Republic of China

Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii ©Craig Brelsford Website
Birding Taiwan

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a partially recognised state in East Asia. Its neighbours include the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Taiwan is the world’s most populous state and largest economy that is not a member of the United Nations.Taiwan’s total area is 13,974 square miles, making it the world’s 137th-largest country/dependency; its smaller than Switzerland but larger than Belgium.It lies 110 miles from the southeastern coast of mainland China across the Taiwan Strait. The East China Sea lies to the north, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Bashi Channel of the Luzon Strait directly to the south, and the South China Sea to the southwest. The island is characterized by the contrast between the eastern two-thirds, consisting mostly of rugged mountains running in five ranges from the northern to the southern tip of the island, and the flat to gently rolling Chianan Plains in the west that are also home to most of Taiwan’s population. Taiwan’s highest point is Yu Shan (Jade Mountain) at 12,966 feet, making Taiwan the world’s fourth-highest island. There are a number of small island groups that are part of the country. The overall climate is marine tropical with northern and central regions that are subtropical, whereas the south is tropical and the mountainous regions are temperate. The average rainfall is 100 inches per annum for the island proper; the rainy season is concurrent with the onset of the summer East Asian Monsoon in May and June The entire island experiences hot, humid weather from June through September. Typhoons are most common in July, August and September. During the winter (November to March), the northeast experiences steady rain, while the central and southern parts of the island are mostly sunny. The island of Taiwan lies in a complex tectonic area between the Yangtze Plate to the west and north, the Okinawa Plate on the north-east, and the Philippine Mobile Belt on the east and south. Consequently, there have been major quakes throughout the history of the island.

There are more than 11,000 species of birds in the world. Taiwan, with an area of 36,000 sq. km, has records of more than 577 species of birds, forming the second highest bird density anywhere in the world.

Taiwan belongs to the Oriental zoogeographical region, and the entire ecosystem here is very special. The birds found in Taiwan are related to those in mainland China and the Himalayas. Every autumn and winter, thousands of migratory birds fly south to the island, while some of the summer migrants from south China remain there the entire season. Some of our most valued birds are the residents, including at least 15 endemic species, unique, national treasures of Taiwan which have attracted great concern and admiration of many foreign biologists and nature lovers.

Birding is closely related to the seasons. In general in summer we watch the resident birds and summer visitors of Taiwan, and in the other seasons we look for the winter migrants from the north. It easy to find evidence of birds almost everywhere on the island. Therefore, if you are patient and go outdoors to the mountains or seashores, you will be able to see many lovely birds hopping, flying and singing around you.

The ecosystems in Taiwan

Taiwan is an island surrounded by the sea, with 42% of the land area comprised of mountain ranges. Among these mountains, there are more than 100 peaks over 3,000 meters high. Because of this topography, Taiwan incorporates numerous ecological zones, and a wide variety of ecosystems, and a correspondingly wide diversity of flora and fauna.

There is the coastal zone with its marine ecosystem which includes coral reefs, beaches, estuaries, etc. Within various zones there are ecosystems associated with lakes and streams. There are a variety of tropical rainforest canopy, woodland, and forest ecosystems also within a variety of ecological zones ranging from sea level to over 3,000 meters in altitude; in addition, there are a number of ecosystems that have emerged as a result of the spread of the presence of man from rural farmlands to large cities.

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Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 680

    (As at April 2020)

    National Bird: Taiwan Blue Magpie Urocissa caerulea

  • Number of endemics: 28

    There are around seventy sub-species endemic to Taiwan, and authorities do not all agree on the number of endemic species with some elevating races to full status that others do not. However, the majority would agree that the following birds are endemic species:

