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