FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS: Thailand 2018
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Field Guides Tour Report
Thailand 2018
Jan 13, 2018 to Feb 3, 2018
Jay VanderGaast & Uthai Treesucon


The Great Hornbill was voted the "Bird of the Trip" over-all, and the favorite of several participants. We had several really good encounters with these magnificent creatures. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Thailand is known as the "Land of Smiles", and it's not difficult to understand why. From the friendly greetings from our supportive ground crew on our arrival at the airport to all the helpful, smiling people along the way, we were made to feel welcome wherever we went. In addition to all these warm smiles we received, there were plenty of things along the way that had us smiling as well. Whether it was a thoughtful touch courtesy of the indefatigable Wat, our incomparable ground agent, or another delectable field meal thanks to Took, Nyung, and Gaio, or our super drivers, Jiang and Pong, ferrying us around safely in those sweet, loaded vans, there was always a reason to smile. And this is not even taking into account the main reason we were in the country to begin with: the birds (and Uthai's intimate knowledge of the country's many species)! And what of those birds? Well, below are just a few of the 400+ amazing birds that had us grinning ear to ear.

Kicking things off in the Bangkok region with a visit to a couple of Wats in the northern reaches of the city, a Yellow Bittern sat out in the open next to a rice paddy, a Spotted Owlet peering sleepily out of a chink in a temple wall, and a pair of Lineated Barbets perched out in a bare tree next to their nest hole got things off to a happy start before we made our way south to the coastal plains. Our days there were peppered with many wonderful birds: an unexpected Spot-billed Pelican, a scurrying Slaty-breasted Rail ducking in and out of cover along a roadside ditch, wonderful studies of several brilliant kingfishers--Collared, Black-capped, White-throated, and Common-- and a trio of scarce Chinese Egrets being bullied by an aggressive Little Egret. But it was the last-minute appearance of an ultra-rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper that elicited the biggest smiles of all, with the smiles of relief from your guides perhaps dwarfing those of the group!

Our first exposure to the rich avifauna of the southeast Asian jungles came next, with a multi-day visit to the expansive forests of Kaeng Krachan National Park. Over our 3 full days in the park, we tallied a wonderful assortment of quintessential SE Asian bird families, from hornbills and barbets, to babblers and broadbills. Among the many standouts here were things like the spectacular Great Hornbill, voted top bird of the trip, Great, Blue-throated, and Blue-eared barbets, the unexpectedly chunky Red-bearded Bee-eater, and a quartet of broadbills, including the scarce Dusky, the lovely Silver-breasted, and strikingly-marked Black-&-yellow. A close Heart-spotted Woodpecker excavating for grubs, a handsome Black-thighed Falconet perched atop a dead snag, the spiky-tailed Ratchet-tailed Treepie, a locally rare Black-eared Shrike-Babbler and a trio of White-browed Scimitar-Babblers in close proximity, and a displaying Crested Goshawk were among the many other birds that ensured the corners of our mouths remained upturned during our visit. Moving on to Khao Yai National Park, there were plenty of other mirth-inducing species to grab our attention. Foremost among these has to be the trio of incredible Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoos at a hide, easily one of the most-wanted species among many a visiting birder to Thailand. The gorgeous male Siberian Blue Robin and Orange-headed Thrush were pretty amazing supporting characters at the hide. Other highlights of our visit here included a pair of huge Greater Eared-Nightjars winging by overhead, calling at dusk, a group of magnificent Silver Pheasants strolling calmly alongside the boardwalk trail, a fruiting tree full of beautiful Thick-billed Pigeons, and a cooperative pair of Banded Broadbills competing for attention with a roadside Indian Elephant. The singing White-handed Gibbons directly over our heads were pretty sweet, too.

Flying north to Chiang Mai was like starting a whole new tour, as the avifauna of the high mountains along the Myanmar border offered up a whole new group of birds, with very little overlap with the southern forests. Here we added names like cutia, minla, yuhina, liocichla, and tesia to our birding vocabulary, while expanding our acquaintance with more familiar families like flycatchers, thrushes, tits, and sunbirds. After a quick trip north of Chiang Mai to meet up with some spectacular Green Peafowl, we began our highland birding at Thailand's highest peak, the wonderful Doi Inthanon. Star birds of the area varied from secretive skulkers like Pygmy Cupwing, Slaty-bellied Tesia, and Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler, to bolder and more brightly-colored birds like gorgeous Yellow-cheeked Tits, charming Yellow-bellied Fairy-Fantails, and stunningly patterned Chestnut-tailed Minlas, and from the subtle beauty of birds like Rufous-winged Fulvetta and Spectacled Barwing to bright and gaudy Black-headed Woodpecker, White-capped Redstart, and Gould's and Green-tailed Sunbirds, Doi Inthanon gave us a superb introduction to the montane specialties of the north.

From Inthanon we moved on to another couple of highland venues, each very different from the other. At the popular and touristy Doi Ang Khang, we added specials like Scarlet-faced Liocichla and Silver-eared Mesia, two brilliantly colored members of the laughingthrush family, plus the local Giant Nuthatch, a restless flock of Striated Yuhinas, handsome Crested Finchbills, quietly beautiful Blue-winged Minlas, and darkly handsome White-tailed Robins. The polar opposite venue of Doi Lang, teeming with birds, but nearly devoid of people, was incredible once again, offering up a marvelous variety of species, including some of the most beautiful and/or rarest of the tour. That last morning's flock alone, with scarce species like Long-tailed and Rufous-backed sibia, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, a party of tiny Black-throated Tits, and a bright male Scarlet Finch, was one of the single most exciting events of the trip, but more regular and expected species from Hume's Pheasant to Ultramarine Flycatcher to Spot-breasted Parrotbill were all welcome sights as well. A trio of Himalayan Cutia weren't to shabby either.

All in all, our 3 weeks in the "Land of Smiles" was a real pleasure, thanks to all the wonderful people I highlighted above, but also due to all of you folks who chose to join us on the trip this year. A better group of travel companions I could not ask for, and I truly enjoyed spending those three weeks touring Thailand with all of you. Your enthusiasm, good humor, and overall compatibility gave me plenty of reasons to smile, too. In fact, thinking back on all the good times is making me smile right now, and I hope reading through this trip list will have you smiling at the memories too. Until we meet again.

--Jay


KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant



Jiang found us this beautiful Banded Kingfisher at KKNP. Photo by participant Greg Vassilopoulos.

BIRDS
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
LESSER WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna javanica) – The only duck we saw with any regularity. Present wherever the habitat was good for ducks, and often in very large numbers.
GARGANEY (Spatula querquedula) – One was scoped as it floated quietly in a shallow pond at Bang Tabun. [b]
INDIAN SPOT-BILLED DUCK (Anas poecilorhyncha) – Not seen until we got to the far north, but then we saw good numbers at the harrier roosting marsh, and a few more at Nong Bong Khai during our final field lunch.
NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta) – Uthai pointed out a lone bird among the whistling-ducks at Bang Tabun, but I think only a couple of people got on it. [b]
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
RUFOUS-THROATED PARTRIDGE (Arborophila rufogularis) – A late afternoon return visit to the summit boardwalk on Doi Inthanon paid off with fine looks at a lone partridge feeding quietly in the bog.
SCALY-BREASTED PARTRIDGE (Arborophila chloropus) – Heard only in the forest at Wat Tham Pha Plong. [*]
GREEN PEAFOWL (Pavo muticus) – One male at the royal project near Chiang Mai dashed away along the track before everyone could see him, but a second male was spotted feeding amongst a flock of Red Junglefowl across the lake. That male was displaying with his tail fully spread, though there were no peahens in evidence. Later in the morning, presumably this same male climbed up into the treetops for a bit of sun before rejoining the junglefowl down below.
GRAY PEACOCK-PHEASANT (Polyplectron bicalcaratum) – Rather quiet this year, and the lone one that called close enough to try for never showed himself. [*]
MOUNTAIN BAMBOO-PARTRIDGE (Bambusicola fytchii) – We were so close, but once again this partridge remained just a voice in the undergrowth on Doi Lang. [*]
RED JUNGLEFOWL (Gallus gallus) – Seen daily at Khao Yai, where they've become reasonably habituated and are fairly easily seen along the roadside. We had a group of 14 a couple of days near one of the camps. Elsewhere these birds were heard at a number of locations.
HUME'S PHEASANT (Syrmaticus humiae) – We only had one, but that was a handsome male coming out to feed on the road at Doi Lang.
SILVER PHEASANT (Lophura nycthemera) – Fantastic encounters with a group of 2 males and 4 females along the boardwalk trail high up in Khao Yai NP.
SIAMESE FIREBACK (Lophura diardi) – A female was seen briefly in the undergrowth along the roadside at Khao Yai, but she hurried off just after we'd spotted here and despite a fair bit of cruising the roads looking for more, we never encountered another.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis) – Quite a few were on various ponds around the KKCC, where at least a couple of pairs had stripy-headed youngsters. Most numerous, though on the lake at Nong Bong Khai non-hunting reserve on our last day. [N]
Ciconiidae (Storks)
ASIAN OPENBILL (Anastomus oscitans) – Numerous in the coastal plains around Bangkok and the gulf, then again at the harrier roost near Chiang Saen.
PAINTED STORK (Mycteria leucocephala) – Though several were seen on our first day in the field, it was that one we scoped at Bang Tabun that really made it clear why this bird is called "painted"!
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LITTLE CORMORANT (Microcarbo niger) – The more common of the two cormorants seen, though there were few of any cormorants after we left the Bangkok region.
INDIAN CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis) – Just a few seen, usually alongside Little cormorants, in the coastal regions south of Bangkok.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ORIENTAL DARTER (Anhinga melanogaster) – For the second consecutive year, and for only the 3rd time since 2004, we had one of these birds at Bang Tabun.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
SPOT-BILLED PELICAN (Pelecanus philippensis) – This may well have been the first ever record of this species on our Thailand tours; it certainly wasn't recorded on any of the past 17 at least. The bird we saw at Bang Tabun had been around for a couple of weeks at the minimum, and I was glad it was still there when we showed up. Boy did it look huge out there compared to the other birds around!


This Banded Broadbill was a treat we found in Khao Yai. Photo by guide Jay Vandergaast.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
YELLOW BITTERN (Ixobrychus sinensis) – It was a pretty good trip for this species. A couple were seen on our first afternoon at Wat Phai Lom, including one on the edge of a rice paddy that allowed us good scope views. The next morning at Rangsit we saw at least 3 more, including another bird (well-found by Richard) that again allowed lengthy scope studies. After that they dried up, though a few folks saw one more at the harrier roosting site in the north.
CINNAMON BITTERN (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus) – Just one bird, flushed from a dense marshy area at Wat Phai Lom, and only a seen by a handful of the us.
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – Small numbers of these large herons, reminiscent of our Great Blue Heron, were at several of the marshes visited.
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea) – Scattered birds at various marshes, but not very numerous anywhere. No matter how many times I see this bird, it never looks at all purple to me!
GREAT EGRET (AUSTRALASIAN) (Ardea alba modesta) – In appropriate habitat throughout.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Ardea intermedia) – In most of the same places as the preceding species. This one, in addition to being smaller than the Great Egret, differs in having the gape line end directly below the eye. In Great Egret, the gape line extends back behind the eye.
CHINESE EGRET (Egretta eulophotes) – A trio of these scarce egrets were feeding in one of the ponds at Pak Thale, where they were being bullied and chased by an aggressive Little Egret.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Common in suitable habitat throughout the tour.
PACIFIC REEF-HERON (Egretta sacra) – A single, dark-morph bird was seen flying out over the water as we walked along the sand spit at Laem Pak Bia.
CATTLE EGRET (EASTERN) (Bubulcus ibis coromandus) – Seen in suitable areas throughout. Most enjoyable was watching the ones that were riding the backs of swimming water buffalo at the harrier roosting site near Chiang Saen.
CHINESE POND-HERON (Ardeola bacchus) – Widespread throughout the country. It's also possible we saw Javan Pond-Heron in the coastal plains, but the two species are essentially inseparable in non-breeding plumage.
STRIATED HERON (OLD WORLD) (Butorides striata javanica) – A few birds in the coastal regions around Bangkok, and a single bird at the Huai Hong Khrai royal project near Chiang Mai.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Julia spotted the only one of the tour, a lone bird roosting in the mangroves during our boat ride at Laem Pak Bia.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
BLACK-HEADED IBIS (Threskiornis melanocephalus) – About half a dozen birds at Bang Tabun, the second year in a row we've seen them there, after having no records of this species on all our previous trips dating back to 2004!

This Heart-spotted Woodpecker was another great spot by our driver, Jiang. Guide Jay Vandergaast got this video of the woodpecker working hard to extract a large grub from the branch.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Our lone bird wasn't actually in Thailand, as it was perched on a dead snag across the Mekong River in Laos.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus caeruleus) – Singles on three days, with the best and closest one being at the Doi Lo rice paddies near Chiang Mai.
ORIENTAL HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis ptilorhynchus) – A dark morph bird doing display flights over river where we stopped for the elephant was perhaps the most satisfying and interesting of our many sightings this trip.
JERDON'S BAZA (Aviceda jerdoni) – My friend's group found this bird perched on the ridge line along the KKNP entrance road, and came to get us so we could se it as well. They were initially unsure of what it was, but we the scope views we had confirmed it as this species, and it was the only one we saw all trip.
BLACK BAZA (Aviceda leuphotes) – The first one at KKCC was perched miles away and though identifiable, was not very satisfying, so it was great to find a much closer perched bird in the dry dipterocarp forest at the base of Doi Inthanon. What a handsome bird!
CRESTED SERPENT-EAGLE (Spilornis cheela) – Not many around this trip, but we had a few good looks, including scope views of a perched bird near the stream crossings at KKNP.
RUFOUS-BELLIED EAGLE (Lophotriorchis kienerii) – A bird that flew over at Khao Yai probably would have been unidentified if up to me, but Uthai saw it well enough to identify it as this species. Definitely a BVD (Better View Desired)!
GREATER SPOTTED EAGLE (Clanga clanga) – A fairly distant one of these large dark eagles was circling over some rice paddies during a roadside coffee stop en route from Kaeng Krachan to the coast. [b]
RUFOUS-WINGED BUZZARD (Butastur liventer) – Just a couple of birds in the north, including a perched bird we scoped when we stopped for a look at a pair of soaring raptors on our way north from Doi Inthanon.
EASTERN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus spilonotus) – Besides a lone bird soaring among a group of openbills on our first afternoon at Wat Phai Lom, all our records came from the harrier roost site near Chiang Saen. This was the less numerous of the harriers, but we still estimated about 50 of them here. [b]
PIED HARRIER (Circus melanoleucos) – The view of that male soaring right past the restaurant as we ate lunch overlooking the rice paddies was simply breathtaking, and would have been plenty of it were the only one we were to see on the trip. But seeing an estimated (perhaps underestimated) 150 of these striking birds, many of them adult males, at the harrier roost was absolutely amazing! [b]
CRESTED GOSHAWK (Accipiter trivirgatus) – After a down year last year, these were back in good numbers at KKNP and Khao Yai, particularly, and we had many good views, which included both display flights and excellent scope views of a bird at the KKNP lower campground. The crest isn't all that conspicuous, but with the views we had, we could easily see that small tuft of feathers that lend the bird its name.