    Taiwan Partridge Arborophila crudigularis, Taiwan Bamboo-partridge Bambusicola sonorivox, Mikado Pheasant Syrmaticus mikado, Swinhoe's Pheasant Lophura swinhoii, Taiwan Barbet Psilopogon nuchalis, Taiwan Blue Magpie Urocissa caerulea, Chestnut-bellied Tit Sittiparus castaneoventris, Yellow Tit Machlolophus holsti, Taiwan Bush Warbler Locustella alishanensis, Taiwan Cupwing Pnoepyga formosana, Styan's Bulbul Pycnonotus taivanus, Taiwan Fulvetta Fulvetta formosana, Taiwan Yuhina Yuhina brunneiceps, Taiwan Scimitar-babbler Pomatorhinus musicus, Black-necklaced Scimitar-babbler Erythrogenys erythrocnemis, Taiwan Hwamei Garrulax taewanus, Rufous-crowned Laughingthrush Garrulax ruficeps, Rusty Laughingthrush Garrulax poecilorhynchus, White-whiskered Laughingthrush Trochalopteron morrisonianum, White-eared Sibia Heterophasia auricularis, Steere’s Liocichla Liocichla steerii, Taiwan Barwing Sibia morrisoniana, Flamecrest Regulus goodfellowi, Taiwan Thrush Turdus niveiceps, Taiwan Shortwing Brachypteryx goodfellowi, Taiwan Whistling-thrush Myophonus insularis, Collared Bush-robin Tarsiger johnstoniae, Taiwan Rosefinch Carpodacus formosanus

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Useful Reading

  • 100 Common Birds of Taiwan

    By Ping Du Lee | Wild Bird Society of Taipei | 2005 | Paperback | 84 pages, Colour Photos | ISBN: 9579875189 Buy this book from
  • A Field Guide to the Birds of Taiwan

    By Mu-Chi Hsiao | Cheng-Lin Li - Illustrator | Translated by Jian-Long Wu | Wild Bird Society Of Taipei | 2018 | Paperback | 416 pages, ~190 plates with colour illustrations, colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9789860550191 Buy this book from
  • A Photographic Guide to Birds of Taiwan

    By Victor Yu | Wild Bird Society Of Taipei | 2009 | Paperback | 330 pages, Col photos | ISBN: 9789868542501 Buy this book from
  • Birds of East Asia: Eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Eastern Russia

    By Mark Brazil | Christopher Helm | 2009 | Paperback | 528 pages, 234 colour plates, colour distribution maps, b/w illustrations | ISBN: 9780713670400 Buy this book from
  • Birdwatching in Taiwan

    Edited By: Rui-De Shi | Wild Bird Society of Taipei | 2005 | Paperback | 380 pages, Colour Photos, maps | ISBN: 9579875197 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of China: Including the Island of Taiwan

    by RM De Schauensee | Oxford University Press | 1984 | Hardback | 602 pages, 38 col plates | Covers 520 Species | ISBN: 0198586027 Buy this book from
  • The Red List of Birds of Taiwan 2016

    By Ruey-Shing Lin, Ya-Jung Lu, Chie-Jen Ko, Tzu-Jung Tseng, Cheng-Hsiung Yang & Wan-Jyun Chen | Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute | 2016 | Paperback | ISBN: 9789860514063 Buy this book from
Festivals & Bird Fairs
  • Taipei International Birdwatching Fair

    Taiwan has a wide variety of geographical features and is located on one of the world's eight major bird migratory routes, with rich and unique ecological resources. There are 642 species of birds, including 27 endemic species and 56 endemic subspecies, in Taiwan; in fact, about one fifteenth of bird species on earth can be observed in Taiwan.
  • International Taiwan Birding Association

    International Taiwan Birding Association - Taiwan is a safe country, with good infrastructure, a strong conservation movement, classic mountain scenery, friendly people, wonderful food, and much to offer visitors…
  • Kauhsiung Wild Bird Society

    In Chinese - E-mail:
  • Wild Bird Society of Chang Hua

    Facebook Page
  • Wild Bird Society of Chiayi County

    In Chinese - E-mail:
  • Wild Bird Society of Hualien

    Facebook Page
    E-mail: Call +886 3 833 9434
  • Wild Bird Society of Keelung

    In Chinese - E-mail:
  • Wild Bird Society of Kinmen

    In Chinese - E-mail:
  • Wild Bird Society of Nantou

    In Chinese - E-mail:
  • Wild Bird Society of Peng-hu

    In Chinese - E-mail:
  • Wild Bird Society of Tainan

    In Chinese - E-mail:
  • Wild Bird Society of Taipei

    The Wild Bird Society of Taipei (WBST) is a non-government organization of people who share common interests in the protection of wild birds and their habitats. The society was founded in 1973 with the name Taipei Wild Bird Watcher…
  • Wild Bird Society of Yilan

