Taiwan is a mountainous island in the South China Sea, about 175 km (110 mi.) off the Chinese mainland. The forested beauty of the island led Portuguese sailors in 1590 to call it Ilha Formosa, meaning “Beautiful Island.” The Tropic of Cancer passes through the southern part of the island.
Tuesday, May 8; Taipei to Huisun National Forest Recreation Area
After picking up the participants in Taipei, the airport and Changhua we headed to our first birding stop in the Wufeng area, at 400 m (1,300 feet elevation), where we usually are able to get a good look at Fairy Pitta, but not this time. We did see Oriental Cuckoo, though and [Taiwan] Hwamei, an endemic subspecies which is expected to be elevated to full species status in the near future. This stop also gave us our first Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Rufous-capped Babbler, Black-naped Monarch, Gray Treepie and Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler.
After buying picnic-lunch supplies at a Family Mart we continued on to Huisun National Forest Recreation Area (770 m; 2,600 ft). Stopping at the park gate, we located Maroon Oriole and FORMOSAN MAGPIE; a month earlier, both species were tending nests there. We also saw the first of many [Taiwan] Black-browed Barbets, another endemic subspecies expected to be recognized as a full endemic species. After checking into our rooms in the Atayal Resort, we birded the grounds. Some of the group headed uphill to try for Swinhoe’s Pheasant; others stayed below. Just before supper, the pheasant-searchers returned and reported their lack of success. After supper; a Mountain Scops-Owl was calling just outside our rooms and was glimpsed when it flew to another tree. A calling Brown wood-Owl remained concealed on the hillside in spite of our efforts to locate it.
Wednesday, May 9; Huisun to Chingjing
The pheasant-searchers headed up the mountain very early; returning at breakfast-time, unfortunately having found no pheasants. In the meantime, the rest of the group birded the area around the main visitor center. Two family groups of FORMOSAN MAGPIES were busy. A distant Large Hawk-Cuckoo and Taiwan Partridge called from the forest. We drove down to another part of the reserve where we watched for birds while having coffee. We saw Gray Treepie and Varied Tit before moving on.
Our afternoon destination was Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area. Stops along the way gave us more Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babblers, Collared Finchbill, Besra, Gray-faced Buzzard, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Common and Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus. Both Common and Javan Myna (sometimes called White-vented Myna) were introduced, the latter becoming increasingly widespread to the detriment of the native Crested Myna.
Arriving at Aowanda, some of the group headed for the waterfalls of Naoliao Creek, finding Plumbeous Redstart, Little Forktail and FORMOSAN WHISTLING-THRUSH. Others stayed below, seeing Varied Tit, Gray-capped Woodpecker, Eurasian Nuthatch, Green-backed Tit, Vivid Niltava, and Gray-chinned Minivet. We added another person to our group, Judia Tung of the Nantou Forest District, who would be our local guide for three days.
We left Aowanda and climbed higher to the town of Chingjing, at elev. 1,750 m (5,740 ft.), and the mountainside Chingjing Resort.
Thursday, May 10; Chingjing
After an early “birders’ breakfast” at 5 a.m, we set off for Blue Gate Trail #1, one of the Rueiyan River Trails. The weather had been unusually dry for a couple of weeks, reducing the mud and puddles on the trail. Nevertheless, we were glad of the rubber boots that we borrowed from the resort. The bright, sunny morning apparently wasn’t to the pheasants’ liking, and none were found, although we heard TAIWAN PARTRIDGE. Endemics were STEERE’S LIOCICHLA, TAIWAN YUHINA, WHITE-EARED SIBIA. We had good looks at a small party of White-throated Laughingthrushes, White-tailed Robin, Rufous-capped Babbler, Green-backed and Black-throated Tits, Rufous-faced Warbler and Snowy-browed Flycatcher. Small birds began to scold something only they could see in a dense low tree upslope from the trail; after a while, the object of their harassment, a Collared Owlet, flew out, but only one person saw the tiny owl before it disappeared back into shadows. Out along the sunny Highway 14 roadside, colourful Byasa polyeuctes termessus butterflies were quite active.
After lunch at the Resort, birding from the patio and play with Shao-mi, the energetic family dog, we returned to the forest and Blue Gate Trail #2. We found more of the same species we saw in the morning, plus Vivid Niltava, Ferruginous Flycatcher, White-browed Shortwing (seen, at last,) and good looks at Pygmy Wren-Babbler in a sunny spot in the undergrowth. We returned to Chingjing Resort for supper and the night.
Friday, May 11: Chingjing to Tienshiang
Back to Blue Gate Trail #1 in the early morning, but still no pheasants, so we moved on up to the Hehuanshan Forest Recreation Area and Wuling Pass (“Big Wind”), elev. 3,275 m (10,750 ft.), just inside the western edge of Taroko National Park. There were WHITE-WHISKERED LAUGHINGTHRUSHES in the parking lot; COLLARED BUSH-ROBINS, TAIWAN BUSH-WARBLER (heard but unseen) and Winter Wren on the slope below, and a single Alpine Accentor on the road as we drove on. The Accentors go to higher elevations to nest and can be hard to find in spring. Behind and down slope from the Hohuan Youth Hostel, were more WHITE-WHISKERED LAUGHINGTHRUSHES, Vinaceous Rosefinches, Brownish-flanked Bush-Warblers and a FLAMECREST. We had a simple lunch at the Visitor Center at Shaofongkou (“Little Wind Gap”) and continued down the road to the east.
A stop at an abandoned resort at Cihen produced Gray-headed Bullfinches, TAIWAN YUHINAS, WHITE-EARED SIBIAS, a Ferruginous Flycatcher and Gray-chinned Minivet. We kept driving down, to the spectacular Marble Gorge, considered one of East Asia’s scenic wonders. There were no Brown Dippers or Little Forktails to be found along the Liwu River this time, but there were FORMOSAN WHISTLING-THRUSHES, Plumbeous Redstarts and Blue Rock-Thrush, as well as many Fork-tailed Swifts going to and from nests in the rock face. We continued on to the Leader Taroko Hotel in Tienshiang, elev. 485 m (1,595 ft.). Mountain Scops-Owls called all night.
Saturday, May 12; Tienshiang to Chihpen
Following breakfast, we left the hotel and continued east. We walked part of the Shakadang Trail, very scenic, but there were too many other people (a non-birding tour group) for best results. We looked for Brown Dipper and Little Forktail along the Shakadang River. There was a party of eight TAIWAN MACAQUES in trees across the river.
We left the park and drove south on Highway #9. STYAN’S BULBULS were common. Another Blue Rock-Thrush perched atop a statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, in Hualien. Maroon Oriole is scarce everywhere in Taiwan, so we were surprised to see a male fly across the highway in front of our bus.
Near Chihshang, we detoured through the property of the Taiwan Sugar Company, looking for the native subspecies of Ring-necked Pheasant. We found 14.
Our destination for the end of the day was Chihpen National Forest Recreation Area (noted for its hot springs) and the Chihpen (Jhihben) River. We walked around the tourist area in the after-supper darkness, hearing Mountain Scops-Owl and Collared Owlet.
Sunday, May 13; Chihpen to Hungtou, Lanyu Island
Before breakfast, we found two Brown Dippers in the shallows of the Chihpen River, and several Javan Mynas as well as STYAN’S BULBULS, in the resort village. A distant Fairy Pitta called from across the river, as did a TAIWAN PARTRIDGE and Chinese Bamboo-Partridge.
In the late morning, under darkening clouds, we drove to the airport in Taitung city for our 12:45 p.m., 20-minute flight to Lanyu Island. On landing, we noted that there had been very recent rain; not surprising, as the rainy season normally begins in May, and so far, the month had been unusually dry. After checking into our hotel, we drove to “Flycatcher Creek” for a short hike over the rocks in the dry creek bed to find Japanese Paradise-Flycatcher. After returning to our van, we saw two more females of that species flying back and forth across the road, collecting nesting materials. In the late afternoon, we saw a “fly-by” Ruddy Kingfisher, Philippine Cuckoo-Dove, Whistling Green-Pigeon, Brown-eared Bulbul, Lesser Coucal, an Emerald Dove on the road, a Barred Buttonquail running through a taro field, and an Oriental Pratincole in the air.
We went owling after supper, and saw a “Lanyu” Scops-Owl, a subspecies of Ryukyu Scops-Owl that is endemic to Lanyu Island. We also noted many toads on the road, making their way in the same direction. Stopping to investigate, we saw that they were Spectacled Toads Bufo melanostictus, a common species of southern Asia. As this was their breeding season, they were apparently heading for pools and puddles between the road and the sea.
Monday, May 14; Lanyu Island to Kenting
Out for roadside birding at 5:30 a.m: Emerald Dove on the road, again; White-breasted Waterhen, Blue Rock-Thrush, Pacific Reef-Heron, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, and Common Sandpiper were noted. The female Japanese Paradise-Flycatchers were still collecting nesting materials along the road near Flycatcher Creek.
We had close-up looks at a small lizard, endemic SWINHOE’S JAPALURA
For the return trip from Lanyu to Taiwan Island, we boarded the ferry for the 10:30 sailing. It is a fast ferry, foot passengers only (no autos), covering the 77 km (48 mi.) distance to the Eluanbi (Oluanpi) Peninsula in 2.5 hours. On the way, we saw Matsudiara’s Storm-Petrels, Streaked Shearwaters, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, Short-tailed Shearwater, Bulwer’s Petrels, and a Brown Booby which followed the ferry for several minutes.
After docking on the sheltered inside of Eluanbi peninsula, and boarding our bus which had gone there to meet us, we drove to the Kenting Youth Activity Center where we would spend the night. We checked in, then headed out again. We were very surprised to encounter a rare Black-naped Oriole near the entrance to Sheding Nature Park. At Long Luan Tan (Lake), Kenting (Kending) National Park, were an Osprey, Zitting Cisticola, Lesser Coucal, Spot-billed Duck, Oriental Skylark, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Oriental Reed-Warbler and Nutmeg Mannikin. After supper in Kenting, some of the group opted for a walk through the night market.
Tuesday, May 15; Kenting to Kuangtselin
In the morning, we headed north, past Tainan, to the Sihcao Reserve where, by special arrangement, we visited the pond where 11 Black-faced Spoonbills lingered; the rest of the wintering flock of 579 having departed for their breeding area in Korea. While there, we found 2 Chinese Egrets, a rare spring transient in Taiwan. Also present were Snowy Plover, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Black-winged Stilt and Black-tailed Godwit.
On the way to Sihcao, we had stopped briefly in the town of Madou to investigate the ornate Sanyen Tseng Ching temple, built during the Ching (Qing) Dynasty (1644 - 1911 A.D).
The last stop of the afternoon was at Kwantien Reserve for Pheasant-tailed Jacana; one pair in mating mode. Also, there were 6 Oriental Pratincoles. We continued inland to Kuangtselin for the night.
Wednesday, May 16; Kwangtselin to Kwanghua
Just around the corner from the hotel is a public park where some of the group saw Malayan Night-Heron.
From Kuangtselin, it was a short trip to the Tsengwen Dam. We walked the road to the dam; along the way were Spot-breasted and Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler, Black-browed Barbet, Gray-cheeked Fulvetta, White-bellied Yuhina, and overhead were Crested Serpent-Eagle and Besra.
The group chose to forego some of the planned wetland birding in order to have more time in the mountains. We continued driving up, on the way toward Alishan, stopping at Kwanghua, elev. 1,000 m (3,300 ft.), near Shihjhuo. After checking into the Fireflies B & B in the late afternoon, we went up the very steep road into the forest where we spread out and watched for whatever birds might come along. We hoped especially for Swinhoe’s Pleasant and/or Taiwan Partridge. WHITE-EARED SIBIA, White-tailed Robin, Rusty Laughingthrush, Rufous-capped Babbler and Rufous-faced Warbler were seen. After a while, a male SWINHOE’S PHEASANT slowly walked across the road, in view of only one person. A while later, at dusk, three participants found three TAIWAN PARTRIDGES feeding at the road edge. It was too dark to see anything else then, so we all returned to the Fireflies and supper.
After supper, our host, Mr. Liu Chia-shieh led us up and down the road again to see Hairy-footed Flying Squirrel and White-faced Flying Squirrel (endemic sub-species] in the trees. On the way back to the hotel, a Crab-eating Mongoose ran across the road.
Thursday, May 17; Kwanghua to Alishan
Some of the group went back up the steep road at 4:30 a.m. to try again for pheasants, but without success. After lunch, we departed the Fireflies and continued up to Alishan National Forest Recreation Area in intermittent rain.
After checking into the Alishan Youth Activity Center, we birded the area around the center and Erwanping Railway Station (Alishan Forest Railway). We heard TAIWAN BUSH-WARBLER close by in the undergrowth, but we could not see it. We did see Brown Bullfinch, Eurasian Jay, and Eurasian Nuthatch.
Friday, May 18, Alishan
At 4:45 a.m., we set off for Yushan National Park, hoping to find MIKADO PHEASANT along the road. With our driver’s advice, were lucky to find a pair, with the male allowing good views before he walked into the forest. In the Tataka Recreation Area in Yushan N. Park, we found more WHITE-WHISKERED LAUGHINGTHRUSHES, TAIWAN BUSH-WARBLER (decent looks, at last, as it “hid” under long grass stems), COLLARED BUSH-ROBINS (two families with chicks), Vinaceous Rosefinch, Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler, Streak-throated Fulvetta, two White-backed Woodpeckers and Eurasian Nutcracker.
After a noodle-soup lunch at the Visitor Center, we returned to our hotel. On the way, Hector spotted another MIKADO PHEASANT, a female, along the road. During the afternoon, while most of the group napped, Hector found two TAIWAN BARWINGS.
Saturday, May 19; Alishan to Changhua
There were thunder storms overnight. We did a brief bird walk after breakfast, but didn’t find more Barwings or Taiwan Tit. A Snowy-browed Flycatcher appeared briefly along the road. We left Alishan and headed down the mountain in more rain, stopping for a tea break at Shihjhuo, enjoying locally-grown, finest-quality Alishan oolong tea, elaborately prepared in the traditional manner.
We took a slight detour to the Thaushan village area, elev. 1,000 m (3,400 ft.), finding Rusty Laughingthrush, Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler, Island Thrush female, Ashy Wood-Pigeon and Plain Flowerpecker. At 900 m (3,000 ft.), we stopped again, for Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Striated Prinia, and tried again to lure Bamboo Partridge into the open.
In the afternoon, we went to Huben village to make another try for Fairy Pitta. We knew that pittas were present in the lowland forest, but we still could not see any after considerable effort, although we heard a distant call. Local researchers told us that the birds arrived late, very quickly began courting and nesting, and now were silent and unresponsive, a little earlier than usual. We gave up and continued on to Changhua and the Formosa Hotel.
Sunday, May 20; Changhua to Taipei
The seasonal rains had arrived in earnest; rain all night and almost all this day. Leaving Changhua, we drove north into Hsinchu County. Our knowledgeable bus driver, Mr. Fong, knew that Fairy Pitta nested in the forest in the Tchonglin town area, near his home. This was our last day and last hope for Fairy Pitta; but unfortunately, it was not to be. We heard one pitta call, but it refused to appear. We did get good looks at a juvenile Collared Scops-Owl, Common Kingfisher, Black-naped Monarch, female Mandarin Duck on the pond, and Crested Goshawk in a tree.
We continued to Sanshia to see the famous Tsu-tze Temple (the “Bird Temple”) where there were hundreds of birds carved in stone. We had lunch and strolled along the artisans’ street before proceeding into Taipei to the Chinese Handicraft Mart for some shopping. The last event was a farewell supper hosted by Legislator Tien Chiu-chin. Then it was time to go to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, and the tour concluded.
Fourteen of the 15 endemic species were seen.
The total bird species for the tour was 165.
Taxonomy, names and sequence follow Birds of the World, a Checklist, 5th edition, 2000, by James F. Clements, updated to December, 2005. Where the name in Clements differs from that in Birds of Taiwan, 1991, the Clements name is given first, followed by the Birds of Taiwan name in brackets. Species endemic to Taiwan are shown in bold all caps. Some birds were not seen by every person. Birds that were “heard only” or “leader only,” are indicated as “H” or “L”.
“shan” = “mountain” “hsi” = “river” “tan” = “lake”
Alishan (A Li Shan): Alishan National Forest Recreation Area
Aowanda: Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area
Blue Gate Trails: Meifeng (Meifong) area
Chihpen (Jhihben): Chihpen National Forest Recreation Area, southwest of Taitung city
Chihsang Chihsang (Chrshang): city in northern Taitung County
Hehuanshan (Hehuan Shan, Ho Huan Shan): Mountain on western edge of Taroko National Park
Huisun: Huisun National Forest Recreation Area
Kenting (Kending): Kenting National Park
Kwanghua (Guanghua): village and private forest
Kwangtselin (Kwang Tse Lin, Kwantzuling, Guangzihling): hot spring area southeast of Chiayi city.
Kwantien (Guantien): Pheasant-tailed Jacana Restoration Area, Tainan County.
Lanyu: Lanyu (Orchid) Island, 49 nautical miles (approximately 90 km; 56 miles) east of Taiwan island
Long Luan Tan (Lungluantan): 175 hectare lake in Kenting National Park
Pachang River mouth: north of Beimen city, Tainan County
Sansia (Sanchia, Sanhsia, San Xia): city in southwest Taipei county
Sihcao (Cihtao): Sihcao Wildlife Preserve (wetland), near Tainan city
Taroko: Taroko National Park
Tchonglin (Cyonglin): town in Hsinchu County
Thaushan: village in Chiayi County
Tsengwen (Zengwen) River estuary: north of Tainan city
Wufeng (Wufong): town east of Changhua city
Wushe (Ren-ai): town on Highway #14, Nantou County
Yushan (Yuchan): Yushan National Park
Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis [Podiceps ruficollis] – Sihcao Reserve.
Bulwer’s Petrel, Bulweria bulwerii – 3, at sea between Lanyu and Taiwan Islands, May 14.
Streaked Shearwater, Calonectris leucomelas – 3, at sea between Lanyu and Taiwan Islands, May 14.
Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus pacificus – 30, at sea between Lanyu and Taiwan Islands, May 14.
Short-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris – 1, at sea between Lanyu and Taiwan Islands, May 14.
Matsudaira’s Storm-Petrel, Oceanodroma matsudairae – 2, at sea between Lanyu and Taiwan Islands, May 14.
Brown Booby, Sula leugocaster – 1, at sea between Lanyu and Taiwan Islands, May 14. It followed the ferry for about 10 minutes.
ARDEIDAE; HERONS, EGRETS AND BITTERNS
Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea – several in freshwater habitat.
Great Egret, Ardea alba [Egretta alba] – 20 in various fresh-water habitats.
Little Egret, Egretta garzetta – Abundant in both freshwater and saltwater habitats.
Chinese Egret, Egretta eulophotes – 2, Sihcao, May 15. Rare.
Pacific Reef Heron [Eastern Reef Heron], Egretta sacra – 5, Lanyu Island, May 14.
Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis – Abundant in lowland habitat.
Striated Heron, Butorides striatus – 1, Sihcao.
Black-crowned Night-Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax – many, associated with freshwater habitats.
Malayan Night-Heron [Tiger Bittern], Gorsachius melanolophus – 3, Kwangtselin.
Cinnamon Bittern, Ixobrychus cinnamomeus – 1, Long Luan Tan.
THRESKIORNITHIDAE; IBISES AND SPOONBILLS
Black-faced Spoonbill, Platalea minor – 11, Sihcao. Late. Globally threatened.
Sacred Ibis, Threskiornis aethiopicus – 1, Tchonglin, Hshinchu County. Introduced.
ANATIDAE; DUCKS, GEESE AND SWANS
Mandarin Duck, Aix galericulata – 1 female, on a pond in Tchonglin.
Spot-billed Duck, Anas poecilorhyncha zonorhyncha – 10 in wetland habitat. (Sometimes called Chinese Spotbill. It lacks any red on the bill; there are also plumage differences. A. p. zonorhyncha is widespread over Palaearctic east Asia.)
Osprey, Pandion haliaetus – 1, over Long Luan Tan, May 14.
ACCIPITRIDAE; HAWKS, EAGLES AND KITES
Black Kite, Milvus migrans – 1, Sihcao.
Crested Serpent-Eagle, Spilornis cheela – 18 in mountain habitat.
Crested Goshawk, Accipiter trivirgatus – 1, between Wushe and Aowanda; 1, Kwanghua; 1, Thaushan village; 1, Tchonglin.
Besra, Accipiter virgatus – 7, in various wooded habitats.
Gray-faced Buzzard, Butastur indicus – 1, on the way to Aowanda. Late.
Black Eagle [Indian Black Eagle], Ictinaetus malayensis – 1 on May 11; 1, May 17.
Mountain Hawk-Eagle [Hodgson’s Hawk Eagle], Spizaetus nipalensis – 1, Alishan.
PHASIANIDAE; PHEASANTS AND PARTRIDGES
TAIWAN PARTRIDGE [TAIWAN HILL PARTRIDGE], Arborophila crudigularis – Heard on 5 mornings in mountain habitat; 2 seen at Kwanghua, May 16.
Chinese Bamboo-Partridge [Bamboo Partridge], Bambusicola thoracica – 3, Huisun; 12 others heard only, in mountain habitat.
SWINHOE’S PHEASANT, Lophura swinhoii – 1 L, Kwanghua, May 16.
MIKADO PHEASANT, Syrmaticus Mikado – 2, Yushan; 1 Alishan, May 18.
Ring-necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus – 14, Chihshiang.
Barred Buttonquail [Bustard Quail], Turnix suscitator – 1, in a taro field, Lanyu, May 13.
RALLIDAE; RAILS, GALLINUES AND COOTS
White-breasted Waterhen, Amaurornis phoenicurus – 1 seen, several others heard, Lanyu Island.
Ruddy-breasted Crake, Porzana fusca – 1, Long Luan Tan.
Common Moorhen [Moorhen], Gallinula chloropus – Common in marsh habitat.
Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Hydrophasianus chirurgus – 3, Kwangtien. Very rare resident.
RECURVIROSTRIDAE; AVOCETS AND STILTS
Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus – 20 at Sihcao.
CHARADRIIDAE; PLOVERS AND LAPWINGS
Oriental Pratincole. Glareola maldivarum – 1, Lanyu; 6, Kwantien; 2 others, May 19 and 20.
Pacific Golden-Plover [American Golden Plover], Pluvialis fulva [Pluvialis dominica] – Many in mudflats of Chiku.
Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius – 1, May 12.
Snowy Plover [Kentish Plover], Charadrius alexandrinus – 10, Sihcao.
Lesser Sandplover [Mongolian Plover], Charadrius mongolus – many, Sihcao and Chiku wetland.
Greater Sandplover, Charadrius leschenaultii – 1, Lanyu Island, May 7; many, Sihcao and Chiku wetland.
SCOLOPACIDAE; SANDPIPERS AND ALLIES
Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa – 1, Sihcao.
Spotted Redshank, Tringa erythropus – 2, Sihcao.
Common Greenshank [Greenshank], Tringa nebularia – 6, Sihcao.
Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos [Tringa hypoleucos] – 5 in wetland habitats.
Gray-tailed Tattler, Heterosceles brevipes – 12, Chiku wetland.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Calidris acuminatea – 20 at Sihcao.
Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea – 3, Sihcao.
Broad-billed Sandpiper, Limicola falcinellus – 2, Sihcao.
COLUMBIDAE; PIGEONS AND DOVES
Rock Pigeon [Rock Dove], Columba livia – many in varied habitats.
Ashy Wood-Pigeon, Columba pulchricollis – small numbers in mountain habitat.
Oriental Turtle-Dove [Rufous Turtle-Dove], Streptopelia orientalis – Small numbers in various locations.
Red Collared-Dove [Red Turtle Dove], Streptopelia tranquebarica – seen almost every day, in various habitats.
Spotted Dove, Streptopelia chinensis – fairly common in lowlands.
Philippine Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia tenuirostris – 8, Lanyu.
Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps indica – 4, Lanyu; 1, Huben village.
White-bellied Pigeon [Japanese Green Pigeon], Treron sieboldii [Sphenurus sieboldi] – 1, Taroko; 9, on the way to Alishan.
Whistling Green-Pigeon [Red-capped Green-Pigeon], Treron formosae [Sphenurus formosae] – 6, Lanyu.
Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Cuculus sparverioides – several heard in mid-elevation habitat.
Oriental Cuckoo, Cuclulus saturatus – 1, Wufeng; 2, Tsengwen Dam Road; several others heard.
Lesser Coucal, Centropus bengalensis – 11, Lanyu Island; 2, Sihcao.
Mountain Scops-Owl [Scops Owl], Otus spilocephalus – 1, Huisun; others heard only.
Collared Scops-Owl, Otus lettia [Otus bakkamoena] – 1 heard, Tienshiang; 1 seen, Tchonglin.
Ryukyu Scops-Owl, Otus elegans botelensis – 1 seen; 5 heard only. Subspecies endemic to Lanyu.
Brown Wood-Owl, Strix leptogrammica – 1, heard, Huisun.
Collared Owlet [Collared Pygmy Owlet], Claucidium brodiei – 1 seen, Blue Gate Trail #1.
CAPRIMULGIDAE; NIGHTJARS AND ALLIES
Savanna Nightjar, Caprimulgus affinis – 1 heard, Huisun.
Fork-tailed Swift [Northern White-rumped Swift], Apus pacificus – hundreds in Taroko Gorge; 17, Lanyu; 5, Hshinchu.
House Swift, Apus nipalensis [Alpus affinis] – large numbers in open areas.
Common Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis – 1, Tchonglin.
Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda – 1, Wufeng; 1 Lanyu.
Black-browed Barbet [Muller’s Barbet], Megalaima oorti nuchalis – Common; encountered almost daily except on Lanyu.
Gray-capped Woodpecker [Gray-headed Pygmy Woodpecker], Dendrocopos canicapillus – 1, Huisun; 5, Tsengwen Dam area and Kwanghua; I, Thaushan.
White-backed Woodpecker, Dendrocopos leucotos – 2, Yushan.
Fairy Pitta [Indian Pitta], Pitta nympha [Pitta brachyura] – Heard only, Wufeng; Chihpen, Huben.
Oriental Skylark, Alauda gulgula – 2, Chihshiang, 1, Sihcao.
Plain Martin, Riparia paludicola – 2, Aowanda
Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica – common in lowlands.
Pacific Swallow, Hirundo tahitica – very common in lowlands.
Striated Swallow, Hirundo striolata – common in lowlands. (See footnote 1.)
Asian Martin [House Martin], Delichon dasypus – 25, in appropriate habitat.
MOTICILLIDAE; WAGTAILS AND PIPITS
White Wagtail, Motacilla alba – 10, in lowland habitats.
Black-backed Wagtail, Motacilla lugens – 8, in lowland habitats.
Gray-chinned Minivet [Yellow-throated Minivet], Pericrocotus solaris – fairly common in appropriate habitat; mostly mid-elevation.
Collared Finchbill, Spizixos semitorques – 20, several locations in mid-elevation scrub.
STYAN’S BULBUL [Taiwan Bulbul], Pycnonotu taivanus – 42; endemic species restricted to the extreme east and south of Taiwan.
Light-vented Bulbul [Chinese Bulbul], Pycnonotus sinensis – abundant almost everywhere except extreme east and south.
Brown-eared Bulbul [Chestnut-eared Bulbul], Ixos amaurotis [Hyupsipetes amaurotis] – common on Lanyu.
Black Bulbul, Hypsipetes leucocephalus [H. madagascariensis] – common in wooded habitats.
FLAMECREST [TAIWAN FIRECREST], Regulus goodfellowi – 1, Hehuanshan, in conifers in Taroko.
Brown Dipper, Cinclus pallasii – 2, Chihpen Hsi, Chihpen.
Winter Wren [Wren], Troglodytes troglodytes – 2, Hehuanshan.
Alpine Accentor, Prunella collaris – 1, Hehuanshan, Taroko.
TURDIDAE; THRUSHES AND ALLIES
Blue Rock-Thrush, Monticola solitarius – 1, Taroko Gorge; 1 Hualien city; 7, Lanyu; I, Kwangtselin.
FORMOSAN WHISTLING-THRUSH [TAIWAN WHISTLING-THRUSH], Myophonus insularis – 2, Aowanda; 5, Taroko Gorge; 3, Chihpen.
Island Thrush, Turdus poliocephalus [Turdus niveiceps] – 1, Thaushan.
White-browed Shortwing [Blue Shortwing], Brachypteryx montana – 2, Blue Gate Trail #1; others heard only, Alishan.
CISTICOLIDAE; CISTICOLAS AND ALLIES
Zitting Cisticola [Fan-tailed Warbler], Cisticola juncidis – 1, Chihpen; 5, Lanyu; 5, Sihcao; 1, Long Luan Tan.
Striated Prinia [Brown Hill Warbler], Prinia criniger [Prinia polychroa] – 2, farming area between Aowanda and Wushe; 1 Thaushan.
Yellow-bellied Prinia, Prinia flaviventris – 2, Sihcao.
Plain Prinia [Tawny-flanked Prinia], Prinia inornata [Prinia subflava] – fairly common in low wetland habitat.
SYLVIIDAE; OLD WORLD WARBLERS
Brownish-flanked Bush-Warbler [Strong-footed Bush Warbler], Cettia fortipes – 3 seen, Hehuanshan; May 11; 8 others heard only.
Yellowish-bellied Bush-Warbler [Verreaux’s Bush Warbler], Cettia acanthizoides – 5, Hehuanshan..
Russet Bush-Warbler [Mountain Scrub Warbler], Bradypterus seebohmi – 1, Tataka Recreation Area, Yushan.
TAIWAN BUSH-WARBLER, Bradypterus alishanensis – 1 seen, Tataka Recreation Area,Yushan; others heard only.
Oriental Reed-Warbler, Acrocephalus orientalis – 1, Long Luan Tan.
Rufous-faced Warbler [White-throated Flycatcher Warbler], Abroscopus albogularis – 13 in forest habitat.
MUSCICAPIDAE; OLD WORLD FLYCATCHERS
Ferruginous Flycatcher, Muscicapa ferruginea – 6, Taroko; 1, Yushan.
Snowy Browed Flycatcher [Thicket Flycatcher], Ficedula hyperythra – 1, Blue Gate Trail; 1 Alishan.
Vivid Niltava, Niltava vivida – 4, Blue Gate Trails; 6, Kwanghua and Alishan.
COLLARED BUSH-ROBIN, Tarsiger johnstoniae [Erithacus johnstoniae] – 6, Blue Gate Trails; 2, Kwanghua; 8, Alishan.
Daurian Redstart, Phoenicurus auroreus – 3, Blue Gate Trail #1.
Plumbeous Redstart [Plumbeous Water Redstart], Rhyacornis fuliginosus [Phoenicurus fulginosus] – 4, Aowanda; 8, Taroko; 2, Chihpen Hsi.
White-tailed Robin [White-tailed Blue Robin], Cinclidium leucurum – 11, Blue Gate Trails; 24, A Li Shan.
Little Forktail, Enicurus scouleri – 2, Galloping Waterfall, Naoliao Creek, Aowanda.
MONARCHIDAE; MONARCH FLYCATCHERS
Black-naped Monarch [Black-naped Blue Monarch], Hypothymis azurea – 3, Huisun; 3, Blue Gate Trail #1; 1, Huben area.
Japanese Paradise-Flycatcher, Terpsiphone atrocaudata – 7 (5 adults, 2 chicks), Lanyu Island.
White-throated Laughingthrush, Garrulax albogularis – 3, Blue Gate Trail #1.
Rusty Laughingthrush [Gray-sided Laughing Thrush], Garrulax poeciloryhnchus [Garrolax caerulatus] – 1, Huben; 2 near Thaushan village, 1200 m elev.
Hwamei, Garrulax canorus taewanus – 3, Wufeng area.
WHITE-WHISKERED LAUGHINGTHRUSH [TAIWAN LAUGHING THRUSH], Garrulax morrisonianus – 7, Hehuanshan; 1, Alishan; 12, Yushan.
STEERE’S LIOCICHLA, Liocichla steerii – 3, Blue Gate Trails; 25. Hehuanshan; 3, Kwanghua; 30, Alishan and Yushan.
Spot-breasted Scimitar-Babbler [Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler], Pomatorhinus erythrocnemis [Pomatorhinus erythrogenys] – 3, Tsengwen Dam area; 1, Kwanghua..
Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler, Pomatorhinus ruficollis – 1, Wufeng; 4, Huisun NFRA; 5, Kwanghua; 2, Alishan; 2, Hsinchu.
Pygmy Wren-Babbler, Pnoepyga pusilla – 2, seen, Blue Gate Trail #2; 2, heard only, Alishan.
Rufous-capped Babbler [Red-headed Tree Babbler], Stachyris ruficeps – 4, Wufeng; 8, Blue Gate Trails; 3, Tsengwen Dam area; 4, Kwanghua; 4, Alishan.
TAIWAN BARWING, Actinodura morrisoniana – 2, Blue Gate #2; 5, Alishan.
Streak-throated Fulvetta, Alcippe cinereiceps – 3, Tataka Recreation Area, Yushan.
Dusky Fulvetta [Gould’s Fulvetta], Alcippe brunnea – 3, Huisun NFRA; 1, Tsengwen Dam area.
Gray-cheeked Fulvetta, Alcippe morrisonia – Fairly common, mid- to high elevation.
WHITE-EARED SIBIA [TAIWAN SIBIA], Heterophasia auricularis – many, along Blue Gate Trails, Kwanghua, Alishan and Yushan N. Pk.
TAIWAN YUHINA, Yuhina brunneiceps – many, Blue Gate Trails, Alishan and Yushan.
White-bellied Yuhina, Yuhina zantholeuca – 2, Tsengwen Dam area; 2, Kwanghua; 1, Thaushan.
Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Paradoxornis webbianus – 5, Wufeng; 4, Chingjing.
PARIDAE; CHICKADEES AND TITS
Black-throated Tit, Aegithalos concinnus – 30 in small flocks, Blue Gate Trails, Meifeng; 4, Kwanghua; 16, Alishan.
Coal Tit, Periparus ater [Parus ater] – 1, Blue Gate Trail #1; 3, Yushan.
Green-backed Tit, Parus monticolus – 8, Blue Gate Trails, Meifeng; 4, Taroko; 11, Alishan and Yushan.
Varied Tit, Sittiparus varius [Parus varius] – 1, Huisun; 3, Blue Gate Trails.
Eurasian Nuthatch, Sitta europaea – 2, Blue Gate Trails; 1, Kwanghua.
Plain Flowerpecker, Dicaeum concolor – 2, Huisin; 1, Thaushan.
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Dicaeum ignipectus – 4, Blue Gate Trails; 1, Alishan.
Japanese White-eye, Zosterops japonicus – very common everywhere except highest elevation.
Lowland White-eye, Zosterops meyeni batanis – 35, Lanyu. At this time, the status of the white-eye on Lanyu and Ludao (Green) Islands is not definitive. To some authors, including those of the Chinese-language Field Guide to the Birds of Taiwan (1991) and Clements’ Birds of The World: A Checklist (with updates to Dec. 2005), it is a sub-species of Zosterops japonicus. Others consider it to be Zosterops meyeni batanis, variously called Lowland White-eye, Batan White-eye and Philippine White-eye. The case for the latter scientific name is persuasive and we use it here.
ORIOLIDAE; OLD WORLD ORIOLES
Black-naped Oriole, Oriolus chinensis – 1 male, Sheding Nature Park, Kenting.
Maroon Oriole, Oriolus trailii – 1 male, Huisun; 1 male, a “fly-by” over the highway, near Hualien.
Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus – 6, Lanyu; 2, Huben area. Migrant.
Long-tailed Shrike [Black-headed Shrike], Lanius schach – 1, Chihshiang area.
Black Drongo, Dicrurus macrocercus – common at low elevation.
Bronzed Drongo, Dicrurus aeneus – 2, Huisun; 20, Blue Gate Trails and Chingjing areas.
CORVIDAE; CROWS, JAYS AND MAGPIES.
Eurasian Jay [Jay], Garrulus glandarius – 3, Blue Gate Trail #1, Meifeng; 1, Hehuanshan; 4, Alishan.
FORMOSAN MAGPIE [TAIWAN BLUE MAGPIE], Urocissa caerulea – 18 (family groups) Huisun.
Gray Treepie [Himalayan Tree Pie], Dendrocitta formosae – Fairly common in mid-elevation habitats.
Eurasian Magpie [Magpie], Pica pica – 1, East Coast lowlands.
Eurasian Nutcracker [Nutcracker}, Nucifraga caryocatactes – 1, Tataka Recreation Area, Yushan.
Large-billed Crow [Jungle Crow}, Corvus macrorhynchos – fairly common at mid- to high elevation.
Crested Myna, Acridotheres cristatellus – fairly common in open habitats at low elevation, but decreasing.
Javan Myna, Acridotheres javanicus – 12 in lowland, open areas. Introduced; has spread widely and is still expanding. Aggressive; will attack Crested Mynas. Often confused with White-vented Myna, Acridotheres grandis, which has a bushier crest and reddish eye (adult.
Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis – common in open lowland habitats. Introduced.
PASSERIDAE; OLD WORLD SPARROWS
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [Tree Sparrow], Passer montanus – abundant in towns.
ESTRILDIDAE; WAXBILLS AND ALLIES
White-rumped Munia, Lonchura striata – 2, nesting, Huisun; 2, Tsengwen Dam area.
Nutmeg Mannikin, Lonchura punctulata – common in grassy, scrubby habitats at low elevation.
Chestnut Munia [Black-headed Munia], Lonchura atricapilla [Lonchura malacca] – 1, Sihcao.
FRINGILLIDAE; SISKINS, CROSSBILLS AND ALLIES
Vinaceous Rosefinch, Carpodacus vinaceus – 1, Hehuanshan; 3, Yushan.
Eurasian Siskin, Carduelis spinus – 1 heard, Chingjing.
Brown Bullfinch, Pyrrhula nipalensis – 2, Alishan.
Gray-headed Bullfinch [Beavan’s Bullfinch], Pyrrhula erythaca – 3, Hehuanshan.
TOTAL SPECIES: 165; 157 seen by two or more participants, 5 heard only, 2 seen by only one participant, 1 seen by leader only.
Endemic species: 14 (of 15) seen. Endemic missed: [Taiwan] Yellow Tit.
Other Wildlife Observed
TAIWAN MACAQUE Macaca cyclopis May 9 – 1; May 12 – 8; May 13 – 4; May 18 - 5
Crab-eating Mongoose Herpestes urva May 16 - 1
Formosan Red-bellied Squirrel Callosciurus erythraeus taivanensis May 10, 13, 15 – one per day; May 18, 19 – two per day
Formosan Striped Squirrel Tamiops maritimus formosanus May 10 – 3
White-faced Flying Squirrel Petaurista alborufus lena May 16 – 2
Hairy-footed Flying Squirrel Belomys pearsonii May 16 – 1
TAIWAN RICEFROG Microhyla heymenzi May 16 – 1
MOLTRECHT’S GREEN TREE FROG Rhacophorus moltrechti May 17 – 1; May 8, 16 - heard only
Spectacled Toad Bufo melanostictus May 12 - 50
SWINHOE’S JAPALURA Japalura swinhhonis May 16, 19 – one per day
TAIWAN CHUNK-HEAD SNAKE Pareas formosanus May 16 – one dead on road
Giant Wood Spider Nephila pilipes May 8 – 1; May 9 - 4
Cross-striped Human-faced Spider Nephila clavata May 13 – 1
butterfly species Byasa polyeuctes termessus May 10 - 20
NOTES: 1 Striated and Red-rumped Swallows are very similar in appearance. Red-rumped appears in Taiwan only in migration, whereas Striated is a resident species.
For more information, please contact Simon Liao, in Taiwan, at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jo Ann MacKenzie, in Canada, at: email@example.com