Lunch! We were treated to so many wonderful lunches in the field on this tour. Photo by participant Greg Vassilopoulos.

SHIKRA (Accipiter badius) – Sort of the default Accipiter in much of the country, it seems, and we had scattered records of them from our first afternoon (at Wat Thian Thawai) through to the north.
BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans) – Mainly in the south, especially at the Pak Phli paddies south of Khao Yai, but we also noted a few in the Doi Lo paddies near Chiang Mai.
BRAHMINY KITE (Haliastur indus) – Seen daily in the coastal floodplain on the first 3 days of the tour, but none thereafter.
EASTERN BUZZARD (Buteo japonicus japonicus) – As split from Common Buzzard. We saw one at the bat cave near Khao Yai, where it seems to be a scarce visitor, then several more in the north, including a couple of birds circling low over the roadside on our way north from Doi Inthanon. [b]
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
SLATY-BREASTED RAIL (Gallirallus striatus) – One darted along the edge of the dense vegetation along a canal at Laem Pak Bia, in the fading light of late afternoon, where it was a bit tricky to pick out. Unfortunately not everyone saw it before it ducked back undercover.
WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN (Amaurornis phoenicurus) – We had several good sightings of these striking rails, but the most memorable were those seen from the tower at Mr. T's, which included one bird perched up in the top of a good-sized tree.
WHITE-BROWED CRAKE (Amaurornis cinerea) – We were about to make our escape from Rangsit marsh when I spotted one of these small crakes traipsing across the floating vegetation on an overgrown pond we were starting to walk away from. It was soon joined by a second bird and the two gave everyone ample time to enjoy them. The 4 birds we saw a few days later on another pond near the coast were gravy.
RUDDY-BREASTED CRAKE (Zapornia fusca) – Heard a couple of places, and we were close at Rangsit, but no visuals. [*]
BLACK-TAILED CRAKE (Zapornia bicolor) – Pretty distantly at the regular spot on Doi Inthanon. [*]
GRAY-HEADED SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio poliocephalus) – We debated the species at Rangsit for a bit, at least until one showed up on the trail and was obviously this one! Seems unclear as to whether Black-backed might also occur there. Purple Swamphen was split into several species a few years ago,with these two forms both in Thailand. Up north, only Gray-headed occurs, so the many birds around Chiang Saen caused no such debate.
EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus) – Just a few scattered birds on several marshes.
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra) – A single bird was at the harrier roost site, then a couple of hundred the next day on the lake at Nong Bong Khai. [b]
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
INDIAN THICK-KNEE (Burhinus indicus) – Jiang did the honors of walking around through the tall grass to push these birds out to where we could see them. We wound up with excellent fly-bys from half a dozen birds. A fairly recent split from Eurasian Thick-knee.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – First seen in the salt pans behind the yummy Lukpla Restaurant on the coast. Quite common along the coast, but we only had a single bird in the north.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – Up to a dozen or so along the coast. [b]
PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis fulva) – Both on the mudflats and in freshwater areas along the coast south of Bangkok. [b]
GRAY-HEADED LAPWING (Vanellus cinereus) – Quite a few in various rice paddies in the north. The Mae Ngat Paddies had the most, with a count of at least 61 there. [b]
RED-WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus indicus atronuchalis) – This common species was seen almost daily in the south, but once we headed north the sightings all but dried up.
LESSER SAND-PLOVER (Charadrius mongolus) – Both sand-plovers were quite numerous along the coast, and we had some good side by side comparisons. [b]
GREATER SAND-PLOVER (Charadrius leschenaultii) – This is the larger of the two sand-plovers, of course, but it also has paler legs, as Uthai pointed out. Good to have a non-size character to aide in separating these two. [b]
MALAYSIAN PLOVER (Charadrius peronii) – Quite a scarce and local species. We had great views of our only ones on the Laem Pak Bia sand spit.
KENTISH PLOVER (KENTISH) (Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus) – The full white collar on these helps sort them out from the somewhat similar sand-plovers. [b]
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius dubius) – A wintering species along the coast, where we had a lone bird at Laem Pak Bia. The several we saw at the Doi Lo paddies and Mae Tang Irrigation Project were all in breeding plumage, and are part of a resident breeding population.


Participant Greg Vassilopoulis shot this sunrise as we walked out on the salt ponds.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)
PHEASANT-TAILED JACANA (Hydrophasianus chirurgus) – In non-breeding plumage at this time of year, and lacking the long tail plumes, though still a handsome bird. We had one at Bang Tabun, then a couple of distant ones at the harrier roost.
BRONZE-WINGED JACANA (Metopidius indicus) – We had a few records of this handsome jacana, beginning with a trio seen nicely at Rangsit.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (SIBERIAN) (Numenius phaeopus variegatus) – Just three birds at Pak Thale, then a couple more on the Laem Pak Bia sand spit. [b]
EURASIAN CURLEW (Numenius arquata) – A huge flock of these birds were at Pak Thale. There were certainly a few Far Eastern Curlews mixed in, but the lighting conditions weren't really helpful in trying to pick them out. [b]
BAR-TAILED GODWIT (SIBERIAN) (Limosa lapponica baueri) – The plain-winged godwit species. This was the less numerous of the two species. [b]
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (MELANUROIDES) (Limosa limosa melanuroides) – Good numbers of this striking godwit were seen at the coastal shorebird sites. [b]
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – Still pretty striking despite the winter plumage. We had a couple at Pak Thale. [b]
GREAT KNOT (Calidris tenuirostris) – Some huge flocks at Laem Pak Bia. [b]
RUFF (Calidris pugnax) – Never numerous, but we had up to 8 at Laem Pak Bia including a couple feeding nice and close to the road. [b]
BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER (Calidris falcinellus) – Once you learn the shape of this distinctive species, it becomes pretty easy to pick out from among the other shorebirds. We had good numbers at Pak Thale. [b]
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) – Quite a few, with a single bird still pretty much in breeding plumage. I wonder if it could be the same individual that was here last year? [b]
LONG-TOED STINT (Calidris subminuta) – Browner and more patterned than the other similar-sized peeps. We had a fair number at Pak Thale. [b]
SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPER (Calidris pygmea) – We put in a lot of effort over two days to find this bird with no success. Then, after giving up and going for lunch, Uthai received a call from some friends that had just located a bird. With lunch finished, we raced back out to Pak Thale, and were soon enjoying great scope views of this extremely rare shorebird! I never again want to come so close to missing this species. [b]
RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis) – Common at the shorebird sites, [b]
SANDERLING (Calidris alba) – Just a handful of these were among the big crowds of stints and san-plovers at Pak Thale. [b]
ASIAN DOWITCHER (Limnodromus semipalmatus) – Another fairly scarce shorebird, and we were lucky to pick out a lone bird among the big flocks of other species at Laem Pak Bia. [b]


This Spoon-billed Sandpiper (middle) was almost a no-show, but we got word of its presence while we were at lunch, and we ran out in time to see it on the flats at Pak Thale. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

COMMON SNIPE (Gallinago gallinago) – A couple of birds at Bang Tabun and a handful at Nong Bong Khai. Easily distinguished from the next species by the white trailing edge to the wings. [b]
PIN-TAILED SNIPE (Gallinago stenura) – Uthai put up a couple of these by walking the bunds between some rice paddies north of Chiang Mai. [b]
TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus) – One of the more distinctive shorebird species present along the coast. We had three birds on each of our two days there. [b]
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus) – Penny picked this one out at Laem Pak Bia as we searched for the Spoon-billed SP. When we did catch up with the Spoon-billed, a couple of phalaropes were right there with it. [b]
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – Small numbers along the coast, but generally away from the big flocks out on the mudflats. We also had a single one up north. [b]
GREEN SANDPIPER (Tringa ochropus) – A lone bird alongside a Common Sandpiper at the Mae Tang Irrigation Project. [b]
SPOTTED REDSHANK (Tringa erythropus) – The more numerous of the two redshanks along the coast. [b]
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – There didn't seem to be a huge number of these around at Laem Pak Bia, but there were a few small groups. Too bad we were unable to track down a Nordmann's among them. [b]
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis) – These dainty, long-legged sandpipers were well-represented along the coast. [b]
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – This species seems to avoid the coastal mudflats, but we found a bunch at Bang Tabun and encountered them regularly in rice paddies up north. [b]
COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus) – Small numbers along the coast, where the big white wedge they show in flight makes them pretty easy to pick out. [b]
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
SLENDER-BILLED GULL (Chroicocephalus genei) – For the second straight year we had one of these scarce visitors at Laem Pak Bia. The wing pattern as it flew right alongside the van made it stick out from the usual Brown-headed Gulls, and when it landed nearby, it gave us an excellent look at its lone slender bill as well. [b]
BROWN-HEADED GULL (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus) – Numerous along the coast, where it is the default gull as the only regularly occurring species. [b]
LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons) – A few of these tiny terns were at Pak Thale.
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) – Good numbers at Pak Thale.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia) – Numerous at Pak Thale.
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) – Numerous at marshes along the coast.
COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo) – Quite a few among the other terns at Pak Thale. [b]
GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii) – About 20 of these were on the Laem Pak Bia sand spit.


Here's our group looking (and listening!) for owls. Photo by participant Greg Vassilopoulos.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Cities and towns throughout. [I]
SPECKLED WOOD-PIGEON (Columba hodgsonii) – About 7 birds flew up into their regular roosting tree on Doi Inthanon right on cue, but they didn't stay long enough for everyone to cycle through for scope views. Not sure why they took off so quickly.
ASHY WOOD-PIGEON (Columba pulchricollis) – It took a visit to the men's urinals on Doi Inthanon to get some incredible views of this handsome pigeon, but the women in the group were up to it, much to the surprise of some of the men at the toilets! I think they were more amused then anything at all the women with binoculars who turned up there!
ORIENTAL TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia orientalis) – Wonderful views of a couple of these beautifully-patterned doves as they came to feed at the Hume's Pheasant stakeout site on Doi Lang.
RED COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia tranquebarica) – Numerous at a few sites in the south, though we seemingly left them behind when we flew north to Chiang Mai.
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) – A common and widespread species that we saw most days.
BARRED CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia unchall) – A couple of birds up at the military checkpoint at Khao Yai weren't as cooperative as we would have liked, but the flyby views were pretty good.
LITTLE CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia ruficeps) – Danette gets the credit for finding this scarce species in a fruiting Macaranga tree across from our picnic lunch spot at the upper camp at KKNP. This is the second year in a row we've found this species here after several years with no sightings.
ASIAN EMERALD DOVE (Chalcophaps indica) – A real beauty, and we enjoyed some excellent views of several birds on the road as we descended from the upper camp at KKNP.
ZEBRA DOVE (Geopelia striata) – Though the book calls this Peaceful Dove, this is the correct name for the birds found here in Thailand. We had them regularly in open country throughout the tour.
PINK-NECKED PIGEON (Treron vernans) – Wonderful views of about a dozen of these colorful pigeons at Rangsit Marsh were the only ones for the tour. Note that the "Green" has been dropped from the names of all these Treron pigeons.
THICK-BILLED PIGEON (Treron curvirostra) – The most often-seen Treron of the tour. We had especially good looks at some in a fruiting tree near our lunch spot at Khao Yai. You really get to appreciate all the subtle colors of these lovely birds when you get that kind of look!
YELLOW-VENTED PIGEON (Treron seimundi) – A rare bird here, and we were lucky to get pretty good looks at a couple in fruiting trees up near the upper camp at KKNP.


This Long-tailed Broadbill was another favorite bird. We got great views, and this photo by guide Jay Vandergaast shows why this group is called "broadbills".

