|Chestnut-naped Forktail Enicurus ruficapillus ©Laurence Poh http://www.laurencepoh.com/|
Ayeyarwady (Irrawady) DeltaAyeyarwady (Irrawady) Delta is a vast complex of islands and waterways that covers an area equivalent to that of the Netherlands. Its size is constantly increasing, although its natural habitat, including swamp and mangrove forest is under threat from charcoal burners and rice cultivation. The delta includes two wildlife sanctuaries – one primarily for marine turtles, the other for crocodiles. The delta is rich in birds, especially from the end of the rainy season in September-October, when a huge wave of migrants fly south from their breeding sites in Central Asia and Siberia to winter in Myanmar. Many of the waders make their way to the paddy plains, coastal mud flats and tidal creeks of the delta. The delta is also one of the last refuges of the Eastern Sarus Crane.
Chin HillsThe Chin Hills, with their cool climate and rich bird fauna of some 200 species the Chin Hills are an excellent place to go bird watching. The open pinewoods are home to a variety of colourful flycatchers as well as the Orange flanked bush robin, Chestnut-vented nuthatch and Fire-tailed sunbird. Black eagles patrol the skies. Rare and endemic birds on Mount Victoria (Natma Taung) include the Spotted wren-babbler, Brown capped Laughingthrush, Black-breasted Parrotbill, Yellow-breasted greenfinch & Myanmar`s most famous endemic, the White-browed nuthatch.
Coastal AreasMyanmar has two principal coastal areas – the narrow strip of Rakhine (Arakan) in the west, with its forested hills behind and Tanintharyi (Tennasserim) in the south. Both are extremely beautiful but little explored in recent times. Southern Rakhine, with its exquisite coastline of rocky headlands, long empty beaches and clear blue sea is the most accessible. Much, but not all of Tanintharyi is out of bounds because of the security situation. However, it was formerly described by a British naturalist (A.O. Hume) as a province of the most varied physical configuration… one in which an hour`s walk may take you from the shimmering velvet of the rice plains to the inaccessible precipices of the limestone hills, from the feathery sea of the jungle to the still recesses of the primeval evergreen forests – a province teeming almost without parallel with wild fruit and flowers and insect life, and with an avifauna (birds) worthy of this glorious profusion and this marvellous diversity of physical surroundings.
Dry ZoneThe Dry Zone is usually associated with an area of central Myanmar, which receives less than 1,275 mm of rain each year. It comprises the plains of the Chindwin, Ayeyarwady and Mu rivers and is bounded by hills in all directions except the south, where it extends as far as Pyay (Prome). Although originally covered with acacia and dry monsoon forest, the area has been cultivated for many hundreds of years. The bird fauna is diverse and the long hot evenings of March and April are punctuated by the stone-on-ice call of the Indian nightjar, whilst the rippling sound of the Burmese barred owlet can be heard at dawn. The skies are patrolled by some of the 63 bird of prey species known from Myanmar, including the White-eyed buzzard eagle and White-backed vulture.
Shan PlateauThe Shan Plateau is comprised of a vast and complex series of rounded hills and plateaux, interspersed with many dried up depressions of former lakes. It has an average elevation of 950 metres and many spectacular gorges, such as that at Gokteik, and extensive cave systems. The western margin is famous for its hill stations, which offer in summer an opportunity to escape the stifling heat of the plains. These include Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo) and Kalaw. Pyin Oo Lwin was known to have a particularly diverse bird fauna in its oak and chestnut copses, although the current situation is unclear. One of the best areas to see birds is Inle Lake, especially in the winter season when it is home to a large number of migrants.
Teak ForestsTeak Forests are Myanmar`s deciduous forests are home to the majority of the world`s teak reserves. These occur predominantly in a wide arc, sandwiched between the central Dry Zone and the mountains of the Rakhine Yoma, Chin Hills and the hills of Sagaing Division and Kachin in the north. One of the best places to see natural teak forest is Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park, which is situated some 180 km west-north-west of Mandalay. It is an area rich in wildlife and was recently described as a magically still, yet intensively alive Eden. To date, eighty bird species have been recorded from Alaungdaw including crested Serpent eagle, Shikra, Great hornbill, Kalij pheasant, Green imperial pigeon and Black-headed woodpecker – one of 40 species of woodpecker known from Myanmar.
