Republic of the Union of Myanmar

Chestnut-naped Forktail Enicurus ruficapillus ©Gary Kinard Website
Birding Myanmar

Myanmar is mainland Southeast Asia’s largest country, with a land area equivalent to that of the US state of Texas. North-south, it stretches 2,100km, a distance equal to that between Stockholm and Naples and its extensive land borders are shared with five other countries, Bangladesh, India, China, Lao PDR and Thailand.

Zoographically, it is a meeting point of four sub-regions. Most of the country lies within the Indochinese sub-region (of the Oriental region). However, the Rakhine (Arakan) and Chin Hills in the west form part of the Indian sub-region. The high mountains in the extreme north, with their typically Himalayan species, form part of the Palaearctic region and the forests of the Tanintharyi Division (Tennasserim) in the southeast contain many species with Malesian affinities. This zoogeographical diversity is reflected in the diversity of all organisms, including birds.

Physically, the country can be divided into four elongated north-south regions: the narrow Rakhine Coastal Strip, the Fold Mountain Belt, the Central Belt and the Shan Plateau in the east. Each has its own geological history with the Fold Mountain Belt (Chin Hills and Rakhine Yoma) considered to be a southward extension of the Himalayas and part of a 7000 km mountain chain that includes the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Java and Bali.

The Central Belt is home to the major centres of human population such as Yangon (Rangoon); Mandalay, Bago and Pathein. It was once submerged under an ancient sea known as the Burmese Gulf. Subsequently, the Ayeyarwady (Irrawady); Chindwin and Sittang Rivers have deposited millions of tons of silt on this region. This makes for extremely rich and fertile agricultural land. The Shan Plateau has an average elevation of 950 metres and is dissected by a series of deep and often spectacular gorges. A clearly defined fault line marks its western margin.

The climate is dominated by two sub-continental monsoons. The most important of these is the southwest monsoon which brings the majority of the country’s rainfall. It generally lasts from June to October and defines the summer wet season, with the coastal and mountain areas receiving the majority of the rain. The northeast monsoon usually arrives in November and lingers until March. It is not characterised by significant precipitation. November to mid-February is Myanmar’s cool season, while March and particularly April and May can be extremely hot.

Myanmar is often considered to be the last frontier of global biodiversity in mainland Asia. This diversity includes over 11000 flowering plants, with 841 species of orchid; 1014 species of butterfly (some 6% of the world’s total); 92 species of bat (about 9% of the world’s total) and 1017 species of bird, including 137 species shared with the UK. This makes Myanmar one of the most diverse bird faunas per unit area of any country in the world.

Although there is an extensive bird literature for Myanmar, with some 680 references, the vast majority of papers and books were written in the late 19th and first part of the 20th century. Relatively few bird watchers or professional ornithologists have visited the country in the past 50 years and the local bird watching scene is currently underdeveloped. This paucity of recent information offers great opportunities for in-country and international bird watchers alike, as there is an urgent need to revisit many former bird hotspots to reassess the diversity and estimate the population status.

To help the potential birder to chose their site, we have subdivided the country into 8 areas, loosely defined by geography and/or habitat type and climate. These appear in the Top Sites section below…

Parts of this report are extracted from Myanmar (Burma): an illustrated guide to the country and its wildlife by Si Si Hla Bu and Paul Bates; recently published and may be ordered from

Top Sites
  • Ayeyarwady (Irrawady) Delta

    Satellite View
    Ayeyarwady (Irrawady) Delta is a vast complex of islands and waterways that covers an area equivalent to that of the Netherlands. Its size is constantly increasing, although its natural habitat, including swamp and mangrove forest is under threat from charcoal burners and rice cultivation. The delta includes two wildlife sanctuaries – one primarily for marine turtles, the other for crocodiles. The delta is rich in birds, especially from the end of the rainy season in September-October, when a huge wave of migrants fly south from their breeding sites in Central Asia and Siberia to winter in Myanmar. Many of the waders make their way to the paddy plains, coastal mud flats and tidal creeks of the delta. The delta is also one of the last refuges of the Eastern Sarus Crane.
  • Chin Hills