PIN-TAILED PIGEON (Treron apicauda) – A flock of 15-20 of these whizzed by just as we were about to leave Wat Than Pha Plong.
WEDGE-TAILED PIGEON (Treron sphenurus) – About 12-15 of these were seen nicely along the Mae Chaem Road at Doi Inthanon.
MOUNTAIN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula badia) – Seen regularly in the forested mountains from KKNP on up to Doi Lang. Our drivers even showed us a nest they found near the upper camp at KKNP. [N]
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
CORAL-BILLED GROUND-CUCKOO (Carpococcyx renauldi) – It's been several years now since this mega-species has been gettable at Khao Yai, so I was thrilled to hear that there were several visiting a baiting area near one of the campgrounds, and we made arrangements to get there early one morning. I admit that I was pretty steamed, though, when we arrived at the hide our crew had set up to find that some big shots had plunked their photography hides right in front of ours. Well, I needn't have worried, as the birds (3 of them!) came out despite the big group and the fact that we had to move around a lot to get everyone a view. The end result was lengthy, fantastic looks at this legendary bird. Easily my top bird of the trip!
GREATER COUCAL (Centropus sinensis) – A widespread species, and the commoner of the two coucals. We had quite a few good views, beginning with one that strolled out onto the track at Rangsit while our first Lesser Coucal was still in view.
LESSER COUCAL (Centropus bengalensis) – For most of us the one at Rangsit was the only one we saw, though at least a couple of folks also had one at the harrier roosting site.
GREEN-BILLED MALKOHA (Phaenicophaeus tristis) – The only malkoha that is not restricted to KKNP on this tour route, and usually the only species we see. We had these huge cuckoos at several sites, but our best views were probably of those ones with a bird wave along the Green Hill Road at Khao Yai.
ASIAN KOEL (Eudynamys scolopaceus) – Heard very nearly every day, though not often seen. Most easily seen on the grounds of our Bangkok hotel, where several birds were vocal and active.
ASIAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx maculatus) – A gorgeous female was a nice surprise on the grounds of the Rama Gardens during that impromptu outing on our first morning. Siewlin had missed that first morning walk, so luckily for her we found another cooperative female later in the trip, at Doi Inthanon.
VIOLET CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus) – Greg found our only one, a female, during a bathroom stop at the lower camp at KKNP, but it vanished before everyone was in place to see it, and we were unable to relocate it.
BANDED BAY CUCKOO (Cacomantis sonneratii) – Heard at several places, but our only sighting was at KKNP, where we had scope views of one along the main road into the park.
PLAINTIVE CUCKOO (Cacomantis merulinus) – Good views of a few around Bangkok, including on the grounds of the Rama Gardens. We ran into this species again late in the tour, as a couple of birds were present at the harrier roosting marsh.
SQUARE-TAILED DRONGO-CUCKOO (Surniculus lugubris) – Heard only in the dry dipterocarp forest at the base of Doi Inthanon. Formerly called Drongo-Cuckoo, but not split into a couple of species. This is apparently the only from found here in Thailand. [*]
MOUSTACHED HAWK-CUCKOO (Hierococcyx vagans) – Kaeng Krachan NP is at the northern limit of this species' range in Thailand, and it must be rare there, as this bird has never been seen on our tours here before. We had a responsive one in the upper part of the park, and though not everyone got to see it perched, we all had super looks of it in flight when it burst out of the trees right in front of us and flew just over our heads and across the road!
LARGE HAWK-CUCKOO (Hierococcyx sparverioides) – The people in the first truck saw this bird on two consecutive days during the descent from the upper camp at KKNP. Both times the bird was perched on the exact same spot over the road, and flushed as the first truck passed. The following day, we had long scope views of a perched juvenile along the entrance road.
Strigidae (Owls)
MOUNTAIN SCOPS-OWL (Otus spilocephalus) – Heard distantly at Doi Ang Khang. [*]
COLLARED SCOPS-OWL (Otus lettia) – Our owling night at KKCC was a quick success, as this was our main target, and we found one calling right behind our cabins. It took a little time to track it down, but we would up with some superb views. And we weren't even late for dinner!
ORIENTAL SCOPS-OWL (WALDEN'S) (Otus sunia modestus) – These birds took a while to warm up, then a bit longer to settle down, but we ultimately had awesome looks at a calling bird in the dry forest near our hotel at Doi Inthanon. This one did make us a little late for dinner.
COLLARED OWLET (Glaucidium brodiei brodiei) – The calls of this small owl should be etched in your mind after this trip. Sadly, the image of it won't be, as we just couldn't track one down despite hearing a bunch, especially at Khao Yai, where we heard them daily. [*]


Some of the amazing buildings and ornamentation at Mae Chaem. Photo by participant Greg Vassilopoulos.

ASIAN BARRED OWLET (Glaucidium cuculoides) – This wasn't the owl we were looking for near our Khao Yai area hotel, but it saved us a fair bit of trouble when Danette spotted a pair of them sitting in a dead tree at dusk!
SPOTTED OWLET (Athene brama) – Our very first owl, this one was in its usual day roost within one of the temple buildings at Wat Thian Thawai.
BROWN WOOD-OWL (Strix leptogrammica) – Our nocturnal outing at Doi Ang Khang was proving pretty frustrating, and we were just about to give up and head back to the hotel when I heard one of these large owls calling just up the road from where we were parked. A short while later we had tracked him down to his song perch, and had wonderful views of him hooting repeatedly. He may have still been there, hooting, when we got back to our hotel rooms a short while later.
BROWN BOOBOOK (Ninox scutulata) – This was the species we were trying for near our Khao Yai hotel, and shortly after seeing the Asian Barred Owlets, we found a pair of these owls perched at the top of another dead tree, where they allowed great scope views. Formerly called Brown Hawk Owl, but many of these Ninox owls have now been renamed as boobooks.
Podargidae (Frogmouths)
HODGSON'S FROGMOUTH (Batrachostomus hodgsoni) – We heard these several times, both in before and after dark, both at Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang, but their cryptic plumage worked well for them this trip, and we were never able to locate one. [*]
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
GREAT EARED-NIGHTJAR (Lyncornis macrotis) – A pair of these massive nightjars gave us a wonderful show as they flew past us, calling, at dusk one evening near our Khao Yai hotel.
LARGE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus macrurus) – A distant one was heard at the same spot we saw the next species and the Oriental Scops-owls. [*]
INDIAN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus asiaticus) – One bird flew over us a couple of times, calling, at our owling site near Doi inthanon.
Apodidae (Swifts)
BROWN-BACKED NEEDLETAIL (Hirundapus giganteus) – A few of these chunky swifts flew overhead as we birded near the stream crossings at KKNP.
HIMALAYAN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus brevirostris) – The widespread small swift of upland areas from KKNP to Doi Ang Khang.
GERMAIN'S SWIFTLET (Aerodramus germani) – The small swiftlet of the coastal plains around Bangkok.
COOK'S SWIFT (Apus cooki) – The large dark swift with the white rump band that we saw in some large flocks on Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang. One of several forms split off from the former Fork-tailed Swift.
HOUSE SWIFT (Apus nipalensis) – Much darker than the other small swifts that occur with it (Germain's, Asian Palm) and with a very contrasting white rump. We saw some around the grounds of the Rama Gardens, and again at Khao Yai.


Spot-breasted Parrotbills put on a real show for us at Doi Lang. Look for a video of a singing bird further down in this list. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

ASIAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus balasiensis) – The most oft-recorded swift of the tour, often around palm trees, as their name suggests.
Hemiprocnidae (Treeswifts)
CRESTED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne coronata) – Uthai spotted one from the vans as we headed north from Doi Inthanon. Though it unfortunately flew off of the power line just as we got out of the vans, it did fly around for a bit so we at least all got to see its distinctive flight shape.
GRAY-RUMPED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne longipennis) – Apparently this species has been declining a KKNP, so it was great to find several of them along the lower stretches of the road to the upper camp. Better still to have them perch right overhead in some bare branches!
Trogonidae (Trogons)
RED-HEADED TROGON (Harpactes erythrocephalus) – Neither trogon was especially cooperative this trip, but as usual, this one was harder to see than Orange-breasted. We had single males once each at Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, but neither bird stuck around for very long.
ORANGE-BREASTED TROGON (Harpactes oreskios) – This trogon proved more elusive than usual, and our views were limited, though we had a couple of sightings at both Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai.
Upupidae (Hoopoes)
EURASIAN HOOPOE (Upupa epops) – A pair of these wonderful birds were trundling around on the ground next to the roadway, just as we were about to leave KKCC for the last time. We had great looks at them, though I finally got out of the van and chased them off when one bird began to stroll too close to a very alert cat.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
GREAT HORNBILL (Buceros bicornis) – Paul and Danette both chose this as their favorite bird of the trip, and a handful of other votes made this the overall trip favorite. Hard to argue with that, as this is a truly impressive bird, and the numerous views we had, including of a pair in a close fruiting tree at the upper camp at KKNP, were pretty hard to beat.
RUSTY-CHEEKED HORNBILL (Anorrhinus tickelli) – We ran into this species a couple of times at Kaeng Krachan, 9 birds on one day, 5 on another, and though they were pretty wary, we wound up with some excellent looks at them. This is a recent split from Brown Hornbill, which also occurs in Thailand, as a rare resident in Khao Yai NP.
ORIENTAL PIED-HORNBILL (Anthracoceros albirostris) – The most commonly seen hornbill in both Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai national parks, where we saw them daily.
WREATHED HORNBILL (Rhyticeros undulatus) – Another large, impressive hornbill. We saw two pairs of this rather scarce hornbill one day at Khao Yai.
PLAIN-POUCHED HORNBILL (Rhyticeros subruficollis) – Had it not been for Jiang's photographs of this bird in the upper reaches of KKNP, we would have passed it off as a Wreathed Hornbill. The two species are very similar, but the pictures clearly showed that this bird lacked the corrugations on the bill that a Wreathed would have shown. This is a rare species in the park, and this was only the second time we've recorded it one one of our Thailand tours.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
COMMON KINGFISHER (Alcedo atthis) – We saw single birds on a number of days throughout the trip, which included a couple of good scope views of these always stunning birds.
BANDED KINGFISHER (Lacedo pulchella) – It took a long time to lure in a distantly calling bird at KKNP, but eventually the calls came from nearby enough for us to track down. And it was Jiang that finally found the bird, a fine male, sitting quietly in the subcanopy, where it remained long enough for all of us to enjoy long scope views.
WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER (Halcyon smyrnensis) – The most often seen kingfisher, which we recorded pretty much anywhere the habitat was suitable. Perhaps the most memorable view came at the Royal Project near Chiang Mai. Those views of that bird perched out in the early morning light, its turquoise back glowing brilliantly in the sunshine, were nothing short of stunning!
BLACK-CAPPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon pileata) – A common wintering bird in the south of the country, where we had plenty of superb views of this gorgeous kingfisher. [b]
COLLARED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus chloris) – A real coastal specialist, and all our records came from the Laem Pak Bia region, where they were quite common along the watercourses.


We saw Coppersmith Barbet in many locations. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
RED-BEARDED BEE-EATER (Nyctyornis amictus) – For anyone already familiar with the "typical" bee-eaters, this bird always comes as a surprise as it is a much bigger, stockier bird than the Merops species. We had super looks at our only one along the roadside in the upper section of KKNP. This was Greg's top pick as bird of the trip.
BLUE-BEARDED BEE-EATER (Nyctyornis athertoni) – Just as large and stocky as its congener, though far more widespread in the country. Again we had just one, but that bird showed brilliantly from the tower at Inthanon Nest.
GREEN BEE-EATER (Merops orientalis) – Can be a gregarious species, though we never saw more than 4 or 5 together. We had several records of these birds at a scattering of localities, with the ones seen from the tower at Inthanon Nest perhaps ranking as our best.
BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops philippinus) – Mainly a bird of open country, this species first showed up on our first afternoon at Wat Thian Thawai, then made further appearances at several other sites, mainly in the Bangkok region.
CHESTNUT-HEADED BEE-EATER (Merops leschenaulti) – We ran into this colorful little bee-eater on a number of days, beginning at KKNP, though as with a couple of other species, some of our best views came while we birded from the tower at Inthanon Nest.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
INDIAN ROLLER (Coracias benghalensis) – As we noted on several occasions, this is a much darker bird than is depicted in the book. But when they open their wings and fly, wow are they ever brilliant!
DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis) – Single birds on two days in KKNP were all we were able to muster this trip.
Megalaimidae (Asian Barbets)
COPPERSMITH BARBET (Psilopogon haemacephalus) – A widespread and familiar bird of disturbed habitats throughout the country. We first made the acquaintance of this charming bird on the grounds of the Rama Gardens.
BLUE-EARED BARBET (Psilopogon duvaucelii) – Like most of the barbets, a very vocal species, even in the heat of the day. We heard this one often from KKNP right up to Doi Inthanon, and we had a few good sightings, too, including a fine study of a calling bird at the upper camp in KKNP, as we waited for the VIPs to arrive so we could start down the road.
GREAT BARBET (Psilopogon virens) – The largest of Thailand's Barbets, this species was heard often, but our only looks came at KKNP, where, as with the above species, we had super views of a group of them while we waited for the VIPs to arrive.
RED-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon mystacophanos) – Found only in the upper parts of KKNP on our tour route, and even there it is uncommon. We heard one calling beyond the upper camp one day, but, though we could see the tree it was calling from, we never saw so much as a feather. [*]
GREEN-EARED BARBET (Psilopogon faiostrictus) – First seen along the entrance road to KKNP where we had fine looks through the scope one afternoon. Similarly good views were had at Khao Yai a couple of times.

Participant Paul Kittle contributed this video of the elephant that tried to distract us from the birds at Khao Yai.
LINEATED BARBET (Psilopogon lineatus) – A widespread species of dry forests throughout. We first saw this one near Bangkok, where we had scope views of a pair that appeared to be working on a nest hole at Wat Phai Lom.
GOLDEN-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon franklinii) – Tough this year, and our only sighting was of a pair of birds teed up in tall tree on Doi Inthanon, though they didn't sit there for long.
MOUSTACHED BARBET (Psilopogon incognitus) – Aside from a single one seen at KKNP, all our sightings came at Khao Yai, where they were common. Best was a close bird below eye level from the viewpoint along the SIlver Pheasant trail.
BLUE-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon asiaticus) – Common at KKNP, where we saw and heard plenty. We also heard and saw a few at several sites up north.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
GRAY-CAPPED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos canicapillus) – This woodpecker is a bit exceptional in Thailand, as it is fairly easy to see in comparison to most. We had this small species (which used to be called Gray-capped Pygmy Woodpecker) several times in the mountains of the north.
FRECKLE-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos analis) – It's been a number of years since we've recorded this species on tour. In fact, this is the first time since the species was split and the name changed from Fulvous-breasted. We had great views of a pair in the Nam Kham Nature Reserve near Chiang Saen.
STRIPE-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos atratus) – Often found together with the Gray-capped Woodpecker, this species is larger and has obvious red undertail coverts that easily separate it. We saw this one regularly in the northern mountains.
CRIMSON-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Dendrocopos cathpharius) – A very birdy morning near the top of Doi Lang gave us great looks at a number of rarely seen species, including excellent scope studies of a male of this scarce woodpecker.
LESSER YELLOWNAPE (Picus chlorolophus) – Our only one was a close, gorgeous male, at the same time and place as out Crimson-breasted Woodpecker.
GREATER YELLOWNAPE (Picus flavinucha) – We also saw only one of these handsome woodpeckers. Danette spotted a male sitting in a distant, dead tree along the KKNP entrance road, and the scope views were fantastic!
LACED WOODPECKER (Picus vittatus) – We saw just two of these, in two different parts of Khao Yai NP on the same day, and both of them were found by Paul. This one can be rather shy, so it was a bit surprising that both of them gave us fine views.
BLACK-HEADED WOODPECKER (Picus erythropygius) – We only had one encounter with this stunning woodpecker, in the dry dipterocarp forest at the base of Doi Inthanon, and though they were a bit far away, the views through the scope were pretty awesome.
COMMON FLAMEBACK (Dinopium javanense) – The two flamebacks are best separated by the eye color and pattern on the back of the neck. This species has a dark eye, and the back of the neck is black in the center, with white on either side. The Greater Flameback has a pale eye and the opposite neck pattern. Seeing both species side by side along the KKNP entrance road gave us a good chance to practice sorting them out.


