Best time for birding in Thailand

What Is The Best Time Of Year For Birding In Thailand?

Are you ready to discover the ultimate bird-watching destination in Thailand? With a wide array of species scattered throughout the country, you’re guaranteed to witness the beauty of nature in full flight.

In this article we’ll cover the ideal time of year for birdwatching in Thailand by considering the bird species you may wish to observe, as well as the destinations to explore.

Best time of year for birding in Thailand

Winter birdwatching in Thailand

During the winter, many of Thailand’s most impressive birding attractions open their doors.

From its mountains and national parks, to its coastal plains and mangrove forests, at this time of the year the country’s avifauna is enriched by an influx of northern Asian migrants.

Most of these species are present all year round in the northern mountains but as the weather cools in October and November they begin to migrate south and can be found across Northern Thailand.

Photo of Yellow-breasted Barbet in Thailand
Yellow-breasted Barbet in Thailand

These include the elusive Siamese Fireback, Diard’s Fireback, Yellow-breasted Barbet and Jerdon’s BushChat among others.

There are a number of superb forest birding destinations within easy reach of Chiang Mai. The most notable are Doi Inthanon, Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang.

Doi Inthanon

The mountain is home to many different species of birds. Including unique ones that can only be seen in this area.

Photo of rainforest in Doi Inthanon, Thailand
Rainforest in Doi Inthanon, Thailand

Bird watchers will have a chance to observe more than 300 species, including the endemic Blue-winged Minla, a rare raptor called the Jerdon’s Baza, as well as the Long-tailed Broadbill.

Birders should also look out for other interesting species such as the Grey-headed Woodpecker and Chestnut Bulbul.

Doi Inthanon National Park, which occupies most of the mountain, is also home to several different kinds of mammals, reptiles and amphibians, such as gibbons, slender lorises, macaques, tigers, reptiles and numerous species of butterflies.

Photo of Long-tailed Broadbill in Thailand
Long-tailed Broadbill in Thailand

Birders should also be on the lookout for some of the rarer birds such as the Grey-bellied Tesia, Asian Stubtail and White-browed Bush Warbler.

Doi Inthanon is one of the best places to visit if you love birdwatching. The area is renowned for hosting an astounding array of bird species, giving you the opportunity to catch sight of rare breeds you won’t see anywhere else.

The mountain also offers beautiful scenery and plenty of opportunities for other activities such as hiking, camping and bird ringing.

Doi Ang Khang

Its diverse bird population and stunning mountain scenery make it an ideal destination for any bird watching enthusiast.

The main attractions of the area are its many resident species such as the Black-headed Sibia, Himalayan Bluetail, Long-tailed Minivet, Grey-capped Woodpecker and the rare White Eared Nightjar.

Photo of Doi Ang Khang mountain in Chiang Mai province, Thailand
Doi Ang Khang mountain in Chiang Mai province, Thailand

Doi Ang Khang is also a great place to observe birds of prey such as the Eurasian Eagle Owl, Mountain Hawk Eagle and Steppe Buzzard.

The area also boasts some interesting migratory birds such as the Common Rosefinch, Grey Wagtail and Himalayan Monal.

For those looking for a more relaxed birding experience, Doi Ang Khang also offers many opportunities to observe some of its wetland species such as the White-crowned Penduline Tit, Black-throated Bushtit and Spotted Creeper.

As well as these more sedentary species, there are also plenty of songbirds to be found in the area such as Grey-breasted Laughingthrush, White-throated Rock Thrush and Yellow-browed Warbler.

Doi Ang Khang is a great spot for bird photographers too, with its dramatic mountain backdrops and unique species providing plenty of photo opportunities.

Doi Lang

Doi Lang is a perfect destination for birders looking to spot some of Thailand’s most beautiful and diverse species. Located in the northern part of Thailand, Doi Lang is home to several hundred different species of birds including many rare and endemic species.

It lies within the Mae Fang National Park which also serves as an ideal habitat for a variety of different species. 

The best time for birding in Doi Lang is during the dry season from October to April when the temperature is more comfortable and migration patterns are at their peak.

Photo of Black Baza in Thailand
Black Baza in Thailand

During this time, many unique species can be seen including Great Egrets, Grey Herons, Brahminy Kites, Black Baza and Barred Buttonquail.

In the higher elevations of Doi Lang, you can also spot some unique species such as the White-browed Fulvetta, Grey Treepie and Green-billed Malkoha. 

Doi Lang is a great place for birdwatchers of all levels and expertise. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, you can enjoy the multitude of birds that inhabit this region and take home some amazing photographs. The picturesque landscape and stunning views will make your birding experience even more memorable.

Spring birding in Thailand

Thailand is a bird watcher’s paradise with over 1,068 species documented. There are countless terrains just waiting to be explored, offering the perfect location to match your birding preferences.

During this period, the specialties are easier to find and sightings are more frequent. You will be able to see White-winged Duck, Lesser Whistling-Duck and White-breasted Waterhen as well as a variety of other water birds.

Visiting Lumpini Park in Bangkok is also worth a look as there are a wide range of birds to see including Water Monitors and if you are lucky, even some rarities. The Park is easy to get to on the BTS or MRT, and is only a short distance from the city.

Summer birding in Thailand

Situated at the crossroads of Southeast Asia and containing an exceptionally high number of colorful resident species, Thailand supports healthy numbers of migrant visitors from the Palearctic Region.

Besides its impressive avifauna, Thailand also boasts an excellent network of national parks and wildlife reserves. Combined with legendary Thai hospitality and some of the finest cuisine in Asia, Thailand is an exotic birdwatching destination that will never fail to delight and excite.

Fall birding in Thailand

In north Thailand birding is very popular in the fall months with many birds from China moving south to the northern rice paddies and lowlands of the country.

A number of avian gems can be found here including Asian Openbill Stork, Purple Heron, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Yellow Bittern and a number of other exotic species to add to your Thailand birding list.

There are plenty of opportunities for a wide range of species in the southern area around Krabi and Ko Phi Phi, although it is worth hiring a guide here as the species are more concentrated in the rainforest and mangroves and can be quite difficult to find without a local birding expert.

Final remarks

Birding in Thailand is a must-do for all nature and bird enthusiasts.

From the endemic birds of Doi Inthanon National Park to the migratory birds of Chiang Mai, and also with a range of habitats and bird species to choose from, Thailand is one of the best places in the world for twitchers to explore. 

If you enjoyed this article check out our guide on where to birdwatch in Los Angeles.

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