DOI INTHANON NATIONAL PARK
|# Excl Vagrants:||301|
|# Near Endemics:||0|
|Habitat: Montane rain forest, dry open Dipterocarp forest, scrub|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
Doi Inthanon National Park is the premier birding destination in northern Thailand. The 40 km road inside the park offers an altitudinal transect from scrub and dry open Dipterocarp forest to montane rainforest. At the summit is a small sphagnum bog, the only one in Thailand. Due to a sizeable hill tribe population. extensive deforestation mars the park, but the remaining habitat is enough to still support high species diversity. Highway markers along the road to the summit are a convenient way to denote prime birding locales. Below are a few selected sites worth birding, among many.
The drier forest at lower elevations is home to several species seldom seen elsewhere in Thailand, notably Black-headed Woodpecker, White-rumped Falcon, and Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch. Another target bird, Black-backed Forktail, can be found along streams through the forest. At higher elevations notable target birds include Purple Cochoa and Green Cochoa. The best place to look is a parking area near the river at Km 13. The campsite reached from a turnoff at Km 30 that goes through a Hmong village leads to a small pond where Black-tailed Crake is possible with perseverance. The nearby forested areas and orchards are good for Fire-capped Tit, Chinese Leaf-Warbler, and Daurian Redstart. A dirt road off the main highway at Km 34.5 goes through some open and closed forest where it's possible to pick up Streak-breasted Woodpecker, Collared Falconet, Hume's Warbler, Green Cochoa, and Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler. At Km 37.5 is 1 one-kilometer trail that is the most birded site in the park aside from the summit boardwalk. Possibilities include Slaty-bellied Tesia, Green Cochoa, and Spectacled Barwing, the latter usually farther down the track. Scrub habitat at Km 41.5 is excellent for Mountain Bamboo-Partridge, White-headed Bulbul, Buff-throated Warbler. Birding must be early in the morning due to the many visitors to the Buddhist stupa there. Just beyond that point a parking lot at Km 42 is the only reliable spot for finding Gorals, a small goat-like ungulate that inhabits rocky hillsides. The best birding at the summit is along the boardwalk around the sphagnum bog. Likely species there include Pygmy Cupwing, Ashy-throated Warbler, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Blyth's Leaf-Warbler, Himalayan Bluetail, and Dark-sided Thrush. The summit area is also one of the few places to find Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker in Thailand. Other notable species include Rufous-throated Partridge, Buff-barred Warbler, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Black-crowned Fulvetta, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Silver-eared Laughingthrush, and Green-tailed Sunbird.
LOCATION OF SITE
Doi Inthanon National Park is located about 80km southwest of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. The drive takes about 1½ hours to the park and another 45 min. to the summit of the mountain.