A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Thailand 2024

January 13-February 3, 2024 with Jay VanderGaast & Uthai Treesucon guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
On this tour we expect to see lots of colorful birds and lots of colorful settings. It is even better when those colorful birds are found in those colorful settings—such as this cooperative Golden-fronted Leafbird. Photo by group member Lois Wood.

It's hard to believe another Thailand tour is in the books, and what a tour! Year after year, Thailand continues to deliver some of the most exciting birding on my tour calendar, and this year was no different. In addition to the usual assortment of fantastic southern Asian species, we added a bunch of species that we have rarely, if ever, seen on this itinerary. That included nearly a dozen species that were new for my personal Thailand list—about half of which were lifers! Considering this was my sixth time leading this trip, and we only visited one area we hadn't been to before, this is pretty amazing. It just highlights the incredible bird diversity that this country has to offer.

Tour highlights are just too numerous to list them all here, but a few deserve some special mention. Of course, the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper is always a highlight (and a great relief) when it is finally spotted, and the swarms of other shorebirds one sees while looking for them at Pak Thale is simply astounding. Nearby Kaeng Krachan is always a thrilling place to visit, in part as it offers up our first taste of Southeast Asian forest birding, with a nice assortment of barbets, hornbills, and fancy Asian woodpeckers. Standouts here included a roosting White-fronted Scops-Owl, four species of broadbills (including the gorgeous Black-and-red Broadbill), and flashy Sultan Tits, though perhaps the highlight for many wasn't a bird at all, but a curious Malayan Sun Bear that came along after our picnic lunch at the upper camp and put on quite a performance. An entertaining and exciting show for sure! Our time in the south finished up at Khao Yai National Park, a top place for mammal enthusiasts, and the several elephants, two species of gibbons, porcupines, and deer all made for a very memorable visit. The birds weren't so bad either, with roosting Buffy Fish-Owls, a phenomenal encounter with the magnificent Silver Pheasant, lovely Banded Kingfishers, and Red-headed Trogons among the top finds here. But the most unexpected find was a small flock of Scaly-crowned Babblers, one of very few records in the park, and a species that wasn't at all on my radar for this trip!

Moving up north was almost like starting another tour, as we searched for a very different mix of species, with a healthy dose of wintering species among the resident breeding birds. Each of the venues visited offered up some memorable encounters. Mae Ping National Park gave us local species like Collared Falconet and White-rumped Falcon, plus a nice bunch of woodpeckers, including the colorful Black-headed and impressive White-bellied. Doi Inthanon, foggy as it was (a rarity at this time of year) was still awesome, with the summit bog once again proving to be a favorite spot, with skulkers like Pygmy Cupwing, Himalayan Shortwing, and Slaty-bellied Tesia all showing reasonably well, and more showy species like Green-tailed Sunbird, Chestnut-tailed Minla, and Yellow-bellied Fairy-Fantail providing some eye candy.

Doi Ang Khang was a delight, giving us some of the easiest Streaked Wren-Babblers ever, plus a fantastic encounter with a gorgeous pair of Silver-eared Mesias, lovely Spot-winged Grosbeaks, and stellar looks at Clicking Shrike-Babbler and Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker, among many others. And Doi Lang, always one of my favorite venues, did not disappoint with incredible views of the stunning Mrs. Hume's Pheasant, a persistently singing male Himalayan Cutia, an amazingly cryptic male Hodgson's Frogmouth on a "hidden in plain sight" nest right next to the road, and the rare and local Giant Nuthatch among the many standouts. And Collared Babbler, Brown-crowned Scimitar-Babbler, Necklaced Woodpecker, Scarlet-faced Liocichla, Spectacled Barwing, and the brilliant Rufous-bellied Niltava were among the many other incredible birds that made our days here exciting. On the way to our final birding area, a stop at a new locale for the recently split Annam Limestone-Babbler was a nice surprise before we ended the tour with gorgeous Pied Harriers and Siberian Rubythroats amidst a variety of waterfowl and open-country species in the Chiang Saen region on the shores of the muddy Mekong River.

As thrilling as the birding is, this tour owes as much to our incredible crew for making it such a wonderful experience. From Uthai's incredible wealth of knowledge to our tireless drivers, Jiang and Lif, to Wat, Gaio and their incredible staff for keeping us well fed, and for smoothing out the often tedious chores of checking in at hotels and ordering at restaurants. The people we work with are second to none in making this whole tour a joy to lead. And thanks to all of you for joining in on the fun. It was great to meet you all, and I look forward to the next time!


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)


For the second year in a row, a pair of these winter vagrants were hanging out with the many ducks in the Chiang Sean region. Seems likely it is the same pair back for a second winter.

GARGANEY (Spatula querquedula) [b]

Evidently a late-molting species as the ones we saw were all primarily still in eclipse plumage, save for a couple of drakes (out of 100+ birds) at Wiang Nong Lom that were starting to show the long white brow. We also had about 30 of these at Bang Tabun, and Mary discovered three in her photos of the many ducks at Huai Bong Reservoir.

NORTHERN SHOVELER (Spatula clypeata) [b]

Also a late-molting species, though the males were starting to show a vestige of their breeding plumage. We had about 20 shovelers at Bang Tabun, and another 15 around Wiang Nong Lom.

GADWALL (Mareca strepera)

A rare winter visitor. We found three birds among the many pintail and teal at Wiang Nong Lom, a pair plus a separate male.

EURASIAN WIGEON (Mareca penelope) [b]

A group of about 20 were roosting on an island at Bang Tabun, the males in handsome breeding plumage.

INDIAN SPOT-BILLED DUCK (Anas poecilorhyncha)

Quite numerous in the Chiang Saen region, where we tallied 300+ at various wetland sites, but failed to find any of the reported Eastern Spot-billed Ducks amongst them.

NORTHERN PINTAIL (Anas acuta) [b]

Probably the most numerous of the wintering waterfowl, and we saw ~500 of these across various sites, with the males in full breeding plumage already. Our totals were about 300 at Bang Tabun, 100-150 at Huai Bong Reservoir, and 50-60 in the Chiang Saen region.

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

Males of this teal were also in full breeding plumage. All of our sightings came from Wiang Nong Lom, where there were ~100 of them.

FERRUGINOUS DUCK (Aythya nyroca) [b]

An uncommon, but regular wintering species; we counted 11 of them at Wiang Nong Lom.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Here is more of the dazzling and bold colors we expect. The endangered Green Peafowl has benefitted from conservation efforts and the establishment of non-hunting preserves where we are able to reliably find this unmistakable bird. Photo by group member Myles McNally.

TUFTED DUCK (Aythya fuligula)

Another winter rarity, which I’ve only seen in Thailand once before. We did a careful count of 16 birds at Wiang Nong Lom.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

RUFOUS-THROATED PARTRIDGE (Arborophila rufogularis) [*]

We heard a few of these high up on Doi Inthanon, but never close enough to have a chance of seeing.

MRS. HUME'S PHEASANT (Syrmaticus humiae)

There was quite a crowd at the pheasant stake-out on Doi Lang, and it looked like we were all going to have to move on in disappointment, but after a roughly 2-hour wait, we were rewarded with the appearance of 5 hens, followed by an absolutely stunning cock pheasant! The brilliant coppery color produced when the sun reflected off its back was spectacular, perhaps prompting Miles to choose this as his bird of the trip!

SILVER PHEASANT (Lophura nycthemera)

We had a fantastic encounter with these glamorous pheasants, coming across a group of them feeding on the roadside at Khao Yai NP early on our second morning. The males (5 of them) were quite bold and barely flinched when a truck lumbered by them, though interestingly, once the 3 hens emerged, they all seemed to get more easily spooked, though they kept reemerging after dashing off into the brush. Though only Paula chose this as her top bird of the trip, it earned enough 2nd and 3rd place votes to take top honors in the voting, narrowly edging out Hume's Pheasant for the #1 spot.

SIAMESE FIREBACK (Lophura diardi)

Thailand's national bird, and another spectacular-looking pheasant! We had to make the long drive out to Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve for this one, as usual, but it was well worth it to get the kind of views we had at the pretty much habituated birds there.

GREEN PEAFOWL (Pavo muticus)

The Ban Hong Non-hunting Area was specifically established to protect populations of this species, and the birds are now quite reliably seen here. Despite our arriving in the heat of the afternoon, we quickly found a trio of hens foraging among the trees, and a stonking male roosting a few feet off the ground near the road. We also heard one from the tower at Inthanon Nest.

SCALY-BREASTED PARTRIDGE (Tropicoperdix chloropus) [*]

One called a couple of times along the main road into Kaeng Krachan NP.

GRAY PEACOCK-PHEASANT (Polyplectron bicalcaratum)

Though easily detected by voice, this is not generally an easy species to see, so we were fortunate that we were able to lure a calling bird out onto the road at Kaeng Krachan. The views we had as it strolled across the road, then paused to stretch up and do a wing-beating display before it moved off the road and out of sight were simply incredible!


Despite a wandering herd of cattle thrashing about nearby, we managed to entice a quartet of these handsome, large partridges out into the road for some awesome looks at Doi Lang.

RED JUNGLEFOWL (Gallus gallus)

Recorded daily in the south, with some wonderful looks at several gaudy roosters feeding at the forest edge along roads in Khao Yai. In the north, we heard these at Mae Ping NP, and saw a couple of hens at Wat Tham Pha Plong.

CHINESE FRANCOLIN (Francolinus pintadeanus) [*]

A couple of close, calling birds at the Kaeng Krachan Country Club (KKCC) refused to show. I have yet to lay eyes on this species.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

Three birds on one of the ponds at KKCC, about a dozen on the aquaculture ponds at Phraek Nam Daeng, and a single bird at Wiang Nong Lom.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Pretty much an every day bird.

SPECKLED WOOD-PIGEON (Columba hodgsonii)

Dense fog atop Doi inthanon looked like it might foil our attempt to see these birds at their usual staging tree early in the morning, but luckily it cleared just enough for us to get a good look. The first to arrive burst out of the roadside trees right near where we were standing, and soon 11 birds were gathered there. Still the only place I've seen them in Thailand.

ASHY WOOD-PIGEON (Columba pulchricollis)

I've also seen this species at just on place in the country, behind the urinals on Doi Inthanon. We made a few visits to look for them, and there was a single bird visible at one point, but it flew off before more than a handful of folks got to see it.

ORIENTAL TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia orientalis)

We heard a couple (and a few folks glimpsed them) at Mae Ping NP. Our only other record was a group of 5 birds that flushed off the roadside as we drive down from Doi Lang one afternoon.

RED COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia tranquebarica)

Widespread in open country and urban areas.

SPOTTED DOVE (Spilopelia chinensis)

Common throughout, particularly in open areas and urban settings, though small numbers have found their way into more forested regions as well, and we saw these nearly every day.

ASIAN EMERALD DOVE (Chalcophaps indica)

Two brief flight views, with one bird flying down the road over the vehicles as we rode the pickup trucks up to the Kaeng Krachan upper camp, and another one the following day that flushed out of roadside vegetation along the main highway into the park.

ZEBRA DOVE (Geopelia striata) [I]

Another common dove of open country and urban regions, this small species is native to Peninsular Thailand, but is considered a feral species throughout the rest of the country, including all the areas we visited. We saw them most days.


The most likely green-pigeon to be found in the Bangkok environs, and most folks saw some on our hotel grounds prior to our first official outing. On the tour, we saw just a couple in a fruiting tree at Wat Suan Yai on our first afternoon.

THICK-BILLED GREEN-PIGEON (Treron curvirostra)

Few this year, with just a half dozen or so scoped along the main entrance road at Kaeng Krachan NP.


We only ever see these at Wat Tham Pha Plong, but due to our late arrival, it appeared we might miss them. But with minutes to go before we needed to move on, several birds started to show up around the parking lot, and we woulnd up with excellent looks at 9 of them.


We were looking for a Yellow-vented Green-Pigeon that had been reported in Khao Yai NP a few days earlier, and, upon finding the fruiting tree, we initially thought we'd found it, but closer inspection revealed it to be this species instead. This was our only pair for the tour.


A couple of the ones we saw, including our first at Kaeng Krachan NP, seemed oddly unfazed by human presence, sitting placidly above our heads despite the activity below. Most of our sightings were from Khao Yai NP, but we also had a couple on Doi Inthanon.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We found this Buffy Fish-Owl owlet at Khao Yai National Park. Photo by group member Lois Wood.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREATER COUCAL (Centropus sinensis)

A common and widespread species, recorded nearly daily, but far more often by voice than visually.

LESSER COUCAL (Centropus bengalensis)

Our only bird was well-spotted by Ed from atop the tower at Inthanon Nest. Quite similar to the much larger Greater Coucal, but at this time of year, Lessers are in non-breeding plumage, which makes them easy to separate.

GREEN-BILLED MALKOHA (Phaenicophaeus tristis)

Aside from Kaeng Krachan NP, where there are a few other scarce malkoha possibilities, this is the only malkoha to occur, and as usual, it is the only one we saw. We had several sightings of this skulker, with especially good views of a bird perched out in the sun at the Mae Taeng Irrigation Project.

ASIAN KOEL (Eudynamys scolopaceus)

We somehow failed to record this species on 2 days at Fang, though I suspect we might have just been filtering them out by that point, as the call of these cuckoos is a familiar sound, both day and night. We certainly heard more than we saw, but we did get several looks, too, perhaps most easily on the grounds of our Bangkok hotel.

ASIAN EMERALD CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx maculatus)

We didn't see many of these brilliant cuckoos, but we had a couple of nice views of them up north, first at Doi Pha Tang, then again in the Doi Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Station.

BANDED BAY CUCKOO (Cacomantis sonneratii)

Quite common and widespread, and we heard these at many sites, though we saw relatively few. We did have some good looks at a pair at the Kaeng Krachan NP headquarters, then just a few more sightings, most of them simply flyovers, at various other sites.

PLAINTIVE CUCKOO (Cacomantis merulinus)

Seen by virtually everyone on the hotel grounds before the tour officially started, which is good as we really didn't fare too well with them otherwise. We heard one on our first outing at Wat Suan Yai, and another on our final morning at Nam Kham Nature Reserve, but the only sighting on the tour proper was of a female seen by a couple of folks at the Tha Ton bunting site.


A well-named species, as I think everyone thought this was a drongo when it first flew into a roadside tree on the way into Kaeng Krachan, until it started calling, that is. We had excellent scope views of this bird, our only sighting, though we did hear others near the stream crossings and on the lower slopes of Doi Inthanon.

MOUSTACHED HAWK-CUCKOO (Hierococcyx vagans)

A scarcity on this trip, and just the second time I’ve seen one. We heard one calling loudly along a trail at Kaeng Krachan, and managed to track it down to its perch in the subcanopy, where we got some smashing scope views of it. The face pattern makes this one look very falcon-like.

LARGE HAWK-CUCKOO (Hierococcyx sparverioides)

Very good looks at our only one during a coffee break at Khao Yai NP, though we heard the distinctive "brain fever" call of this species a few times at Doi Inthanon and Doi Ang Khang as well.

Podargidae (Frogmouths)

HODGSON'S FROGMOUTH (Batrachostomus hodgsoni) [N]

A staked out nest on Doi Lang was just amazing, the male sitting stoically on the nest at about eye level, not far off the main road! The camouflage was incredible, and the bird looked very much like part of the branch it was on. Usually these birds nest a bit later in the year, so this was my first time seeing one on a nest.

BLYTH'S FROGMOUTH (INDOCHINESE) (Batrachostomus affinis continentalis) [*]

Essentially heard only, despite considerable effort at Mae Ping NP after dark. We had two birds calling nearby, but they seemed to be staying in thick cover and we had a lot of trouble trying to locate them. I did eventually get my light on one bird, but then it flew immediately and was little more than a flash of wings for a few folks that were standing nearby.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

GREAT EARED-NIGHTJAR (Lyncornis macrotis)

Fantastic looks at a couple of these huge nightjars flying languidly overhead at dusk near Khao Yai.

