There are many families of birds in Thailand. Rare birds, such as the Gurney's Pitta, are fairly easy to see if you visit the right place. Thailand, unlike her neighbors, is a prosperous country and therefore the locals don't need to eat wild birds to survive. This is great news for birders. We love all birds, but here are some of our favorite easy-to-see bird families:
There are 86 species of kingfishers worldwide. Thailand has 15 species. Most of them have bright plumage. Kingfishers typically perch in trees in an upright exposed posture. They often plunge-dive in the water for food. They eat fish, shrimp, other small aquatic animals, insects, and occasionally small terrestrial animals such as lizards.
Some species, such as the White-throated Kingfisher, inhabit inland areas. They’re commonly seen around rice fields looking for lizards, frogs, and insects. They’re absolutely stunning when the sunlight hits their beautiful shiny blue feathers.
Here is one example of the beautiful birds of Thailand. This uncommon resident is actually fairly common in Phang Nga Bay and our other locations where healthy stands of mangrove can be found.
It is large for a kingfisher with a chocolate brown wing and a gorgeous orange body.
There is also a bright blue rectangle on its back. Many of the kingfishers of Southern Thailand have this same bluish patch.
The voice of this bird is also quite distinct, a loud, piercing, descending whistle. Once you heard this, you will not likely forget it.
Oriental Dwark Kingfisher
Photos by Ian Dugdale
There are 54 species of hornbill worldwide. Thailand has 13 species.
We often see Wreathed Hornbills, Great Hornbills, Oriental-pied Hornbills and the bizzare Helmeted Hornbills at Khao Sok. Plain-pouched, Southern-pied and White-crowned are seen less frequently. All of the hornbills found in Thailand are resident.
Here is some Great Hornbill photos.
Hornbills are primarily frugivorous (fruit eaters) though they will take small reptiles, insects, and even other smaller birds during molting or when rearing young.
Hornbills make their nests in holes in trees. Dipterocarpus, massive straight-trunked trees, are a popular species for hornbills to build their nests as are the Syzygium species. If you see hornbills, there is some nice jungle somewhere nearby as these trees are prized for their hard straight wood. They are among the first to be cut down when humans encroach.
Hornbills mate for life and also return to the same tree each year to rear young. Hornbills can't excavate a hole in a tree, so they depend on natural holes. Natural holes are that common. That's probably why they return to the same tree year after year.
The female seals herself in a hole using mud and droppings. This helps prevent predation. The male's role is that of a food provider.
He will bring the female and their young food until the young are ready to leave their transitory home.
Close to 400 species of birds reside in or visit Khao Sok. Click here to see a list of birds you will possibly see on a Khao Sok Birding trip.