Expert guided birding tours & free info on birdwatching in Asia.

Home   /   B2A reports   /   guiding   /   tours   /   articles   /   sounds   /   trip reports   /   locations   /   gallery   /   links   /   contact




Expert guided birding tours


Fairy Pitta



    About us







    Calendar & Availability

    Tailor-made tours


    Contact us

    Booking info

    B2A trip reports

    Terms and Conditions


Touch Your Heart


Taiwan Barbet, Huben


Collared Owlet, Rueyen Creek


Beavan's Bullfinch, Dasyueshan



Join us on a tour and you’ll get

Top-quality holidays

Friendly & experienced leaders

Excellent itineraries & trip logistics

Comfortable high quality accommodations

All inclusive competitive tour prices

Small groups - size limit=6

Finest birding in Asia


Black-throated Tit, Anmashan


White-bellied Pigeon, Wushe



We power your vacation


Alpinia Nantoensis, Anmashan


Taiwan Bulbul, Longluan Lake


Tsengwen Estuary sunset


Taiwan Hwamei, Wushe


Steere's Liocichla, Anmashan


Painted Snipe, Tsengwen Estuary


White-tailed Robin, Anmashan


Swinhoe's Pheasant, Anmashan





All bird photographs taken

 ‘on tour’

are opportunity shots by

Stijn De Win

Copyright ©    All rights reserved.


B2A Taiwan 2012

Endemics and Fairy Pitta, 1 – 9 May


Participants; Antony Kinread, Kevin Pickering, Jeddu Keil


Anmashan, Huisun Forest Reserve, Wushe area, Tsengwen Estuary,

Huben, Kenting and YushanNational Park

Text and photos Stijn


Another most enjoyable and highly successful tour left us wondering why so few foreign tourists make it to Taiwan. We were privileged! This beautiful island has it all; superb mountains and forests, nice beaches, interesting culture, most friendly people, plenty activities, a good infrastructure, delicious food and most important of all fantastic birding. On our trip we met foreigners twice, 50% were birders! From these figures at least we can note that Taiwan has become popular for birdwatching. Both birders from abroad and Taiwanese join to enjoy goodies like Mikado Pheasant, Swinhoe’s Pheasant, Fairy Pitta, Taiwan Partridge, Golden Parrotbill, Flamecrest, Taiwan Bush Warbler, Rusty Laughingthrush, Beavan’s Bullfinch, Varied Tit, Taiwan Blue Magpie, Brown Dipper, Malayan Night Heron, Taiwan Shortwing, Taiwan Wren Babbler, White-backed Woodpecker, Taiwan Barwing… We did very well again on this trip finding these and indeed all other Taiwan endemics. Another highlight of this trip was our sighting of the endangered Formosan Sika Deer. The wild population numbers only about a 1000 and these can only be found in 2 locations in Taiwan.


                Swinhoe’s Pheasant, Anmashan                          Taiwan Yuhina, Rueyen Creek Nature Reserve


In good tradition we started this trip with our visit of Anmashan were we took off immediately with a first major find; Rusty Laughingthrush showing very well. Quite a few other endemics followed and of course on this first day a superb performance of a male Swinhoe’s Pheasant should not be missed.

Male Mikado Pheasant showed beautifully for us on 2 occasions at Dasyueshan.


The weather on our first full day at Anmashan wasn’t very good and this made the birding rather slow. Nevertheless, in the evening with doing the list it turned out that our participants ended the day with the odd 15 lifers. Very well! It could have been better in clear weather though… and this was proved on our next morning. Simply drive up to DasyueshanForest produced some well needed targets. In fact, I’d never managed so many quality birds on a single drive up. An amazing special trip! From the car we saw; -and this would highlight the importance of small groups, imagine yourself in the back of a van only for you to produce a list ‘I didn’t see’-, anyway, never left the car and there were 2 Malayan Night Herons to enjoy, Collared Finchbill, 2 males Swinhoe’s Pheasant, a superb adult male Mikado Pheasant, Taiwan Bamboo Partridge, great views of 2 Taiwan Hill Partridges (all the Taiwan chickens indeed in less than an hour!), 2 Formosan Whistling Thrushes, Grey-faced Woodpecker, Rufous-crowned Laughingthrush, Collared Bush Robin, Asian House Martin, White-tailed Robin, Little Forktail (on the road), White-whiskered Laughingthrush, Steere’s Liocichla and a fine male Vinaceous Rosefinch.


Scenery and forests have to be taken serious in Taiwan. Sorry for the series.

It’s not that I’m short of bird photographs... Never after a Taiwan trip!


A rather wet day followed but luckily we were scheduled to visit Huisun Forest Reserve and as this is lowlands, at least fog wouldn’t stop one birding. On arrival in the reserve we were blessed with a dry half hour to start our birding, enough to get Taiwan Blue Magpies, Malayan Night Heron, ‘Red’ Maroon Oriole and Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker. After that we based ourselves on the veranda of the souvenir and coffee shop during heavy rain showers from where we could watch another Malayan Night Heron throughout. We then took opportunity from a couple very short dry moments to try and find our only remaining target, Varied Tit. This didn’t work until the time came we normally move on to Wushe. The Tit is important though and it didn’t feel like the weather would be any better going up to Wushe. We did wait (coffee) and by 1pm got our sweet reward with at least 2 Varied Tits showing well. Off to a late lunch. In the late afternoon we continued with our luck at Chung Yang Farm. It had stopped raining and we managed to find Vinous-throated Parrotbill in no time, and later added Taiwan Hwamei to the triplist. We could also enjoy a mix of swifts here, often at eye level, with Silver-backed Needletail, Pacific and House Swift all passing under the low cloud.


