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 28 endemic birds, with another 56 subspecies also being endemic.
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), Fairy Pitta (Taiwan is one of the best places to see this rare bird), Taiwan Rosefinch, Taiwan/White-browed Shortwing, Alpine Accentor, the rare and distinctive Taiwan Thrush, and Eurasian Nutcracker. Owls are also a feature, and our 2020 tour as an example saw Himalayan Owl, Mountain and Collared scops-owls, and Northern Boobook. The striking and large White-headed Flying-Squirrel, Reeves's Mutjac, and Taiwan Serow are some of the mammals we might encounter. Many Palearctic migrants also pass through, and we might see a good selection 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 developing well, but 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. Taiwanese people have a cultural reverence for nature, with sightseeing and nature in general as important recreational interests. Join us for a spring tour to this beautiful and seldom-visited island. You may wish to add some personal time for sightseeing before or after the tour.
Select the KEY INFO tab or click here for our itinerary plus space requests, status, fees, limits, and guides for any departure.
If you would like a longer birding holiday, some departures of this tour may be combined with:
JAPAN IN SPRING