Taiwan was called "Ilha Formosa" or "Beautiful Island" by early Portuguese sailors. Taiwan is indeed an island of amazing beauty. Taiwan (32,260 sq km) straddles the Tropic of Cancer and is situated along the Pacific rim about 160 km off the coast of southern China. The highest mountains in East Asia are found on Taiwan. From tropical lowlands climbing upward to over a hundred mountain peaks higher than 3000m (Highest: Yushan 3952m), Taiwan showcase’s the entire range of climatic zones from tropical to subarctic. Nowhere else in Asia can one find all this in so small an area. With such dramatic landscapes, Taiwan hosts one of the highest levels of biodiversity on the planet. Indeed, the total numbers of flora and fauna species found on Taiwan, with its relatively small land area, are astounding (Taiwan boasts over 46,360 described species of flora and fauna.). More than 520 bird species have been recorded in Taiwan. Amongst these, 17 are full endemic species and found nowhere else. Another 67 are endemic subspecies with the likelihood of about 7 of these subspecies being raised to full endemic status sometime within the near future. Apart from Taiwan's endemics, a number of other rare species migrate to Taiwan. The most famous of these are the Black-faced Spoonbill (winter)and the Fairy Pitta (summer). Also, the spectacular fall raptor migration needs mention, when up to fifty thousand raptors pass through the southern tip of Taiwan in a single day.
More information on Central Taiwan Birder Blog and birding in Taiwan.
A list of Taiwan birding trip reports can be found at the bottom of this page.
Yunlin County is in West-Central Taiwan.; with Chunghua County lying to the north, Chiayi County lying to the south, Nantou County lying to the east; and the Taiwan Strait to the west. The county covers an area of 1291 square kilometers and the climate is sub tropical. The population of Yunlin County is about 735 000 people.
The county extends from the west coast across the flattish western coastal plain to central mountains in the east, with Shihpi-shan (1751m) being the highest point in the county. The Jhuoshuei River forms its northern border and the Beigang River its southern Border.
The county capital is Douliou City, a town with a population of about 90 000 people. Yunlin County’s economy is largely based on agriculture.
The Wild Bird Society of Yunlin
The Wild Bird Society of Yunlin (WBSY) is the local Yunlin County branch of the Wild Bird Federation of Taiwan, which is Birdlife International’s Taiwan partner. The WBSY was established in 1999 and has grown considerably since its founding. The emblem of the WBSY is the Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus. The Black Drongo* Dicrurus macrocercus harterti is an endemic subspecies, which is very common in Yunlin County.
English E-mails to the Wild Bird Society of Yunlin can be sent to the following E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (An English speaking WBSY member)
Birds of Yunlin County
(Malayan Night Heron)
Yunlin County has mountains, forests, rivers, plains, fields, wetlands and seashore, thus a wide range of bird species can be found. The mountains and hills of Yunlin play host to a number of Taiwan’s low to mid elevation birds.
Hills and Mountains
(Taiwan Blue Magpie)
The endemic Taiwan Blue Magpie† Urocissa caerulea can be found in some of the lowland forest areas around Huben and Hushan Villages. Indeed, the hills and forests of the Huben-Hushan area boast six Taiwan endemics. Swinhoe’s Pheasant† Lophura swinhoii; Taiwan Partridge† Arborophila crudigularis; Taiwan Whistling Thrush† Myphonus insularis; Taiwan Blue Magpie† Urocissa caerulea; Steere's Liocichla† Liocichla steerii; and White-eared Sibia† Heterophasia auricularis have all been recorded in that area.