    Satellite View
    The Chin Hills, with their cool climate and rich bird fauna of some 200 species the Chin Hills are an excellent place to go bird watching. The open pinewoods are home to a variety of colourful flycatchers as well as the Orange flanked bush robin, Chestnut-vented nuthatch and Fire-tailed sunbird. Black eagles patrol the skies. Rare and endemic birds on Mount Victoria (Natma Taung) include the Spotted wren-babbler, Brown capped Laughingthrush, Black-breasted Parrotbill, Yellow-breasted greenfinch & Myanmar's most famous endemic, the White-browed nuthatch.
  • Coastal Areas

    Myanmar has two principal coastal areas
  • Dry Zone

    The Dry Zone is usually associated with an area of central Myanmar, which receives less than 1,275 mm of rain each year. It comprises the plains of the Chindwin, Ayeyarwady and Mu rivers and is bounded by hills in all directions except the south, where it extends as far as Pyay (Prome). Although originally covered with acacia and dry monsoon forest, the area has been cultivated for many hundreds of years. The bird fauna is diverse and the long hot evenings of March and April are punctuated by the stone-on-ice call of the Indian nightjar, whilst the rippling sound of the Burmese barred owlet can be heard at dawn. The skies are patrolled by some of the 63 bird of prey species known from Myanmar, including the White-eyed buzzard eagle and White-backed vulture.
  • Shan Plateau

    Satellite View
    The Shan Plateau is comprised of a vast and complex series of rounded hills and plateaux, interspersed with many dried up depressions of former lakes. It has an average elevation of 950 metres and many spectacular gorges, such as that at Gokteik, and extensive cave systems. The western margin is famous for its hill stations, which offer in summer an opportunity to escape the stifling heat of the plains. These include Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo) and Kalaw. Pyin Oo Lwin was known to have a particularly diverse bird fauna in its oak and chestnut copses, although the current situation is unclear. One of the best areas to see birds is Inle Lake, especially in the winter season when it is home to a large number of migrants.
  • Teak Forests

    Teak Forests are Myanmar`s deciduous forests are home to the majority of the world`s teak reserves. These occur predominantly in a wide arc, sandwiched between the central Dry Zone and the mountains of the Rakhine Yoma, Chin Hills and the hills of Sagaing Division and Kachin in the north. One of the best places to see natural teak forest is Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park, which is situated some 180 km west-north-west of Mandalay. It is an area rich in wildlife and was recently described as a magically still, yet intensively alive Eden. To date, eighty bird species have been recorded from Alaungdaw including crested Serpent eagle, Shikra, Great hornbill, Kalij pheasant, Green imperial pigeon and Black-headed woodpecker
  • The North

    Although relatively little visited, the North, which comprises northern Kachin and Sagaing Division, is an area of outstanding natural beauty and wildlife interest. Physically it borders two vast plateaux, the Yunnan to the east and the Tibetan to the north. In the past, extensive snowfields covered much of the area. Even today, there are many glaciers and permanent snow beds in the region, especially adjacent to Myanmar`s highest mountain, Mount Hkakaborazi (5881 metres). The North`s vegetation is dominated by vast areas of broad-leafed evergreen and semi-deciduous rain forest and include many familiar plants, laurels, rhododendrons, magnolias, oaks, willows, cherries and viburnum. A relict alpine flora is present on the highest pinnacles. The forests have an outstanding bird, butterfly and orchid diversity. Over 470 bird species were recorded in the 1930s from Myitkyina district alone and charismatic taxa include Eastern White and Spot-billed pelican, White-winged duck, Asian paradise flycatcher, Mountain Imperial Pigeon and a number of rare and beautiful pheasants.
  • Yangon (Rangoon)

    In and around Yangon (Rangoon)
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 1062

    (As at April 2020)

    National Bird: Grey Peacock-pheasant (aka Chinquis) Polyplectron bicalcaratum

  • Number of endemics: 9

    Burmese Collared Dove Streptopelia xanthocycla Burmese Bushlark Mirafra microptera White-throated Babbler Turdoides gularis Jerdon's Minivet Pericrocotus albifrons White-browed Nuthatch Sitta victoriae Hooded Treepie Crypsirina cucullata Irrawaddy Bulbul Pycnonotus blanfordi Davison's Bulbul Pycnonotus davisoni Burmese Bushtit Aegithalos sharpei

    It may be that Gurney's Pitta Hydrornis gurneyi is extirpated in Thailand so would be endemic to Myanmar.

