by Nick Upton
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Southern Thailand & Bangkok, 25th Feb- 11th Mar 2006
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My mother, Marit, and I spent a fortnight in Southern Thailand last February/March including a visit to Bangkok. As my mother is mainly non-birding, this trip was a mixture of birding, sightseeing and relaxing, with Southern Thailand being the perfect destination for those with a non-birding family. We visited well-known sites such as Khao Nor Chuchi, the Krabi mangroves, Ko Phi Phi and Khok Kham which have been described in detail elsewhere, but we also visited e.g. Khao Sok, which rarely features in other trip reports. The trip was a great success in all aspects. We recorded 211 bird species and the highlights included Gurney’s Pitta, Nordmann’s Greenshank, Christmas Island Frigatebird, Oriental Bay Owl, White-fronted Scops Owl and lots more. Of course the nature, people and culture were just as amazing, making the trip a wonderful experience.
Getting there
We booked our plane tickets on-line through and cost approximately 8400 NOK (ca. GBP 670) each including taxes. We flew with KLM from Kristiansand, Norway via Amsterdam both ways.

We booked all our accommodation prior to leaving, except at Art’s Riverview Lodge in Khao Sok, which fortunately had a few vacant treehouses when we arrived. Strangely enough we were the only people staying at the Morakot except the last night, but I guess this can change from one week to another. We opted to stay at the Maritime Resort in Krabi, primarily because of the comfort and magnificent garden and birdlife. The Maritime is a fantastic place with great facilities. At Khao Sok we stayed at Art’s which has been recommended by other birders, and is truly a nice place. In Bangkok we stayed at the Holiday Mansion which also was a great place within walking distance of Lumphini Park, several shopping centres and the Ploenchit Train Station.

Morakot Resort, Khao Nor Chuchi

Maritime Park and Spa Resort, Krabi

Art’s Riverview Lodge, Khao Sok (booked on arrival)

Holiday Mansion Hotel, 53 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Bangkok

At Khao Nor Chuchi I used Yothin Meekaeo who can be contacted It cost me THB 9,000 for one and a half days of birding including night-birding on the first day. If you want the absolutely best chances of locating Gurney’s Pitta and stake-out species such as Oriental Bay Owl and White-fronted Scops Owl or you have limited time, hiring him is a must! He is very professional using a mp3-player to attract various species. He also used a laser pen to point out species high in the canopy or skulking in the undergrowth, which was very helpful. It is recommended to book him in advance as he can be very busy in the high-season.

In Krabi we went on an obligatory mangrove trip with Mr. Dai. We booked him via the staff at Café Europa. Apparently we were lucky as he was busy during our whole stay except one day. His English isn’t very good but he knows the birds which are interesting to birders.

At Khao Sok we went on a canoe trip arranged by Art’s Riverview Lodge. Their river trip can be very productive according to other birders, but as the staff refused to start any earlier than 9 am we didn’t see much

In Bangkok I used the services of Nature Trails ( and Patcharee Komolphalin which I booked while in Krabi. We had a great day of birding, but unfortunately we dipped on the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

As I’m only 18 (no drivers license yet) and my mother wasn’t too excited about driving on the left side, we didn’t hire a car. We opted for public transport which worked out very well. After flying with Thai Airways from Bangkok to Krabi (ca. THB 3,000 each) we were met by a taxi at the airport, which we had arranged with the Morakot beforehand. This cost us THB 1,000. The staff at the Morakot also arranged for our transport to the Maritime. While in Krabi, we used the various means of public transport such as songthaews, taxis and mopeds. We employed the services of Andaman Wave Master to arrange our bus to Khao Sok and the train from Surat Thani to Bangkok. They were recommended to us by the staff at Café Europa, but I can’t remember the directions to their office. The bus from Khao Sok to Surat Thani was arranged at Art’s.
Other stuff
Unfortunately, on our way home to Norway, my mother started feeling unwell and by the time we were home she was quite ill. After a few blood tests at the hospital it became clear that she had been infected with dengue fever which is transmitted by mosquitoes. She had to stay in bed and wasn’t able to go to work for 3-4 weeks. Dengue fever isn’t dangerous the first time you are infected, but it can become very dangerous the second time. I won’t speculate where and when she was bitten, as it could have been anytime during the trip. I don’t think this happens too often though, but taking some precautions is clever, such as using mosquito repellents.

Daily log

25th February : Arrived after a long flight at Bangkok International Airport at approximately noon, where we transferred for our Thai Airways flight to Krabi. After arrival in Krabi, we collected our bags and were met by a taxi who took us to KNC for our three nights stay. After checking in, we went for a short walk along the main road before dark which produced a few birds, including Germain’s Swiftlet, Indian Roller, Stripe-throated Bulbul, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Greater Coucal and Blue-eared Barbet (heard only).Before going to bed, I had to contact Yothin and arrange when we were to start the following day. As there was no signal at the Morakot, one of the staff girls was kind enough to drive me a short distance down the road where there was a signal, so I was able to call Yothin and arrange for him to pick me up at 06:00 the following morning. On second thought I would have arranged this a little earlier.