Wat and Kaew, who made sure that we were so well taken care of! Photo by participant Greg Vassilopoulos.

BAMBOO WOODPECKER (Gecinulus viridis) – Two pairs in bamboo patches along the lower parts of the road into Khao Yai eventually cooperated enough for all of us to get good looks at both sexes.
RUFOUS WOODPECKER (Micropternus brachyurus) – A calling bird way below us in the valley on Doi Inthanon seemed to not want to move closer, though our drivers saw them after we'd given up and walked down the road. [*]
GREATER FLAMEBACK (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus) – A trio of these showed beautifully as they worked over a dead tree along the KKNP entrance road.
BAY WOODPECKER (Blythipicus pyrrhotis) – A common but often tough to see woodpecker, this one actually performed quite well on Doi Inthanon, with the pair flying over several times. On the first pass, the bird was so low and close that binoculars were barely needed!
HEART-SPOTTED WOODPECKER (Hemicircus canente) – Our driver, Jiang, came through again, spotting this fabulous little woodpecker along the entrance road at KKNP. We hurried back to where he'd seen it, and had incredibly close views as it hammered on a small dead branch below eye lever, right next to the road. After considerable time and effort, it finally pulled out a large grub and flew off with it in its beak, presumably headed off to feed some hungry nestlings.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
COLLARED FALCONET (Microhierax caerulescens) – These handsome little falcons always impress me. You start out seeing one or two perched in a dead tree, and while you're watching, suddenly there's 3, then 4, then 5 of them all together, and you never see where the extra ones come from! We had fun watching this unfold in the dipterocarp forest near the base of Doi Inthanon.
BLACK-THIGHED FALCONET (Microhierax fringillarius) – That first one on our way up to the upper camp at KKNOP for the first time gave us incredible scope views. So good, in fact, that the pair we found later along the entrance road didn't generate the kid of interest they usually do.
EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus) – Single birds on several days beginning with one of the Rama Gardens hotel grounds on our first morning. [b]
ORIENTAL HOBBY (Falco severus) – About half the group saw this one zip by overhead near the upper camp at KKNP.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – Several were seen, including one that flushed all the shorebirds at Pak Thale just as we were starting to sort through them for Spoon-billed Sandpipers. Best view though was of a perched bird on a cell tower outside our lunch restaurant on the day we left Khao Yai NP. Any of several races could have been seen, but I suspect the perched bird, at least, may have been japanensis, a winter resident here. If anyone got a photo of this bird, it would be helpful to see it and confirm the race. [b]
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
BLOSSOM-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula roseata) – Mr T's tower at Inthanon Nest is the place to see these lovely parakeets. We had somewhere in the vicinity of 15-20 of them teed up in bare trees around the tower platform.
RED-BREASTED PARAKEET (Psittacula alexandri) – The flowering tree in the parking lot of our Khao Yai hotel is a good spot for this one, and we had some excellent looks at a few in the early morning after having missed them the night before at an area where they stage before going to roost for the night.
VERNAL HANGING-PARROT (Loriculus vernalis) – A common bird at both Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, but not always easy to see, as they are generally recorded as fast-flying green spots zipping by overhead. Still, we had a number of good scope views of these tiny parrots.
Eurylaimidae (Asian and Grauer's Broadbills)
LONG-TAILED BROADBILL (Psarisomus dalhousiae) – The runner-up in bird of the trip voting. This stunning broadbill was heard as we birded the Silver Pheasant trail at Khao Yai, and a walk up the road eventually netted us incredible scope views of a couple perched in a roadside tree. Julia, Siewlin, and Tom all chose this as their favorite bird of the tour.
SILVER-BREASTED BROADBILL (Serilophus lunatus) – The field guide really doesn't do this bird justice. When seen in good light, the colors are amazing. We had outstanding views of a trio in the lower part of KKNP, and they were simply exquisite.
BANDED BROADBILL (Eurylaimus javanicus) – A pair of these showed up as we were drinking in the Silver-breasted Broadbills, and though they were close, only a few of us saw them before they moved off out of sight. Luckily, we found another pair in Khao Yai, and despite the best efforts of a nearby elephant to distract us, we remained focused and had some super scope views.
BLACK-AND-YELLOW BROADBILL (Eurylaimus ochromalus) – The final bird in a string of good sightings in the upper reaches of KKNP, this broadbill appeared quietly at eye level, right in front of us, just after our encounters with Plain-pouched Hornbill and Moustached Hawk-Cuckoo. This bird got some love in the voting, with both Penny and David choosing it as their top bird, which pushed it into third place overall.
DUSKY BROADBILL (Corydon sumatranus) – The first of 4 broadbill species seen one day at Kaeng Krachan. We heard these birds a long way off, and Uthai did a little playback, then we settled down for a picnic lunch nearby. By the time we finished eating, the birds were calling much closer to the road, so we walked up and spotted 4 of them sitting high in the canopy.


Siberian Rubythroats were seen running other birds away from the feeding station at Doi Lang. Photo by participant Greg Vassilopoulos.

Pittidae (Pittas)
EARED PITTA (Hydrornis phayrei) – It was a mixed bag of sightings of this skulking bird. A pair were heard calling above the road at Khao Yai, and Uthai lured them in with a combination of whistles and scratching in the leaves. It was tricky spotting them in the murky understory, but some folks managed to get excellent looks, while the rest had to be satisfied with seeing them fly across the road. Even that was better than we usually get; it's been several years since we've had this pitta on tour.
BLUE PITTA (Hydrornis cyaneus) – A frustrating experience with this bird at Khao Yai. Our hour-long vigil in a hide where a pair of these had been coming in to mealworm bait produced nothing but a Puff-throated Babbler, so we planned on a follow-up visit. But every time we stopped by, the spot was already crowded with photographers, and we were unable to get in. Thus, we had to settle for hearing them calling a couple of times. [*]
Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)
GOLDEN-BELLIED GERYGONE (Gerygone sulphurea) – Only in the coastal mangroves on this tour; we heard a bunch at Laem Pak Bia, but saw only one. That one did give us a good look, however.
Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)
LARGE WOODSHRIKE (Tephrodornis virgatus) – One bird with a large flock at Khao Yai NP was only in sight for a brief time, and was not seen by all.
BAR-WINGED FLYCATCHER-SHRIKE (Hemipus picatus) – Widespread but never numerous. We saw this striking bird with a number of bird waves from Kaeng Krachan up to Doi Lang.
Artamidae (Woodswallows)
ASHY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus fuscus) – Often seen on roadside power lines, this is the only woodswallow species in the country.
Aegithinidae (Ioras)
COMMON IORA (Aegithina tiphia) – Seen throughout the trip, starting with a pair on the hotel grounds at Rama Gardens, and ending with a well-seen pair at Nam Kham Nature Reserve on our final day.
GREAT IORA (Aegithina lafresnayei) – Super views of one along the roadside in the lower part of KKNP, then a couple more sightings with bird waves at Khao Yai.
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
SMALL MINIVET (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus) – Usually seen only around Bangkok on our tour, and that was the case again this year. We had a pair showing nicely on the Rama Gardens grounds on our first morning, then saw a couple more at Wat Phai Lom that afternoon, and that was all.
GRAY-CHINNED MINIVET (Pericrocotus solaris) – Seen a couple of times at Kaeng Krachan, though I think this is the minivet we had the least amount of exposure to. There was also a single male on Doi Inthanon. Uthai says that the birds there (which show orange faces, or at least some do) may be different than other populations, perhaps a future split is in the works?
SHORT-BILLED MINIVET (Pericrocotus brevirostris) – Very similar to Long-tailed Minivet, but with a slightly different wing pattern and calls. We had these a few times on Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang.


Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-babbler was another regular at the mealworm feeder at Doi Lang. Photo by participant Paul Kittle.

LONG-TAILED MINIVET (Pericrocotus ethologus) – Seen daily in the north, where it seemed to be the most common of the minivets. Richard also spotted a bird on a nest next to the road at Doi Inthanon. [N]
SCARLET MINIVET (Pericrocotus speciosus) – All these minivets are pretty spectacular, but this one seems to be just a wee bit more brilliant than the others. We had records of this one scattered throughout the country, at pretty much every forested locale.
BROWN-RUMPED MINIVET (Pericrocotus cantonensis) – Three species of minivets are regular winter visitors to Thailand (Rosy and Ashy being the others), but this was the only one that we encountered. We had a few sizable flocks of these at Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai. Formerly called Swinhoe's Minivet. [b]
LARGE CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina macei) – Our only ones were a pair of these in the same large bird wave that also included the Crimson-breasted Woodpecker at the military checkpoint on Doi Lang.
BLACK-WINGED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Lalage melaschistos) – A fairly common member of bird waves in most of the forested areas we visited.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
BROWN SHRIKE (Lanius cristatus) – The most common and widespread shrike, seen regularly in open areas throughout. [*]
BURMESE SHRIKE (Lanius collurioides) – Our only one of these handsome shrikes was a lone individual feeding around the grassy clearing where we had our picnic lunch at Khao Yai. [b]
LONG-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanius schach) – Aside from one bird in some rice paddies near Khao Yai, all of ours were in the north, where they were fairly common and seen almost daily.
GRAY-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius tephronotus) – A couple of birds on Doi Lang included one that was visiting the pheasant feeding area, nabbing the meal worms thrown out to bait in other birds until the pheasants showed up. [b]
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
BLYTH'S SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius aeralatus) – Quite widespread in upper elevation forests, and we saw them fairly regularly from Kaeng Krachan through to Doi Lang. This one used to be called White-browed Shrike-Babbler.
BLACK-EARED SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius melanotis) – Uthai heard one calling along the road to the upper camp at KKNP, a nice surprise as this species has been scarce there as of late, and this was only the second time he's recorded it in the park in the past 10 years. A little playback brought the bird into sight, and we all enjoyed super looks at a lovely male.
CLICKING SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius intermedius) – A bit elusive this trip, and we only had a couple of brief sightings on Doi Inthanon and Doi Lang. Formerly called Chestnut-fronted Shrike-Babbler.
WHITE-BELLIED ERPORNIS (Erpornis zantholeuca) – Called White-bellied Yuhina in the field guide. We had a few fast-moving flocks of these restless birds at Khao Yai NP.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE (Oriolus chinensis) – The most often seen oriole, this one was common in dry forests and rather open country in the south, but we didn't see any at all in the north. [b]
BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE (Oriolus xanthornus) – A subadult bird was a surprise find at the lower camp at KKNP, as it seems scarce there. Our only other sighting was of an adult seen from the tower at Inthanon Nest.
MAROON ORIOLE (Oriolus traillii) – Only encountered in the north, where this species is resident. Our first was a striking female at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station. We finally caught up with some good views of a male near the military checkpoint on Doi Lang.
Dicruridae (Drongos)
BLACK DRONGO (Dicrurus macrocercus) – A common and widespread small drongo of open country, seen throughout the tour.
ASHY DRONGO (Dicrurus leucophaeus) – Widespread, and probably the most often seen drongo of the trip. We had at least two races, the pale gray "Chinese White-faced" form (leucogenis and/or salangensis), and darker "Sooty" and/or "Blackish" drongos (races mouhouti and nigrescens). It was especially neat to see one white-faced and one darker bird together on the same branch at Wat Phai Lom the first afternoon.
BRONZED DRONGO (Dicrurus aeneus) – A small, glossy drongo of forested habitats. We only saw this one on two occasions, first at Kaeng Krachan, then excellent views of one on a power line along the Mae Chaem Road at Doi Inthanon.


The Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoos we saw at Khao Yai were Jay's favorite birds of the trip, by far! We had a great view of 3 of them. This image, by our driver Jiang Laohapratumbuth, shows one bird, plus the tail of another.

