Myanmar is a wonderful country where it feels like time has stood still. The countryside hasn't been hy-jacked by industrial scale agricultural schemes that have devastated the landscape. So habitats and a peaceful rural way of life remains. Of course it has political issues but it seems to have turned a corner now so tourists and investment is increasing. The wonderful thing is that much of Myanmar's wildlife populations are intact and the fact that thousands of Gurney's Pitta are thought to exist here bares testament to the scale of what natural gems are yet to be uncovered.

The last sizeable groups of wintering Spoon-billed Sandpipers cling on to Myanmar's estuaries and so it is here that we are trying to help them. Bird Holidays together with the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force have run tours that benefit the communities that protect them, while allowing birdwatchers to enjoy sightings without impacting on them at more sensitive sites.

These photographs were taken during our 2013 Tour.

If you wish to join us, please get in touch.


the ancient city of Bagan has 3000+ temples dating back to 900AD


Siberian Rubythroat, male at Bagan.                                                                    Black Baza displaying near Yangon




Blue Rock Thrush were common around and inside the temples.


a Pied Harrier hunts in the rice paddies


In the Gulf of Martaban, thousands of waders gather at high tide, giving us chance to see Spoon-billed sandpipers. These are mostly Greater and Lesser Sandplovers.


fishing is still done with traditional methods



hundreds of terns and egrets wait by nets set for fish in the bay



the waders gather on the mudflats before moving to the beaches by the village




 Spoon-billed Sandpipers are posted all over the villages to inform locals about how special they are.

We met this chap who was a bird hunter. As part of the Task Force's work, he was persuaded to stop hunting birds altogether. In fact most hunters took up the option to stop.

Through donations, they now have alternative employment. Some are fishermen, some opened small shops and this one counts & surveys shorebirds for BANCA (Birdlife Burma).

Our tour provides income for the ex-hunters, donates money to the village as a whole, and also raises awareness.


fishing boats by the village. Spoon-billed sandpipers roost on the grass here at high tide


Plain-backed Sparrows are surprisingly smart - how can anyone say sparrows are boring!


Yellow Bittern


Black-capped Kingfisher at Moeyengi




herons going to roost




the bats in Yangon are one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in Asia




millions emerge from the pagoda at dusk and rise into the sky like a plume of smoke


they are targeted by kestrels,




& Peregrines


Bagan's temples are unforgettable. Four of the Burmese endemics occur here and on our 2014 tour we will head off to Mount Victoria to catch up with the rest.




Taiga Flycatcher



Brown Shrike


mostly Whiskered Terns, on the fishing nets

























Oriental Honey Buzzards

Oriental Honey Buzzard






Crested Goshawk



Pacific Swifts


loads of Pied Harriers came to roost here





Pied Stonechat


Plaintive Cuckoo



spot the Spoon-billed Sandpiper !



the endemic Burmese Bushlark


the endemic White-throated Babbler



Spotted Eagle


Booted Eagle


Yellow-eyed Babbler


a mynah squabble........get it mynah/minor.... Oh please yourself!


Pin-striped Tit Babbler

Yellow-streaked Warbler

Pacific Swift



Sand Lark



the Irrawaddy River

Ashy Drongos



on the road to Mandalay







House Crows in Yangon

the 2013 Bird Holidays group  meeting with ex-hunters and the mayor of the village before going to count Spoon-billed Sandpipers.



Please note: The above photographs were taken on previous trips. Itineraries change from time to time and therefore you cannot rely on these photographs as being an exact representation of what can be expected on a future tour. For details of the each tour, you should refer to the brochure write-up.


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Christoph Zockler head of the Spoon-billed Recovery Team

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