Thailand may not be rich in endemic birds, but there are some juicy regional specialties that are most easily seen there. One of these is the Siamese Fireback. This, the national bird of Thailand, is now restricted to just a handful of parks and forest reserves in the country, and it’s not guaranteed to be seen. Or so I thought!
My co-leader, Uthai Treesucon, has a new spot for the fireback that seems to be exceptionally reliable, and we all had our fill of this gorgeous pheasant on our recent Thailand tour after a short walk up the road from our vehicle at this site. It turned out, however, that we hadn’t even needed to walk—since there were two other males back near the parking lot keeping one of our participants, Naomi, company! While enjoying this great bird we managed to steal a few moments for some photos as well, of which I’ve posted one here—what a great bird!
We ended up with almost 500 birds on this tour, and for some participants nearly all of them were lifers as this was their first trip to Asia. The highlights were obviously different for everyone—there were thirty-five ‘favorite’ birds on our tally list at the end of the trip—but this fireback in particular deserved special mention.
[Editor's Note: Dave and Uthai guided our Thailand tour this year, and the pair will return in 2010. Check out Dave's complete 2009 report in PDF file format or visit our Thailand tour page for more information.]