Have you Considered Birding in Taiwan?

April 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Not many people think of taking a birding trip to Taiwan, but this interesting country is home to a wide variety of bird species. Situated on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, Taiwan is about 400 km long and 150 km wide. It features about 1000 km of coastline, a dense and scenic mountain range that rises to 3 998 m at its highest point and wide fertile agricultural plains. This is the perfect place to combine birding with culture, history and natural beauty.

Though birds can be found in much of the countryside, it is the wetland area of the west coast that is the best place to look for them. Here you will find literally thousands of north-south migrant water birds who stop over or winter in Taiwan. The numerous uninhabited islets that can be found off shore attract still more birds and a number of pelagic species roost and nest here. Another place where you will likely find some birds is in the mountains. While the mountains may be capped in snow during the winter months they can be quite hot and humid during summer, and cool and wet the rest of the time.

So exactly how many birds will you find on this large and colorful island? Thus far there have been approximately 550 bird species recorded on or around the island of Taiwan. Of these, 15 species and 70 subspecies are endemic. Birders can expect to see a number of rare and interesting species such as the Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes), the Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor), the Chinese Crested Tern (Sterna bernsteini), Saunder’s Gull (Larus saundersi), the Fairy Pitta (Pitta nympha) and the Malayan Night Heron (Gorsachius melanolophus).

Taiwan is a well-developed country with a wide range of accommodation to suit different tastes and budgets. You can easily hire a car to get around in and food is plentiful. If you do plan to make your own way around the country, it is wise to purchase a good map before setting off for this country. You might also want to purchase a field guide to ensure that you make the most of your time spent here. October to March is generally considered to be the best time of year for bird watching, but other interesting species can be seen during the rest of the year, so when you choose to visit really depends on what you are hoping to see. No matter what time of the year you visit, you should remember that a few days of bird watching might be lost to poor weather. So pack in warm clothes, a good pair of binoculars and a sense of adventure and head off for Taiwan for some excellent birding!

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