11 COMMON Birds found in Taiwan! (2024)

Are you trying to learn about the types of birds in Taiwan?

Types of birds in Taiwan

There are tons of interesting species to observe. From tiny bee-eaters to large, colorful peacocks, there’s something to catch everyone’s attention!

Due to the sheer number of species, there was no way to include every bird found in Taiwan in this article. So instead, I tried to focus on the birds that are most regularly seen and observed.

Today, you will learn about 11 COMMON types of birds in Taiwan!

#1. Black Drongo

  • Dicrurus macrocercus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 28 cm (11 in) long.
  • Its coloring is glossy black, with a gray beak and legs. It has red eyes.
  • This species has a distinctive forked tail, but the tail feathers are rounded instead of pointed.

The Black Drongo is completely black and has a distinctive forked tail. They’re found in savannas, open country, fields, and even urban centers. This species flies with snappy wing movements, making it agile in the air for hunting its main food source, insects. They even perch on grazing animals because they can gobble up any insects disturbed by the larger animals.

If you used one word to describe the Black Drongo, it would be aggressive! Whether they’re guarding their territory, fighting for mating dominance, or hunting for food, this bird in Taiwan is one that very few other species will mess with. In fact, it’s often called the “King Crow” because of its domineering personality.

Smaller birds often nest nearby the Black Drongo because it keeps them safe, too. And in return for their protection, the smaller birds often feed the young of the Drongo. It’s an even trade, bodyguard to babysitter. 🙂

Their song can be quite loud and harsh, and they have the unfortunate habit of singing very early in the morning.

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#2. Common Myna

  • Acridotheres tristis

Types of birds in Taiwan

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 23 cm (9 in) long.
  • They have thick yellow legs, a yellow-tipped bill, and a yellow patch of skin underneath their eyes.
  • Their plumage is glossy black on the head with a brown body and lighter undercarriage. The undersides of their wings are pure white.

The Common Myna is one of only three birds worldwide to make the Top 100 Most Invasive Species list! Although the reasons are complex, the IUCN Species Survival Commission stated that it poses “a threat to biodiversity, agriculture, and human interests.”

The main problem with the Common Myna is that it will eat basically anything, meaning it can outcompete native species and decimate their numbers. They readily devour the chicks and eggs of other birds, lizards, fruits, beetles and their larvae, spiders, snails, flies, worms, and caterpillars.

But, as the saying (sort of) goes, one man’s invasive pest is another Farmer’s Friend. At least, that’s what this species is called in India, where it eats insects that damage crops, like grasshoppers and locusts. 🙂

This species doesn’t just eat all day either – their extreme vocal range makes for a noisy day anytime they’re around. They can growl, croak, chirrup, squawk, whistle, and click. The Common Myna can even mimic human speech!

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#3. Grey Heron

  • Ardea cinerea

Types of birds in Taiwan

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 100 cm (39 in) tall with a 155–195 cm (61–77 in) wingspan.
  • Their coloring is white overall with narrow bluish-black stripes on the front of the body and the head. A long, thin crest of dark feathers falls off the back of the head.
  • The wings are light gray, with dark slate-gray wingtips.
  • The sharply pointed bill is a faint yellow, and the legs are dark pink to brown.

The Grey Heron is a wading bird native to the temperate climates of Taiwan.

Look for them in wetlands, lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and coastal areas by the sea. They’re comfortable around humans, sometimes visiting recreational fishermen on the shore looking for snacks. They even visit zoos to grab food left for the animals on display!

Grey Herons are the apex predator in their range, meaning they aren’t preyed upon by larger animals. They stand still with their necks coiled, ready to stab instantly when a fish or other prey comes into range. Additionally, they often stand on one leg to disguise themselves like a stick in the water.

Their sounds can be guttural and creaky or a sudden and startling “Gwack!”

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#4. Light-Vented Bulbul

  • Pycnonotus sinensis

Types of birds in Taiwan

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 19 cm (7.4 in) long.
  • They are white on the underside, with a beige bib beneath a white chin and a black bill and face.
  • The back is smoky grey, the wings are grey and olive, and the legs are black.