26th February : Had breakfast at 05:30 which I had arranged the previous evening, before I met with Yothin and we drove to the main entrance. It was still dark, but we could hear both Moustached Babbler and Banded Kingfisher, when we started walking to a spot that Yothin was confident we would see the Pittas. He set up his hide and then we waited for the Gurney’s Pitta to appear (hopefully). It didn’t take more than 20 minutes before we could hear them approaching quickly! It didn’t take long before a pair appeared right in front of the hide. We had brilliant views of both the male and the female for at least 25 minutes before they moved on. As others has mentioned before me, this has to be the best way to see the Pittas, causing minimal disturbance.

Anyway, as the Pittas had disappeared, we moved on as well, following the B-trail. Before long I was seeing lots of lifers including a male Orange-breasted Trogon which gave great views, Yellow-bellied Bulbul, Dark-throated Oriole, Red-throated Sunbird, Little Spiderhunter, Yellow-breasted and Orange-bellied Flowerpeckers, Scaly-crowned Babbler and a Red-bearded Bee-eater right over our heads. A little later at a fork in the trail, there was a gully with some big trees. This place was very productive, giving us great views of Black-and-Yellow and Green Broadbill, Red-throated and Red-crowned Barbets in the larger trees while some smaller trees nearby produced Purple-naped Sunbird, Pale-legged Leaf Warbler and several species of Bulbul. We followed the trail which lead into the gully, where we had brief view of a Chestnut-winged Babbler. The trail followed a small stream for a while which produced even more Bulbuls of various species, before we entered another trail which was very overgrown and barely visible, but we saw a lot of birds here as well, including Short-tailed, Ferruginous and Chestnut-rumped Babbler, Buff-necked Woodpecker, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Great Iora and Purple-throated Sunbird.

It was only 11:30 but it was getting hot and the bird activity decreased so I returned to the Morakot for lunch and a nap and decided to meet Yothin again at 14:30. This time my mother joined us and we headed to a place where the birds (especially bulbuls) come to drink in the afternoon. To get there, we drove along the “plantation” road, making a stop along the way to have a look at a pair of Black-thighed Falconet, two Black Kites and the only Grey-breasted Spiderhunter of the trip. We parked along the road and walked along a trail which followed a stream seeing Banded Bay Cuckoo, Rufescent Prinia, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird and Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher before we came to a bend in the stream were we settled down and waited for the birds to appear. We stayed here for an hour or so, seeing Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch and lots of bulbuls, including Black-headed, Black-crested, Cream-vented, Red-eyed, Spectacled, Buff-vented and Streaked. On our way back, we stopped at the plantation were we stayed till dusk seeing and hearing an amazing array of birds, including Violet Cuckoo, Drongo Cuckoo, Silver-rumped and Brown-backed Needletail, Grey-rumped Treeswift, Golden-whiskered Barbet, Banded Broadbill, Ochraceous Bulbul, Asian Fairy Bluebird and Large Woodshrike.

As it was getting dark, so we returned to the Morakot, where we let my mother of, before me and Yothin went out for some night-birding. We entered a small forest patch along the main road where we hopefully would find Oriental Bay Owl. Yothin played its call a few times before the Owl responded in the distance. We waited for a few moments before Yothin turned on his flashlight and we could see the owl perching vertically on palm right on front of us! We had great views for about five minutes before we moved on to another site. Here we hoped to find Barred Eagle Owl and White-fronted Scops Owl, but only found the latter, which was more than adequate. We had to work harder for the scops owl as we had to track it down ourselves as it refused to come to us, but eventually we had great views of this localized species as well, providing a fitting end to a magnificent day of birding.

27th February : Met Yothin at 06:30 and drove straight to the main entrance. Only minutes after we entered the main trail we saw a male Gurney’s Pitta turning over dead leaves in the middle of the trail! We watched it and a Orange-headed Thrush before it disappeared. An unexpected encounter and one of the highlights of the day. We ventured further along the B-trail seeing a lot of new birds, including Bamboo, Maroon and Orange-backed Woodpecker, Banded Pitta (heard only), Hairy-backed Bulbul, Yellow-browed Warbler, Yellow-bellied Warbler, Abbott’s Babbler and Large Wren Babbler (heard only). Finally, we arrived at a ravine were we hoped to see Rufous-collared Kingfisher. At first there was no sign of the kingfisher, but we did see Crow-billed Drongo, Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Rufous-winged Philentoma and a male Diard’s Trogon. After a while, Yothin suddenly pointed out a Rufous-collared Kingfisher in a small tree right in front of us! We watched it for a while before it flew away. On our way back we encountered a Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo right above our heads which Yothin had attracted by tape-playback.

Returned to the Morakot, only to find a Dollarbird perched in a dead tree behind our bungalow. After lunch me and my mother went to the Emerald Pool for a swim, which was nice. Didn’t see too many birds though, expect a displaying Crested Goshawk, Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Grey-rumped Treeswift, Thick-billed Green Pigeon and two unidentified Hawk-Eagles.

Later in the afternoon I went for a walk along the main road seeing Tiger Shrike, Green-billed Malkoha, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Streak-eared Bulbul and White-bellied Sea-Eagle which is apparently very rare in KNC. After dinner I heard a Collared Scops Owl in the garden, but as soon as I played its call it went silent.

28th February : Breakfast at 06:00, before me and my mother went for a walk to the “plantation”. Didn’t see too many new birds though, but a male Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher and two Red-bearded Bee-eaters are worth mentioning. At the plantation clearing itself we saw two Crested Serpent Eagles, Thick-billed Green Pigeon, various swifts and calling Banded, Green and Black-and-Yellow Broadbills. Returned to the Morakot where we saw Asian Palm Swift before being picked up by a local man at 12:00, who would take us to Krabi for 850 Baht.

