Coppersmith BarbetBirding in Thailand at Khao Sok National Park

Bird watching takes place in all sorts of environments. Some birders prefer walking through forests or jungles. Some birders fancy seeing birds in a beach atmosphere. One of the easiest and most productive ways to watch birds is from the comfort and convenience of a traditional kayak or canoe. It's almost effortless to slip up close to birds in their natural habitat by a self-propelled kayak (canoe). Our Khao Sok birding tour is relaxing and very productive.

The bird watching in Thailand is outstanding! Paddle Asia offers several trips which include birding.

Did you realize that there have been close to 1,000 species of birds recorded in Thailand? Over 200 species of birds that have been recorded in Thailand's mangrove forests! Close to 400 species of birds reside in or visit Khao Sok National Park. Hornbill sightings are actually common in Khao Sok! You're likely to see plenty of exotic tropical birds on our trips to Phang Nga Bay trip where mangrove forests are common.

Brown-winged Kingfisher

Brown-winged Kingfisher, Size: 36 cm

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.

We can combine any of our destinations to give you a better chance of seeing more birds.
One nice combination tour is Khao Sok and Phang Nga Province.

There are many families of birds in Thailand, here are a couple of favorites

White-throated KingfisherOriental Dwarf Kingfisher, photo by Ian DugdaleKingfishers - 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.

Great HornbillHornbills - All of the hornbills found in Thailand are resident... they don't migrate.

These very primative birds are one of the most amazing birds in Thailand. You don't have to be a seasoned birder to appreciate these unique flying wonders of nature.

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. If you see hornbills, there is some nice jungle somewhere nearby.

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.

Helpful birding hints

Birding tours – The best way to get started in birding is to go on a birding adventure tour. If you choose the right birding tour, you'll be rewarded with great bird sightings and a wealth of birding information. Paddle Asia offers birding tours to several locations in southern Thailand. Khao Sok National Park is the best place to see hornbills along with a wide variety of exotic tropical birds. Phang Nga Bay is great for seeing various shore birds, kingfishers, and birds that inhabit the limestone islands.

Binoculars - As a very rough guide for first-time birders when purchasing birding binoculars, look for a pair that when you divide the first number into the second number you come up with the number five. 7X35 binoculars, for example, equal five when divided. 10X50 binoculars result in five also. The first number is the magnification. The second number is the field of vision. Many binoculars are available that offer good magnification, but without sufficient field of vision, you'll have difficulty finding the bird.

To identify some species of birds, you'll need to see details. Powerful binoculars are essential for identifying birds.

Field Guide – there are several field guides for the birds of Thailand. The best is A Guide to the Birds of Thailand by Boonsong Lekagul and Dr. Philip Round. There's a quick reference is on the inside cover. A map is provided for each bird showing its range and whether it’s a resident, winter visitor, or a passage migrant. The various bird species are given in high quality drawings.

Learn the birds in the area – Learn which birds are in the area that you plan on visiting before going there. This makes positive identification much easier.

Visit our main Thailand birding website for complete detailed information on our excellent birding tours in Khao Sok and Phang Nga provinces, photo galleries, prices, binoculars, and field guides.

Certification in Paddlesports and First Aid

Dave is a British Canoe Union Level 2 Coach (trained to Level 3) and is the most experienced paddler in all of Southern Thailand.

Dave is an Emergency First Response Instructor and a certified rescue technician through the Rescue 3 International organization. Dave is also a certified Life Guard through the British Canoe Union. View certifications. Paddle Asia guides are certified in CPR, First Aid, and basic life guard training.

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This page last updated on Wednesday, March 12, 2014