Tai Po Kau

A woodland reserve situated near Tai Po, Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve should be one of the best piece of forest in Hong Kong. Nearly all forests in Hong Kong are secondary growth, since our primary forest have long been deforested over a century ago, only small portions of "Fung Shui" woods remained. Efforts on afforestation started as early as 1870s, the main purpose was to stop soil erosion and land slides on hillside. Today, you will find wooded areas in all Country Parks.

The prime site for forest species, birding at Tai Po Kau can be exciting and challenging, however it can also be frustrating at times. As with all forest birding, birds move fast and lights are usually poor. Dense vegetation also make clear views hard to come by. You will need a lot of patience to slowly unravel the birds that take refuge in this forest.

Patience will be rewarded with rare birds, in forms of Bay Woodpecker, Speckled Piculet, Orange-headed Thrush, Slaty-backed Forktail and Brown Wood Owl. Migrants such as Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo, Forest Wagtail, Japanese Robin, Siberian Thrush, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Fairy Pitta, Fujian Niltava, Asian and Japanese Paradise-flycatcher are amongst the most spectacular bird species you may encounter here.

Bay Woodpecker, a recently recolonized species to our maturing forest.

Speckled Piculet, an increasingly common resident in Hong Kong's forest.

Brown Wood Owl - a rare resident that can be often heard at Tai Po Kau, but rarely seen.

Fujian Niltava, a rare winter visitor to Hong Kong.


Fairy Pitta, a very rare passage migrant in Hong Kong, regularly recorded at Tai Po Kau and Po Toi.

Sometimes you may encounter "bird waves" or feeding flocks, where birds of different species congregate into one large flock and feed together. You may be treated with views of our more regular forest species such as Scarlet and Grey-chinned Minivet, Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike, Great Barbet, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Chestnut Bulbul, Mountain Bulbul, Silver-eared Mesia, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Blue-winged Minla, Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, Pygmy Wren-babbler, Lesser Shortwing, White-bellied Epornis, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and many more.

Silver-eared Mesia, a commonly seen species in feeding flocks.

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, a common woodland species.

  
The Pygmy Wren-babbler and Lesser Shortwings are very recent recolonized woodland species in Hong Kong, can be found here with relative ease.

A common but beautiful Orange-bellied Leafbird, frequent flowering coral trees.

This site is also home to various wildlife such as Wild Boar, Chinese Porcupine, Leopard Cat, Red Muntjac and Rhesus's Macaque. Look closely at the mountain streams and you may find the near endemic Hong Kong Newt, sitting amongst leaf litters on the bottom of forest pools. A few bird species breeds here, including the beautiful songster Hainan Blue Flycatcher, which are abundant here in the Summer.

The commonest mammal you may encounter in Tai Po Kau.

The beautiful song of Hainan Blue Flycatcher fills the hills of Tai Po Kau during Summer.

There are extensive walking trails at various lengths to choose from, all are well maintained and very well marked. Most bird watchers do the Blue and Red walk, which should take up the whole morning at birding pace. You may try your luck on the Yellow and Brown walk, but the trails are steeper and longer. There is a public toilet at the beginning of the trail, but there aren't many amenities once you are in the trails, so remember to bring your own water and snacks.


To get there, take 28K minibus from Fotan MTR station towards Tai Po Market, get off at Tsung Tsai Yuen bus station and walk to the entrance of Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve located 50m away. Alternatively, Bus 72, 72A, 73A and 74A all run past the reserve on Tai Po Road.


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