Look for the Light-vented Bulbul in open spaces where it can stretch its wings. Lightly wooded forests, urban parks, suburbs, and towns are all common. Although omnivorous, they focus more on insects during the breeding season. They eat berries, vegetables, soft fruits, and figs in the winter.

Their cup-shaped nests are lined with rootlets, flowers, fine grasses, and leaves. But the easiest way to recognize their nest is to listen! The chicks sing constantly until they’re ready to fledge.

Its calls and songs vary widely, but the most common is a quick “chit-chit-chit.”

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#5. Oriental Magpie

  • Pica serica

Types of birds in Taiwan

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 46–50 cm (18-20 in) long.
  • This species is black overall, with an iridescent purplish-blue wash over the back and tail.
  • They have a white patch on the wings and belly.

These birds are immortalized in Taiwan in books, stamps, currency, and many everyday items. Oriental Magpies represent luck, prosperity, love, wealth, and just about everything good. Children are even told to throw teeth they’ve lost onto the roof of their house for magpies, and he will bring them a new tooth.

In addition, the Oriental Magpie has proven to be one of the most intelligent creatures after humans. In intelligence tests, it outperforms apes and dolphins. This incredible bird even recognizes itself in a mirror, a skill human babies don’t pick up until they’re toddlers. Additionally, when dividing food for the young, they will make and use tools to cut food into bite-sized portions.

In the wild, look for the Oriental Magpie in forests, meadows, savannas, and sagebrush offering lots of insects and water. They rarely migrate, instead nesting and living in the same area year-round. The chicks quickly move out of the nest but often stay in the family territory.

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#6. Spotted Dove

  • Streptopelia chinensis

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 28-32 cm (11-13 in) long.
  • This species has red eyes, a rosy-grey breast, head, and underbody, and a nearly-black mantle that is densely spotted with white.
  • The tail is unusually long for a pigeon and tipped in white.

Depending on where you live, you may know this bird in Taiwan as the “lace-necked dove”, “pearl-necked dove”, “mountain dove”, or “spotted turtle dove”. They generally rove in pairs but may form groups, especially when foraging for seeds, grains, fruit fallen from trees, and grass seeds. They’ve been known to take insects on occasion.

The wing pattern is interesting as each feather has a drop-shadow, making it look extremely three-dimensional, even though they lay completely flat. This defensive characteristic interferes with a predator’s depth perception and makes them miss a strike.

Spotted Doves are a welcome addition to parks and backyards. However, their habit of springing into flight when disturbed is hazardous around airports, causing damage to planes. Some airports have responded by hiring falconers to fly their raptors around the airport, making them avoid the area and keeping it safe for air traffic.

Their sounds are soft and soothing, and they’re exceptionally comfortable around humans.

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#7. White Wagtail

  • Motacilla alba

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 16.5-19 cm (6.4-7.4 in) long.
  • Their coloring is black, white, and dull gray. Their white face and black throat are the most noticeable features.
  • This species has long legs, a puffed chest, and a rounded head.

White Wagtails are common across Eurasia, but incredibly, this little guy sometimes ventures all the way to western Alaska for nesting. It makes its home in abandoned fishing huts and cabins, beach debris, or empty oil drums.

This species falls victim to the Common Cuckoo, a brood parasite that lays its eggs in the host’s nest. Usually, a host bird is forced to care for the cuckoo chick, but not White Wagtails. Since they are too small to destroy the eggs, they often abandon an invaded nest and start over.

The White Wagtail got its name from the way it forages along the water’s edge, wagging its tail, looking for insects. They mostly hunt on land but will pursue prey in the air occasionally. Sometimes they wade in shallows or walk atop floating masses of vegetation while on the hunt. Likely prey includes crane flies, midges, mayflies, and aquatic larvae.

Its call is an extremely short and fast pair of high-pitched chirrups.

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#8. Little Egret

  • Egretta garzetta

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 55–65 cm (22–26 in) long with an 88–106 cm (35–42 in) wingspan.
  • They are white with black bills and legs and yellow eyes and feet.
  • Their necks have a strong “S” curve, and they have a thin tuft of long feathers on the head.

