Birder's Guide

MAR 2015

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 40 of 67

Checklist of Birds of the World currently recognizes 26 endemic species, but this is certain to grow as more comprehensive taxonomic analyses of the island's avi- fauna are conducted. Several splits seem imminent, including the local race of Island Thrush, sporting a gleaming white head and chestnut underbelly that make it the most distinctive and beautiful of the group, and the local race of Gray-headed Bullfnch, which is duller and less distinctive than those on the mainland and really should be considered the en- demic Owston's Bullfnch. As with most places, the endemic birds rate among the island's most wanted by visiting birders, and most itineraries focus on fnding as many as possible. It helps that almost every one of Taiwan's endemics are knock-out charismatic birds, and quality defnitely wins over quantity on this score. So, it doesn't mat- ter whether you are seeking out the garrulous Taiwan Partridge or handsome Taiwan Scimitar-Babbler. Luckily, it is quite feasible to fnd all 26 endemic spe- cies and more than 70 endemic subspecies on a regu- lar one- to two-week trip. Although most endemics inhabit the highest parts of the country, a few are found at lower altitudes, including the magical Taiwan Blue-Magpie. Some 30 in. (76cm) in length and a cooperative breeder, focks numbering 6–15 individuals of this gaudy creature can be surprisingly diffcult to fnd. When showing visitors around the island, it is always a re- 39 March 2015 | Birder's Guide to Travel Statue of a diety in Sicao. Photo © Keith Barnes "Owston's" Gray-headed Bullfnch. Photo © 阿堯 Black-winged Stilt. Photo © Keith Barnes

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