Taiwan: Gateway to Asia

From Monday, October 14, 2019
To Saturday, October 26, 2019
Taiwan Blue Magpie.  Photo by John Yerger.  All rights reserved. 
Taiwan Blue Magpie.  Photo by John Yerger (all rights reserved).

Taiwan is full of surprises. Perhaps as you do, I imagined this island nation as one giant complex of factories. While they are certainly known for the manufacturing industry, I was stunned at the amount of protected land. Taiwan’s infrastructure is very modern, and very Westernized. There’s a 7-Eleven on every corner. And most of them are actually better than our 7-Elevens. 

If you’ve never been to Asia, this is a fantastic way to get your feet wet. Taiwan should be considered the gateway to Asian birding. It’s quite easy to travel, with modern amenities throughout. Despite being an island, biodiversity is relatively high thanks to strong migration events. With 22+ endemics (depending on which taxonomy you believe), and several more range-restricted species, as well as charismatic and endangered birds like the Black-faced Spoonbill, Taiwan is a worthwhile birding destination from many perspectives.


Length:  13 days (with international flight leaving the West Coast ~midnight on Oct 12, due to the int’l dateline crossing)

Why this timing:  Fall shorebird and waterfowl migration

What we like most here:  The friendliest people!  And the endemic birds.

Top birds:  Taiwan Partridge, Taiwan Bamboo-partridge, Swinhoe's pheasant, Mikado pheasant, Whistling Green-Pigeon, Greater Painted Snipe, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Black-faced Spoonbill, Taiwan Barbet, Taiwan Blue Magpie, Taiwan Yellow Tit, Styan's Bulbul, Black Bulbul, Flamecrest, Taiwan Cupwing (Wren-babbler), Yellowish-bellied (Taiwan) Bush-warbler, Taiwan Fulvetta, Taiwan Yuhina, Taiwan Scimitar-babbler, Black-necklaced Scimitar-babbler, Taiwan Hwamei, White-whiskered Laughingthrush, White-eared Sibia, Steere's Liocichla, Vivid Nitalva, Collared Bush Robin, Taiwan Whistling Thrush, Taiwan Barwing, Taiwan Rosefinch

Other wildlife:  Red-and-white Giant Flying Squirrel, Formosan Rock Macaque

Other attractions:  Taipei 101 (tallest green building in the world: 1,671’), museums, temples, botanical gardens

Climate:  Typically mild in October, between 70-80°F in the lowlands. High elevations can be very cool, down to freezing at night. Expect some wind while shorebirding. Aiming to miss typhoon season with this timing.

Environment:  Taiwan is 50% forested. You read that right: fifty percent! We’ll spend half the tour in the forested areas, mostly at middle to upper elevations, with the remainder in preserves along the coast and a few urban and semi-urban parks that hold a surprising diversity of birds.

Pace/style of the tour:  Relaxed to moderate pace. We have a few long drives, but the roads are typically in excellent repair – roads are often better maintained here than in many places in the U.S. A few early mornings but typically we’ll go for a walk near our lodging, come back for breakfast, and then hit the road. Mostly easy walking, too, although some of the roadside birding still involves standing and walking on an incline.

Group size:  Maximum 8 participants; 2 tour leaders

Lodging/meals:  Clean and comfortable lodging throughout, ranging from modern hotels to guesthouses.

Mode of transportation:  Van or minibus.

Health/safety topics:  Crime-free to a degree that is unimaginable. On a visit last year, John felt that he could leave his spotting scope set up in the middle of a city park in Taipei and it would still be there when he came back for it. The respect that the Taiwanese have for visitors and for each other is an example that should be followed worldwide. And, there are few if any health issues to be concerned about here.

Leaders:  Kuan-Chieh "Chuck" Hung & John Yerger
Cost:  $4995 – includes all accommodations, all meals, ground transportation and guiding fees beginning and ending in Taipei
TO REGISTER:  call 1-877-BIRDERS [247-3377] or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Honduras Photo Gallery