These aquatic birds in Taiwan are almost always found near the water.

Look for Little Egrets along coastlines and larger inland waterways like lakes and rivers. They catch fish, crustaceans, and insects directly from the water while standing in the shallows or flying over the surface.

Little Egrets are very sociable and commonly form small flocks. However, despite their tendency to group together, they can be very territorial about food. Often, these small egrets will fight one another for prime hunting locations unless food is abundant.

The population of the Little Egret has been threatened by overhunting not once but twice throughout history. During the Middle Ages, this species was hunted for food to near extinction. Then in the late 1800s, Little Egrets were threatened once more by overhunting for their feathers.

This species is protected by conservation laws and considered a species of least concern. It’s got to be persistent to have survived all that!

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#9. Rock Pigeon

  • Columba livia

kinds of pigeons in the united states

Identifying Characteristics:

  • A plump bird with a small head, short legs, and a thin bill.
  • The typical pigeon has a gray back, a blue-grey head, and two black wing bars. But their plumage is highly variable, and it’s common to see varieties ranging from all-white to rusty brown.

Rock Pigeons are extremely common birds in Taiwan but are almost exclusively found in urban areas.

These birds are what everyone refers to as “pigeons.” You have probably seen them gathering in huge flocks in city parks, hoping to get some birdseed or leftover food tossed their way.

Pigeons are easily attracted to bird feeders, especially if leftover food is on the ground. Unfortunately, these birds can become a nuisance if they visit your backyard in high numbers. Many people find their presence overwhelming and look for ways to keep them away!

These birds are easy to identify by sound. My guess is that you will already recognize their soft, throaty coos. (Press PLAY below)

Love them or hate them, Rock Pigeons have been associated with humans for a long time! Some Egyptian hieroglyphics suggest that people started domesticating them over 5,000 years ago. And because of these facts, scientists aren’t even sure where their original range was.

#10. Barn Swallow

  • Hirundo rustica

barn swallow pic

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Small bird with a flat head, thin bill, pointed wings, thick neck, and fork-like tail.
  • Both sexes are similar – striking royal blue back, rusty brown underparts, with a rufous colored forehead and throat. White spots on the tail are typically visible during flight.

These birds are typically found in Taiwan in open fields, meadows, pond marshes, or coastal waters.

Barn Swallows prefer to eat larger insects rather than eating groups of smaller ones. They primarily feed close to water or the ground catching insects in mid-air. This bird doesn’t typically ever come to bird feeders. But you may get lucky if you leave out eggshells or oyster shells on a platform feeder. These foods aid in their digestion.

One interesting fact about Barn Swallows is sometimes, an unmated male will kill young birds in a nest to break up the parenting Barn Swallow couple. Then the unmated male gets together with the female. Talk about a complicated love triangle! 🙂

Both males and females sing a song of warbling notes and mechanical sounds. Listen below.

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#11. Eurasian Tree Sparrow

  • Passer montanus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The wings and back are medium brown with black streaks, and the belly is pale tan to white.
  • They have a black face, black eyes, and a blue-grey beak in summer that turns black during the winter.
  • A chestnut brown cap runs down the nape of the neck.

Eurasian Tree Sparrows are often found in cities, urban centers, and neighborhoods. However, you can also find them in farmland, open woods, and large parks.

Interestingly, these little songbirds are not only found in Taiwan, but across the world. Twelve individuals were released in North America where they quickly took up residence. Since the North American population descended from these twelve birds, there’s a lot less variety in their size, coloring, and shape than the birds in Taiwan, where there are as many as 30 subspecies!

At first glance, Eurasian Tree Sparrows might look like any other small brown bird. But once you know what to look for, they are easy to identify! The top of the head and back of the neck on a Tree Sparrow is covered in a rich chestnut color. They have a bright white patch on the cheeks and a black throat, with distinctive brown patterns on the wings.

Their call is high and shrill and sounds like “tchee-TCHEE, tchee-TCHEE, tchee-TCHEE.”

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Which of these birds in Taiwan have you seen before?

Leave a comment below!

Check out these guides to other animals found in Taiwan!

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