Birding 2 asia. Expert guided birding tours & free info on birdwatching in Asia.

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



birds in Asia


Stijn De Win


Asia birding info


Siamese Fireback

photo by Stijn De Win


More info, less2read


  Asia photo gallery

  Free bird sounds

  Trip reports


  In focus



  About us

  Contact us



       birds in Asia     



We power your vacation


Siamese Fireback


Blue-winged Pitta


White-throated Rock Thrush


Red-breasted Parakeet


Banded Kingfisher


Silver Pheasant


White-crested Laughingthrush


Pictures courtesy of

Peter Ericsson


Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve

Best spot for Siamese Fireback


For birders wishing to see Siamese Fireback, this reserve is a welcome alternative to the nearby Khao Yai NP where

sightings made by hobby birdwatchers have become irregular in recent years.  Sakaerat is a reliable place to see this

fantastic pheasant with sightings ‘almost guaranteed’ if you visit early morning.

Nice dry dipterocarp forest along the entrance road changes into dry evergreen forest past the HQ for no apparent

reason.  The birdlife in both habitats is quite different which makes for a nice selection of species to be seen on any visit

to this enjoyable and easy accessible reserve.


Key species


Siamese Fireback obviously is the main target here.  Some other lovely species on offer are Silver Pheasant, Red-breasted

Parakeets, Scaly-breasted Partridge and Mountain Hawk Eagle.  White-throated Rock Thrush and Banded Kingfisher have been

seen recently.




Most birding is done from the roadsides but there are a few nice tracks and trails to explore.

1 The forest along the 3 km long paved entrance road consists of dry dipterocarp.  Red-breasted Parakeets are very

    common here, if you don’t see them while birding on the road, try the watchtower at km 1, which gives good views

    into the canopy.  Having seen the parakeets from the road, still go for the watchtower for better eye-level looks if

    desired.  As anywhere, dry dipterocarp is a good habitat for several woodpecker species so keep an eye for them.

    A couple of dirt tracks veer off this stretch of road and are certainly worth a stroll for birding.

2 Beyond the HQ clearing another 2 km of paved road continues into the reserve but the setting is completely different

   here with dry evergreen forest the habitat present.  A walk along this road (vehicles not allowed) at dawn is likely to

   produce a sighting of Siamese Fireback. To see a group of 10 birds isn’t unusual apparently and I’ve seen 17 birds

   myself in one morning incl. a single group of 9 males + 6 females.  Not sure if the wet season would also produce


   Scaly-breasted Partridge is commonly heard along here while Siberian Blue Robin skulks in the undergrowth.  White

   throated Rock Thrush is another nice species I’ve seen here.

3 A steep descent of about 200m brings you to a small dam.  While the water doesn’t attract any birds to note of, the

   clearing here does provide nice views into the canopy and this is where you should keep an eye on the sky for raptors

   incl.Mountain Hawk Eagle.

4 The forest alongside the track beyond the km 5 point (which looks as a small parking area) may produce similar birds

    to those found along the paved stretch.  A trail veers of at km 5,5, signposted to a watchtower 200m along here.  The

    tower is used for research and certainly isn’t for those with a fear of heights as its 35m high and will bring you up and

    above the canopy. Pretty sure this is the only place in Thailand where a canopy tower brings you to these heights. 

    This said, I’ve not seen a single bird up there on my visit, leaving me with the question if the tower is any good for

    birding at all.


Getting there


-While there might be a few buses a day that ply route 304,

 there is little chance you’ll get to the reserve early enough to

 make the best chances of seeing the pheasants.  Remember

 that its a 3 km walk to get to Siamese Fireback habitat after

 you’ve jumped off the bus passing the reserve entrance.

-With your own car, head south from Nakhon Ratchasima on

 route 304 for 61 km.  Keep watching the km markers as it’s

 easy to go past the entrance, which is shortly after the km 80


-From Bangkok however it is probably best to approach from

 the south.  Head for Chachoengsao and then just keep

 follow route 304 passing the town of Kabin Buri after which it

 is another 115 km to the reserve, passing sections of both

 Thap Lan and Khao Yai NPs. 

-From the Khao Yai NP northern entrance, -which is the one

 mostly used by birders with lots of accommodation nearby-,

 it is possible to take a direct route on narrow back roads

 which eventually joins route 304 in the village of San Chao Po

 (Khao Yai NP is signposted here) approx. 30 km north of

 Sakaerat.  After exiting Khao Yai through this northern gate

 take a right turn just 200m along.  Then keep follow this road

 and hope you take the right one of the many confusing turns,

tricky indeed with a start before dawn to get to Sakaerat early enough.  This route takes about 1,5 hours at least and is

best driven with someone who knows the area.

Visit Sakaerat on a Birdtours2asia’s Thailand trip.  See this tour report written by Bernard Burgess.


Accommodation & food


Rooms are available at HQ but have to be booked in advance; call 0844258642, the same applies for food.

Camping is not allowed in the reserve, ‘due to the presence of dangerous snakes’, they have told me at HQ…mmm

There’s a (local) restaurant just across the road from the entrance gate where basic Thai food is served.  Fried rice and

noodles are tasty here.

A number of resort style accommodation and bungalows are signposted from the highway approx. 30 km towards Kabin

Buri.  It might be possible to find some more ‘western’ style food at these places.


Notes & info


- There’s a gas station about 2 km towards Nakhon Ratchasima from the entrance gate if you have to fill up.

- No entrance fee to enter the reserve.  The guard in the kiosk at the entrance gate is a friendly chap, just tell him you

  want to go birding.  Please remember that this reserve isn’t normally open for visiting by the average tourist which

  means it is a privilege for you to be able to enter. Therefore, please try your best to be as friendly as possible when

  speaking to any officials and do show your appreciation and thanks when the gate is opened for you.

- Do not drive beyond the HQ area where you should park and walk in.  To find the gate ‘open’ does not change this.

- I’ve noticed mosquitoes to become a nuisance in the evergreen forest after about 10 am, while there’re not around in

  the early morning.  Another good reason to visit early.


Bird list


There are about 230 species on the Sakaerat reserve list.  Nice to know but it doesn’t give a realistic idea of what can be

seen on an average visit.  This place is under-watched and certainly under-reported.  I could only find very few species

being reported on the internet by hobby birders.  Together with some species seen here by a friend and on my own 3 brief

visits this results in a 53-birds list - to be updated soon!


Other wildlife


-The local population of the Variable Squirrels is largely ‘white’ in colour, which is a nice sight.  They are common in the

  evergreen forest of the reserve and belong to the subspecies ‘finlaysoni’.  Callosciurus finlaysonii finlaysoni in full.

-Red Muntjac might be seen crossing the road or track in the forest. They probably are fairly common here.


This information page published on 12th September 2008 by Stijn De Win ©

Copyright © All rights reserved.