Checked in at the Maritime Resort in Krabi, which was an absolutely stunning place! Went for a short walk in the magnificent gardens, seeing Collared, Brown-winged and Black-capped Kingfisher, Peaceful Dove, Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Pacific and Striated Swallow, Blue Whistling Thrush, Streak-eared and Yellow-vented Bulbul and Scaly-breasted Munia. I also saw a huge Water Monitor at the Garden Pool!

Went downtown for lunch and to arrange various things, such as train, ferries and bus tickets at the Andaman Wave Master while the staff at Café Europa booked the trip with Mr. Dai who fortunately was available the 2nd, but he was fully booked for the rest of the week!

Spent the rest of the evening at the Maritime Resorts jetty, seeing eight Smooth Otters and a troop of Long-tailed Macaques along the river, and hearing Brown Hawk Owl and Great Eared Nightjar. As a lot of mosquitoes appeared at dusk it became very uncomfortable staying there as I had forgot any repellent.

1st March : Went for a walk around the gardens before breakfast, seeing a few new birds such as Black-bellied Malkoha, Mangrove Pitta (only heard in the mangroves) and Greater Racket-tailed Drongo.
Took the free shuttle bus from the Maritime to Ao Nang after breakfast, where we arranged for a longtail to take us out to Koh Poda where we spent most of the day swimming and suntbathing. Nice place, but it was a bit crowded. Didn’t see many birds here except an Oriental Pied Hornbill, Brahminy Kite, Olive-backed Sunbird and Collared Kingfisher. Went back to Ao Nang later in the afternoon where we had dinner. Went for a short walk in a hotel garden opposite the Pakasai Resort (can’t remember the name though) where we saw Coppersmith Barbet, Pied Fantail, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Asian Glossy Starling and several amusing flying lizards. Returned to the Maritime by songthaew, but didn’t arrive until after dark.

2nd March : Met with Mr. Dai at 09:00 and we headed to the mangroves. The first birds seen were a pair of Oriental Hobbies near the limestone peak opposite the Maritime. We also heard a Mangrove Pitta, but as the tide was still low we were unable to venture further into the mangroves, so we decided to head out to the mudflats instead.

As we approached the river mouth a lot of terns appeared, mostly Lesser Crested Tern, but also Common Tern. Mr. Dai scanned the mudflats for waders. The first flock we found only contained Whimbrels and four Bar-tailed Godwits. We moved on and found another flock which looked more promising. At first I had big problems getting good looks from the boat, before I realized that I could step out of the boat as it was only about 30cm deep! The water was quite murky, so I couldn’t see where I put my feet, so you might want to wear sandals. Aren’t stingrays often associated with estuaries? Anyway, a quick scan through the flock showed that there were two Nordmann’s Greenshanks present! At first, it surprised me how different they are from the more familiar Common Greenshank. I had great views of them and the other waders which included, Terek Sandpiper, Great Knot and Eurasian Curlew. As the water was rising quickly, the flock moved on, as did we. We returned up-river to see if we could find some more birds in the mangroves. It started to get quite hot, so there was little bird activity, but we still managed to find a few new birds such as Common Flameback, Ruddy Kingfisher, Mangrove Whistler and Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, but no pittas. I guess an earlier starts is more ideal, but unfortunately the tide made it impossible this day. We headed back to town and said our goodbyes, before returning to the hotel where we spent the rest of the day relaxing by the pool.

3rd March : We spent most of the day relaxing by the pool, but I went for a walk in the garden before breakfast and again later in the afternoon. This time I explored the gardens north of the hotel buildings which were less well-kept than other parts of the garden. More bushes and trees meant more birds. In addition to a lot of birds seen before, some of the new trip-birds seen today were Common Kingfisher, Brown Shrike, Black-naped Oriole, Red-vented Bulbul and a flock of White-rumped Munia. Another amusing addition to the trip list was a Blue Rock Thrush which accompanied us by the pool.

4th March : Today we had decided to take the ferry out to Ko Phi Phi. After much asking around the previous days, we had learnt that the ferry leaves from the New Pier west of Krabi Town. We took a taxi there and while waiting for the ferry which was due to depart 09:30 I saw a few Greater Crested Terns among the more numerous Lesser Crested which were flying around down river. The ferry departed on time, and it was a nice journey even though there weren’t too many birds around except a fly-by Pacific Reef Egret and five distant Frigatebirds.

As we arrived at Phi Phi Don we arranged for a longtail to take us out to Phi Phi Leh and Bida Nok islands. At first the boatman was quite reluctant to visit the latter because of rough seas, but it didn’t turn out be a problem after all. First we headed to Bida Nok and it didn’t take long before we could see frigatebirds circling the skies. There were at least 100+ frigatebirds above our heads, but they were quite high up, so I had some difficulty getting a good look at them because of the swell. Nevertheless, I managed to identify a few of each Christmas Island and Lesser Frigatebird, but unfortunately no terns whatsoever. We then continued to Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh for some snorkelling and relaxing. The snorkelling wasn’t particularly good, compared to the Red Sea, there was a lot of dead corals. The bay and the beach however, were very beautiful. There weren’t many birds though, except a pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Grey Wagtail and Blue Whistling Thrush. After a couple of hours we returned to Phi Phi Don for our return-ferry.

