Birdwatching in Benjakitti Park, Bangkok
A large park right in the downtown of Bangkok, expanded to a huge size in 2022. One of the best places for bird lovers in this city. Sharing 10 species I loved to observe and photographed there.
It was the first time I saw a shrike in my life, and I was amazed. A cute bird reminiscent of the sparrow and hawk at the same time. She was perching on a tree branch only several meters away from the skywalk where I was standing with my camera.
Skywalk in Benjakitti Park
The bird didn't care about the fact I was taking images of her, moreover, she was looking at me with curiosity.
It was 5 pm, the light was soft and the images came out great, with a high degree of detail. The shrike photo shoot lasted two or three minutes - I had enough time, and I felt like magic touched me at that moment.
The golden hour in Benjakitti Park
At that moment, I had no idea what bird I was taking images of. At my Bangkok home, I defined the genus - Lanius, the shrikes.
I was impressed by the description of shrikes' behavior on wiki. It turned out they visually resemble hawks for a reason: shrikes are fierce predators hunting not only insects and frogs but small birds and mammals as well. On Youtube, I found documentaries depicting shrikes eating a mouse and a tit. The signature of this fierce murderer is impaling the prey on a thorn or sharp tree branch.
The one I've taken images of is probably the brown shrike (Lanius cristatus). This is what ThaiNationalParks.Com says about it:
They feed mainly on insects, especially Lepidoptera [butterflies]. Like other shrikes, they impale prey on thorns. Small birds and lizards are also sometimes preyed upon... ...They typically look out for prey from a perch and fly down towards the ground to capture them.
Birds of this genus live in Europe as well... Amazing! My new favorite bird! 🙂
Since I'm talking about favorite birds... Coppersmith barbets inhabit Benjakitti Park either.
Coppersmith barbet on a tamarind tree in Benjakitti Park
If the shrike looks a mix of the sparrow and hawk, the coppersmith barbet resembles a sparrow-sized woodpecker. And for a reason - she belongs to the same Order, Piciformes, as the woodpeckers do.
I have observed this bird a lot. Generally, almost my every visit to Bangkok park starts with spotting barbets' thanks to their unique signal (listen to it on ebird.org).
This bird is quite common in Bangkok parks but she never lands on the ground so most people don't notice it. It tends to hide from people but not from birds. They like perching at branches on the top of a tree and they often choose, I would say, noteworthy branches - conspicuous or bare branches.
Another new species in my collection! 🙂
A cute bird with the scale pattern on the breast and the massive beak. Not so often in Bangkok, I spotted it only twice: once in Benchakitti Park and another time in Prawet district.
Perhaps the explanation is different: the bird is small and from a distance, in contrasting lighting, resembles a sparrow. Therefore, it is not surprising that I hardly saw them.
Check scaly-breasted munia on on ebird.org.
A crane with a strange beak and pink legs.
Such big creatures need big trees to perch. There is such a tree in Benjakitti Park (on the photo above).
Sometimes, you can see a large group of Asian openbills floating over the park:
A flock of more than 60 openbills in the sky in Benchakitti Park.
Crows live probably in every city but species aren't the same. Bangkok belongs to large-billed crow (Corvus macrorhynchos).
There is a large population in Benjakitti Park, many dozens.
A crow on a tamarind tree (tamarinds are sweet-and-sour fruits edible for people and not only).
One of them landed on the handrail near me and started communication:
This photo is my entry for the contest SHOW ME A PICTURE OF BIRD, Round 115
Unfortunately, I don't understand their behavior... Could it be she was asking food in exchange of photos? 😁
Herons and Egrets
While the trees as habitat look as a place of the constant war between species, the water in Bangkok parks seems to be peaceful. Several species of herons and egrets do their silent craft here and there.
Stillwaters covered with blooming lotuses in Benjakitti Park
One of these fishing species is the Javan pond heron (Ardeola speciosa).
Another one is (probably) the intermediate egret (Ardea intermedia):
I spotted both birds from the skywalk of Benjakitti Park. There are many of them: little egret, large egret, herons of all sorts... Honestly, I don't feel big interest about these birds...
The cry of this bird is super common in Thailand (listen to it on ebird.org) and it creates a certain atmosphere of tropical mystery in Thai parks... But the bird is secretive. It always lurks behind branches and leaves and often fly away as soon as you look at her.
These red eyes and funeral garment along with ghostly cries create a demonic image of the bird. It's strange but the koel's nature is like that. The bird is a brood parasite. They lay their eggs to other birds' nests. Interesting that the Asian koel cheats the most aggressive and smartest birds, like crows and mynas.
The skywalk in Benjakitti Park
Mynas are a type of starlings and, no surprise, they are great singers and wise creatures.
I'll start with the rarest in Bangkok.
The Siamese pied myna (Gracupica floweri). Listen to its singing on ebird.org.
The great myna (Acridotheres grandis), a bird with the prominent haircut. Common but annoyingly shy - I mean, I still have no decent photos of this usual bird 😡 They fly away as soon as I slightly lift my camera.
At last, the common myna. The bird, in terms of prevalence, is inferior probably only to pigeons and sparrows in Bangkok.
The common myna is one of the three birds on Earth which have been listed in the world's top100 worst invasive species.
Benjakitti Park is one of the best places for birding in Bangkok due to the skywalk, a long pathway elevated to the level of tree crowns. Secondly, the park is huge and admission is free. So, if you are heading to the capital of Thailand, the park is a must-visit, for sure.
These are my other Bangkok bird posts:
- My First Birding Adventure in Bangkok. Coppersmith Barbet Found
- Birdwatching in Rommaninat Park, Bangkok
More stories from Thailand are ahead! Check out the previous ones on my personal Pinmapple map.
I took all the images in the post with a Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G on a full-frame DSLR Nikon D750 in April, 2023 in Koh Lipe, Thailand.