Birds of China

Most of these pictures are from a birding tour during the Spring migration, May 7 - 20, 2017; a few pictures are from our IAU General Assembly trip to Beijing in August, 2012. This web site is finished: No more bird pictures will be added until a future trip to China.

Some scenery pictures will be added here.

The May 2017 trip concentrated on finding as many species as possible, so it was not photo-friendly. Most pictures are not very good -- they are posted here to refresh our memories. We hope to return to China at least several more times, concentrating more on photography than we could do on this trip.

The pictures are copyrighted and should not be used without permission.


Mandarin duck

Our guide identified both of these as Pied harrier, presumably females and probably juveniles. They were taken not many minutes apart: they may show the same bird, but I am not sure. And of course, the birds were much too far away for a 400 mm lens. Question is: Are both of them Pied harrier or is one or both an Eastern marsh harrier? The underwing pattern on the left bird looks a lot like a juvenile Eastern marsh harrier to me. But I am no expert. The next picture, below, shows the best view that I have of the top of this bird. Comments most welcome (to kormendy@astro.as.utexas.edu). (Nampu, near the shore - May 13, 2017)

Unidentified (Pied?) harrier -- the left bird, above, better showing (at right) the top of a wing and especially of the tail. Pied or Eastern marsh harrier? (Nampu, near the shore - May 13, 2017

Japanese sparrowhawk (This is our life bird: Happy Island - May 11, 2017) The bird opened its wings and showed that they are very barred underneath; hence Japanese, not Chinese, sparrowhawk.

Black-winged stilt (Happy Island - May 12, 2017)

Long-billed plover in transit from wintering grounds, e. g., in Arunachal Pradesh, India, where John got his life bird, to breeding grounds in the arctic (River bed on the road from Old Peak to Beijing, near the Great Wall - May 20, 2017)

Asian dowitchers (These are two of about a dozen birds that were our life birds: Nanpu tidal flats - May 13, 2017) Shorebirds were almost all very far away, so we got poor looks and poorer pictures.

Little tern (Nanpu - May 14, 2017)

Black-tailed gull (This is our life bird, shown three times: Nanpu - May 13, 2017) We usually do not dare to "take" first-year gulls, but the brilliant white upper tail ending in broad, flared solid black seems definitive. In any case, the bird was identified by an exceedingly experienced guide.

Himalayan cuckoo (Identified via call: This is John's life bird: Old Peak - May 18, 2017)

Hoopoe (Beidaihe: hotel grounds - May 15, 2017)

Gray-capped pygmy woodpeckers (Beijing: just outside CITIC hotel grounds - May 20, 2017)

Rufous-bellied woodpecker (Male: Beidaihe - May 15, 2017)

Gray-headed woodpecker (Female: Beidaihe - May 15, 2017)

Azure-winged magpie (Beijing - May 20, 2017)

Red-billed blue magpie (Beidaihe hotel grounds - May 17, 2017)

Large-billed crow (Old Peak - May 18, 2017)

Yellow-bellied tit (Old Peak - May 18, 2017)

Chinese penduline tit (Female and male: These are our life birds: Beidaihe - May 16, 2017)

Chinese penduline tit (Male: Wounded leg? Not clear: Beidaihe - May 16, 2017)

Silver-throated tit (Aegithalos glaucogularis: John's life bird: Old Peak - May 18, 2017)

Snowy-browed (Chinese) nuthatch (This is our life bird: Beijing - August 2012)

Light-vented (Chinese) bulbul ("Big Woods" near Jingtanggang - May 7, 2017)

Asian stubtail (Old Peak - May 19, 2017) This tiny warbler was our favorite bird of the trip.

Lanceolated warbler (John's life bird: Beidaihe: hotel grounds - May 17, 2017) This was John's second-favorite bird of the trip, because it is such a difficult skulker.

Black-browed reed warbler (Beidaihe: reed beds at the shore - May 15, 2017)

Blunt-winged warbler (This is our life bird: Old Peak - May 20, 2017) Note the short wings with rounded ends.

