Birding in Taiwan



Birds in Taiwan

Endemic Species

Collared Bush-Robin


Formosan Magpie

Formosan Whistling-Thrush

Mikado Pheasant

Steere's Liocichla

Styan's Bulbul

Swinhoe's Pheasant

Taiwan Barwing

Taiwan Bush-Warbler

Taiwan Partridge

Taiwan Yuhina

White-eared Sibia

White-whiskered Laughingthrush

Yellow Tit


Endemic Sub-Species

Alpine Accentor

Black-browed Barbet

Black-naped Monarch

Black Bulbul

Black Drongo

Bronzed Drongo

Collared Finchbill

Crested Goshawk

Crested Serpent-Eagle


Lanyu’ Scops-Owl

Oriental Skylark

Pygmy Wren-Babbler

Ring-necked Pheasant

Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler

Vinaceous Rosefinch

White-browed Shortwing


More Birds in Taiwan

Black-faced Spoonbill

Black-naped Oriole

Black-throated Tit

Black-winged Stilt

Chinese Crested Tern

Common Kingfisher

Common Moorhen

Daurian Redstart

Fairy Pitta

Gray-chinned Minivet

Gray Heron

Japanese White-eye

Little Forktail

Malayan Night-heron


Pygmy Wren-Babbler

Pnoepyga pusilla formosana

Endemic subspecies

            The Pygmy Wren-Babbler is an unmistakable, tiny, 9 cm (3 ½ inch) bird with almost no visible tail.  The upperparts are dark olive-brown with a round spot of deep yellow on the feather tips, except the flight feathers.  The underparts show a conspicuous scaly pattern of white edges on black feathers on the chin, throat, breast and belly, gradually changing to rufous and buff edges on dark brown feathers in the lower belly and vent area. 

            The vocalization is described as a jumble of high, thin sibilant notes, usually beginning with a single note, then double notes, as: ‘seeee, see-see, see-see, see-see.’  The note is a wheezy ‘pshhhh’, similar to the sound of a bicycle when braking.

            This species is widespread and common, on or near the ground, in dense, damp forest of mid-elevation, between 1,000 and 2,000 m.  Though shy and secretive, they are not particularly wary.   When encountered in the shadows of undergrowth, they rarely flee but usually go about their business of foraging, ignoring the observer.

            The Pygmy Wren-Babbler in Taiwan, variously called Formosan Wren-Babbler, Taiwan Wren-Babbler, and Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler P. albiventer formosana, is vocally different from all other subspecies.  Some authors consider “Taiwan Wren-Babbler” to be a separate species.

References:      *Birds of the World: A Checklist, James Clements, with updates to July 2005


                         Field Guide: Birds of Taiwan; by Wang, J., C. Wu, G. Huang, X. Yang, Z. Cai, M. Cai and Q. Xiao.  (1991)


                         Field Guide to the Birds of China, John MacKinnon & Karen Phillipps


                        Paul Holt, Sunbird/Wings, personal communication, October 2005


                        Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, “Endemic subspecies of Taiwan birds—first impressions”, by N. J. Collar, in Birding ASIA, Number 2, December 2004




            Wayne Hsu,