LESSER RACKET-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus remifer) – The scarcer of the two racket-tailed drongo species, and restricted to highland forests. We saw one each on Doi Inthanon and Doi Lang.
HAIR-CRESTED DRONGO (Dicrurus hottentottus) – Another common and widespread drongo, sometimes in pretty big numbers. We saw it regularly in the south, with a few also on Doi Inthanon. Those curled tail feathers make this one pretty straightforward to identify, even in flight.
GREATER RACKET-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus paradiseus) – Widespread in the lowlands, this drongo was seen well a number of times, including from the tower at Inthanon Nest.
Rhipiduridae (Fantails)
MALAYSIAN PIED-FANTAIL (Rhipidura javanica) – This is not an uncommon species, but we saw very few aside from a few on the grounds of the Rama Gardens.
WHITE-THROATED FANTAIL (Rhipidura albicollis) – This fantail seems surprisingly scarce. We had just one on the tour, a bird along the Jeep Track at Doi Inthanon that stayed low in the understory and was only seen by a few folks before it took off.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLACK-NAPED MONARCH (Hypothymis azurea) – The handsome blue male was always a welcome sight. We saw monarchs at scattered locations throughout the tour, from our first day out at Wat Phai Lom to our final field lunch spot at Nong Bong Khai Reserve.
BLYTH'S PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone affinis) – A pair of these were hanging around the garbage pile at the Huai Hong Khrai Royal Project near Chiang Mai along with a couple of monarchs. But while the monarchs were pretty easy to see, these birds proved more elusive. I think everyone eventually saw the female, but only a few of us were lucky enough to get on the long-plumed male.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
EURASIAN JAY (WHITE-FACED) (Garrulus glandarius leucotis) – This unique form occurs only in southeast Asia and looks distinct enough to perhaps one day be elevated to a good species on its own. We had some fine views of these several times in the northern mountains.
RED-BILLED BLUE-MAGPIE (Urocissa erythroryncha) – This spectacular bird was seen only by the folks in the van who returned to the hotel to use the bathrooms after our morning at Inthanon Nest. Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding and my lack of fluency in Thai, the driver of my van thought we were making a stop elsewhere, so we didn't return to the hotel. Oops!
COMMON GREEN-MAGPIE (Cissa chinensis) – It may be common, but that doesn't mean it's easy to see. We heard them a few times a Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, and they were pretty close a couple of times, but they just wouldn't show themselves. [*]
RUFOUS TREEPIE (Dendrocitta vagabunda) – A bird I spotted teed up in a distant treetop as we birded around the grounds of the KKCC turned out to be the only one we saw. Good thing the scope views were pretty good.
GRAY TREEPIE (Dendrocitta formosae) – Heard a lot up on Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang, but they were pretty elusive, at least to start. We did finally run into them a couple of times on DOi Lang.


On the boardwalk at Doi Inthanon. Photo by participant Greg Vassilopoulos.

RACKET-TAILED TREEPIE (Crypsirina temia) – Unlike the previous two species, this one gave itself up pretty easily. We had nice looks at one the first afternoon at Wat Phai Lom, then saw another the next day at Laem Pak Bia. A few days later, we had another pair in some palms during a roadside coffee stop. After that we hit a dry spell until the final day, when another was seen at the Nam Kham Nature Reserve.
RATCHET-TAILED TREEPIE (Temnurus temnurus) – In Thailand, this rare species is only known from the higher elevations of Kaeng Krachan (though I think Uthai may have mentioned the recent discovery of them at another site along the Myanmar border), where it was discovered around 1990, the main population occurring in Vietnam. We had good looks at a pair of them along the roadside just below the upper camp.
LARGE-BILLED CROW (Corvus macrorhynchos) – Pretty common and seen most days in the south, but there were hardly any noted in the north.
Alaudidae (Larks)
INDOCHINESE BUSHLARK (Mirafra erythrocephala) – A roadside stop at some rice paddies near Chiang Mai netted us our only views of this open country species.
ORIENTAL SKYLARK (Alauda gulgula) – Good scope views of our only one, at the Pak Phli rice paddies near Khao Yai.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
GRAY-THROATED MARTIN (Riparia chinensis) – A recent split from Plain Martin, a couple of these drab swallows were seen flying low over the Mekong River.
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia) – Quite a few were seen at Rangsit Marsh, but we didn't note these anywhere else. [b]
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – The most commonly seen swallow of the trip, recorded almost daily. [b]
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica) – Seen a few times in the south, usually mixed in with Barn Swallows. [b]
STRIATED SWALLOW (Cecropis striolata) – We only had one pair this trip, noted in flight as they passed by the tower at Inthanon Nest.
ASIAN HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon dasypus) – Seen mainly as high-flying groups over several ridge tops at Kaeng Krachan, Doi Inthanon, and Doi Lang. The bright white rump makes them pretty easy to identify even at the distances we saw them. [b]
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
YELLOW-BELLIED FAIRY-FANTAIL (Chelidorhynx hypoxantha) – Though in appearance and behaviorally very much like a fantail, this charming bird isn't one at all, and is now part of the Fairy Flycatcher family. We saw several up near the summit of Doi Inthanon, including a very close, friendly one on our late afternoon visit to the bog.


This lovely Daurian Redstart might have had a sign saying "will pose for mealworms"! Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

GRAY-HEADED CANARY-FLYCATCHER (Culicicapa ceylonensis) – A common forest bird, though fairly easily overlooked unless you know the call. We We had several nice sightings of this bird, including excellent looks at one next to the tower at Inthanon Nest.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
YELLOW-BROWED TIT (Sylviparus modestus) – A very plain little tit, and the yellow brow is pretty obscure, but we had super close looks at a trio with a busy bird wave on our first visit to the summit bog at Doi Inthanon.
SULTAN TIT (Melanochlora sultanea) – This large, striking tit was seen pretty well along the road to the upper camp at KKNP, then even better when we found another pair with a bird wave at km 30 in Khao Yai NP.
JAPANESE TIT (Parus minor nubicolus) – Great Tit was recently split into several species, with the easternmost forms now making up Japanese Tit. We had them pretty much daily in the mountains of the north, where they were often among the first, and most agitated responders to Collared Owlet calls.
YELLOW-CHEEKED TIT (Machlolophus spilonotus) – Another handsome tit, this beautiful species was seen on several days in the northern mountains,, including one bird in the same flock as the Yellow-browed Tits.
Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)
BLACK-THROATED TIT (Aegithalos concinnus) – A couple of groups of these tiny, strikingly patterned tits were seen beautifully up near the military checkpoint on Doi Lang.
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
CHESTNUT-VENTED NUTHATCH (Sitta nagaensis) – Our best views of this common nuthatch were at the Ang Khang Agricultural Project where a pair foraged very low on a tree trunk right next to the patio we were birding from.
VELVET-FRONTED NUTHATCH (Sitta frontalis) – We saw this colorful nuthatch several times up north, but it took a few tries before we finally saw them well enough to drink in all those lovely colors.
GIANT NUTHATCH (Sitta magna) – A quick view of one on Doi Ang Khang was okay, but fortunately we bettered that with extended fine looks at one among the many other scarce birds at the military checkpoint on Doi Lang.
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
HUME'S TREECREEPER (Certhia manipurensis shanensis) – We only saw a single one of these birds, but luckily we saw it well as it made an appearance right at our lunch spot along the Mae Chaem Road on Doi Inthanon.
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
CRESTED FINCHBILL (Spizixos canifrons) – For the most part the bulbuls are all pretty easily seen, but this species is usually a bit scarcer than most, and can sometimes be a bit tough to track down. That was not the case this year, as we had them several times including a group of half a dozen or more as part of that fantastic group of birds at the top of Doi Lang.
BLACK-HEADED BULBUL (Pycnonotus atriceps) – The ones we saw several times at Kaeng Krachan all seemed to be of the rather dull olive variant. We also saw a handful in the north, at Wat Tham Pha Plong and Nong Bong Khai Reserve, and these birds were much brighter yellow.
STRIATED BULBUL (Pycnonotus striatus) – Like the finchbill, this one is restricted to the mountains of the north. We saw a handful of these attractive birds at Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang.
BLACK-CRESTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus flaviventris) – Very common and widespread, BCBs became familiar to all pretty quickly. Though there are half a dozen subspecies in Thailand, they seem to be all pretty similar, except for the distinctive red-throated johnsoni subspecies which we saw in Khao Yai.
RED-WHISKERED BULBUL (Pycnonotus jocosus) – Quite rare in the south now, as the cage bird trade has decimated populations of this in-demand species. Still, we had a couple on the grounds of the Rama Gardens, and another pair at Khao Yai. But they were far more common in the northern mountains, and we saw them daily in that region.
BROWN-BREASTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus xanthorrhous) – The horrible, stinky garbage dump on Doi Ang Khang where this species used to be present in large numbers had been cleaned up, and bulbuls were conspicuously absent. fortunately for a few folks, one was seen in no-man's land at the Myanmar border, though a few of us missed it, and we never found another.
SOOTY-HEADED BULBUL (Pycnonotus aurigaster) – Though we saw a few in open country one day in the south, this is a far more common bird in the north, where we saw them in good numbers daily. All the birds we saw were of the red-vented variety.
STRIPE-THROATED BULBUL (Pycnonotus finlaysoni) – Not very numerous, but we had some great looks at several along the entrance road at KKNP and then again at Khao Yai.


The Plain Prinia was quite common, and while it may not be flashy, it's still an attractive bird. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

FLAVESCENT BULBUL (Pycnonotus flavescens) – Common and generally pretty conspicuous in the higher elevations of KKNP, as well as in the mountains of the north.
YELLOW-VENTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus goiavier) – We only ever saw this species in the Bangkok area, particularly at Rangsit Marsh, but also, for a few folks, on the grounds of the Rama Gardens.
STREAK-EARED BULBUL (Pycnonotus conradi) – This drab bulbul was numerous in open areas of the south, but up north we only saw a handful in the Chiang Mai area.
PUFF-THROATED BULBUL (Alophoixus pallidus) – The puffy white throat and spiky crest make this one pretty recognizable. They were pretty common at Khao Yai, with a few around Wat Tham Pha Plong as well.
OCHRACEOUS BULBUL (Alophoixus ochraceus) – Similar to the Puff-throated Bulbul, but Ochraceous replaces that species to the south. Fairly numerous at KKNP.
GRAY-EYED BULBUL (Iole propinqua) – This and the next species are another species pair that are very similar, but don't overlap. This is the one found at Khao Yai, and seen again at Wat Tham Pha Plong.
OLIVE BULBUL (BAKER'S) (Iole viridescens cinnamomeoventris) – Up until this year, the Iole bulbuls at KKNP were thought to be Buff-vented Bulbul. But some recent work on these birds has revealed them to be the Baker's race of Olive Bulbul. Who knows what they'll be in a few years?
BLACK BULBUL (Hypsipetes leucocephalus) – Not very numerous, but we saw a few on Doi Inthanon and at Wat Tham Pha Plong.
WHITE-HEADED BULBUL (Hypsipetes thompsoni) – On our second and final attempt to find these scarce birds on Doi Inthanon, we heard some calling distantly but couldn't pinpoint their location. Then I saw a couple of bright white spots on top of a red flowering tree below us in the valley, and scope views revealed the spots to be the heads of a pair of these bulbuls.
ASHY BULBUL (Hemixos flavala) – A common and attractive bulbul of montane areas. We saw them at many of the mountain forests we visited.
MOUNTAIN BULBUL (Ixos mcclellandii) – Another fairly numerous montane species, often found together with Ashy Bulbuls, often in fruiting Macaranga trees.
Pnoepygidae (Cupwings)
PYGMY CUPWING (Pnoepyga pusilla) – Formerly Pygmy Wren-Babbler, this little cutie played hard to get at the summit bog on Doi Inthanon, but eventually, Uthai figured out it was calling just below us in a ravine, and all we needed to do was walk over to the embankment, Once we did that, we got point-blank views as it nearly walked over our feet!
Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)
SLATY-BELLIED TESIA (Tesia olivea) – Another extremely cute little understory bird, and we got this one from the exact same spot as the cupwing! This one was a little friendlier, though, as it came right in and sang from right next to the trail. Though it really doesn't look like much in the book, this is a charismatic and very attractive little bird.
CHESTNUT-HEADED TESIA (Cettia castaneocoronata) – Pretty much a heard only species, though a couple of folks had a poorly lit bird shape in the undergrowth on Doi Ang Khang. [*]


The Asian Emerald Cuckoo was one of the first birds we found on the tour. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

YELLOW-BELLIED WARBLER (Abroscopus superciliaris) – We saw these bright, active little warblers daily at Kaeng Krachan, then once again at the Doi Ang Khang Agricultural Station.
MOUNTAIN TAILORBIRD (Phyllergates cucullatus) – Despite the similar appearance, this is not a tailorbird at all. This wonderful songster was heard regularly, and seen well a couple of times, in the highland forest on Doi Inthanon and Doi Ang Khang.
ABERRANT BUSH WARBLER (Horornis flavolivaceus) – Skulking and difficult to see well, these were renamed "Abhorrent" Bush Warblers after several attempts yielded nothing more than a few glimpses. [b]
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
DUSKY WARBLER (Phylloscopus fuscatus) – Uthai knew exactly in which tree we would find this drab migrant at the Mae Taeng Irrigation Project, and sure enough, there it was. We also saw several more on our last day at the Nam Kham Reserve. [b]
BUFF-THROATED WARBLER (Phylloscopus subaffinis) – We had this one 3 days in a row on Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang, with especially good views of one at the pheasant baiting area on the latter mountain. [b]
RADDE'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus schwarzi) – An elusive one at the KKCC was followed up by a much more cooperative bird in a vine tangle on the edge of a forest clearing along the km 30 trail at Khao Yai. [b]
BUFF-BARRED WARBLER (Phylloscopus pulcher) – A few up around the summit bog area on Doi Inthanon where it occurred alongside the similar Ashy-throated Warbler, which is slightly smaller and more boldly marked. A winter visitor here. [b]
ASHY-THROATED WARBLER (Phylloscopus maculipennis) – The summit of Doi Inthanon is the only place in Thailand where this species can be found. We had some nice close views of a couple of our afternoon visit there.
PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus proregulus) – Quite kinglet-like in plumage and behavior. We saw this one daily on Doi Lang. [b]
YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER (Phylloscopus inornatus) – The default leaf-warbler in much of the country. We saw or heard the distinctive call notes of this one almost daily throughout the tour. [b]
HUME'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus humei) – This one shows a strong preference for pines in the northern mountains, and they were pretty numerous wherever there were pines available on Doi Lang and Doi Ang Khang. [b]
GREENISH WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochiloides) – Heard and seen only in the higher parts of Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang. The call notes of this one are quite loud and robust, unlike many other leaf-warblers. [b]


Our intrepid guides, Jay and Uthai, having a well-deserved snack during one of our rest breaks. Photo by participant Greg Vassilopoulos.