Back on the main island. I scanned the ridges for Pied Imperial Pigeons, but I didn’t see any. Back on the ferry I fortunately saw one individual flying along the eastern ridge just as the ferry was about to leave. The return journey didn’t produce much except another unidentified frigatebird and a Zebra Shark seen at the surface which was quite surprising. We arrived in the late afternoon, in Ao Nang this time where we took a songthaew back to the Maritime

5th March : Went for a long walk by myself to the area south of Krabi today, hoping to find something interesting. As it turned out, I didn’t see that much, but worth mentioning is, Great and Little Egret, Eurasian Curlew, Asian Koel, White-breasted Kingfisher, Brown Shrike, Black-naped Oriole and Asian Glossy Starling. Spent the rest of the day by the pool, before studying swiftlets from the roof. In addition to large numbers of swiftlets there were also Grey-rumped Treeswift and Asian Palm Swifts present. Even though they gave relatively good views, the swiftlets were hard to identify because of the clinal differences in rump-colour and tail-fork.

6th March : Our last morning in Krabi, before departing for Khao Sok NP. We were picked up by a bus at the hotel, who took us to some sort of bus station where we transferred for our bus to Khao Sok. We arrived after a couple of hours and we checked in at Art’s Riverview Lodge. We had lunch in beautiful surroundings watching the macaques bathing in the river.

After lunch we went for a walk to Smiley’s Huts which is supposedly a good vantage point to look for hornbills, eagles etc. Didn’t see any though, but on our way back to Art’s, a beautiful adult Rufous-bellied Eagle flew across the valley. Other new birds were Plaintive Cuckoo and lots of Fork-tailed Swifts.

Later in the afternoon I went for a short walk to a big valley on the other side of the river. Didn’t stay for long as it was getting dark quickly, but I added Grey-faced Buzzard and Forest Wagtail to the trip list. Asked the man in the reception at Art’s, if it was possible to get breakfast at 06:30, but it wasn’t. He also claimed that the park didn’t open before 08:00 which proved to be wrong

7th March : Up at 06:00 and started walking towards the park gates. We paid 400 baht to get in, and started walking along the Ton Gloy trail. As soon as we entered the forest it became clear that there had been elephants there recently. Small trees, bushes and bamboo along the trail were destroyed. We could still smell them! Later that afternoon, we were told by the staff at Art’s that the elephants had frequented this area during the nights lately and was the reason they had cancelled all their spotlighting trips. They are quite aggressive so I’m glad we didn’t meet any. Anyway, it was a nice walk with quite a few birds, many that we had seen before, but quite a few lifers as well. Some of the first birds of the morning were Red-throated Barbet, White-rumped Shama, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Chestnut-winged Babbler, Striped Tit Babbler, Puff-throated Babbler, Forest Wagtail, a flock of Ashy Minivets and a pair of Red-and-Black Broadbills. After a while we came to some sort of visitor centre, but it didn’t seem to be in use though. We sat down here for an hour or so, seeing lots of birds. A fruiting tree attracted Asian Fairy Bluebird, an unidentified Leafbird and several species of bulbuls including, Ochraceous, Buff-vented, Red-eyed, Hairy-backed, Yellow-bellied, Black-crested and Black-headed Bulbuls. Other birds seen here included Plain Sunbird, an unidentified Hawk-Eagle, two obliging Chestnut-bellied Malkohas, but unfortunately no hornbills. We walked a little further along the trail, which was getting narrower. We saw a few birds before turning back, most surprising was a much-wanted Pin-tailed Parrotfinch and a calling Rufous-fronted Babbler. Before returning to Art’s, we saw a beautiful Dusky Langur at the “closed” visitor centre.

Spent most of the afternoon relaxing at Art’s, but I went for a short walk to Smiley’s, which this time produced a magnificent Great Hornbill flying across the valley. Unfortunately this proved to be the only hornbill I saw in Khao Sok, which was a bit disappointing, because it was the only hornbill in the area which wouldn’t be a lifer. I guess I was just unlucky. A quick look on the other side of the river at Art’s produced, Black-naped Monarch, Little Spiderhunter and a single Crimson Sunbird.

8th March : Today we had decided to go on a canoe trip that was quite nice, but we didn’t see many birds even though others have seen quite a lot. The main reason was probably that the staff didn’t want to start any earlier than 09:00 which ruined our best chances for some new birds. Only birds of interest were Common Kingfisher, a Grey-faced Buzzard and lots of Dusky Crag Martins.

Returned to Art’s where we packed our bags and went out to the main road where we waited for the bus to Surat Thani to arrive. The bus arrived on time, and we were quite surprised how nice and comfortable the bus was. We arrived in Surat Thani an hour and a half later, where we waited for our nigh-train to Bangkok to arrive. The train was a little delayed, but it finally arrived and we settled in at 1st class which was quite nice.

9th March : Arrived in Bangkok early in the morning, where we took a taxi to the Holiday Mansion Hotel in the Sukhumvit area. Holiday Mansion turned out be a great place to stay, cheap and within walking distance of Lumphini Park, skytrain station and shopping districts. Spent most of the day relaxing, but went for a walk to Lumphini Park, which was only a 5 minutes walk away. Nice place with quite a few birds including Black-collared Starling and White-vented Myna which both were lifers. Other birds included Coppersmith Barbet, Common Iora, Pied Fantail, Ashy Drongo, Brown Shrike, Streak-eared Bulbul and Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker. There were also quite a Water Monitors around, including a very big one. Later in the afternoon I saw a Plaintive Cuckoo in the hotel backyard. It was nice to finally see one, after only hearing them in Khao Sok.