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • A Naturalist's Guide to the Birds of Myanmar

    | By Thet Zaw Naing, Robert Tizar & Geoffrey Davidson | John Beaufoy Oublishing | 2023 | Paperback | 176 pages, 300 colour photos | ISBN: 9781909612723 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Myanmar

    | By Kyaw Nyunt Lwin, Khin Ma Ma Thwin & Aung Thant | Silkworm Books | Paperback | 2005 | 166 pages, 64 plates with 350 colour illustrations | ISBN: 9789749575680 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of Burma

    | By Bertram E Smythies & AM Hughes | Natural History Publications Borneo | 2001 | $th Edition | Hardback | 601 pages, 32 plates with colour illustrations; 1 b/w map | ISBN: 9789838120494 Buy this book from
  • Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA)

    Conservation of nature, primarily biological diversity, through action based on research, advocacy, network building, education and public awareness - BirdLife International in representative for Myanmar…
  • Myanmar Birds & Nature Society

    Myanmar Birds & Nature Society…

Abbreviations Key

  • BS Taunggyi

    InformationSatellite View
    It is located near Taunggyi and is governed by the Burma Forest Department. The level of protection is unknown. The altitudes within the reserve range from 1,045m to 1,750m. The main purpose of the reserve is habitat conservation of the resident bird species and the dry hill forest ecosystem.
  • List of protected areas in Myanmar

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The following are a list of National parks, wildlife sanctuaries and botanical gardens in Burma…
  • NP Alaungdaw Kathapa

    InformationSatellite View
    The park consists of the Patolon Reserved Forest and the adjoining Taungdwin Reserved Forest. The park is home to numerous wildlife species, including a small population of wild Asian elephants.
  • NP Hlawga

    InformationSatellite View
    Located in Mingaladon, Yangon Division, Myanmar, 22 miles (35 km) north of Yangon. The 1540-acre (623-hectare) park includes an 818-acre (313 hectare) wildlife park, a 62-acre (25-hectare) mini-zoo and a 660-acre (267-hectare) buffer zone. According to a 1992 survey, the park was home to at least 21 species of mammals, 145 species of birds and 8 species of reptiles.
  • NP Khakaborazi

    InformationSatellite View
    It is located in Naungmung Township in Kachin State. It occupies an area of 3,810 square kilometres (1,472 sq mi) and was established in 1996. It surrounds Hkakabo Razi, the highest peak in Burma.
  • NP Lampi Island Marine Park

    InformationSatellite View
    Lampi Island is a demarcated marine national park located in Lanbi Island, Mergui Archipelago, Burma. The main purposes of the reserve are habitat conservation of both marine and island resources. 228 species of birds including 19 threatened species such as plain-pouched hornbill and Wallace's hawk-eagle, 10 species of amphibians and 19 species reptile with 3 species of endangered sea turtles (green, loggerhead and olive ridley), 19 species of mammals including sunda pangolin are present.
  • NP Lenya

    InformationSatellite View
    Lenya is a national park located in the Tenasserim Hills, Burma in the border area with Thailand,[1] limiting with the Namtok Huai Yang National Park. The park consists of 176,638 hectares of lowland tropical forest.
  • NP Loimwe

    InformationSatellite View
    Loimwe National Park is a national park in the Shan Hills, Burma. It is located near Loi Mwe or Lwemwe,
  • NP Mount Victoria

    InformationSatellite View
    It is located close to the border with India and features Mt. Victoria, which at 3,035 meters above sea level is the highest mountain in Chin Hill, Chin State, in the western part of Central Myanmar.
  • NP Popa Mountain

    InformationSatellite View
    It is located in Kyaukpadaung Township in Mandalay Division. It occupies an area of 129 square kilometres (49.63 sq mi) and was established in 1989. It surrounds Mount Popa.
  • NP Tanintharyi

