, smiling happily.  We turned around and started back toward the trailhead, about 3 km away.  Just then, Hue arrived, having given up waiting for the hen and chicks, and hoping to catch up with us.  It was too late for him to see the Mikados, unfortunately.  Hue had to wait 3 more years and a total of 5 visits to Taiwan to see Mikado Pheasant, but eventually, he, too, was successful.




Taiwan Tit (Yellow Tit)

Yellow Tit can be hard to find.  Our Birding in Taiwan group was lucky with it in March, 2003.  Yellow Tit is a small bird, lemon-yellow below with black upperparts.  The white tips of the crest feathers can be hard to see as the bird is often high in the trees.   A bird of mid- to high elevation forests, it is uncommon and inconspicuous.  It may mix with other small birds, or occur alone.  I have seen it many times since that first encounter; at Huisun Forest Station, Meifeng, Aowanda and Alishan.  A shout of “Yellow Tit!” always brings other birders running. 




雄鳥,大型高雅黑色長尾的雉雞,肩羽及腰部具特殊光澤的藍紫色,全身黑色的羽毛上形成明顯的貝狀纹。 尖直長的尾羽黑白相間,翼黑色,有明顯的白紋。臉部裸露皮膚為朱紅色。雌鳥較小,體下為灰色具雜斑,體上半身褐色,具紅及黑色斑紋,與褐白色的縱紋。眼褐色,喙灰色,腳綠褐色。





國鳥候選者  背景資料








國鳥候選者  背景資料








國鳥候選者  背景資料







國鳥候選者  背景資料



Peter Candido describes the National Bird Campaign Vote Choices


Rob Butler describes the National Bird Campaign Vote Choices