Other interesting birds of the Huben-Hushan area are the Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha (summer); Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus (summer); Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus; Rufous-faced Warbler Abroscopus albogularis; Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonica; White-bellied Yuhina Yuhina zantholeuca; Grey-chinned Minivet Pericrocotus solaris (race griseogularis); Chinese Bamboo Partridge* Bambusicola thoracia(race sonorivox); Maroon Oriole* Oriolus traillii (race ardens); Black-browed Barbet* Megalaima oorti (race nuchalis); Black-naped Blue Monarch* Hypothymis azurea (race oberholseri); White-tailed Robin* Myiomela leucura (race montium); Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler* Pomatorhinus ruficollis (race musicus); Spot-breasted Scimitar Babbler* Pomatorhinus erythrocnemis (race erythrocnemis); Dusky Fulvetta* Alcippe brunnea (race brunnea); Grey-cheeked Fulvetta* Alcippe morrisonia (race morrisonia); Rufous-capped Babbler* Stachyris ruficeps (race praecognita); Black Bulbul* Hypsipetes leucocephalus (race nigerrimus); Light-vented Bulbul* Pycnonotus sinensis (race formosae); Collared Finchbill* Spizixos semitorques (race cinereicapillus); Bronzed Drongo* Dicrurus aeneus (race braunianus); White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata; Grey Treepie* Dendrocitta formosae (race formosae); Barred Buttonquail* Turnix suscitator (race rostratus); Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker* Dendrocopos canicapillus (race kaleensis); Collared Scops Owl* Otus bakkamoena (race glabripes); Emerald Dove* Chalcophaps indica (race formosanus); Crested Serpent Eagle* Spilornis cheela (race hoya); Besra* Accipiter virgatus (race fuscipectus); and Crested Goshawk* Accipiter trivirgatus (race formosae).
The mid elevation mountain areas around Tsaoling and Shihpi are home to the endemic Swinhoe’s Pheasant† Lophura swinhoii; Taiwan Partridge† Arborophila crudigularis; Taiwan Whistling Thrush† Myphonus insularis; Taiwan Yuhina† Yuhina brunneiceps; Taiwan Barwing† Actinodura morrisoniana; Steere’s Liocichla† Liocichla steerii; and White-eared Sibia† Heterophasia auricularis.
Other interesting mid elevation mountain birds are Collared Owlet* Glaucidium brodiei (race pardalotum); Mountain Scops Owl* Otus spilocephalus (race hambroecki); Eurasian Jay* Garrulus glandarius (race taivanus); Vivid Niltava* Niltava vivida (race vivida); White-tailed Robin* Myiomela leucura (race montium); Plumbeous Water Redstart* Rhyacornis fuliginosus (race affinis); Little Forktail* Enicurus scouleri (race fortis); Fire-breasted Flowerpecker* Dicaeum ignipectum (race formosum); Vinaceous Rosefinch* Carpodacus vinaceus (race formosanus); Green-backed Tit* Parus monticolus (race insperatus); Scaly Thrush Zoothera dauma (winter); Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea; Black-throated Tit Aegithalos concinnus; Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos; Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni (winter); Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans; Ferruginous Flycatcher Muscicapa ferruginea (summer); Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus; Striated Prinia Prinia criniger; Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus (passage migrant); and Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea.
(Red Collared Dove)
Much of Yunlin lies on the wide western coastal plain. Much of the plain is agricultural farmland. The coastal plain is very densely populated and much of it has been developed, however there are still a number of birds to be seen. Records include: Vinous-throated Parrotbill* Paradoxornis webbianus (race bulomachus); Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus (winter); Plain Prinia* Prinia inornata (race flavirostris); Yellow-bellied Prinia Prinia flaviventris (race sonitans); Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis; Brown-headed Thrush Turdus chrysolaus (winter); Blue Rock-Thrush Monticola solitarius (race philppensis)(winter but some resident); Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata (winter) (race maura, some guides classify as Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maura); Siberian Rubythroat Luscinia calliope (winter); Dusky Thrush Turdus naumanni (winter); Taiwan Hwamei† Garrulax taewanus; Crested Myna* Acridotheres cristatellus (race formosanus) (numbers of feral and escapee White-vented Myna Acridotheres cinereus & Common Myna Acridotheres tristis are also found in the area); White-cheeked Starling Sturnus cineraceus (winter); Black Drongo* Dicrurus macrocercus (race harterti); Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus (winter); Long-tailed Shrike* Lanius schach (race formosae); Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata; Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus; Black-billed Magpie Pica pica; Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis; Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum (summer); Common Pheasant* Phasianus colchicus (race formosanus); Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis; Spotted Dove* Streptopelia chinensis (race Formosa); Red Collared-Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica; Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus (winter); Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus; White Wagtail Motacilla alba; Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava (winter); Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus (winter); Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica; Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica (summer); Striated Swallow Cecropis striolata (race stanfordi); Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus (race nigrimentalis); Plain Martin Riparia paludicola (race chinensis); House Swift* Apus affinis (race kuntzi) or (A. nipalensis kuntzi); Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis (race stictomus); Light-vented Bulbul* Pycnonotus sinensis (race formosae); Grey Treepie* Dendrocitta formosae (race formosae); and Barred Buttonquail* Turnix suscitator (race rostratus).
