Birding Factoids

923 species in
72 families

2 endemic species
49 endangered species
including both endemics
41 speciality species
4 week trip expectation -
about 420 species

Checklist of Thailand BirdsTours and GuidesEco-LodgesSpeciality BirdsMap and General Information
See more of Christian Artuso's images of South-East Asian Birds
also check out Paddle-Asia's Photo Gallery
and the photos at Thaiwaterbirds.
Thailand Specialities
Siamese Fireback Pheasant - National Bird - THREATENED - Photo copyright Laurie Crampton
Photo copyright Laurie Crampton
Milky Stork - ENDANGERED - Photo copyright Soon-Chye Ng
Photo copyright Soon-Chye Ng
Banded Pitta - Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Gurney's Pitta - ENDANGERED - Photo copyright Soon-Chye Ng
Photo copyright Soon-Chye Ng
Crested Fireback - Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Great Barbet - Photo copyright Jill Katka
Photo copyright Jill Katka
Copper-throated Sunbird - Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Chestnut-bellied Malhoka - Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Black-capped Babbler - Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Gold-whiskered Barbet - Photo copyright Laurence Poh
Photo copyright Laurence Poh
Red-legged Crake - Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Striated Bulbul - Photo copyright Sujan Chatterjee
Photo copyright Sujan Chatterjee
Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike - Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Rusty-breasted Cuckoo - Photo copyright Laurence Poh
Photo copyright Laurence Poh
Red-bearded Bee-eater - Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Large-tailed Nightjar - Photo copyright Laurence Poh
Photo copyright Laurence Poh
    ....Some Important Birdwatching Sites in Thailand -
      The following sites are considered to be representative of a variety of different habitats and geographical areas and include many, but by no means all, of the sites of key importance for bird conservation in Thailand.
    ....Waterfowl and their Habitats in the Gulf of Thailand - by Philip D.
      Round. This is part of the excellent Thaiwaterbirds website, which includes flyway information and maps. Both in terms of total numbers of waterfowl, and range of species represented, the Inner Gulf of Thailand, in the vicinity of Bangkok, is the single most important site for migratory waterfowl, especially waders and terns, in the entire country and is a wetland of international importance. The estimated numbers of waterfowl using the site per year are in the region of 150,000- 300,000. Counts and projected populations for 102 species are presented. These include 16 species which are globally threatened or near threatened. And 17 species for which the gulf regularly supports more than 1% of the flyway population. 
    ....Amazing Thailand and its Amazing Birds - by Tony Ball
      Thailand has more than 900 documented species of birds and of these approximately one third are migrants but it's not as simple as that. Some species are migrant, resident and breeding visitors. One of these migrants, the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), was recently found to be a resident also in a small area around Doi Angkhang on the Burmese border in the north of Thailand. Consider, also, that Thailand is host to almost 10% of the world's species and then you will understand why it is a "must" on any birdwatcher's itinerary.
    ....Chiang Mai Birding - by Tony Ball. Includes information on the exotic
      birds of Thailand as well as Tony's Birdwatching Diary.
    ....Chiang Dao Birding - Doi Luang Chiang Dao is one of the less well
      known birding sites in Thailand. It is gaining recognition amongst birders as there are over 300 documented species which visit this area. Stars of the show are the Mrs. Hume's Pheasant and the Giant Nuthatch, but the supporting cast is pretty impressive too.
    ....Birdwatching in Thailand - this commercial site provides some useful
      information about the various habitats in Thailand, and the birds to be found there. 
    ....Birds and other wildlife around Chiang Dao - Chiang Dao is home of
      Thailand's third highest mountain (2175 m asl). The limestone mountain is surrounded by pristine montane evergreen forest, a forest type that is not so common anymore in Thailand. Arguably it is one of Thailands best trekking areas. (Map is provided).
    ....The Birds of Doi Inthanon National Park -
      Birdwatching at Doi Inthanon National Park can be a fun and an interesting way to discover nature at a leisurely pace. Because of its broad altitudinal range and the cool climate of its upper reaches, the park supports the largest number of bird species of any site in Thailand.Of the total of 382 species of birds so far known from Doi Inthanon, at least 266 species are resident or were formerly resident on the mountain.
    ....Birdwatching in Thailand - trip report on a weekend
      birdwatching tour to a national park about 150 miles southwest of Bangkok -- four-hour bus ride -- near the border to Myanmar.
    ....National Parks in Thailand - There are several
      national parks near Hua Hin, Thailand. This page has information (including birds found at the parks) on:
      • Kaeng Krachan, Petchburi Province
      • Khao Sam Roi Yot, Prachuapkirikhan Province
      • Erawan, Kanchanaburi Province
      • Chalern Rattanakosin, Kanchanaburi Province
      • Sai Yok, Kanchanaburi Province
      • Khao Laem, Kanchanaburi Province
      • Sri Nakarin, Kanchanaburi Province
      Another national parks site...
    ....Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries -
      Stretching over more than 600,000 hectares along the Myanmar border, the sanctuary, which is relatively intact, contains examples of almost all the forest types of continental South-East Asia. It is home to a very diverse array of animals, including 77% of the large mammals (especially elephants and tigers), 50% of the large birds and 33% of the land vertebrates to be found in this region.
    ....Man and the Biosphere Reserves in Thailand. Information 
      available (including bird checklists) on:
      • Huai Tak Teak Reserve 
      • Mae Sa-Kog Ma Reserve 
      • Sakaerat Environmental Research Station 
    ....Three Seldom Visited Birding Sites in Northern Thailand - by 
      David Kuehn. Thailand has a number of very good birding sites that have been well described in other reports. This report will describe three, northern sites that are not often mentioned in other reports. Includes information on:
      • Lot Cave (Tham Lot)
      • Doi Chiangdao
      • Agricultural & Veterinary Science School South of Chiangmai
    ....Khao Nor Chuchi - Lowland Forest Project - The wildlife sanctuary,