LARGE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus macrurus)

At least 3 birds began calling at dusk near our hotel at Kaeng Krachan, and it didn't take long for us to find one on the ground that allowed us to get pretty close, though we didn't approach close enough to flush it. We heard these on a few other evenings, as well.

INDIAN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus asiaticus)

We missed this one near Kaeng Krachan, so we made a followup nightjar outing near our Inthanon hotel, which turned out to be a great success, as not only did we hear and see this species, but we also had an unexpected Savanna Nightjar put on a good show!

SAVANNA NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus affinis)

Our nightjar search near our Inthanon lodging got off to a great start when one of these birds unexpectedly began calling loudly, and then made a couple of nice close flybys. Though we’d tried for this species on previous trips, this was the first one I’d ever heard or seen!

Apodidae (Swifts)

BROWN-BACKED NEEDLETAIL (Hirundapus giganteus)

What a treat it was to watch these lovely, large swifts as they skimmed the surface of a small lake at Khao Yai NP in the late afternoon, sometimes bathing, sometimes drinking, and al the while displaying all of their distinctive features. This is how to see swifts!

HIMALAYAN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus brevirostris)

Very similar to the next species, and difficult to separate, though this species tends to have a less obvious pale rump band. We saw these a few times in the mountains of the north.

GERMAIN'S SWIFTLET (Aerodramus germani)

Quite numerous in the lowlands in the south, especially in coastal areas.

COOK'S SWIFT (Apus cooki)

Quite common in the mountains of the north, with some great looks at them especially at Doi Lang.

HOUSE SWIFT (Apus nipalensis)

Seen only on our first day around Bangkok, with a single bird at Wat Suan Yai, and a flock of about 20 over Rot Fai Park.

ASIAN PALM SWIFT (Cypsiurus balasiensis)

Quite common throughout the southern portion of the tour, with significantly fewer seen once we moved to the north.

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While at Ban Hong, we were treated to a pair Crested Treeswifts that flew past us several times. Photo by group member Stan Lilley.
Hemiprocnidae (Treeswifts)

CRESTED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne coronata)

A bonus bird during our visit to Ban Hong for the peafowl. We had super views of a pair flying past a number of times, though they unfortunately did not settle on the nearby wires.

GRAY-RUMPED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne longipennis)

Reaches the northern limit of its range at Kaeng Krachan, and that's where we saw our only pair, feeding low over one of the waterholes along the main entrance road.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

EURASIAN MOORHEN (Gallinula chloropus)

Small numbers at scattered wetlands, most numerous in the Chiang Saen region.

EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)

Seen only in the Chiang Saen region, with about 60 birds in total at a couple of different wetlands.

GRAY-HEADED SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio poliocephalus viridis)

Also seen only in the Chiang Saen region, with about 25 of these bulky gallinules in total, at all the same sites as the above two species.

WHITE-BROWED CRAKE (Poliolimnas cinereus)

We had to work at these for a while, but I think everyone finally got a reasonable scope view of at least one of the two birds we found at the aquaculture ponds at Phraek Nam Daeng.

WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

Not an especially difficult Rallid to see, and we had our first of many on our first afternoon of birding, both at Wat Suan Yai and in a lotus covered pond at the very busy Rot Fai Park.


Great looks at one foraging in the open at the edge of a pond in the Tha Ton region.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

INDIAN THICK-KNEE (Burhinus indicus)

It was great to see a couple of these cool birds back at their usual spot at the KKCC!

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus)

The vast majority were seen over the first few days along the coast, though we did find a small number at several other wetland sites in the north as well.

PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta) [b]

A rather rare winter visitor here. Mary spotted our only one among the many stilts at Pak Thale.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) [b]

Mainly at Pak Thale, where there were 50-60, with smaller numbers present at several other coastal sites.

PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis fulva) [b]

Present at most of the same sites as the above, though much less numerous overall, with a maximum of about 10 birds at Pak Thale.

LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius dubius)

Much more likely in freshwater areas like rice paddies and along rivers than in coastal mudflats. Aside from one group of a dozen or so in a dried out aquaculture pond (where we unsuccessfully searched for Great Bittern), all our sightings came from the north. Though some of ours were undoubtedly winter migrants (of the subspecies curonicus), the breeding-plumaged birds were certainly of the resident subspecies, jerdoni.

GRAY-HEADED LAPWING (Vanellus cinereus) [b]

A much-wanted species for Elena, though the first ones we found in the Doi Lo paddies were quite distant, and barely met the minimum requirements for countability. The 43 much closer birds we found at the Cho Lae paddies later the same day were thus greatly appreciated!

RED-WATTLED LAPWING (Vanellus indicus atronuchalis)

Pairs and small groups were scattered around in suitable grasslands and pastures throughout.

TIBETAN SAND-PLOVER (Anarhynchus atrifrons atrifrons)

Lesser Sand-Plover was recently split into two species, SIberian and Tibetan, with the latter being the one that winters in Thailand. This was one of the most abundant shorebirds at Pak Thale.

GREATER SAND-PLOVER (Anarhynchus leschenaultii) [b]

Greatly outnumbered by the Tibetan Sand-Plovers at the coastal sites (probably about 20:1 at Khok Kham), though once we'd seen these well, we didn't pay the sand-plovers much attention as there were more important targets to focus on! We did get some nice comparative looks, noting the larger size, longer bill, and paler legs of this species, best noted when the two were side by side.

MALAYSIAN PLOVER (Anarhynchus peronii)

A resident breeding species on sandy beaches and dunes. This was one of our target species at the Laem Phak Bia sand spit, and we saw about 8 birds there, including great looks at a copulating pair.

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

Some of these undoubtedly got overlooked in the hordes of sand-plovers, but we still found them in small numbers at Pak Thale and the sand spit.

WHITE-FACED PLOVER (Anarhynchus dealbatus) [b]

A fairly recent split from the above species, and it can be tricky to pick out from among the Kentish and Malaysian plovers it tends to occur with, but we did manage to find a single bird along the beach at the Laem Phak Bia sand spit.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Some birds excel at camouflage—while others are in a league of their own. Not only does this Hodgson's Frogmouth nearly disappear when perched on a branch, you still haven't noticed that it is sitting on a nest! Photo by participant Myles McNally
Rostratulidae (Painted-Snipes)

GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE (Rostratula benghalensis)

One was flushed and seen in flight by a couple of folks at the Doi lo paddies. A couple of days later in a marsh near Chiang Rai, I found a male preening in a mostly concealed spot, and managed to get it in the scope, but it only stayed put for about half the group to see, so Uthai and Ed walked out to try and flush it. It did flush, along with one or two others, and everyone got some type of view of this unique bird.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

PHEASANT-TAILED JACANA (Hydrophasianus chirurgus)

Small numbers in non-breeding plumage (as always at this time of year) at Phraek Nam Daeng aquaculture ponds and in the same marsh as the above species near Chiang Rai.

BRONZE-WINGED JACANA (Metopidius indicus)

Poor looks at a couple at Phreak Nam Daeng, then much better looks at a few more in wetlands around Chiang Saen, including one in excellent light at Nong Bong Khai.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

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

We rarely see more than a handful of these on this tour, so the 177 birds we counted roosting on the pilings offshore from our lunch spot was an unexpected sight!

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

The two godwit species seemed to mainly occur in single-species flocks rather than mixing together. This was the less common of the two species, though still fairly numerous at various coastal sites.

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

Outnumbered the above species by about 4:1. The overall plainer, less-patterned plumage and straighter bill of this species are good features to separate it from Bar-tailed on the ground. In flight, they're easy as this one has striking black-and-white wings.

ASIAN DOWITCHER (Limnodromus semipalmatus) [b]

There were good numbers of this near-threatened shorebird present at Pak Thale this year, and we estimated at least 100 birds, including a bird with pigment deficiencies that made it look very whitish.

PIN-TAILED SNIPE (Gallinago stenura) [b]

A couple were flushed from the marshy areas at the Doi lo rice paddies, but were perhaps not seen well enough by everyone. This bird differs from the next species in lacking an obvious white trailing edge to the flight feathers.

COMMON SNIPE (Gallinago gallinago) [b]

Not many overall, but we had a few at various rice paddies in the north, as well as at the Mae Taeng Irrigation Project.

RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus) [b]

A fairly rare wintering species and not one we get regularly. We counted 29 of them together in one of the cells at Pak Thale.

TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus) [b]

A very distinctive, very active shorebird. We had some super looks on the beach behind our coastal lunch restaurant, as well as at Pak Thale, where Uthai estimated well over 100 of them.

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) [b]

Despite the name, not a really numerous species, with just a few present at the various coastal shorebird sites, and some scattered individuals in various wetlands in the north.

GREEN SANDPIPER (Tringa ochropus) [b]

Similar to our Solitary Sandpiper in appearance. There were few of these this year, with just a single at Mae Taeng, and another at Doi Lo. The latter bird was scoped as it sat next to a Wood Sandpiper giving us a nice comparison of these two somewhat similar sandpipers.

MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis) [b]

Small numbers of this slender shorebird were at several of the coastal shorebird sites, starting with a half a dozen or so at Khok Kham.

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) [b]

Generally absent from the coastal shorebird sites, as it prefers freshwater areas. We had these mainly in the north, with some good looks at Doi Lo and Cho Lae paddies.

COMMON REDSHANK (Tringa totanus) [b]

The more numerous of the two redshanks, with about 30-40 of them scattered across the various coastal shorebird sites.

NORDMANN'S GREENSHANK (Tringa guttifer) [b]

An endangered species, with perhaps as few as 1200 mature individuals remaining, so our count of 107 birds at Pak Thale was pretty significant.

SPOTTED REDSHANK (Tringa erythropus) [b]

Longer-legged and longer-billed than Common Redshank, and lacks the wide, white trailing edge to the wings of Common. We had just a couple of these elegant birds at Pak Thale.

COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) [b]

Though more widespread than Nordmann's Greenshank, we saw only about a third as many of these common wintering birds.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) [b]

Never very numerous, and we had just a few birds in total, with one each at Khok Kham and Pak Thale, and a couple on the sand spit.

GREAT KNOT (Calidris tenuirostris) [b]

These chunky birds can be quite numerous, and we estimated about 2000+ of them at Pak Thale.

RED KNOT (Calidris canutus) [b]

Uthai and Mary saw a couple of these at Pak Thale while the rest of us were working our way over to where they were.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This critter is Red-nosed Lanternfly (Pyrops karenius). That is quite a nose! Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER (Calidris falcinellus) [b]

It was nice to see so many of these distinctive birds, and to get such great looks at them, both at Khok Kham and Pak Thale.

CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) [b]

Present in reasonable numbers at most of the coastal sites, including a lone breeding plumaged bird at both Khok Kham and Pak Thale.

TEMMINCK'S STINT (Calidris temminckii) [b]

A few of these were at several freshwater sites in the north, including Mae Taeng, Doi Lo, and along the Mekong River.

LONG-TOED STINT (Calidris subminuta) [b]

Generally shuns the more open coastal mudflats in favor of smaller ponds and pans with vegetation along the edges. We found our only one at just such a pan in the Laem Phak Bia region. Nice spotting, Ed!

RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis) [b]

Fairly common at the various coastal sites.

SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPER (Calidris pygmaea) [b]

Despite some serious searching for a bird seen at Khok Kham the previous day, we came up short, so we were hopeful that our usual spot at Pak Thale would come through with this much- wanted, critically endangered bird. We hadn't been searching here long when our driver, Jiang, excitedly called "I got it!" and we soon were enjoying some good scope views as it fed in shallow water near the edge of one of the pans. Luckily it stuck around just long enough for everyone to see it well in the scope before it flew off and vanished. Julie and Mary both picked this as thier top bird for the tour, which was enough to put it strongly at 3rd overall, behind the two pheasants.

SANDERLING (Calidris alba) [b]

About 10-12 on the sand spit at Lam Phak Bia.

Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)

SMALL PRATINCOLE (Glareola lactea)

Great looks at a group of about 45 of these lovely shorebirds on the mud at the Mae Taeng Irrigation Project, where my friend had failed to see any at all the previous morning! We saw another handful on the verge of the Mekong River.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

BROWN-HEADED GULL (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus) [b]

usually the only gull present along the coast, and that was the case again this year.

LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons)

A few of these tiny terns were nicely seen at the various coastal sites.

GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) [b]

About 15-20 birds at Pak Thale.

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia) [b]

An estimated 70+ birds at Pak Thale was my highest ever count here in Thailand. We also saw about 20 at Bang Tabun's duck lake.

WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) [b]

Regular at most of the coastal sites visited, with especially good numbers at the Phraek Nam Daeng aquaculture ponds, where we estimated 100+, including one out-of-place looking bird perched on the roadside wires alongside some doves.

COMMON TERN (Sterna hirundo) [b]

Just a handful at Pak Thale this year.

Ciconiidae (Storks)

ASIAN OPENBILL (Anastomus oscitans)

Though we saw fair numbers of this stork scattered across wetlands throughout the tour, it seemed to me there were fewer than we normally encounter.

PAINTED STORK (Mycteria leucocephala)

On the other hand, it was a pretty good trip for this colorful stork, and we saw them in good numbers along the coast.

Anhingidae (Anhingas)

ORIENTAL DARTER (Anhinga melanogaster)

Just three singles at three different sites along the coast.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

LITTLE CORMORANT (Microcarbo niger)

Generally the most common cormorant throughout, and the only one we saw once we went to the north.

INDIAN CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)

Usually outnumbered by the above species, though we did have one big group of these fishing together in one of the canals at Pak Thale.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

SPOT-BILLED PELICAN (Pelecanus philippensis)

We seem to be getting this species more regularly than in the past, though it’s been mainly single birds at Bang Tabun. This year we had two birds, an adult and a dingy-looking immature bird.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

YELLOW BITTERN (Ixobrychus sinensis)

Just a couple this trip, with one well-hidden bird in the marsh among the houses at Wat Suan Yai, and another at KKCC.

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Just one bird in juvenile plumage at the bunting spot near Tha Ton.

PACIFIC REEF-HERON (Egretta sacra)

Just a couple of birds, both dark morphs, at the Laem Phak Bia sand spit.

CHINESE EGRET (Egretta eulophotes) [b]

An easily missed species, but we had good scope views of a lone bird at Pak Thale.

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

Widespread and common.

Field Guides Birding Tours
A flock of Painted Storks, captured nicely by participant Mary Trombley. One is even packing a lunch. We saw these colorful storks in good numbers along the coast.

STRIATED HERON (OLD WORLD) (Butorides striata javanica)

A few singles along the coast, and one along the Tha Dan River in Khao Yai NP.

CHINESE POND-HERON (Ardeola bacchus)

We almost certainly saw Javan Pond-Herons as well, but pond-herons in non-breeding plumage are seemingly indistinguishable, so the only one we could be certain of was this species, which is the only species to occur in many of the sites we visited.

EASTERN CATTLE EGRET (Bulbulcus coromandus)

A common and widespread bird of open country.

GREAT EGRET (MODESTA) (Ardea alba modesta)

Widespread and common.

MEDIUM EGRET (Ardea intermedia)

The boring new name of the local variety after the 3-way split of Intermediate Egret. We saw these in small numbers throughout.

GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) [b]

Widespread, but never numerous. Most of ours were down along the coast.

PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)

Singles were seen at a number of different sites, with the majority being in the Chiang Saen region.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

BLACK-HEADED IBIS (Threskiornis melanocephalus)

A rather local species, and as usual, our only sightings were at Bang Tabun, where we had 7 birds along the "duck and ibis" lake.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) [b]

Our lone sighting was of a perched bird at Bang Tabun.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BLACK-WINGED KITE (Elanus caeruleus)

We also saw just one of these elegant raptors, late in the afternoon at the Tha Ton bunting spot.

