Thailand Nature

Birding Thailand

Thailand is an incredibly rich and diverse country for birdwatching and boasts one of the largest bird lists on the Asian continent, an incredible 970 odd species. The country is also widely regarded as one of Asia’s premier birding destinations and for good reason.

Infrastructure on the whole is adequately set up and the country is well geared to general tourism. Most of the country’s top birding sites can be accessed either via decent standard hotels or guest houses, which adds to the overall attraction for birders. This noteworthy feature is augmented by the fact that Thailand boasts one of the most interesting and well-loved of the world’s cuisines and delicious tasty meals are very easy to come by. In a nutshell whether you have spades of time to explore the region or only a few days there is a veritable feast of birding sites and quality birds dotted all over the country. A well planned three to four week birding tour can quite easily rack up around 550 different species including numerous representatives from spectacular families such as pheasants, broadbills, kingfishers, hornbills, bee-eaters, barbets, woodpeckers, pittas, frogmouths, owls, laughingthrushes and flowerpeckers. Wader-watching during the non-breeding season is also highly regarded and while Spoon-billed Sandpiper headlines the list many other threatened species are also more easily found in Thailand than anywhere else on the planet.

The vast majority of Thailand’s birds are in some way associated with the regions extensive forest habitats with the northern mountains holding many special montane forest species. The southern part of the country is generally dominated by lowland rainforest although much of this habitat has unfortunately been transformed into widespread oil palm plantations. There are however a number of excellent reserves here that offer protection to a variety of key birds and habitat. The eastern part of the country is dominated by tall, dry, deciduous woodlands which in turn hold their own list of special birds while the west is also rather mountainous on the Myanmar border. Wetlands form the last of Thailand’s key habitats and although much of this habitat has been turned into rice fields many wetland associated species are fairly easy to connect with.

Reserve names such as Khao Yai, Kaeng Krachan and Doi Inthanon are famous across birding circles and rightfully so. If you haven’t ventured out to Thailand yet then I certainly hope it is on your list as it is definitely a country not to be missed. Contributor: Keith Valentine/Rockjumper.

What to See in Thailand


Notable Birds in Thailand (click species name to see related articles)

  • Large Scimitar Babbler
  • Lesser Fish Eagle
  • Lesser-necklaced Laughingthrush (1)
  • Limestone Wren-Babbler
  • Long-tailed Broadbill
  • Malayan Night Heron
  • Malaysian Plover
  • Milky Stork
  • Nordmann’s Greenshank
  • Orange-breasted Trogon
  • Oriental Bay Owl (1)
  • Pin-tailed Parrotfinch
  • Ratchet-tailed Treepie
  • Red-bearded Bee-eater
  • Red-headed Trogon (1)
  • Red-legged Crake
  • Rosy Minivet
  • Rufous-browed Flycatcher
  • Rufous-necked Hornbill
  • Rufous-winged Buzzard
  • Rusty-naped Pitta (1)
  • Short-toed Coucal
  • Siamese Fireback
  • Siamese Partridge
  • Silver Pheasant (1)
  • Silver-breasted Broadbill
  • Slaty-breasted Rail
  • Spoon-billed Sandpiper (1)
  • Spot-bellied Eagle Owl
  • Spot-necked Babbler
  • Spotted Wood Owl
  • Sultan Tit
  • Swinhoe’s Minivet
  • Tickell’s Brown Hornbill
  • Violet Cuckoo
  • Wallace’s Hawk Eagle
  • Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon
  • White-fronted Scops Owl
  • White-throated Rock Thrush
  • Wreathed Hornbill
  • Wreathed Hornbills
  • Yellow-vented Green Pigeon


    Notable Mammals and Other Wildlife

    Thailand boasts a long mammal list however like most countries many of these are very difficult to track down. Below are some of the more obvious species that occur in some of the national parks that visitors have a reasonable chance of seeing.

    • White-handed Gibbon
    • Pileated Gibbon
    • Asian Elephant
    • Stump-tailed Macaque
    • Long-tailed Macaque
    • Dusky Langur
    • Banded Langur
    • Black Giant Squirrel
    • Yellow-throated Marten
    • Island Flying Fox
    • Lesser Mouse Deer
    • Indian Muntjac
    • Sambar
    • Leopard
    • Dhole


    Other Attractions

    Thailand has superb beaches, numerous temples, pagodas and palaces, waterfalls, walking trails, mountain scenery, various local markets, tropical islands, and ocal tribes.


    Where and When to Go


    Nature & Birding Hotspots in Thailand

    Thailand offers a wonderful variety of first class birding sites. Many of these are easy to access and most are found in various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the country. As Thailand is a large country these have been split up regionally.

    Central

    • Khao Yai National Park
    • Sab Sadao
    • Petchburi Salt Pans/Laem Pak Bia/Pak Thale
    • Khok Kham
    • Rangsit Marsh

    Western

    • Kaeng Krachan National Park
    • Mae Wong National Park

    Eastern

    • Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary

    Northen Thailand

    • Doi Inthanon National Park
    • Doi Chiang Dao
    • Doi Angkhang
    • Doi Lang
    • Thaton Marsh
    • Doi Phu Kha National Park
    • Chiang Saen

    Southern Thailand

    • Khao Nor Chu Chi
    • Krabi area
    • Mu Ko Similan National Park
    • Sri Phang Nga National Park
    • Hala Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
    • Khao Sok National Park


    Thailand Birding and Nature Tours

    Rockjumper Birding Tours offer several Thailand tours, from an 18 day Northern & Central Thailand tour to a 13 day Thailand Highlights tour. Consider adding an extension to Southern Thailand.

     


    Thailand Ecolodges/Accommodations

     

    • Morakot Resort – Khao Nor Chu Chi
    • Inthanon Highland Resort – Doi Inthanon
    • Angkhang Nature Resort – Doi Ankhang

     


    Best Time to Go

    The most rewarding time to visit Thailand from a birding point of view is from November to March. This is when many species from further north move into the country. Temperatures are also milder on average with the north becoming quite cool and generally very pleasant. The south is generally warm to hot and humid all year round.


    Visit Thailand