      like those elsewhere, is mostly situated on the hills and has very little lowland forest. It cannot support Gurney’s Pitta and other endangered wildlife unless we maintain an adequate buffer around its boundary, in the surrounding National Reserve Forest. 
    ....Trip Report: Thailand. This trip report is provided courtesy of Urs ...
    ....Trip Report: Doi Inthanon (Thailand). This trip report is provided  ...
    ....Trip Report: Thailand, July 2-26, 1998 - by Susan Myers. Despite
      being the wet season, it rained only a few times during our three week visit. Travel in Thailand is very easy, relaxing and enjoyable; there is a list of over 900 species and a great network of national parks and reserves, most with excellent facilities. 
    ....Thailand Trip Reports These trip reports are provided courtesy of  ...
    ....Trip Report: Southern Thailand. This trip report is provided courtesy
      of Urs Geiser's Trip Report Archive. November 1999 - by Anders Hangård. Places visited include: Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, and Khao Pra-Bang Khram with a trip total of 184 species! 
    ....Trip Report: Peninsular Malaysia and southern Thailand. This trip 
      report is provided courtesy of Urs Geiser's Trip Report Archive. April-May 2000 - by Chris Gooddie. Chris Gooddie and three fellow UK birders, Kit Britten, Bob Harris, and Graham Hogan, put together a trip to combine 4 sites in Malaysia - Taman Negara, Fraser's Hill, The Gap and Kuala Selangor - with a short visit to Khao Nor Chuchi and Krabi in Thailand (principally to look for Gurney's Pitta). Trip total was 295 species (and 11 more heard), including 7 species of pitta - a major target for us, so we were delighted to clean up (except for Giant Pitta which we didn't really expect to score). 
    ....Trip Report - Thailand and Nepal - 24 December 2000 - 29 January,
      2001. By Greg Roberts, with Glenn Scherf, except for last week. Total count - 420 species of birds and 24 species of mammals. 
    ....Trip Report - Thailand - by Tom and Marie Tarrant. In early 2001, 
      we received an email from Singapore inviting us to attend an informal birding-trip to Thailand primarily to search for the 'Big G' or Gurney's Pitta, a lowland species of a bird currently thought to number fewer than 30 in the wild. 
    ....Trip Report: Thailand - April 15-May 1, 2001. By Garry George.
      Thailand’s geographical location, stable politics by a benevolent monarchy and economic development policies are unique in SE Asia and have given Thailand a leading place in that region. Educational benefits, a booming tourism infrastructure and political safety have  collaborated in making Thailand a well-studied and well-travelled ornithological destination for over a century. But the boom and bust economy and unchecked development along with other factors have made it subject to a faster rate of loss of natural resources and habitat for species other than homo sapien as the rest of SE Asia. It’s ironic that the least economically developed political entities seem to have the most, best and relatively unstudied remaining habitat, and it’s possible that in the future Myanmar and Viet Nam might surpass Thailand as birding destinations simply because they don’t have the resources to "develop" their remaining natural resources including forests. There are 935 species of bird that occur in Thailand, 125 of them classified as threatened by BirdLife International. 
    ....Thailand Birding Diary - by Bill & Doreen Stair, January 16, - March 6,
      2001. The continuing saga of our year-long, theoretically low budget, round the world birding trip. As for Thailand, it's hard to talk about without splashing superlatives all over the place, so let's just say we love it here and leave it at that. The birding is great too, although you do need to hire a car to get around some of the best places. Fortunately, the roads are good (for the most part) and driving here is nowhere near as suicidal an enterprise as it would be in India or Nepal.
    ....Trip Report: North Thailand, 15-23 May 2002 - by Jon Hornbuckle. 
      I decided on a quick trip to north Thailand after reading on Oriental Birding of the good birds being seen in March and April. I only visited three areas: Doi Inthanon, Doi Chiang Dao and Chiang Mai. 
    ....Trip Report: Thailand and Nepal, December 24, 2000 - 
      January 29, 2001- by Greg Roberts. 
    ....Trip Report: Bangkok and Cambodia, by Genie Silver. In early 
      January, 2003, my husband and I spent several days in Bangkok and 6 days in Cambodia.  This was not a birding trip but I birded one  morning for a few hours on the outskirts of Bangkok. In Cambodia, my husband joined me for a 6 hour round trip on the Tonle Sap Lake to  the Prektol Birding Sanctuary. 
    ....Trip Report: Northern Thailand, 23 February – 5 March 2003, by 
      Gruff Dodd. Our first visit to Thailand was long overdue, and the biggest problem facing us on this trip, especially given the short amount of time available, was deciding which sites to visit. We eventually decided to concentrate on just a handful of sites in the north of the country, centred in the historical city of Chiang Mai. This allowed me to spend enough time on finding the key species in these areas, while avoiding moving around too often, which suited Sara just fine.
    ....Trip Report: Unexpected SE Asia: Thailand, Cambodia and 
      Malaysia. April 9 – May 9, 2003, by Garry George. This was our third trip to the region in an attempt to fill in the big holes in our list. We planned April because the big holes might be calling. The Spoonbill Sandpiper reliable for the past few years at Kok Karm were another factor. We had expectations. But one of the great joys of birding and nature is the unexpected event that interrupts the flow of expectation and awakens us from our numbing assumptions, much like the Buddha’s teaching.
    ....Trip Report: Thailand. 18 Days - our first birding in Thailand - Justin
      Jansen. Our main goal was to get a first impression of Thailand and combine it with some good birds. Our top birding goals were Gurney's Pitta, Malaysian Plover, Christmas Island Frigatebird, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann's Greenshank. We scored 4 out of 5 - we missed Spoon-billed Sandpiper by a day.
    ....Thailand Bird Reports - by the Bird Conservation Society of 
      Thailand. If you are looking for a particular bird in Thailand, this site will help you to determine where that bird might be found. 
    ....A Gallery of the Birds of Thailand - don't let the Thai characters put 
      you off... At the bottom of each page describing a Thai bird is a link to a marvellous photograph of the bird.
    ....Thailand Trip Reports - you can find Thailand trip reports on John
      Girdley's BirdTours website by following the Asia/Thailand link from the main page.
    Factoids taken from Where to watch birds in Asia  - by Nigel Wheatley