ORIENTAL HONEY-BUZZARD (Pernis ptilorhynchus)

The most regularly-encountered raptor, with sightings at a bunch of different sites, including several at KKCC, one of which was a handsome, dark morph individual, and at Inthanon Nest.

JERDON'S BAZA (Aviceda jerdoni)

Brief views of a pair (one of which did a quick display flight) over the entrance highway at Kaeng Krachan NP were greatly improved upon when Lois spotted a perched bird below the viewpoint at Doi Pha Tang. We initially thought it was a Mountain Hawk-Eagle, which is a surprisingly similar-looking bird, but we got it right in the end! Woody was impressed with this handsome bird, and picked it as his top bird of the trip.

BLACK BAZA (Aviceda leuphotes)

Though we had just a couple of flyovers, one at the KKCC, the other at the Mae Taeng Irrigation Project, both of these striking raptors offered up excellent views.

CRESTED SERPENT-EAGLE (Spilornis cheela)

Pretty common at both Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, and we had a number of good looks. The bold wing pattern of this species makes it a pretty easy identification.

SHORT-TOED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus gallicus)

This distinctive eagle is a rare winter visitor to Thailand and this was a first for me in the country. We had great looks at an over-wintering bird at the Ban Thi paddies, thanks to Miles spotting it and drawing our attention to it.

MOUNTAIN HAWK-EAGLE (Nisaetus nipalensis)

A couple of different birds were seen soaring overhead, both on the same morning at Khao Yai NP.

RUFOUS-BELLIED EAGLE (Lophotriorchis kienerii)

Our only one flew overhead in one of the higher sections of Khao Yai. The lighting made it difficult to see the colors in our binoculars, but photos confirmed that it was indeed this species.

BLACK EAGLE (Ictinaetus malaiensis)

Nice views of our only one, soaring over the valley, as seen from the viewpoint along the boardwalk trail at Khao Yai.

BOOTED EAGLE (Hieraaetus pennatus)

A regular wintering species, though I was a bit surprised to see this one just below the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan rather than in rice paddies up north. The conspicuous white “headlights” at the shoulder are a good field mark for this one.

STEPPE EAGLE (Aquila nipalensis)

Another rare winter visitor, and another species we’d gone to the Ban Thi paddies in hopes of finding. We ended up with super looks at 2 birds, both in distinctive immature plumage, with an obvious white bar along the base of the flight feathers.

RUFOUS-WINGED BUZZARD (Butastur liventer)

Though we had acceptable looks at a distant bird at the Ban Thi paddies, the pair that Julie spotted flying over the Nam Kham Nature Reserve on our final morning were far better.

EASTERN MARSH HARRIER (Circus spilonotus) [b]

Harriers were not at all numerous this year (Uthai said it was a very poor year for them overall), but we did spot a small number, all of which were females, in the Chiang Saen region.

PIED HARRIER (Circus melanoleucos) [b]

Only about 8 in total at the harrier staging area at Wiang Nong Lom, and not the best views as the light was fading. So the gorgeous male we saw the next morning gliding by at Nam Kham was greatly appreciated.

CRESTED GOSHAWK (Accipiter trivirgatus)

This one always reminds me of Double-toothed Kite, as it is a similar size and shape, and shares the fluffy white undertail coverts of that species. We had two singles one day at Kaeng Krachan NP, and a single on the west slope of Doi Lang.

SHIKRA (Accipiter badius)

The default typical Accipiter across most of the country. We saw just a couple, one at the KKCC, the other at Khao Yai.

BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans) [b]

The vast majority came from the Doi Lo paddies, where there were 50+ birds soaring around. Elsewhere we had a single at Bang Tabun, and a handful at the Ban Thi paddies.

BRAHMINY KITE (Haliastur indus)

Small numbers of this handsome and distinctive kite were seen along the coast south of Bangkok.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Brown Wood-Owl was a not-so-bad consolation prize for dipping on Blyth's Frogmouth at Mae Ping National Park. Photo by participant Myles McNally.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)

BARN OWL (Tyto alba)

While we were walking along the base of the rocky outcrop at Pha Chang Park, my attention was drawn to some heavy rustling in the leaf litter, sounding like some creature was running up the hill. Though we never found out what it was, the animal seemed to disturb a roosting Barn Owl in the process, as I saw it fly up into a tangle of brush, where it was just visible. Unfortunately only a couple of others got a look before it flew off.

Strigidae (Owls)


Though I’ve known that this species has been seen regularly roosting near the stream crossings at Kaeng Krachan, this was the first time that there was a known roost being used in all my visits. Even so, the birds were not present on our first attempt after having been reliable for several days prior to our arrival. Happily, they were there the next day, and we had excellent looks at them, with one bird perched in a nice open spot, viewable from the road. Along-awaited lifer for me!


Jiang spotted one that had been disturbed by a troop of Stub-tailed Macaques along the road at Kaeng Krachan, but it flew off before I could get anyone else on it. Not to worry, as this is a common species around some of our hotels, and we had great looks at one right by the vans in the predawn darkness at the Lilawalai Resort.

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

After our picnic dinner at Mae Ping NP, we worked to get one of these tiny owls, but though a couple were calling, they kept their distance. We were about to give up, when one suddenly began calling right over the main road. It still proved tough to track down, but finally Jiang managed to locate it and we all got some great views in the spotlight. We heard another a few days later near Doi Inthanon.

BUFFY FISH-OWL (Ketupa ketupu)

For the second year in a row, a couple of these handsome owls, an adult and an immature bird, were roosting pretty much right out in the open in a streamside tree near the Khao Yai National Park headquarters, seemingly untroubled by the crowd of photographers taking advantage of the situation.

ASIAN BARRED OWLET (Glaucidium cuculoides)

By far the most numerous owl of the trip. There weren't many days that we didn't at least hear these birds, and we had several great looks as well, including our first ones at Rot Fai Park the first day, and another that Woody found perched right out in the open in the rice paddies near Inthanon Nest.

COLLARED OWLET (Taenioptynx brodiei brodiei)

Not uncommon, but far trickier to hear than see, and some trips we really struggle to lay eyes on one. Not so this trip, as out of the 7 birds we heard, we had 2 great looks. Doug spotted our first one along the road during our Silver Pheasant stop at Khao Yai, and the other was seen from the bridge as we headed up the east slope of Doi Lang.

SPOTTED OWLET (Athene brama)

We only had this owl on our first day, but we found an incredible 5 of them at Rot Fai Park, several of them perched right over the very busy main pathway!

BROWN WOOD-OWL (Strix leptogrammica)

The Blyth's Frogmouth may have defeated us during our owling outing at Mae Ping NP, but the appearance of one of these large, dark owls certainly made up for not seeing the frogmouth. The subspecies in northern Thailand, ticehurstii is significantly larger than the subspecies found in the south.

BROWN BOOBOOK (Ninox scutulata)

We heard birds calling from at least 3 different perches near the stream crossings at Kaeng Krachan, and Jiang did a great job of locating one pair on their perch high in the canopy. Another was seen by some of us above our cabins at Doi Inthanon.

Trogonidae (Trogons)

ORANGE-BREASTED TROGON (Harpactes oreskios)

This is usually the easier of the two trogons on this tour, but I wouldn't say that was our experience this year. We had only two sightings, the first one a brief male along the road at Kaeng Krachan, though it escaped before everyone got it. Luckily, the second bird, a female nicely spotted by Woody at Khao Yai, stuck around longer, and we all had nice looks at her.

RED-HEADED TROGON (Harpactes erythrocephalus)

Just one sighting of a pair at Khao Yai, but they were amazingly cooperative and photogenic, much more so than usual.

Upupidae (Hoopoes)


A few of us saw one on the hotel grounds in Bangkok before the tour was officially underway. Our only subsequent sighting was of a couple perched in a nearby bare tree at the KKCC.

Bucerotidae (Hornbills)

GREAT HORNBILL (Buceros bicornis)

Ed's top bird of the trip, and it's not hard to understand this choice, as this is a phenomenal, impressive bird! We had some nice encounters in both of the big national parks in the south, but the bird that perched on a bare limb just over the road at Kaeng Krachan was simply unbeatable.

RUSTY-CHEEKED HORNBILL (Anorrhinus tickelli)

It took some time, but with patience, we eventually got some decent looks at a pair of these shy hornbills along the kaeng Krachan entrance road.

ORIENTAL PIED-HORNBILL (Anthracoceros albirostris)

Easily the most numerous, and boldest, of the hornbills, and we had plenty of fine views at both Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai.

WREATHED HORNBILL (Rhyticeros undulatus)

We did quite well with this large hornbill, with several birds seen at the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan, then more at Khao Yai, including spectacular close looks at a perched pair near the shrine during our coffee break.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

COMMON KINGFISHER (Alcedo atthis) [b]

Singles of this widespread species were seen on scattered days throughout the trip.

BANDED KINGFISHER (Lacedo pulchella)

Three birds were calling inside the forest at Khao Yai, with two of them sounding quite close. After several minutes of intense searching, I finally spotted one perched in a vine tangle in the canopy, and while we enjoyed that bird, someone spotted a second one perched about a meter above the first. Both birds were males, and they sat tight for everyone to soak in their incredible colors and pattern. This was Uthai's spark bird from his days studying gibbons in the park many years ago.


The most common and widespread of the kingfishers here, though we only saw them on 5 different days, which seems way below average.

BLACK-CAPPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon pileata) [b]

Our sightings all came in the first couple of days around Bangkok and the coast, where this species is only present as a winter visitor. We had especially nice scope studies of one at Rot Fai Park.

COLLARED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus chloris)

Quite common in coastal mangroves, and especially numerous and easy to see along the canal at Laem Phak Bia, where they like to perch on the crumbling remains of the boardwalk along the canal. We counted at least 9 birds during our boat ride up the canal.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

BLUE-BEARDED BEE-EATER (Nyctyornis athertoni)

It was a good trip, better than normal, for this bulky bee-eater, as we had a couple of smashing looks at Kaeng Krachan, more super views of a pair at Khao Yai, and another bird on the east slope of Doi Lang. Some trips we're happy to see one.

ASIAN GREEN BEE-EATER (Merops orientalis)

Though we saw our first at the KKCC, and a few more on our way out of Khao Yai NP, the vast majority of these attractive bee-eaters were recorded in the north, where they were present in pretty much any suitable open country area we stopped in.

BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops philippinus)

Seen only in the Bangkok region and along the coast, though we recorded more of this species than any other bee-eater, thanks mainly to an estimated 30+ birds heading to a roost site in the late afternoon at Pak Thale.

CHESTNUT-HEADED BEE-EATER (Merops leschenaulti)

A little more associated with forested habitats than the above two species, and we had a number of fine looks at both Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Here is Jiang, the Spoonbill finder, with guide Jay VanderGaast. Photo by participant Mary Trombley.
Coraciidae (Rollers)

INDOCHINESE ROLLER (Coracias affinis)

Fairly common in open habitats, with quite a few spotted perched on roadside power lines. We saw these mainly in the south, but had a few in the north, including one from the tower at Inthanon Nest.

DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis)

Never numerous on this trip, and the pair we saw perched over the entrance road to Kaeng Krachan were our only ones for the tour.

Megalaimidae (Asian Barbets)

COPPERSMITH BARBET (Psilopogon haemacephalus)

Always among the welcoming party at our hotel in Bangkok, this little barbet is a familiar sight (and especially sound) throughout the country. Especially numerous in the fruiting fig tree at Wat Suan Yai.

BLUE-EARED BARBET (Psilopogon cyanotis)

Reasonably common in Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai. Karen spotted our first high above the road on our way up to the upper camp at the KKNP, though we were surrounded by other birds at the time and didn't pay much attention. Happily it was still sitting there when activity died down, and we were able to get some nice scope views.

GREAT BARBET (Psilopogon virens)

As usual, far more often heard than seen, and in fact, we only saw one bird in the late afternoon on the slopes of Doi Inthanon.

GREEN-EARED BARBET (Psilopogon faiostrictus)

Seen a few times (and heard far more) at both Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai. The green ear on this species is a pretty obscure feature to be named for, as it isn't all that distinctive unless it's an excellent look in good light. Luckily we did get that kind of look!

LINEATED BARBET (Psilopogon lineatus)

A widespread species of dry forests and fairly open habitats. We saw plenty of these, but they were especially common and easy to see at the KKCC, where we also got front row seats for a pretty vigorous battle between two of them.

GOLDEN-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon franklinii)

A successful trip for this handsome barbet, which gave us far less trouble than it sometimes does. We had numerous nice looks at various sites on Doi Inthanon, then had some amazing views of one or two feeding in a fruiting tree below eye level at Doi Lang.

MOUSTACHED BARBET (Psilopogon incognitus)

We saw two different subspecies of this one, with some excellent scope views of one bird of the nominate subspecies at the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan (where it is not very common), then multiple looks and lots of vocalizations at subspecies elbeli, which is a common species at Khao Yai.

BLUE-THROATED BARBET (Psilopogon asiaticus)

Most numerous in the north, and quite easily seen at a number of sites including the Ang Khang Agricultural Project, though we did get our first birds at the upper camp of Kaeng Krachan NP.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

EURASIAN WRYNECK (Jynx torquilla) [b]

It's always great to see this weird woodpecker, especially as we rarely get it on this tour. We lucked out this year by getting some good looks at one foraging on the ground at the Doi Lo rice paddies.


Piculets were pretty uncooperative this trip and the only ones we saw were a pair of these on our way down from Kaeng Krachan's upper camp. Unfortunately they were only around for a couple of seconds, and only a few people managed to get on them.


A similarly uncooperative species, and though we all saw this one fly across the road a couple of times at Khao Yai, only a handful actually got bins on it in a tree.

GRAY-CAPPED PYGMY WOODPECKER (Yungipicus canicapillus)

One of the more birder-friendly woodpeckers in Thailand, and we saw this small woody a few times, with our first in dry deciduous forest at Sakaerat, with others at Mae Ping NP and Doi Lang.


Another relatively easy to see species that we had several times in the north, both at Doi Inthanon and on Doi Lang.

NECKLACED WOODPECKER (Dryobates pernyii)

Recently split from the Crimson-naped Woodpecker of the Himalayas, (and formerly known as Crimson-breasted Woodpecker). This is an uncommon species in Thailand, confined to a few high mountains in the extreme northwest. We had excellent looks at a bird high up on the east slope of Doi Lang.

BAY WOODPECKER (Blythipicus pyrrhotis)

Always a difficult species to see well, though we did have one of a pair pause briefly in a dead tree along the roadside on Doi Inthanon along with our usual collection of heard-only birds.

GREATER FLAMEBACK (Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus)

An impressive large woodpecker, and one of a small handful of Thai woodpeckers that aren't all that tough to see. We had super looks at a pair along the entrance road to Kaeng Krachan, with another sighting at Mae Ping NP.

BLACK-AND-BUFF WOODPECKER (Meiglyptes jugularis)

Jiang spotted this one on the lower slopes at Khao Yai, but initially called it out as a Heart-spotted Woodpecker. But the bird remained in the dense canopy and we initially weren't able to get a good look. When I finally did manage a decent view, I realized it was actually this similarly-shaped woodpecker. Eventually the bird flew into a bare tree above the road, where it was joined by its mate, and the pair posed there for some good scope views, and photographs!

BAMBOO WOODPECKER (Gecinulus viridis)

After getting essentially skunked by a calling/drumming pair at Kaeng Krachan (one or two folks saw one fly across the road), we looked to repeat the experience with another drumming pair at Khao Yai. But then I noticed our driver, Lif, pointing his camera up into the roadside vegetation, and when I looked to see what he was shooting, I was surprised to see it was a male of this species showing amazingly well. This might have been my best view of one yet!

Field Guides Birding Tours
...and here is it, the highly prized and critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Hearing Jiang shout "I got it!" was music to everyone's ears. Everyone got scope views of the bird (and even some pretty good photos!) as it foraged in shallow water. A couple folks picked this as their top bird of the tour. Photo by group member Mary Trombley.

COMMON FLAMEBACK (Dinopium javanense)

Three sightings, highlighted by some great looks at both members of a pair at Sakaerat.

