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


Island Thrush

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-faced Buzzard

Gray Heron

Greater Painted-Snipe

Japanese White-eye

Little Forktail

Malayan Night-heron


White-browed Shortwing

Brachypteryx montana goodfellowi

Endemic subspecies

            This small bird is only 13 cm (5 inches) long.  The upperparts of the male are dark olive-brown.  The underparts are paler; the throat, breast and flanks are rusty-brown; the center of the belly is gray.  The wings and tail are dark olive-brown; bill black, legs brown.  The bird’s most striking feature is the short, white, concealable supercilium, which extends from just above the lores, to just behind the eye.  Females and immatures are not quite as dark as males; dull brown with pale brown breast, whitish center of belly and rufous wings and tail, and weaker supercilium.

            The loud call is a single note followed by a brief, explosive jumble of descending notes, similar to:  “sheeee, shegli-shegli-gli-gli-gli”.  It is a fairly common mountain species, found at mid-elevation from 1,000 to 3,000 m in broadleaf and mixed forest, but more likely to be heard than seen. 

            White-browed Shortwing is a shy skulker, preferring to be on or near the ground, in the depths of dark vegetation, where it feeds on small insects, larvae, berries, seeds, sprouts and new buds of plants.  The nest consists of moss and grass stems, placed in a dense shrub.

            At present, there are 14 subspecies.1   The Taiwan subspecies, B. m. goodfellowi, is a potential split from the others based on bill structure (much longer than other races), vocalization and plumage differences.  In Taiwan, the White-browed Shortwing has been variously called Blue Shortwing, Taiwan Shortwing, Taiwan Blue Shortwing and Formosan Blue Shortwing.  However, there is no blue in the plumage of goodfellowi.  

            Notes on the accompanying photographs:   #1 appears to be a 1st-year bird; #2–#6 are probably males; the sex and age of the bird in the un-numbered photograph is unknown.  (Yao Cheng-te, pers. comm.2)

            Similar species:  White-browed Bush-Robin Tarsiger indicus has a longer and thinner supercilium which extends rearward from the base of the bill, through the lores.


References:      1 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.


                        Handbook of Birds of the World, Vol. 10.  Josep Del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott and Jordi Sargatal, Editors.


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


                        White-browed Shortwing, “Endemic subspecies of Taiwan birds—first impressions”, N. J. Collar, in Birding ASIA, Number 2, December 2004.


                        2 Yao Cheng-te, Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute, Council of Agriculture, personal communication, March 2006.






            Wayne Hsu,