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A Report from

Ko Rah Ecolodge, Thailand.   February 7th-20th 2010,

Gareth Jones

My wife Maria and I spent 2 weeks at on Ko Rah island at the ecolodge in February 2010. This is an amazingly tranquil place and after a few days of “island time” you totally relax. The accommodation is basic but clean and we had a fantastic sea view with the bungalow virtually on the beach. You could view the sunrise from the balcony of the bungalow as well as watch Pied Hornbills on the Beach! Other birds seen from the balcony included Plaintive Cuckoo, Chestnut headed Bee eater and White-capped Kingfisher. This is an Ecolodge in the true sense of the word and Kim the manager has stuck to his eco principles. (check the website ).

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Pied Hornbill

The ecolodge is surrounded by sea on one side with a distinct lack of sea birds as elsewhere in Thailand and Primary rainforest on a hill behind which is difficult to penetrate. Maria did Yoga at dawn and 4.00p.m which unfortunately meant I had to birdwatch. We didn’t leave the island and amassed 61 species which I felt was quite good. There are walks in the secondary forest and savannah and Nick a volunteer has marked the paths and set a basic hide in the forest. Around the accommodation and sala Asian Fairy bluebirds, White Rumped Shama, Forest Wagtail, and Pied Hornbills were regular as were various Bulbuls and a White Throated Rock Thrush. A good list of raptors suggests a good balance in the largely unexplored Primary forest and I’m sure there are many more species to be found. Also of note are the large number of deserted beaches and mangroves around the island coastline (the island measures 3 x 12 Km) which could well harbour Beach Thick knee. You can kayak around the island in a day (Nick has done it in 6 hrs or less) but judging by my attempts it would take 6 days so wasn’t attempted! I didn’t have a scope with me but IDd raptors on the ridge with photos. Other wildlife included Wild Pig, Dusky Langur, Gliding Geckos and I saw a cobra. 2 lucky guests saw a Dugong by the pier! Overall a very relaxing holiday totally away from the world with only a handful of people on the island. The birding was relaxed and rewarding as was the photography.

White-throated Rock thrush
Forest Wagtail

Birding List for Ko Rah Feb 2010 (asterisk* denotes birds which should be seen reasonably easily)

Common Name

Latin Name

Common Flameback*

Dinopium javanense          Fairly Common

Oriental Pied-Hornbill*

Anthracoceros albirostris   Common, seen daily often 10+ in pines by jetty

Great Hornbill

Buceros bicornis                Occn sightings on ridge


Eurystomus orientalis         Common up on bare branches in savannah

Black-capped Kingfisher*

Halcyon pileata                  Fairly common

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater*

Merops leschenaultia          Common partic in evenings down by beach

Plaintive Cuckoo

Cacomantis merulinus         One seen 

Greater Coucal

Centropus sinensis             Heard more often tha n seen

Vernal Hanging-Parrot*

Loriculus vernalis                Fairly common in savannah -noisy

Asian Palm-Swift*

Cypsiurus balasiensis          Common in savannah

pacific swift / Fork-tailed Swift

Apus pacificus                  Fairly common

Grey-rumped Treeswift

Hemiprocne longipennis      One seen

Great Eared-Nightjar

Eurostopodus macrotis        Seen once at dusk from beach heading towards savannah

Pink-necked Green-Pigeon*

Treron vernans                  Common in mixed flocks

Thick-billed Green-Pigeon*

Treron curvirostra              Fairly common in mixed flocks

Common Sanpiper*

Tringa hypoleucos             Seen most days

Brahminy Kite*

Haliastur Indus                  Fairly common

White-bellied Sea-Eagle*

Haliaeetus leucogaster       Common

Crested Serpent-Eagle

Spilornis cheela                  Occn sightings on ridge (Photo ID)


Accipiter badius                 Occn seen in savannah

Japanese Sparrowhawk

Accipiter gularis                 One sighting in forest (Photo ID)

Grey-faced Buzzard

Butastur indicus                 Uncommon

Greater Spotted Eagle

Aquila clanga                      One fly over(Photo ID)

Blyth's Hawk-Eagle

Spizaetus alboniger             Uncommon on ridge (Photo ID)

Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus                 Seen once

Pacific / Eastern Reef Egret

Egretta sacra                       Uncommon by jetty

Chinese Pond-Heron*

Ardeola bacchus                   Common up to 4 seen on beach

Mangrove Pitta

Pitta megarhyncha                Heard very difficult to see

Asian Fairy-bluebird*

Irena puella                          Common around sala and accomodation

Blue-winged Leafbird

Chloropsis cochinchinensis    Seen occn

Brown Shrike

Lanius cristatus                  Seen occn in savannah

Large-billed Crow*

Corvus macrorhynchos         Common

Black-naped Oriole*

Oriolus chinensis                 Common noisy gregarious

Ashy Minivet

Pericrocotus divaricatus        One sighting

Ashy Drongo*

Dicrurus leucophaeus            One regular by water tank

Bronzed Drongo

Dicrurus aeneus                   Seen in forest once

Common Iora*

Aegithina tiphia                   Fairly common

White-throated Rock-Thrush*

Monticola gularis                  One regular around accommodation (winter visitor)

Orange-headed Thrush*

Zoothera citrina                   Common around accommodation/sala

Asian Brown Flycatcher*

Muscicapa dauurica              Common around accommodation/sala

Oriental Magpie-Robin

Copsychus saularis               uncommon

White-rumped Shama*

Copsychus malabaricus         Common around accommodation/sala

Hill Myna

Gracula religiosa                  Heard in primary forest

Barn Swallow*

Hirundo rustica                    Common

Pacific Swallow*

Hirundo tahitica                   Common

Stripe-throated Bulbul*

Pycnonotus finlaysoni           Common around accommodation/sala

Yellow-vented Bulbul

Pycnonotus goiavier              Uncommon

Olive-winged Bulbul*

Pycnonotus plumosus            Common around accommodation/sala            

Grey-eyed Bulbul*

Iole propinqua                     Fairly common

Lanceolated Warbler

Locustella lanceolata            Seen several times in thick grass by the red trees-not definite but right habitat/jizz + habits. Difficult to flush almost stood on it  

Dusky Warbler

Phylloscopus fuscatus           Uncommon in mangroves

Arctic Warbler

Phylloscopus borealis            Fairly common    

Abbott's Babbler

Malacocincla abbotti             Seen a few times

Thick-billed Flowerpecker*

Dicaeum agile                      Fairly common in savannah            

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker*

Dicaeum trigonostigma          Common in forest

Plain-throated Sunbird*

Anthreptes malacensis          Common in forest

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird

Anthreptes singalensis           Fairly common

Purple-throated Sunbird*

Nectarinia sperata                Common

Olive-backed Sunbird*

Nectarinia jugularis                Common

Crimson Sunbird

Aethopyga siparaja               Fairly common

Forest Wagtail*

Dendronanthus indicus           Common everywhere in the forest


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