  • Wild Bird Society of Yunlin


Abbreviations Key

  • NP Dongsha Atoll

    InformationSatellite View
    The marine park is located at Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands) in the South China Sea and includes the atolls and surrounding sea areas. The total area is 3,537 km², with 1.79 km² of land. The main part of the Park is the Dongsha Island (Pratas Island), a circular atoll 25 kilometres in diameter, with tropical monsoon climate. Seagrass Beds are well formed in the atoll and in adjacent waters, providing rich bio-diversities of marine life from fish, jelly fish, squids, sicklefin lemon sharks, rays to rarer sea turtles, Dugongs, and cetaceans (dolphins and whales). Recovery of green sea turtles has especially been noted. Possible use of the atoll as a breeding ground by lemon sharks have been speculated due to the numbers of infants have been discovered.
  • NP Kenting

    InformationSatellite View
    Taiwan's oldest and southernmost national park, covering the southernmost area of the Taiwan island along Bashi Channel. Administered by the Executive Yuan's Ministry of the Interior, this national park is well known for its tropical climate and sunshine, scenic mountain and beach. he park hosts rich terrestrial biodiversity of fauna and flora including 15 species of mammals, 310 species of birds, 59 species of reptiles and amphibians, 21 species of freshwater fish, 216 species of butterflies, and various insects.
  • NP Kinmen

    InformationSatellite View
    Due to its subtropical climate in its surrounding and low human population, the park becomes the place for migratory birds during autumn until spring. There has been 319 species of bird have been sighted in the area
  • NP Shei-Pa

    InformationSatellite View
    High mountain ecology, geology, topography, rivers, creek valleys, rare animals and plants, and plentiful variety of forest types are some important resources for conservation.
  • NP Taijiang

    InformationSatellite View
    The majority of the park is within the city of Tainan. In total, the park’s planned area stretches from the southern sea wall of Qingshan Fishing Harbor to the south bank of the Yanshui River and is mostly public coastal land.
  • NP Taroko

    InformationSatellite View
    The rich and varied terrain that has nurtured an opulent plant and animal life in the Park is due in large part to the steep climb in altitude: from the Pacific Ocean on the east border of the Park to the peaks of the Central Mountain Range that make up the Park’s western border, one can go from sea level to well over 3000 meters in a day’s time.
  • NP The South Penghu Marine National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    Many species of migratory birds, such as terns, visit the islands. Small numbers of dolphins and smaller whales have recently returned to the waters while large baleen whales may still be in serious peril or became regionally extinct such as gray whales as the fossils discovered from here became the first records of the species from Taiwanese waters. There are coral reefs and many kinds of marine animals in the sea. 254 species of fish, including 28 newly discovered species, have been recorded. There are 154 species of coral. There are also aquatic plants. Part of the warm Kuroshio Current flows to Penghu, supporting the marine life
  • NP Yangmingshan

    InformationSatellite View
    The National Park is famous for its cherry blossoms, hot springs, sulfur deposits, fumaroles, venomous snakes, and hiking trails, including Taiwan's tallest dormant volcano, Seven Star Mountain. Mt. Datun is one of the most well known places to see some of the 168 species of butterflies in northern Taiwan. The best time to view the butterflies is from May to August. There are also 122 species of birds in the region.
  • NP Yushan

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The park was named after the summit Yushan, the highest peak of the park. The park is home to a large variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies. Between the months of March and May, visitors have the chance to see processions of butterflies fluttering through mountain valleys.
  • WPA Gaomei Wetlands

    InformationSatellite View
    Gaomei Wetlands is a flat land which spans over 300 hectares, but it is only about 10% of Dadu River wetlands.
  • Wildlife Refuges in Taiwan

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Map & write-ups on a number of sanctuary areas
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Birding @ Taiwan

    Tour Operator
    An emerald on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean - Taiwan is a safe, friendly country not only with good infrastructure, fascinating culture and delicious food but also with a strong conservation movement.
  • Birding Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    Taiwan has more than 200 mountains that soar above 3,000 meters in height, and its unique geology and topography have created breathtaking scenery and alluring coastal scenes. Geographically, Taiwan is situated at the point where the Asian continental shelf meets the vast Pacific Ocean, providing it with an unparalleled ecological diversity and a huge number of plant and animal species concentrated in a relatively small place, perfect for ecotourism.
  • Birding In Taiwan

    Tour Operator
    Come with us to enjoy the birds and culture of Taiwan.
  • Kaiyote Tours Birding Taiwan

