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Some bugs (mostly butterflies) seen while birding in Thailand: February - March 2016

From 18 February to 7 March, I visited Thailand. Although the main reason for the trip was to participate in a Wings/Sunbird tour led by my friend Jon Dunn, I added a few extra days to get over the flights and then look at butterflies. Up front, I will echo what I had heard about Thailand: lovely people, exciting wildlife, and wonderful food. I would happily return.

On 19 February, I took the Bangkok Sky Train to the Mo Chit station a few stops north of my hotel and visited Chatuchak Park and the larger and adjacent Suan Rot Fai Park, both mentioned in Nick Upton's thaibirding.com site. They provided an interesting and attractively-planted introduction to urban/suburban birds as well as a few butterflies. Coincidentally, the park complex included the Bangkok Butterfly Garden, a nicely built enclosed structure with ferns and other plants, rock work, waterfalls, and examples of some of the country's fancier butterflies.

My guide Prateep from Nature Trails Thailand. Pang Sida National Park is well known as a butterflying site and hosts its own butterfly festival.

The next day, I was met by my guide Prateep Boonsriram and our driver Ruen from Nature Trails Thailand. That day and the next, we visited Pang Sida National Park, and Khao Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as a number of hit and run birding sites east of Bangkok. Pang Sida is in Sa Kaeo Province, approximately a two and one-half hour drive east of Bangkok and perhaps 30 miles from the Cambodian border. It is one of several protected areas in the Sankamphaeng Mountains, which also include Khao Yai National Park, which I visited later during the Wings/Sunbird tour. Pang Sida was full of butterflies and I saw a few birds not encountered later during my visit. Khao Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary is not far east of Bangkok, just inland from the northeastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand. It is part of the last forested area in heavily developed Chonburi Province. We spent most of our time walking down a forested slope, and in a picnic area near a small stream. Open (parking?) areas hosed down by the park guard and mango baits he set out, attracted quite a few butterflies and butterfly photographers, and the stream offered some colorful dragonflies and damselflies.

Temple birding for Spotted Owlet and Red-breasted Parakeet, Wat Chaloemphrakiet Worawihan (24 February 2016).

The Wings/Sunbird tour began as we birded our way to Khao Yai National Park, Thailand's third largest park. Khao Yai is a combination of grasslands and various forest types and ranges in elevation from about 1,300 to 3,200 feet. We birded forest trails, walked a river, patrolled overlooks and lakesides, and spent time in blinds. The birding was very good. Afterward, we spent several days on the northwestern Gulf of Thailand in the Ban Laem District of Phetchaburi Province, an area with extensive salt pans that attract shorebirds. The main goal there was Spoon-billed Sandpiper, the rarest of the forty-two species of shorebirds we encountered during the tour, but many other rare and interesting birds were seen on the coast including Chinese Egret, "White-faced" Plover, Eastern Curlew, Pallas's Gull, Asian Dowitcher, and Nordmann's Greenshank. Finally, we ventured just a bit further west to Kaeng Krachan National Park along the Burmese border. Again, birding was very good and any wet spot we encountered - be it a forest stream, pond edge, muddy elephant footprint, or a seep from the visitors center kitchen - held colorful butterflies, and often in large numbers.


Jon Dunn roadside birding at Kaeng Krachan National Park (L), our guide Pipith Kaewta (representing our ground agent ETC Travel) on the boat at Lem Pak Bia (R). 

Nearly all photos were taken with a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 point-and-shoot. Some of the Pang Sida shots were made with a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H200.


Once again, I thank Pisuth Ek-Amnuay (Siam Insect Zoo & Museum, Chiang Mai, Thailand), author of Butterflies of Thailand, for correcting some of my identifications and suggesting names for several others that defied my best attempts. Thanks as well to Nappadon Makbun, who provided me with several identifications and confirmations for dragons and damsels, and to Dan Heffern and Mike Quinn for providing a name for the long-horned beetle at the bottom of the page. Thanks also to the tour companies and their fine guides. My appreciation to all.   


Common Snow Flat (Tagiades japetus ), roadside, lower forest in Kaeng Krachan NP (4 March 2016).

Chestnut Angle (Odontoptilum angulatum), sunning on a shrub at river edge. Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).


Despite continuous apologies from my guide and the park ranger for the dry season's alleged low diversity and smaller numbers of individuals, swallowtails and other butterflies were plentiful and diverse at wet spots along a rocky shelf riverbank at Pang Sida National Park.

Here, my guide Prateep bellies up to a group of puddling swallowtails at Pang Sida NP.

Common Mime (Chilasa clytia, aka Papilio clytia, form dissimilis), Pang Sida NP. This and the form below were flying side-by-side (20 February 2016). Males and females of both are mimics of toxic milkweed butterflies (Subfamily Danainae), each form mimicking different genera.

