Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa, or "beautiful island," is situated just 100 miles across the Taiwan Straits from Mainland China. The island is relatively small but its mountains are extremely high, reaching nearly 13,000 feet at Yushan (Jade Mountain). They rise straight out of the sea on the east coast, while the west side of the island is a flat and fertile plain, now mostly developed agriculturally with rice paddies. The population is about 23 million, heavily urbanized, and falling due to emigration. It is the central mountains that contain all but one of Taiwan's 15 endemic birds.

Star attractions include the wonderful Swinhoe's and Mikado pheasants, Taiwan Hill-Partridge, the stunning Flamecrest, Collared Bush-Robin, the rare and declining Styan's Bulbul, the elusive Malay Night-Heron (for which Taipei is one of the best localities), Vinaceous Rosefinch, White-browed (Blue) Shortwing, Alpine Accentor, Scaly Thrush, the rare and distinctive endemic taxon of Island Thrush (which is a likely split), and Eurasian Nutcracker. Many Palearctic migrants also overwinter here, and a good selection may be seen including Red-flanked Bluetail, Pale Thrush, and a wide range of Asian shorebirds.

Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China, is still regarded by Mainland China as a renegade province. The country is not officially recognized by many states, which favor China instead because of its enormous political and economic influence. That said, Taiwan is a safe and friendly place to visit with some rewarding birding and gorgeous mountain scenery. Taroko Gorge and some of the central national parks are candidates for World Heritage listing if political squabbles can be sorted out.

Tourism in Taiwan is in its infancy: overseas visitors are still a bit of a novelty away from the cities. The people are extremely friendly and helpful, and in the cities many understand English. And the Taiwanese people have a cultural reverence for nature, with sightseeing and nature in general as important recreational interests. Join us for a winter tour to this beautiful and seldom-visited island.

Select the KEY INFO tab or click here for our itinerary plus space requests, status, fees, limits, and guides for any departure.

Combo Tours
If you would like a longer birding holiday, some departures of this tour may be combined with:
CAMBODIA: Angkor Temples & Vanishing Birds