Birding in Taiwan: 9. Taiwan Hwamei

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“An endemic Laughingthrush that is a “secretive resident of scrub, tall grass and forest edge” (Brazil 2009), the Taiwan Hwamei (Garrulax taewanus) is usually found below an altitude of 300 meters but small numbers can extend to an altitude of 1,000 meters ASL (Avifauna of Taiwan, 2nd edition).

“This species is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN red list. It was common in the past but lowland habitat damage and pet bird trade as a singing bird dwindled numbers. Although now protected, numbers are still threatened by the import of the mainland Chinese Hwamei (Garrulax canorus) which results in hybrids.

“The word Hwamei means ‘painted brow/eye-brow’ – a feature seen in the Chinese Hwamei but not in the Taiwan Hwamei.

“The bird is more often heard than seen. The calls are loud, long, varied and melodious – HERE and HERE. Although Brazil says there is no mimicry (unlike the mainland species) the Avifauna of Taiwan says it imitates other birds.

“A sonogram and waveform of calls is given above.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
18th December 2014

Location: Road to Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area, Dongshi, Taiwan
Habitat: Rural agricultural community with secondary growth and scrub/tall grass

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