Rufous-crowned Laughingthrush, Tengjhih National Forest, July 11th

Birds seen:

  • Rufous-crowned Laughingthrush 4
  • Yellow Tit 2
  • Maroon Oriole 1 male
  • Black Eagle 1
  • Vivid Niltava 1 male
  • White-tailed Robin 3
  • Green-backed Tit 5
  • Black-throated Tit 30
  • Grey-cheeked Fulvetta 1
  • Rufous-capped Babbler 2
  • Rufous-faced Warbler 15
  • Steere’s Liocichla 15
  • Taiwan Sibia 5
  • House Swift 30
  • Striated Swallow 30
  • Crested Serpent Eagle heard
  • Taiwan Barbet heard
  • Striated Prinia heard

Rufous-crowned Laughingthrush can be a particularly tricky Taiwanese endemic bird to see. Visiting birders usually see it in the north-central mountains at Dasyueshan – which is where I’ve had my only previous sighting – or one of the other mountain locations in the north. Further south, reports of this species are few and far between.

It had crossed my mind that there was a possibility to see this bird at Tengjhih, but I considered it an outside chance at best. So it was quite a surprise to encounter a group of four of these lovely birds, high in trees along the trail to the Tengjhih National Forest park headquarters. Two of them showed fairly well – including a preening bird in full view for a time. Much better than my previous sighting at Dasyueshan in dense fog.

Otherwise, bird activity was a lot higher than on my last Tengjhih visit in early June. Several post-breeding flocks of birds were roving through the forest and edges, including Yellow Tit and a good count of 5 individual Green-backed Tits. Oddly, no Taiwan Yuhinas were seen – usually it’s one of the commonest birds here. A male Maroon Oriole along the road near park headquarters was a surprising find at this altitude, a male Vivid Niltava sang from a bare tree branch at Km 18, and a superb Black Eagle passed low overhead near the Km 15 village.

Year tick: Rufous-crowned Laughingthrush (total 217).

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