    InformationSatellite View
    The Tanintharyi National Park is a demarcated national park located in the Tenasserim Hills, Burma, further south from the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve in the border area with Thailand.
  • NR Hukawng Valley Tiger Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    It is a wildlife reserve located in Hukawng Valley, near Tanai in Myitkyina District of Kachin State, Burma (Myanmar). Hukawng Valley Tiger Reserve covers 21890 km². The Burmese government has also designated 6500 km² of the valley as the protected forest reserve. It is the world's largest tiger reserve. he reserve also consists of 35 kinds of mammals such as Indochinese tiger, Indochinese leopard, Indian elephant, bear and species of monkeys, over 370 species of birds, 46 species of frogs, 37 species of fresh water fish, four species of turtle, species of butterflies and 13,500 plant species.
  • NR Tanintharyi

    InformationSatellite View
    The Tanintharyi Nature Reserve is a nature reserve in the Tenasserim Hills, Burma, north of Tanintharyi National Park on the border with Thailand, adjacent to Kaeng Krachan National Park. The endangered Gurney's pitta, native to (possible Thailand and) Myanmar, is found in the reserve.
  • WR Shwesettaw

    InformationSatellite View
    It occupies an area of 553 square kilometres (213.4 sq mi).
  • WR Tamanthi

    InformationSatellite View
    It lies within the Hkamti District of Sagaing Region, and covers 830.40 sq mi (2,150.7 km2), bounded between the Uyu and Chindwin rivers with 230.40 sq mi (596.7 km2) of the area in Homalin Township, and 600 sq mi (1,600 km2) in Hkamti Township. The sanctuary is home to Indochinese tigers, Indian elephants, gaur (Asiatic bison), Indochinese leopards, serow, and bear. In all over 30 mammals are found there. Formerly it was the home of the Northern Sumatran rhinoceros (Didermocherus Sumatrensis lasiotis) and the Indian Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus inermis), which seem to have become extinct in the area in the 1980s. Among the many birds found in the reserve are the white-winged wood duck (Cairina scutulata) and the masked finfoot (Heliopais personata).
  • WS BR WII Inlay Lake Wetland Sanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    It occupies an area of 642.32 square miles (1,660 km2) and was established in 1985 and designated as one of ASEAN Heritage Parks in 2003. It is part of 1891 square miles wide Inle World Network of Biosphere Reserves site. It located between 20° 10' N and 97° 02' E in Nyaungshwe, Pinlaung and Pekon Township of Taunggyi District. Its elevation is over 2,900 feet. 255 woodland birds, 90 wetland birds, 59 fish species, 3 turtle species, 94 butterfly species, 25 amphibian and reptile species,[6] and several plant species including 184 orchid and 12 algae species are recorded in this wetland sanctuary. It was reported that this Sanctuary could be a nesting place for the globally endangered sarus crane.
  • WS Indawgyi Lake

    InformationSatellite View
    It is located in Mohnyin Township in Kachin State. It occupies an area of 299.32 square miles (775 km2) and was established in 1999. The Ministry of Forestry of Myanmar Government announced Indawgyi Lake with surface area 64,003 acres (25,901 ha) and five surrounding forest reserves with the area of 137,386 acres (55,598 ha), totaling 201,389 acres (81,499 ha) as “Inndawgyi Lake Sanctuary” with the Notification No (39/2004) dated 9-8-2004; On 18 December 2003, it was recognized as ASEAN Heritage Park. The region is home to rare bird species and other wild animals including wild elephants, bantengs and gaurs, rare gibbon species and forest birds.
  • WS Mein-ma-hla Kyun

    InformationSatellite View
    The protected area has a total of 29 mangrove tree species, saltwater crocodiles and a wide range of birds.
  • WS Minsontaung

    InformationSatellite View
    It occupies an area of 22.6 square kilometres (8.7 sq mi). The sanctuary protects the endangered Eld's Deer and the Burmese star tortoise, a Critically Endangered species. It is named after Minson Taung, a small isolated massif with a maximum height of 398m.
  • WS Moneyingyi Wetland Sanctuary