LESSER YELLOWNAPE (Picus chlorolophus)

A single male in the same mixed flock as the above species at Sakaerat showed exceptionally well. Good thing, as it was the only one we saw.


We also saw just one of these woodpeckers, this one at Kaeng Krachan, where it was a bit flighty, but stayed put just long enough a couple of times so that everyone had an acceptable view.

LACED WOODPECKER (Picus vittatus)

Similar to the above species, though largely, if not wholly, allopatric. We saw our only one at Khao Yai, where it refused to stay put and show itself, though it flew over us several times.


Our only sighting was a pair at the same time and place as our Bamboo and Black-and-buff woodpeckers at Khao Yai, and these birds similarly gave us a great look. This species seems a good candidate for future splitting, with three very different-looking subspecies groups.

BLACK-HEADED WOODPECKER (Picus erythropygius)

There are a lot of gorgeous woodpeckers out there, but this one is something special. Quite a sociable species, and we saw a couple of groups totalling about 9 birds at Mae Ping NP.

GREATER YELLOWNAPE (Chrysophlegma flavinucha)

We saw just one pair of these beauties along the entrance road at Kaeng Krachan, but they put on a fine show.

GREAT SLATY WOODPECKER (Mulleripicus pulverulentus)

It's amazing to me how shy this large woodpecker (largest extant species in the world!). We had a high-flying bird pass overhead at Kaeng Krachan, then got fairly decent looks at 3 or 4 at Mae Ping NP, but they were pretty unwilling to stay in view for long.


Another Mae Ping only woodpecker species. We had some nice looks at several of these impressive woodpeckers during our morning at the park.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

COLLARED FALCONET (Microhierax caerulescens)

One of these minuscule falcons sat above the road at Mae Ping NP, giving us all ample time to drink it all in. Not only was it a fantastic sighting, it was also world bird #5000 for Miles! Congratulations, Miles!

BLACK-THIGHED FALCONET (Microhierax fringillarius)

We didn't fare quite so well with this one, though we did have a bird fly high overhead, calling, a couple of times at Kaeng Krachan. It was quite striking how much it resembled a swallow or martin as it flew over. They aren't all that much bigger.

WHITE-RUMPED FALCON (Neohierax insignis)

Fabulous looks at a pair of these beautiful falcons sat in a bare tree over the road at Mae Ping NP for a nice long photoshoot.

EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus) [b]

Just one bird in the open grasslands at Khao Yai and a couple more at the Ban Thi rice paddies.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)

ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET (Psittacula eupatria)

We only saw one at Wat Suan Yai this year, but it was unmistakeable!

GRAY-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula finschii)

A few small flocks at Mae Ping NP, and initially they were elusive, but we ended up with good scope views of a couple.

BLOSSOM-HEADED PARAKEET (Psittacula roseata)

After nearly missing this species last year, it was good to see so many at Inthanon Nest this time around. We saw about 22 of them (according to Mr T) with some really nice studies of them perched near the tower. Karen ranked these lovely birds at #1 of her favorites.

RED-BREASTED PARAKEET (Psittacula alexandri)

The nest box project for Alexandrine Parakeets at Wat Suan Yai seems to be benefitting this species as well, and we had fine looks at a couple of pairs there, as well as a bunch more in the open forest at Sakaerat.

VERNAL HANGING-PARROT (Loriculus vernalis)

Often a frustrating bird as they rocket overhead often enough but can be devilishly hard to track down in the treetops. But, we had plenty of chances over the first half of the tour, as they were recorded almost daily at Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, and we eventually had some nice looks at perched birds.

Eurylaimidae (Asian and Grauer's Broadbills)

LONG-TAILED BROADBILL (Psarisomus dalhousiae) [N]

There's a lot to like about this bird: its glorious primary colors, its crazy, Elvis-style, black muttonchops, the loud, screaming calls. We saw our first at the military checkpoint high up in Khao Yai NP, with one bird posing in the open for a long photo session. A couple days later in another section of the park, we found a pair beginning to build a nest in a roadside tree, and finally, we had a noisy group on our way up the eastern flank of Doi Lang.

DUSKY BROADBILL (Corydon sumatranus)

One of the tougher broadbills to see on this trip, but we tracked down a somewhat elusive trio of them in the tall forest at the stream crossings in Kaeng Krachan.

BLACK-AND-RED BROADBILL (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos)

And this is the toughest of the broadbills on this tour, as they are neither vocal nor responsive at this time of year. We were looking for these on our way out of Kaeng Krachan when we came across a group of photographers shooting a pair that were perched quietly near the road. Lucky timing!

BANDED BROADBILL (Eurylaimus javanicus)

On the other hand, this broadbill is often vocal at this time of year, and consequently not usually too difficult to find. We managed to spot a couple up in the canopy of the tall forest along the streams at Kaeng Krachan, where they sat tight and allowed some good scope studies.

BLACK-AND-YELLOW BROADBILL (Eurylaimus ochromalus)

A couple of these small broadbills were calling in the same area as the above species, though these were a bit harder to track down. Mary finally did spot one, and it showed well for everyone. Doug placed this species at the top of his list of favorites.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Claiming the gold medal as top bird of the tour was Silver Pheasant. That was quite an encounter we had with a group of them feeding on the roadside at Khao Yai National Park, where five males were strutting their fabulous stuff. Photo by Myles McNally.
Pittidae (Pittas)

BLUE PITTA (Hydrornis cyaneus) [*]

We were so close! At least 3 birds were calling just inside the forest at Khao Yai, and one sounded close enough for us to see it from the road, but we just couldn't find it before it moved off. It probably saw some of us, though!

Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)

GOLDEN-BELLIED GERYGONE (Gerygone sulphurea)

Not uncommon in the coastal mangroves, and we heard their pretty, tinkling songs on both our visits to Pak Thale, and finally got to see one at a mangrove-lined channel in the Laem Phak Bia area.

Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)

SMALL MINIVET (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus)

Often we only encounter this species on our Bangkok hotel grounds, and we did, indeed see a pair there before the tour got underway. But we also did better than usual for this pretty little minivet elsewhere, finding a pair at Wat Suan Yai, another pair at Sakaerat, and at least a half a dozen from the tower at Inthanon Nest.

GRAY-CHINNED MINIVET (Pericrocotus solaris)

Found a couple of times with mixed flocks on Doi Inthanon and the east slope of Doi Lang. One of the easiest of the red minivets to identify, much easier than the next three species, at least!

SHORT-BILLED MINIVET (Pericrocotus brevirostris)

The wing pattern of the red minivets is an important aid in their identification. Problem is, they need to be perched at the right angle to get a diagnostic view. Luckily, one of the two birds we saw on Doi Inthanon showed off its wing panel to perfection, immediately after it had displaced a posing Long-tailed Minivet from the very same perch. It also gave a very different-sounding call note than the many Long-tailed that were present.

LONG-TAILED MINIVET (Pericrocotus ethologus)

Unlike the above species, this bird has two fingers of red that extend down the flight feathers from the red wing patch, a diagnostic feature if you can see it. We saw these a bunch of times in the mountains of the north, though our total was somewhat inflated by a group of about 30 birds at one site on Doi Inthanon.

SCARLET MINIVET (Pericrocotus speciosus)

The most widespread of the red minivets, with an isolated patch of red on the tertials which is a diagnostic field mark, and relatively easy to see. We saw these often throughout, and they never got old. I know the first look at these generally incites some gasps of admiration, but I think every subsequent sighting did, too!

ASHY MINIVET (Pericrocotus divaricatus) [b]

Scarce this year, with just one sighting at the Bamboo Woodpecker spot on the lower slopes at Khao Yai NP. There was also the curious case of the bird I photographed at the military checkpoint in the park. In the field, we had identified the entire group as Brown-rumped Minivets, but when I looked at my photo later, it looked better for Ashy, and several people who looked at it identified it as Ashy. Well, I've done some further study of my photo and some research, and determined that it was not an Ashy, as the white on the forehead extends behind the eye, which is a feature of Brown-rumped. This was a good learning experience!

BROWN-RUMPED MINIVET (Pericrocotus cantonensis) [b]

Like Ashy and Rosy, this species is a winter visitor to Thailand. We had good looks at one group of half a dozen in the treetops at the viewpoint by the military post at Khao Yai NP.

ROSY MINIVET (Pericrocotus roseus) [b]

We also had just one group of these minivets, roughly half a dozen sitting high above the road near the Mae Ping NP headquarters.


Not many this trip, with our only sighting of a single, mostly uncooperative bird at Doi Lang. Views ranged from pretty darned good for a lucky few, to not much more than a large gray shape for others.


Seen fairly regularly with bird waves in Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, where it is a winter visitor, as well as in the mountains of the north, where it is a resident species.


Brief views of a pair at Mae Ping NP were our only ones.

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

WHITE-BROWED SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius aeralatus)

A common voice in upland forest canopies, but can be tough to see. We did manage an excellent look at a calling male from the overlook at the Khao Yai military checkpoint, then saw a couple more (and heard plenty) at Doi Inthanon and Doi Ang Khang.

BLACK-EARED SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius melanotis)

Our only one was with a mixed flock at the top of Doi Lang's east slope, but it was not as friendly as we'd have liked, with a few folks getting reasonably good looks, and others missing it altogether.

CLICKING SHRIKE-BABBLER (Pteruthius intermedius)

We did far better with this delightful little bird, with several sightings on Doi Inthanon, (though seen only poorly by some), followed by smashing looks at a handsome male that came low to investigate our Collared Owlet imitations at the Ang Khang Agricultural Station.

WHITE-BELLIED ERPORNIS (Erpornis zantholeuca)

Better than average looks at these hyperactive little birds on several days at Kaeng Krachan, Khao Yai, and Doi Inthanon, though it was hard to beat our first looks at a trio of them that were part of a mob stirred up by our owlet calls at the KKNP campground.

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)

BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE (Oriolus chinensis) [b]

A common and widespread wintering species, and we encountered them most days in the south, with just a couple of sightings in the north (at Mae Ping NP and Inthanon Nest).

BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE (Oriolus xanthornus)

Great looks at several of these handsome orioles from the tower at Inthanon Nest.

MAROON ORIOLE (Oriolus traillii)

Recorded fairly regularly in the northern mountains, but strangely absent from some sites I usually see them. Still, we had some good looks, including a noisy trio of males working hard to court a nearby female on the west slope of Doi Lang.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Mrs. Hume's Pheasant made us work for our view, but our patience paid off when a handful of hens emerged, and finally a striking cock joined them. Photo by participant Myles McNally.
Artamidae (Woodswallows, Bellmagpies, and Allies)

ASHY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus fuscus)

Small numbers scattered pretty much throughout the tour, but the highlight was a densely-packed group of roosting birds in a roadside tree at Khao Yai. They were sitting too crowded to make an accurate count possible, but we estimated about 40 of them. This seems to be a regular behavior of woodswallows, as I've seen other species doing the same thing.

Vangidae (Vangas, Helmetshrikes, and Allies)

LARGE WOODSHRIKE (Tephrodornis virgatus)

Seen on only one day, with 5 birds together (and showing well) around the Kaeng Krachan NP headquarters.


Seen regularly with mixed flocks in the two southern parks, with a couple of sightings in the north as well (Inthanon and Ang Khang).

Aegithinidae (Ioras)

COMMON IORA (Aegithina tiphia)

Seen in small numbers at a number of sites, with especially good looks at a couple from the tower at Inthanon Nest.

GREAT IORA (Aegithina lafresnayei)

A few sightings of this iora in Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, at least once together with Common Iora, which is is easily told from by this bird's larger size and lack of wing-bars.

Rhipiduridae (Fantails)

MALAYSIAN PIED-FANTAIL (Rhipidura javanica)

All of our sightings were in the south, where they were especially easy to see at our hotel in Bangkok, with one pair regularly foraging right in front of the large plate glass windows of the lobby.

WHITE-THROATED FANTAIL (Rhipidura albicollis)

This is never as common a species as I expect it to be here, and typically, we had just a couple of sightings, with one foraging around a deadfall on the west slope of Doi Lang (missed by some folks), then a more cooperative one in a mixed flock by the military post at the top of the east slope.

Dicruridae (Drongos)

BLACK DRONGO (Dicrurus macrocercus)

A common, often-seen species of open habitats throughout.

ASHY DRONGO (SOOTY) (Dicrurus leucophaeus bondi)

Though we saw a handful of this form in the south (where they were likely winter visitors) this was a fairly common bird in the northern mountains.

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

We saw two different, recognizable forms of this distinctive group, with this subspecies being seen regularly in the south, including in and around Bangkok. We also had one definite "White-lored" type of the subspecies salangensis at Rot Fai Park.

BRONZED DRONGO (Dicrurus aeneus)

These small, glossy drongos were seen pretty commonly throughout the trip.


Our lone sighting was of a bird flying overhead on the long bridge on the east side of Doi Lang.

HAIR-CRESTED DRONGO (Dicrurus hottentottus)

Our most numerous drongo, mainly thanks to a large flock of 50+ along the road below the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan. Seen regularly throughout, and easily told from other species by the distinctive curled-up tail tips.


Seen in small numbers at scattered sites throughout the trip, with some exceptional looks at birds both perched and in flight. Always an impressive sight.

Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)

BLACK-NAPED MONARCH (Hypothymis azurea)

Many mixed flocks along the way seemed to have one or two of these birds.

Laniidae (Shrikes)

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

This version of Brown Shrike accounted for the vat majority of our sightings. A common wintering bird in the country, and encountered often in suitable open habitats.

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

Though also a common wintering bird across Thailand, we saw just one of this much grayer subspecies, that in the rice paddies at Ban Thi.

BURMESE SHRIKE (Lanius collurioides)

Nice views of our first in the camping area at Mae Ping NP, with a couple more at the army camp at Ban Nor Lae also showing well.

LONG-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanius schach)

Small numbers in the northern mountains and the Chiang Saen area, where the subspecies tricolor is resident.

GRAY-BACKED SHRIKE (Lanius tephronotus) [b]

Oddly scarce this yer, and missing from some usual haunts. We saw just one bird, an immature, perched on roadside posts at our coffee break spot on Doi Pha Tang.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our only time spent with Indian Elephant (Elephas maximus) was at Khao Yai National Park. We saw five different individuals, including this close encounter as a bull sauntered along a nearby road. Photo by group member Myles McNally.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

RED-BILLED BLUE-MAGPIE (Urocissa erythroryncha)

A spectacular-looking bird, and we were able to enjoy some fine looks on a couple of occasions, first with 5 or 6 in roadside trees at the Mae Taeng Irrigation Project, then a large group of 10 or so on the lower slopes of Doi Inthanon.

COMMON GREEN-MAGPIE (Cissa chinensis)

Though a typically noisy Corvid, this species is really shy and elusive, and I believe only a few folks got a decent view. We first had a couple of birds in the tall forest at the stream crossings in Kaeng Krachan, though only a few folks got on them. Another just below the checkpoint at Khao Yai was even more slippery, and maybe just a heard only for most. We finished up with a couple of very noisy birds along one of the roads on Doi Inthanon, but they also played hard to get.

RUFOUS TREEPIE (Dendrocitta vagabunda)

Not very many, but we had some good looks at a lone bird at KKCC, several at Mae Ping NP, and a pair by the rice paddies near Inthanon Nest.

GRAY TREEPIE (Dendrocitta formosae)

Heard a few times in the northern mountains, with our only sighting being of a pair that flew over on Doi Lang.

RACKET-TAILED TREEPIE (Crypsirina temia)

A few scattered individuals, starting with one in scrub on the Laem Phak Bia sand spit, and a pair near the Kaeng Krachan NP headquarters. But Paula found us our most cooperative one at the bunting site near Tha Ton.

