Krung Ching Birding

Expert guided tours of peninsular Thailand 

Krung Ching

 

Krung Ching is part of Khao Luang National Park. It is in the province of Nakhon Sri Thammarat and is without doubt the premier location in central peninsular Thailand for forest birding.

Location
Krung Ching is found in the north-eastern foothills of the East-Central Range. It is approached from the Surat Thani – Nakhon Sri Thammarat highway and is roughly 50km inland from the town of Tha Sala. The most convenient airports with scheduled flights to Bangkok are Nakhon Sri Thammarat (1 hr drive), Surat Thani (2 hr drive), Krabi (3 hr drive) and Phuket (4 hr drive).
 
Habitat
The park is composed of broadleaf evergreen forest and the accessible areas of the park range from 50m to 200m above sea level. The two kilometre entrance road and the HQ area offer forest edge birding excellent for canopy feeders and bird waves. The three kilometre waterfall trail is used to find the deep forest dwellers.
 
Lesser Fish Eagle
Blyth's Frogmouth
Cinnamon-rumped Trogon
Olive-backed Woodpecker
     

Birds
 There are reportedly over 250 birds in the park as a whole and we have seen almost 200 along the roadside and on the trail. A full list is provided at the end of this article but to whet the appetite, here are some of the highlights:

A few of the species we have seen:

Great Argus, Lesser Fish Eagle, White-fronted Scops Owl, Blyth's Frogmouth, Cinnamon-rumped Trogon, Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Black Hornbill, Olive-backed Woodpecker, Malaysian Honey Guide, Malayan Banded Pitta, Crested Jay, Maroon-breasted Philentoma, Fiery Minivet, Rail-Babbler, Sultan Tit, Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler, Green-backed Flycatcher & Red-throated Sunbird.

A few others we have yet to see:

Plain-pouched Hornbill, Blue-Banded Kingfisher, Chestnut-headed Thrush & Moustached Hawk-Cuckoo.
 
Sultan Tit
Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler
Green-backed Flycatcher
Black-and-Yellow Broadbill
                    
The entrance road

 

All parts of the entrance road are worth investigating from the denuded areas at the start of the road to the barrier area at the top of the hill to the “bus stop” on the way down to the HQ.

It is worth stopping part way up the hill to look out for Black-and-Red, Black-and-Yellow, Green and Dusky Broadbills. Banded Broadbill is here too but is a little trickier to find. Mixed bird waves containing Ioras, Malkohas, Leafbirds, Bulbuls and Flycatchers come through regularly.

Up at the top of the hill can be seen a range of Woodpeckers, Minivets and Cuckoos. It is especially good in the last light of the day as many birds pass through on their way to roost.

Another good place to be late on is the open area called the “bus stop”. This is the best place to watch for Hornbills. Forest raptors like Hawk-Eagles and Accipiters are frequently found. Bat Hawk has been seen from here too.

During a night walk along the road you will often come across Blyth’s Frogmouth, Brown Hawk-Owl and Sunda Scops Owl.
 
Wallaces Hawk-Eagle  
Buff-rumped Woodpecker 
Maroon Woodpecker  
Green Iora
 
The HQ area

 

Around the car parks and campsite are a multitude of fruiting trees. Only very rarely do we visit and not find at least one tree full of fruit. Find a chair, get a cold drink from the shop, settle down, and wait for the birds. You can expect three or four Barbets, up to ten Bulbuls, Green Pigeons, Sunbirds and Flowerpeckers. Photographers can spend all day there trying for the perfect shot.

The two streams entering the HQ area are good for both White-crowned and Chestnut-naped Forktails.

At night look around the trees in the campsite for Buffy Fish-Owl and Brown Wood-Owl. 
 
Thick-billed Green-Pigeon
Golden-whiskered Barbet  
Red-throated Barbet  
Scaly-breasted Bulbul
                      
The waterfall trail

 

This is where the fun begins and the main reason to visit the park. Get onto the trail at first light to maximize your chances of a long list. It’s tempting to stop off at the entrance road or the HQ area to see what’s going on but be resolute and get on the trail early.

It is important to know the bird calls as most birds on the trail are found by ear rather than by eye.

In the first hundred metres you should hear Fulvous-breasted Jungle Flycatcher, Rufous-winged Philentoma, Grey-headed Babbler and at least one of the three commonly found Trogons; Orange-breasted, Scarlet-rumped and Diard’s.

