Birding Tours Chiang Mai


Nestling at the foothills of Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park, the Centre of the Universe is a good base for bird lovers who also want to visit a range of tourist attractions during their time in Chiang Mai.

Our water tank tower, overlooking the treelines of neighbouring orchards, provides a good vantage point for observing birds in flight and those resting in the top branches. Over the course of a 12 month period a founding member of our swimming club, and a very knowledgeable ornithologist, recorded 54 different bird species in our gardens. As the topography of the area has not changed much over the last few years, we see the same species each season. Good birding opportunities abound within our locality, and, if you are prepared to travel a little further, Chiang Mai is a birder’s paradise!

Birds of Doi Inthanon 1We are 3 kilometres from Huay Tung Tao Reservoir, where over 250 bird species have been sighted around the lake. 14 kilometres away is Mae Hia – lowland paddy fields, scrubland, and home to, or visited by, 246 bird species. The high ground of Doi Suthep-Doi Pui, 348 recorded bird species, is 20 kilometres by car. Doi Inthanon National Park, the highest point in Thailand, is home to over 500 bird species. The park is 118 kilometres from the Centre of the Universe – doable in one day with an early morning start to arrive at sunrise, or stay overnight and observe night birds.

Birds of Doi Inthanon 3Centre of the Universe staff are not expert birders but we work with a local Thai guide who is, and who is fluent in English.  He offers a range of standard trips but will suggest personalised birding itineraries for our resident guests, should there be particular species on a birder’s life list.

Scroll down the page to find listed the 54 species of birds (and counting!) which have been sighted in and around our gardens and swimming pool Chiangmai. 

Birds of Doi Inthanon 2In the high season, November through February, when the number of indigenous species is swelled by the arrival of many migrant birds, and, consequently, visiting birders, finding a guide at short notice is not easy and early booking is advised.

If you are interested in birding with the Centre of the Universe as “base camp”, please contact us for further details at  

Birds of Doi Inthanon 5As a service to fellow bird lovers, if you have already booked accommodation in Chiang Mai we will forward your details to a local freelance birding guide.

In this case please provide the following information in your email, so we can forward your enquiry to a local birding guide without involving a lengthy exchange of emails and an inevitable delay.
Birds of Doi Inthanon 41. State the number of people there will be in your party
2. Give date(s) you want to go birding and, if possible, provide alternatives.
3. State whether you are looking to go birding for one, two, or more days.  (Please note, none of our freelance birding guides offers half day tours at 50% of the full day cost. All birding trips are a minimum of 8 hours including statutory breaks for drivers, and travelling time to and from the pick up/drop off point. Clients may choose to spend less time in the field than advertised, but they will still be charged the full day’s cost.  Like the rest of the world, birding guides have to meet mortgage payments each month, feed and clothe ever-demanding children, and settle electricity and water bills in a timely manner.)
4. Give the name of the hotel / guesthouse where you will be staying
5. Provide any other information you think would be helpful to your birding guide e.g. “I’m a keen bird photographer”; “I’m a complete beginner”; “I can tell the difference between a dicrurus macrocercus and a dicrurus paradiseus wearing a blindfold, just by listening to their calls.”

Checklist of birds seen in our gardens over a twelve month period (arranged, with no apologies to birding purists, in alphabetical order)

Click here if you prefer to see the photographs rather than read a list of species.

Common Name
Scientific name
Ashy Wood-SwallowArtemus fuscus
Asian Barred OwletGlaucidium cuculoides
Asian Palm-SwiftCypsiurus balasiensis
Banded Bay CuckooCacomantis sonnerati
Barn SwallowHirundo rustica
Black DrongoDicrurus macrocercus
Black-capped KingfisherHalcyon pileata
Black-collared StarlingSturnus nigricollis
Blue-bearded Bee-eaterNictyornis athertoni
Blue-tailed Bee-eaterMerops philippinus
Brown PriniaPrinia polychroa
Brown ShrikeLanius cristatus
Chestnut-tailed StarlingSturnus malabaricus
Chinese Pond-HeronArdeola bacchus
Common IoraAegithina tiphia
Common KoelEudynamys scolopacea
Common MynahAcridotheres tristis
Common TailorbirdOrthotomus sutorius
Coppersmith BarbetMegalaima haemacephala
Crested TreeswiftHemiprocne coronata
Eurasian JayGarrulus glandarius
Greater CoucalCentropus sinensis
Greater Racket-tailed DrongoDicrurus paradiseus
Green Bee-eaterMerops orientalis
Green-billed MalkohaPhaenicophaeus tristis
Grey WagtailMotacilla cinerea
Grey-breasted PriniaPrinia hodgsonii
Grey-eyed BulbulHypsipetes propinquus
HoopoeUpupa epops
House SwiftApus affinis
Indian RollerCoracias benghalensis
Large-billed CrowCorvus macrorhynchos
Lesser CoucalCentropus bengalensis
Lineated BarbetMegalaima lineata
Olive-backed SunbirdNectarina jugularis
Oriental Magpie-RobinCopsychus saularis
Purple SunbirdNectarina asiatica
Red-throated FlycatcherFicedula parva
Red-whiskered BulbulPycnonotus jocosus
Scaly-breasted MuniaLonchura punctulata
Scarlet-backed FlowerpeckerDicaeum cruentatum
ShikraAccipiter badius
Sooty-headed BulbulPycnonotus aurigaster
Spotted DoveStreptopelia chinensis
Streak-eared BulbulPycnonotus blanfordi
Tree SparrowPasser montanus
White WagtailMotacilla alba
White-breasted WaterhenAmaurornis phoenicurus
White-rumped ShamaCopsychus malabaricus
White-throated KingfisherHalcyon smyrnensis
White-vented MynahAcridotheres javanicus

Bird counts stated above are for all years and all months as recorded by a number of reputable birding resources. On any given day in any month, and dependent on the weather and local birding conditions on that given day, birders can optimistically expect to observe 15% – 20% of the number of species stated above.  We cannot be held legally responsible for unfavourable traffic conditions, inclement weather, forest fires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or any other act of God, adversely affect birding activities.