RATCHET-TAILED TREEPIE (Temnurus temnurus)

A very local species in Thailand, and only discovered in Kaeng Krachan NP in 1991, the population here being very disjunct from the main populations in Vietnam and Hainan Island. We had a pretty miserable experience with this one, as we didn't even hear one in usual spots around the upper camp. On our way back down in the afternoon, we stopped when we heard a flock of White-crested Laughingthrushes, a bird they sometimes travel with, but there seemed to be no treepies, so we loaded back up in the trucks, and were about to move on, when a bird called, then darted across the road behind us, and that was that. Completely unsatisfying, but that's how it goes sometimes.

LARGE-BILLED CROW (Corvus macrorhynchos)

Commonly seen throughout, with the largest numbers at Rot Fai Park, where there seems to be a roost, and at Inthanon Nest, where some 70+ birds flew past during our time in the tower.

Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)

YELLOW-BELLIED FAIRY-FANTAIL (Chelidorhynx hypoxanthus)

A delightful little bird of highland forest in the northern mountains. We saw at least three during our productive walk along the summit bog boardwalk on Doi Inthanon, another at another, significantly lower site on the mountain, and one bird on the east slope of Doi Lang, a nice showing for a bird we don't always see.

GRAY-HEADED CANARY-FLYCATCHER (Culicicapa ceylonensis)

Quite common in forested habitats throughout, and we saw them regularly, beginning with a very cooperative and photogenic one along a trail near Kaeng Krachan's upper camp.

Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)

YELLOW-BROWED TIT (Sylviparus modestus)

A very local species, restricted to high elevation forests on a few mountains in the northwest. We had excellent looks at our only one near the camp at the top of the east side of Doi Lang. The namesake yellow brow seems to require a healthy dose of imagination to make out.

SULTAN TIT (Melanochlora sultanea)

A party of 4 birds feeding directly over our picnic lunch spot at the lower campsite in Kaeng Krachan NP was our only sighting of this large, flamboyant tit.

JAPANESE TIT (JAPANESE) (Parus minor nubicolus)

Small numbers in the high mountains of the north, with one very cooperative bird just below the viewpoint at the Doi Pha Tang palace taking the prize for most photogenic.

YELLOW-CHEEKED TIT (Machlolophus spilonotus)

The most commonly encountered tit in the mountains of the north, this beautiful species showed well several times, with the birds feeding low and even dropping right onto the track in front of us on one or two occasions.

Alaudidae (Larks)

INDOCHINESE BUSHLARK (Mirafra erythrocephala)

I think a few folks missed the one I'd scoped across the pond at the KKCC, so finding another singing right over where we'd parked on our way out of Khao Yai was a good save, as these were our only ones.

ORIENTAL SKYLARK (Alauda gulgula)

We only saw these at the Ban Thi rice paddies, but there were several birds there, singing lustily while performing their aerial display flights, and happily, also landing nearby for some super looks.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)

COMMON TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus sutorius)

We had the two tailorbirds in pretty similar numbers, though this species was a bit more widespread.

DARK-NECKED TAILORBIRD (Orthotomus atrogularis)

Similar to the above, though the dark neck patch of the males and the yellower vent of this species are good marks to help separate them. Overall this species is a bit more tied to forest than Common, and we saw these mainly in Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai.

BROWN PRINIA (Prinia polychroa)

This may have been my best look at this rather nondescript bird, which we found in the open deciduous forest along the entrance road at Sakaerat.

HILL PRINIA (Prinia superciliaris)

Regular in scrubby areas of the northern mountains. They were a bit elusive this trip, but I think everyone had some kind of look at one.

RUFESCENT PRINIA (Prinia rufescens)

A couple of good encounters with these sociable prinias, with a group of 6-8 at Mae Ping NP, then an even better trio on Doi Lang that showed quite well.

GRAY-BREASTED PRINIA (Prinia hodgsonii)

Our only sighting was of a very active pair in grassland at the KKCC. They just wouldn't sit still for more than a second, so looks were brief, at best.

YELLOW-BELLIED PRINIA (Prinia flaviventris)

Quite common in marshy habitat throughout. We had excellent looks at these pretty birds on our first afternoon at Wat Suan Yai, so we didn't really try to see them after, and most of our subsequent records were vocalizations only.

PLAIN PRINIA (Prinia inornata) [N]

A common bird of open, grassy habitats, and we had several good looks, including a bird that was carrying food, presumably to some nestlings, at the KKCC.

ZITTING CISTICOLA (Cisticola juncidis)

An extremely wide-ranging bird, occurring from southern Europe through to Australia, as well as most of Africa. The one in Thailand is subspecies malaya, part of the Double Zitting group. We had a couple of birds at the Ban Thi paddies, and a better behaved one at the Cho Lae paddies (where we got to see rice being planted).


Our only one was in the open grasslands of Khao Yai NP, near the tree with the big group of roosting woodswallows.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This Silver-eared Mesia showed off its splendor at the Ang Khang Agricultural Project during our coffee break. It was especially delightful when the pair flew to a cherry tree bursting with blossoms. Photo by group member Myles McNally.
Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)

THICK-BILLED WARBLER (Arundinax aedon) [b]

We had a few heard only birds and so-so sightings before we finally nailed one down in the rice paddies near Inthanon Nest, where a bird sat for long moments in some scrubby bushes. Long enough for scope views and a some digiscope photos!

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

Great looks at several in the large reed-beds along the lake at Nong Luang.

ORIENTAL REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus orientalis) [b]

This large warbler was noted a few times, with good looks at our first along the aquaculture ponds at Phraek Nam Daeng, and others at the Doi Lo paddies and Nong Luang.

Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)

PALLAS'S GRASSHOPPER WARBLER (Helopsaltes certhiola) [b]

We could hear at least two birds calling from dense cover at the harrier site near Chiang Saen, but they stayed well hidden.

LANCEOLATED WARBLER (Locustella lanceolata) [b]

Most of us got this little skulker nicely at Kaeng Krachan Country Club, though some Chestnut-capped Babblers that were moving around in the same reeds proved to be a bit distracting and caused some folks to miss it. Luckily, another bird in the scrub alongside a paddy near Inthanon Nest allowed those that missed the first ones to catch up.

BAIKAL BUSH WARBLER (Locustella davidi) [b]

The distinctive calls were heard several times in the north, including in dense scrub along the Mekong River, but they stayed pretty well hidden. Two or three folks did get an okay view at Nam Kham after Woody somehow picked one out in the thick reeds along the trail.

STRIATED GRASSBIRD (Megalurus palustris)

A couple of these huge warblers flew across the small river near Tha Ton, with one perching in the open after the crossing.

Pnoepygidae (Cupwings)

PYGMY CUPWING (Pnoepyga pusilla)

Smashing views of one of these tiny, tailless birds along the boardwalk at the Doi Inthanon summit bog!

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

GRAY-THROATED MARTIN (Riparia chinensis)

About 10 of these small swallows were foraging over the Mekong River, and we had some of my best looks at them, with some decent scope views of a couple of birds that were sat out on a dead branch.

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) [b]

By far the most numerous swallow, seen regularly throughout the tour. All of the ones we saw belonged to one of the Buff-bellied types, either subspecies gutturalis (which breeds in a small along the northern border of Thailand) or mandschurica.

WIRE-TAILED SWALLOW (Hirundo smithii)

We never see many of this attractive swallow, but it was nice to get such great views, particularly of the perched birds at Mae Taeng Irrigation Project. Others were seen from the tower at Inthanon Nest, as well as the Doi Lo and Cho Lae rice paddies.

ASIAN HOUSE-MARTIN (Delichon dasypus) [b]

Mainly in the north, with especially nice views of several flying around with Cook's Swifts over the viewpoint at the Doi Pha Tang Palace.

RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica) [b]

Recorded on several days in the south, with good numbers on our first afternoon at Wat Suan Yai. Very similar to the next species, but with finer streaking below, and ironically, a paler (less reddish) rump.

STRIATED SWALLOW (Cecropis striolata)

Fairly common in the north, especially at the various rice paddies visited in the Chiang Mai region.

Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)

OCHRACEOUS BULBUL (Alophoixus ochraceus)

A few of these noisy, crested bulbuls were seen at Kaeng Krachan, the place they occur on this tour route.

PUFF-THROATED BULBUL (Alophoixus pallidus)

Very similar to the above species, though they don't overlap. This one was seen a bunch of times at Khao Yai, after which we had just one heard only bird at Wat Tham Pha Plong.

STRIATED BULBUL (Alcurus striatus)

we had very few of these strikingly-marked bulbuls, with a couple of birds seen briefly on Doi Inthanon, then great looks at a pair perched up in the open on Doi Ang Khang.

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

The Iole bulbuls are about as drab and similar as they come, so it's little wonder that the ones at Kaeng Krachan have bounced around a bit, taxonomically. Time will tell if they remain here, but they are currently being called (Baker's) Olive Bulbul. We saw a few at the park.

GRAY-EYED BULBUL (Iole propinqua)

Quite similar to the above, but replaces that species in Khao Yai and the north. We saw many at Khao Yai and a few on the lower slopes of the mountains in the north, and heard their querulous calls ("Mary") often.

ASHY BULBUL (Hemixos flavala)

Seen mainly at upper elevations in the two southern parks, with especially nice views of this handsome species at the Silver Pheasant spot in Khao Yai. Once we flew north, our only record was a pair of birds on Doi Inthanon.

MOUNTAIN BULBUL (Ixos mcclellandii)

As the name suggests, this is a species of upper elevations. Though we saw our first ones around the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan, they were much more prevalent in the north.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Myles McNally got this great image of one of the many Black-winged Stilts we saw along the coast.

BLACK BULBUL (Hypsipetes leucocephalus)

Small numbers in the mountains of the north, all of them being of one of the all black subspecies (probably resident concolor) and sadly none of the white-headed subspecies, which I have yet to see (nor any White-headed Bulbuls, which can sometimes be found with them).

BLACK-HEADED BULBUL (Microtarsus melanocephalos)

Widespread, but never seems numerous. We saw most of ours at Kaeng Krachan, with singles from the tower at Inthanon Nest, Ang Khang Agricultural Project, and Nong Bong Khai.

BLACK-CRESTED BULBUL (Rubigula flaviventris)

One of the most obvious and abundant of bulbuls in forested areas throughout, "BCBs" became a familiar sight within a couple of days. Though we saw several subspecies, the only noticeably different birds were the bright red-throated birds of the race johnsoni, which were common at Khao Yai.

CRESTED FINCHBILL (Spizixos canifrons)

We never see many of this attractive species, but at least we had super looks at our only pair, in a fruiting tree at the military roadblock at the top of Doi Lang.

STREAK-EARED BULBUL (Pycnonotus conradi) [N]

A ubiquitous species in scrubby habitat throughout the country. Most saw them first on the Bangkok hotel grounds, and the sightings continued through the trip, including a pair attending a nest in the vine-covered parking shelter at our lunch restaurant overlooking the Kaeng Krachan reservoir.

STRIPE-THROATED BULBUL (Pycnonotus finlaysoni)

This is the one that looks like it has a yellow flower squashed onto its face. We only saw a few, at Kaeng Krachan and Mae Ping national parks, and the Nam Kham Nature Reserve.

FLAVESCENT BULBUL (Pycnonotus flavescens)

A common and easy to see species of montane forests. We saw them regularly in the northern mountains.

BROWN-BREASTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus xanthorrhous)

We rarely see this one anywhere but on Doi Ang Khang, and that was again the case this trip, as our only ones, about half a dozen, were showing well in a flowering tree near the Chinese Cemetery.

RED-WHISKERED BULBUL (Pycnonotus jocosus)

Ebird suppresses exact locations of this species due to the high demand for it in the cage bird trade, and populations in southern Thailand have been heavily impacted. Though we have had the odd sighting in the south before, we had more than usual, with a couple of birds around Bangkok and several in Khao Yai. Hopefully this is a sign that their bouncing back here. As usual, these were much more numerous and conspicuous in the north.

YELLOW-VENTED BULBUL (Pycnonotus goiavier)

Most of the ones we saw were in the Bangkok environs and along the coast to the south of the city, though we also had a couple along the small river at Tha Ton, in the north.

SOOTY-HEADED BULBUL (Pycnonotus aurigaster)

Two recognizable forms occur in Thailand, each of which is comprised of several subspecies. I have rarely seen the yellow-vented, southern form (subspecies thais), but this trip we had one at KKCC, and 5 or 6 at Sakaerat. The northern form, with the bright red vent is much more numerous, and we saw them almost daily in the north.

Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)

ASHY-THROATED WARBLER (Phylloscopus maculipennis)

One of only a small handful of breeding Phylloscopus in the country, this distinctive leaf- warbler is pretty much restricted to the summit of Doi Inthanon. This trip, it was unusually the most numerous of the Phylloscopus (usually it's Blyth's) atop the mountain, and they were exceptionally easy to see.

BUFF-BARRED WARBLER (Phylloscopus pulcher) [b]

We also only saw this one (3 of them) at the summit of Inthanon, but we had super looks, with one sticking pretty close to an Ashy-throated for a nice comparison, just like last year.

YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER (Phylloscopus inornatus) [b]

Easily the most common of the wintering Phylloscopus, virtually everywhere though rarer at high elevations, and we did miss it on that one day down along the coast.

HUME'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus humei) [b]

Very similar to the above, and formerly considered conspecific. The oft-repeated calls are quite distinct, and learning the calls is key to separating all these look-alike species. We saw and heard plenty of these in the mountains of the north, particularly in areas with lots of pines.

CHINESE LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus yunnanensis) [b]

A leaf-warbler giving an unfamiliar call note attracted my attention along the roadside at Doi Lang. As soon as I drew attention to it, it flew up and we lost it, but not before we noted that it was a "Pallas's type" with an obvious pale yellow rump. Pallas's sounds entirely different, and the call note we heard matched this species, though I admit it would have been nice to get a better look, as I've only rarely seen this species.

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

This kinglet-like warbler varies quite a bit in numbers from year to year. This year there were several on the west slope of Doi Lang, and we had some excellent looks, as well as hearing their very distinctive calls.

RADDE'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus schwarzi) [b]

This and the next 2 species (along with Buff-throated Warbler, which Uthai and I heard and saw at Doi Lang) are similar-looking, plain-winged birds. This one tends to favor scrubby, grassy clearings inside or at the edge of, forest, where it is a skulky, usually elusive bird. We had them only in Khao Yai, where a pair at the checkpoint at the top of the road were unusually easy to see.

YELLOW-STREAKED WARBLER (Phylloscopus armandii) [b]

Just one bird was seen, on the west slope of Doi Lang. The yellow streaking is so subtle as to be almost imaginary, and the best way to separate this from other similar warblers is, you guessed it, by call notes.

DUSKY WARBLER (Phylloscopus fuscatus) [b]

Arguably the most common of the plain-winged species, this bird is most common at lower elevations, and usually near water. We had several scattered sightings, with a couple of exceptional views of birds at Pha Chang Park (the Annam Limestone-Babbler site) and our final morning at Nam Kham.

GRAY-CROWNED WARBLER (Phylloscopus tephrocephalus) [b]

This and the following two species (plus Bianchi's, heard on the east slope of Doi Lang by Uthai and me) are very similar, bright yellow-bellied warblers with dark crown stripes. Again, calls are one of the best ways to sort them out, but small differences in the eye ring are also helpful. Luckily, Mary managed to snap a picture of our only one (which wasn't calling) on Doi Lang, and the small break at the back of the eye ring clinched the ID as this species.

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This view of a majestic Great Hornbill over the road at Kaeng Krachan was unforgettable. Photo by group member Myles McNally.

MARTENS'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus omeiensis) [b]

The most regularly encountered of this group, and Quite easily told by call, as the call note is very similar to that of Wilson's Warbler. We saw our first at the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan, and heard these at Khao Yai, but they seemed to be most numerous in the mountains of the north, and I think our best looks were of a couple of birds on Doi Lang.

ALSTROEM'S WARBLER (Phylloscopus soror) [b]

Uthai called this one the "shit bird" due to its call. I only recall seeing one of these, at the military checkpoint at the top of the road at Khao Yai.