Manchurian reed warbler (This is John's life bird; Mary got hers on May 20th: Old Peak - May 18, 2017)

Yellow-streaked warbler (This is our life bird: Old Peak - May 18, 2017)

Chinese leaf warbler (This is John's life bird: Old Peak - May 18, 2017) At this time in the breeding season, these were the noisiest, most active warblers, as males defended their territories. We saw many.

Chinese leaf warbler (Old Peak - May 18, 2017)

Chinese leaf warbler (This different bird is Mary's life bird: Old Peak - May 19, 2017) I think that this is a female; the male bird constantly circled her, making a huge racket - behavior that we saw several times on May 18 + 19.

Two-barred (greenish) warbler (Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus: Happy Island - May 12, 2017) This picture illustrates the difficulty of identification: the two wing bars are almost invisible. But this image was confidently identfied by our guide, and I can see some features that (I think) distinguish this bird from (e. g.) Pale-legged leaf warbler: cleaner white belly, greener color, and less black above the whitish supercilium.

Claudia's leaf warbler (Old Peak - May 18, 2017)

Bianchi's warbler (This is our life bird: Happy Island - May 12, 2017) It's a bad picture -- the camera autofocus grabbed the wrong distance -- but this is the first recorded occurence of Bianchi's warbler anywhere near Beijing: its usual range is restricted to the mainland mountains near Taiwan. The bird was identified partly via morphology but mostly via its song.

Vinous-throated parrotbill (Hills north of Beijing - August 2012)

Vinous-throated parrotbill (Beidaihe - May 16, 2017)

Reed parrotbill (This is our life bird: Nanpu - May 13, 2017)

Gray-sided thrush (This is John's life bird: Old Peak - May 19, 2017)

Gray-streaked flycatcher (Happy Island - May 12, 2017)

Dark-sided flycatcher (This is our life bird: Hills north of Beijing - August 2012)

Asian brown flycatcher (Ubiquitous, but this bird was in Nanyan Park, Nanpu - May 15, 2017)

Asian brown flycatcher ("Big Woods" near Jingtanggang - May 7, 2017)

Yellow-rumped flycatcher (Beidaihe: May 15, 2017)

Taiga flycatcher (Happy Island: May 12, 2017)

Blue and white flycatcher (Beidaihe: May 15, 2017)

Rufous-tailed robin (Happy Island - May 12, 2017) There was much excitement among the many birders there about this rarity. Several Rufous-tailed robins came back every day that we were at Happy Island and spent hours at this stream but never came close enough for a good picture.

White-bellied redstart (This is our life bird: Old Peak - May 19, 2017)

Green-backed flycatcher (This is our John's bird; Mary got hers the next day): Old Peak - May 18, 2017)

Red-billed starling (This is John's life bird: Beijing, just outside CITIC Hotel grounds - May 20, 2017)

White-cheeked starling (This adult on the left and juvenile on the right are John's life birds: Nanyan Park - May 15, 2017)

Godlewski's bunting (Old Peak - May 18, 2017)

Meadow bunting (This is John's life bird; Mary got hers two days later: Old Peak - May 18, 2017)

Little bunting (Happy Island - May 9, 2017)

Chestnut bunting (This is our life bird: Happy Island - May 13, 2017)

Oriental (Gray-capped) greenfinch (Old Peak - May 18, 2017)


Our bird pictures from around the world follow standard ecozones approximately but not exactly:

Birds from the USA and Canada:   our house, Texas, California, Hawaii, Canada,

Neotropic birds from Central America and the Caribbean:   Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago

Neotropic birds from South America:   Ecuador, Brazil.

Western palearctic birds:   Europe: Germany, Finland, Norway, Europe: United Kingdom, Europe: Spain, the Canary Islands, Europe: Lesbos, Greece, Israel

Eastern palearctic birds:   China

Birds from Africa:   The Gambia, South Africa

Indo-Malayan birds from   India: North-west (Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand) India: North-east (Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya)India: Central (Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh)

Birds from   Australia, New Zealand.


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John Kormendy (kormendy@astro.as.utexas.edu)