    Tour Operator
    If you are a birder, in Taiwan you will find 27 endemic species, with over 650 species in total. If you are a nature lover, besides the beautiful birds, you will find wonderful forests, canyons, mountains, stunning coastlines, lots of butterflies, fantastic local people, many interesting mammals and great food!!
Trip Reports
  • 2010 [04 April] - Stijn De Win

    … all in this first single afternoon; Taiwan Scimitar Babbler, Dusky Fulvetta, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, White-bellied Pigeon, rare in Taiwan Mountain Hawk Eagle, two Black Eagles, Taiwan Barbet, Scaly Thrush, Rufous-faced Warbler, Little Forktail, Rufous-crowned Laughingthrush and the Eurasian Nutcracker which on Taiwan, would be hard to call with the alternative name ‘Spotted’ Nutcracker…
  • 2011 [03 March] - Andrew Roadhouse

    …We had our first Brown-headed Thrush of the trip feeding with Pale Thrushes and Sibias. Flamecrests were very common here and the views were superb with no low cloud for a change. We had a coffee and pot noodle in the visitor centre café and then started making plans for the rest of the trip….
  • 2011 [05 May] - Gerry Hinchon

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    …we found that Great, Little and Cattle Egrets were common and we saw 25 Black-crowned Night Herons. Waders seen were 15 Black-winged Stilts, one Oriental Pratincole, two Pacific Golden Plovers, two Kentish Plovers, many Mongolian Sand-plovers, 40 Bar-tailed Godwits, ten Whimbrel, five Greenshanks, two Wood Sandpipers, ten Terek Sandpipers, ten Ruddy Turnstones, five Red Knot, one Dunlin and two Curlew Sandpipers….
  • 2012 [09 September] - Richard Rae

    Report PDF
    …Among the numerous highlights were Swinhoe's Pheasant, Taiwan Wren-Babbler, Taiwan Shortwing, Taiwan Tit, Taiwan Partridge, Collared Bush-Robin, Golden Parrotbill, Flamecrest, Taiwan Blue Magpie, Taiwan Scimitar-Babbler and Malayan Night Heron…
  • 2012 [11 November] - John van der Woude

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    …Black-faced Spoonbills ('only' 100) at their special reserve in the Tsengwen estuary near Tainan. Also 300 Caspian Terns, Kentish Plovers, Lesser Sand Plovers and a few Saunders Gulls on this mud flats. In the smaller wetlands around this mud flat area we had Grey-throated Martin (a colony), Slaty-breasted Rail, Scaly-breasted Munia, Red-Throated Pipit and (in a drier field) Long-tailed Shrike…
  • 2013 [03 March] - Craig Brelsford

    Taiwan lies 130 km across the Taiwan Strait from Fujian. At 35,883 sq. km, Taiwan Island is a bit larger than Belgium and a bit smaller than the combined areas of Maryland and Delaware.
  • 2013 [06 June] - Peter Jordan

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    …Our first proper stop, not far up the Dasyueshan Road, had us on to Taiwan Barbet, Collared Finchbill, Taiwan Hwamei, Grey­capped Woodpecker, Plain Prinia, Yellow­bellied Prinia, Gray Treepie Taiwan Scimitar­babbler, Rufous­capped Babbler, Oriental Turtle Dove, Black Bulbul, and a swift species. Rubbish views of the noisy Bamboo Partridge. Golden­headed Cisticola heard…
  • 2014 [11 November] - Niels Bomholt

    PDF Report
  • 2015 [05 May] - Henk Hendriks & Wiel Poelmans

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    ...We only used a local guide at Huben to find the Fairy Pitta and the rest of the trip we birded independently which was fine as there is plenty of available information.
  • 2015 [06 June] - Cathy McFadden

    Because I would be based in Kaohsiung for the trip to Dongsha, we concentrated on birding the central and southern parts of the country. Although several endemics (Taiwan Blue-Magpie, Taiwan Whistling-Thrush) are apparently much easier to find in the north around Taipei, KC knew sites where (with luck, which was with us!) we could find them further south.
  • 2016 [01 Jan] - Matthew Kwan

    ...around the 45K mark we suddenly saw a large shuttle bus stopped right in the middle of the road, we thought it was stalled so we tried to get past it, only when I was about to past the bus that we realise why they stopped. A pair of Mikado Pheasants were feeding right next to the road...
  • 2016 [04 April] - Subhojit Chakladar

