SeasonBird Record Committee, TWBF 2020
- Breeding Endemics: all year round
- High Season: Mar-May & Nov
- Winter birds settle down in late Oct
For birds seeking for endemics
- SEASON: Visit Taiwan ANYTIME when you have time
- Breeding season (late Feb-May) is better
- Non-breeding season the birds would be quite but still okay
- Late Apr to early May and Nov are two traditional best season
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Residential breeding (endemic) birds
The residential birds including all the breeding endemic species and subspecies are nearly all year round. In early breeding season (Mar-May) it would be easier to see most of them and in late breeding season (Jun-Aug) it would be quieter. In winter (Nov-Feb) some shy species (e.g. Taiwan Bush Warbler and Taiwan Shortwing) would become very difficult, but some species(e.g. Taiwan Thrush) would be easier to see in particular fruiting trees in winter.
Special summer visitors
There are two special summer visitors breeds in Taiwan annually: Fairy Pitta and Chinese Crested Tern. We would miss good migratory and breeding seasons if we want to see them in one visit.
Fairy Pitta–late April to June
Fairy Pitta (Pitta nympha) winters in Southeast Asia and breeds in Taiwan. They arrives Taiwan in very late April, then start to breed. They would look for mates in late April to early May, this is the first window we are able to SEE them. After they start to breed, incubating the egg would make they become very shy in mid May. However, we can start to find the parents feeding the hatched chicks after mid May. With some experienced local Fairy Pitta guide or some feeding site built by photographers, we are able to see them between mid May to mid or late June. The pitta season is also the wet season (palm rain in East Asia), the breeding cycle can be interrupted by the rain anytime.
Chinese Crested Tern –June to July
Chinese Crested Tern (Thalasseus bernsteini, CCT) is a mysterious rare birds breeds in remote islands in Matsu and nearby China coast, we have lesser than 100 birds remaining in the world. Every year they will pick one island breeding with Great Crested Tern (GCT) colony in late May, we won’t know when they would really start to breed until early or mid June. If CCT settles down, seeing them in Matsu would be more reliable until July. However, travelling to Matsu is note easy difficult, the flights and ferries can be cancelled anytime due to any reason. It’s better to save 3-4 days to deal with the unpredictable remote island transportation, and SEE ONE WORLD-CLASS RARE LIFER.
In this region the spring migratory season is shorter and the autumn one is longer. In different month we have chance to get different species. Visiting offshore island or coastal forest such as Yehliu in North Coast is better to get more Siberian migrants.
Raptor in migration
If you like to watch raptors, autumn migratory season is better. We have chance to see lots of migratory raptors between mid Sept to mid Oct. in Kending NP. The Gray-faced Buzzard and Chinese Sparrowhawk are two main species flying southward in autumn. With good luck we are able to see hundreds and hundreds raptors flying in the sky.
Most of the wintering passerines (thrushes, Siberian Rubythroat and Durian Redstarts) and ducks settle down in Taiwan in late Oct to early Nov, and they will stay until next spring. Generally after Nov until next Feb is a good timing for wintering birds, then the spring migratory season comes seamless.
Taiwan is a island located on the Tropical of the Cacner. Thanks for the high mountain ridges we have, we are not desert but with lots of rainfall annually. However, the rainfall is not even at all. We have to rely on unstable spring rain, palm rain and typhoon to fill the reservoir. Also, the global warming make the weather more extreme and unpredictable.
This kind of wet season is not always bed for birding. We need bad weather to stop the bird migrating, therefore we can see them and add our lifers.
Spring Rain (Mar-Apr)
The spring rain can comes from early March to April or May, in some years it would be none. The length and strength of the spring rain is unpredictable. Sometimes it can rains for a weeks and sometimes only for days. Also, the spring weather can block the island transportation with heavy fog but would also bring us good migrants at the same time.
Palm Rain (May-Jun)
Palm rain is quite similar with spring rain, but stronger.
Typhoon/cyclone/tropical depression (Aug-Oct)
Typhoons, cyclones and tropical depression is the same thing. Western Pacific ocean would from lots of typhoons every year and some of them will attach Taiwan from August to October. Sometimes some very strong typhoon can survived in November. Most of the typhoons comes fast and goes fast, usually the birding tours would be suspended for 1 to 2 days, depending on the strength of typhoon. Most of the airport and recreation sites would be closed when the typhoons lands on Taiwan. Sometimes the southwesterly flow would come after typhoon leaves, which would bring lots of rainfalls.