A Field Guides Birding Tours Report


January 14-February 4, 2023 with Jay VanderGaast & Uthai Treesucon guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Easiest Banded Broadbill ever! This one was perched right over the parking area when we arrived at Kaeng Krachan, just waiting to be photographed. Participant Karen Hamblett happily obliged!

After a long hiatus, it was so good to finally be able to return to Thailand this year! This has become one of my favorite trips, and I'd really been missing my Thai friends, the delicious Thai meals, and of course, the wonderful southeast Asian avifauna. I'd been anticipating this return for a while, and it did not disappoint!

Although there were times in the field that I felt bird activity was lower than I was used to, overall our species tally was in line with previous outings. But there were certainly a few species that were conspicuous by their absence (where were the bluetails, Short-billed Minivet, Spot-breasted Parrotbill?). On the other hand, there were also quite a few surprises. With the large number of wintering species in the country, there are always a few unusual birds around, but this year seemed better than most, as evidenced by the fact that not only did I add 20 species to my Thailand list, but Uthai picked up 5 new country birds as well! Among these were the gorgeous male Chinese Rubythroat at Chiang Saen and a long-staying White-spectacled Warbler on Doi Lang, both rare vagrants to the country.

Not all of my country ticks were rare winter visitors, though, as we kicked off the tour at a new site in Bangkok that finally allowed me to pick up my long-awaited Alexandrine Parakeets! We followed that up by nailing the much-wanted Spoon-billed Sandpiper the next morning on our very first attempt, a huge relief for your guides! Other key coastal birds also came good, and before moving on to Kaeng Krachan National Park (KKNP) we'd had fine views of Nordmann's Greenshanks, Asian Dowitchers, and a couple of Chinese Egrets at Pak Thale, and Malaysian and White-faced plovers on the Laem Phak Bia sand spit. The tour was off to a fine start!

KKNP gave us our first real taste of SE Asian forest birding, and our initial foray into the park was thrilling, as species like Green-billed Malkoha, Greater Flameback, Large Woodshrike, Forest Wagtail, and a gorgeous male White-throated Rock-Thrush were among the many birds to delight us around the park headquarters. The following two days were spent further enjoying the park, and I was thrilled that we were once again able to access the road to the upper camp after several years of closures. The day to the upper camp started off strong, with a pair of Banded Broadbills right over the parking area at the lower camp! Up at the top, the key target, the very local Ratchet-tailed Treepie, only showed itself to a couple of folks, but other specialty birds performed quite well, with Red-bearded Bee-eater, Red-throated Barbet, Long-tailed Broadbill, both Speckled and White-browed piculets, and a pair of Kalij Pheasants among the highlights. At lower elevations the park offered up plenty of other goodies, including a stunning Blue Pitta, adorable Black-and-yellow Broadbills, Sultan Tit, Orange-headed Thrush, and a pair of day-roosting Brown Boobooks, to name a few.

Before leaving the KKNP region, stops at the country club and university grounds added a striking Black Baza, a quartet of elusive Greater Painted-Snipes, Freckle-breasted Woodpecker, and the normally skulking (not so much this time!) Lanceolated Warbler before we were on our way to famous Khao Yai National Park, with the traditional stop for the endemic Rufous Limestone Babbler on the way. The next couple of days were spent tracking down gems like Silver Pheasant, Banded Kingfisher, Red-headed Trogon, the stunning Van Hasselt's Sunbird, and Black-throated Laughingthrush, along with an assortment of warblers, bulbuls, and babblers, etc. A pair of gigantic Wreathed Hornbills flying just over our heads, a surprise pair of Buffy Fish-Owls on a day roost, and the spectacular sight of a flock of Brown-backed Needletails skimming a roadside pond in the late afternoon were among the many other memorable sightings here. And as usual, many of our best mammal sightings came in the Khao Yai region, from the massive Indian Elephant blocking traffic along the main road, to the trio of long-limbed White-handed Gibbons swinging through the treetops, the massive Gaur grazing on a grassy hillside and the cheeky Pigtail Macaques committing petty theft and mugging innocent young girls!

The bird bonanza continued after we flew north and began birding an assortment of national parks, rice paddies, and wetland areas. Mae Ping NP was our first major destination, and the dry dipterocarp forests produced several woodpecker species, including the colorful Black-headed, and huge White-bellied and Great Slaty woodpeckers, plus Burmese Nuthatch, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Changeable Hawk-Eagle and, after dark, a wonderful Blyth's Frogmouth at close range! Next up was Doi Inthanon, Thailand's highest mountain. A wonderful morning at the summit bog boardwalk gave us incredible views of some often difficult skulkers like Pygmy Cupwing, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Dark-sided Thrush, and Himalayan Shortwing, while other highland specialties--Chestnut-tailed Minla, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Silver-eared Laughingthrush, Green-tailed Sunbird-- danced around us, often at very close range. Elsewhere in the park, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, various minivets, Silver-eared Mesia, Rufous-backed Sibia, Spectacled Barwing, and a great variety of warblers, forktails, bulbuls (including the hard-to-get White-headed), tits, and flycatchers kept things lively!

Further north, Doi Lang and Doi Ang Khang were stellar once again. Here along the border with Myanmar, we tallied even more montane specialties and winter visitors. Hume's Pheasant, Mountain Bamboo-Partridge, Giant Nuthatch, a flock of very cooperative Himalayan Cutias, Scarlet-faced Liocichla, the brilliantly colored Rufous-bellied Niltava, White-bellied Redstart, and Ultramarine, Rufous-gorgeted, and Slaty-blue flycatchers were among the many standouts on Doi Lang. And on Ang Khang, a day-roosting Hodgson's Frogmouth, Great Barbet, Streaked Wren-Babbler, Scaly Thrush (for some), White-tailed Robin, Crested Finchbill, and Spot-winged Grosbeak were just some of the species that made our time there memorable. Changing pace somewhat, we finished the trip birding some wetland regions, highlighted by numerous wintering visitors, from Siberian Rubythroat and Bluethroat along the river at Tha Ton, to the 2 vagrant geese--Graylag and Greater White-fronted-- at Nong Luang, to striking Pied Harriers, the odd Eurasian Wryneck, and the stunning male Chinese Rubythroat at Wiang Nong Lom.

This trip would not be what it is without the help and support from our amazing ground crew, who seamlessly arranged things so that all we really needed to do was eat, sleep, and bird! From my tireless co-leader Uthai, to our capable drivers, Jiang and Ton, to the indefatigable Wat and Gaio, plus their various helpers, they all did so much to make this a pleasant, memorable experience. I also want to thank you all for joining us on this SE Asian adventure. It was so much fun to travel with you, and I look forward to meeting you all again on some future trip!


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

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

LESSER WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna javanica)

Easily the most numerous waterfowl of the tour, with well over 600 birds counted, beginning with a big flock of 200+ in the Laem Phak Bia region.

GRAYLAG GOOSE (Anser anser) [b]

A vagrant to the country and a new Thailand bird for Uthai (one of 5 this trip!). We tracked down a pair of these at the Nong Luang lake near Chiang Saen.


Also a vagrant to the country and another tick for Uthai, this bird was in the company of the two Graylags. Distance and poor lighting made it difficult to tell it from the other geese at first, but eventually we got excellent scope views that allowed us to note the differences.

RUDDY SHELDUCK (Tadorna ferruginea) [b]

An uncommon but fairly regular wintering bird here. We counted 22 of these handsome ducks at Nong Luang.

GARGANEY (Spatula querquedula) [b]

Fair numbers in the Chiang Saen region, with most of the birds still in eclipse plumage, though a few males were starting to show the brow line.

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata) [b]

At least 4 birds were at Nong Bong Kai, mixed in with a flock of Eastern Spot-billed Ducks.

GADWALL (Mareca strepera) [b]

A rare wintering species in the country. We saw them twice (8 birds) at the same spot at Nong Bong Kai as we searched in vain for a vagrant Falcated Duck that had been frequenting the area.

EURASIAN WIGEON (Mareca penelope) [b]

Mary picked out our only pair at Nong Bong Kai in with all the other ducks.

INDIAN SPOT-BILLED DUCK (Anas poecilorhyncha)

Resident in the north, where we saw several hundred across several areas around Chiang Saen. The race here, haringtoni, mostly lacks the red loral spot that is depicted in the field guide.

EASTERN SPOT-BILLED DUCK (Anas zonorhyncha) [b]

It was a good year for rare ducks in northern Thailand, and one or two of these rarities had been reported in the region, though it took a lot of scanning before I finally picked one out from among the other ducks at Nong Bong Kai, a gift for Uthai, as it was another country tick for him. This duck was darker-bodied than the very similar Indian SPD, with a distinct dark moustachial line lacking in that species.

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos) [b]

Yet another rare duck frequenting the Chiang Saen region during our stay. We found a pair at Nong Bong Kai, with the male in full breeding plumage making it easy to pick out.

NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta) [b]

A regular winter visitor, though we saw very few. Some saw a flock of 10 birds fly over at Pak Thale, another flock of 7 went over at the lake with the geese, and a pair was with the mixed swarm of ducks at Nong Bong Kai.

GREEN-WINGED TEAL (EURASIAN) (Anas crecca crecca) [b]

Seen at a few sites around Chiang Saen, mostly in small numbers though we did have a flock of around 50 at Nong Bong Kai on the final morning. Both Eric and I thought we may have seen a male with a vertical white line on the side, a feature of the American subspecies, but we were unable to relocate it to confirm.

FERRUGINOUS DUCK (Aythya nyroca) [b]

About 40-50 were seen during our boat trip at Nong Bong Kai, though try as we might, we were unable to find a reported Baer's Pochard that had been seen there just a day earlier.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

RUFOUS-THROATED PARTRIDGE (Arborophila rufogularis) [*]

We heard a pair calling from the summit bog at Doi Inthanon, but they were fairly distant and unresponsive.

HUME'S PHEASANT (Syrmaticus humiae)

I was surprised and pleased to arrive at the pheasant spot on Doi Lang and see that there were no photographer's tents set up, so we had the place to ourselves! We quickly set up the blind, and shortly after, three female pheasants practically charged in to feed, followed shortly after by a handsome male! This was probably the most relaxed, and hungriest, I've ever seen these birds.

KALIJ PHEASANT (Lophura leucomelanos hamiltonii)

A brief, but good encounter with this one on our way up to the upper camp at KKNP, as a pair crossed the road just ahead of the trucks, with the male pausing long enough to perform a quick drumming display before moving off into the brush.

SILVER PHEASANT (Lophura nycthemera)

It took us a couple of tries to find this gorgeous pheasant, but we ultimately tracked down an immaculate male right next to the nature trail at Khao Yai. We'd split the group and were walking the loop in opposite directions, but happily the bird stayed in view long enough for the other half of the group to arrive. This was Howard's choice for top bird of the trip.

SIAMESE FIREBACK (Lophura diardi)

This stunning pheasant has gotten tougher to find at Khao Yai of late, but their dead easy at Sakaerat, where they've become pretty habituated. We rolled up to one of the watering holes and were treated to fantastic close views of at least a dozen of these beauties.

Field Guides Birding Tours
As beautiful as this male Rufous-bellied Niltava is, it’s even better in real life! Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

GREEN PEAFOWL (Pavo muticus)

The Ban Hong Non-hunting Area was a new site for me, and it was well worth the visit, as the views we had at this species were the best I've ever had. At least 22 birds were foraging on the hillside below us, completely unfazed by our presence. Surprisingly, we also saw 4 birds at Inthanon Nest, where Mr T successfully began to bait some in during the pandemic years.

SCALY-BREASTED PARTRIDGE (Tropicoperdix chloropus) [*]

Heard only at both KKNP and Khao Yai.

GRAY PEACOCK-PHEASANT (Polyplectron bicalcaratum)

Some folks glimpsed one that slipped off the edge of the road as we rode down from the upper camp at KKNP. Aside from that, all our records were of vocalizing birds, some quite close, but all out of sight.


We had a couple of superb encounters with these attractive partridge on our first visit to Doi Lang. First we had good looks at a pair on the road in the morning, then later on that day, we came across a covey of 5 more that were also on the road, neither of the sightings occurring in the pheasant baiting area.

RED JUNGLEFOWL (Gallus gallus)

Our first was a lone male along the road at KKNP, but we had more, and better looks, at several at Khao Yai, including a pair crossing the river below our vantage point, and several feeding behind one of the buildings alongside a couple of Sambar and a huge monitor! We also saw a couple with the peafowl at Inthanon Nest, and a lone hen at Wat Tham Pha Plong.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

About 50+ birds in total at various wetlands, with the majority being seen in the Chiang Saen region.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Common in towns and cities.

SPECKLED WOOD-PIGEON (Columba hodgsonii)

Great scope views of a dozen at their traditional spot just below the summit of Doi Inthanon at dawn. I have yet to see this species anywhere else.

ASHY WOOD-PIGEON (Columba pulchricollis)

I also have never seen this species anywhere but behind the bathrooms at Doi Inthanon. This year there was just one, and between the tall fence and the thick vegetation, it was tough to see, made even more difficult by the need to climb onto the fence and try hold up binoculars while maintaining balance so as not to fall into the me at the urinals just behind us! Still, we ultimately all managed to do just that!

ORIENTAL TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia orientalis)

Just a couple of quick encounters with pairs on Doi Lang, though a few folks might have missed these altogether.

RED COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia tranquebarica)

Present in small numbers in many of the non-forested sites visited, with the largest number being seen around the aquaculture ponds at Phraek Nam Daeng (ie km 80 ponds).

SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis)

We only missed this common species on 2 days.

ASIAN EMERALD DOVE (Chalcophaps indica) [*]

Heard at KKNP.

ZEBRA DOVE (Geopelia striata) [I]

Pretty common throughout. According to Ebird, the entire population in Thailand, other than in the southern end of the peninsula, are considered exotics, feral birds that escaped or were released deliberately, hence the "Introduced" symbol.


Often we only see this one on the grounds of our Bangkok hotel, and we did see some there in the parking lot just before departing, but this year we also had a couple of birds at the KKCC, including a colorful male that sat in full view for a lengthy period.

THICK-BILLED GREEN-PIGEON (Treron curvirostra)

Overall green-pigeons were not especially numerous this trip, and while we did find a dozen of these at KKNP, we mostly saw them only as they flushed from a fruiting fig tree over the road.

YELLOW-FOOTED GREEN-PIGEON (Treron phoenicopterus)

Just a single bird on a partially obscured perch above the road at Mae Ping NP. Though the views were not the best, the bright yellow feet were clearly visible in the scope.


Similar in shape to the next species. This is one is scarce on the tour route, and our only ones were a pair that flew overhead along the road to the upper camp at KKNP.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We birded an amazing array of habitats from sandspits, like this one at Laem Phak Bia, to the highest mountain in Thailand. Photo by participant Valerie Gebert.


We only ever see this one at Wat Tham Pha Plong, and we usually only expect to see a handful so we were pretty surprised to see such a large flock this year. The 38 we counted was higher than the aggregate total seen on my 4 previous trips!

WEDGE-TAILED GREEN-PIGEON (Treron sphenurus) [*]

We heard one on our first visit to Doi Lang, but it was fairly distant and we were unable to spot it.


Not uncommon in the mountain parks, and we had good looks at KKNP, Khao Yai, and Doi Lang.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREATER COUCAL (Centropus sinensis)

Seen and/or heard on all but a few days, starting with one on the hotel grounds in Bangkok.

LESSER COUCAL (Centropus bengalensis)

In breeding plumage, this species looks similar to the much larger Greater Coucal, but at this time of year, they're still in their very different non-breeding attire. They're also much less common, and we only saw three--one at the KKCC, then a couple in the Chiang Saen region.

GREEN-BILLED MALKOHA (Phaenicophaeus tristis)

Other than at KKNP, this is the only malkoha on this tour route, and we saw them in small numbers at several sites, including a bird in no-man's land at the Ban Nor Lae Army Camp on the Myanmar border.