TWO-BARRED WARBLER (Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus) – Generally at lower elevations than the similar Greenish Warbler, from which it was split a few years back. We had scattered records of these on several days, with our first ones seen at Khao Yai. [b]
PALE-LEGGED LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus tenellipes) – The sharp chip note of this one was heard a couple of times in the south, but we never laid eyes on one. [b]
BLYTH'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus reguloides assamensis) – The most numerous Phylloscopus around the summit of Doi Inthanon, where this species breeds. The song of this one is very reminiscent of a Common Yellowthroat.
CLAUDIA'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus claudiae) – A winterer from China, and a recent split from Blyth's, this one can be readily identified by its foraging behavior, creeping along branches very much like a Black-and-white Warbler. We had singles on several days at Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai. [b]
DAVISON'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus davisoni) – Called White-tailed Leaf-Warbler but now split. This one was pretty common in the high mountains of the north, though generally at lower elevations than the similar Blyth's.
GRAY-CROWNED WARBLER (Seicercus tephrocephalus) – Along with the next three species, this warbler is part of the six-way split of Golden-spectacled Warbler. We saw one of these on Doi Ang Khang, though it was a bit confusing, as, in addition to giving the typical chip notes of this species, it also made some calls that sounded very much like Martens's Warbler. [b]
PLAIN-TAILED WARBLER (Seicercus soror) – We only saw one of these migrants, but it showed very well along the roadside at Khao Yai. [b]
MARTENS'S WARBLER (Seicercus omeiensis) – This species has a call that sounds very much like Wilson's Warbler. We saw a handful of them, best being one along the road at our picnic lunch spot on Doi Lang. [b]
BIANCHI'S WARBLER (Seicercus valentini) – This seems to be the scarcest of the four splits of the former Golden-spectacled Warbler in the country. We had pretty decent views of a couple along the overgrown trail on Doi Ang Khang. [b]
Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)
THICK-BILLED WARBLER (Iduna aedon) – One of these chunky warblers was seen in scrub on the grounds of the KKCC, and some folks saw another at the Nam Kham Nature Reserve our final day. [b]
BLACK-BROWED REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus bistrigiceps) – Quite numerous at Rangsit, and relatively easy to see this year as well, which isn't always the case with this skulking bird. Our only other record was of one in a dense reed bed at Nam Kham Nature Reserve. [b]
ORIENTAL REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus orientalis) – We only saw one of these very large warblers. Danette spotted the bird while we tried for crakes at Rangsit Marsh. [b]
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
STRIATED GRASSBIRD (Megalurus palustris) – One of these huge grassbirds was out singing in the heat of the day when we pulled to a stop at the Pak Phli rice paddies near Khao Yai, and we had it in the scope in no time.
PALLAS'S GRASSHOPPER-WARBLER (Locustella certhiola) – Called Rusty-rumped Warbler in the field guide. Several of these extreme skulkers were calling from the dense reed beds at Rangsit. I think maybe a couple of people had quick looks at one, but for most this was a heard only species. [b]
LANCEOLATED WARBLER (Locustella lanceolata) – Another very sneaky species, but we had great looks this year as one walked through the patchy, short grass on the grounds of the KKCC, just a couple of yards from where we stood watching. More often than not, we just hear this species in the tour. [b]
BAIKAL BUSH WARBLER (Locustella davidi) – A recent split from Spotted Bush Warbler, this species seemed fairly numerous at the Nam Kham Nature Reserve, but many they were tough to see. I think only Greg was able to get a quick look at one of the many we heard. [b]

Participant Paul Kittle shot this video of a singing Spot-breasted Parrotbill. The song may not be as beautiful as some, but the bird certainly seems earnest!
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
GOLDEN-HEADED CISTICOLA (Cisticola exilis) – We found a trio of these in a large clearing at Khao Yai, our only ones of the tour.
COMMON TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus sutorius) – I think we finally caught everyone up with this widespread species at Mae Taeng irrigation Project after all the earlier birds had managed to elude at least a few folks.
DARK-NECKED TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus atrogularis) – Our first views along the road at KKNP were also our best, though we also saw this species a few times at Khao Yai.
HILL PRINIA (Prinia superciliaris) – Now that these things were coming to the baiting areas on Doi Lang, they were easier than ever to see.
RUFESCENT PRINIA (Prinia rufescens) – A flock of about a half dozen in a grassy clearing on Doi Lang was all we had of this bird.
GRAY-BREASTED PRINIA (Prinia hodgsonii) – Seen a few times but that first few of some close, calling birds at KKCC was our best.
YELLOW-BELLIED PRINIA (Prinia flaviventris) – Excellent looks at one singing from a shrub right next to where we parked the vans at Rangsit, but also seen a few other places.
PLAIN PRINIA (Prinia inornata) – The most commonly recorded prinia. We had super scope views of a close one at Wat Thian Thawai on our first afternoon, and we had plenty of views after that, including of the very buffy race blanfordi in the north.
Paradoxornithidae (Parrotbills, Wrentit, and Allies)
YELLOW-EYED BABBLER (Chrysomma sinense) – One of these shy birds came by calling on our fabulous morning around the military checkpoint on Doi Lang, though I don't think everyone had stellar views of it. Note that this bird is now considered to be in the parrotbill family.
GRAY-HEADED PARROTBILL (Psittiparus gularis) – A fast-moving flock of about half a dozen passed by in the area with all the baiting areas on Doi Lang.
SPOT-BREASTED PARROTBILL (Paradoxornis guttaticollis) – Those birds on Doi Lang were real showboats, sitting out in the open singing loudly while we wall watched from close range. This has got to be one of the most photographed birds on the mountain!
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
STRIATED YUHINA (Yuhina castaniceps) – We only found one flock, at a specific site on Doi Ang Khang, but that flock numbered at least 25 birds, and they performed well. Despite them being incredibly active little birds, I think most of us, if not all, enjoyed some great scope views of them.
CHESTNUT-FLANKED WHITE-EYE (Zosterops erythropleurus) – The chestnut flank is not always that easily discernible, but when it is, there's no mistaking this white-eye. We had them up at the summit bog on Doi Inthanon, then again on Doi Lang. [b]


This wonderful male Ultramarine Flycatcher is another bird that is quite used to photographers; he posed very nicely! Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

ORIENTAL WHITE-EYE (Zosterops palpebrosus) – This and the next species are pretty tricky to tell apart, especially since the yellow ventral line on this bird is sometimes pretty hard to see unless you're really close. This bird is pretty bright overall, and we had some good looks, ventral line and all, several times in the north.
JAPANESE WHITE-EYE (Zosterops japonicus) – Generally duller than Oriental, and seemingly outnumbered by that species, too. We had a couple of good views of this one, especially at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station where we saw them both in close proximity for a nice comparison. [b]
EVERETT'S WHITE-EYE (Zosterops everetti) – Seen briefly by some at KKNP, and I thought that would be it for this white-eye, but then Uthai told me that the white-eyes with the yellow ventral line at Khao Yai NP are now known to be this species, and not Oriental as everyone was calling them in the past. So, we caught everyone up at Khao Yai where they were fairly common.
Timaliidae (Tree-Babblers, Scimitar-Babblers, and Allies)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BABBLER (Timalia pileata) – A skulking babbler of grassland areas, these birds played hard to get both at Doi Lang and Nam Kham Reserve, but I think most folks got a reasonable view in the end.
PIN-STRIPED TIT-BABBLER (Mixornis gularis) – Called Striped Tit-Babbler in the guide. These birds are pretty widespread, and we saw them a few times, but we didn't run into them as often as I was expecting.
GOLDEN BABBLER (Cyanoderma chrysaeum) – A beautiful little babbler, very reminiscent of a warbler, and with a very distinctive song. We had these a few times with bird waves in KKNP.
RUFOUS-FRONTED BABBLER (Cyanoderma rufifrons) – The song is just a little bit different from the song of the Golden Babbler, but otherwise these birds don't have a lot of similarities. We caught up with this one in some tall bamboo stands near the stream crossings at KKNP.
WHITE-BROWED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus schisticeps) – First seen beautifully at the same place as we saw the Black-eared Shrike-Babbler at KKNP, but then seen even better at Doi Lang, where a pair visited one of the photography clearings for some meal worms.
RUSTY-CHEEKED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Megapomatorhinus erythrogenys) – Regular at the meal worm baiting areas on Doi Lang, and pretty easy to see there overall.
GRAY-THROATED BABBLER (Stachyris nigriceps) – A shy and often difficult bird to see well, and we struggled with one at KKNP, getting only poor looks. Later we found a much better behaved bird along the Mae Chaem Road, and it worked its way around the base of a large tree, stopping out in the open several times for some incredible views.
Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)
COLLARED BABBLER (Gampsorhynchus torquatus) – Called White-hooded Babbler in the book, but now split from that species. We had fine views of a noisy group of 6+ of these babblers along the road to the upper camp at KKNP.
RUFOUS-WINGED FULVETTA (Schoeniparus castaneceps) – These were really quite common in the highland forest on Doi Inthanon, and we had some incredible close views of several in an active bird wave right next to the boardwalk on our afternoon visit.
PUFF-THROATED BABBLER (Pellorneum ruficeps) – Seen well a few times, particularly at the Blue Pitta hide, where it was the only bird that showed up, then again at the ground-cuckoo hide.
SPOT-THROATED BABBLER (Pellorneum albiventre) – Another tricky babbler of thick undergrowth, and generally very hard to see, but we had an exceptionally cooperative pair on Doi Ang Khang that came out into the open several times.
BUFF-BREASTED BABBLER (Pellorneum tickelli) – I remember trying for this species at KKNP, but I can't recall if anyone actually saw it. Probably was just a heard only. [*]
EYEBROWED WREN-BABBLER (Napothera epilepidota) – Usually the toughest of the three wren-babblers, but that wasn't the case this trip. We went in to a known territory on Doi Inthanon, and within a couple of minutes, the whole group had eye-popping views of this bird sitting out on a dead branch, singing! Gotta love it when that happens.
ABBOTT'S BABBLER (Turdinus abbotti) – Given the behavior of many of the other members of this family, you would expect this one to be tough to see as well. But it really wasn't that hard at Khao Yai for some reason, and we saw a couple of them there without even really trying.
LIMESTONE WREN-BABBLER (RUFOUS) (Turdinus crispifrons calcicola) – We never have a whole lot of time to look for this one on our way to Khao Yai, but usually it doesn't take that long either. This time, however, we were getting near the point of having to leave before we finally found a bird that everyone could see. Note that this race may soon be split off as Rufous Wren-Babbler (sadly losing the awesome name Limestone) and would then become only Thailand's 2nd endemic species!
STREAKED WREN-BABBLER (Turdinus brevicaudatus) – Richard spotted our first ones in a stream bed at Wat Tham Pha Plong, and we added some more looks the next morning at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station where a couple of them were feeding on scraps below the cafeteria.


Moustached Barbet was common at Khao Yai, where we had all but one of our sightings of this species. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
BROWN-CHEEKED FULVETTA (Alcippe poioicephala) – We saw this one only on our first day along the road to Kaeng Krachan's upper camp.
YUNNAN FULVETTA (Alcippe fratercula) – We quickly became familiar with these little birds in the northern mountains, as YUFUs were among the most common small Passerines around in many places. This is called Grey-cheeked Fulvetta in the field guide.
HIMALAYAN CUTIA (Cutia nipalensis) – This marks only the second time we've seen these unique and striking birds on our Thailand tour, the first being the previous year. We'd heard they were being seen on Doi Lang, in the same area as last year, so our hopes were high, and the cutias did not disappoint, as a trio of them finally appeared in a small bird wave alongside the road.
WHITE-CRESTED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax leucolophus) – Usually this is on of the easier laughingthrushes to see, but we had some trouble with them this year. Though we heard them often at Khao Yai and Doi Inthanon, we only had a couple of quick looks, and sightings varied considerably among the group.
LESSER NECKLACED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax monileger) – One of these scarce birds was buried in amongst a flock of Greater Necklaced LT at the KKCC, and probably only a couple of us managed good enough views to be certain we saw this skulker.
WHITE-NECKED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax strepitans) – Heard only on Doi Ang Khang. [*]
SPOT-BREASTED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax merulinus) – We also heard the wonderful song of this species on the same trail on Doi Ang Khang as they White-necked. [*]
GREATER NECKLACED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla pectoralis) – A couple of large flocks in scrub on the KKCC grounds played a little hard to get, but were seen pretty well by all before we were done with them. [*]
BLACK-THROATED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla chinensis) – A trio of these handsome birds popped out unexpectedly from behind the military checkpoint buildings at Khao Yai, and those of us that weren't in the rest rooms had great views.
WHITE-BROWED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Ianthocincla sannio) – Best seen on Doi Lang, where, after a patient wait, we were rewarded with crippling looks at 3 of these feeding at one of the baiting stations.
SILVER-EARED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron melanostigma) – As usual, the easiest of the laughingthrushes to see. They were quite common and friendly in the summit bog on Doi Inthanon, then again at one of the baiting stations on Doi Lang. In the guide this is called Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush.
BLACK-BACKED SIBIA (Heterophasia melanoleuca) – Called Dark-backed Sibia in the book, this is the most numerous of the three sibia species, and we saw them most days in the northern mountains. with plenty of good views along the way.
LONG-TAILED SIBIA (Heterophasia picaoides) – And this is the scarcest of the three sibias. Our lone view came in at the tail end of all the great bird we saw on our final morning on Doi Lang, when Jiang spotted three of them in some roadside trees. For the most part, we only saw these birds in flight, but the long tail and large white wing patch showed beautifully as they flew across the road just ahead of us.


A portrait of a Pigtail Macaque, by participant Paul Kittle.

