On this urban birding trip in Bangkok at Wat Phuttabucha, I challenged myself to spot as many bird species as possible without going to the usual parks that birders visit. The outcome is a virtual birding trip video where I share with you the different bird species I encountered and explain why Black-crowned Night Herons are so fond of this temple. Thailand is truly blessed with an abundance of birds, even in unexpected places. I hope you enjoy this unique urban birding experience in Bangkok.

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Disclaimer: Some of the links provided direct to my websites, while others are affiliate links that may generate a small commission when you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you. In the enchanting video titled “Urban Birding Trip in Bangkok at Wat Phuttabucha,” created by Birding with Nick, you are taken on a virtual journey through the bustling streets of Bangkok in search of various bird species. Nick sets out to challenge himself by discovering how many birds he can spot without visiting the typical parks frequented by birders. The result is a captivating exploration of the diverse avian life that thrives in unexpected places, including the renowned Wat Phuttabucha temple. As you watch the video, Nick shares his encounters with different bird species, revealing the fascinating reasons why Black-crowned Night Herons flock to this temple. Join him on this urban birding adventure and discover the hidden wonders of birdwatching in Bangkok.

Urban Birding Trip in Bangkok at Wat Phuttabucha

Introduction to the urban birding trip

Welcome to this comprehensive article on an urban birding trip in Bangkok at Wat Phuttabucha. In this article, you’ll learn about the bird species found in the temple grounds and along the canal, as well as some surprising bird sightings. We’ll also discuss the importance of urban birding and appreciate the diversity of bird species in unexpected locations.

Overview of Bangkok as a birding destination

Bangkok, the bustling capital city of Thailand, may not seem like an ideal birding destination at first. However, the city is actually home to a wide variety of bird species, including migratory birds that pass through during certain times of the year. With its diverse habitats and green spaces, Bangkok offers unique opportunities for birdwatching.

Reasons for choosing Wat Phuttabucha as the location

Wat Phuttabucha, located in the western suburbs of Bangkok, was chosen as the location for this urban birding trip. The temple’s mature trees provide an excellent habitat for birds, making it an ideal spot for birdwatching. Additionally, Wat Phuttabucha is known for its congregation of Black-crowned Night Herons, which makes it a popular spot for bird enthusiasts.

Description of the temple and its surroundings

Wat Phuttabucha is a picturesque temple surrounded by mature trees, creating a serene and natural environment. The temple grounds provide a peaceful setting for birdwatching, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The lush vegetation and peaceful atmosphere make it an inviting place for both birds and humans.

Specialty bird species at Wat Phuttabucha

One of the main attractions at Wat Phuttabucha is the Black-crowned Night Heron. These birds congregate in a specific area of the temple, making them easily approachable for birdwatchers. Other notable bird species found in the temple grounds include Black-naped Orioles, Coppersmith Barbets, Zebra Doves, Pintail Fantails, Tree Sparrows, Olive-backed Sunbirds, Oriental Magpie Robins, Feral Pigeons, Red Coloured Doves, and Spotted Doves.

Urban Birding Trip in Bangkok at Wat Phuttabucha

Bird Species in the Temple Grounds

Black-crowned Night Heron

The Black-crowned Night Heron is the specialty bird of Wat Phuttabucha. These nocturnal birds are known for their striking appearance, with a black crown and back, gray wings, and red eyes. They can be found roosting in the temple’s trees and are often observed in large numbers. Wat Phuttabucha provides a safe haven for them, attracting both local and migratory populations.

Black-naped Orioles

Another common bird species at Wat Phuttabucha is the Black-naped Oriole. These colorful birds spend the northern winter in Thailand and can be easily spotted among the foliage of the temple’s mature trees. Their vibrant yellow plumage and loud, melodious calls make them a delight to observe in an urban setting.

Coppersmith Barbet

The Coppersmith Barbet is a quintessential bird species of Thai temples, including Wat Phuttabucha. These birds are known for their metallic call, which resembles the sound of a metalsmith working with copper. Despite their small size, they have a vibrant plumage, with a green body and a red face. Observing a Coppersmith Barbet is always a treat for birdwatching enthusiasts.

Zebra Dove

The Zebra Dove is a native species to southern Thailand, but it has been introduced to the rest of the country. These small doves can often be seen in temple grounds, including Wat Phuttabucha. Zebra Doves form strong pair bonds and engage in mutual grooming, strengthening their bond. Their gentle cooing adds a peaceful ambiance to the temple surroundings.

Pintail Fantail

The Pintail Fantail is a bird full of character and charm. With its fan-shaped tail and energetic movements, it is a common sight in temple grounds, including Wat Phuttabucha. These birds are known for their acrobatic flight patterns and are always a delight to watch. Their presence adds an element of liveliness to the temple environment.

Tree Sparrows

Tree Sparrows are small birds with a reddish-brown cap and a black chin. They are often found in the temple grounds of Wat Phuttabucha, where they are known to help themselves to religious offerings. These sociable sparrows can be observed in groups, hopping among the trees and chirping cheerfully.

Olive-backed Sunbirds

Olive-backed Sunbirds are colorful and adaptable birds that can nest in unlikely places. They are nectar and insect eaters, and their presence is often associated with flowering temple trees. With their iridescent plumage and long, curved bills, they are a sight to behold in the temple grounds of Wat Phuttabucha.