On the climb up the hill you should find a range of Babblers and Fulvettas. Malayan Banded Pitta and Rufous-collared Kingfisher are usually in the area.                                                                 
 
Rufous-winged Philentoma 
Black-throated Babbler 
Ferruginous Babbler 
Short-tailed Babbler
 
Up at sala 1 (first shelter) at the top of the hill stop for a rest and keep an eye out for Wallace’s Hawk Eagle which nests nearby. If you missed the White-crowned Forktail near the HQ then listen out for its high-pitched thin whistle. At the opposite end of the scale you might hear the grunts and growls of Black Hornbills.

The next kilometre is pretty much on the level.  It is a good stretch to get any Trogons not yet seen including Cinnamon-rumped. Black-throated Babbler and Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler are great birds to see if they get into their body bouncing duets. White-crowned hornbills visit the palms when the fruit is ripe and Great Argus can be heard calling in season.

At Sala 2 you should stop for an early lunch (carried in by your guide if you’re lucky). This area is good for Banded Kingfisher and Rail Babbler. The very rare Malaysian Honeyguide was seen not far from here.

A slow walk out will get you a few more species. Though things do get quieter some birds like the Maroon-breasted Philentoma remain active through the afternoon.                       

 
Red-bearded Bee-eater 
Orange-breasted Trogon
Scarlet-rumped Trogon
Diard's Trogon
 
Other Birding

 

Other little used roads outside the park have proved to very good for birds not needing primary forest like Crimson Sunbird, Rufous Piculet and Treeswifts. One area in particular seems to always be home to Blue-winged Pittas, even in the dry season when most have moved south for the winter.                                                                     
 
Ferruginous Flycatcher
Ferruginous Flycatcher - leucistic
Dark-throated Oriole
Rufous Piculet
 
Mammals

 

Finding mammals in the forest is never easy apart from squirrels and monkeys. You may be lucky enough to see a pair of playful Yellow-throated Martens. Chevrotain deer are sometimes seen in the forest and “evidence” of Asian Elephants is sometimes found. Your best bet for mammals is to do a night walk with spotlights when Red Giant Flying-Squirrels, Slow Loris and Masked Palm Civet are active.                                                                               
 
Slow Loris
Forest Crested Lizard
Large-spotted Slender-toed Gecko 
Plantain Squirrel
 
Reptiles

 

Plenty of snakes can be found here including Red-tailed Racer, Kanburi Pit-Viper and Blunt-headed Slug Snake. Water Monitors can be found around the HQ and during your night walk watch the ground for the elaborately marked Slender-toed Geckos.
 
Blunt-headed Slug Snake
Triangle Keelback  
Red Cat Snake
Striped Bronzeback
 
Suggested Itinerary

 

To do Krung Ching properly takes a minimum of two full days and two nights but three days are recommended. Spend one day on the road and HQ area, one day on the trail and the last day trying again for what you still need.
 
Guides

 

This website is owned by South Thailand Birding. We spend more time birding and guiding in this park than any other tour company and know it like the back of our hands. Please visit our main website for prices, availability, and to get in contact with us. All photos shown on this site were taken by ourselves at Krung Ching over the many years we have been guiding there. 
Links
 
The following video was taken by a customer of ours, Anton Sojer on Nov 18 2011.
 
Miss Punjapa Phetsri (aka Games)
Site owner and guide.  
 
  
Krung Ching birding tour Krung Ching Bird watching tour
Krung Ching bird guide Krung Ching Rail Babbler
 
Malaysian Honey Guide
 
 
Rail-Babbler
 
 
Maroon-breasted Philentoma - Female
 
 
Maroon-breasted Philentoma - Male
 
 
Green Broadbill - Male
 
 
Raffle's Malkoha
 
 
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
 
 
Champagne Mushroom
 
 
Common Jay
 
 
Brown Wood-Owl
 
 
Buffy Fish-Owl
 
 
Kanburi Pit-viper
 
 
Blue-winged Pitta
 
 
Banded Kingfisher
 
 
Chestnut-naped Forktail
 
 
White-crowned Forktail
 
 
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher-Female
 
 
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher-Male
 
 
Southern Nawab
 
 
Wizard
 
 
Common Emerald Dove
 
 
Green Cat Snake
 
 
Reticulated Python
 
 
Black-naped Monarch
 
 
Black-capped Babbler