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KAENG KRACHAN NATIONAL PARK

THAILAND
LOCALE

Area (ha):291,500
Altitude (m):300-1513
# Species:375
# Excl Vagrants:375
# Endemics:0
# Near Endemics:0
Species/100 ha:0.1
Habitat: Hill evergreen forest, wet lowland evergreen forest, broadleaf forest

ABOUT THE BIRDING

Kaeng Krachan is Thailand's largest national park and is part of an extensive forested area that extends into neighboring Myanmar. For that reason it's home to some 57 mammals including Leopard, White-bearded Gibbon, Dusky Langur, Banded Langur, Stump-tailed Macaque, Banteng, and more. It's also home to over 400 bird species including some of Thailand's rarest species. Most of the forest is in excellent condition, but many areas are off limits to visitors. The southern-most extent of many northern birds and the northern-most extent of many southern birds are in this park. Kaeng Krachan is the only place in Thailand to see Ratchet-tailed Treepie, a basically Indochina species. These can be seen only at the highest altitudes in the park, often near the Royal Lodge and the Panoen Tung campsite. The park is also the best place to see broadbills, spectacular birds that are very difficult to see except during breeding season from mid-Febrary-July. For these reasons the park is a top attraction among birders and worth spending 2-3 days birding there.

Notable birding areas include the headquarters area, located outside the forest but good for wetland and open country species, the entry roads leading into the park, and the gardens and water hole at the popular Ban Song Nok guesthouse. The Bang Krang campsite offers excellent birding due to the forest edge effect. Possibilities include Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Blue-eared Barbet, Common Flameback, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Scarlet Minivet, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Yellow-browed Warbler, Claudia's Leaf-Warbler, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Blue-winged Leafbird, and many others. This site is also good for a variety of owls and Great Eared-Nightjar. The higher elevation Panoen Tung campsite is an excellent place for barbets and other species such as Blyth's Shrike-Babbler, Flavescent Bulbul, Mountain Bulbul, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Streaked Spiderhunter, and various wintering migrants such as Ashy Drongo and Blue Rock-Thrush. Numerous spots along the road are also very good. The stream crossings are the best place to see Orange-breasted Trogon and Brown Hornbill along with woodpeckers and mixed species flocks. Ratchet-tailed Treepie is most commonly seen within a kilometer of the car park located at Km 27.5. Other birds in this area include Red-headed Trogon and Long-tailed Broadbill.

LOCATION OF SITE

Kaeng Krachan National Park is located on the border with Myanmar in western Thailand, about 200km (3 hours) from Bangkok.