Oriental Magpie Robin

The Oriental Magpie Robin is a common bird found in temples all over Thailand, including Wat Phuttabucha. These birds are known for their melodious song, which adds a pleasant soundtrack to the temple environment. Their jet-black bodies and white bellies are visually striking, making them a favorite among birdwatchers.

Feral Pigeons

Feral Pigeons, although often considered pests in urban areas, can still provide interesting birdwatching opportunities. Even at Wat Phuttabucha, these pigeons can be observed against the backdrop of the temple, creating unique photographic moments. Their presence reminds us that even common species have their own beauty and charm.

Red Coloured Dove and Spotted Dove

Red Coloured Doves and Spotted Doves are also common bird species around Wat Phuttabucha. These doves add to the diversity of birdlife in the temple grounds and can often be seen perched on tree branches or rooftops. Their soft cooing sounds contribute to the peaceful ambiance of the temple surroundings.

Canal Birdwatching

Description of the canal at Wat Phuttabucha

Behind Wat Phuttabucha, there is a leafy canal that provides another birdwatching opportunity. This canal acts as a habitat for various bird species, including both resident and migratory birds. The canal’s lush vegetation and tranquil water create a serene environment for observing birds in their natural habitat.

Migratory birds along the canal

During certain times of the year, the canal at Wat Phuttabucha attracts migratory birds that pass through on their annual journeys. These birds, such as the Black-capped Kingfisher, find a safe haven along the canal and coexist with humans in close proximity. The canal provides a vital stopover for these migratory species, allowing them to rest and refuel.

Pink-necked Green Pigeon

One of the most colorful birds found along the canal is the Pink-necked Green Pigeon. The male of this species is adorned with vibrant colors, including a bright pink neck. These pigeons have a unique whistling call that can be heard coming from the treetops. Observing the Pink-necked Green Pigeon adds a splash of color to any birdwatching expedition.

Barn Swallows and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters

Power cables along the canal provide a convenient perching spot for Barn Swallows. These birds rest on the cables and hunt for insects, providing an acrobatic display of flight. Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, another species commonly found near the canal, also utilize the power cables as perches from which to hunt insects. Their vibrant plumage and aerial hunting techniques make them a joy to watch.

Greater Racket-tailed Drongos

While the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo is not as commonly seen along the canal, it can still be an exciting sighting for birdwatchers. These birds have long, forked tails with distinctive rackets at the ends. They inhabit orchards near the canal and add a touch of elegance to the bird population in the area.

Asian Openbills

The canal at Wat Phuttabucha is also home to an increasing number of Asian Openbills. These impressive storks have thrived in the area due to the introduction of an invasive snail, which serves as their primary food source. Observing Asian Openbills along the canal is a testament to the adaptability of bird species to changing environments.

Black-crowned Night Herons along the canal

Similar to the temple grounds, Black-crowned Night Herons can also be found along the canal at Wat Phuttabucha. These birds have been observed coexisting with humans, highlighting the harmonious relationship between birds and urban environments. The canal serves as a reliable feeding ground for them, attracting them in significant numbers.

Impact of human activities on the bird population

While the canal at Wat Phuttabucha provides a valuable habitat for birds, it is important to consider the impact of human activities on the bird population. Human actions, such as the release of frogs and fish into the canal as a merit-making gesture, may have unintended consequences for the fish and frogs themselves. Understanding the delicate balance between human activities and wildlife conservation is crucial for ensuring the continued presence of bird species in urban areas.

Surprising Bird Sightings

Asian Emerald Cuckoo

One of the standout surprises along the canal at Wat Phuttabucha was the sighting of an Asian Emerald Cuckoo. This forest bird is typically rare, especially as a migrant species. Finding one in this urban setting was a true thrill, highlighting the diversity of bird species that can be encountered in unexpected locations.

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher

Another unexpected migrant bird spotted along the canal was the Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher. This small bird is known for its vibrant yellow plumage and distinct call. Its presence in an urban environment like Wat Phuttabucha emphasizes the importance of preserving green spaces as habitats for a wide range of bird species.

Plaintive Cuckoo

The Plaintive Cuckoo, a familiar sight in Thailand’s temples, was also observed along the canal. This bird’s repetitive call is often associated with the temple surroundings and is a treasured sound among birdwatchers. Seeing and hearing the Plaintive Cuckoo adds to the overall birding experience at Wat Phuttabucha.

Other notable bird species encountered

Throughout the birding trip, there were many other notable bird species encountered, each adding to the rich birdlife of Wat Phuttabucha. These included species such as the Black-capped Kingfisher, Asian Golden Weavers, and various resident and migratory birds. Wat Phuttabucha truly showcases the diversity of bird species that can be found in unexpected urban locations.


In conclusion, an urban birding trip to Wat Phuttabucha in Bangkok offers a unique birdwatching experience. The temple grounds and the canal provide habitats for a wide variety of bird species, including migratory birds and common temple birds. The diverse birdlife in unexpected locations showcases the importance of urban birding and highlights the beauty and tranquility of birdwatching in an urban environment. Whether you’re a dedicated birder or a casual observer, Wat Phuttabucha is a destination worth exploring for an unforgettable birding experience.