Wetlands, Rivers and Shorebirds
Yunlin is bordered by two major rivers and the Taiwan Strait. The Jhuoshuei River forms its northern border and the Beigang River its southern Border. Thus, Yunlin offers birders the opportunity of seeing fair numbers of waterbird.
Species recorded in Yunlin include: Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis; Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo (winter); Grey Heron Ardea cinerea (winter); Great Egret Ardea alba (winter with some resident); Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia (winter); Little Egret Egretta garzetta; Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes (rare passage migrant); Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax; Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus; Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor (winter); Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana (rare passage migrant); Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus (rare passage migrant); Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope (winter); Eurasian Teal Anas crecca (winter); Mallard Anas platyrhynchos (winter); Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha (winter with some resident); Northern Pintail Anas acuta (winter); Garganey Anas querquedula (winter); Northern Shoveler Anas clypeatater (winter); Osprey Pandion haliaetus (winter); Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus; Eastern Marsh-Harrier Circus spilonotus (winter); Slaty-breasted Rail* Gallirallus striatus (race taiwanus); Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca; White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus; Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus; Eurasian Coot Fulica atra (winter); Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis; Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (winter); Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (winter); Gray-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus (rare passage migrant); Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius (winter with some resident); Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus (winter , rare summer); Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus (winter); Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva (winter); Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago (winter); Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus (rare passage migrant); Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (uncommon passage migrant); Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos (winter); Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis (winter); Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola (winter); Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus (passage migrant); Common Redshank Tringa tetanus (winter); Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia (winter); Grey-tailed Tattler Heterosceles brevipes (passage migrant); Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres (winter); Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (winter); Little Curlew Numenius minutus (rare passage migrant); Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata (winter); Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris (common passage migrant); Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis (winter); Dunlin Calidris alpine (winter); Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta (winter); Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminate (passage migrant); Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea (passage migrant); Black-tailed Gull Larus crassirostris (winter); Herring Gull Larus argentatus (winter); Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus (winter); Saunders's Gull Larus saundersi (winter); Caspian Tern Sterna caspia (winter); Little Tern Sterna albifrons (summer with some winter); Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus (winter); White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus (passage migrant); Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis; Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava (winter); and Hoopoe Upupa epops (rare passage migrant).
* denotes an endemic subspecies.
† denotes an endemic species.
Chang, H. et al (2003) Journey into the Depths of Nature, Yunlin County (Shore, Mountain, and Land). Wild Bird Society of Yunlin. (Mandarin)
Collar, N. J. (2004) Endemic Subspecies of Taiwan Birds-Birding Asia No.2, Oriental Bird Club.
MacKinnon, J. (2000) A Field Guide to the Birds of China. Oxford, UK.
TESRI (Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute) (2003) Endemic species. Nantou, Taiwan. (Mandarin)
Wang, J. et al (1991) A Field Guide to the Birds of Taiwan. Taipei, Taiwan. (Mandarin)
Yunlin County Government. (2006) Introduction to Yunlin. http://en.yunlin.gov.tw/index3/en/02govermment/02govermment_01.asp
Birding in the Huben-Hushan Area
Hushan Bird List
Huben Bird Stories
Threatened Birds of the Huben-Hushan area
Fairy Pitta Gallery
Taiwan Bird Books
Wild Bird Society of Taipei
Links to Taiwan Trip Reports
Taiwan: A Birder's Paradise, May 16-30 2008, Albert Low.
Typhoons and Taiwan Endemics-Hanno Stamm
Taiwan Endemics Near Taipei-Mike Kilburn
Taiwan, endemics and spoonbills, Dec 2006-Paul French
Philippines and Taiwan, April 2007-Rich Lindie
The Penghu Islands(Pescadores), Taiwan strait-M B Wilkie
Bee-eaters and Battlefields, Kinmen Island (Quemoy), Taiwan Strait-M B Wilkie
Matsu Islands and the Chinese Crested Tern, Taiwan Strait-M B Wilkie
Birdwatching Trip Reports, Taiwan-Birdtours
Taiwan Trip Reports-Surfbirds
Friday, June 22, 2007
Posted by Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association at 11:36 AM