GREENISH WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochiloides) [b]

Very similar to the next species, which is more widespread and mainly at lower elevations. We had great looks at our only ones in the bamboo garden at the Ang Khang Agricultural Project. This was the final one of our amazing 20 species (22 including the 2 leader-only ones) of Phylloscopus!

TWO-BARRED WARBLER (Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus) [b]

The call notes of this one are very House Sparrow-like and we heard them quite often in lower elevation areas. Being certain we saw one of these was a bit more of a challenge, as there were also some similar congeners around, mostly Yellow-browed. But, we finally got everyone great looks at one calling, below our perch on the Inthanon Nest tower.

PALE-LEGGED LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus tenellipes) [b]

A secretive warbler that keeps low to the ground inside forest. The only one that was seen by a couple of folks was a bird at the Kaeng Krachan park headquarters, though we also heard several at Sakaerat and Khao Yai.

CHESTNUT-CROWNED WARBLER (Phylloscopus castaniceps)

This species is so distinct and easy to identify that it doesn't seem possible that it's a Phylloscopus! We saw these pretty well a couple of times on Doi inthanon, then has amazing close looks at a calling pair high on the east slope of Doi Lang.

SULPHUR-BREASTED WARBLER (Phylloscopus ricketti) [b]

Quite similar to many of the other species, other than being bright yellow below. We had a couple of very nice looks at this one in Khao Yai NP.

BLYTH'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus reguloides assamensis)

A resident breeding warbler at high elevations in the north. Usually the most numerous species at the summit of Doi Inthanon, and while we did hear them there (remember their Common Yellowthroat-like song?) we struggled a bit to get a good view of one. We did though, then also saw and heard this species on the east slope of Doi Lang, alongside the very similar looking and sounding Davison's Leaf-Warbler.

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

All our sightings this trip were at Khao Yai, where we had it with mixed flocks a few times. Very whitish below, and most similar to Blyth's, which fortunately doesn't occur at Khao Yai.

DAVISON'S LEAF WARBLER (Phylloscopus intensior)

Arguably the most common middle elevation Phylloscopus in the northern mountains, with a call reminiscent of a Lesser Greenlet. This is another breeding species here, and they were singing heartily in the mountains, making them easy to pick out.

Scotocercidae (Bush Warblers and Allies)


It seemed like every stop we made on Doi Inthanon had at least one or two of these birds singing heartily, but as territorial as they were, they were still devilishly hard to see well. The best ones were right next to the stairs leading down to the summit bog boardwalk, but even though the understory was relatively sparse, and the birds stuck pretty close, they had an uncanny knack of nearly always keeping some vegetation between themselves and us. I think we all prevailed in the end, but they sure made us work!

CHESTNUT-HEADED TESIA (Cettia castaneocoronata)

We've tried for this species at the same spot on Doi Ang Khang on each one of my tours here, and though we generally always hear it, this was the first time I actually was able to lay eyes on one. Unfortunately, only one or two others can claim the same.

YELLOW-BELLIED WARBLER (Abroscopus superciliaris)

This lovely, little warbler shows a strong preference for bamboo, and bamboo patches are where we found a couple of small groups of 3-5 birds along the road to Kaeng Krachan's upper camp.

MOUNTAIN TAILORBIRD (Phyllergates cucullatus)

Despite the name and the appearance, this bird is not really a tailorbird. We heard their beautiful song several times in the northern mountains, and had super looks at one along the busy main road on Doi Inthanon.

ABERRANT BUSH WARBLER (Horornis flavolivaceus) [b]

A skulking warbler of dense, scrubby vegetation, and usually tough to see. Our first on the west slope of Doi Lang called, but stayed hidden. Another near the campground on the east slope was a little more forthcoming, though I wouldn't describe our views as stellar.

Aegithalidae (Long-tailed Tits)

BLACK-THROATED TIT (Aegithalos concinnus)

We had two small parties of these delightful little birds, a total of 7 or 8 of them, both on the west slope of Doi Lang, and the looks we had could not have been better!

Paradoxornithidae (Parrotbills)

SPOT-BREASTED PARROTBILL (Paradoxornis guttaticollis)

After missing this once easy species altogether on my previous trip, it was good to find another one of these rather large parrotbills on the west slope of Doi Lang, albeit in a completely different location than the friendly one of years past. The one we found wasn't quite as friendly, though, and after initially popping up for a nice look, it dropped back into dense vegetation and refused to reemerge.

Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)

STRIATED YUHINA (Staphida castaniceps)

Generally quite a sociable bird, and it was a bit unusual to see just a pair together on our way up to the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan, perhaps a sign that they had paired off and were ready to nest. A more typical sighting was the flock of about a dozen at the big bridge on the way up the east slope of Doi Lang.

WHISKERED YUHINA (Yuhina flavicollis)

Quite local in Thailand, with high up on the east slope of Doi Lang being one of the more reliable sites for them. And that's just where we found a quartet of them feeding near the road, at about the same time as the Necklaced Woodpecker.

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

By far the most numerous white-eye, as well as being the easiest to identify, though the chestnut can be pretty tough to see on some birds. We had scattered sightings of these, with 2 good-sized flocks of about 30 each at Khao Yai and near the Chinese Cemetery on Doi Ang Khang.

INDIAN WHITE-EYE (Zosterops palpebrosus)

The yellow vertical line on the belly of this species is meant to distinguish it from the very similar Swinhoe's White-eye, and we thought the birds we found at the Ang Khang Agricultural Project were that species, initially. But I recalled how difficult that feature could be to see in the field, so we stuck with them for a bit, and eventually were able to make out the yellow line, but it wasn't real obvious.

HUME'S WHITE-EYE (Zosterops auriventer)

Seen only near the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan, where it is generally the most likely white-eye. The rather dark gray underparts with the yellow ventral stripe are good features to look for.

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Our local guide in Thailand, Uthai Treesucon, plying his craft. Some people head into the field to find birds. With Uthai, he heads out, and the birds find him! Photo by group member Lois Wood.
Timaliidae (Tree-Babblers, Scimitar-Babblers, and Allies)


A species of tall, dense grasslands, this one is secretive and can be tough to see well. But, it is also pretty common and widespread, so you're going to get your chances on a three-week tour! We did have chances at both the KKCC and Nam Kham, and between the two places, everyone got eyes on at least one.

PIN-STRIPED TIT-BABBLER (Mixornis gularis)

Pretty much in any low to middle elevation forest on the tour route, and we recorded plenty, often only by vocalizations, but we saw quite a few with mixed flocks of other small birds, mainly at Kaeng Krachan NP.

GOLDEN BABBLER (Cyanoderma chrysaeum)

This beautiful, small babbler first made an appearance along the road up to the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan, followed by a few sightings in the mountains up north, along with a bunch of heard-only records.

RUFOUS-FRONTED BABBLER (Cyanoderma rufifrons)

I sometimes have difficulty telling the song of this one apart from that of Golden Babbler, but it seems sometimes they do, too, as I've had them responding to song of Golden Babbler more than once. We first ran into this one in the same area as out first Golden Babbler near the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan, then also had sightings on Doi Ang Khang and the east slope of Doi Lang.


Though it seemed at first that these birds weren’t going to oblige us, eventually a pair came in to one of the baiting spots on the east slope of Doi Lang, giving us amazing looks at this attractive babbler. This species is a recent split from Coral-billed Scimitar-Babbler.

WHITE-BROWED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Pomatorhinus schisticeps)

The most common and widespread of the scimitar-babblers, though that doesn't mean they're easy to see. We did have some pretty good luck with them at Kaeng Krachan, however, with nice looks for most at a trio feeding near the road just below the upper camp.

LARGE SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Erythrogenys hypoleucos)

Having completely missed these at usual haunts around Kaeng Krachan and at Sakaerat, we hit up a spot in Khao Yai that Uthai knew, and fared somewhat better, as a bird came in and showed briefly, then vanished back into the dense vegetation never to reemerge. Our only other record was a heard only bird at Mae Ping NP.

RUSTY-CHEEKED SCIMITAR-BABBLER (Erythrogenys erythrogenys)

Fewer than usual, as we only saw the 2 birds that came out to feed on the road as we waited for the Mrs. Hume's Pheasants to appear, but at least the looks were great.

GRAY-THROATED BABBLER (Stachyris nigriceps)

Always pretty tough, though I think a few folks got a look at one along the main road on Doi Inthanon.

Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers and Allies)

SCALY-CROWNED BABBLER (Malacopteron cinereum indochinense)

One of the biggest surprises of the tour was finding a group of at least a half a dozen inside the forest at Khao Yai NP, where there are very few records, and all of them at somewhat lower elevations. The Ebird reviewer had to follow up on this record, as he’d spent 10 years doing bird research in the park without ever encountering this species! The subspecies we saw was indochinense, which just sneaks into southeastern Thailand from Indochina.

COLLARED BABBLER (Gampsorhynchus torquatus)

A pair of these white-headed babblers turned up in a bamboo patch on or way down from Kaeng Krachan's upper camp, but depending on where you were standing, the views ranged from great to absolutely nothing. Happily we found another trio on the east slope of Doi lang, and they were much better behaved, giving everyone an eyeful!

RUFOUS-WINGED FULVETTA (Schoeniparus castaneceps)

These creeper-like birds first turned up on Doi Inthanon, where we had a nice close encounter with a group of 8+ birds. We had others with a big mixed flock on Doi Ang Khang and on Doi Lang's east slope.

PUFF-THROATED BABBLER (Pellorneum ruficeps)

The free-style jazz singer. We heard this bird at a bunch of spots all through the tour, and got great looks at a pair along the road at Kaeng Krachan.

SPOT-THROATED BABBLER (Pellorneum albiventre) [*]

This one is almost always more work than it's worth, as it rarely shows itself, and isn't all that memorable when it does. We heard a couple Doi Lang and Doi Ang Khang.

ABBOTT'S BABBLER (Malacocincla abbotti)

I'm not sure why, but this species seems a lot bolder at Khao Yai than at Kaeng Krachan, where I still have yet to see it. But we had an incredibly extroverted bird at Khao Yai, that sat out in the open singing for a good stretch of time.

STREAKED WREN-BABBLER (Gypsophila brevicaudata) [N]

This one couldn't have been easier at the Ang Khang Agricultural Project, as shortly after we arrived, we found a pair collecting nesting material right at the entrance to the cafe, and eventually inside as well, as one bird even hopped along the bar!

ANNAM LIMESTONE BABBLER (Gypsophila annamensis)

A relatively new species, as it was part of the three-way split of the former Limestone Wren-Babbler, and this is the first time we’ve gone to look for it on our Thailand tours. We were working our way along the one-way road that circles the huge limestone outcrop at Pha Chang Park when the vans came racing up, and Jiang excitedly told us he’d found some birds on the opposite side of the rock. We quickly hopped aboard and raced around to the other side, and were thrilled to find the birds, a family group of 5 or 6, were still there, working methodically along the jumble of rocks. Excellent, long looks and plenty of photo ops ensued.

RUFOUS LIMESTONE BABBLER (Gypsophila calcicola) [E]

We initially tried a new site for this species that even Uthai had not visited before, but, though the habitat looked great, and we did hear (and some folks glimpsed) a couple of birds, we just couldn't nail it down for everyone. So, back to our usual spot, where shortly after we began our search, Jiang called us back to where we'd parked, in time for everyone to get a great look at one on the rocky outcrop above. This is one of just a couple of birds that are endemic to THailand.

Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)

BROWN-CHEEKED FULVETTA (Alcippe poioicephala)

A pretty drab bird, with a pretty, peppershrike-like song. We heard them, and had a couple of sightings, at Kaeng Krachan NP.

YUNNAN FULVETTA (Alcippe fratercula)

Small, noisy parties of these were a pretty regular sight in the mountains up north.

HIMALAYAN CUTIA (Cutia nipalensis)

We heard a bird singing persistently from the hillside above the road at Doi Lang, so persistently that we wondered if it was another birder playing a recording. But we headed up to see if we could track it down, and eventually managed to spot it in the canopy, where it continued to sit and sing, long enough for me to get it in the scope, then walk back down to the road and get the rest of the group that had hung back to come and look. Amazingly, everyone made it up to see it, and it was still there when we'd had our fill and returned to the road! This was Elena's pick as bird of the trip.

SILVER-EARED LAUGHINGTHRUSH (Trochalopteron melanostigma)

Several seen nicely at the Inthanon summit bog. Elsewhere pretty much heard only.

BLACK-BACKED SIBIA (Heterophasia melanoleuca)

A common bird of upland forests of the north, heard and seen regularly throughout the mountains there. The alternate name, Dark-backed Sibia, is much more suitable, given that this species' back is actually brown, not black.

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Brown-crowned Scimitar-Babbler was one of the prized birds at Doi Lang, a species we don't often get on tour. Photo by group member Mary Trombley.

BLUE-WINGED MINLA (Actinodura cyanouroptera)

Few this year, with less than stellar views of about half a dozen birds at a couple of sites on Doi Ang Khang.

CHESTNUT-TAILED MINLA (Actinodura strigula)

Only at very high elevations in the northwest, and we saw them only at the summit of Inthanon, where they were fairly common and easy to see.

SPECTACLED BARWING (Actinodura ramsayi)

This may be one of my favorite brown birds. They are super attractive, and have a great song as well. We had a pair along the busy road on Inthanon, then great looks at another pair feeding at a baited area on the east slope of Doi Lang.

SILVER-EARED MESIA (Leiothrix argentauris)

We had more sightings than usual of this stunning bird, culminating in the pair that joined us at our coffee break spot at the Ang Khang Agricultural Project. And when they flew in to a nearby cherry tree full of beautiful pink blossoms, just, wow! Hard to imagine a better look at these birds, or a better setting.

RUFOUS-BACKED SIBIA (Leioptila annectens)

Lois spotted out first along the busy main road on Doi Inthanon, but the foggy conditions made it difficult to see, and some folks missed it altogether. Our only other sighting was a pair high up on the east slope of Doi Lang, and those birds played a bit nicer, giving everyone the chance to catch up.


Quite a gaudy laughingthrush, though not always easy to see. We did well this trip, though, with sightings on each of the three major mountains visited in the north. Best were the pair coming in for bananas on the east slope of Doi lang.


Despite their similar appearance, the two necklaced laughingthrushes are not each other's closest relative. In fact, they're not even in the same genus! They do often hang out together, though, and our only sightings of both species were in a mixed group at the Kaeng Krachan NP headquarters. After playing a bit hard to get, we all managed decent looks at about a half a dozen of these.


Though quite common and widespread, these birds can be a real pain to see. We eventually got some reasonable looks at a small party of these at Mae Ping NP, after substandard views at Kaeng Krachan and a bunch of heard only birds at Khao Yai.


In the parlance of my now-retired colleague Richard Webster, this would be one of the "bad" laughingthrushes-- vocal, but extremely shy and skulking and difficult to see well. And, if I'm honest, I don't really enjoy looking for these that much, as it almost always ends in frustration. Which makes this trip's experience all the more unbelievable, as the group we found along one of the tracks on Doi Inthanon, while not exactly bold, weren't as shy as usual, either. They came in quickly, then hung around for ages, slipping in and out of cover, but pausing in the open often enough for some fantastic views, one bird even sitting in view, preening, for long enough to get it in the scope! This incredible encounter, coupled with it being his 6400th world bird, convinced Terry to pick it as his top bird of the tour. Congratulations, Terry!


A return visit to the top of the road at Khao Yai paid off with some nice looks at this handsome bird. The noisy Sunday crowds might have impacted our chances the previous day.


A quartet at the Kaeng Krachan NP headquarters gave us pretty good looks at what can be a tough species to see well.

Sittidae (Nuthatches)

GIANT NUTHATCH (Sitta magna)

An endangered species with a pretty restricted range, and quite choosy in regards to habitat, requiring stands of mature pines in montane regions. The pines along the ridge road on Doi Lang are evidently to their liking, as it is one of the best places to see them, and we had fine views of a pair, shortly after the pheasant show.


