KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK
|# Excl Vagrants:||377|
|# Near Endemics:||1|
|Habitat: Seasonal evergreen forest, hill evergreen forest, grassland|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
Khao Yai National Park features some excellent birding in seasonal and hill evergreen forest as well as open grassland. It's perhaps the best place in Thailand to see hornbills. However, the park is heavily visiting and especially crowded on weekends and holidays, making roadside birding very difficult most of the time. The park has a well developed network of trails through both forest and grassland.
Abundant hornbill species are Oriental Pied-Hornbill, Great Hornbill, and Wreathed Hornbill. Much less common is Brown Hornbill. A layby at Km 33 is a good place for hornbills. Other bird species attracted to fig trees there include Gray-headed Woodpecker, Laced Woodpecker, Black-and-buff Woodpecker, Long-tailed Broadbill, Banded Broadbill, Dusky Broadbill, Common Green-Magpie, and White-crested Laughingthrush, though only when the trees are fruiting. A trail beginning there leads into the forest. It's easy to follow for the first kilometer but thereafter it's easy to get lost. Notable possibilities along the trail include Scaly-breasted Partridge, Siamese Fireback, Red-headed Trogon, Blue Pitta. The best time is when trees are fruiting.
Areas that get very busy during the day but can be good in early morning are the Wildlife Watchtower and Headquarters area. The trail to the watch tower is good for open country birds, while fruiting trees around the headquarters attract barbets and other birds. One of the most productive trails is Trail B, beginning across from the park headquarters. This is the best trail for ground-dwelling skulkers such as pittas and Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo. Other possibilites during dry season include White-rumped Shama, Siberian Blue Robin, and Orange-headed Thrush. Trail A from the Pa Gluay Mai campsite leads through good forest to a waterfall and is good for a variety of forest birds. This trail is somewhat steep and requires a person to be in good shape. Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo is very possible along this trail. Other likely species include Radde's Warbler, Abbott's Babbler, White-crested Laughingthrush, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, Black-throated Laughingthrush, and all four species of hornbills.
A variety of mammals can also be seen in the park. Some of the more commonly seen species are Pig-tailed Macaque, White-handed Gibbon, Asian Elephant, and Gaur.
LOCATION OF SITE
Khao Yai National Park is located about 2 hours drive (78 miles) northeast of Bangkok. The highway is considered to be the most dangerous in Thailand so careful driving is advisable.