Birding in Taiwan



Peter Candido describes the NATIONAL BIRD CAMPAIGN Vote Choices


Formosan Magpie

In March of 2003, I was very pleased to see twelve of Taiwan’s endemic species over an eight day period.  On the last day of our trip we were birding in Yangminshan National Park where we saw our first Formosan Whistling-thrush, as well as a variety of other birds.  I was beginning to wonder if we would find the magpies, when suddenly we heard their calls and three birds appeared!  The large size, the striking blue bodies and red bills made this a memorable sighting; the fact that this sighting happened on my birthday made it even more memorable.  I now think of the Taiwan Magpie as my “Birthday Bird”.



Swinhoe’s Pheasant

My first sighting of Swinhoe’s Pheasant came after a long walk in the rain, along a muddy trail on Bei Dong Yen Mountain.  We had been walking very quietly, watching carefully around the bends in the trail, hoping to spot pheasants.  On our way back, after seeing many interesting birds but no pheasants, suddenly we heard movement along a steep slope, and the sounds of large birds taking off.  We looked out in time to see two magnificent male Swinhoe’s Pheasants emerging from the mist and flying rapidly along the hill, their silver backs shining.  A great cheer went up from everyone at this unforgettable sight.



Mikado Pheasant

On my first visit to Taiwan in 2003 I had missed the Mikado Pheasant.  I was therefore hoping to encounter this species on my second trip, in July 2006.  My wife Gloria and I were traveling with Jo Ann MacKenzie, Simon Liao and Chin-Ye Ko in the mountains. One late afternoon, moving carefully along a road where Mikado’s Pheasants were often seen, we searched carefully without success. We tried again next day in the early morning, and suddenly several birds were seen walking in long grass by the roadside.  At first we were unsure of their identities, but upon stopping to look more closely, we saw that they were Mikado’s Pheasants!  These seemed to be all females or immature birds, but I was still very impressed at their size and rich brown markings.  I look forward to seeing the male of this species in the future.



Taiwan Tit (Yellow Tit)

The Yellow Tit is one of the most elegant of small birds with its clean, neat black crest accented in white along the outer edge, its black back, light blue wings and its bright lemon yellow underparts.  This bird is very active and often travels through the forest in flocks with other bird species.  These characteristics make it a challenge to get good close looks at this bird.  I observed this species on both trips to Taiwan, and upon seeing a group of three birds with a mixed flock in Aowanda National Forest in July 2006, I obtained some distant pictures as they moved quickly through the foliage. I hope to have the opportunity to obtain much closer photographs of this beautiful species some day.



Jo Ann MacKenzie describes the National Bird Campaign Vote Choices


Rob Butler describes the National Bird Campaign Vote Choices