ASIAN KOEL (Eudynamys scolopaceus)

A very common voice throughout the tour Though we saw far fewer than we heard, we did have a number of good sightings starting on the grounds of our Bangkok hotel.

ASIAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx maculatus)

After missing these brilliant green cuckoos at a number of sites where we've seen them in the past, we finally caught up with a couple of different males in the Doi Pha Tang sector of Doi Inthanon NP.

VIOLET CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus)

Good scope views of a fine male singing from a bare treetop at Wat Tham Pha Plong.

BANDED BAY CUCKOO (Cacomantis sonneratii)

Heard at many of the forested sites we visited, but most of us saw only one, the very first one we encountered, which posed nicely for scope views at the KKNP headquarters. A few folks also had a quick look at one at Mae Ping NP.

PLAINTIVE CUCKOO (Cacomantis merulinus)

We saw relatively few of these open-country cuckoos, but had good looks at one perched on a wire over the river on our very first birding outing at Wat Suan Yai. Other singles were seen at the km 80 ponds, in rice paddies near our Inthanon hotel, and at the goose stakeout near Chiang Saen.

LARGE HAWK-CUCKOO (Hierococcyx sparverioides)

As we waited for the boatman to eat lunch before our boat trip at Nong Bong Khai, we saw what appeared to be a large Accipiter fly towards us and land in a nearby tree, but it turned out to be one of these amazingly hawk-like cuckoos. Unfortunately it flew off again almost immediately, so our views were pretty short.

Podargidae (Frogmouths)

HODGSON'S FROGMOUTH (Batrachostomus hodgsoni)

We were birding in some decent-looking habitat on Doi Ang Khang and I decided to play the call of this species, and was surprised to have it call back right away. A few more calls led us to the tree it was roosting in, and then it just remained for us to carefully scan the tree to spot its roost. Ultimately it was Uthai that found the bird, a lovely rufous female, and we all got some super scope views of her before leaving her in peace.

BLYTH'S FROGMOUTH (Batrachostomus affinis)

After our delicious picnic supper at Mae Ping NP, we made an attempt to find this frogmouth species, and we got an immediate response from a distant bird. Though it called back regularly, it didn't seem to move any closer, and I was convinced it wasn't going to. But Uthai persisted, and after a while it did fly in, landing in a tangle of branches not far from the road, giving us an excellent look! The subspecies here is continentalis, which could be split off as Indochinese Frogmouth sometime in the future.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

GREAT EARED-NIGHTJAR (Lyncornis macrotis)

Wonderful flyby views of a couple of these impressively large nightjars at dusk on the outskirts of Khao Yai NP.

LARGE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus macrurus)

This and the next species made appearances within minutes of each other near our Kaeng Krachan area hotel one evening, both giving great views in the spotlight. This was the first bird to come in, and showed obvious white wing patches.

INDIAN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus asiaticus)

This smaller nightjar lacked the white wing patches shown in flight by the Large-tailed. Luckily both species sang after they flew in, as the vocal differences were far more distinctive than their plumage characteristics.

Apodidae (Swifts)

BROWN-BACKED NEEDLETAIL (Hirundapus giganteus)

We don't generally expect to get crippling views of swifts, but that's exactly what this species gave us one late afternoon at Khao Yai, as 8 of them made repeated dives to the surface of a roadside pond. The light was superb, the looks amazing, and Ruth was impressed enough to put this at the top of her favorite trip birds list!

Field Guides Birding Tours
Classy, and a SE Asian classic: Green Peafowl, photographed by participant Valerie Gebert.

HIMALAYAN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus brevirostris) [b]

This and the next species are pretty similar and difficult to tell apart, though this species generally shows a less contrasting pale rump. We saw just a few of these at Doi inthanon.

GERMAIN'S SWIFTLET (Aerodramus germani)

One of the edible-nest swiftlets, this species is numerous in the south, where we saw them most days, including on the grounds of our Bangkok hotel.

COOK'S SWIFT (Apus cooki)

Some decent-sized groups of these large swifts were seen in the mountains of the north, including a handful at the Ban Nor Lae camp at the border that certainly were straying into Myanmar airspace.

ASIAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus balasiensis)

These pointy-tailed swifts were pretty widespread and seen in small numbers throughout the tour.

Hemiprocnidae (Treeswifts)

CRESTED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne coronata)

Fantastic scope views of a trio of birds that flew around above us and then sat out in a bare tree over the road at Mae Ping NP.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)

Aside from a single bird at the km 80 ponds south of Bangkok, the remainder of our sightings all came at the end of the tour in the Chiang Saen region.

EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra) [b]

Only around Chiang Saen, where they were especially on Nong Bong Khai.

GRAY-HEADED SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio poliocephalus viridis)

Quite numerous in the wetlands around Chiang Saen.

WHITE-BROWED CRAKE (Poliolimnas cinereus)

A trio of these furtive birds showed very nicely among the water hyacinth on the aquaculture ponds at Km 80.

WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

Common and widespread in wetlands throughout. We saw about a dozen, including two on our first afternoon outing in Bangkok, at the edge of one of the ponds at Queen Sirikit Park.


I'd trained the scope on a snipe that was feeding along the far edge of the river at Tha Ton, then Ruth stepped up to the scope and proclaimed that there was a crake there! It had apparently just walked out of the dense grasses, or at least that's what I like to think. In any case, we had great prolonged looks at this bird whether it was already there or not.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

INDIAN THICK-KNEE (Burhinus indicus) [*]

Heard a couple of times near our hotel at Kaeng Krachan, and we may have seen some distant eyeshine on the evening we searched for nightjars, but that's as close as we got.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)

Numerous in appropriate shorebird habitat throughout, with an especially large number (1000-2000) at Nong Luang.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) [b]

Just a handful each at Khok Kham and Pak Thale.

PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis fulva) [b]

Small numbers at the various coastal shorebird sites.

NORTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus vanellus) [b]

A rare winter visitor to Thailand, but a small group had been reported at Nong Luang and we found 6 birds on the mudflats at the same spot we found the geese.

GRAY-HEADED LAPWING (Vanellus cinereus) [b]

We only found these in the Cho Lae rice paddies north of Chiang Mai, where a total of at least 48 were tallied.

RED-WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus indicus atronuchalis)

Common and seen nearly daily on the south, including a pair on the hotel grounds in Bangkok. In the north, we saw a few scattered pairs at several sites, plus at least 5 pairs in the camping area at Mae Ping NP.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our group in search of the vagrant male Chinese Rubythroat. Yeah, we got it! Photo by participant Valerie Gebert.

LESSER SAND-PLOVER (Charadrius mongolus) [b]

Abundant at the coastal shorebird sites, often right alongside the next species, which aided in telling these two similar species apart.

GREATER SAND-PLOVER (Charadrius leschenaultii) [b]

A bit larger and longer-legged than the Lesser, with a longer bill that lacks a bulbous tip. Seen at all the same sites as the Lessers.

MALAYSIAN PLOVER (Charadrius peronii)

This species tends to prefer sandy beaches and dunes, and we had limited access to this habitat, but the boat trip to the Laem Phak Bia sand spit allowed us to get excellent views of 10-12 of these attractive little plovers.

KENTISH PLOVER (KENTISH) (Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus) [b]

Good numbers at the coastal shorebird sites.

WHITE-FACED PLOVER (Charadrius dealbatus) [b]

Long treated as a subspecies of Kentish, but now considered a full species. Like the Malaysian Plover, this one forages primarily in sandy areas, and we had super looks at a couple of birds with that species on the sand spit.

LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius dubius)

Seen mainly in the north, where they were fairly common in some of the rice paddies, but our first were on mudflats at the aquaculture ponds at km 80 south of Bangkok.

Rostratulidae (Painted-Snipes)

GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE (Rostratula benghalensis)

A stop on the university grounds at Phetchaburi failed to produce the hoped-for thick-knees, but 4 of these unique birds were found in the marshy fringes of one of the ponds there.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

PHEASANT-TAILED JACANA (Hydrophasianus chirurgus)

Not many, but we had nice looks at a couple at the km 80 ponds, then 8-10 among the aquatic vegetation at Nong Bong Khai. As usual for this time of year, all the birds were in non-breeding plumage.

BRONZE-WINGED JACANA (Metopidius indicus)

Our only two were found at the km 80 ponds alongside the above species.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (SIBERIAN) (Numenius phaeopus variegatus) [b]

A lone bird showed well on the mudflats at the mouth of the Laem Phak Bia canal.

EURASIAN CURLEW (Numenius arquata) [b]

About 150-200 of these impressive birds were in one large flock at Pak Thale. There was a single Far Eastern Curlew among them, which Uthai and I picked out by its dark rump and underwings as the flock moved off, but we couldn't refind it for the group.

BAR-TAILED GODWIT (SIBERIAN) (Limosa lapponica baueri) [b]

One bird on mudflats at the Laem Phak Bia sand spit, and a large group at Pak Thale. This is the godwit with more patterned upperparts and the more upswept bill.

BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (MELANUROIDES) (Limosa limosa melanuroides) [b]

The plainer-looking of the godwits, until they fly, when the striking pied wing pattern easily separates them from Bar-tailed. We had a large group in one of the cells at Pak Thale, and a few others scattered at the coastal sites.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) [b]

A few birds were scattered around the various coastal shorebird sites.

GREAT KNOT (Calidris tenuirostris) [b]

A big congregation of these chunky sandpipers were at Pak Thale. Uthai estimated about 700 of them.

RED KNOT (Calidris canutus) [b]

Much less common than the above species, or perhaps overlooked as they vanish in the large groups of Great Knots, but we picked out about half a dozen of them at Pak Thale.

BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER (Calidris falcinellus) [b]

This distinctive sandpiper with the split brow was seen first at Khok Kham where there were about 4 -5 in one of the cells, then we saw them again at Pak Thale, where there were 20+ birds.

CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) [b]

Quite a few at both Khok Kham and Pak Thale, with one handsome bird in breeding plumage at the latter site.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The handsome Coppersmith Barbet is always part of the welcoming party at our Bangkok hotel, where participant Karen Hamblett snapped this shot.

TEMMINCK'S STINT (Calidris temminckii) [b]

About a half dozen of these were on the mudflats along the river at Tha Ton, with another 5-6 on the fringes of Nong Luang.

LONG-TOED STINT (Calidris subminuta) [b]

The only bird we picked out was at Khok Kham, where we had nice views of one along the berm on our way to see the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPER (Calidris pygmaea) [b]

We also had just one of these, but that's about all we ever hope to see as there really are very few of these critically endangered birds left. We were a bit lucky as the bird stayed put just long enough for everyone to get a good scope look before it flushed off and disappeared. As usual, this bird got a few votes, with Eric, Jenny, and Mary all placing it at the top of their lists, which was enough to make it the overall top bird of the trip.

RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis) [b]

Pretty common at all the coastal shorebird sites.

SANDERLING (Calidris alba) [b]

About half a dozen on the beach at the sand spit.

ASIAN DOWITCHER (Limnodromus semipalmatus) [b]

Another of the shorebird prizes along the coast here. We eventually managed to find a group of 10 or so in one of the cells at Pak Thale.

COMMON SNIPE (Gallinago gallinago) [b]

Most of the snipes we identified were this species, easily told in flight from the next by the distinctive white trailing edge to the wings that Pin-tailed lacks. We had several each at Cho Lae and Nong Luang, and a single along the river at Tha Ton.

PIN-TAILED SNIPE (Gallinago stenura) [b]

Just a couple of these were identified, with one in rice paddies near our Inthanon hotel on our optional afternoon walk, and another at the Mae Taeng Irrigation Project.

TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus) [b]

A few of these distinctive sandpipers were seen nicely on the sand spit, with a lot more the following day at Pak Thale, where a large flock was roosting on one of the berms. Uthai's estimate was over 100, which might be the biggest group I've ever seen.

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) [b]

While common, this one never seems that numerous as it is mostly found in ones and twos in appropriate areas. We did however, see 8-10 of them along the river at Tha Ton.

GREEN SANDPIPER (Tringa ochropus) [b]

At least 4 along the river at Tha Ton, with singles at Mae Taeng and along the Mekong River at the Rim Khong Restaurant.

SPOTTED REDSHANK (Tringa erythropus) [b]

A couple at Pak Thale were nicely seen by all. Our only other ones were in a big group of 20+ along the back edge of the pond where the geese were at Nong Luang.

COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) [b]

Small numbers at each of the coastal sites, and three along the Mekong River.

NORDMANN'S GREENSHANK (Tringa guttifer) [b]

Another key shorebird at the coastal sites south of Bangkok We didn't get many this year, but we had decent scope views of a handful of birds at Pak Thale.

MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis) [b]

We saw a small number of these delicate-looking shorebirds at each of the coastal sites.

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) [b]

This species tends to favor freshwater sites over the coastal mudflats, and all our sightings came at inland areas, with singles at the Phetchaburi university grounds and the km 80 ponds, then 8 birds at some rice paddies south of Chiang Mai.

COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus) [b]

Small numbers at several of the coastal sites. Easily identified in flight by the broad, white trailing edge to the wings which Spotted Redshank lacks.

Turnicidae (Buttonquail)

BARRED BUTTONQUAIL (Turnix suscitator)

We flushed up a group of buttonquail in the dry scrub near Nong Bong Khai, but the views we had didn't really allow us to identify them to species. This is the species that's been reported most often in the region, though we couldn't be certain that they weren't Yellow-legged Buttonquail.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This imposing subadult Crested Serpent-Eagle seemed completely unfazed by our presence, or maybe it was just hoping for some scraps from our picnic? Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)

SMALL PRATINCOLE (Glareola lactea)

I'd previously only seen these along the Mekong River, so was a bit surprised to see them at Mae Taeng, and even more surprised at how many there were, as I counted a minimum of 71 birds on a single sweep with the scope. Our only other ones were 3 along the river at Tha Ton.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

BROWN-HEADED GULL (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus) [b]

The default gull here, and the only species we saw this year, all seen along the coast south of Bangkok.

LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons)

Quite common at the coastal sites.

GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) [b]

About 25-30 birds at Pak Thale.

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia) [b]

A single bird at the Laem Phak Bia sand spit, and a 8-10 at Pak Thale.

WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) [b]

Quite numerous at the coastal sites, with a large number (50-75) also at the km 80 ponds.

COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo) [b]

Fair numbers at the various coastal sites.

GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii) [b]

Nice looks at a couple of birds on the sand spit.

LESSER CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bengalensis) [b]

A single bird at Pak Thale was nicely picked out by Eric as it flew past.

Ciconiidae (Storks)

ASIAN OPENBILL (Anastomus oscitans)

Overall I felt like we saw fewer storks than we normally do, particularly in the south. By far our biggest count came at Nong Luang, where a large group of 100+ birds fed in the shallow water.

PAINTED STORK (Mycteria leucocephala)

Same story with this stork, which seemed to be on the increase on recent trips. We saw very few this year, with a single bird at the Bang Tabun "Duck and Ibis" lake and three at Pak Thale.

Anhingidae (Anhingas)

ORIENTAL DARTER (Anhinga melanogaster)

Unlike the storks, this species seems to be on the increase, and the 8 birds we recorded was more than the total of all my other tours combined.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

LITTLE CORMORANT (Microcarbo niger)

By far the most numerous cormorant, though primarily seen in the south. Up north we only saw these at Nong Bong Khai.

GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo) [b]

We had three of these large cormorants at Nong Bong Khai, the first ones I've seen in Thailand.

INDIAN CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)

A group of about 30 were roosting together on one of the concrete structures at Bang Tabun. A few others were noted elsewhere along the coast, though we really didn't pay much attention to cormorants after our initial good views.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

SPOT-BILLED PELICAN (Pelecanus philippensis)

The heat haze, distance and tough lighting conditions at Bang Tabun made this little more than a pelican-shaped blob but it clearly was a pelican and this is the only possibility.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

YELLOW BITTERN (Ixobrychus sinensis)

These small bitterns are far easier to see than the closely related Least Bitterns back home. We saw half a dozen, with singles at Wat Suan Yai, the Kaeng Krachan Country Club (nice spotting, Martha!), and Laem Phak Bia, with the final 3 birds at the km 80 ponds.

GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) [b]

Present in small numbers in many of the wetland sites visited.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Recently planted rice paddies are a colorful feature of the Thai landscape. Photo by participant Martha Vandervoort.

PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)

Mainly seen as single birds at most of the same sites as the above species.

GREAT EGRET (AUSTRALASIAN) (Ardea alba modesta)

Quite common and widespread.

INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Ardea intermedia)

We didn't really identify many of these, so real numbers were probably considerably higher than the 9 we recorded in Ebird.

CHINESE EGRET (Egretta eulophotes) [b]

Eric noted an egret at Pak Thale feeding much like a Reddish Egret, which is a typical of the behavior of this species. Turns out there were two birds across the curlew cell, and we all had nice scope views. This was a nice save as we'd failed to find any on our boat trip to the sand spit the previous day.

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

Along with Cattle Egret, this was the most commonly seen heron of the trip, missed on only a handful of days.

PACIFIC REEF-HERON (Egretta sacra)

At least 3 birds, all dark-morph individuals, were well seen at the sand spit.

CATTLE EGRET (EASTERN) (Bubulcus ibis coromandus)

Common throughout.

CHINESE POND-HERON (Ardeola bacchus) [b]

We undoubtedly saw Javan Pond-Heron in the coastal regions as well as this species, but in non-breeding plumage, these two species are virtually impossible to tell apart, so this is the only species we can be sure we saw, as it is the only one present along much of the tour route.

STRIATED HERON (OLD WORLD) (Butorides striata javanica)

Surprisingly few with singles on two days along the coast, and I don't think they were seen by everyone.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Those in Uthai's boat saw one in the mangroves along the canal at Laem Phak Bia.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) [b]

About a dozen in several small groups in the wetlands around Chiang Saen were the first I'd seen in Thailand.

BLACK-HEADED IBIS (Threskiornis melanocephalus)

Half a dozen in mangroves on our way down to Laem Phak Bia, and a couple more at Bang Tabun were all for the trip.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) [b]

Our only record was of a fairly distant bird flying over at Bang Tabun.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BLACK-WINGED KITE (Elanus caeruleus)

Single birds on three different days--on the grounds of the Lilawalai Resort, along the river at Tha Ton, and at Nong Bong Khai.

ORIENTAL HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis ptilorhynchus)

Not very many overall, but we had several good looks, including scope views of a couple from the tower at Inthanon Nest.

BLACK BAZA (Aviceda leuphotes)

I was really surprised that we saw only one of these strikingly beautiful raptors, but at least we had fabulous views of it, both perched and in flight, at the Kaeng Krachan Country Club.

CRESTED SERPENT-EAGLE (Spilornis cheela)

The most commonly seen raptor in forested areas. We had especially good views of a bird that remained perched next to the road at Kaeng Krachan for the entirety of our coffee break. It didn't seem at all perturbed at our proximity!

CHANGEABLE HAWK-EAGLE (CHANGEABLE) (Nisaetus cirrhatus limnaeetus)

When this bird first appeared above the camping area at Mae Ping NP, I thought it was a honey-buzzard, but it looked to bulky and had the wrong wing-shape, and we quickly realized it was this species. When it disappeared behind the trees, I played the call and got an immediate vocal response, though the bird didn't reappear, so I believe a few folks missed it.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Orange Skimmer was one of the numerous dragonflies we observed in addition to the many birds. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

MOUNTAIN HAWK-EAGLE (Nisaetus nipalensis)

Our lone was a sighting of 4 birds, no doubt a family group, soaring over one of the campgrounds at Khao Yai.

RUFOUS-BELLIED EAGLE (Lophotriorchis kienerii)

We also had just one sighting of this eagle, a lone bird that flew over our roadside coffee break site at Khao Yai, shortly after a Crested Goshawk had gone over.

BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus) [b]

Super looks at one of these uncommon winter visitors almost as soon as we'd arrived at the Ban Thi paddies. The white "headlights" on the leading edge of the wings were clearly visible, making the identification easy and straightforward.

STEPPE EAGLE (Aquila nipalensis) [b]

Along with the above species, this was one of several rare eagles known to be spending the winter around the Ban Thi area. We had excellent looks at a very well-marked immature bird.

RUFOUS-WINGED BUZZARD (Butastur liventer)

Several were seen in the north, with singles on a couple of days on the lower slopes of Doi inthanon, another at the Cho Lae paddies, and a couple at Nong Bong Kai.

EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aeruginosus) [b]

A rare winter visitor here, but we had super looks at a female/immature bird coursing over a roadside marsh on our final morning of birding at Nong Bong Khai, where several birds have been seen somewhat regularly this winter.

EASTERN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus spilonotus) [b]

Good looks at our first at the Cho Lae rice paddies, then several more in the Chiang Saen region, including quite a few flying into the harrier roost as we waited for the Chinese Rubythroat to appear.

PIED HARRIER (Circus melanoleucos) [b]

First seen at Ban Thi paddies, where we had great views of 3 birds, including a strikingly plumaged male. All of our remaining sightings were from the Chiang Saen region, mainly the numerous birds arriving at the harrier roost at Wiang Nong Lom.

CRESTED GOSHAWK (Accipiter trivirgatus)

Single birds on 5 different days at Kaeng Krachan, Khao Yai, and Inthanon NP. All of these were seen soaring overhead, with one of the most notable features being the fluffy, white undertail coverts that sometimes make them look like they have white rumps, much like Double-toothed Kite in the Neotropics.

SHIKRA (Accipiter badius)

Seen only a couple of times, though our scope views of one from the tower at Inthanon Nest were my best looks at this species by far.

BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans) [b]

Singles on three days south of Bangkok, and 4 birds at the Ban Thi paddies. In the areas that we saw them, it seems likely that all of our sightings were of subspecies lineatus (part of the Black-eared Kite group) which is a winter visitor to Thailand.

BRAHMINY KITE (Haliastur indus)

Quite a few were seen in the coastal regions south of Bangkok.

EASTERN BUZZARD (Buteo japonicus japonicus)

The Buteos in northern Thailand are confusing, as three very similar species (all of which were considered conspecific until recently) can occur. We had two records of this species in the Chiang Mai region.

Strigidae (Owls)

MOUNTAIN SCOPS-OWL (Otus spilocephalus) [*]

Heard on our owling excursion at Doi Ang Khang, but as with every one of my previous tries here, it stayed well away from the road despite calling persistently. One day I'll see one, perhaps!


Good response on both our attempts at our hotels near Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, with excellent views of both birds. The one at KK did something I'd never seen before, flying off its perch and headfirst into a branch. Luckily it appeared startled but not harmed.

ORIENTAL SCOPS-OWL (WALDEN'S) (Otus sunia modestus)

We heard several after dark at Mae Ping NP, but we were having a hard time tracking them down, until Jiang finally spotted one sitting just overhead.

BUFFY FISH-OWL (Ketupa ketupu)

These birds should probably have been roosting in dense streamside vegetation at Khao Yai, but they were sitting fully out in the open in two tall trees in a clearing adjacent to the river. I'm pretty sure they'd been flushed from their preferred roost by one of the plethora of photographers around that morning, but they seemed fairly unbothered by all the attention.

ASIAN BARRED OWLET (Glaucidium cuculoides)

Heard often, with a couple of excellent sightings. Our first came on our first afternoon at KKNP, as we birded around the headquarters. That one sat right out over the road and showed beautifully. Another pair showed very well on the grounds of Wat Phra Phuttabat Noi.

Field Guides Birding Tours
A Malaysian Plover looks right at home on a lovely shell-strewn beach in this photo by participant Karen Hamblett.

COLLARED OWLET (Taenioptynx brodiei brodiei)

By voice these tiny owls are common in forested areas, and on some trips we never do see one, but we did well with two sightings this year. Lois spotted our first perched high above the Silver Pheasant boardwalk trail at Khao Yai. We had even better views (at least a better viewing angle) about a week later on the Doi Pha Tang road at Inthanon NP.

SPOTTED OWLET (Athene brama)

Good scope views of a pair on our early morning walk on the grounds of the Lilawalai Resort.

BROWN BOOBOOK (Ninox scutulata)

We were trying to track down roosting White-fronted Scops-Owls near the stream crossings at KKNP, but had to be content with a pair of these that we spotted in a dense tangle over the road. Not a bad consolation prize!

Trogonidae (Trogons)

RED-HEADED TROGON (Harpactes erythrocephalus)

Lois and Maggie saw one from the back of the trucks as we drove up to the upper camp at KKNP. For the rest of us, our only sighting was a few days later at Khao Yai. Karen was on a roll that morning as just after spotting our only Banded Kingfisher along the roadside, she also pulled this beauty out, and we all had amazing views of it as it called from its shadowy subcanopy perch.

ORANGE-BREASTED TROGON (Harpactes oreskios)

In general, this is the easier of the two trogons on the tour route. Even so, we only had two sightings (albeit excellent ones) at KKNP and one at Khao Yai. One of the birds at KKNP was hanging out near a pair of Banded Broadbills, which helped enliven a fairly slow afternoon.

Upupidae (Hoopoes)


It's always a delight to see these striking birds, and we had several superb viewings, beginning with three birds around the KKNP headquarters, with several more sightings at Inthanon and Doi Lang.

Bucerotidae (Hornbills)

GREAT HORNBILL (Buceros bicornis)

It wasn't an especially great trip for hornbills, but we did manage to get a couple of decent look of these flying over along the entrance road to KKNP.

ORIENTAL PIED-HORNBILL (Anthracoceros albirostris)

As usual, the most numerous hornbill of the trip, and we saw close to 40 of these noisy birds, including at least 15 of them at a single fruiting tree at KKNP.

WREATHED HORNBILL (Rhyticeros undulatus)

We were hearing some of these calling on the hillside above us during a coffee break at Khao Yai, and were hoping for a flyover, but they seemed to be staying up near the ridge. So we walked up the road a ways to see if we could find a vantage point from which we could spot them, when all of a sudden a couple of birds glided in just overhead and flew down the roadway, their giant wings making an impressive whooshing sound as they went over. What an incredible experience!

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

COMMON KINGFISHER (Alcedo atthis) [b]

A common winter visitor here, and we had plenty of good looks at these little jewels throughout the tour.

BANDED KINGFISHER (Lacedo pulchella)

Tough this trip, but Karen managed to spot a calling female hidden in the canopy over the road at Khao Yai, and we had some very nice scope views of her. This is the species that first got Uthai interested in birding.


A common and conspicuous kingfisher that we saw more days than not, from our first afternoon at Queen Sirikit Park in Bangkok to our final morning at Nong Bong Kai and pretty much everywhere in between.

BLACK-CAPPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon pileata) [b]

This colorful kingfisher never seems as bold and confiding as the White-throated, nor as numerous, but we did have some nice looks at a couple along the canal at Laem Phak Bia, and another over perched in a hollow over the rear of one the water holes at KKNP.

COLLARED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus chloris)

A common species of mangroves and coastal areas. These were especially numerous along the canal at Laem Phak Bia where we had great views of about a dozen of them.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

RED-BEARDED BEE-EATER (Nyctyornis amictus)

It's been quite a while since I've seen this species, as we hadn't been able to access the upper campground at KKNP since 2018, so it was great to get back up into the upper elevations of the park and to get some awesome views of a couple of these large bee-eaters.

BLUE-BEARDED BEE-EATER (Nyctyornis athertoni)

We saw just three of these, all at Khao Yai, with a pair of birds showing briefly, but well, above our lunch spot one day, followed by even better views of another that Maggie spotted perched next to the main highway going into the park on our final morning there.

GREEN BEE-EATER (RUSSET-CROWNED) (Merops orientalis ferrugeiceps)

This one is now known as Asian Green Bee-eater after having been split from African and Arabian Green Bee-eaters. We didn't see these until we got up north, but then we saw them regularly and in pretty good numbers, with a high count of 25+ birds gathering in a dead tree in the pineapple plantation as we watched for the staked out Chinese Rubythroat at Wiang Nong Lom.


This was a bit of a surprise as we normally don't see this species on the tour, but a few of us got on one that was flying with three other bee-eaters (likely the same species) over the grounds of the university at Phetchaburi.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Participant Valerie Gebert captured this gorgeous female Spot-winged Grosbeak as it foraged among the fragrant pink blossoming trees at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station.

BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops philippinus)

We had pretty good looks at several of these at Queen Sirikit Park in Bangkok on our first afternoon, but followed up with even better scope views of a pair perched in scrub along the edge of Nong Luang as we looked for the geese.

CHESTNUT-HEADED BEE-EATER (Merops leschenaulti)

These colorful bee-eaters were pretty common and seen often in Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai National Parks.

Coraciidae (Rollers)

INDOCHINESE ROLLER (Coracias affinis)

Regularly seen in small numbers through the first part of the tour, right up until we got north of Chiang Mai, when we saw our final one at the Cho Lae paddies.

DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis)

A cooperative one was perched right over the bathrooms across from the KKNP headquarters. For most that was the only one, though there was another distant bird perched high on the ridge along the main road into the park that perhaps a few of you noted.

Megalaimidae (Asian Barbets)

COPPERSMITH BARBET (Psilopogon haemacephalus)

Usually one of the first birds to welcome folks to Thailand, as they are common and vocal around our Bangkok hotel, plus pretty much everywhere else!

BLUE-EARED BARBET (Psilopogon duvaucelii)

I'm not sure if they were just very quiet or if we just weren't tuned into these barbets, but we didn't record any after leaving KKNP, and even there, we mostly heard them around the upper camp, where we luckily also had excellent views of one, perhaps the only one seen by some.

GREAT BARBET (Psilopogon virens)

The calls of this species are fairly common in upper elevation forests, and always remind me of Golden-headed Quetzal of the Andes. We had our first view of this one, a long-distance scope look, at Wat Tham Pha Plong, then got much improved looks at several at Doi Ang Khang near a very popular flowering tree.

RED-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon mystacophanos)

Really only possible in the upper elevations at KKNP, where I've heard, but not seen, it previously. So I was pleased when we heard one calling from the canopy next to the road on our way to the upper camp, and even more so when I managed to find it on a mostly concealed perch among the foliage. Happily the bird stuck around, calling, for everyone to get a good scope view.

GREEN-EARED BARBET (Psilopogon faiostrictus)

Heard regularly in the national parks in the south, and we saw several along the road into KKNP.

LINEATED BARBET (Psilopogon lineatus)

A very common dry forest species that we saw and heard throughout, though they were most numerous and pretty gregarious at the Kaeng Krachan Country Club.

GOLDEN-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon franklinii)

A common voice in the mountain forests of the north, but can be a tricky bird to lay eyes on. But we did just that on a couple of occasions on Doi Lang. The subspecies here is ramsayi which is restricted to Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia.

MOUSTACHED BARBET (Psilopogon incognitus)

Only at Khao Yai, where we heard them pretty much all the time, and had several good looks, with one at the Boonsong Lekagul Lodges sitting right out in the open for lengthy looks and plenty of photos.

BLUE-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon asiaticus)

After seeing a couple at the upper camp at KKNP, we didn't run into this species again until we got up north. We saw a fair number of them in the mountain parks of the north, though they were perhaps most easily seen around the Ang Khang Agricultural Station.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

EURASIAN WRYNECK (Jynx torquilla) [b]

One appeared in the same dead tree with all the bee-eaters as we waited for the Chinese Rubythroat to appear. It was a bit challenging to point it out without making too much noise or moving too much, but we managed to get everyone on it. When it flew, it actually came our way and landed on the track nearby, where a few lucky folks got a close look at this strange woodpecker.

SPECKLED PICULET (Picumnus innominatus)

We did well with the piculets, getting excellent looks at both of these tiny woodpeckers. One of these was tapping away in a stand of bamboo along the road to the upper camp at KKNP, and we managed to track it down for some nice scope views. Another was found with a mixed flock as we birded our way up Doi Pha Tang at Inthanon NP.


Great looks at an excited pair that was flitting low down in a stand of bamboo along the road to KKNP's upper camp.