    InformationSatellite View
    It is located in Bago Division. It occupies an area of 100 square kilometres (40 sq mi) and was established in 1986.
  • WS Mulayit

    InformationSatellite View
    The reserve occupies an area of 139 square kilometres (53.7 sq mi. The white-fronted scops owl, the silver-eared laughingthrush (Trochalopteron melanostigma), the grey-sided thrush (Turdus feae), a vulnerable species and the Tenasserim white-bellied rat (Niviventer tenaster) are found in the Mulayit Taung area. The wildlife sanctuary is an insurgency area and wildlife biodiversity is declining. Protection of species is compromised for all the forests of the region have seen unprecedented destruction in recent years.
Sightings, News & Forums
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Go-Myanmar

    Tour Operator
    WILDLIFE AND ORNITHOLOGY TOUR - Myanmar boasts many rich, diverse and untouched wildlife habitats, from the remote wetlands of Indawgyi Lake in the north to the mountains of Chin State – this tour, with dedicated local expert guides, will prove a true treasure trove for the dedicated nature lover.
  • Myanmar Birding Tours

    Tour Operator
    Being nestled between the south easternmost part of the Himalayas and the northern end of Malay Peninsula, Myanmar is considered one of the most ornithologically fascinating countries in Southeast Asia, offering the rare opportunities to see not only Malay Peninsula species but also Himalayan species in the same country. With over 1100 bird species including some of the world most sought-after and endangered bird species, Myanmar is now on its way to becoming one of the ideal birding destinations in Southeast Asia for international birders.
  • Rockjumper Birding Tours

    Tour Operator
    Myanmar is an ornithologically little explored nation that supports a wealth of endemic and range-restricted species. Our tour visits several key sites, including exploring the countries’ unique dry zone habitat for the four bird species endemic to region.
  • WildBirdEco

    Our tour service has run the business for 15 years. We are also well known to local media as Thailand
Trip Reports
  • 2005 [03 March] - Ralf Jahraus

    PDF Report
    This report is based upon a trip taken by Ralf Jahraus together with his wife Erma from 1st March to 25th May 2005. It was mainly a birding trips, combined with family visit on Java (Erma is native from Solo/Java) and some cultural interest. Especially some cultural sites in Myanmar should not be missed.
  • 2016 [01 January] - Martin Grienenberger

    PDF Report
    ...The day was dedicated to the royal towns around Mandalay, and we first started with Mingun. This means we have to cross the Irrawaddy by boat and this had produced great views at classic river species, such as Grey-throated Sand-Martin and Pied Kingfisher nesting in the bank, and one gorgeous male of White-tailed Stonechat....
  • 2016 [02 February] - Glen Valentine

    PDF Report
    ...Our trip was no doubt a resounding success once again, as we managed to obtain excellent views of all thecountry’s endemics (Hooded Treepie, Jerdon’s Minivet, Burmese Bush Lark, White-throated Babbler,White-browed Nuthatch and Burmese Bushtit) as well as every near-endemic species...
  • 2016 [04 April] - James Eaton

    PDF Report
    This tour recorded an impressive 478 species during our 18-day visit to the country, though as always with ourtours it’s not about the numbers but the quality, which more than surpassed expectations. We began the tour inYangon, with two brief excursions outside of the city’s limits for ‘Davison’s Bulbul’ and Jerdon’s Babbler beforeflying north to Bagan where our birding around the historic temples revealed the four central Burmese dry-zoneendemics; Burmese Bushlark, White-throated Babbler, Jerdon’s Minivet and Hooded Treepie.
  • 2016 [04 April] - Oscar Campbell

    PDF Report
    This report outlines a birding trip to Myanmar, concentrating on the core areas of Bagan, Mount Victoria, Kalaw and Inle Lake that now comprise the standard birding circuit of this fascinating and bird-rich country. The trip began and ended with a night in central Yangon, with a morning flight in and evening flight out 15 ½ days later on Bangkok Airways.
  • 2016 [12 December] - Jeff Hopkins

    PDF Report
    ...I wound up with 182 species seen in 6 days of serious birding with only minimal time spent in wetland sites and no time spent in shorebird habitat. This doesn’t include heard-only species although I’ll include those in my day-by-day report and trip list. 47 of the seen species were lifers..
  • 2017 [02 February] - Ken Behrens

