Friday, June 22, 2007

Birding in the Huben-Hushan Area


Huben is a recognized Important Bird Area (IBA). Huben(TW017)is listed as an IBA on Birdlife International’s IBA list as an A1 criteria IBA.


The Hu-ben / Hu-shan area is globally the most important breeding area for the migratory Fairy Pitta (Pitta nympha).The global population of this vulnerable species may be as low as 2500-3500 birds, and each summer (late April-August) between 100-140 pairs breed in the area. The Pitta are best viewed from the last week in April through to mid June. Sighting Pitta after the end of June is very difficult. The area has some good low altitude forest and bamboo thickets, thus many of Taiwan's other low altitude forest birds can be seen.

(Fairy Pitta)

Species common in the area are Grey-cheeked Fulvetta; Dusky Fulvetta; Common Kingfisher; Oriental Cuckoo (summer); Spotted Dove; Red Collared Dove; Barred Buttonquail; Arctic Warbler (winter); Rufous-faced Warbler; Rufous-capped Babbler; White-bellied Yuhina; Plain Prinia; Japanese White-eye; Grey Treepie; Black Drongo; Bronzed Drongo; Black-naped Blue Monarch; Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler; Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler; Light-vented Bulbul; Black Bulbul; Collared Finchbill; Black-browed Barbet; Grey-chinned Minivet; Striated Swallow; Pacific Swallow; Brown Shrike (winter); Malayan Night Heron; Crested Serpent Eagle; Crested Goshawk; Besra; Emerald Dove; Chinese Bamboo Partridge; Grey-headed Pygmy Woodpecker; Scaly-breasted Munia; White-rumped Munia; Mountain Scops Owl.

(Malayan Night Heron)

Six Taiwan endemics have been recorded in the area: Taiwan Blue Magpie; Taiwan Partridge; Taiwan Whistling Thrush; Swinhoe's Pheasant and in winter White-eared Sibia and Steere's Liocichla. Striated Prinia and Maroon Oriole are rare residents.

Hu-ben Village is in Yunlin County, Southern West-Central Taiwan. The village is about 10KM north-east of the town of Douliou (Pinyin spelling)/Touliu (Wade Giles spelling). Douliou is just off the No.3 National Highway, and can be reached by train or bus. The village of Hu-ben is about 10km from the Douliou CBD. It's possible to take a taxi from Douliou or Lin-nei to Hu-ben. A good place to bird is the area behind the Tian-sheng Gong Temple. There is a small track on the right of the temple grounds (it is a continuation of the road leading into the temple), and that's where to go. A quiet walk along this track that leads up into the hills should offer encounters with most of the common birds in the area.

(Huben Street)

There is the Fairy Pitta Café & Information Centre, with accommodation in the village. A bed is about NT$350 per night. The telephone number is +886(0)5 5890375, but you'll need to speak Mandarin for them to understand you. Local English speaking help is available through the Wild Bird Society of Yunlin or Birdingpal.

(Crested Serpent Eagle)

Also see:
Birding in Taiwan and Yunlin County
Huben Bird Stories
Threatened Birds of the Huben-Hushan area
Hushan Bird List
Hushan Mammal List
Hushan Frog List
Hushan Reptile List
Endemic Species & Subspecies of Hushan: Mammals, Reptiles & Amphibians
Fairy Pitta Gallery
Fairy Pitta Video
Recently Published Papers on the Fairy Pitta

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