SILVER-EARED MESIA (Leiothrix argentauris) – Richard and I were a bit behind the rest of the group, trying to get a look at something else when a flock of 40+ of these gorgeous birds came by on Doi Ang Khang, giving everyone but the two of us exceptional views. Luckily, we spotted another small party of them later in the day, and we managed scope looks at a couple before they dashed off.
RUFOUS-BACKED SIBIA (Minla annectens) – This lovely sibia is really no longer a sibia, having recently been reclassified as a Minla (scientific name at least). We had a pair feeding at eye level in a nearby tree in our fantastic bird wave on Doi Lang, giving us all 3 sibia species in the same flock!
SCARLET-FACED LIOCICHLA (Liocichla ripponi) – With the split of Red-faced Liocichla into a couple of species, this is the one now found here in Thailand. We worked hard for our first looks at this brilliantly colored bird on Doi Ang Khang, only to stumble across another couple of them at our very next stop. The latter birds were below the road, foraging around a scrubby, dead tree, and popping out into full view several times before vanishing off further downslope.
SPECTACLED BARWING (Actinodura ramsayi) – For a primarily brown bird, this inquisitive species is surprisingly lovely and charming. Our first views of a close quartet on Doi Inthanon were especially superb and memorable.
BLUE-WINGED MINLA (Actinodura cyanouroptera) – A subtly beautiful bird, but with the in your face, too close for pictures kind of views we had of them at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station, we were able to appreciate all of their lovely plumage details. This and the next species were recently removed from the genus, Minla, and placed in the Barwing genus Actinodura. One wonders if common names will be changed to reflect these new arrangements.
CHESTNUT-TAILED MINLA (Actinodura strigula) – This fancy and confiding highland bird gave us plenty of close looks up hear the summit of Doi Ang Khang. There's a lot going on in the plumage of this bird, and Richard especially appreciated all the fine details, as this bird topped his list of favorite trip birds.
Irenidae (Fairy-bluebirds)
ASIAN FAIRY-BLUEBIRD (Irena puella) – At least a dozen were noted on our first visit to KKNP, including a group of several teed up in some dead branches just as we arrived at the lower camp for the first time. We went on to see a bunch more there, and at Khao Yai, but sightings dried up after that and we saw none in the north.
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa sibirica) – Usually a common species at KKNP, but there were few this year, and we saw only two, teed up on prominent bare branches (very much like our pewees) in the higher reaches of the park. [b]
ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa dauurica) – A pretty common wintering species, mainly in the south, where we had them at a number of different sites. [b]
ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN (Copsychus saularis) – A familiar bird of gardens and open areas throughout. most of our hotel grounds had these birds around.
WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA (Copsychus malabaricus) – Common, but often quite skulking and difficult to see, but we did well with them this year. An unmoving roadside bird near the upper camp at KKNP was the first and best for the folks in the second truck, at least, and we went on to have several other excellent sightings of this showy species both there and at Khao Yai.
WHITE-GORGETED FLYCATCHER (Anthipes monileger) – Not an especially colorful flycatcher, but that black outlined white throat gives this one some character. We had a few confiding ones at the baiting stations on Doi Lang.
RUFOUS-BROWED FLYCATCHER (Anthipes solitaris) – This shy understory bird can be a tough one to find, and we struggled a bit at KKNP this year. We did manage to find one, but getting everyone on it was tricky. In the dark understory, using lasers would have chased it away, so we relied on getting it in the scope. But that took longer than usual, as the viewing windows through the dense vegetation were small and hard to line up with the scope. We successfully scoped it a couple of times, but it never stayed put for all to see, and ultimately a few folks never laid eyes on this one.
HAINAN BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis hainanus) – The blue flycatcher with no orange on the breast. We only ran into this one a couple of times, with a lovely male near the stream crossings at KKNP showing especially well.
PALE BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis unicolor) – We left KKNP behind having only heard the lovely song of this subcanopy species, but then we stumbled across another one on Doi Lang (on two consecutive days) that allowed nice long scope views. [*]
CHINESE BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis glaucicomans) – Formerly a race of Blue-throated Flycatcher, but recently elevated to a full species. We had this one only in the lower parts of KKNP, where we had a few good looks. Very similar to the more common Hill Blue (which is generally at higher elevations) but with just a narrow wedge of orange extending up onto the otherwise blue throat.
HILL BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis banyumas) – The most commonly encountered Cyornis, this bird showed well plenty of times from KKNP right up to Doi Lang. A male at one of the baiting stations at Ang Khang Agricultural Station was especially confiding and photogenic.


Zebra Doves were amother common sight throughout the tour. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

TICKELL'S BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis tickelliae) – This one occurs at low elevations, often in dense stands of bamboo. First seen were a pair around the garbage pile at Huai Hong Khrai, but they weren't very cooperative and were missed by many. A pair in another bamboo stand at Nam Kham Reserve were a bit better behaved, though there were still a few of us who had less than satisfying looks at these birds. I believe Uthai suggested the birds here may soon be split off as Indochinese Flycatcher so watch for some future splitting.
LARGE NILTAVA (Niltava grandis) – Several of the large, dark niltavas were seen in the mountains of the north, with our first being a male we managed to scope on the lower slopes of Doi Inthanon.
SMALL NILTAVA (Niltava macgrigoriae) – More or less a miniature version of the Large Niltava. This one took a bit more work, but we finally got some great looks at a responsive male along the road at Doi Inthanon. A few of us also saw another male a couple of days later on Doi Ang Khang.
RUFOUS-BELLIED NILTAVA (Niltava sundara) – Just a couple of these migrants were found, both beautiful adult males. The first on Doi Ang Khang was seen only by a few of us, but we fared better with another one near the top on Doi Lang that everyone got to see. [b]
VERDITER FLYCATCHER (Eumyias thalassinus) – Its habit of sitting out on prominent canopy perches makes this one of the easier flycatchers to see. We had plenty of good views of this species throughout; that one eating a large butterfly on Doi Ang Khang was especially memorable.
LESSER SHORTWING (Brachypteryx leucophris) – Glimpsed by a few folks only at Doi Ang Khang.
WHITE-BROWED SHORTWING (Brachypteryx montana) – A couple of confiding females of this small, skulking bird showed wonderfully close along the summit boardwalk at Doi Inthanon. One or two folks were also lucky enough to see a male here.
SIBERIAN BLUE ROBIN (Larvivora cyane) – While lining up my scope and phone to try and get a picture of the ground-cuckoos, I first saw this brilliant bird on my phone's screen, then had to try to figure out where exactly it was in reality! We did find it, and everyone got stellar views of this stunning male. A female along the stairway at Wat Tham Pha Plong later in the trip was also nice, though a little more subtle. [b]
WHITE-BELLIED REDSTART (Luscinia phaenicuroides) – Though a male was rumored to be around the baiting stations at Do Lang, we only managed to see a female this trip. [b]
BLUE WHISTLING-THRUSH (BLACK-BILLED) (Myophonus caeruleus caeruleus) – This black-billed subspecies is a winter migrant here in Thailand. We had several of these up north, including great looks at one in Doi Inthanon's summit bog. [b]
BLUE WHISTLING-THRUSH (YELLOW-BILLED) (Myophonus caeruleus eugenei) – This yellow-billed bird is a widespread resident here. We first saw this one at Wat Tham Sila Thong as we searched for Limestone Wren-babbler, the saw it more regularly up north, including one or more birds in the summit bog, giving us a good chance to compare the two forms.
WHITE-CROWNED FORKTAIL (Enicurus leschenaulti) – Forktails were difficult this year, and despite putting in some time and effort in areas where we regularly see these birds, this was the only one that gave us so much as a whiff. And a whiff is pretty much all we had, as our views in the summit bog were restricted to quick pied flashes of feathers as the birds flew quickly away.
SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT (Calliope calliope) – Several bold males were bullying other birds away from the mealworm feeding stations on Doi Lang. [b]
WHITE-TAILED ROBIN (Myiomela leucura) – Away from that baiting area at the Ang Khang Ag Station, we rarely, if ever, see this shy forest interior species. But at that baiting station, we generally get incredible looks, and that aggressive male this year certainly did just that!


Silver-eared Laughing-thrushes were easy to see, compared to some of the other laughing-thrushes. Photo by participant Paul Kittle.

RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL (Tarsiger cyanurus) – Called Orange-flanked Bush-Robin in the Thailand field guide, this specie has recently been split and renamed, with two types wintering in the country. Uthai identified the female we saw in the summit bog as this species. [b]
HIMALAYAN BLUETAIL (Tarsiger rufilatus) – And the female we had around the baiting stations on Doi Lang was apparently this one, though I must say I'm still not 100% certain on how to positively separate females of the two types. [b]
SLATY-BACKED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula sordida) – After several sightings of drab females over a few days up north, we finally caught up with a male in a little bird wave on Doi Lang. [b]
SLATY-BLUE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula tricolor) – Females of this species are very similar in plumage to White-bellied Redstart, though with a different posture and shape (eg shorter-tailed). We saw only females and only on Doi Lang, where one was in close proximity to a female redstart for a good comparison. [b]
SNOWY-BROWED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hyperythra) – I'm not sure where the males of these flycatchers were this year, but once again, we had only a female. Our lone one was along the summit boardwalk at Doi Inthanon. [b]
RUFOUS-GORGETED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula strophiata) – This lovely little bird showed well at some of the baiting stations on Doi Lang, and we had great views on each of our three days up there. And this time, we did see some males! [b]
SAPPHIRE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula sapphira) – Our only one was a male in non-breeding plumage on Doi Lang. Perhaps not as spectacular as a breeding male, but still pretty dapper with those ultramarine wings and orange throat. [b]
LITTLE PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula westermanni) – This flycatcher generally sticks to the high canopy, and the ones we saw on Doi Inthanon and Doi Lang did just that, though we managed some excellent looks at a couple.
ULTRAMARINE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula superciliaris) – That gorgeous male on Doi Lang has gotten pretty habituated to photographers with gifts of meal worms, and it flew right down and posed for us immediately as we got out of the vans. What a little stunner! Much brighter than it is depicted in the field guide. [b]
TAIGA FLYCATCHER (Ficedula albicilla) – A recent split from Red-throated Flycatcher. Though this is a common wintering bird in disturbed areas, there seemed to be fewer than usual around, and we only had a handful of sightings. [b]
PLUMBEOUS REDSTART (Phoenicurus fuliginosus) – Wonderful looks at a pair below their favorite waterfall at Doi Inthanon.
WHITE-CAPPED REDSTART (Phoenicurus leucocephalus) – This and the preceding species are both called water redstarts in the book, due to the predilection for rushing streams and waterfalls. We found these stunning birds at a favored waterfall at Doi inthanon, where they looked absolutely stunning on the rocky background.
DAURIAN REDSTART (Phoenicurus auroreus) – The male at the Myanmar border post on Doi Ang Khang was another real poser. Fortunately the well-earned modeling fees can be paid in meal worms! [b]
CHESTNUT-BELLIED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola rufiventris) – Superb looks at a couple of pairs of these lovely birds on Doi Ang Khang, with a female a couple of days later on Doi Lang. Primarily a wintering bird here, though there seems to be a small breeding population on Doi Inthanon. [b]
WHITE-THROATED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola gularis) – Had it not moved its head from time to time, this bird could have passed for a mounted specimen as it sat for a long time on the same perch. In fact the bird, a non-breeding plumaged male, was still sitting there when we finally left the area. [b]
BLUE ROCK-THRUSH (PANDOO) (Monticola solitarius pandoo) – According to Uthai, this is the more widespread of the two subspecies in the country, and the females we saw at Khao Yai were of this form, in which the male would be all blue.
BLUE ROCK-THRUSH (PHILIPPENSIS) (Monticola solitarius philippensis) – This is the form in which males have rusty-colored bellies. Our first was a subadult male with a few rusty belly feathers at our picnic lunch spot at Khao Yai. Our only other one was a lovely adult male just outside of our hotel along the Mekong River. [b]
SIBERIAN STONECHAT (PRZEVALSKI'S) (Saxicola maurus przewalskii) – This was the very rufous-bellied male (and a female) we saw at the top of Doi Lang, where they are breeding residents.
SIBERIAN STONECHAT (STEJNEGER'S) (Saxicola maurus stejnegeri) – And this is the widespread wintering race that we saw in open areas throughout. [b]
PIED BUSHCHAT (Saxicola caprata) – We saw just a handful of the chats in open areas in the Chiang Mai region.
GRAY BUSHCHAT (Saxicola ferreus) – Resident in the mountains of the northeast, where we saw them commonly, especially on Doi Lang, where a bunch of them were visiting the pheasant area for the meal worm offerings,


One of the most beautiful landscapes we saw was this view of the Royal Agricultural Station at Ang Khang. We found some wonderful birds here. Photo by participant Greg Vassilopoulos.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ORANGE-HEADED THRUSH (Geokichla citrina) – A stunning male was a wonderful bonus at the ground-cuckoo hide, and a much-wanted bird for me. [b]
DARK-SIDED THRUSH (Zoothera marginata) – This distinctive, long-billed thrush inhabits dark, dank areas in the understory of highland forests. We had one bird along a little stream at Doi inthanon's summit bog, but it wasn't as cooperative as we would have liked and a few folks missed it altogether.
WHITE'S THRUSH (Zoothera aurea aurea) – Called Scaly Thrush in the guide. Just a few of you got on this one along the road at Doi Ang Khang, in the same area as our first Rufous-bellied Niltava an a few other nice birds. [b]
BLACK-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus dissimilis) – Great looks at a few of these around the cafeteria at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station. [b]
GRAY-SIDED THRUSH (Turdus feae) – A rather scarce wintering thrush, but we had decent views of three birds high up on Doi Inthanon. [b]
EYEBROWED THRUSH (Turdus obscurus) – Generally the most widespread wintering thrush in the country, and we saw quite a few, with flocks of 20+ both at Kaeng Krachan and Doi Inthanon. Most of these were only seen flying overhead, though we managed scope views of a couple along the entrance road to KKNP for most folks. [b]
Sturnidae (Starlings)
COMMON HILL MYNA (Gracula religiosa) – Common may be stretching things a little, though we did find this large myna a few times at Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai. Pressures from the trade in cage birds has reduced the numbers of this sought-after species in many areas, and Ebird treats it as a sensitive species nowadays.
BLACK-COLLARED STARLING (Gracupica nigricollis) – Paul had a couple on the Rama Gardens hotel grounds before he met up with the rest of us, but the group had to wait until we got up north, where we saw quite a few in the Chiang Saen area but overall fewer than expected were seen.
ASIAN PIED STARLING (Gracupica contra) – Quite common and seen regularly in open areas throughout the country.
CHESTNUT-TAILED STARLING (Sturnia malabarica) – Pretty much all the birds we saw were in flowering trees, generally in big groups and usually with other starling species. This one was especially common around Chiang Saen, and we saw big numbers at the harrier roost and at the Nam Kham Reserve, especially.
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) – I see these in several places where they are introduced pests, so it's hard to get too excited about them even here where they belong. A widespread and familiar bird in open areas throughout.
GREAT MYNA (Acridotheres grandis) – I'm not sure why the name of this species has changed from White-vented Myna as it is in the book, as it isn't any bigger than any others in its genus. The most numerous myna in many areas we visited, and we saw them regularly throughout the trip.
Chloropseidae (Leafbirds)
GREATER GREEN LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis sonnerati) – Kaeng Krachan NP is at the northern limit of this peninsular species' range in the country, and it is not at all a common species there. We found just one, a handsome male, on our first day at the park.
BLUE-WINGED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis cochinchinensis) – The most often-encountered leafbird of the tour, with multiple good views daily in the southern national parks.
GOLDEN-FRONTED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis aurifrons) – All of our sightings came at the same time and place, with half a dozen birds around the tower at Inthanon Nest being the only ones we saw this trip.
ORANGE-BELLIED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis hardwickii) – Never numerous this trip, but we saw a couple of these lovely leafbirds at Kaeng Krachan, then had singles again on several of our days up north.