I don't recall any one sighting of this unique nuthatch that really stood out as exceptional, but we had enough sightings in the north that everyone certainly had a good look of at least one. Our first were in a small mixed flock with our only Burmese Nuthatches at Mae Ping NP.

BURMESE NUTHATCH (Sitta neglecta)

As mentioned, we saw just one at Mae Ping, but very nice looks.


The most commonly encountered nuthatch in the northern mountains.

Certhiidae (Treecreepers)

HUME'S TREECREEPER (Certhia manipurensis shanensis)

Thailand's only treecreeper, this species was seen a few times in the northern mountains. I'm always struck by how much longer-tailed this creeper is in comparison to our Brown Creeper.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

GOLDEN-CRESTED MYNA (Ampeliceps coronatus)

An uncommon species which we don't always see, so it was nice to catch up with these again. We had scope views of a pair at Kaeng Krachan, then 4 birds on the lower slopes of Khao Yai, which was my first record for that park.

COMMON HILL MYNA (Gracula religiosa)

Another species hit hard by the cage bird trade, and certainly not common, but we had quite a few sightings at Khao Yai this year, as well as a single bird at Mae Ping NP.

DAURIAN STARLING (Agropsar sturninus)

As we were standing around scanning for birds at rice paddies near Inthanon Nest, I trained my scope on a flock of Chestnut-tailed Starlings in a distant flowering tree, and noticed one bird with an apparently darker back and prominent white shoulder patch. The lighting was pretty terrible, and I wasn’t 100% sure about what I’d seen, so I snapped a quick photo while telling the group that I might have something interesting. A couple of folks made it to the scope to see it before the birds flew off, but the awful picture I took confirmed that I had indeed found one of these uncommon wintering starlings.

BLACK-COLLARED STARLING (Gracupica nigricollis)

Pairs and small groups were regularly seen in the north, but our biggest numbers were right in Bangkok, including 30+ birds at Rot Fai Park.

SIAMESE PIED STARLING (Gracupica floweri)

Our first pair was with the flock of Black-collared Starlings at Rot Fai Park, after which we saw small numbers at a number of locales in the north.


The flowering Bombax and Erythrina trees were to the liking of this pale starling, and we encountered several large flocks feeding among the bright red blossoms of these trees in the north.

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Domestic Bliss: Great Mynas and an Eastern Cattle Egret hanging out with domestic Water Buffalo. Photo by participant Stan Lilley.

COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis)

Pretty much everywhere in open country and urban settings.

VINOUS-BREASTED MYNA (Acridotheres leucocephalus)

Not a bird we see often, so I enjoyed catching up with a pair just outside of Khao Yai NP on our way to the airport. It was just a fly-by as the birds flew across the road during a brief birding stop, but the views weren't bad at all.

GREAT MYNA (Acridotheres grandis)

Like the Common Myna, these birds were everywhere in open habitats, though these seemed to be even more numerous.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

BLACK-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus dissimilis) [b]

We saw these robin-like thrushes only on Doi Ang Khang, where several were at the Agricultural Project, and a couple at the Chinese Cemetery.

GRAY-SIDED THRUSH (Turdus feae) [b]

Small numbers of this uncommon wintering species are often mixed in with larger numbers of the next species, and the two can be tricky to tell apart without a good look. We did have some great looks, though, with about half a dozen feeding over the boardwalk at the summit of Doi Inthanon (with a small number of Eyebrowed), and a single bird in the flowering tree at the Chinese Cemetery along with some Black-breasted Thrushes.

EYEBROWED THRUSH (Turdus obscurus) [b]

Generally the most numerous of the migrant thrushes, and while that held true this trip, there really weren't that many this year. We only saw them on Ang Khang and Inthanon this year, with a total of only about 20 years. Clearly not an exceptional thrush winter this year.

Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)

DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa sibirica) [b]

Just one was seen, as we came down from the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan. Reminiscent of a miniature Olive-sided Flycatcher, and similar to that species, typically hawks for insects from high, exposed perches, which is exactly what ours was doing.

ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa dauurica) [b]

Small numbers of this nondescript flycatcher were in the south, including the hotel grounds in Bangkok.

ORIENTAL MAGPIE-ROBIN (Copsychus saularis)

Many of our records were from the grounds of our various lodgings, where they were often one of the first voices at dawn.

WHITE-RUMPED SHAMA (Copsychus malabaricus)

I think we had more than our fair share of sightings of this accomplished mimic, but the most memorable had to be the one that seemed to be following the Sun Bear at Kaeng Krachan NP, perhaps feeding on some of the many bugs that seemed to be plaguing it.

LARGE NILTAVA (Niltava grandis)

I felt like we had to work a little harder than usual for this one, until that male turned up next to our lunch spot on the east slope of Doi Lang!

SMALL NILTAVA (Niltava macgrigoriae)

Like a smaller version of the above species. We only saw a couple, but we had exceptional views of a male along the forest track on Doi Ang Khang.

RUFOUS-BELLIED NILTAVA (Niltava sundara) [b]

Hard to believe the name "Vivid" belongs to a different species of niltava, as that is exactly the word to describe this stunner's colors. Our lone male joined us for lunch on Doi Lang, wowing us all.

VERDITER FLYCATCHER (Eumyias thalassinus)

Of the many blue flycatchers on this trip, this is generally the most conspicuous. We had a number of nice looks at these lovely birds in forested areas throughout.


This shy bird was a heck of a lot easier to see when they were being baited on Doi Lang, but I think the herds of cattle have trashed the area there too much, and they aren't hanging out in the usual areas anymore. We did manage to get a few folks on one along a forested roadway on Inthanon, but it was pretty elusive.


All the Cyornis flycatchers can be a little hesitant to emerge from the dense habitats they favor, but a little work can usually produce good looks. We had a few decent looks at this one, probably the best being our first pair at the Kaeng Krachan NP headquarters as they joined a mob reacting to our owlet imitations.

PALE BLUE FLYCATCHER (Cyornis unicolor)

More of a canopy species than the other Cyornis but still can be tough to get a good view of. We had brief looks at a couple of different males (which we also heard performing their pretty songs) along the road to Kaeng Krachan's upper camp, then some long scope looks at a female near the base of Doi Lang.

BLUE-THROATED FLYCATCHER (NOTCH-THROATED) (Cyornis rubeculoides dialilaemus)

The poor weather and dense fog kept forcing us to lower and lower elevations on Doi Inthanon, so we ended up doing some things I hadn't done on previous trips. Like look for this species along a road I'd never explored before. We managed to track down a lovely male in a big patch of bamboo along the road for some super views. This was actually the first one I'd seen in the country, though it wasn't a lifer.


Arguably the easiest of the Cyornis to see, and we had many good looks in the northern mountains, though our first ones were near the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan.


Ed saw a male from the tower at Inthanon Nest, but it zipped back into the dense bamboo before the rest of us could spot it. The rest of the group caught up with this species at Nam Kham. A couple of males were singing from the tall bamboo along the track, and while trying to spot him in the canopy, we noted a female foraging quite low and in the open. We did eventually manage to spot a male as well, but the female was certainly the more cooperative.

HIMALAYAN SHORTWING (Brachypteryx cruralis)

Usually pretty elusive, but a pair of these offered themselves up easily at the summit boardwalk on Doi Inthanon, though they did muddle the situation a bit by repeatedly popping into view while we tried to get views of the Pygmy Cupwing. Fortunately both species wound up giving great looks.

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Looking to Myanmar. Photo by group member Mary Trombley.

SIBERIAN BLUE ROBIN (Larvivora cyane) [b]

A calling bird along the main road at Kaeng Krachan was our only one. We didn't really pay it much attention as there was a lot going on, and I think the Orange-bellied Trogon picked that moment to put in an appearance.

WHITE-BELLIED REDSTART (Luscinia phaenicuroides) [b]

A super-skulker of dense secondary scrub in the northern mountains. We worked on one on Doi Lang and came away with acceptable looks, but this was a lot easier bird when it was coming in to the baiting areas.

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

All of the ones we saw were of one of the yellow-billed subspecies, most of which are resident breeders, and probably most, of not all of them, were this one. We saw a few birds, with an especially extroverted one sitting on the railing along the top of the stairs down to the summit boardwalk on Inthanon.

BLACK-BACKED FORKTAIL (Enicurus immaculatus)

All the forktails are very wary, and this one can be especially so, so it was nice to get decent looks for all at a pair along a small river near the base of Doi Inthanon.

SLATY-BACKED FORKTAIL (Enicurus schistaceus)

Usually a bit easier to see than other forktails, but we struggled this trip. We did find one pair on Doi Inthanon, but they flew downriver before everyone got a look, and we couldn't refind them.

SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT (Calliope calliope) [b]

There were a few calling along the small river near Tha Ton during our late afternoon visit, and we did manage to get some okay views of one male for some, but not everyone was satisfied with what they saw (or didn't see). But on our last morning at Nam Kham, we heard quite a few birds, and after a few unsatisfactory encounters, we finally got amazing long looks at a male from one of the hides. This male made its way to the top of Stan's list of favorite birds.

WHITE-TAILED ROBIN (Myiomela leucura)

Nearly all my sightings of this secretive species have been at the exact same spot at the Ang Khang Agricultural Project. This year, there was just a single male there, but he showed beautifully.

HIMALAYAN BLUETAIL (Tarsiger rufilatus)

This species and Red-flanked Bluetail were up until fairly recently treated as a single species. Both of them occur in winter in NW Thailand, and the females, in particular, can be very difficult to tell apart. Good thing one of the two we saw on Doi Lang's east slope was a male, easily told by its light blue, not white, eyebrow.

SLATY-BACKED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula erithacus) [b]

Few of these normally common wintering flycatcatchers were encountered this year, just a female on the west slope of Doi Lang, and three birds the next day on Ang Khang, but at least there was a nice male among them.

SLATY-BLUE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula tricolor) [b]

A subtly beautiful species, a couple of these skulking birds, one female, one male, gave us nice looks at a couple of different baiting areas on Doi Lang.

SNOWY-BROWED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula hyperythra) [b]

A male along the boardwalk at Inthanon's summit bog showed quite well for the first few folks at the front of the group, but then disappeared under the boardwalk for a bit, reappearing only briefly before vanishing for good.

RUFOUS-GORGETED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula strophiata) [b]

There were a few of these lovely little birds on the west slope of Doi Lang, with at least a couple of them offering up super views.

SAPPHIRE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula sapphira) [b]

A bird on Doi Inthanon eluded most of us, but a couple of days later we had another male on the west side of Doi Lang, and many managed decent views of it, despite the rather harsh light.

LITTLE PIED FLYCATCHER (Ficedula westermanni)

We encountered this cute little flycatcher a few times in the northern mountains, the best one being the male that Doug spotted with a mixed flock on the east slope of Doi Lang.

ULTRAMARINE FLYCATCHER (Ficedula superciliaris) [b]

Just one male at the pheasant spot on Doi Lang, but it showed well, even dropping to the road in front of us a couple of times.

TAIGA FLYCATCHER (Ficedula albicilla) [b]

The most widespread and commonly encountered of the Ficedula flycatchers, and we recorded these on more days than not. Often in quite open habitats, more-so than any others in this genus.

PLUMBEOUS REDSTART (Phoenicurus fuliginosus) [b]

Our only one was a female along a small stream on the slopes of Doi Lang. According to Uthai, males tend to winter along larger rivers than females. We did try to find a male at one of the big waterfalls, but it was not there during our visit.

WHITE-CAPPED REDSTART (Phoenicurus leucocephalus) [b]

Our only one was a showy bird at the same small stream as the above. Always a real crowd-pleaser!

DAURIAN REDSTART (Phoenicurus auroreus) [b]

An uncommon wintering bird here, and one we often miss. We had our only one, a female or young male, in the gardens at the Ang Khang Agricultural Project. The obvious white wing patch makes it easy to tell apart from other similarly little brown birds.

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

As usual, all the records we had of this species seemed to be of this form, in which the male is entirely blue, though subspecies phillippensis also winters throughout the country. We mainly had singles, except at Pha Chang Park, where we found several while we searched for the limestone-babblers.

AMUR STONECHAT (Saxicola stejnegeri) [b]

We didn't see our first until we got up the Chiang Mai region, but we found them to be common in the many rice paddy areas we visited.

PIED BUSHCHAT (Saxicola caprata)

Recorded in many of the same areas as the above species, but never as numerous.

GRAY BUSHCHAT (Saxicola ferreus)

Just a few birds on Doi Lang this year, mainly at the pheasant stakeout, where they were one of the more conspicuous species.

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The Doi Inthanon subspecies of the colorful and lovely Green-tailed Sunbird (Aethopyga nipalensis angkanensis) is restricted to Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand, found within a national park with the same name. Photo by group member Lois Wood.
Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)


A pretty drab flowerpecker, though I don't think we really got to soak in its drabness as our views of a couple along the entrance road to Kaeng Krachan weren't especially lengthy or memorable.


This elusive species ranges to higher elevations than any of the other flowerpeckers. Though we missed this one at the summit of Doi Inthanon (where it was seen both the day before and the day after our visit), we got some really good looks at a female in the gardens at the Ang Khang Agricultural Project.


Finding a male of this colorful flowerpecker was a highlight of the birding around the upper campground at Kaeng Krachan, as this was just the second time I've recorded this species on the tour.

PLAIN FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum minullum)

The name says it all...this is a very drab bird. We saw a few each at Kaeng Krachan and Mae Ping national parks.

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

This handsome little bird is fairly common in montane forest areas. We saw our first at the upper camp in Kaeng Krachan, then had several more in the mountains of the north.

CAMBODIAN FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum cambodianum)

Up until recently, this species was treated as a race of Fire-breasted, but has now been awarded full species status. It is restricted to a small area of Cambodia and southeastern Thailand, extending west to Khao Yai NP, where it was the most commonly seen flowerpecker this trip.


The most widespread and familiar flowerpecker in the country, this bird lovely little bird is usually first seen on the grounds of our Bangkok hotel. And it was this trip, too after which we bumped into them regularly.

Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)

RUBY-CHEEKED SUNBIRD (Chalcoparia singalensis)

Other than a single bird at Khao Yai, all of our sightings of this colorful sunbird came from Kaeng Krachan.

BROWN-THROATED SUNBIRD (Anthreptes malacensis)

Seen only on our first afternoon at Wat Suan Yai, though many of you also tallied this one on the grounds of our Bangkok hotel.

VAN HASSELT'S SUNBIRD (Leptocoma brasiliana)

In Thailand, this gorgeous sunbird is restricted to the southern peninsula and the southeastern corner, extending as far west as Khao Yai NP, where we found our only ones in the southern section of the park on our way back to Bangkok.

PURPLE SUNBIRD (Cinnyris asiaticus)

Common in the dry deciduous forests in the north, seen best from the tower at Inthanon Nest.

ORNATE SUNBIRD (Cinnyris ornatus)

Formerly Olive-backed Sunbird, which was recently split into 8 different species. This is a common and familiar garden bird throughout Thailand, and we saw them pretty regularly.

FIRE-TAILED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga ignicauda)

A rare winter visitor to the high mountains in the northwest. We found two birds, a female and an immature male, near the Doi San Ju Viewpoint, just the second time that Uthai has seen this species in Thailand.

BLACK-THROATED SUNBIRD (Aethopyga saturata)

This one can look rather unimpressive in poor lighting conditions, but when the light hits it right, it's a stunner! We had these regularly in upper elevation forest throughout, including a few in nice light.

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

The most abundant sunbird in upper elevation forests of the north.

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

Another gorgeous sunbird (and Lois's pick as bird of the trip), though these can get a little lost in the swarms of wintering Mrs. Gould's Sunbirds at the summit of Doi Inthanon, though they were common enough that we got lots of great looks. This subspecies is restricted to Doi Inthanon.

