Birding in Taiwan



Rob Butler describes the NATIONAL BIRD CAMPAIGN Vote Choices


Formosan Magpie

The allure of Taiwan runs deep among its people and its wild creatures. A joy of life seems to pervade all who choose to live there including its birds. And among all the birds, the Formosan Magpie seems to enjoy life the most. Magpies are noisy creatures; often they are heard before they are seen. And when one comes into view, what a sight it is to behold! The red bill and blue body precede an outrageously long tail that trails behind like an exclamation mark. Magpies are caring parents with strong family ties that help with rearing the offspring. Like an old friend, the Formosan Magpie is one bird I long to see again soon.



Swinhoe’s Pheasant

The rain that began the previous night was still beating down when our small party of birders set out in search of Swinhoe’s Pheasant. It was my first visit to Taiwan and all of us were hoping to see this elusive species in the quiet morning. Raingear and steamed binoculars slowed our progress along the track. After an hour of quiet searching, a whir of wings came overhead. Out of the mist and just above the tree tops soared two Swinhoe’s Pheasants. They startled at our presence and sailed off down the valley. Etched in my mind were two elegant blue and white gems afloat in the emerald forested valley.



Mikado Pheasant

Mountains of the world are sources of mystery and mysticism. High up in the cool rarefied air of Alishan is where I went in search of the lord of the mountains – Mikado Pheasant. The pheasant had been seen not long ago near a mountain pass where I stood alert to the sounds around me. The song of songbirds filled the air and nothing more. I thought to myself that before me was the wild Taiwan as it had always been. Although I have yet to see the Mikado Pheasant, in some ways I thought this is how it should remain – a mystery of the mountains.




Taiwan Tit

Small songbirds sometimes travel in flocks that suddenly appear along a roadway or a path, and disappear through the tree tops in a flurry of activity. The Taiwan Tit is one of these surprises. Its yellow and black color is topped off with a crest on top of its head. To see one will require the greatest skill with binoculars as these tiny birds dart to and fro among the branches. The search is worth the effort. Finding this tiny endemic will make any day special.  



Peter Candido describes the National Bird Campaign Vote Choices


Jo Ann MacKenzie describes the National Bird Campaign Vote Choices