Southern Thailand, October - November 2006

Published by Yoav Perlman (yoavpe AT


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Lesser Frigatebird
Lesser Frigatebird
Christmas Island Frigatebird
Christmas Island Frigatebird
Bridled Tern
Bridled Tern
Black Baza
Black Baza


Southern Thailand has been heavily birded, and most aspects of its birding have been well described by trip reports. However, in this lazy and short combined family holiday - birding trip, I visited some less known birding localities, Khao Sok and Koh Lanta off the main birding season. This report might provide some new insights for those planning a future visit to Thailand.

This report will not cover the traveling information often appearing in many reports, as Thailand is easy to travel, and information about accommodation and food appears in any travel guide.

Site account

Railay Beach, 25-27/10/06

Did some lazy birding on the headland itself, within the tourist zone. Really didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, the only worth noting were the hundreds of Germain’s Swiftlets, Several White-bellied Sea Eagles, 2 Japanese Sparrowhawks. Took a one-day boat trip to Koh Phi Phi, saw very few seabirds, including 2 Christmas Island Frigatebirds and 1 Black-naped Tern.

Krabi, 28/10/06

Spent one morning at Krabi. While entering the port by longtail boat from Railay, saw a few shorebirds and terns, including 2 Pacific Golden Plover, 10 Red-necked Stints and some Great Crested Terns. However, it was evident that shorebird numbers were still low, so I decided not to spend much time on them.

Met Mr. Dai at 08:00, spent a couple of hours with him in the canals. The main stars (Mangrove Pitta and Mangrove Whistler) were missing at this time of the year, but Mr. Dai tried his famous whistling, alas no pitta responded. We had a good time with kingfishers though, with 6 species: 4 Brown-winged, 2 Stork-billed, 1 Ruddy, 7 Black-capped, 1 Collared and several Common Kingfishers. There were very few other birds around, the only notable was a single Arctic Warbler.

Khao Sok, 29-30/10/06

Made an early start (the park opens at 06:00) and spent the first morning on the main trail leading to Than Sawan. It was very productive before the millions of Thai visitors arrived. I birded very slowly and carefully, as I had to re-learn all the calls I had forgotten since my last visit to Thailand, so I walked only about 2 km on the main trail before backtracking due to the heat and disturbance. Main birds of the morning were 2 Marron Woodpeckers calling gently, 1 Oriental Pied and 1 Great Hornbill, 1 Grey-headed Fish Eagle flying above the Sok River, 2 Black and Yellow Broadbills screaming like crazy, 2 Rufous-winged Philentomas amongst a large feeding flock, 1 Chestnut-naped Forktail along one of the small streams crossing the main track early in the morning, 1 Hairy-backed and 5 Yellow-bellied Bulbuls amongst the other commoner bulbul species, and 2 Long-billed and 5 Yellow-eared Spiderhunters.

I spent the second day (morning and afternoon) along the track to San Yang Roi. The first part of the track, on the eastern bank of the river, goes through extremely thick forest, and I saw there few birds. However, when the trail climbs up towards San Yang Roi on the western bank of the river, the forest opens up a little, and was much more productive. Best birds of the day were 1 White-crowned Hornbill, 1 stunning male Hooded Pitta, 2 Large Scimitar Babblers, and surprisingly 1 Olive-backed Pipit near my hut in the village, apparently only a vagrant to southern Thailand.

Koh Lanta, 31/10 – 5/11/06

Did very little birding on the island itself, however a diving trip on 2/11/06 towards Hin Daeng was very productive. I took a slow, big boat, and not a speed boat, so I could easily watch birds during the 6-hour round trip. Most birds though were seen between Ko Lanta and Koh Ha, which is much closer and frequently visited by boats from Koh Lanta, so a good birding boat trip is easy to arrange in the future. Frigatebird numbers were high, with about 300 birds seen in total. Most were very far though and impossible to identify. Of those close enough for ID, I managed to found 2 Great and 10 Lesser among the 70 odd Christmas Islands Frigatebirds. Terns showed in good numbers too, with 250 Bridled (mainly juveniles), 70 Roseate (many juveniles too), and 200 Black-naped among the large numbers of Common and Little Terns.

On 4/11/06 I birded along the trail to Tiger Cave. I couldn’t find a good trail penetrating into real forest, so most of the time I spent along the forest edge and open or secondary forest. Still had some nice stuff, including 1 Dollarbird, 4 Blue-rumped Parrots, 20 Brown-backed Needletails, 1 Green Magpie, 2 Yellow-vented Bulbuls, and some raptor migration included 50 Oriental Honey Buzzards, 9 Black Bazas (one of my favorite birds of the world) and 1 Grey-faced Buzzard. A small paddy near Salah Dan village held a single Javan Pond Heron among the many Chinese.

Species Lists

Names and taxonomic order according to Craig Robson’s Birds of South-East Asia.

Common Flameback Dinopium javanense
Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus
Maroon Woodpecker Blythipicus rubiginosus
Lineated Barbet Megalaima lineate
Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii
Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis
Oriental Pied Hornbill Anthracocerus albirostris
Great Hornbill Bucerus bicornis
White-crowned Hornbill Aceros comatus
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Brown-winged Kingfisher Halcyon amauroptera
Stork-billed Kingfisher Halcyon capensis
Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata
Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris
Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus
Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis
Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus
Vernal Hanging Parrot Loriculus vernalis
Germain’s Swiftlet Collacalia germani
Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus
Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus
Spotted Dove Streptopelia sinensis
Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Whimbrel Numenius phaepos
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucus
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
Grey plover Plvialis squatarola
Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus
Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus
Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii
Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Little Tern Sterna albifrons
White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
Grey-headed Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus
Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela
Black Kite Milvus migrans linaetus
Brahminy Kite Hiliastus indicus
Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis
Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes
Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus
Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra
Great Egret Casmeroides albus
Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus
Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa
Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans
Great Frigatebird Fregata minor
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel
Christmas Island Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi
Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida
Black-and-Yellow Broadbill Eurylaimus ochromalus
Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis
Orange-bellied Leafbird Choloropsis hardwickii
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucocephalus
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
Common Green Magpie Cissa chinensis
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis
Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis gularis
Fiery Minivet Pericrocotus igneus
Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus
White-browed Fantail Rhipidura aureola
Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea
Asian paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradise
Rufous-winged Philentoma Philentoma pyrhopterum
Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus
Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica
Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica
Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni
Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla
Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis
White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus
Chestnut-naped Forktail Enicurus ruficapillus
Black-collared Starling Sturnus nigricollis
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica
Striated Swallow Hirundo striolata
Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus
Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni
Flavescent Bulbul Pycnonotus flavescens
Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier
Streak-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus blanfordi
Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus
Yellow-bellied Bulbul Alophoixus phaeocephalus
Hairy-backed Bulbul Tricholestes criniger
Grey-eyed Bulbul Iole propinqua
Buff-vented Bulbul Iole olivacea
Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps
Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis
Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes
Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus
Oriental White-Eye Zosterops palpebrosus
Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps
Large Scimitar Babbler Pomathrinus hypoleucus
Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker Prinochilus maculates
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Prinochilus trigonostigma
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Prinochilus cruentatum
Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Anthreptes singalensis
Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra
Long-billed Spiderhunter Arachnothera robusta
Yellow-eared Spiderhunter Arachnothera chrysogenys
Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
Forest Wagtail dendronanthus indicus
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata