HIGHLIGHTs

  • 32 Breeding Endemic Birds
  • Winter: Black-faced Spoonbill, Saunder’s Gull 
  • Summer: Fairy Pitta, Oriental Pratincole
  • Special: Malayan Night Heron

Highlights for International Birders

Threre are three important mountain birding sites for endemic birds in Taiwan: Dasyueshan, Yushan NP/Alishan and Hehuanshan. In a short trip, we can only visit Dasyueshan. With more time, we can visit one more area to make up the endemic species we miss. In long trip, we would visit all of them to secure every endemic birds and any potential lifers.

 Short List of Key Birds

  • 32 Endemic Species & 50+ Endemic Subpsecies
  • Summer Visitors: Fairy Pitta, Chinese Crested Tern & Oriental Partincole
  • Wintering Birds: Black-faced Spoonbill, Saunder’s Gull, Nordmann’s Greenshank, Long-toed Stint, Brown-headed Thrush, Siberian Rubythroat
  • Migratory Birds: Chinese Egret, Asian Dowitcher, Far Eastern Curlew, Gray-faced Buzzard, Chinese Sparrowhawk
  • Breeding Waterbirds: Yellow Bitten, Cinnamon Bitten
  • Regional specieal: Malayan Night Heron
  • Lanyu Island: Elegant Scops Owl, Whistling Green Pigeon, Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Lowland White-eye
  • Endemic Mammal: White-faced Flying Squirrel, Taiwan Serow, Formosan Rock Macaque

Birding Seasons

 

Breeding Endemic Birds–All Year Round

Taiwan is home to 32 endemic species and over 50 endemic subspecies, most of which are resident birds visible year-round. But the Taiwan Bush Warbler is only available between April to August.

Fairy Pitta–Very Late April to Late June

The FAPI arrives in Taiwan in late April to find a mate. It becomes more elusive once nesting begins and becomes easier to spot again when it starts feeding its chicks. Breeding usually concludes by the end of June but can sometimes extend into July or even early August. We would hire local pitta guide to find the FAPI in Huben, Yunlin county.
Black-faced Spoonbill–Mid-September to March: The BFS arrives in Taiwan to overwinter at the end of September and generally depart by the end of March the following year. Younger birds tend to leave at a later date. A few juveniles may opt to spend their summer in Taiwan; this is quite rare but not impossible. The birds begin transitioning into their breeding plumage in January after Lunar New Year.

Winter Birds–November to next March

Taiwan is situated along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), making it a key stopover for various bird species during their annual migrations. Wintering birds like the Siberian Rubythroat often arrive in Taiwan for wintering as early as November. Waterfowls also spend their winters here and reach the highest number in December and January. These birds usually begin to depart between February and March of the following year, making way for other avian species during the spring migration.

Cherry Blossom Season–December to March/April

Cherry blossoms bloom since December from downtown to the mountains of Taiwan in different elevations. This makes for more picturesque and easier bird photography during this period.

Spring Migration–March to mid May

As wintering birds begin to depart, the spring migration season commences. Different migratory birds have varying transit periods. Visiting windbreak forests or small islands during this time can sometimes yield rewarding sightings.

Autumn Raptor Migration Season–Late September to mid October

Every autumn we could watch the migration of tens of thousands of Chinese Sparrowhawks and between 20,000 to 40,000 Grey-faced Buzzards in Kenting National Park.

Lanyu–April to September

Moderate risk for the ferry transportation. The target will be Elegant Scops-Owl, Japanese Paradise-Flycatcher, Whistling Green-Pigeon and Philippine Cuckoo-Dove. During the ferry ride we have a chance to see some seabirds in this region such as Streaked Shearwater and Bulwer’s Petrel.

Matzu for Chinese Crested Tern–Mid-Late June to July

High risk for the ferry and flight transportation. The CCT arrives in Matzu around mid to late June to prepare for nesting, but breeding has been unsuccessful in recent years. Additionally, there’s a chance to see them at the river mouths in western Taiwan from April to May, but it’s difficult to predict.

Penghu for Breeding Terns–July to early August

Moderate risk for the ferry and flight transportation. In Penghu islands we have several species of breeding terns and there are maybe only 1 to 2 CCT, far less than Matzu and there are more islands. Sometimes birders can find one CCT in Penghu but it’s also difficult.

Matzu for Migratory Passerines–March-early May

High risk for the ferry and flight transportation. The best island is Dongying and we can only access it by ferry, and Ferry service may be canceled due to poor weather conditions. On favorable days, excellent sightings of East Asian migrants are possible, although there’s always a chance of seeing nothing.