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Stijn De Win


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Limestone Wren Babbler


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Limestone Wren Babbler


photographs by


Paul Huang



Wat Phra Phuttabath Noi

Stake-out birds at a temple site.


This temple (Wat in Thai language) set in an amphitheater of limestone outcrops is possibly the easiest site in Thailand 

to find Limestone Wren Babbler. An added value is that the Babblers that occur at this site in Saraburi province are of the

restricted range subspecies Calcicola.

When I first surveyed this site several years ago it took me over 2 hours to find the place, having followed up some basic

directions that proved to be wrong to make matters worse.  Finding the birds just took 10 minutes, which clearly indicate

how easy to find these birds are, or how good the site is if you wish…  (All this happened 'before' I posted directions on

the internet which got the site known better by the general public.)

With this information on Birding2asia, hopefully nobody on a birding tour to Thailand has to miss out on these special

birds anymore.


Key species


For most birders, the sole reason for visiting Wat Phra Phuttabath Noi would be to twitch Limestone Wren Babbler. 

There’s a few other resident birds in the grounds but nothing special to note.




As noted, it should be no problem to find the Wren Babblers, just follow directions explained in ‘getting there’.  While

mornings and evenings are undoubted the best times to visit, if this doesn’t fit in your travelling plans just pop up around

noon which should eventually still produce your Limestone Wren Babbler.  Please do not use tapes, it is not necessary at

all to get this species and possibly just a disturbance for the birds and therefore not a nice gesture to birders that might

come after yourself.

Other species usually present in the temple grounds include Lineated and Coppersmith Barbets, Olive-backed Surnbird,

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Streak-eared Bulbul, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Taiga Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher,

Yellow-browed Warbler, Ashy Woodswallow and Ashy + Black Drongos.

Green-billed Malkoha, Black-naped Oriole, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher and Spangled Drongo have been seen.

The dry fields and scrubs just outside the temple and along the approach road might produce Spotted Owlet, Blue-tailed

Bee-eater, Lineated Barbet, Racket-tailed Treepie….


Getting there & around


From Saraburi take HW 1 north towards Lop Buri. (Either through

town or from the bypass.) From the by-pass – HW 1 intersection

it’s 11 km to Phu khae Intersection. Follow left to Lopburi and

after only few hundred meters take a U-turn in front of the

botanical garden entrance, back towards Saraburi. Back at the

Phu Khae Intersection follow right-hand to Saraburi and exactly

200m after the intersection and 100m before a walkway bridge

turn left into route 1002. Follow this for exactly 9,9 km. Turn left

into black top road with many Thai signs at intersection. After

150m turn right into narrow concrete road. Follow 800m to temple

grounds. Enter grounds, park and search for the Babblers on the

slope at the left side behind the buildings and into a small valley

a little further on the left.


Exact location is at 14°39’10 N - 100°58’42 O


It is essential to have your own transport to get to this site.






B2A guided trips  /  tours  /  trip reports


Accommodation & food


This site can easily be visited from Saraburi which has a few hotels.  It might even be a convenient stop-over while

travelling between for example Khao Yai and Bung Boraphet or Bangkok-Khao Yai…

There is no food or drinks at the temple site, bring your own from Saraburi or buy some from the small shops on your

way in along route 1002.


Notes & info


Some of the residents/monks at the spot know about the birds so you can ask if necessary. They’re used to birders visiting.


Trip reports & articles


-A trip report with directions on another site for Limestone Wren Babbler can be found here.  Wat Tumphaphothisat used

to be ‘the’ site to get the birds before the better Phra Phuttabath Noi was discovered.  I would like to regard this site as

unreliable these days however, despite the birds still being present.  Don’t expect to get them on your first visit and be

aware of those nasty dogs.

- Another site, Hellfire Pass, is located in Kanchanaburi province and this is where you can find the ‘crispifrons’ subspecies.

- Cuc Phuong National Park in Vietnam is another good place to see Limestone Wren Babbler.  Birds here belong to the

very dark subspecies annamensis.  Be careful however to correctly ID the birds at this site as this is one of only a few

places in Asia where Limestone Wren Babbler & Streaked Wren Babbler live in the same areas of limestone forest.  The

birds don’t mix however so you’ll be seeing a pair or group of just 1 species in a certain spot.  Just note that the same

spot might have Limestone Wrens today and Streaked tomorrow.

-Nick Upton visited Phra Phuttabath Noi on 11 October 09 and did a nice report with some extra info and photos.


This information page has been published on 29th October 2008 by Stijn De Win ©

Copyright © All rights reserved.