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Conservation, Biodiversity

and Environment

Brown Shrike - Photo copyright Laurence Poh
Photo copyright Laurence Poh
    ....Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand - funded by the Loro Parque
      Fundación . With the endorsement of Thailand’s Royal Palace, the LPF is collaborating with the Royal Forest Department of Thailand to improve the conservation of Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (PKWS) in north-eastern Thailand. The potential for environmentally detrimental activities persists in the form of illegal hunting of animals and removal of timber. With 84 villages clustered around theboundary of PKWS, there is a need to avoid   pressure on the sanctuary by developing sustainable use of surrounding  "community forests", which are acting as buffer zones. For more information on how you can support this project, contact Yves de Soye/Loro Parque Fundación
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Tours and Guides

...>> A Birding Pal is not a paid guide, but someone who likes to help out of town visitors. You can become a Birding Pal today! Help someone to enjoy your local birding spots and find a pal to help you when you travel. Click here for Thailand Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
White-browed Crake - Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Abbott's Babbler - Photo copyright Laurence Poh
Photo copyright Laurence Poh
Yellow-eared Spiderhunter - Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Photo copyright Christian Artuso
    **..Birdwatching Tours with Tony Ball - Tours by arrangement – 
      Accommodation and food included to suit any budget. Tony Ball has spent the last 9 years researching bird life in Thailand. His main work is creating a database of the birds and their behaviour etc. He also receives commissions from National Parks and Nature Resorts to make reports on birds in their area and produce checklists of these birds. 
    **..Birdwatching in Thailand with "Nature Trails" - this company 
      organizes  professional birdwatching holidays with experienced leaders and arrangements. Providing tour plans, bookings and cultural sightseeing. Oriental birds, Thai food, hospitality...and...many nice things to see in the Land of Smiles.....
    **..Thailand: The Heart of Oriental Birding with Victor Emanuel Nature
      Tours (VENT). This tour ranges from coastal swamps and reed beds through very rich lowland forests to mystical montane forests atop Thailand's highest mountain and little-known areas secreted away on the Burma border. This is a notably comfortable tour with good to excellent accommodations and some truly outstanding food.
      • Thailand - October 1 - October 21, 2002 (21 days, limit 10) with leader Peter Kennerley
      VENT offers nearly 140 tours to over 100 land-based destinations each year and is the largest tour company in the world specializing in birding and natural history. 
    **.. Paddle-Asia - PaddleAsia specializes in small group adventure 
      travel tours to remote and/or unspoiled destinations in Southeast Asia. They’ve developed programs that allow you to genuinely experience the destination by immersing yourself in the environment. This certainly applies to their birding tours in Thailand. 


