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10 Most Wanted Birds in Thailand

Thanks to all the people who answered my request to e-mail me with their top three most wanted Thai species, I have now been able to compile a top ten of the most sought-after bird species by visiting birdwatchers, as well as a few resident foreigners.

Rare and colourful species featured heavily in many people's lists, and a few "old favourites" were expectedly popular. Although Pitta species were widely listed, only one species actually featured in the top ten - no prizes for guessing which one.

Many visiting European birders it seems are particularly keen to find species that occur as vagrants in Europe and although none of these actually made it into the top ten, as there was a wide variety of personal favourites, a number of Phylloscopus warblers and waders were mentioned.

Some excellent species which almost made the top ten were Beautiful Nuthatch, Green Cochoa, Purple Cochoa, Blue Pitta, Nicobar Pigeon and White-eyed River Martin (it appears most birders are realistic about their chances of finding this).

Here is the top ten; each species has its own page, with the last first, counting down to number one, just to build the suspense!.

Number 10: Siamese Fireback Lophura diardi

Siamese Fireback
(Photo by Suppalak Klabdee)

As the only bird named for the nation, it is fitting that Siamese Fireback has made it onto the top ten most wanted species of Thailand.

Although its name suggests that Siamese Fireback is unique to Thailand, it does in fact occur in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia; still a southeast Asian endemic and a highlight of any birding trip to the region.

This species is a resident of evergreen, semi-evergreen and bamboo forest, secondary growth and scrub in the plains and foothills up to 800 m and, similarly to many other species of pheasant, Siamese Fireback is under pressure from forest destruction and hunting.

The good news for birders visiting Thailand is that Siamese Fireback is reasonably numerous around Khao Yai national park, and it seems to have become habituated to areas around headquarters, possibly because of the increased protection in this part of the park. Frequently seen along the first few kilometres of the trail running from headquarters to the wildlife watchtower, it has also made a comeback to the lower stretches of the road running up to Khao Khieo viewpoint after disturbance due to road surfacing had decreased the reliability of this stake-out a few years back.

The male Siamese Fireback is a magnificent bird and easily identified. Males are usually found in the company of two or three females, but if the female is seen alone it is easily separated from female Silver Pheasant by the broad, black and buff bars on the wings and tail.

Siamese Fireback
(Photo by Suppalak Klabdee)
Top Ten Most Wanted Birds of Thailand: 10 9
Post your own most wanted top ten birds of Thailand here.
Other Related Pages: Khao Yai
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More information on Siamese Fireback: Siamese Fireback

Red Data Book, Threatened Birds of Asia: Siamese Fireback

More photos of Siamese Fireback:

Oriental Bird Images: Siamese Fireback newsletter -
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