    PDF Report
    ...we had success in form of a small flock of Taiwan Barwings (endemic number 23). Within minutes, standing at the same spot, we encountered a small flock of Silverbacked Needletails and an Ashy Woodpigeon in flight. Buoyed by the success, we doubled our efforts in search of the 2 remaining laughingthurshes. Luckily at one stop with lots of fallen mossy logs, we came across a Taiwan Wren Babbler...
  • 2016 [05 May] - James Eaton

    PDF Report
    ...Our first bird of Taiwan was a rather unexpected gift, as for the past 18 months a Siberian Crane has taken upresidence near the northernmost point of the island, and today it was stood, all on its lonesome once again. Itspent most the hour we watched it trying to either scratch its radio-collar, or use it’s bill to try and snap off theshiny new ring it was sporting, while calling occasionally – you couldn’t help feel sorry for the fellow. In thewetlands we also found Plain and ‘Chinese’ Yellow-bellied Prinias, migrant Black-faced Bunting and someridiculously tame Chinese Spot-billed Ducks...
  • 2016 [06 June] - Glen Valentine

    PDF Report
    This year's spring tour of Taiwan was not only a verysuccessful one from a birding perspective - seeing a completehaul of the island's endemics, and almost fifty of its endemicsubspecies - it was also a thoroughly fun-filled one to boot.
  • 2016 [08 August] - Ian Reid

    PDF Report
    Taiwan hosts quite nice array of 'gettable' endemics and other interesting species. I originally time - budgeted for 5 days but realised closer the time this was impossible to justify either domestically or workwise so shortened it considerably.
  • 2017 [05 May] - Arjan Brenkman & Jan van der Laan

    PDF Report
    In 2017 we thought it was time for some comfort and good birds, so Taiwan was the place to go. Moreover, we learned that the Fairy Pitta population in the world was decreasing rapidly and Taiwan seems to be the best place for this species. Again, like in 2016, we went in the last week of April, a time good for endemics and Fairy Pitta.
  • 2017 [06 June] - David & Sarah Blair

    PDF Report
    Taiwan not only has great avifauna but also a host of other winning points that make it a wonderful destination for a comfortable birding trip. With around 32endemics(depending on authority), and many endemic subspecies that could be splitin the next 10 yearstherewas a loadto look forward to.
  • 2018 [05 May] - Richard Foster & Mike Nelson

    PDF Report
    This year’s tour was another great success and we spent several days in the mountains admiring such stunning birds as Mikado Pheasant, Swinhoe’s Pheasant, Taiwan Partridge and Collared Bush Robin. Some time in the foothills gave us the desired Fairy Pitta on their breeding grounds, singing Taiwan Hwamei, Chestnut-bellied Tit and Taiwan Blue Magpie.
  • 2018 [11 November] - Nick Athanus

    PDF Report
    TB’s inaugural Birding with a Camera tour to this fascinating island nation was a great success and also a tremendous amount of fun. We enjoyed near-perfect weather as we explored many of the best birding sites, seeing nearly 170 species and photographing most of them, including the vast majority of the avian endemics.
  • 2019 [04 April] - Joshua Bergmark

    PDF Report
    The isle of Taiwan. This lovely East Asian country off the coast of China offers some high-quality, easy birding in a very well-developed setting. From searching for migrants in coastal fields and estuaries to traipsing through the cool and misty highlands where endemics abound, this tour has it all! A
  • 2019 [04 April] - Nich Athanas

    PDF Report
    This was my second trip to Taiwan, and every bit as fun and successful as my last trip in November. Our group managed to see every endemic bird species, a feat that has become much less common following recent splits of several birds, most notably Taiwan Thrush. April is one of the best times to visit this island nation
Other Links
  • Birds of Taiwan

    What's so great about a list of bird names? After all, the names that men give are just a pale reflection of the birds themselves. Well, bird-lovers may rejoice in biodiversity, but in matters linguistic they tend to use common or garden English as a lowest common denominator. So, in the interest of 'lingua-diversity', here it is: a list of bird species of Taiwan, with names in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese
  • Central Taiwan Birder

    The Huben-Hushan area has been internationally identified as an IBA or Important Bird Area and is listed as one of Asia
  • Endemic Birds of Taiwan

    There are 14 endemic species of birds on the island, accounting for about 9% of all resident birds. There are another 69 endemic subspecies, accounting for another 45% of the local resident population
Photographers & Artists
  • Charles Lam

    Some great pics from his birding travells

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