Pretty tough this year, with the first one at KKNP giving a not very satisfactory flyover view. We fared quite a bit better at Khao Yai where we found a roadside pair that kept going back and forth across the road. They never really stayed in view for long, but I think everyone got at least a quick look at them perched and we certainly all saw their distinctive pointy-headed, nearly tailless profile as they went over.

GRAY-CAPPED PYGMY WOODPECKER (Yungipicus canicapillus)

These small woodpeckers were encountered a few times in the dry forest at Mae Ping NP as well as on Doi Lang.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Buffy Fish-Owls usually choose much more concealed roosts during the day, but we (and dozens of photographers) found this one and its mate out in the open at Khao Yai NP. Photo by participant Valerie Gebert.


Passable looks at a female in the Laem Phak Bia area were greatly improved upon when we found a close male at the Phetchaburi university grounds. It seemed pretty tied to one dead tree, and may have been working on a nest hole.


Usually quite common in the mountain parks of the north, though we had very few this year. The ones we did see on Doi Lang and Doi Pha Tang did show nicely at least.

BAY WOODPECKER (Blythipicus pyrrhotis)

This always seems to be a tough woodpecker to see well, but we did all right with it this year, getting pretty good views of one just below the summit of Doi Inthanon, then another further down the road later the same morning. This was one of the few times I've actually seen this species perched!

GREATER FLAMEBACK (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus)

Heard more often than seen, but we had a few sightings of this one at KKNP, including our first around the headquarters on our initial afternoon at the park.

COMMON FLAMEBACK (Dinopium javanense)

Very similar to the above species, but a bit smaller and with a different face pattern. We got to see the two species together along the road into KKNP, allowing us to appreciate the subtle differences between the two. We also had a couple of these at Mae Ping NP.

LESSER YELLOWNAPE (Picus chlorolophus)

Most of us just saw one, but it was a cooperative bird that Karen spotted in a dead tree above the road on the slopes of Doi Pha Tang. Our only other one was with the cutia flock on Doi Lang, though most of us were pretty distracted trying to get looks at the cutias!


Heard only at KKNP.

LACED WOODPECKER (Picus vittatus)

Just one record, but that was of a super cooperative bird foraging on a tree trunk on the edge of the small stream at the Boonsong Lekagul Lodge at Khao Yai NP.


We also just had one of these, a female, that spent a long time sitting quietly high up on a tree trunk on our first afternoon around the KKNP headquarters.

BLACK-HEADED WOODPECKER (Picus erythropygius)

These colorful birds were well seen in the dry forest at Mae Ping NP, where we encountered a couple of family groups as we birded along the main road.

GREATER YELLOWNAPE (Chrysophlegma flavinucha)

Though we ran into these birds twice-- a trio at Mae Ping NP, and a pair on the slopes of Doi Pha Tang-- we really only saw them in flight as they went by over the road.

GREAT SLATY WOODPECKER (Mulleripicus pulverulentus)

The largest extant woodpecker remaining in the world. These monsters seem pretty shy overall, and I have yet to see them sitting out close to the road, but we did manage to spot a pair well back from the road at Mae Ping NP, and the scopes cut the distance to give us all some excellent views!


Another large and impressive woodpecker that frequents the dry forest at Mae Ping, and they seem just as reluctant to show themselves as the Great Slaty Woodpeckers, but we did have one or two nice views of these beauties.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

BLACK-THIGHED FALCONET (Microhierax fringillarius)

Our only sighting was of a single bird perched high on the ridge along the entrance road to KKNP. Thank goodness we had scopes to bring it in closer!

EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus) [b]

Two birds, both of which were in attack mode. The first was dive-bombing a female Pied Harrier at the Ban Thi paddies, the second was strafing the Eastern Marsh-Harrier at the Cho Lae paddies.

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

A couple of birds on the same morning in the Pak Thale region. The first was scoped from our rest room stop, as it perched on one of the power line structures along the highway.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)

ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET (Psittacula eupatria)

Uthai surprised me on our first afternoon when he announced that we were going to completely different areas than we used to visit. But I certainly didn't mind, as the new temple we visited, Wat Suan Yai, had nest boxes in place for this declining species, which we'd missed on all my previous trips. Needless to say we didn't miss them this year, as there were at least 5 pairs hanging around.

GRAY-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula finschii)

A handful of birds were encountered at Mae Ping NP, but none of them were really as cooperative as we would have liked, rarely staying in view long enough for us to get the scopes on them. But we did see them, so it could have been worse!

Field Guides Birding Tours
This mountain pond was flanked by a blaze of pink. Photo by participant Valerie Gebert.

BLOSSOM-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula roseata)

It looked like we were going to miss this local species at Inthanon Nest for the first time ever, as it seemed the dull, gray weather was keeping them away from their favored perching trees. We had already descended the tower, and a few folks were already back in the vans, when Maggie saved the day by spotting a couple of birds perched high up on the hillside. It might not have been the best ever look, but again, the scopes allowed us to get some decent views.

RED-BREASTED PARAKEET (Psittacula alexandri) [N]

A pair were among the Alexandrine Parakeets at Wat Suan Yai, the female peering out of a nest hole in the same tree that all the nest boxes were in. We had more nice views of another pair that were coming into a fruiting tree at the campground in Khao Yai, and then had a flock of 7 birds go over at Sakaerat.

VERNAL HANGING-PARROT (Loriculus vernalis)

These tiny parrots were primarily seen in flight as they rocketed overhead in the national parks in the south, but we did manage a few good perched views, with an exceptionally good encounter with several in a leafless flowering tree above one of the Khao Yai campgrounds.

Eurylaimidae (Asian and Grauer's Broadbills)

LONG-TAILED BROADBILL (Psarisomus dalhousiae)

This is a bird that you could run into in just about any of the forested areas we visited, but we just didn't. The only ones we did comes across were early in the trip, when we heard a small group of them calling from roadside forest on the way up to the upper camp at KKNP. They were pretty reluctant to show themselves overall, but we persisted and we got them in the end, but it was harder work than usual.


We had some pretty good luck with these, with a reasonably cooperative trio found along the road at Doi Inthanon, then a big group of about a dozen on the lower slopes of Doi Lang.

BANDED BROADBILL (Eurylaimus javanicus)

We didn't have to work for these at all, as no sooner had we pulled into the lower camp at KKNP when the park rangers called us over to see a pair perched low over the parking area near the bathrooms. Most of us hadn't even gotten out of the vans yet! And the following day we found another pair right next to the road near the stream crossings! Some years we really struggle for this species or even miss it altogether. Banded Broadbill came in 2nd in the bird of the trip voting, thanks to first place votes from Val, Karen, and Suzy.

BLACK-AND-YELLOW BROADBILL (Eurylaimus ochromalus)

Super looks at a pair of these striking little broadbills that came in from quite some distance to a tree right over the road at KKNP.

Pittidae (Pittas)

RUSTY-NAPED PITTA (Hydrornis oatesi) [*]

A calling pair at Wat Tham Pha Plong refused to show themselves.

BLUE PITTA (Hydrornis cyaneus)

A calling bird was moving around us inside the forest at KKNP, but was keeping out of sight. Then suddenly Martha picked it out on the forest floor not far away and managed to get me on it, and soon, thanks to a cooperative effort, everyone was able to get bins on this smashing male. This was the first time I'd seen one that wasn't being baited, which I really enjoyed. Lois placed this beauty at number 1 on her top 3 list.

Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)

GOLDEN-BELLIED GERYGONE (Gerygone sulphurea)

A mangrove specialist, so we have few opportunities to find these, but a pair put on a nice show at a roadside stop for Black-necked Ibis in the Laem Phak Bia region.

Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)

SMALL MINIVET (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus)

It's not unusual to only get this attractive little minivet only on the grounds of our Bangkok hotel, and that was exactly what happened again this trip, with a pair frequenting the car park area once again.

GRAY-CHINNED MINIVET (Pericrocotus solaris)

We never seem to see many of these, and that was our experience once again, as we had just a pair with a roadside mixed flock on the slopes of Doi Pha Tang, and a lone male a couple of days later on Doi Lang.

LONG-TAILED MINIVET (Pericrocotus ethologus)

It might have been faulty perception on my part, but it seemed to me that we were seeing fewer minivets than on most tours (and we somehow missed Short-billed entirely!). This was probably the most commonly seen species, seen pretty much daily in the mountain parks in the north, with our biggest flock being a group of 12+ at the Inthanon Lady's Slipper Orchid Initiative.

SCARLET MINIVET (Pericrocotus speciosus)

The first view of one of these dazzling birds is always a "wow" moment for folks. Come to think of it, most sightings of them probably are, as they just seem to be on fire! Our first "wow" moment with these came at Khao Yai, with several more occurring in the northern mountains.

ASHY MINIVET (Pericrocotus divaricatus) [b]

The three wintering minivet species (Ashy, Rosy, and Brown-rumped) vary greatly in number from year to year, sometimes quite common, sometimes missed entirely, but most years we find at least a few of these. A few is exactly what we got this trip, with 6 birds in total-- 4 together in the mangroves just after our boat trip, then singles at KKNP and above the lodge at Lilawalai Resort.

BROWN-RUMPED MINIVET (Pericrocotus cantonensis) [b]

And this is usually the most numerous of the three, which was just barely the case this year, as we had just 7 in total, all coming over the course of 2 days at Khao Yai NP.


We came close to missing this species entirely, and even though we did finally pull one out on pretty much our last opportunity, the final morning on Doi Lang, we were limited to a flight view as the lone bird winged across the road and off into the distance.


Another species that seemed to be less evident than in most years, though at least we did get several nice views of these in several of the national parks.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The usually skulky Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler is one of a number of birds willing to come out and pose for the small price of some mealworms! Photo by participant Karen Hamblett.


Though there is overlap between this species and the similar Black-winged, this one tends to prefer more open forests at lower elevation. We had a couple of sightings at Mae Ping NP, a single bird with a mixed flock, followed by a pair with another mixed flock further along the road.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

BLYTH'S SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius aeralatus)

Heard often in the mountain parks of the north, and we managed a few good sightings including a memorable one singing from an open perch on the slopes of Doi Pha Tang. Note that after spending several years as a full species, this bird has once again been lumped together with Dalat and Himalayan shrike-babblers under the previous name, White-browed Shrike-Babbler. The scientific name remains the same, and just for your notes, the ones we saw all belong to the nominate form.

CLICKING SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius intermedius)

Just a couple of records on Doi Inthanon, with nice looks at a couple with a mixed flock along the road near Checkpoint #2.

WHITE-BELLIED ERPORNIS (Erpornis zantholeuca)

Only a few this trip, with a single above our picnic lunch stop near the Youth Camp at KKNP, and a few fleeting pairs at Khao Yai. Though there wasn't a single sighting that was shared by all, I think most everyone got at least a brief view of one of the birds.

Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)

MANGROVE WHISTLER (Pachycephala cinerea)

It was a nice surprise to find a trio of these in some roadside mangroves in the Laem Phak Bia area. The birds showed extremely well as they cavorted through the shrubbery next to the road alongside some gerygones, fantails, and tailorbirds. This was my first time seeing this species on this tour.

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)

BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE (Oriolus chinensis) [b]

A common and widespread wintering bird in Thailand, and by far the oriole we saw the most often.

SLENDER-BILLED ORIOLE (Oriolus tenuirostris)

Pretty similar to the above species, but with a thinner bill and narrower dark line through the eye among other features. We only found one this trip, in a flowering tree above one of the waterfalls at Doi Inthanon along with a lot of other birds. This is the bird I was putting in the scope when I spied the cochoa.

BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE (Oriolus xanthornus)

A handful of these handsome orioles showed beautifully at Mae Ping NP, with a single one also seen from the tower at Inthanon Nest.

MAROON ORIOLE (Oriolus traillii)

Small numbers in the mountains of the north. Initially we were only seeing females (not that that's a bad thing, as they're quite attractive, too), but we finally did end up getting a dapper male at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station.

SILVER ORIOLE (Oriolus mellianus) [b]

One of a couple of potential lifers that I missed seeing. Uthai sounded pretty excited when he first heard this bird at KKNP, and for good reason, as it's a rare winter visitor to the country. We were trying hard to spot it in the dense canopy but only one or two people picked it up, just before it flew off never to return.

Artamidae (Woodswallows, Bellmagpies, and Allies)

ASHY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus fuscus)

A good number of the ones we saw were during the drives, as singles and pairs were often perched on roadside power lines. The biggest group of them, and perhaps our best views, came at the Gaur viewing area where 15+ birds were circling around below the viewpoint.

Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)

LARGE WOODSHRIKE (Tephrodornis virgatus)

We only had a single sighting of these birds on our first afternoon around the KKNP headquarters, but they gave excellent looks as they fed fairly low over the road with a small mixed flock. Thanks to Howard for spotting these birds for us.


Usually this is a common species seen regularly with mixed species flocks in most of the forested areas we visit. This year, not so much, as they were conspicuously absent from everywhere other than KKNP, where we recorded our only ones. We weren't the only ones to notice this lack of these birds, as a friend of mine who was guiding some folks at both KKNP and Khao Yai, among other places, mentioned that they didn't see any at all! Hopefully this is just an anomaly and they'll be back to normal numbers next year.

Aegithinidae (Ioras)

COMMON IORA (Aegithina tiphia)

Never numerous, but we saw these in singles or pairs on a number of days.

GREAT IORA (Aegithina lafresnayei)

Nice looks at a couple of these along the road into KKNP, with a handy nearby Common Iora for a good comparison between the two. This one lacks the bold white wing bars shown by Common Iora.

Rhipiduridae (Fantails)

MALAYSIAN PIED-FANTAIL (Rhipidura javanica)

We didn't even need to leave our Bangkok hotel to see these, as there was a pair right outside the window of the lobby pretty much all the time. We saw plenty more on the southern half of the tour, then completely dipped in the north which is pretty much the norm for this trip.

WHITE-THROATED FANTAIL (Rhipidura albicollis)

I'm not sure if this species is genuinely scarce or just easy to overlook, but whichever the case, we never see many of them. This trip we had two singles, both with mixed flocks. The first was along the road to the upper camp at KKNP, though I think several folks missed that one. The second, at Doi Inthanon, was much better behaved, giving excellent views as it foraged actively along some thick vines, repeatedly working up and down the vines with little sallies our to grab a passing insect.

Dicruridae (Drongos)

BLACK DRONGO (Dicrurus macrocercus)

A common drongo of open, scrubby habitats. There were usually a few around anytime we were birding in rice paddies or open marshes.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Sunset birding along this river was excellent, with Small Pratincole, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Bluethroat, and Siberian Rubythroat among the many great finds. Photo by participant Valerie Gebert.

ASHY DRONGO (SOOTY) (Dicrurus leucophaeus bondi)

This species may be overdue for a split as it is currently made up of 14 subspecies spread across 5 subspecies groups. Here in Thailand, 6 subspecies from 3 of the groups occur, 2 from each group. We saw a few of these in the south, many more in the north, and I believe most were of this subspecies. At Ang Khang, there were some darker types that could have either been Blackish, or possibly subspecies mouhouti from the Sooty group.

ASHY DRONGO (CHINESE WHITE-FACED) (Dicrurus leucophaeus leucogenis) [b]

This distinctive form only occurs as a winter visitor in Thailand. We saw these commonly in the south, with none at all once we moved north.

BRONZED DRONGO (Dicrurus aeneus)

This small, glossy drongo was commonly seen in forested areas throughout the tour.


Much less conspicuous than Greater RTD and mainly replaces Greater in upland forest regions. I think we did quite well to get a couple of excellent looks at these, first with a pair along the road to the upper camp at KKNP, then later a single bird in the lower section of Doi Lang.

HAIR-CRESTED DRONGO (Dicrurus hottentottus)

It must have been due to the lack of flowering trees that these were so scarce in the south (with surprisingly none at all at KKNP!). We did pick up a few at Khao Yai, then went on to see many more in the north, where they were the most numerous drongo.