The NorthAlthough relatively little visited, the North, which comprises northern Kachin and Sagaing Division, is an area of outstanding natural beauty and wildlife interest. Physically it borders two vast plateaux, the Yunnan to the east and the Tibetan to the north. In the past, extensive snowfields covered much of the area. Even today, there are many glaciers and permanent snow beds in the region, especially adjacent to Myanmar`s highest mountain, Mount Hkakaborazi (5881 metres). The North`s vegetation is dominated by vast areas of broad-leafed evergreen and semi-deciduous rain forest and include many familiar plants, laurels, rhododendrons, magnolias, oaks, willows, cherries and viburnum. A relict alpine flora is present on the highest pinnacles. The forests have an outstanding bird, butterfly and orchid diversity. Over 470 bird species were recorded in the 1930s from Myitkyina district alone and charismatic taxa include Eastern White and Spot-billed pelican, White-winged duck, Asian paradise flycatcher, Mountain Imperial Pigeon and a number of rare and beautiful pheasants.
Yangon (Rangoon)In and around Yangon (Rangoon) – the best and most accessible site is Moyungyi wetland bird sanctuary. One hundred and twenty kilometers north of Yangon, it is well worth a visit. Bird species include the Spot-billed pelican, the Collared Falconet and many winter migrants.
Number of bird species: 1018
Number of endemics: 4
Hooded Treepie Crypsirina cucullata White-browed Nuthatch Sitta victoriae White-throated Babbler Turdoides gularis Rusty-capped Fulvetta Alcippe dubia
* Field Guides & Bird SongFor a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering Asia as a whole - please see the Asia page of Fatbirder
Birds of MyanmarKyaw Nyunt Lwin, Kwin Ma Mathwin and Aung Thant 155 pages, col Illus. Daw Moe Kay Khaing 2003
Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds of Southeast Asiaby Craig Robson. Hardcover - 504 pages. January 2000. Princeton University Press
Buy this book from NHBS.com
List of protected areas in BurmaWebsite
The following are a list of National parks, wildlife sanctuaries and botanical gardens in Burma...
2005 [March] - Ralf JahrausReport
This report is based upon a trip taken by Ralf Jahraus together with his wife Erma from 1st March to 25th May 2005. It was mainly a birding trips, combined with family visit on Java (Erma is native from Solo/Java) and some cultural interest. Especially some cultural sites in Myanmar should not be missed...
2011 [December] - Glen ValentineReport
Our Burmese birding adventure visited the dry, central plains around Bagan, the lush montane forests of Mt. Victoria, the mid-altitude broad-leaved and coniferous forests around Kalaw, the vast Inle Lake and an area of lowland forest around Yangon, scoring every single Burmese endemic species in the process!
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area...
Rockjumper Birding ToursTour Operator
Myanmar is an ornithologically little explored nation that supports a wealth of endemic and range-restricted species. Our tour visits several key sites, including exploring the countries’ unique dry zone habitat for the four bird species endemic to region.
Woodland TravelsTour Operator
Birdwatching by boat: Yangon - Myitkyina - Bhamo...
Checklist - Birds of MyanmarChecklist
Harrison Institute – Myanmar ExpeditionsWebsite
Myanmar - regular expeditions for research and reconnaissance expedition to the western margins of the Shan Plateau with an optional extension to dolphin watch whilst travelling through the gorges and plains of the Ayeyarwady River. This expedition offers a hands on experience of working with wildlife as we visit the bat caves of the marble mountains of Mogok - famous for its ruby mines - and the forests of the nearby wildlife sanctuary of Shwe-U-Daung - described as an area scenically almost unequalled in Burma. En route we will visit Mandalay home of a great Burmese kingdom and stay in the British Raj hill station at Maymyo.
For bargain-hunters, Myanmar may be one of the best birding values around -- in dollars and in birds to view. Stretching from the Chinese border on the north to the Andaman Sea on the south, Thailand and Laos to the east and India and the Indian Ocean to the west, habitats run the gamut of mountains, forests, plains, dry zones, river deltas. I have visited Myanmar for the past two years and plan to go again as soon as my schedule will allow...
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This site was last updated on Saturday, 25th May 2013.
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