Participant Paul Kittle captured the wonderful, haunting song of the White-handed Gibbon in this video, although we never see the songster. Be sure to have the sound up for this one!
Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)
THICK-BILLED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum agile) – Not the flashiest of the flowerpeckers, but we had super scope views of one of these in the same tree as a cooperative Moustached Barbet from the overlook along the Silver Pheasant trail at Khao Yai.
YELLOW-VENTED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum chrysorrheum) – A single one at our lunch spot at the upper camp at KKNP was the only one we saw. It was in the company of a couple of leafbirds in a flowering tree just above where we were enjoying our delicious noodles and/or curry!
PLAIN FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum minullum) – This one isn't much to look at, but we had a couple of good, close views that allowed us to see that it really has no good field marks. We had one each in the upper part of KKNP and at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station.
FIRE-BREASTED FLOWERPECKER (FIRE-BREASTED) (Dicaeum ignipectus ignipectus) – Where were these birds this year? Only Julia and I had a brief look at a male during one of our coffee breaks on Doi Inthanon. This is the form that actually has a fiery breast spot.
FIRE-BREASTED FLOWERPECKER (CAMBODIAN) (Dicaeum ignipectus cambodianum) – This race lacks the fiery breast spot, and is a good candidate to be split off as a separate species. We all had excellent scope views of this one a couple of times at Khao Yai.
SCARLET-BACKED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum cruentatum) – We saw more of these than probably all the other flowerpecker species added together, starting with some super scope views on the grounds of the Rama Gardens.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
RUBY-CHEEKED SUNBIRD (Chalcoparia singalensis) – Siewlin spotted a female in with a little bird wave near the stream crossings at KKNP, and at least 3, a couple of males included, showed beautifully as part of the mob of sunbirds drawn into Collared Owlet imitations at the elephant bridge in Khao Yai.
PLAIN-THROATED SUNBIRD (Anthreptes malacensis) – Called Brown-throated Sunbird in the field guide. Our only ones this trip were a couple of birds on the grounds of the Rama Gardens hotel on our first day.
VAN HASSELT'S SUNBIRD (Leptocoma brasiliana) – A recent split from Purple-throated Sunbird (which is now restricted to the Philippines). We had fantastic looks at 4 or 5 of these lovely birds as part of the mixed group of sunbirds at the elephant bridge in Khao Yai.
PURPLE SUNBIRD (Cinnyris asiaticus) – This one is pretty blackish unless seen in good light, when the colors come through. Our only ones were from the tower at Inthanon Nest, where the lighting was good enough for some color to show.
OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris jugularis) – The most widespread and often seen sunbird, with pairs working on nests at several sites, including in one of the hanging planters outside the Rama Gardens hotel. [N]
BLACK-THROATED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga saturata) – Of the long-tailed species, this is the one we saw most from Kaeng Krachan through to the mountains of the north. The best one was a shimmering male that came close in response to my Collared Owlet imitation at the overlook at the military checkpoint in Khao Yai.
GOULD'S SUNBIRD (Aethopyga gouldiae) – This fancy sunbird was a trip favorite, tying the Red-bearded Bee-eater for third place in the voting, and was in top spot on Karen's list. We saw these stunning birds most days in the north. [b]
GREEN-TAILED SUNBIRD (DOI INTHANON) (Aethopyga nipalensis angkanensis) – Another spectacular highland sunbird, this one was see well only at the top of Doi Inthanon, though it was outnumbered here by the wintering Gould's Sunbird. This subspecies is found only here in northern Thailand's high mountains, and is a possible candidate for a future split.
CRIMSON SUNBIRD (Aethopyga siparaja) – We had just two males of this brilliant sunbird, one each at Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai. That second one gave especially good looks as it was with several other sunbirds in a mob stirred up by our Collared Owlet imitations at the elephant spot.


Another amazing building, the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Photo by participant Paul Kittle.

LITTLE SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera longirostra) – Spiderhunters can be pretty elusive as a group, but we did exceptionally well with them this year, getting good looks at 4 different species. We had one with all the sunbirds at Khao Yai, though it wasn't satisfying for everyone, but a couple of birds at the top of the long stairs at Wat Tham Pha Plong were very cooperative and showed really well.
YELLOW-EARED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera chrysogenys) – At the northern limit of its Thai range in Kaeng Krachan, this species has rarely been seen on our tours. In fact, this is only the 3rd time since 2004, so our trio of birds in the upper section of the park were a pretty nice find. The fact that we had incredible scope views was pretty sweet, too.
STREAKED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera magna) – Usually the most often recorded spiderhunter on this tour, and that was again the case this year. Though we had one in the south at Kaeng Krachan, we really started running into a bunch of these up north, culminating in some great scope studies at Ang Khang Agricultural Station.
GRAY-BREASTED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera modesta) – Another peninsular spiderhunter that only just gets north to Kaeng Krachan. Often a difficult species to see well, but most of us had scope views (and those that didn't got it in their bins) at the same time and place as our Yellow-eared Spiderhunters turned up.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
CITRINE WAGTAIL (Motacilla citreola) – Generally an uncommon winter visitor to the country, and we found one lone individual in the rice paddies at Doi Lo, near Chiang Mai. That plain yellow head made it an easy identification. [b]
GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea) – A couple of birds along a rushing stream below one of the big waterfalls at Doi Inthanon. [b]
WHITE WAGTAIL (Motacilla alba) – A common wintering bird in the north, and seen pretty much at all the rice paddies we scoped out. All the ones we saw appeared to belong to the race leucopsis, which is the most numerous race found here. [b]
PADDYFIELD PIPIT (Anthus rufulus) – Seen a few times in the south, in rice paddies, appropriately, as well as other open areas.
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus hodgsoni) – Unlike most of the other pipits, this one regularly perches up in trees, and is usually found in forest clearings or grassy areas along forest edge. We had them several times in the northern mountains, and saw them especially well at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station. [b]
Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)
CRESTED BUNTING (Melophus lathami) – A handful of these were in a grassy clearing near the top of Doi Lang, including at least one handsome male in winter plumage. [b]
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
COMMON ROSEFINCH (Carpodacus erythrinus) – A flock of at least 8 birds posed nicely beyond the military checkpoint on Doi Lang. [b]
SCARLET FINCH (Carpodacus sipahi) – A brilliant red male was a great find in the midst of what was arguably our best bird wave on our final morning at the top of Doi Lang. This is a pretty scarce migrant in the country, and was only our second record of this species on the Thailand tour in the past 15 years! [b]
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus indicus) – Fairly common around Bangkok, with a few birds seen in Chiang Mai as well.
PLAIN-BACKED SPARROW (Passer flaveolus) – A much prettier bird than the nam suggests. Our only pair was in a flowering tree with a bunch of starlings and mynas during a roadside rice paddy stop north of Chiang Mai.
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus) – Numerous in towns, cities, and cultivated areas throughout.
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
BAYA WEAVER (Ploceus philippinus) – A handful of birds in non-breeding plumage at Rangsit, then a couple of huge flocks at the harrier roosting marsh.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
RED AVADAVAT (Amandava amandava) – A trio of these, including a male in partial breeding plumage, were in the scrubby edge of some rice paddies north of Chiang Mai. A flyover bird at the Nam Kham Reserve would have been of the yellow-bellied form, which Uthai says is likely to be split soon, though no one saw it well enough to see the salient features.
WHITE-RUMPED MUNIA (Lonchura striata) – Small numbers were seen in a number of open country areas, beginning with our first birds at Wat Phai lom on the first afternoon.
SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata) – Also known as Nutmeg Manakin, Spice Finch, etc. This was the most commonly seen munia, and was often seen in good numbers in open areas throughout.
CHESTNUT MUNIA (Lonchura atricapilla) – A trio of these handsome munias at Rangsit were the only ones for the tour.
JAVA SPARROW (Lonchura oryzivora) – A small, self-sustaining population of this introduced species hangs on in the northern suburbs of Bangkok, where we saw one fly by at Rangsit Marsh. I think a couple of folks also saw a pair on the grounds of the Rama Gardens. [I]


A final image to help you to remember this wonderful trip, a gorgeous sunset at Doi Ithanon NP. Photo by participant Greg Vassilopoulos.


MAMMALS
LYLE'S FLYING FOX (Pteropus lylei) – A few of these were perched high in the mangroves as we boated out to the sand spit at Laem Pak Bia.
WRINKLE-LIPPED FREE-TAILED BAT (Chaerephon plicatus) – The spectacle, and sound, of swarms of these bats funneling out of a hillside cave near Khao Yai was an impressive experience.
NORTHERN TREESHREW (Tupaia berlangeri) – A few of these pointy-nosed, squirrel-like mammals were seen near the summit of Doi Inthanon.
CRAB-EATING MACAQUE (Macaca fascigularis) – These long-tailed monkeys were seen a few times along the coast, and there were also a lot of them in the limestone hills at Wat Phra Phutthabut Noi.
PIGTAIL MACAQUE (Macaca nemestrina) – These were the cheeky, banana thieves and beggars along the roads in Khao Yai NP.
BANDED LEAF MONKEY (Presbytis melalophos) – The rarer of the two leaf monkeys at Kaeng Krachan. This one was readily separated from the more common Dusky Leaf Monkey by the black tail and different face pattern, lacking the strong facial markings of Dusky.
DUSKY LEAF MONKEY (Presbytis obscura) – Common at Kaeng Krachan, where we saw them daily. Those crescents of bare skin around the eyes really give them a distinctive expression.
PILEATED GIBBON (Hylobates pileatus) – Heard at Khao Yai, though I wasn't really clear on the differences in calls between the two gibbon species. [*]
WHITE-HANDED GIBBON (Hylobates lar) – Seen several times in both Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai. Most impressive and memorable were the ones that started singing directly over our heads along the km 30 track in Khao Yai. What a beautiful sound, rivaling that of Madagascar's Indri!
BLACK GIANT SQUIRREL (Ratufa bicolor) – A couple of these monster squirrels were seen at Kaeng Krachan but oddly none at Khao Yai this year.
MOUNTAIN RED-BELLIED SQUIRREL (Callosciurus flavimanus) – We had a few of these in the north, mainly on Doi Inthanon.
FINLAYSON'S SQUIRREL (Callosciurus finlaysoni) – These were the highly variable squirrels we saw on the grounds of the Rama Gardens, then daily in Khao Yai NP.
GRAY-BELLIED SQUIRREL (Callosciurus caniceps) – The one with the black tail tip. These were primarily seen at Kaeng Krachan.
HIMALAYAN STRIPED SQUIRREL (Tamiops macclellandi) – A few of these tiny squirrels were seen well at Kaeng Krachan and again at Doi Lang.
ASIAN RED-CHEEKED SQUIRREL (Dremomys rufigenis) – A single one of these dark, ground dwelling squirrels scurried across the road ahead of the group at Doi Inthanon.
YELLOW-THROATED MARTEN (Martes flavigula) – Single animals were seen by the folks in the lead van on two consecutive days on Doi Lang.
SMALL ASIAN MONGOOSE (Herpestes javanicus) – This is the one that Siewlin spotted by the ponds at Laem Pak Bia that no one else other than Uthai managed to see.
CRAB-EATING MONGOOSE (Herpestes urva) – And this is the mongoose that scurried across the road ahead of the vans at Khao Yai.
INDIAN ELEPHANT (Elephas maximus) – We'd been seeing plenty of elephant sign at both Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, but we were down to our last day and headed out of Khao Yai NP for the last time when we finally came across a lone bull feeding just off the road. We stopped for a look, but the elephant soon moved deeper into the forest and out of sight. So, we went birding on a nearby bridge, saw a bunch of sunbirds and other things, then came back to the vans to track down some calling Banded Broadbills, only to find the elephant feeding right next to the vans. A fantastic close encounter ensued.
LESSER MOUSE DEER (Tragulus javanicus) – A couple of folks at one end of the Blue Pitta hide got a surprise when one of these tiny deer showed up almost at their feet before darting back under cover.
MUNTJAC (BARKING DEER) (Muntiacus muntjak) – One of these beautiful small deer fed in the grassy clearing next to our picnic lunch spot at Khao Yai.
FEA'S MUNTJAC (Muntiacus feae) – We heard the barking call of this one at Kaeng Krachan one day. [*]
SAMBAR (Cervus unicolor) – These large deer were pretty habituated around the camps at Khao Yai.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS


Totals for the tour: 471 bird taxa and 23 mammal taxa