10th March : Went shopping at Siam Square for most of the day. We also visited Wat Phra Kaeo in the afternoon which was really amazing, which even the most hardcore birders should take time to visit. The bins really came in handy when watching the Emerald Buddha, even one of the guards wanted to have a look! Not too many birds seen today though, except Ashy Woodswallow and Red Collared Dove at Wat Phra Kaeo, which were new for the trip.

11th March : Picked up by Patcharee at 06:00 and headed straight for Khok Kham. After a while we arrived and started scanning the mudflats. Some of the first birds of the morning included, Common Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, a single Nordmann’s Greenshank, Pacific Golden Plover, Brown-headed Gull and a Blue-tailed Bee-eater.

We then moved on to the saltpans hoping to find a Spoon-billed Sandpiper amongst the numerous Red-necked Stints, but to no avail. We stayed here for an hour or so, but although we didn’t see any spoonies, we saw some other interesting birds including, Ruddy Turnstone, Red-necked and Long-toed Stint, Curlew and Broad-billed Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Lesser Sandplover, Grey Plover and a single Javan Pond-Heron.

We decided to head further south to Pak Thale hoping for better luck there. We spent a couple of hours here as well scanning through numerous flocks of Red-necked Stints. Although we eventually dipped on the Spoon-billed Sandpiper here as well, some interesting additions to the trip-list were, Little, Gull-billed and Whiskered Tern and loads of Little Cormorants. As it was starting to get late, we decided to call it a day and return to Bangkok. A female Eastern Marsh Harrier, flying over the saltpans was my final lifer of the trip, providing a fitting end to a magnificent trip! Arrived back at the hotel two hours later, and went straight for the airport for our late-evening flight bound for Amsterdam.

