Introduction to Bird Watching in Myanmar
(text compiled by Paul Bates, Harrison Institute)
Myanmar is blessed with a rich and diverse bird fauna. Currently, some 1,117 species have been recorded from the country. These include 8 endemics and 45 species that are globally endangered. There are 55 IBAs (Important Bird Areas). Within Southeast Asia, Myanmar is second only to Indonesia in terms of bird species richness.
In order to promote bird watching in Myanmar, we have chosen to feature 16 of the country’s most accessible and most interesting sites. In general, they have the richest and most diverse bird fauna as well as roads and accommodation that will allow the visitor to travel in some degree of comfort and at a reasonable cost.
They include a range of habitats and geographical locations that can be broadly grouped into:
- Forest birds – Putao, Alaungdaw Kathapa, Nat Ma Taung (Mount Victoria), Mount Popa, Kalaw, Hlawga and Yangon, Kyaikhtiyo and Myeik
- Wetland birds – Indawgyi, Ayeyarwady River, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Moeyungyi
- Coastal birds – Meinmahlakyun and Gulf of Mottama
- Dry Zone birds – Bagan
- Endemic birds – Bagan and Nat Ma Taung (Mount Victoria) Chin Hills.
We have provided brief information about the 16 sites as well as practical tips about how to visit them. Where possible, we have also included bird lists for the individual locations. These are not comprehensive but give an indication of the interesting species that you might encounter. In addition, we have incorporated relevant reports from those who have very kindly contributed their expert knowledge and experience to articles posted on the internet. These reports provide invaluable information for those who wish to replicate their bird watching experiences.
For most of the sites, we have listed tours that are currently offered to these areas by various tour agencies. These lists are NOT comprehensive and we do NOT endorse the tours or take any responsibility for the quality or otherwise of these tours. It is simply reporting what is available on the internet. However, it should be noted that some of the companies are more specialist than others. We would welcome feed-back and birding reports, which we will include in updates of the website. We also welcome all tour companies to send us information and links about tours that we have omitted through oversight.
To help protect these birding sites, we encourage visitors to send us information on environmental issues, either good or bad, associated with the 16 locations. Bird watchers not only provide valuable income to local communities but also act as the eyes and ears of the world in helping to monitor challenges to, and misuse of, the environment.
We thank you for your interest. For those who live in Myanmar, we encourage you join the very vibrant Myanmar Bird and Nature Society. They are an active groups of birders with an ever changing and interesting Facebook page.
We thank all those who contributed additional photographs to this website including U Kyaw Myo Naing of Wild Wings Group, Dr Pipat Soisook, Dr Swen Renner and Dr Sai Sein Lin Oo.
Meanwhile, we wish you all some very enjoyable and productive bird watching.
Dr Paul Bates (Director, Harrison Institute, UK) and
Dr Thein Aung (Chairman, Myanmar Bird and Nature Society)