Common Mime (Chilasa clytia, aka Papilio clytia, form clytia), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Five-barred Swordtail (Graphium antiphates) at moist stream bottom, Khao Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (21 Februaary 2015).

Chain Swordtail (Graphium aristeus), Kaeng Krachan NP at seep behind lower visitor center kitchen (4 March 2016).

Common Jay (Graphium doson), an abundant member at puddle parties. Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Spotted Zebra (Graphium megarus), Kaeng Krachan NP, at Panoen Tung visitor's center. This species is part of a mimicry complex with a suite of milkweed butterflies (3 March 2016).

A worn Spot Swordtail (Graphium nomius), Khao Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary. Note the slightly elevated second spot in the submarginal band (21 Februaary 2015).

Common Bluebottles (Graphium sarpedon), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).


Siamese Raven (Papilio castor) was fairly common at river-edge puddles. It bears a strong resemblance to a number of toxic milkweed butterflies. Pang Sida NP, (20 February 2016).

Banded Swallowtail (Papilio demolion), above and below. Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Red Helen (Papilio helenus), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Yellow Helen (Papilio nephelus chaon), Pang Sida NP. Note yellowish spots on hindwing margin that characterize this subspecies. Sometimes known as Black and White Helen (20 February 2016).

Paris Peacock (Papilio paris) (left), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Adamson's Rose (Parides adamsoni ), Kaeng Krachan NP at the fourth stream crossing beyond the lower visitors center. On moist mud at least 30 feet from the camera (5 March 2016).


Striped Albatross (Appias libythea), one of the most numerous pierids at puddle parties. Here, two females visit a wet seep near the lower visitors center at Kaeng Krachan NP (4 March 2016).

The lightly marked males of Striped Albatross, Kaeng Krachan NP near second stream crossing (4 March 2016).

Orange Gull (Cepora judith), Kaeng Krachan NP, damp area near lower visitors center (4 March 2016).

Yellow Orange Tip (Ixias pyrene), Kaeng Krachan NP, near lower visitors center (4 March 2016).


Apparently, Common Grass Yellow (Eurema hecabe), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Red-spotted Sawtooth (Prioneris philonome), Kaeng Krachan NP, muddy crossing near lower visitors center (6 March 2016).


Subfamily  Libytheinae

Club Beak (Libythea myrrha), one of four "snouts" found in Thailand. Khao Yai NP (27 February 2016).

Subfamily Danainae

Thailand has approximately 34 members of this subfamily, often referred to as milkweed butterflies. Most (all?) adult milkweed butterflies are rendered toxic by virtue of the food the caterpillars eat and then store in their bodies - in the same manner as the well-known Monarch butterfly. Many milkweed butterflies serve as models in various Batesian Mimicry complexes. Similarly-appearing but palatable species in many brushfoot and swallowtail genera obtain protection by mimicking toxic species. Often the mimicry includes flight behavior. To take it a step further, many toxic milkweed butterflies (and toxic swallowtails) resemble each other, sharing warning colorations and patterns. Such mimics are referred to as Müllerian Mimics. Examples of Müllerian and Batesian Mimicry are easily observed among Thai swallowtails and milkweed butterflies (and others), although it may not be obvious just who is mimicking whom.

Common Tiger (Danaus genutia), closely related to the familiar Monarch, Chatuchak Park, Bangkok (19 February 2016).

Magpie Crow (Euploea radamanthus), Kaeng Krachan NP, second stream crossing (6 March 2016).

Chocolate Tiger (Parantica melaneus), (above and below) Kaeng Krachan NP, upper portion of park at Panoen Tung visitors center (3 March 2016).

Subfamily Satyrinae

Angle Cyclops (Erites angularis), Kaeng Krachan NP, lower forest at second stream crossing (4 March 2016).

Common Evening Brown (Melanitis leda), at mango bait. Khao Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (21 February 2016).

Mycalesis sp. at mango, Khao Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (21 February 2016).

Subfamily Nymphalinae

Autumn Leaf (Doleschallia bisaltide), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Subfamily Cyrestinae 

Marbled Map (Cyrestis cocles), vicinity of Kaeng Krachan NP, forest floor at Lung Sin blind, (2 March 2016).

Little Map (Cyrestis themire), Kaeng Krachan NP, lower forest at second stream crossing (4 March 2016).

Common Map (Cyrestis thyodamas), Kaeng Krachan lower forest at second stream crossing (4 March 2016).

 Subfamily Heliconiinae

Little Banded Yeoman (Paduca fasciata), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Small Leopard (Phalanta alcippe), Kaeng Krachan NP, wet crossing near lower visitors center (4 March 2016).

Royal Assyrian (Terinos terpander intermedia), (above and below), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Assyrian (Terinos clarissa form falcata), Kaeng Krachan NP, second stream crossing (6 March 2016).