Petter Zahl Marki
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 Trip List
rey-capped Pygmy-Woodpecker - One along the main road between the Morakot and the Khao Nor Chuchi main gate.
Laced Woodpecker - A pair of “green” woodpeckers seen briefly in a garden at Pak Thale was possibly this species.
Common Flameback - Two were seen briefly on Mr. Dai’s mangrove trip.
Bamboo Woodpecker - One seen at KNC on the 27th.
Maroon Woodpecker - A pair was seen at KNC, not far from the previous species.
Orange-backed Woodpecker - Brief flight views of a female as it flew out of it’s nest hole at KNC.
Buff-necked Woodpecker
- At least three were seen at KNC.
Gold-whiskered Barbet
- Heard at the plantation at KNC.
Red-crowned Barbet - Several heard and a few seen at KNC.
Red-throated Barbet - Commonly heard at KNC and Khao Sok, but only a few were seen.
Blue-eared Barbet - Heard at KNC and Khao Sok, but only seen twice.
Coppersmith Barbet - Heard and seen in Ao Nang, Krabi and Lumphini Park.
Oriental Pied Hornbill - One seen at Poda Island.
Great Hornbill - One flying over the main valley at Khao Sok. Seen from the Smiley Huts which is apparently a good place to scan for hornbills and eagles.
Diard’s Trogon - One male seen at KNC, which appeared as we were watching the Rufous-collared Kingfisher.
Orange-breasted Trogon - One male seen at KNC.
Red-bearded Bee-eater - Seen twice at KNC, both times attracted to tape playback, to which they responded immediately. Seen very well along the plantation road, with a pair perched right over our heads. Funny-looking birds with a distinctive call.
Green Bee-eater - Seen on the way to Pak Thale.
Blue-tailed Bee-eater - One was seen briefly at Khok Kham.
Common Kingfisher - Seen in Krabi and Khao Sok
Banded Kingfisher - Heard once at dawn in KNC.
Brown-winged Kingfisher - Common in the mangroves in Krabi, also at the pond at the Maritime Resort.
Ruddy Kingfisher - Heard and brief flight views on Mr. Dai’s mangrove trip.
White-throated Kingfisher - Seen once in Krabi.
Black-capped Kingfisher - Frequently seen in the Krabi mangroves, also noted on the canoe trip in Khao Sok and at Lampakbia.
Collared Kingfisher - Seen at Krabi, Poda Island and Pak Thale.
Rufous-collared Kingfisher - One male seen very well at KNC. Sat motionless in the open for at least 15 min.
Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo - One heard and seen at KNC, Yothin managed to attract it by tape playback which gave good views as it perched right above our heads.
Banded Bay Cuckoo - One seen at KNC.
Plaintive Cuckoo - Heard in Khao Sok, but only seen in Bangkok where one was resident in the hotel “garden”.
Violet Cuckoo - Two flew over us at the plantation in KNC.
Drongo Cuckoo - One heard at the plantation in KNC.
Asian Koel - Frequently heard throughout the trip, but only seen once.
Green-billed Malkoha - A few seen in Krabi and KNC, also quite a few unidentified malkohas.
Black-bellied Malkoha - Two by the jetty at the Maritime Resort. After I had brief views of a malkoha moving around in some trees, which I suspected to be this species, I started playing it’s call which immediately attracted a pair of them out of the trees. They sat motionless for several minutes watching me, giving great views. They disappeared shortly after I stopped playing their call.
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha - A pair seen very well at the “closed” visitor centre along the Ton Gloy trail in Khao Sok. I managed to get great views using the same technique as with the previous species.
Greater Coucal - Frequently heard and a few seen in KNC, Khao Sok and Krabi.
Indian Roller - Singles seen in KNC, Krabi, Khao Sok and Pak Thale.
Dollarbird - Only one seen at the Morakot in KNC.
Vernal Hanging Parrot - A few seen in KNC and the Maritime Resort gardens in Krabi.
Black-nest Swiftlet - Several of the swiftlets seen from the roof of the Maritime Resort was believed to be this species, where large numbers of swiftlets were seen. I saw swiftlets with the same variation in rump colour as noted in the Olausson/Persson report, but also a great variety of tail shapes, from almost square-tailed to deeply forked, possibly being Himalayan Swiftlets.
Germain’s Swiftlet - Common in KNC and Krabi.
Silver-rumped Needletail - Several seen at the plantation in KNC.
Brown-backed Needletail - Several seen in KNC, especially at the plantation and the Emerald Pool.
Asian Palm Swift - A few seen in the Krabi area, also one at the Morakot in KNC.
Fork-tailed Swift - Numerous in Khao Sok.
House Swift - Common in Krabi and Bangkok.
Grey-rumped Treeswift - Several at the plantation in KNC, but also at the Maritime Resort, where they could be seen easily in a large tree in front of the reception area.
Oriental Bay Owl - Excellent views of this hard-to-get species in KNC. Seen at Yothin’s stake-out, where after playing it’s call for a few minutes, it appeared without a sound, perching vertically on a palm trunk which gave us the opportunity to get a close look at this wonderful bird.
White-fronted Scops Owl - One seen only 20 min after seeing the previous species. Proved harder to find than the Bay Owl, as we had to locate the owl ourselves as it didn’t come to us. Yothin has these two species staked out, but it appeared to be quite far from the reserve itself.
Collared Scops Owl - Heard in the garden at the Morakot in KNC and also at the Maritime Resort in Krabi.
Brown Hawk Owl - One heard at the Maritime Resort. According to the staff at the Morakot, one is often present in the garden.
Great Eared Nightjar - Heard one night at the Maritime in Krabi.
Rock (Feral) Pigeon - Common around habitation.
Pied Imperial Pigeon - One was seen just as our ferry was leaving Ko Phi Phi. It was flying over the lower-lying ridge on the eastern half of the island.
Thick-billed Green Pigeon - A few seen in KNC, but unfortunately only brief flight views.
Spotted Dove - Fairly common and seen most places.
Red Collared Dove - Only seen at the Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok and on the Khok Kham/Pak Thale trip.
Peaceful Dove - Regularly seen in the Krabi area.
White-breasted Waterhen - Common in Krabi, also noted in Bangkok.
Bar-tailed Godwit - Four seen at the Krabi mudflats.