Pretty spectacular for a drongo, and pleasingly widespread and easy to see. We had plenty of good views of these at many different sites.

Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)

BLACK-NAPED MONARCH (Hypothymis azurea)

Seen and heard pretty regularly throughout. Though these look pretty colorful in the book, they often appear pretty dull and dark in real life, as the blue can be pretty hard to make out in the shadowy areas they often seem to hang out in.


We only had one, a female, in a mixed flock as we came down form the upper camp at KKNP. Surprisingly for such an active species, she sat very quietly above the road, giving us all plenty of time to see her through the scope!

Laniidae (Shrikes)

BROWN SHRIKE (BROWN) (Lanius cristatus cristatus) [b]

Two recognizable subgroups of this species regularly winter in Thailand, but the Brown subgroup accounted for the majority of our sightings. But, I'm not sure whether we were seeing this nominate subspecies, which breeds in Siberia, or Manchurian breeding confusus, as both occur here. These were regularly seen in open scrubby habitat.

BROWN SHRIKE (PHILIPPINE) (Lanius cristatus lucionensis) [b]

This subspecies, which breeds in Korea and China, is much grayer on the crown and back then the Brown subgroup, and is quite similar in appearance to the more richly-colored Gray-backed Shrike. We saw just three of these that I recall, one at the military checkpoint in Khao Yai, one at the rice paddies on the lower slopes of Inthanon, and one at the Cho Lae paddies, where we had both forms together.

BURMESE SHRIKE (Lanius collurioides)

Our first was a lone bird in the camping area in Mae Ping NP, but out best views were appropriately right on the Myanmar border at the Ban Nor Lae Army Camp, where one was on a wire in close proximity to a Long-tailed Shrike allowing a nice comparison of these somewhat similar shrikes.

LONG-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanius schach)

Another species that might see some splitting in the future, as there are a bunch of subspecies groups across a wide swath of Asia and into Papua New Guinea. We saw a few scattered across several sites in the north, where the subspecies is tricolor, part of the Himalayan subgroup.

GRAY-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius tephronotus) [b]

We almost passed off our first one at the military checkpoint at Khao Yai as we'd seen a Philippine Brown Shrike here the day before. Thanks to Eric for getting us to take a closer look at it! We saw several more in the northern parks, where I am far more accustomed to seeing these.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

EURASIAN JAY (WHITE-FACED) (Garrulus glandarius leucotis)

Three birds played hide and seek with us in the canopy of the tall roadside trees on Doi Lang, but luckily they hung around long enough and popped into view often enough that I think everyone got some acceptable views. If you've seen this species in Europe, you probably noted that the race here looks very different to the common European forms. Another future split, perhaps?

RED-BILLED BLUE-MAGPIE (Urocissa erythroryncha)

We followed a small group of 5 birds around the camping area at Mae Ping NP for quite a while before they finally relented and gave us the views we were hoping for. Our only other sighting was of a single bird seen well from the tower at Inthanon Nest.

COMMON GREEN-MAGPIE (Cissa chinensis)

We heard several birds calling raucously in the canopy at the pheasant boardwalk in Khao Yai, and kept hearing them for much of our time there, but they stayed out of sight for almost everyone, with just a couple of us getting brief glimpses from the roadside before we descended to the trail.

RUFOUS TREEPIE (Dendrocitta vagabunda)

Karen found us our only one as we enjoyed a coffee break in the camping area at Mae Ping NP. Unfortunately, by the time a couple of folks returned from the rest rooms, the bird was gone and we never managed to relocate it, or find any others at all.

GRAY TREEPIE (Dendrocitta formosae)

We had a few run-ins with these on Doi Lang and Doi Ang Khang, but for the most part they weren't especially well-behaved birds, and most of our views were of birds as they flew away.

Field Guides Birding Tours
While most of the wats (temples) we visit on this tour have a birding component, the elaborate temples at Wat Ben Den (like the one in this photo by participant Valerie Gebert) are strictly of cultural interest.

RACKET-TAILED TREEPIE (Crypsirina temia)

Easily the best-behaved treepie of the trip. We had a few nice sightings on the southern part of the trip, with exceptionally good looks at a close bird on our morning on the Kaeng Krachan Country Club grounds.

RATCHET-TAILED TREEPIE (Temnurus temnurus)

The star bird of the upper sections of KKNP, but unfortunately, the lone bird we encountered was not a star at all, remaining in dense brush from where we could hear it calling, taunting us from its hidden perch. We tried from all angles, but in the end, only Maggie and Karen managed to lay eyes on it before it went silent. This species was only discovered in Thailand in 1991, and it seems to be restricted to KKNP and one other area a bit further north.

LARGE-BILLED CROW (Corvus macrorhynchos)

Widespread and seen almost daily, mostly in ones and twos, though we had a big, noisy mob of 60-80 birds on our first afternoon at Queen Sirikit Park.

Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)

GRAY-HEADED CANARY-FLYCATCHER (Culicicapa ceylonensis)

Almost daily on the first half of the tour, beginning with a pair over the rest rooms at Queen Sirikit Park. Once we got up north, our sightings diminished, and we had just a lone bird at Mae Ping NP and another at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

SULTAN TIT (Melanochlora sultanea)

Our first pair was a with a mixed flock on our way down from the upper camp at KKNP. Our views were acceptable, but not spectacular, which is what you want with a bird like this. Lucky for us, acceptable views came less than 24 hours later when we found a party of 4 birds foraging next to the road into the park. Our final pair at Khao Yai a few days later were pretty acceptable, too!

JAPANESE TIT (JAPANESE) (Parus minor nubicolus)

Not uncommon in the montane forests of the north, where they are one of the more excitable species and quickest to respond to Collared Owlet imitations.

YELLOW-CHEEKED TIT (Machlolophus spilonotus)

There weren't many of these handsome tits about, but the handful we saw at Doi Inthanon showed beautifully. Our first ones showed up at the same time as our first Japanese Tits after our lunch along Mae Chaem Road.

Alaudidae (Larks)

INDOCHINESE BUSHLARK (Mirafra erythrocephala)

Maybe not the flashiest of birds, but I really enjoyed the views we had of this one at the Kaeng Krachan Country Club as it sat in a nearby bush, singing lustily before moving onto a an adjacent power line to sing some more. Our only other sighting was of 4 birds at the Ban Thi paddies.

ORIENTAL SKYLARK (Alauda gulgula)

Plenty of these were singing their hearts out at the Ban Thi rice paddies, and we managed to get some nice looks at one or two after they'd come to ground.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)

COMMON TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus sutorius)

Widespread, and recorded throughout, though we heard far more than we saw. Still we had a few good looks, perhaps best so right next to the parking lot at the Khok Kham Bird Center.

DARK-NECKED TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus atrogularis)

Very similar to the above species, but with more extensive rufous on the crown, a yellow vent, and a a large, dark neck spot, on the male anyway. We recorded them most days in the south, with especially good looks at a male with the Mangrove Whistlers and Golden-bellied Gerygones in the mangroves near Pak Thale. Our only one in the north was a lone bird at the Golden Triangle Monument.

BROWN PRINIA (Prinia polychroa)

Really only likely at Sakaerat on this tour route, and that's where we had our only one, though it only popped in for a quick look before losing interest, so the sighting wasn't all that memorable.

HILL PRINIA (Prinia superciliaris)

Though not a rare bird, this can be a tough bird to get a clear look at, so we did really well to an excellent look at the first one we encountered as we birded our way up Doi Pha Tang. I think all our subsequent records were heard only.

RUFESCENT PRINIA (Prinia rufescens)

A couple of small parties at Mae Ping NP. The first group eluded some of us, but we found them again the next morning and cleaned up our views.

GRAY-BREASTED PRINIA (Prinia hodgsonii)

We saw just one, a bird that popped up right next to the track at the Kaeng Krachan Country Club.

YELLOW-BELLIED PRINIA (Prinia flaviventris)

The first one at Wat Suan Yai gave most people the slip, and it wasn't until we got to Tha Ton that we finally cleaned up our views of this species, as there were several calling from the dense grasses on the opposite side of the river from our vantage point.

PLAIN PRINIA (Prinia inornata)

This most often-encountered prinia was also the easiest to see and we laid eyes on them at a number of open country sites throughout.

ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis)

First one was a calling bird along a water-filled channel near Bang Tabun. Several more the next day at Laem Phak Bia were our only other sighting. This is a widespread species with a bunch of subspecies. The one here is malaya, which is part of the Double Zitting subgroup.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Female niltavas are not quite as easy to sort out as their male counterparts, but the obvious blue patch on the neck and small buffy throat patch help identify this as a Large Niltava. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.


A pair of these in a field of tall grass at the Lilawalai Resort were the only ones for the trip.

Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)

THICK-BILLED WARBLER (Arundinax aedon) [b]

We did well with this large, nondescript warbler, with super looks at several including our first along the main road at KKNP, and another at the Golden Triangle Monument.

BLACK-BROWED REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus bistrigiceps) [b]

One worked its way along the base of the rank grasses along the river at Tha Ton, showing nicely, with others to follow in the Chiang Saen region.

ORIENTAL REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus orientalis) [b]

A couple of birds in the low scrub adjacent to some of the salt pans at Laem Phak Bia, with a couple more seen briefly in the coastal regions as well.

Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)

LANCEOLATED WARBLER (Locustella lanceolata) [b]

A common wintering species, but very difficult to see well as they move mouse-like through dense fields of grassy scrub. But we nailed one on our very first attempt, as it popped up into a low shrub and sat frozen in place for a good chunk of time. Long enough for everyone to get their fill. The problem with this kind of luck is that you don't really appreciate how hard these birds usually are. You'll just have to take my word on that!

BAIKAL BUSH WARBLER (Locustella davidi) [b*]

A couple were calling from across the river at Tha Ton, but they stayed well-hidden.

STRIATED GRASSBIRD (Megalurus palustris)

Nice looks at a couple of pairs of these on our final morning at Nong Bong Khai.

Pnoepygidae (Cupwings)

PYGMY CUPWING (Pnoepyga pusilla)

Doi Inthanon's wonderful summit bog was good to us this trip, with most of the key species showing off in spectacular fashion. Initially this didn't appear to be among that group, but eventually we found a very cooperative bird that hopped along just below the boardwalk, giving us all amazing views of what can be a pretty tough little bird.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

GRAY-THROATED MARTIN (Riparia chinensis)

The final new bird of the trip, and they gave us probably the worst views imaginable of an identifiable species. Howard spotted a pair of them flying about with some Asian Palm Swifts along the Mekong, but, man they were far away, well into Laos on the other side of the river. I won't fault you if you didn't count these on your lists.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) [b]

By a large margin, this was the most numerous swallow of the trip, seen almost daily. The vast majority of the ones we saw were very pale-bellied birds of the subspecies gutturalis, which breeds in extreme northern Thailand but winters throughout. But at least a couple of birds seen in the Chiang Saen region were notably orange-rufous below, likely belonging to the subspecies tytleri.

WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii)

These pretty swallows are never numerous, but they were more widespread than usual this year, as normally we only see them around Mae Taeng. This trip, in addition to several in the Mae Taeng region, we also saw a couple from the tower at Inthanon Nest, and another perched along the river at Tha Ton.

RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica) [b]

Behind Barn Swallow, this was the next most numerous swallow, with fair numbers of them seen throughout.

STRIATED SWALLOW (Cecropis striolata)

Very similar to the above species, but with bolder streaking below and quite different vocalizations. Inthanon Nest is always a good place for this one, and we did see a couple there, with others at the Ban Thi paddies and over the fields at Tha Ton.

ASIAN HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon dasypus) [b]

Most of ours were in one large group (~40 birds) over some agricultural fields on the lower slopes of Doi Inthanon, with just a couple of birds on Doi Lang to round out our sightings.

Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)

BLACK-HEADED BULBUL (Brachypodius melanocephalos)

Never as numerous or conspicuous as the superficially similar Black-crested Bulbul. We saw most of ours at KKNP, with single birds also at Mae Ping NP and in the popular flowering tree above the waterfall on Doi Inthanon.

BLACK-CRESTED BULBUL (Rubigula flaviventris)

Abundant and conspicuous, BCBs were everywhere there was reasonable forest cover. Though we likely saw 4 different subspecies (of the 7 in Thailand!) they were all pretty similar, except the the red-throated subspecies johnsoni, which we saw beautifully at Khao Yai.

CRESTED FINCHBILL (Spizixos canifrons)

In the country, this species is restricted to a few high mountain areas of the northwest. One such place is Doi Ang Khang, where Martha picked out the only pair we found, in a very popular flowering tree near the Chinese Cemetery.

STRIATED BULBUL (Pycnonotus striatus)

We never see many of these striking bulbuls, but they were very scarce this trip, with just two singles seen, one each on Doi Lang and at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Kaeng Krachan scene, by participant Martha Vandervoort.

RED-WHISKERED BULBUL (Pycnonotus jocosus)

A popular cage bird, which has led to it being very rare in southern Thailand now, so a pair in Bangkok our first afternoon was a positive sign that at least some are holding on there. Far more common up north, with good numbers at several locations.

BROWN-BREASTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus xanthorrhous)

As usual, this was the last of the bulbuls to fall, as they have a very restricted range in the mountains of the north. We had good looks at about half a dozen near the Chinese Cemetery on Doi Ang Khang, which were the only ones we saw this trip.

SOOTY-HEADED BULBUL (Pycnonotus aurigaster)

Common and conspicuous in the north, where a couple of red-vented subspecies occur. Much less so in the south, at least in the places we bird, and the trio we saw on the grounds of the university at Phetchaburi were one of my few sightings of this yellow-vented subspecies, thais.

STRIPE-THROATED BULBUL (Pycnonotus finlaysoni)

Seen in small numbers at a handful of sites, including KKNP, Inthanon Nest, and the Golden Triangle monument. This is the one someone aptly described as looking like it has a yellow flower pressed onto its face.

FLAVESCENT BULBUL (Pycnonotus flavescens)

Seen primarily in the mountain forests of the north, where they were pretty common, though our first were seen from the viewpoint at the upper camp at KKNP.

YELLOW-VENTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus goiavier)

Though these are widespread in the country, we rarely see this species away from the Bangkok region, and that was the case again this year, as our sightings consisted of three birds each at Wat Suan Yai and the Khok Kham Bird Center.

STREAK-EARED BULBUL (Pycnonotus conradi)

A common bulbul of open, scrubby habitats, agricultural areas, gardens, etc, and usually one of the first bulbuls for most birders, as they are pretty numerous on the grounds of our Bangkok hotel.

OCHRACEOUS BULBUL (Alophoixus ochraceus)

Only at KKNP on our tour route, and they were tough this time, as we had just a couple of birds on the road to the upper camp that not everyone got a look at. Neither Uthai nor I was especially concerned, as we usually see these in lower parts of the park with no problem, but we didn't even hear any others during the remainder of our time there.

PUFF-THROATED BULBUL (Alophoixus pallidus)

Very similar to the above species, but with a more prominent crest and some subtle plumage differences. Almost all of our sightings were at Khao Yai, with excellent looks at a curious bird along the Silver Pheasant boardwalk. We also saw one in the multi-bulbul flowering tree above the waterfall at Inthanon.

GRAY-EYED BULBUL (Iole propinqua)

Again, most of our sightings of this drab bulbul were from Khao Yai, with at least one on the flowering cherry trees at the Queen's Palace on Doi Pha Tang.

OLIVE BULBUL (BAKER'S) (Iole viridescens cinnamomeoventris)

Another nondescript bulbul, this one looks very similar to the above species, and Ebird treated Iole bulbul records from KKNP as referring to Gray-eyed not so long ago, though at the time most authorities were placing them with Buff-vented Bulbul. These days, this form is treated as a race of Olive Bulbul, but who knows where it will end up?

BLACK BULBUL (Hypsipetes leucocephalus)

A bunch of these were in the flowering tree above the Inthanon Waterfall, with just a handful of sightings elsewhere in the northern mountains. Though several subspecies are recorded from Thailand, I believe all of our sightings were of the resident subspecies concolor.

