Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri)

The Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri) is among the more widespread species of the genus and is the species which has the most geographical variations. It is easily identified by the large reddish patch on its breast. An alternative name is the Moustached Parakeet depending on subspecies.  The subspecies found in Thailand is Psittacula alexandri fasciata.

My long-distance shots don’t do this beauty justice so here’s the Wikipedia shot.

rbp wiki

Here’s a couple of my shots from the Khao Yai area.

IMG_0526 IMG_0586 Red-breasted Parakeets have a huge range from South and South-East Asia, from northern and eastern India (including the Andaman Islands), Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, ranging through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and southern China (Guangxi, Guangdong and Hainan), with populations in Indonesia, on Java, Bali Karimunjawa, Kangean, Simeulue, Nias and Banyak, and in Kalimantan (where probably introduced from Java) (Juniper and Parr 1998).  For travel logistical purposes, the easiest place to see them would be in Thailand where there is a city-based flock in the Dusit area and a large population in the Khao Yai area seen easily near the Balios Resort.  Your ears will find them!




World Parrot Trust



This video was taken in Thailand and you can clearly hear the bird’s call.

Here’s a nesting pair.


Beautiful close-up!


Long Bangkok Layover Pictorial – Khao Yai Area

As described here, these are the photos from our long Bangkok layover between Chiang Mai and Koh Samui.

Bangkok Airways has a nice livery!


Always inspect your rental car and take photos.

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Up early in Khao Yai (outside the park proper) birding the grounds of the Balios Resort and nearby.  Nothing that would excite most birders – no rare birds but I was thrilled to get a better look at Red-breasted Parakeets (aka Moustache Parrots).

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This is where we chased the Red-breasted Parakeets – the empty lot next to the Palio Shopping Centre.  They make enough noise!

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We had a bit of drama with the car, at one point it wouldn’t start and I was freaking out!  We pushed it into a car park and after several tries, thankfully it started but I wouldn’t turn it off all the rest of the way to Bangkok.  It was nice to see how pretty the area is since we arrived in the dark.  My review of Balios Resort.

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This is what you can expect if you drive a rental car.  The roads are pretty well marked in both Thai and English.  We had no trouble finding the airport although it took a while to find a petrol station to refuel at.  It was a public holiday the day we drove back so there were no tolls which was nice!

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Closest petrol station to the airport – they take credit cards.


The airport traffic is always crazy!

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Car back safe and sound – return inspection.


Car rental kiosks at BKK domestic terminal.


Birding On A Bangkok Layover – Short & Long Options

If you are collecting Star Alliance miles with United or someone else, odds are that you will find yourself flying Thai Airways quite a bit.  I’ve transited Bangkok between Australia and Asia, Africa, Europe and the USA on sometimes very complicated routings.  Depending on time of day and connections, you can often add a layover in Bangkok to your trip.  Since there are so many blogs specializing in Thailand, I am only going to discuss birding options here.

Remember, a layover is less than 24 hours.  If you plan well, you can slot one into an existing itinerary such as this one to Africa or this one to South-east Asia and take advantage of United’s generous routing rules.  If you go over 24 hours, it is then a stop-over and will count as the one stop-over you get on a RT ticket.


This excursion is best done early in the morning or late afternoon and you need at least 6 hours layover.  Take the airport train to the last station – Phaya Thai, then get a tuktuk or taxi to the Dusit Zoo.  Yes, I know the birds and animals are in cages there but you want to focus on the wild birds in the lush, tropical grounds.  I was targeting Red-breasted Parakeets which flock in the area.  I will do a pictorial on a separate post but here’s a sample.  I saw several flyover parakeets while we were walking around the park but the best sighting was a huge flock that flew right over our heads unexpectedly (before I could focus the camera) as we waited on the street outside for a passing tuktuk.

IMG_7354When you are ready to leave, the famous backpacker haunt – Khao San Road is about 15 minutes by tuktuk so we grabbed a quick snack, had a massage and got a tuktuk back to Phaya Thai station so we could make our flight at 23:59 to BNE.


I managed to build a 23 hour layover between Chiang Mai and Koh Samui on our most recent trip and we planned a quickie visit to Khao Yai National Park.  At first I was thinking we should use the public minibuses to Pak Chong, then a taxi to the hotel – the Balios Resort (formerly the Juldis Khao Yai) which is located near the park and where most of the big birding tour operators stay with their groups.  After the successful self-drive birding adventure to Doi Inthanon and Mae Ping, I worked up my confidence to drive from BKK to Khao Yai and booked a Hertz car.

The line was longer than I expected so it took awhile to get our car and get out of the airport.  The traffic was intimidating but luckily I managed to get on the right motorway heading north but it was very slow-going until we reached the outskirts.  It was around 9pm before we reached the hotel and we were exhausted.  The restaurant was closed so we cleaned out the mini-bar and the biscuits we had in the car.

The next morning, I was eager to find Red-breasted Parakeets and any other birds so we were up at the crack of dawn walking around the grounds.  It didn’t take long to hear the parakeets but they led us on a merry chase forcing us to leave the hotel, scurry down the road and find them in a nearby vacant lot on the other side of the Palio Shopping Centre.  This time we got better sightings and better photos than the Dusit one!  We couldn’t linger a long time as we needed to drive back to BKK so we never got to enter the park proper – so there’s a good reason to come back!

Here’s a teaser, full pictorial coming!

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