Whimbrel - Common at the Krabi mudflats.
Eurasian Curlew - Singles at the Krabi mudflats.
Common Redshank - At least ten seen at Khok Kham.
Spotted Redshank - Two at Khok Kham.
Marsh Sandpiper - At least 30 at Khok Kham.
Common Greenshank - One at Khok Kham.
Nordmann’s Greenshank - Excellent views of this endangered species at the Krabi Mudflats where two individuals were present. One was also seen at Khok Kham.
Terek Sandpiper
- Two were seen at the Krabi mudflats.
Common Sandpiper - Several seen in the Krabi area, especially along the river.
Ruddy Turnstone - Three seen at Khok Kham.
Red-necked Stint - Several hundred seen at Khok Kham and Pak Thale.
Long-toed Stint - At least 50 all together at Khok Kham and Pak Thale.
Curlew Sandpiper - At least 50 at Khok Kham.
Great Knot - Around 30 seen at the Krabi mudflats.
Broad-billed Sandpiper - At least 25 all together at Khok Kham and Pak Thale.
Black-winged Stilt - At least 100 all together at Khok Kham and Pak Thale.
Kentish Plover - At least ten at Khok Kham.
Little Ringed Plover - One seen at Khok Kham.
Lesser Sand Plover - At least 300 at Khok Kham.
Greater Sand Plover - Ten seen at the Krabi mudflats, possibly overlooked at Khok Kham.
Pacific Golden Plover - At least ten at Khok Kham.
Grey Plover - At least 70 at the Krabi mudflats, around ten were seen at Khok Kham.
Brown-headed Gull - At least ten seen at Khok Kham.
Lesser Crested Tern - Several seen at the Krabi mudflats and the new Krabi jetty.
Greater Crested Tern - Four seen from the new Krabi jetty.
Common Tern - A few noted at the Krabi mudflats and the new Krabi jetty.
Little Tern -At least ten at Pak Thale.
Gull-billed Tern - One seen at Pak Thale.
Whiskered Tern - At least 100 seen at Pak Thale.
hite-bellied Sea Eagle - Seen daily in the Krabi and Phi Phi area. One was also seen flying over the Morakot in KNC where according to Birds of Khao Nor Chuchi by Round and Treesuconit, it is very rare.
Crested Serpent Eagle - One pair seen very well at the plantation in KNC.
Brahminy Kite - Commonly seen in the Krabi and Phi Phi area.
Black Kite - Two flew over the plantation in KNC.
Rufous-bellied Eagle - One adult was seen well as it soared over the valley in Khao Sok.
Eastern Marsh Harrier - One female at Pak Thale was the last tick of the trip.
Crested Goshawk - One was seen displaying at Crystal Pool in KNC.
Grey-faced Buzzard - Seen on two occasions in Khao Sok. One in close proximity to Art’s, the other on the boat trip.
Oriental Honey Buzzard - One seen at Crystal Pool in KNC.
Black-thighed Falconet - A pair was seen in the top of a dead tree at the plantation in KNC.
Oriental Hobby
- One pair was seen very well on Mr. Dai’s mangrove trip in Krabi. They seemed to hang around the limestone peaks so you can probably see them from the Maritime as well.
Little Egret - Common along the coast.
Pacific Reef Egret - One was seen from the Phi Phi ferry and also two seen near the jetty in Ao Nang. All were dark morph.
Great Egret
- Only a few seen at the Krabi mudflats, but more numerous at Khok Kham and Pak Thale.
Cattle Egret - Three seen on the way to Khao Sok.
Grey Heron
- Two seen at Khok Kham.
Chinese Pond Heron
- Common, seen almost every day.
Javan Pond Heron - One in full breeding-plumage was seen at Khok Kham. This was the only pond heron I saw in breeding plumage.
Little Heron - A few seen in Krabi and Khok Kham.
Little Cormorant - At least 300+ seen at Khok Kham and Pak Thale.
Lesser Frigatebird - 100+ frigatebirds were seen between Koh Bida Nok and Koh Phi Leh. Most were very high up, and combined with the choppy sea, identification was difficult. I managed to identify adult males of this and the next species, around 5-10 of each species. I didn’t even bother with the immatures. Three frigatebirds sp. were seen around some fishing boats halfway between Krabi and Phi Phi. As mentioned in other reports the boatman said the frigatebirds come much closer in the evening.
Christmas Island Frigatebird - See the previous species.
Banded Pitta - Heard a few times at KNC, but unfortunately refused to show itself. Not heard at Khao Sok were its apparently more common.
Gurney’s Pitta - THE highlight of the trip! Magnificent views of a pair from Yothin’s hide in KNC. They didn’t seem to be aware of us at all, even though they were as close as 3-4 metres. We probably watched them for 10-minutes before they moved on. The next day we saw a male in the middle of the main trail leading to Crystal Pool were we watched it for a few minutes before it disappeared into the forest. This was very surprising as we weren’t even looking for it. According to Yothin we were very lucky!
Mangrove Pitta - Heard one evening from the Maritime Resort. Unfortunately not seen on Mr. Dai’s mangrove trip, our best chances probably being ruined by our late start.
Green Broadbill - This “emerald” of the rainforest was seen and heard on several occasions in KNC.
Black-and-Red Broadbill - A pair was seen very well in Khao Sok as they crossed the path.
Banded Broadbill - Unfortunately only heard in KNC and Khao Sok. It has a very characteristic call.
Black-and-Yellow Broadbill - Several of these weird-looking birds were seen in KNC. Also heard in Khao Sok.
Asian Fairy Bluebird - Only brief flight-views at the plantation in KNC. Fortunately, several were seen much better in a fruiting tree at the “closed” visitor centre along the Ton Gloy trail in Khao Sok.
Tiger Shrike - One seen along the main road that passes the Morakot in KNC.
Brown Shrike - Singles seen I Krabi and Lumphini Park, Bangkok.
Black Drongo - Several seen in the Krabi area.
Ashy Drongo - Several seen in the Krabi area, appeared to be more common than Black Drongo, although they can be difficult to separate in the field. We also saw one in Lumphini Park, Bangkok, which was of the race leucogenis which are much paler than those we saw further south.
Crow-billed Drongo - Seen on two occasions in KNC
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo - Several seen in the hotel gardens at the Maritime Resort. Wasn’t as conspicuous as Ashy and Black Drongo.
Large-billed Crow - Common in any open habitat, such as the Maritime Resort and Lumphini Park.
Dark-throated Oriole - Seen on two occasions in KNC.