WHITE-HEADED BULBUL (Hypsipetes thompsoni)

Finding a good flowering tree can be key to finding this handsome bulbul, and our lone sighting was of a single one at the flowering tree above the waterfall at Inthanon. Luckily the bird made several visits to the same section of the tree, which eventually allowed everyone to get a nice scope look at it. The black area around the eye and the rufous undertail coverts were clearly visible, confirming that it was this species and not one of the white-headed subspecies of Black Bulbul.

ASHY BULBUL (Hemixos flavala)

Our first were a pair of birds in a fruiting tree over the road on our way down from the upper camp at KKNP, but most of our sightings came from the north, where they showed especially well in the flowering cherry trees around the Queen's Palace on Doi Pha Tang.

MOUNTAIN BULBUL (Ixos mcclellandii)

Seems to often be found together with Ashy Bulbul, and our records were pretty much the same as for that species. We had a lone bird with the pair of Ashy Bulbuls in KKNP, then several records in the north, with some nice looks in the same flowering cherry trees as the above.

Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)

ASHY-THROATED WARBLER (Phylloscopus maculipennis)

Love 'em or hate' em, you have got to deal with a lot of Phylloscopus warblers on this tour (19 on this list, and Uthai and I heard 2 others that aren't included here!). The gray head and contrasting white eyebrow of this bird, combined with the very restricted range at the top of Doi Inthanon make it a relatively easy one to identify. We had some terrific looks along the bog boardwalk, including one very close bird below eye level that was being closely followed by our only Buff-barred Warbler for the trip.

BUFF-BARRED WARBLER (Phylloscopus pulcher) [b]

As mentioned above, our only one was closely following one of the Ashy-throated Warblers in the summit bog. This gave us a great chance to compare the two, with this ones buffy wing bars and yellower eyebrow clearly setting it apart.

YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER (Phylloscopus inornatus) [b]

Pretty much everywhere, and the default leaf-warbler through much of the trip. Most easily identified by its high-pitched, up-slurred call note, which we heard often.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Male Hume’s Pheasants, like the beauty in this photo by participant Karen Hamblett, always seem a bit more reticent than the hens. Luckily, this bird’s hunger won out over its inherent shyness!

HUME'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus humei) [b]

Pretty common in piney areas of the northern mountains, most easily told from the above species by its call notes, which they were giving quite frequently.

PALLAS'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus proregulus) [b]

Quite kinglet-like in behavior, and with a very distinctive call note. We heard a fair number of these in the northern mountains, but really struggled to get a look, though we ultimately succeeded in seeing a couple on Doi Lang.

RADDE'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus schwarzi) [b]

Just one bird this year, with decent looks as it foraged at the base of the limestone outcrop at Wat Phra Phuttabat Noi.

YELLOW-STREAKED WARBLER (Phylloscopus armandii) [b]

We also had just one of these, but it was only seen by the folks that went on the optional afternoon walk near our Inthanon Hotel. The bird showed quite nicely as it popped in a low shrub next to the track, alongside a Dusky Warbler for a nice comparison. The streaks on the underparts of this species are so subtle that they're almost imaginary!

DUSKY WARBLER (Phylloscopus fuscatus) [b]

This is the commonest of the plain-winged Phylloscopus, and we saw them a handful of times in the north, almost always in close proximity to water (ditches, rice paddies, etc).

BUFF-THROATED WARBLER (Phylloscopus subaffinis) [b]

A single bird foraging through the pines along the road on our second visit to Doi Lang was initially proving to be quite elusive, but I think everyone got some kind of look in the end.

WHITE-SPECTACLED WARBLER (Phylloscopus intermedius) [b]

A vagrant in Thailand, first recorded in December of 2021 at the very same site we saw it, so almost certainly it's the very same bird that returned here for a second winter. This bird is now well-documented at this site, and we added to that documentation with some photos that clearly showed the eye ring with the break at the top. We had excellent looks on both of our days on Doi Lang, the bird foraging close to the road along with a Martens's Warbler for a nice comparison. This was another of Uthai's five new country ticks!

GRAY-CROWNED WARBLER (Phylloscopus tephrocephalus) [b]

I'm not sure if everyone got a good look at these. Lois, Ruth, and I all saw one foraging across the river as we watched for forktails and redstarts on Doi Inthanon. We had another one or two on Doi Lang a couple of days later, but they were mostly heard only if I recall correctly, though some of you might have seen them. In any case, this looks almost exactly like the next species, but with a narrow break at the rear of the eye ring.

MARTENS'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus omeiensis) [b]

Knowing the call notes certainly helps in identifying this one, as they sound very much like the chip notes of Wilson's Warbler. This was the most-often recorded of this subgroup of warblers, mainly by voice, but we had good views of one on the Silver Pheasant trail at Khao Yai, where it was with an Alstrom's Warbler in a nice mixed flock, then again at Doi Lang alongside the White-spectacled Warbler.

ALSTRšM'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus soror) [b]

We had 2 sightings of this species, very likely the same bird both times, as both were along the SIlver Pheasant boardwalk at Khao Yai.

GREENISH WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochiloides) [b]

Maggie not only found our only one at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station, but she correctly identified it as well!

TWO-BARRED WARBLER (Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus) [b]

If you here what sounds like a House Sparrow chirping in the forests of Thailand, it is most likely to be this species (or Greenish Warbler at higher elevations). We heard these mainly at KKNP and Khao Yai, but also at Inthanon Nest and a couple of nearby locations, with several of them showing well, too.

SULPHUR-BREASTED WARBLER (Phylloscopus ricketti) [b]

Quite a distinctive leaf-warbler, much yellower than any of the other species (excluding the former Seicercus warblers). We had a couple of these with a mixed flock on our way down from KKNP's upper camp, and another at Khao Yai.

BLYTH'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus reguloides assamensis)

Numerous around the summit bog on Doi Inthanon, where we saw plenty, though I did fail to take note of this bird's habit of flicking its wings one at a time, unlike the similar Davison's Leaf-Warbler. Unlike most of the other leaf-warblers, this species is actually a resident here.

CLAUDIA'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus claudiae) [b]

A single bird was seen at KKNP in the same flock with our Sulphur-breasted Warblers, and we had a few sightings also at Khao Yai. This species is very similar to Blyth's, which fortunately four us, doesn't occur in the two southern parks.

DAVISON'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus intensior)

Numerous in the northern mountains, where it and Hume's were two of the most common leaf-warblers at their favored elevations. Call notes of this species sound very much to me like the calls of Lesser Greenlet.

Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)


The pair we saw at the summit bog on Inthanon put on an amazing show for us, arguably my best views ever of this often difficult understory bird. In response to playback, they popped out of the undergrowth almost immediately, and one (presumably the female) sat on an open perch while the presumed male, called loudly and made repeated short flights at the female, looking as if it was trying to knock her off her perch! This all went on in full view, and only 10-15 feet away from us! This performance earned them the #1 ranking on Martha's top 3 list.

CHESTNUT-HEADED TESIA (Cettia castaneocoronata) [*]

The glimpse of movement some of us had of this one on Doi Ang Khang is about as close as I've ever come to seeing one. Some day...!

Field Guides Birding Tours
A quiet midday lull on Doi Lang got a whole lot more exciting when a group of Himalayan Cutias showed up! The spotted back of the bird in this photo by guide Jay VanderGaast identifies this bird as a female.

YELLOW-BELLIED WARBLER (Abroscopus superciliaris)

This pretty little warbler shows a strong preference for bamboo patches, and both of our sightings, 5 birds along the road to the upper camp at KKNP, and a pair on the lower slopes of Doi Lang, were found in exactly this kind of habitat.

MOUNTAIN TAILORBIRD (Phyllergates cucullatus)

Though looking very much like a tailorbird in plumage and shape, this is actually a warbler. We heard their pretty songs a few times in the northern mountains, but only saw one bird, a very cooperative one along the roadside on our first day on Doi Inthanon.

ABERRANT BUSH WARBLER (Horornis flavolivaceus) [b]

Probably the most aberrant thing about the one we encountered on Doi Lang was that it showed beautifully for everyone!

Sylviidae (Sylviid Warblers, Parrotbills, and Allies)

GRAY-HEADED PARROTBILL (Psittiparus gularis) [*]

We had no parrotbill luck at all this trip, with the usually easy Spot-billed completely eluding us despite a significant amount of effort, and a flock of these coming close, but not quite close enough, on Doi Lang.

Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)

STRIATED YUHINA (Staphida castaniceps)

Generally a pretty gregarious species, so seeing just two birds with a small mixed flock at the upper camp at KKNP was a bit strange. More typical was our lone other sighting, with an active group of 15+ birds showing beautifully as they foraged in the imported Bangsia flowers just below the viewpoint at the Queen's Palace on Doi Pha Tang.

CHESTNUT-FLANKED WHITE-EYE (Zosterops erythropleurus) [b]

Some decent-sized flocks at Khao Yai and several times in the mountains of the north, including right up at the summit bog on Inthanon. The easiest of the white-eyes to identify, and the only one to not have undergone taxonomic revisions and name changes in the past few years.

SWINHOE'S WHITE-EYE (Zosterops simplex) [b]

This species was formerly known as Japanese White-eye. We had a couple of sightings in the north, with a bog flock of at least 65 at the Mae Taeng Irrigation Project, and another of 20-25 birds at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station.

HUME'S WHITE-EYE (Zosterops auriventer)

And this one used to be known as Everett's White-eye. Our lone sighting was of a single bird in a fruiting tree (alongside our first Ashy Bulbuls) on our way down from KKNP's upper camp.

Timaliidae (Tree-Babblers, Scimitar-Babblers, and Allies)


A skulking babbler of dense, rank grassy habitats. We heard them at a couple of sites, but had our lone view on our morning walk around the Lilawalai Resort.

PIN-STRIPED TIT-BABBLER (Mixornis gularis)

Widespread, but all of our sightings were from Khao Yai, though we did hear these regularly elsewhere.

GOLDEN BABBLER (Cyanoderma chrysaeum)

We saw a few of these beautiful babblers, but our best was the one that was coming into the mealworm feeding spots on Doi Lang, the first I've seen at any of the baiting areas.

RUFOUS-FRONTED BABBLER (Cyanoderma rufifrons)

The song of this and Golden Babbler are incredibly similar, and it seems even they can't tell them apart, as our first Rufous-fronted at KKNP came in in response to the Golden Babbler song we were playing. That first bird was missed by some, but we had several nice sightings on Doi Lang to clean things up.

WHITE-BROWED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus schisticeps)

We did really well with these, getting several good views at KKNP, Khao Yai, and Doi Lang, usually without even trying. Some years we work pretty hard for even one!

LARGE SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Erythrogenys hypoleucos)

This species played a little harder to get, though I think most folks had some kind of look at the only ones we found near the KKNP headquarters.

RUSTY-CHEEKED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Erythrogenys erythrogenys)

Excellent looks at these at the baiting areas on Doi Lang, as usual.

GRAY-THROATED BABBLER (Stachyris nigriceps)

Usually pretty skulking and difficult to see. Our views along the road up to the upper camp at KKNP weren't exactly great, but they weren't terrible, either. Surprisingly we never ran across this species again after that.

SPOT-NECKED BABBLER (Stachyris strialata)

Another tricky babbler, a pair of these were together with the above species, making it difficult to know which species you were following. I think everyone prevailed with a halfway decent view before they went on their way.

Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)

COLLARED BABBLER (Gampsorhynchus torquatus)

This white-headed species (formerly lumped with White-hooded Babbler), seem to often hang out with Ratchet-tailed Treepies at the upper levels of KKNP. The lone pair we had were in the same flock as the treepie, but they were just as reticent, with only a handful of us getting a view as they remained in the dense bamboo.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Though they kind of look like a herd of cattle wearing white stockings, these Guar are wild, and potentially dangerous, bovines. Participant Valerie Gebert took this shot from the safety of a scenic overlook.

RUFOUS-WINGED FULVETTA (Schoeniparus castaneceps)

Our only sighting was of a group of 4 or 5 birds foraging at eye level right next to the boardwalk at Inthanon's summit bog.

PUFF-THROATED BABBLER (Pellorneum ruficeps)

A pretty common, terrestrial species, though they're heard a lot more often than seen. We did have a few good looks, none better than the one coming in for meal worms on Doi Lang.

SPOT-THROATED BABBLER (Pellorneum albiventre)

Heard a couple of times in the north (Inthanon Lady's Slipper Orchid place and Doi Lang) but they wouldn't show.

BUFF-BREASTED BABBLER (Pellorneum tickelli)

Glimpsed by a few on the slopes of Doi Pha Tang, then seen well at Wat Tham Pha Plong, where one was feeding at the edge of the clearing behind the buildings, right below the perch of a male Hill Blue Flycatcher.

ABBOTT'S BABBLER (Malacocincla abbotti)

Fantastic looks at a very cooperative bird behind the derelict buildings of the Boonsong Lekagul Lodges at Khao Yai.

STREAKED WREN-BABBLER (Gypsophila brevicaudata)

Seen only at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station where one was foraging in the smelly, boggy area below the cafeteria, along with several thrushes.

RUFOUS LIMESTONE BABBLER (Gypsophila calcicola) [E]

With the splitting of the former Limestone Wren-Babbler into three species (all three of which occur in Thailand), the country can now claim this species as one of its very few endemic birds. It is known only from limestone outcrops in the Khao Yai NP region, and as usual, we saw these en route to the park, at Wat Phra Phuttabat Noi, though they didn't come easy this year. We had brief looks at one early on, but it took considerable time and effort to get good looks for the whole group, but in the end, that's just what we did!

EYEBROWED WREN-BABBLER (Napothera epilepidota)

Pretty decent response from a pair on Doi Pha Tang, and with enough time, I think everyone got good views of these little skulkers.

Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)

BROWN-CHEEKED FULVETTA (Alcippe poioicephala)

Recorded on all three of our days at KKNP, but our only sighting was of a couple of small groups in the region of the upper camp.

YUNNAN FULVETTA (Alcippe fratercula)

Common in the northern mountains, and seen especially well at Doi Lang where a ravenous horde swarmed over all the baiting areas cleaning them out before hitting the next one down the road. They got to be a little annoying, didn't they?

HIMALAYAN CUTIA (Cutia nipalensis)

There's a bird that's been on my mind, all the time, cu-cu-cutia! Thanks to Val for forever changing Phil Collins's "Sussudio" for me, but I'm okay with that! A small group of these fantastic birds turned up just before lunch on our second trip up Doi Lang, and then just hung around near the road pretty much through our entire lunch break, giving us all incredible views and making the group of photographers there very happy. My other experiences with cutias have all been much shorter than this, so I was pretty pleased, too!

SILVER-EARED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron melanostigma)

It's a good thing we had such excellent views of these lovely laughingthrushes along the summit bog boardwalk on Doi Inthanon, as the formerly habituated ones at the baiting areas on Doi Lang were nowhere to be seen.

BLACK-BACKED SIBIA (Heterophasia melanoleuca)

Though we saw fair numbers of these in the northern mountains, they weren't quite as plentiful as I'm accustomed to, and were certainly far less vocal than usual.

BLUE-WINGED MINLA (Actinodura cyanouroptera)

This is a fairly nondescript bird from a distance and it takes quite a close look to really appreciate their subtle coloring. Luckily we did have some close looks, particularly at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station.

CHESTNUT-TAILED MINLA (Actinodura strigula)

On the tour route, this gorgeous bird is pretty much restricted to the higher parts of Doi Inthanon, and the only ones we saw were about half a dozen along the summit boardwalk.

SPECTACLED BARWING (Actinodura ramsayi)

We ran into these cool bird three times in the northern mountains, with our best ones coming along the road on our way up Doi Pha Tang.

SILVER-EARED MESIA (Leiothrix argentauris)

We had just one record of these beauties, a group of 5 birds along the side road on the slopes of Doi Pha Tang. Though they were not super cooperative, they did pause in the open a few times for all to see.