    PDF Report
    The trip started as Myanmar-only, but we expanded it to include Thailand when I realized that quite a few of the most-wanted targets were better sought there.
  • 2017 [03 March] - Henk Hendriks

    PDF Report
    Myanmar was already on my radar for several years and this year I decided to go for it. During the planning stage it turned out that if we uused Emirates for our international flight we could make a free stopover in Bangkok.
  • 2017 [11 November] - Geoff Upton

    PDF Report
    We’d always wanted to go to Myanmar, and now seemed a good time to do it, as the country is going through changes, including a rapid increase in internet connectedness – always an important factor these days. We booked the holiday before the well-publicised issues arose in Rakhine state over which Aung San Suu Kyi has been heavily criticized in the west; otherwise perhaps we wouldn’t have gone but we were very glad we did.
  • 2018 [02 February] - Nick Upton

    PDF Report
    This list of highlight species above only tells a small part of how enjoyable the birding on our tour to Myanmar was. Not only was there quality of birds but also a good abundance, although birds were quite shy, allowing us to see most species more than once. We found all of the endemics that we targeted which is now up to a total of 11, depending on which taxonomy you use, and a very high proportion of our other target species which included many regional endemics. Beginning in Yangon we visited nearby Hlawga National Park where we found Davison’s and Ayeyarwady Bulbuls before taking a short flight to the proposed UNESCO world heritage site of Bagan
  • 2018 [02 February] - Rob Hutchinson - Malaysia & Myanmar

    PDF Report
    This tour was loosely centred around a desire to see two monotypic families – Rail-babbler and Elachura, but in visiting some of the main birding sites in both Malaysia and Myanmar also allowed for a wide variety of iconic Southeast Asian birds. In Malaysia we first visited the highlands of Fraser’s Hill, with a special mention to Malaysian Partridge, Malayan Laughingthrush and Blue Nuthatch before the usual feeding frenzy of Mountain Peacock Pheasant and Ferruginous Partridge.
  • 2019 [03 March] - Dave Farrow

    PDF Report
    This years' Birdquest tour to Burma was once again a successful and enjoyable affair. We saw all nine of the Burmese endemics – Hooded Treepie, Jerdon’s Minivet, White-throated Babbler, Burmese Bushlark, Whitebrowed Nuthatch (surely the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the endemic birds), Burmese Bushtit, and Irrawaddy Bulbul - the ‘newest’ of the set, plus Davison’s Bulbul and Burmese Collared Dove that are not yet universally split. We also found six taxa that could be described as near-endemics - Collared Myna, Striped and Browncapped Laughingthrushes, Mount Victoria Babax, Burmese Yuhina and Chin Hills Wren-Babbler.
Other Links
  • Harrison Institute

    Myanmar - regular expeditions for research and reconnaissance expedition to the western margins of the Shan Plateau with an optional extension to dolphin watch whilst travelling through the gorges and plains of the Ayeyarwady River. This expedition offers a hands on experience of working with wildlife as we visit the bat caves of the marble mountains of Mogok - famous for its ruby mines - and the forests of the nearby wildlife sanctuary of Shwe-U-Daung - described as an area scenically almost unequalled in Burma. En route we will visit Mandalay home of a great Burmese kingdom and stay in the British Raj hill station at Maymyo.
  • Myanmar Birds

    For bargain-hunters, Myanmar may be one of the best birding values around -- in dollars and in birds to view. Stretching from the Chinese border on the north to the Andaman Sea on the south, Thailand and Laos to the east and India and the Indian Ocean to the west, habitats run the gamut of mountains, forests, plains, dry zones, river deltas. I have visited Myanmar for the past two years and plan to go again as soon as my schedule will allow
  • Ornithology of Northern Myanmar

    Article PDF
    Myanmar is a large, biodiverse country located between India and China in the west and east, and south of Tibet. Kachin State, situated in far northern Myanmar, is expected to be especially biodiverse because of its habitat and climatic diversity, ranging from lowland riparian areas to the high-elevation Himalayan Mountains...

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