Birding in Taiwan



Bird Tours

International Waterbird Society 2005 Post-Conference Field Trips

Scheduled Tours

November 7–16, 2005

May 1-13, 2006


Trip Photos

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







NOVEMBER 7–16, 2005   Print Friendly Version

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 many endemic subspecies.  Seeing the pheasants, partridge and quail requires some luck, especially for the shy, solitary Taiwan Partridge.  The red, white and midnight blue 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 of Taiwan.  A secondary focus is the endangered Black-faced Spoonbill.  One half to two-thirds of the world population winters in the Tsengwen River estuary, near the city of Tainan.

            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 2 leaders
  • Moderate pace
  • Mostly easy to moderate walking; occasional steep trails 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


7 November  (Monday), Day 1

Fly EVA Airways at 1:00 a.m., from Vancouver to Taipei.  It will be necessary to be at Vancouver International Airport by 9:30 p.m. on the evening of November 6, for flight check-in.


8 November  (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 Formosan Magpie, 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 in Huisun Forest Station, 770 m (2530 ft.)


9 November  (Wednesday), Day 3

Early morning 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.)


10 November  (Thursday), Day 4

We will make an early morning start to the Meifeng area in “high mountain” habitat, to walk the famous Blue Gate Trail, known locally as the Shuiyen (Water) Trail, because of the plastic 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 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 spectacular Taroko Gorge, to Tienhsiang, looking for Styan’s Bulbul.

Return to Chingjing for the night.


11 November  (Friday), Day 5

Early morning birding at Beidongyen Shan (Northeast Eye Mountain) for more “high mountain” species. Then it will be time to leave the mountains and drive to lowlands, to the historic city of Lukang 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.  After a coffee/tea break, we will have the rest of the afternoon at Hambao for shorebirds and other wetland species.

Night in Changhua.


12 November  (Saturday), Day 6

We will have the day in Aougu wetland and upland, and coastal areas.  At Aougu, we will look for shorebirds, such as Black-winged Stilt, Greenshank, Redshank, Lesser and Greater Sandplovers, Cinnamon Bittern, egrets and herons.  We will search the Puzih River and Tongshih areas for Whiskered Tern, Black-winged Stilt and perhaps Saunders’ Gull.

Night in Tainan.


13 November  (Sunday), Day 7

We will drive to the Tsengwen River estuary and Chiku wetlands (crossing the Tropic of Cancer, a few kilometres south of Chiayi), where a large percentage of the world’s Black-faced Spoonbills winter.  Also possible are Cinnamon Bittern and Yellow Bittern.  Next, we will go to the very specialized water-chestnut habitat in the Kwangtien wetland for Pheasant-tailed Jacana.  Adjacent dry, post-harvest rice fields may hold Oriental Skylark and Zitting Cisticola.

Night in Chiayi. 

14 November  (Monday), Day 8

Morning in the Chungpu area, southeast of Chiayi, looking for Maroon Oriole and other species of mid-elevation forest.  In the afternoon we will drive east and up, returning to “high mountain” habitat in A Li Shan Forest Recreation Area, providing another chance for high elevation species that we may have missed earlier.

Night in A Li Shan village, 2200 m (7,200 ft.)

15 November:  (Tuesday), Day 9

We will drive higher, to the Tataka Recreation Area 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 (very difficult to find outside of the breeding season), Eurasian Nutcracker, Gray-headed Bullfinch, White-whiskered Laughingthrush, Flamecrest, Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler, Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler.  Leaving “high mountain” habitat, we will descend to lowlands again, and head north.  We will stop in the farming area of Huatan, south of Changhua.  The crops will have been harvested; the fields should have Zitting Cisticola, Black-faced Bunting, Oriental Greenfinch, Oriental Skylark and wagtails.  The wet field edges may harbour Paintedsnipe and Ruddy-breasted Crake.  Drive to Taipei.

Night in Taipei.

16 November:  (Wednesday), Day 10

Morning birding at Yehliou Park, a high promontory and migrant trap northeast of Taipei.  Lunch.  Possible shopping opportunity in the afternoon.  City tour.  Late afternoon relaxation in private rooms at hot spring.  After supper, we will drive to Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport to await our EVA Airways departure at 11:50 p.m., to Vancouver; arriving at 6:15 p.m. the same day.




Maximum of 10 participants with 2 leaders



From Vancouver, BC, Canada

Sharing: CAD $3800; Single: CAD $4300


From Taipei, Taiwan:

CAD $2700 (sharing); CAD $3200 (single)



CAD $500


Ì  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!