RUFOUS-BACKED SIBIA (Leioptila annectens)

A couple of good sightings were had, once in the same area as the two above species (Doi Pha Tang), then again on Doi Lang as a pair were in the same flock with the cutias.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Great Barbet can look a bit disheveled! Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.


Our only pair of these stunners were right up at the top of the road on Doi Lang, where they came in for an offering of mealworms and showed beautifully. This was the first time I'd seen these birds on the west slope of the mountain.


Four of these were bouncing around the canopy near the stream crossings at KKNP, but I'm not sure many folks got a good look at them.


We certainly heard a lot more than we saw this trip, but had good looks at a small group feeding on the ground just inside the forest near the fish-owls at Khao Yai. Elsewhere they were seen by some at Mae Ping, but those were the only visual records we had.

WHITE-NECKED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Garrulax strepitans) [b]

Heard during a walk in the forest on Doi Ang Khang, but they did not show at all, which is pretty typical in my experience.


Super looks at a handsome pair foraging in behind the little food cart up at the viewpoint at Khao Yai.


Fewer than usual, but one pair played nice and came in for worms at one of the baiting areas on Doi Lang.


These were heard only at the Kaeng Krachan Country Club.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

BURMESE NUTHATCH (Sitta neglecta)

It took most of the morning at Mae Ping NP before we finally tracked down this dry forest specialty, but we wound up with some great looks when we did finally track some down.


By far the easiest of the nuthatches to find in the northern mountains, where we saw them regularly.


After missing these colorful nuthatches in the south, we saw them several times at Mae Ping and Doi Lang, getting some great looks in the process.

GIANT NUTHATCH (Sitta magna)

Pretty tricky this trip, but we ultimately succeeded in tracking down a trio of this major target species on our second visit to Doi Lang.

Certhiidae (Treecreepers)

HUME'S TREECREEPER (Certhia manipurensis shanensis)

Thailand's only treecreeper, which makes the identification pretty easy. We saw a few of these on Doi Inthanon and Doi Lang, and also heard their song, which is nothing at all like our Brown Creeper!

Sturnidae (Starlings)

COMMON HILL MYNA (Gracula religiosa)

A popular cage bird, with declining numbers in the wild. We only had these at Khao Yai, where there was a small group of them perched in a bare tree at one of the campgrounds.

BLACK-COLLARED STARLING (Gracupica nigricollis)

Seen regularly in open habitats, with many folks getting their lifer on the hotel grounds in Bangkok, or at Queen Sirikit Park on our first afternoon outing, where there were 25+ birds strewn around the park.

ASIAN PIED STARLING (Gracupica contra)

Note that this has now been split and the ones here are Siamese Pied Starling, Gracupica floweri, split from the Indian and Javan pied starlings. We saw small numbers at a number of open country sites, with the largest group of them seen in rice paddies to the south of Chiang Mai.


Most of the ones we saw were at some of the flowering trees we encountered in the north. Though they were never present in large numbers, we did end up seeing quite a few by tour's end.

COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis)

Though outnumbered by the next species, at least at the sites we submitted Ebird lists from, this was seen in good numbers throughout, often during the drives if nowhere else during the day.

GREAT MYNA (Acridotheres grandis)

Not too many days went by when we didn't see these common birds.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Fallow rice paddies add a more subtle palette to the landscape. Photo by participant Valerie Gebert.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

DARK-SIDED THRUSH (Zoothera marginata)

We had just enjoyed the Slaty-bellied Tesia show at the summit bog, and were turning back towards the trail, when we spotted this bird feeding calmly just in front of us at the base of the steps! This was the only one of the tour, but it's the only one we needed, as it was by far the easiest and best views I've yet had at this neat thrush!

SCALY THRUSH (Zoothera dauma)

Another potential lifer that I missed, as I had hung back on the upper deck at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station while everyone else was headed to the rest rooms. Not everyone that was going to the rest rooms saw it either, but those that did got a good look, I think.

PURPLE COCHOA (Cochoa purpurea)

This was a huge surprise, as it's a rarely-seen species, and not one we were expecting. We were approaching the waterfall at Doi Inthanon and could see a lot of bird activity in a flowering tree above on the ridge. I stopped when I spotted a Slender-billed Oriole, and was just getting it in the scope when I noticed a chunky, dark bird below it. When I brought it into focus and saw it had a pale, purplish cap, I knew immediately that it was a male of this almost mythical bird! Jenny and Martha, who were right next to me, both got a chance to see it in the scope, but that was it. Though I'd been trying to alert Uthai and the rest of the group, they were too far from me and too close to the waterfall to hear what I was saying. And though they were also scoping the oriole, their viewing angle meant the cochoa wasn't in the same field of view as it, sadly.

ORANGE-HEADED THRUSH (Geokichla citrina) [b]

I'd only seen a single one of these lovely thrushes on all of my previous tours together, so when several folks failed to get good looks at the bird we had along the road just below the upper camp at KKNP, I didn't expect for them to get another chance. In reality, they ended up with 2 more chances, as the next day we saw another bird along the main road going in to the park, plus another one near the stream crossings. This last bird was the best, as we spotted it foraging quietly on the forest floor, its presence only given away by the sound of it hopping across the bed of dry leaves carpeting the ground. Note that while this species does breed in Thailand, they are winter visitors only to KKNP.

BLACK-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus dissimilis)

At least 8 birds were hanging around the damp, muddy area below the cafe at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station, a good count for here. While numbers were likely bolstered by winter visitors, Ang Khang is one of the only knownn breeding areas for this species in the country.

GRAY-SIDED THRUSH (Turdus feae) [b]

Seen only on Doi Ang Khang, though there weren't many this year. We had a single bird with the Black-breasted Thrushes at the Agricultural Station, then 3 or 4 among some Eyebrowed Thrushes near our picnic lunch area.

EYEBROWED THRUSH (Turdus obscurus) [b]

Generally the most numerous wintering thrush in the country, and while this was still the case this trip, we really didn't see too many. We had our best looks of a couple in the flowering cherry trees near the Queen's Palace on Doi Pha Tang, and a few on Doi Ang Khang, but that was pretty much it.

Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)

DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa sibirica) [b]

We usually see this one only at upper elevations in KKNP, so I hadn't seen one since the last time we were able to go up back in 2018. It was nice to reconnect with several around the upper campground.

ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa dauurica) [b]

Not uncommon on the southern part of the tour, where these are winter visitors. Up north we saw just one, near our hotel at Doi Inthanon.

ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN (Copsychus saularis)

One of the most regularly seen Passerines on the trip, as they were seen almost everywhere outside of the highest mountain areas and dense forest.

WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA (Copsychus malabaricus)

Lois spotted our first sitting quietly in the open at the back of one of the waterholes at KKNP. We had several other good views in the south, including a pair at the shrine in Khao Yai NP, but only saw one up north, at the Golden Triangle viewpoint.

RUFOUS-BROWED FLYCATCHER (Anthipes solitaris) [*]

Another species we only ever get at upper elevations in KKNP. Though we heard several singing while we were up there, none were especially close, or showed any inclination that they might move closer.


A few birds in the south, including an odd male at Khao Yai that showed a wedge of white on its throat. I think Uthai said this was an odd variant, though it did look somewhat similar to the more easterly subspecies klossi.

PALE BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis unicolor)

We heard the lovely song of this one in the upper section of KKNP and on Doi Lang, and managed to get a nice view of a male at the later site.

CHINESE BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis glaucicomans) [b]

The only one we saw, a male, gave us a good look as it was sat just over Uthai's head as he was standing near one of the water holes at KKNP.


The most widely recorded of the blue flycatchers, with several nice encounters including a very cooperative male that was perched on the edge of the clearing behind the buildings at Wat Tham Pha Plong.


It took us until the final day to finally catch up with this species, but even then we only managed to rustle up a couple of females, one each at Nong Bong Khai and the Golden Triangle.

LARGE NILTAVA (Niltava grandis)

Pretty decent looks at a roadside pair along the road at Doi Inthanon, followed by several more at the feeding stations on Doi Lang.

Field Guides Birding Tours
While many stork species seem to be in decline, Asian Openbills are still quite common around Thailand. Photo by participant Valerie Gebert.

SMALL NILTAVA (Niltava macgrigoriae)

Looks like a miniature version of the above species. We had just one, a male, on our walk on the forest trail after our picnic lunch on Doi Ang Khang.

RUFOUS-BELLIED NILTAVA (Niltava sundara) [b]

A stunningly beautiful, colorful bird, this is always a nice one to see, and we had a couple of good sightings, though the male at one of the baiting areas on Doi Lang was a stand out.

VERDITER FLYCATCHER (Eumyias thalassinus)

A fairly common flycatcher with an endearing habit of sitting up on conspicuous perches. And they're beautiful, too; what's not to like?

LESSER SHORTWING (Brachypteryx leucophris) [*]

We gave it a good try but the one we heard on Doi Pha Tang just wouldn't show itself.

HIMALAYAN SHORTWING (Brachypteryx cruralis)

On the other hand, this one was a star! We often struggle to get good looks at this one, but the male we had at the summit bog on Inthanon was practically an exhibitionist, foraging out in the open just a few feet away, and returning to the same opening repeatedly so that everyone wound up with superb views. Easily my best looks ever at this species.

SIBERIAN BLUE ROBIN (Larvivora cyane) [b]

For most of us this was a heard only bird chipping from a stream-bed along the road at KKNP, but Eric and Karen managed to get a view of it through some determined peering through the roadside vegetation.

WHITE-BELLIED REDSTART (Luscinia phaenicuroides) [b]

If it weren't for those baited birds on Doi Lang, this would be a difficult species to get a nice look at. As it was, we had a fantastic long study of a male emboldened by the offering of mealworms.

BLUETHROAT (Luscinia svecica) [b]

We weren't really expecting these, but one male and one female popped out of the dense grasses along the river at Tha Ton to forage in the open on the muddy flats, where we all got scope views of at least one.

BLUE WHISTLING-THRUSH (BLACK-BILLED) (Myophonus caeruleus caeruleus) [b]

This black-billed subspecies is a winter visitor to the north of the country. We saw these on 5 days in the northern mountains, a couple of times in close proximity to the resident version.

BLUE WHISTLING-THRUSH (YELLOW-BILLED) (Myophonus caeruleus eugenei)

The resident breeding race, seen first at Khao Yai, then several times in the northern mountains, where another yellow-billed subspecies, temminckii, is also possible in winter. I'm not 100% sure about all the ones we saw, but the one I photographed on Doi Lang was definitely this subspecies.

WHITE-CROWNED FORKTAIL (Enicurus leschenaulti)

Forktails all seem to be pretty shy and hard to see, in my experience, though this one has been the best behaved one on most of my past trips. I'm not sure that can be said of our lone one this year, though it wasn't too bad, as it showed up quite nicely several times along the edge of a shaded slough at Inthanon's summit bog. The toughest thing about seeing it was that the viewing window was relatively small, so I think a few were left wanting more, but we all had some kind of look.

BLACK-BACKED FORKTAIL (Enicurus immaculatus)

We had a trio of these dapper birds along a rocky river on the lower slopes of Doi Inthanon, and though they seemed loathe to remain in view, they flew along a visible section of the river often enough that we were all able to get decent looks.

SLATY-BACKED FORKTAIL (Enicurus schistaceus)

Also only seen on Doi Inthanon, along a small rocky stream that also had the two riverine redstarts. I can't attest to how good the views were, as I remained downstream to try and spot the bird if it flew that way, while the group went up to where Jiang had located one, but everyone seemed pretty satisfied when they came back down!

SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT (Calliope calliope) [b]

Surprisingly missing from the baiting areas on Doi Lang, where they'd been easy and reliable pre-pandemic. But we got lucky with a couple of males that emerged onto the mud along the river at Tha Ton (same time and place as our Bluethroats). The first was handsome enough, but the second male was simply dazzling! We heard (glimpsed?) several others at Nong Bong Khai, but they were their typically sneaky selves.

CHINESE RUBYTHROAT (Calliope tschebaiewi) [b]

This bird was a major celebrity this year, as this is a very rare winter visitor, with only a couple of other records (both also from this region) for Thailand. This one, a handsome male, had been present in a pineapple plantation since at least December, and had been twitched by many birders and photographers since. We were a bit unlucky as we arrived at the site to find a bunch of photographer's tents huddled around a small opening in the pineapple where they appeared to be baiting the bird. This left us watching from a spot that was less than ideal, but after a lengthy wait, the bird did eventually pop into view for a short interval. This was another of Uthai's 5 country ticks.

WHITE-TAILED ROBIN (Myiomela leucura)

I've only ever seen this secretive species at the baiting spot at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station and at one other spot, also where it was being baited in. The Ang Khang bird performed well yet again.

SLATY-BACKED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula erithacus) [b]

A fairly common winter visitor in the northern mountains, where we had good encounters both on Doi Inthanon and Doi Lang.

SLATY-BLUE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula tricolor) [b]

Though I know I have seen males of this species before, I don't recall ever seeing a male nearly as well as the one that was in the same spot as the liocichlas on Doi Lang.

Field Guides Birding Tours
While they may look cute and cuddly, Asian Barred Owlets are ferocious predators, striking fear into the hearts of small birds across the country. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

RUFOUS-GORGETED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula strophiata) [b]

We were limited to just a couple of males on Doi Lang, but the views were smashing, particularly of the one visiting the baiting station next to where we were having lunch.

SAPPHIRE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula sapphira) [b]

At least a couple of males were up on Doi Lang, seen on both of our visits to the site. This is a pretty distinctive species at this time of year, as males are usually in non-breeding dress, showing a brown head and mantle, but with brilliant blue wings and tail.

LITTLE PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula westermanni)

All the ones we saw (4-5) came over the course of a couple of hours one morning as we birded the slopes of Doi Pha Tang where they seemed to be very responsive to Collared Owlet imitations.

ULTRAMARINE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula superciliaris) [b]

A female at Mae Ping NP was the first for at least some of the group. A couple of friendly males on Doi Lang a few days later were far more memorable. These beauties were Maggie's choice for best bird of the trip.

TAIGA FLYCATCHER (Ficedula albicilla) [b]

A very common wintering species, seen regularly throughout. Though they're fairly drab, and seem to lack any red on their throats at this time of year, the striking black-and-white tail pattern and their habit of perching low along the edge of clearings, roadways, etc, make them pretty easy to identify.

PLUMBEOUS REDSTART (Phoenicurus fuliginosus)

Though primarily present in Thailand as a non-breeding winter visitor, there seems to be a small resident breeding population on Doi Inthanon, which is where we saw our lone bird, a female. This breeding site appears to be at least 600 km from the next closest breeding areas in China and Laos.

WHITE-CAPPED REDSTART (Phoenicurus leucocephalus) [b]

Like the above species, this is a bird of fast-flowing rocky rivers. We had incredible, close views of a single bird at the same site as the Plumbeous.

CHESTNUT-BELLIED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola rufiventris)

A pair of these lovely thrushes posed nicely for us in a pine grove on Doi Ang Khang.

WHITE-THROATED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola gularis) [b]

A gorgeous male was hanging around near the headquarters of KKNP, and we managed several nice looks on our first afternoon at the park.

BLUE ROCK-THRUSH (PANDOO) (Monticola solitarius pandoo) [b]

A female perched atop a house overlooking some rice paddies on the lower slopes of Doi Inthanon could not be assigned to subspecies, but the two males we saw, one at the military checkpoint at Khao Yai, the other at Wat Tham Pha Plong, both belonged to this blue-bellied race.

AMUR STONECHAT (Saxicola stejnegeri) [b]

Other than a pair in some paddies near Laem Phak Bia, all of ours were seen in the north, where they were common in open habitats.

PIED BUSHCHAT (Saxicola caprata)

Small numbers in open country in the north, often in the same areas as the above species.

GRAY BUSHCHAT (Saxicola ferreus)

Seems to prefer slightly more treed areas than the other bushchats, and usually at higher elevations. We saw several on both Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang.

Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)


Just one bird, seen briefly along the road into KKNP, though it took off shortly after being spotted, so probably missed by a few folks.