              Black-naped Monarch, Southern Tip                      White-whiskered Laughingthrush, Dasyueshan


By now we had done so well that targets needed in the Rueyen Creek Nature Reserve (Blue Gate track) were limited. Time to relax and enjoy the surroundings –pristine forest- and add Taiwan Barwing, Brown Bullfinch and a cute Collared Owlet to our list. On the Hehuan Pass that same day we struggled at first to find Alpine Accentor around the car parks, their usual hang out, only for us to realise that the birds had moved into ‘habitat’ for breeding when we found a couple singing from rocky outcrops. This tour was scheduled 3 weeks later to include Fairy Pitta remember. But that’s for later. First on to Bedongyueshan and Yushan NP.


                     Brown Dipper, Anmashan                                Collared Bush Robin, YushanNational Park


Our morning at Bedongyueshan started well with 2 sightings of Taiwan Bamboo Partridge and our first female Swinhoe’s Pheasant. On the walk in the forest we first flushed two Taiwan Hill Partridges from by the side of the track and later went on with yet another brief Black-necklaced Scimitar Babbler sighting. White-backed Woodpecker showed twice and Rufous-crowned Laughingthrushes appeared to be common indeed.


                    Collared Finchbill, Huben                                  Greater Painted Snipe, Tsengwen Estuary


A crisp morning with blue skies and some incredibly cooperative birds got Yushan NP voted as the best birding spot of the trip. Golden Parrotbill was the main target and we watched them collect nesting material. A fine male White-browed Bush Robin did the same as well as Ferruginous Flycatcher. Also in the same small area were Flamecrest, a male Vinaceous Rosefinch that approached us up to less than 3 meters away on the path, Taiwan Wren Babbler showing well, Collared Bush Robin, a Nutcracker performed well and there was a flock of Black-throated Tits to enjoy. We had walked just a couple hundred meters. We had a relatively late breakfast and were satisfied on goodies by 10am! Pitta next.


A feeding station at the Huben temple provided with some easy photo opportunities. (Black Bulbul)

Of course the threatened Fairy Pitta was our highlight at Huben.


The bamboo forest and gullies close to the famous temple at Huben is prime Fairy Pitta habitat. Unfortunately we were about to discover that the Pittas have declined drastically in the area in the last years. Habitat destruction/degradation has often been pointed at although it appears odd that no Fairies had chosen to breed near the temple this year? The habitat is as good as it gets. I would think there’s another big problem on hand. Possibly on migration. Less Pittas do make it back to Taiwan? It now seems necessary to get some local help to be able to find any of the few pairs left. So we did and once in the right spot things were easy. A Pitta responded immediately and came in quickly for us to enjoy the Fairy sitting up in the open for over 10 minutes. We’ll probably do this again on our tour next year but who knows for how much longer? As compared with only just 5 years ago, it now seems only 10% of this population remains today.


               Ferruginous Flycatcher, Yushan NP                                 Formosan Macaque, Anmashan


From our Pitta success we went straight on to the Kenting area. Taiwan Bulbul remains common here and it was obviously Formosan Sika Deer that became the highlight. It’s my first sighting of this rarity. First 1 did pop up its head from the long grass, later 3 showed beautifully. Wild Formosan Sika Deer only survive in 2 locations these days. There’re some on GreenIsland while Kenting is the only spot on the main island.

From Pitta to Deer and our day wasn’t finished yet. We managed a couple hours of wader watching in the Tsengwen estuary area. The highlight here were Greater Painted Snipe. Because no less than 6 of them showed so well right in the open which is unusual enough but also because this was a bird Tony had wanted for so long. Painted Snipe had always eluded him and now it was so easy it would rival the Pitta indeed as for his bird of the day. What a day!


  A first unexpected glimpse of a Formosan Sika Deer.                 Later on three showed beautifully.


The last morning of the tour had originally been reserved for the Pitta but as we went ahead with a somewhat flexible and smart schedule at the end we had the Pitta in the bag already so we could relax and enjoy some wader watching in the Tsengwen Estuary. I think this was the first time for me to see Grey-tailed Tattler in full summer plumage so probably would like to point this as the highlight but also Sharp-tailed Sandpipers were nice and Jeddu was pleased with good views of Long-toed Stint. The usual waders appeared present still this late in the spring but in small numbers; Terek Sandpiper, both Sandplovers, Pacific Golden Plover, Red-necked Stint but also Oriental Pratincole and Grey-throated Martin were of interest. Of course we did see Painted Snipe again. Seven!(Eleven…)... Cheers!


        Vinaceous Rosefinch, YushanNational Park                   Malayan Night Heron, HuisunForest Reserve


I would like to thank our participants for the great time birding together in Taiwan and I need to mention the detailed trip report incl. day to day accounts that Antony did on Birdforum. Well worth reading. Thanks.


Our trip list and some more photos from the tour.


Visit Taiwan