Subfamily Limenitidinae

Black-veined Sargeant (Athyma ranga), Kaeng Krachan NP, lower forest at second stream crossing (6 March 2016).

Apparently, a worn Streaked Baron (Euthalia alpheda), Kaeng Krachan NP, roadside near second stream crossing. Many species were seen just once, and I had to settle for photos of worn individuals (5 March 2016).

Knight (Lebadea martha), Kaeng Krachan NP, lower forest at second stream crossing (4 March 2016).

Common Sailor (Neptis hylas) above and below, Kaeng Krachan NP, roadside near second stream crossing beyond lower visitors center (5 March 2016).

Subfamily Charaxinae

Tawny Rajah (Charaxes bernardus), Pang Sida NP, (21 February 2016).

Jeweled Nawab (Polyura delphis), arguably my favorite butterfly of the trip. After spending much time dashing about the mid- to upper canopy and taking high perches, it finally settled down at a streamside puddle. Pang Sida NP, (21 February 2016).

Indian Yellow Nawab (Polyura jalysus), another stunner and perched just a foot or so from its congener, above. Pang Sida NP, (21 February 2016).


Subfamily Miletinae

Common Pierrot (Castalius rosimon), Pang Sida NP  (20 February 2016).

Banded Blue Pierrot (Discolampa ethion), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Subfamily Polyommatinae

Forest Quaker (Pithecops corvus), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Silver Forget-me-not (Catochrysops panormus), Kaeng Krachan NP, muddy crossing near lower visitors center (6 March 2016).

An unidentified hairstreak, Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Subfamily Theclinae

Common Imperial (Cheritra freja), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Fluffy Tit (Zeltus amasa), Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Subfamily Curetinae

Most likely Burmese or Saronis Sunbeam (Curetis saronis), Kaeng Krachan NP, at second stream crossing beyond visitors center (6 March 2016).


Calopterygidae - Broad-winged Damselflies

Green Metalwing (Neurobasis chinensis male), Khao Yai NP at the stream near the visitors center restaurant. This is a widespread species found across Asia. The common name is one used in Singapore (26 February 2016).

Chlorocyphidae - Jewels

Heliocypha perforata, Pang Sida NP, where common at river edge (20 February 2016).

Protoneuridae - Threadtails

 Prodasineura  verticalis , shady river edge, Pang Sida NP (20 February 2016).

Platycnemididae - White-legged Damselflies

Coeliccia yamasakii female. Thanks to Noppadon Makbun, who suggested the identification. Shady streamside at Khao Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (21 February 2016).

Copera vittata male, Khao Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (21 February 2016).

Libellulidae - Skimmers

Scarlet Skimmer (Crocothemis servilia), Nong Pla Lai, Phetchaburi Province. Canal through rice paddies (28 February 2016).

Ground Skimmer/Blue Percher (Diplacodes trivialis), Kaeng Krachan NP, pond near Km. 9. This is a widespread dragonfly, found from Japan to Australia and New Guinea (6 March 2016).

Coastal Glider/Wandering Pennant (Macrodiplax cora mature male above, immature male below), sunny roadside ditch at Wat Ban Kheo (1 March 2016).

Fulvous Forest Skimmer (Neurothemis fulvia), male, Khao Yai NP at the stream adjacent to the visitors center restaurant (26 February 2016).

Crimson-tailed Marshhawk (Orthetrum chrysis male), Kaeng Krachan NP, small seep behind lower visitors center kitchen (6 March 2016).

Blue Marsh Hawk (Orthetrum glaucum - by the dark eye color - male), Kaeng Krachan NP, small seep behind lower visitors center kitchen (6 March 2016).

Atratothemis reelsi - male. This is a poorly-known member of a monotypic genus described by Wilson and Reels in 2005. According to Noppadon Makbun, who provided me with the identification, this is the third record for Thailand, all of which are from Kaeng Krachan NP. The species has also been recorded in Laos, Vietnam, and southern China. There were several individuals present at this pool, perching on dead twigs sticking out of the water. This is a zoom shot from perhaps 30 feet away; I would have gone in for a closer photo, but I was surrounded by people photographing the Long-tailed Broadbills nesting right over the pool. Kaeng Krachan NP, forest pool near Km. 9 (4 March 2016).

Crimson Dropwing male (Trithemis aurora), Khao Yai NP (27 February 2016).


Pygmy Grasshopper (Family Tettrigidae). These were numerous in leaf litter near streamside. Khao Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (21 February 2016).

A common roadside grasshopper, Pseudoxya diminuta, upper elevations at Kaeng Krachan NP near the Panoen Tung visitors center (3 March 2016).


The very beautiful long-horned beetle Glenea langana (Family Cerambycidae). Kaeng Krachan NP, roadside vegetation at lower elevation (4 March 2016).

© Robert A. Behrstock 2018

Images may not be reproduced without the Photographer's permission.