PLAIN FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum minullum)

We had good looks at a pair of these unspectacular birds at our lunch spot along Mae Chaem Road on Doi Inthanon.

FIRE-BREASTED FLOWERPECKER (FIRE-BREASTED) (Dicaeum ignipectus ignipectus)

Several of the flowerpeckers heard in the northern mountains were undoubtedly this common species, but we really only got identifiable views of this one on the morning we birded our way up Doi Pha Tang.

FIRE-BREASTED FLOWERPECKER (CAMBODIAN) (Dicaeum ignipectus cambodianum)

Restricted to Cambodia and a small section of southeastern Thailand, this nondescript form seems a good candidate to be split one day. Heard often at Khao Yai, and we did have a few good views as well, with one pair just overhead at one of the campgrounds showing quite well.


The most numerous and widespread of the flowerpeckers, and generally the first one most people see as they are pretty common right on the grounds of our hotel in Bangkok.

Field Guides Birding Tours
A productive birding stop on a quiet road in the forest, by participant Valerie Gebert.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)

RUBY-CHEEKED SUNBIRD (Chalcoparia singalensis)

A few around KKNP, with our first giving us all good scope views as it made repeated sallies over to the same window ledge near the park headquarters, presumably to glean small insects off of the screen.

BROWN-THROATED SUNBIRD (Anthreptes malacensis)

We did well for this species, which we sometimes only get on the hotel grounds in Bangkok. This trip, we also saw these at several other sites including the grounds of the Kaeng Krachan Country Club and the Lilawalai Resort.

VAN HASSELT'S SUNBIRD (Leptocoma brasiliana)

On our tour route, this stunning sunbird is restricted to Khao Yai NP, and even there it seems to be somewhat local. As per usual, our only records came on our way out of the park, where a trio of these responded very strongly to owl calls and gave smashing eye level views.

PURPLE SUNBIRD (Cinnyris asiaticus)

A fairly common, dry woodland species in the north. We had especially nice looks from the tower at Inthanon Nest.

OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris jugularis)

The most widespread of the sunbirds on this tour, and there were just a handful of days that we didn't see one or two.

BLACK-THROATED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga saturata)

A couple of poor views at Khao Yai were followed up by plenty more improved looks up north, mainly at mid-elevations on Doi Inthanon.

MRS. GOULD'S SUNBIRD (Aethopyga gouldiae) [b]

These colorful sunbirds were numerous up around the summit bog atop Doi Inthanon, with smaller numbers seen regularly at the other upper elevation sites visited.

GREEN-TAILED SUNBIRD (DOI INTHANON) (Aethopyga nipalensis angkanensis)

This subspecies has generally been thought to be endemic to Doi Inthanon, though Uthai did mention that it has recently been recorded from a site in Myanmar as well. Endemic or not, we picked a few of these out from the swarms of Mrs. Gould's Sunbirds at the summit bog.

CRIMSON SUNBIRD (Aethopyga siparaja)

A couple of birds along the road into KKNP were perhaps not seen well by all, but a shimmering male with the Van Hasselt's Sunbirds in Khao Yai made up for that with some stellar, eye level views!

LITTLE SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera longirostra)

A pair of these at Wat Tham Pha Plong were a nice surprise as I thought we'd missed our chance to find any other spiderhunters. That they sat long enough to get everyone a scope view was a bonus!

STREAKED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera magna)

A pretty common bird at upper elevations in the north, where we had numerous nice encounters with them.

Irenidae (Fairy-bluebirds)


Though we did see a number of these at Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, I felt like we never really got the amazing looks we normally get; perhaps the dearth of good flowering/fruiting trees lessened our chances. In the north, we had just one, at Wat Tham Pha Plong, which is still the only site I've seen this species in northern Thailand.

Chloropseidae (Leafbirds)

BLUE-WINGED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)

The general lack of good flowering and fruiting trees also seemed to impact our leafbird sightings as well, as they seemed less evident than most years. But we did get very nice views at all the species we saw, at least, with this one being the most commonly seen, as well as the only one we encountered in the south.

GOLDEN-FRONTED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis aurifrons)

Seen only at Mae Ping NP and Inthanon Nest, where we had some especially nice views from the tower.

ORANGE-BELLIED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis hardwickii)

Mainly on Doi Inthanon (with a single bird at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station), with excellent looks at these colorful birds in the flowering cherry trees near the Queen's Palace on Doi Pha Tang.

Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)

BAYA WEAVER (Ploceus philippinus)

The only one was seen in the scope by some folks in the Chiang Saen region, but was missed altogether by the rest of us. As is usual for this time of year, the bird was in non-breeding plumage.

ASIAN GOLDEN WEAVER (Ploceus hypoxanthus)

Four birds in non-breeding plumage were in a reed-bed at the aquaculture ponds at Km 80.

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata)

Widespread in open areas throughout, with some fair-sized flocks at a few sites.

WHITE-RUMPED MUNIA (Lonchura striata)

Our only record was of a group of 5 birds that flushed from a roadside water hole along the KKNP entrance road, then circled around a couple of times before flying off. It wasn't the best of looks, but at least their white rumps were clearly visible.

CHESTNUT MUNIA (Lonchura atricapilla)

Uthai and one or two others got brief looks at a group of 4 as they flushed from the edge of one of the salt pans near Laem Phak Bia.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus indicus)

Widespread and common.

PLAIN-BACKED SPARROW (Passer flaveolus)

Using the word "plain" in this bird's name seems unfair and mis-leading, as it is easily one of the most attractive of the Passer sparrows (I know it refers to its unstreaked mantle, but still!). We had our first at the Ban Thi rice paddies, then far better views of a couple of pairs at the Cho Lae paddies.


Common and widespread.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

FOREST WAGTAIL (Dendronanthus indicus) [b]

Kudos to Val for spotting this attractively-marked but quite cryptic species as it foraged in dead leaves along the edge of the road at the KKNP headquarters!

GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea) [b]

A few birds at scattered locations. One of the more amusing sightings of the tour came as we were crossing the streams in the back of the trucks on the way up to the upper camp at KKNP. A wagtail was on the roadside and it sat tight when the first truck passed, then flushed up as the 2nd came along. Instead of flying off, the bird flew up and landed on the windshield wiper of the truck, riding along with us for a short while before flying off again!

EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (Motacilla tschutschensis) [b]

A total of 7 birds only, mainly in the north (with 4 of those seen at Nong Luang) with just one in the Laem Phak Bia region. Though several subspecies are regular wintering birds here, the only ones we managed to identify belonged to the subspecies macronyx, in the Manchurian subgroup.

CITRINE WAGTAIL (Motacilla citreola) [b]

Several along the river at Tha Ton, with a few also at rice paddies south of Chiang Mai. The ones here belong to the Gray-backed subgroup, and the nominate subspecies.

WHITE WAGTAIL (Motacilla alba) [b]

By far the most numerous wagtail recorded, though more than half were at a single site (Tha Ton), with smaller numbers at a bunch of other wetlands/rice paddies. Though several subspecies are possible, all the birds we managed to identify looked to belong to the most common wintering subspecies, leucopsis, the Chinese White Wagtail.

RICHARD'S PIPIT (Anthus richardi) [b]

The only one we found was along a track through some salt pans at Laem Phak Bia. Very similar to the next species, and best separated by voice, and lucky for us, this bird called as it flushed off the road.

PADDYFIELD PIPIT (Anthus rufulus)

Just a single bird on the Phetchaburi university grounds, and a couple at the Ban Thi rice paddies.

OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus hodgsoni) [b]

A group of 7 birds flew in and landed in front of the hide as we waited for pheasants on Doi Lang, and a pair were seen near the Chinese Cemetery on Doi Ang Khang.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

SPOT-WINGED GROSBEAK (Mycerobas melanozanthos)

The Ang Khang Agricultural Station seems to be the most reliable location for this species in Thailand, and once again our only record was from there, as a flock of 9 birds foraged through the numerous flowering trees.

COMMON ROSEFINCH (Carpodacus erythrinus) [b]

Numbers of this wintering finch vary greatly from year to year, but this seemed to be a pretty good year for them, as we saw good numbers, first in the flowering trees at the Queen's Palace on Doi Pha Tang, then again at the forktail/redstart spot, also in Doi Inthanon NP, with a few also on Doi Lang and Doi Ang Khang.

Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)

YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza aureola) [b]

Buntings were in short supply this year, and our only record of any species was a small group of them as we searched for pratincoles in some dry fields near Laem Phak Bia, though only the folks in Uthai's van saw them, the birds flying off before the rest of us arrived on the scene.


LYLE'S FLYING FOX (Pteropus lylei)

A bunch of these large bats were at a regular roost site in the mangroves along the canal at Laem Phak Bia.

NORTHERN TREESHREW (Tupaia berlangeri)

Several were in Queen Sirikit Park in Bangkok on our first afternoon, with singles seen on Doi Inthanon and Doi Lang.

CRAB-EATING MACAQUE (Macaca fascigularis)

These were the longer-tailed monkeys that were numerous around the temple grounds at Wat Phra Phuttabat Noi.

PIGTAIL MACAQUE (Macaca nemestrina)

The "Beware of Monkeys Attack" sign at Khao Yai was in reference to these thugs, and we saw them in action several times, grabbing items out of truck beds, from unattended campsites, and one that mugged a little girl on a footbridge, running off with her can of Pringles after the attack.

ROBINSON'S BANDED LANGUR (Presbytis robinsoni)

It seems the langur taxonomy has been changing, and what we were calling Banded Leaf Monkey has now been split, with the Thailand monkeys belonging to this taxon. We saw a trio of these along the road as we were descending from the upper camp at KKNP.

DUSKY LEAF MONKEY (Presbytis obscura)

This is the more commonly encountered langur at KKNP, though this trip we also saw these only along the road to the upper camp. Among the several we spotted, we were lucky to see one mother carrying a beautiful orange-furred baby.

PILEATED GIBBON (Hylobates pileatus) [*]

Heard only at Khao Yai.


The far-carrying calls of these animals were heard regularly at the national parks in the south, and we luckily also saw a trio of these as we birded at one of the camping areas at Khao Yai.


We saw a few of these enormous squirrels at KKNP and Khao Yai.

MOUNTAIN RED-BELLIED SQUIRREL (Callosciurus flavimanus)

Also known as Pallas' Squirrel. We had just a couple of sightings of this colorful squirrel, one at Doi Inthanon, the other at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station.

FINLAYSON'S SQUIRREL (Callosciurus finlaysoni)

The alternate name Variable Squirrel is fitting, as we saw a variety of color forms of this squirrel throughout the southern portion of the tour.

GRAY-BELLIED SQUIRREL (Callosciurus caniceps)

Easily told from other species by the black-tipped tail. We saw a few of these in the southern parks.


Regular throughout, though more often heard than seen, and the sightings were most often fleeting as these tiny squirrels rarely hold still for long. One exception was on Doi Lang, where we spotted one warming up on a sunlit trunk, remaining in place for some nice scope studies. And no, they're not chipmunks!


Superficially resembles the above species, in that they are both striped, though this one is larger and has fewer stripes. We saw just two of these, one at the Lilawalai Resort, the other on our optional afternoon walk at the Inthanon Highland Resort.

COMMON PORCUPINE (Hystrix brachyura)

Ruth spotted one running along the gutter in the opposite direction that we were driving late one afternoon at Khao Yai. Large numbers of vehicles unfortunately made it impractical to try to turn around for the rest of us to see it.

INDIAN ELEPHANT (Elephas maximus)

We saw this beast shortly after Ruth saw the porcupine, and its presence on the road was a big part of the large volume of traffic on the roadway, as it alternately blocked traffic, then moved enough to allow a large number of backed up vehicles to pass by. The presence of a massive radio collar around its neck lessened the appeal of the sighting a little, though it was still very much a wild elephant!

MUNTJAC (BARKING DEER) (Muntiacus muntjak)

Easy to see at Khao Yai, where they regularly fed in open grasslands. We also heard these barking at dusk in Mae Ping NP, and they do sound very much like dogs.

SAMBAR (Cervus unicolor)

The larger of the common deer species at Khao Yai, where they are very habituated. One cheeky one joined us at our picnic lunch spot and proceeded to scarf down all the croutons when our attention was elsewhere!

GAUR (Bos gaurus)

A group of about 40 of these impressive wild cattle fed below the Guar viewing area at the Khao Phaeng Ma Non-Hunting Area, and were apparently much closer than usual according to Uthai.


COMMON HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus frenatus)

The small geckos present at some of the lodgings were probably this species.


Just a single one of these "flying" lizards was seen at Khao Yai, though we didn't see it fly.

TOKAY GECKO (Gekko gecko) [*]

We heard the loud, distinctive calls of these at the southern parks but failed to see any this trip.

WATER MONITOR (Varanus salvator)

Small numbers in the south included an enormous one along one of the waterways at Queen Sirikit Park in Bangkok.


Since I did spend some time photographing dragonflies whenever opportunities arose, here is a list of the species I managed to identify with the help of iNaturalist:

Orange-faced Sprite (Pseudagrion rubriceps); small blue damsel with an orange face at KKNP.

Pigmy Skimmer (Tetrathemis platyptera): black dragon with pale yellow spots and bright blue eyes; KKNP.

Crimson Dropwing (Trithemis aurora): large, rosy dragon with dark patches at base of wings; KY and Baan Pailynn.

Emerald-flanked Marsh Hawk (Brachydiplax farinosa): black-and-white dragon, without any obvious green (?!); KKNP

Clear-winged Forest Glory (Vestalis gracilis): metallic green damsel from inside forest at Sakaerat.

Ditch Jewel (Brachythemis contaminata): orange-red dragon around ducks ponds at Nong Bong Khai.

Emerald-banded Skimmer (Cratilla lineata): tan dragon perched high above trail at Khao Yai.

Chalky Percher (Diplacodes trivialis): small brownish dragon from stream behind Baan Pailynn.

Golden Gem (Libellago lineata): thick-bodied, golden yellow damsel from stream behind Baan Pailynn.

Green Metalwing (Neurobasis chinensis): dazzling green jewelwing-type damsel from stream at KKNP camping area.

Paddyfield Parasol (Neurothemis intermedia): tan-colored female dragon from lunch spot at Khao Yai.

Red Percher (Neurothemis ramburii): bright red dragon with extensively red wings; KKNP.

Brown-backed Red Marsh Hawk (Orthetrum chrysis): one of two similar dark bodied, red-tailed dragons; KKNP.

Crimson-tailed Marsh Hawk (Orthetrum pruinosum): very similar to above, but with grayer body. Khao Yai.

Slender Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina): slim, tiger-striped black and yellow dragon; KKNP.

Orange Skimmer (Orthetrum testaceum): chunky, bright orange-red dragon with mostly clear wings; KKNP.

Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens): large golden yellow dragon on Phetchaburi university grounds.

Black Threadtail (Prodasineura autumnalis): slender black damsel along river at Khao Yai campground lunch spot.

Indigo Dropwing (Trithemis festiva): purplish-blue dragon with tail held up, found along stream near KKNP lunch spot.

Fiery Coraltail (Ceriagrion chaoi): small red damsel with greenish flanks at KKNP.

Peacock Jewel (Aristocypha fenestrella): small black damsel with purplish spots on otherwise black wings; KKNP.

(Heliocypha biforata): thick-bodied female damsel along wooded stream at Khao Yai lunch spot.

(Pseudagrion sp): unidentified bluet-like damsel from KKNP Either Look-alike Sprite (P. australasiae) or Blue Riverdamsel (P. microcephalum)

There were also a small number of butterflies identified:

Glassy Tiger (Parantica aglea): resembles a washed out Monarch; KKNP.

Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon): brilliant black and turquoise, triangular-winged butterfly at mineral lick along stream at KKNP.

Redspot Sawtooth (Prioneris philonome): large striped black, white, and yellow butterfly with red spot at front. With the above at KKNP.

Green Dragontail Butterfly (Lamproptera meges): small, blackish butterfly with clear wing tips and light blue line across wings, and long streamers, along wooded stream at KKNP.

Totals for the tour: 485 bird taxa and 19 mammal taxa