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Rufous Piculet - Photo copyright Christian Artuso
Photo copyright Christian Artuso


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Endemics and Specialities

in Thailand

Information on endemics and specialities is derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists and bird distribution lists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.05, supplemented by material found in Where to watch birds in Asia  - by Nigel Wheatley with additional information from BirdArea from Santa Barbara Software. Asian speciality birds, while not endemic, are those that can only be found in three or less countries of Asia. Information on endangered birds is derived from the IUCN Red List, Birdlife International, and supporting data bases developed by Ian Patton, of Merlin Species Watcher.  The endemic, endangered and speciality birds may be uncommon, extremely rare vagrants, may be extirpated in the country now or may only be present in migration. However, documented sightings of each species noted below have been made in Thailand.

Endemics in Thailand
NOTE: both these birds may be extinct
___ Deignan's Babbler ___ White-eyed River-Martin
Endangered Birds in Thailand
(endemics are printed in bold italic)

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

___ Beautiful Nuthatch
___ Black-bellied Tern
___ Blyth's Kingfisher
___ Chestnut-headed Partridge
___ Chestnut-necklaced Partridge
___ Crested Fireback
___ Deignan's Babbler
___ Giant Ibis
___ Giant Nuthatch
___ Greater Adjutant
___ Green Peafowl
___ Gurney's Pitta
___ Large Frogmouth
___ Lesser Adjutant
___ Malayan Peacock-Pheasant
___ Masked Finfoot
___ Milky Stork
___ Mrs. Hume's Pheasant
___ Pale-capped Pigeon
___ Plain-pouched Hornbill
___ Rufous-necked Hornbill
___ Short-tailed Parrotbill
___ Siamese Fireback
___ Storm's Stork
___ Straw-headed Bulbul
___ Wallace's Hawk-Eagle
___ White-eyed River-Martin
___ White-fronted Scops-Owl
___ White-shouldered Ibis
___ White-winged Duck
___ Wrinkled Hornbill
___ Baer's Pochard
___ Baikal Teal
___ Black-faced Spoonbill
___ Black-throated Blue Robin
___ Brown-chested 
___ Jungle Flycatcher
___ Chinese Egret
___ Christmas Island Frigatebird
___ Dark-rumped Swift
___ Ferruginous Pochard
___ Greater Spotted Eagle
___ Grey-sided Thrush
___ Indian Skimmer
___ Nordmann's Greenshank
___ Scaly-sided Merganser
___ Silver Oriole
___ Spoonbill Sandpiper
___ Spot-billed Pelican
___ Wood Snipe

Other Speciality and Near-endemic Birds in Thailand
(adapted from Where to watch birds in Asia  - by Nigel Wheatley.)

___ Bamboo Woodpecker
___ Bar-backed Partridge
___ Black-headed Woodpecker
___ Blue Pitta
___ Blue-winged Pitta
___ Blue-rumped Pitta
___ Burmese Yuhina
___ Chestnut-fronted 
___ Shrike-Babbler
___ Chestnut-headed Partridge
___ Chestnut-vented Nuthatch
___ Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo
___ Crab Plover
___ Dark-sided Thrush
___ Eared Pitta
___ Fujian Niltava
___ Germaine's Swiftlet
___ Gould's Sunbird
___ Heart-spotted Woodpecker
___ Hooded Pitta
___ Hume's Pheasant
___ Indochinese Swiftlet
___ Large Wren-Babbler
___ Mountain Fulvetta
___ Olive Bulbul
___ Pin-tailed Parrotfinch
___ Ratchet-tailed Treepie
___ Red-faced Liocichla
___ Ruddy Kingfisher
___ Rufous-collared Kingfisher
___ Rusty-naped Pitta
___ Scaly-breasted Partridge
___ Scarlet Finch
___ Siberian Rubythroat
___ Silver Pheasant
___ Silver-eared Mesia
___ Storm's Stork
___ Streak-breasted Woodpecker
___ Sultan Tit
___ Vinous-breasted Starling
___ White-headed Bulbul
___ Yellow-vented Pigeon

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