CRIMSON SUNBIRD (Aethopyga siparaja)

Not many this trip, with just a single bird at Kaeng Krachan, then a pair attracted in to owlet imitations at the same spot as our Van Hasselt's Sunbirds in Khao Yai.

STREAKED SPIDERHUNTER (Arachnothera magna)

Our only spiderhunter this trip, this cool bird is fairly common in the northern mountains, though I hadn't realized until this year how much their calls sound like those of Orange-bellied Leafbird, which duped us a couple of times before we finally caught up with some real spiderhunters. Best views were of one in the gardens of the Ang Khang Agricultural Project.

Irenidae (Fairy-bluebirds)


Seen mainly in the south, with most of our records coming from Khao Yai. We saw far more females than males, but eventually did get some good looks at a few males as well.

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Dusky Leaf Monkey (Trachypithecus obscurus) is the more common of the langurs we saw at Kaeng Krachan National Park. Photo by group membver Myles McNally.
Chloropseidae (Leafbirds)

GREATER GREEN LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis sonnerati)

On the tour route, only in the upper elevations at Kaeng Krachan, where it is not at all common. We managed to track down a singing male just below the upper campground for some reasonable views (my best yet), though it took off shortly after we'd located it and that was the last we saw of it.

BLUE-WINGED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis moluccensis)

We only saw this one at Kaeng Krachan and Khao Yai, where it was the default leafbird.

GOLDEN-FRONTED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis aurifrons)

First seen at Sakaerat, but most common in the dry, deciduous forests up north, where we had especially good looks from the Inthanon Nest tower.

ORANGE-BELLIED LEAFBIRD (Chloropsis hardwickii)

Fairly common in the montane evergreen forests in the north.

Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)

BAYA WEAVER (Ploceus philippinus)

A couple of big flocks in the north, at the Doi Lo paddies and the small river at Tha Ton. As always at this time of year, they were all in non-breeding plumage.

ASIAN GOLDEN WEAVER (Ploceus hypoxanthus)

A flock of about 20 of these weavers were seen in reed beds on our first morning along the coast south of Bangkok. As usual, they were in non-breeding plumage.

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

JAVA SPARROW (Padda oryzivora) [I]

Though not officially seen on the tour, most of the group saw this handsome, introduced species on the hotel grounds prior to us getting underway. We had a group of nine birds, including a few dull immatures, right in front of the hotel entrance.

SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata)

A common bird of open country, rice paddies, etc.

WHITE-RUMPED MUNIA (Lonchura striata)

More of a bird of forest and forest edge than the above species. We only had a couple of records, neither of which was especially great. We had a flock of 10-15 on the lower slopes of Doi Inthanon, which were pretty much flybys only, then 4 or 5 birds seen briefly at Nong-Bong Khai non-hunting area.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (INDIAN) (Passer domesticus indicus)

Common in urban areas, though usually outnumbered by tree sparrows.

PLAIN-BACKED SPARROW (Passer flaveolus)

A poor name for what is arguably the prettiest of the Passer sparrows. We only saw a few of these, but had some good looks at a pair at Wat Suan Yai, and several in the rice paddy area near Inthanon Nest, among others.


Very common in urban areas and open habitats throughout the tour.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

GRAY WAGTAIL (Motacilla cinerea) [b]

A common wintering species across the country, most often along clear, flowing streams. We saw our first at Mae Taeng Irrigation Project, then a few more on Doi Lang and Doi Ang Khang.

EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (Motacilla tschutschensis) [b]

We had a handful down along the coast south of Bangkok, but none that we were able to identify to subspecies.

CITRINE WAGTAIL (GRAY-BACKED) (Motacilla citreola citreola) [b]

This is the more likely of the two subspecies to winter in Thailand, and so far, the only one I've seen here. We had good scope views of a few birds in the rice paddies at Cho Lae.

WHITE WAGTAIL (CHINESE) (Motacilla alba leucopsis) [b]

Seen only in the north, where it was the most numerous wagtail, present in most areas of suitable habitat. Though most, if not all, were of this subspecies, one bird at the Cho Lae paddies had a lighter gray back and could possibly have been subspecies baicalensis, though we couldn't rule out a female of this form.

PADDYFIELD PIPIT (Anthus rufulus)

The common, open-country pipit, this one was seen best at the Ban Thi paddies.

OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus hodgsoni) [b]

This pipit's habit of perching in trees is a good field mark, though the birds themselves are also quite distinct. We had small parties of these at our lunch spot in Khao Yai, at the pheasant stakeout on Doi Lang, and several other spots in the northern mountains.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

SPOT-WINGED GROSBEAK (Mycerobas melanozanthos)

About 20 of these handsome grosbeaks were in the gardens of the Ang Khang Agricultural Project, and we got great looks at both sexes, which is good, as they are both beautiful, and very different from each other.

COMMON ROSEFINCH (Carpodacus erythrinus) [b]

Numbers of this wintering finch can be very different from year to year. This year, though we had only two sightings, the overall numbers were higher than usual, thanks to a flock of 40+ birds on the lower slopes of Doi Inthanon. Our only other record was of a single bird at the Chinese Cemetery.

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No matter where in the world you find them, a porcupine is a porcupine, and it tells you loud and clear: don't touch!Common Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura). Photo by group member Jan Wood.


LYLE'S FLYING FOX (Pteropus lylei)

A bunch of these were at a regular roosting site along the canal at Laem Pak Bia.


The clouds of these emerging from their caves was an impressive sight as we waited for eared-nightjars at dusk near Khao Yai. Seeing them cross in front of the full moon was especially memorable.

NORTHERN TREESHREW (Tupaia berlangeri)

These long-snouted, squirrel-like critters were mainly seen around Bangkok, including our hotel grounds, though we also had one on Doi Ang Khang.

CRAB-EATING MACAQUE (Macaca fascigularis)

Aka Long-tailed Macaque, this one was seen by some in the coastal region to the south of Bangkok, then we had the usual mob of them at Wat Phra Phuttabat Noi, where they are kind of a nuisance and a distraction when we're trying to find the babbler.

PIGTAIL MACAQUE (Macaca nemestrina)

These were the cheeky ones at Khao Yai, though we didn't note as much bad behavior as we did on last year's trip.

STUMP-TAILED MACAQUE (Macaca arctoides)

I’d only seen a couple of these uncommon macaques at Kaeng Krachan on previous trips, so it was a bit surprising to not only see them on two days at the park, but coming across a group of 30+ of them along the entrance road!

DUSKY LEAF MONKEY (Trachypithecus obscurus)

The more numerous of the two langurs at Kaeng Krachan, these doe-eyed monkeys always appear so gentle-looking.

ROBINSON'S BANDED LANGUR (Presbytis robinsoni)

According to iNat, this is the new name for what is listed as “Banded Leaf Monkey” on our check lists. This is the langur we saw in the upper reaches of Kaeng Krachan. The band for which it’s named is pretty hard to see white area between the rear legs.

PILEATED GIBBON (Hylobates pileatus)

This gibbon is considered endangered, and is restricted to a small area of southern Laos, western Cambodia, and eastern Thailand, primarily at Khao Yai NP, where we actually had decent views of a trio of them moving through the treetops and calling loudly. This was just my second time seeing this species, though we hear it regularly in the park.


The more widespread and common of the two gibbons. We had fleeting looks at a small group over the road as we rode up to Kaeng Krachan's upper camp, then even better looks at a couple of adults, one with a baby, feeding in a roadside tree at Khao Yai, nicely spotted by Terry.


We found a couple of these monster squirrels feeding in a leafless treetop at Kaeng Krachan.

FINLAYSON'S SQUIRREL (Callosciurus finlaysoni)

Aka Variable Squirrel, a very suitable name given the wide variation in color forms we saw. This was the common squirrel on the hotel grounds in Bangkok, and was also seen at a number of other sites.

GRAY-BELLIED SQUIRREL (Callosciurus caniceps)

There seemed to be fewer than average, but we had several of these common squirrels, easily told from other species by their black-tipped tails. Best seen at the Kaeng Krachan NP headquarters.


Plenty of these tiny, chipmunk-like squirrels throughout the forested regions, with excellent views of a bunch in a flowering tree next to the tower at Inthanon Nest.

COMMON PORCUPINE (Hystrix brachyura)

While we enjoyed the needletail show at Khao Yai, Woody noticed one of these huge porcupines trundling along across the open grassland on the opposite side of the road. A second one also showed up at the same time.

MALAYAN SUN BEAR (Ursus malayanus)

One of the highlights of our visit to Kaeng Krachan NP was our amazing, close encounter with one of these bears. It turned up just after we’d finished eating our picnic lunch, and it proceeded to put on a show, writhing around in the dust and rising up on its hind legs to scratch its back vigorously on a tree trunk before sauntering past the group and slinking up to the cooking area, where the supplies were all still sitting on the ground. Thankfully we managed to discourage it from rifling through the food supplies, but what a thrill it was getting such close looks at this neat animal!

INDIAN ELEPHANT (Elephas maximus)

We only saw these on a single day at Khao Yai, but had 5 different individuals, including three together in the grassland areas near the mineral licks, plus a close encounter with a large male that plodded along the road nearby, shortly after our porcupine sightings.

MUNTJAC (BARKING DEER) (Muntiacus muntjak)

The lovely, small reddish deer at Khao Yai. Deer taxonomy also seems to be changing, and iNat has this one split out as Northern Red Muntjac, M. vaginalis.

HOG DEER (Axis porcinus)

The smaller, stockier, of the two deer seen at the campground at Mae Ping NP. This population is part of a reintroduction program, as this species was previously nearly extirpated from Thailand.

SAMBAR (Cervus unicolor)

The larger deer at Khao Yai, where they are pretty habituated.

ELD'S DEER (Rucervus eldii)

The larger of the two deer in Mae Ping NP. This one was completely extirpated from the country, and the animals here are, like the Hog Deer, part of a reintroduction program.

GAUR (Bos gaurus)

We spotted one of these white-stockinged bovines above the road, before getting to the viewing area at Khao Paeng Ma Non-Hunting Area, thus saving us some time and allowing us to get back to the lodge just a bit earlier.


TROPICAL HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus mabouia)

Nightly in the south, and we usually only had to look up during the list session to add it to the day's list.


The snake seen by a few folks (on Inthanon, if I remember correctly) was this species.

ORIENTAL GARDEN LIZARD (Calotes versicolor)

We saw this common species twice, with one on a post by the aquaculture ponds at Phraek Nam Daeng, the other just outside of Khao Yai NP. What we though was another at the Rim Khong Restaurant along the Mekong actually turned out to be a Siamese Blue Crested Lizard, a new species for me.


We saw just one along the road at Khao Yai, though we didn't get to see it fly. A check of iNat shows two species occurring in the park, with the Orange-winged Flying Lizard, Draco maculatus, by far the more common.

TOKAY GECKO (Gekko gecko)

Though we didn't se these huge geckos, we did hear their loud calls a few times in the south, and it was easy to understand why the US soldiers in Vietnam called these the F___ You Lizard!


This was the handsome, spiky lizard we found sunning itself on a roadside log on our way up to Kaeng Krachan’s upper camp. A close relative from the more familiar, widespread, Oriental Garden Lizard.


The gorgeous, bright blue lizard that we found on a tree trunk in the parking area at the restaurant along the Mekong River. We thought at first that it was another colour variation of Oriental Garden Lizard, but iNat set the record straight.

WATER MONITOR (Varanus salvator)

A few of these large, aquatic lizards were around Bangkok and along the coast, with a couple seen in Khao Yai.

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Here is Black-kneed Featherlegs (Pseudocopera ciliata), a small, pale-blue damsel with white tail tip and distinctive white legs with black "knees." Seen at the pond on the Inthanon hotel grounds. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.


As I was also paying a bit of attention to dragonflies, here is a list of the species seen on the trip.

Plain Flashwing (Vestalis gracilis) Metallic green damsel with clear, amber wings. Most numerous near the hotel at Inthanon.

Green Metalwing (Neurobasis chinensis) Similar to above, but with blackish wings with shining green upper surface that shows when they open. Common along the river at the campground at Kaeng Krachan.

Golden Gem (Libellago lineata) Stocky, golden yellow damsel with dark-tipped wings. Fairly numerous along stream behind hotel Baan Pailynn, and near our Inthanon hotel.

Jewel Damselfly sp. (Heliocypha biforata) Stocky, bright blue damsel with smoky, black-tipped wings. Common along clear forested streams (Kaeng Krachan, Inthanon)

Orange-faced Sprite (Pseudagrion rubriceps) Light blue damsel with bright orange face. First seen in the gardens of our Bangkok hotel.

Common Bluetail (Ischnura senegalensis) Small green damsel with blue-tipped tail, very similar to our Eastern Forktail. Seen on the grounds of the hotel in Bangkok.

Yellow Featherlegs (Copera marginipes) Small, black-and-yellow damsel with white-tipped tail and bright yellow legs. Along the stream at Kaeng Krachan and around the pond at our Inthanon hotel.

Black-kneed Featherlegs (Pseudocopera ciliata) Small, pale-blue damsel with white tail tip and distinctive white legs with black "knees" Seen at the pond on the Inthanon hotel grounds.

Red-tipped Shadefly (Argiocnemis rubescens) Though mature individuals have bright red tail tips, the one photographed along the stream in Khao Yao was bluish-green with a drooping, blue tail tip and green eyes. I'm unclear if this is an immature individual or a colour morph.

Black Threadtail (Prodasineura autumnalis) Very slim, black damsel with whitish lines at some of the tail segments. Along stream behind the Baan Pailynn.

Look-alike Sprite (Pseudagrion australasiae) Similar-looking to our bluets. Photographed at Nong Bong Khai.

Gray Sprite (Pseudagrion pruinosum) Slaty blue small damsel with dark red eyes. Along the stream near the Inthanon hotel.

Ditch Jewel (Brachythemis contaminata) Small bright orange-red (male) or yellow (female) dragon. Widespread and common. First seen on Bangkok hotel grounds.

Crimson Marsh Glider (Trithemis aurora) Bright rose-colored dragon with reddish patch at base of hindwing. Common and widespread.

Russet Percher (Neurothemis fulvia) Small red dragon with clear- tipped red wings. Khao Yai, Inthanon area, etc. Common and widespread.

Red Percher (Neurothemis ramburii) Similar to above but with more extensive clear tips and trailing edge to red wings. Seen around the waterholes at Kaeng Krachan.

Swampwatcher (Potomarcha congener) Slaty gray dragon with back half of tail black with large rectangular yellow spots. A few around waterholes at Nam Kham Reserve, but first was perched at the viewpoint along the boardwalk trail at Khao Yai.

Blue Marsh Hawk (Orthetrum glaucum) Greenish-eyed dragon with pale blue abdomen, and black thorax with two angled yellow stripes. Along stream at Kaeng Krachan.

Brown-backed Red Marsh Hawk (Orthetrum chrysis) Large dragon with bright red abdomen and brownish thorax. Numerous at Kaeng Krachan.

Orange Skimmer (Orthetrum testaceum) Bright orange-red dragon with red face. Numerous at the waterholes at Kaeng Krachan.

Oriental Blue Dasher (Brachydiplax chalybea) Dragon with reddish brown flanks, white line down the back of thorax and front half of abdomen and black tail tip. At the small pond at the Kaeng Krachan HQ.

Emerald-flanked Marsh Hawk (Brachydiplax) farinosa) Similar to above, but more very blackish with white basal half of abdomen. at the waterholes at Kaeng Krachan.

Chalky Percher (Diplacodes trivialis) The small dragons in the grassy areas along the road at the upper camp at Kaeng Krachan.

Wandering Pennant (Macrodiplax cora) Brownish-yellow perched on the tip of a grass stalk at the aquaculture ponds at Phraek Nam Daeng.

Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) Large yellow dragon often seen flying around a few feet above the ground.

Pigmy Skimmer (Tetrathemis platyptera) Smallish black-and-yellow dragon with bright green eyes at the small pond at Kaeng Krachan HQ.

Totals for the tour: 478 bird taxa and 22 mammal taxa