Black-naped Oriole - One seen at the Maritime, I also saw four in a small forest patch to the south of Krabi town.
Common Iora - A few seen at the Maritime, one was also seen in Lumphini Park.
Great Iora - Seen on two occasions in KNC.
Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike - Two seen in Ao Nang.
Large Woodshrike - Two seen at the plantation in KNC.
Ashy Minivet - A small flock seen in a clearing along the Ton Gloy trail in Khao Sok.
Mangrove Whistler - Heard on Mr. Dai’s mangrove trip in Krabi.
Pied Fantail - Two seen in Ao Nang, also seen in Bangkok.
Black-naped Monarch - Three seen in KNC and two seen in the forest on the other side of the river from Art’s.
Asian Paradise-Flycatcher - A few seen in KNC and at the Maritime Resort.
Rufous-winged Philentoma - Seen on two occasions in KNC.
Blue Rock Thrush - A pair seemed to hang around the Maritime Resort, where they could be seen hopping around the pool and on the roof in the evening.
Blue Whistling Thrush - Singles seen at the Maritime and Koh Phi Phi Leh.
Orange-headed Thrush - Seen at dawn along the main trail in KNC.
Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher - Seen on two occasions in KNC.
Asian Brown Flycatcher - A few seen most places we visited.
Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher - One male seen in KNC.
Oriental Magpie Robin - Common, seen almost every day.
White-rumped Shama - Only one seen in KNC, but several seen in Khao Sok.
Ashy Woodswallow - Two seen at Wat Phra Kaeo in Bangkok. They were hanging around the Emerald Buddha building.
Asian Glossy Starling - Several seen in Krabi town, but also in Khao Sok.
Black-collared Starling - A few seen in Lumphini Park.
Common Myna - Common, seen every day.
White-vented Myna - Common in Lumphini Park.
Dusky Crag Martin - A few seen at the Maritime Resort, where they seemed to stay close to the limestone cliffs. 100+ were seen on the canoe trip in Khao Sok.
Barn Swallow - A few seen most places.
Pacific Swallow - Common in the Krabi area, mainly at the Maritime.
Striated Swallow - Common in Krabi and Khao Sok.
Black-headed Bulbul - Common in KNC and Khao Sok.
Black-crested Bulbul - A few seen in KNC and Khao Sok.
Red-whiskered Bulbul - One seen at the Maritime, Krabi. Possibly an escape?
Puff-backed Bulbul - A few seen in KNC.
Stripe-throated Bulbul - Several seen in KNC and Khao Sok.
Yellow-vented Bulbul - Common in Krabi and Khao Sok.
Streak-eared Bulbul - Common, seen almost every day.
Cream-vented Bulbul - 10+ seen in KNC.
Red-eyed Bulbul - Several seen in KNC and Khao Sok.
Spectacled Bulbul - Two seen in KNC.
Ochraceous Bulbul - Two seen in KNC, but at least ten were seen in Khao Sok.
Grey-cheeked Bulbul - Several seen in KNC.
Yellow-bellied Bulbul - Several seen in KNC and Khao Sok.
Hairy-backed Bulbul - A few seen in KNC and Khao Sok.
Buff-vented Bulbul - A few seen in KNC and Khao Sok.
Streaked Bulbul - One seen in KNC.
Rufescent Prinia - Two seen in KNC.
Common Tailorbird - A few seen in Krabi.
Dark-necked Tailorbird - Several seen in KNC and the Krabi area.
Rufous-tailed Tailorbird - Two seen in KNC.
Yellow-browed Warbler - Two seen in KNC.
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler - One seen in KNC.
Eastern Crowned Warbler - One seen in KNC and one in Khao Sok.
Yellow-bellied Warbler - One heard-only in KNC.
Ferruginous Babbler - At least three seen in KNC.
Abbott’s Babbler - Three in KNC and one seen very well while having lunch at Art’s in Khao Sok.
Short-tailed Babbler - A pair of these “little brown jobs” were playing hide-and-seek with us in KNC. One individual was mowing quickly around us in a circle, making it difficult to get a look at it in the bins.
Puff-throated Babbler - Seen and heard in KNC and Khao Sok.
Moustached Babbler - A few seen in KNC.
Scaly-crowned Babbler - Several seen in KNC.
Large Wren Babbler - Unfortunately only heard in KNC. It responded to tape but refused to come any closer.
Rufous-fronted Babbler - Only heard in Khao Sok
Chestnut-rumped Babbler - Heard on several occasions in KNC, but only seen once.
Chestnut-winged Babbler - Mostly heard, but also seen in KNC and Khao Sok.
Striped Tit Babbler- A few seen in KNC and Khao Sok.
Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker - Seen on two occasions in KNC.
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker - Seen many places, including KNC, Krabi and Khao Sok.
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker - Also seen many places, including KNC, Krabi, Khao Sok and Lumphini Park.
Plain Sunbird - One was seen at the “closed” visitor center along the Ton Gloy trail in Khao Sok.
Brown-throated Sunbird - Seen most days, except in the Bangkok area.
Red-throated Sunbird - Only one seen in KNC.
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird - Our only observation was of a pair on Mr. Dai’s mangrove trip in Krabi.
Purple-naped Sunbird - At least four seen in KNC.
Purple-throated Sunbird - Only on seen briefly in KNC.
Olive-backed Sunbird - Fairly common, but only seen in Krabi, Poda Island and Khao Sok.
Crimson Sunbird - Only one male seen in the forest on the other side of the river from Art’s in Khao Sok.
Little Spiderhunter - Several seen in KNC and Khao Sok.
Grey-breasted Spiderhunter - Only one seen at the plantation in KNC.
Forest Wagtail - Only seen in Khao Sok, where one was seen on the other side of the river from Art’s, and two individuals seen along the Ton Gloy trail.
Grey Wagtail - A few individuals were seen in Krabi, Khao Sok and Koh Phi Phi Leh.
Yellow Wagtail - Five seen at Khok Kham were not identified to subspecies level, they might have been Eastern Yellow Wagtail?
Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Common, but not in KNC where we didn’t see any.
White-rumped Munia - A small flock was seen on several occasions at Maritime Resort, where they seemed to prefer one particular tree.
Scaly-breasted Munia - A few seen at the Maritime and in Khao Sok.
Pin-tailed Parrotfinch - We stumbled upon one female/immature of this nomadic species along the denser part of the Ton Gloy trail in Khao Sok. There were possibly more of them present in the vicinity. A hoped for, but quite unexpected tick.
Petter Zahl Marki can be contacted at
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