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Shanghai Municipality

Reed Parrotbill Paradoxornis heudei ©Craig Brelsford Website

Strictly speaking Shanghai is not a province but a municipality but it has the same political status as a province. It is the largest city in China in terms of population and one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, with over 20 million people. Located on China's central eastern coast at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the city is administered as a municipality with province-level status. Shanghai is also known by the nickname of the "Pearl of the Orient".

Shanghai sits on the Yangtze River Delta on China's eastern coast, and is roughly equidistant from Beijing and Hong Kong. The municipality as a whole consists of a peninsula between the Yangtze and Hangzhou Bay, China's second largest island Chongming, and a number of smaller islands. It is bordered on the north and west by Jiangsu Province, on the south by Zhejiang Province, and on the east by the East China Sea. The city proper is bisected by the Huangpu River, a tributary of the Yangtze. The historic center of the city, the Puxi area, is located on the western side of the Huangpu, while a new financial district, Pudong, has developed on the eastern bank.

The vast majority of Shanghai's 6,218 km2 (2,401 sq mi) land area is flat, apart from a few hills in the southwest corner, with an average elevation of 4 m (13 ft).

The city's location on the flat alluvial plain has meant that new skyscrapers must be built with deep concrete piles to stop them sinking into the soft ground. The highest point is at the peak of Dajinshan Island at 103 m (340 ft). The city has many rivers, canals, streams and lakes and is known for its rich water resources as part of the Taihu drainage area.

Public awareness of the environment is growing, and the city is investing in a number of environmental protection projects. A 10-year, US$1 billion cleanup of Suzhou Creek, which runs through the city centre, has been undertaken, and the government also provides incentives for transportation companies to invest in LPG buses and taxis. Air pollution in Shanghai is low compared to other Chinese cities such as Beijing, but the rapid development over the past decades means it is still high on worldwide standards, comparable to Los Angeles.

Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate and experiences four distinct seasons. In winter, cold northerly winds from Siberia can cause nighttime temperatures to drop below freezing, and although not usually associated with snow, the city can receive one or two days of snowfall per year. In contrast, and in spite of being the peak tourist season, summer in Shanghai is very warm and humid, with occasional downpours or freak thunderstorms. The city is also susceptible to typhoons, none of which in recent years has caused considerable damage. The most pleasant seasons are Spring, although changeable, and Autumn, which is generally sunny and dry. Shanghai experiences on average 1,778 hours of sunshine per year, with the hottest temperature ever recorded at 40 °C (104 °F), and the lowest at −12 °C (10 °F).[29] The average number of rainy days is 112 per year, with the wettest month being June. The average frost-free period is 276 days.

There are seawalls all along mainland Shanghai's coastline. Large natural mudflats now can only be found around Chongming Island, mainly at Dongtan Nature Reserve, and in Jiuduansha Nature Reserve in the sea off Pudong Airport. These mudflats are under threat from the introduced plant Spartina alterniflora. There are no sandflats in the Shanghai area.

Top Sites

Birding Sites around Shanghai


This page describes some of the major birding areas in the Shanghai region. On the map below, click on any of the markers for brief details about the location. More information about sites is presented below. Hyperlinks to locations take you to pages with even more details.



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Shanghai Birding


Welcome to Shanghai Birding, a Web site dedicated to the study and celebration of the birds of Earth’s largest city. Amid the daily activity of 24.2 million people in China’s economic heart, and despite unremitting environmental pressure, a rich collection of birds exists here–445 species in the municipality alone. Parks in the urban center hold many species, but it is the areas along the East China Sea and mouth of the Yangtze River that show the most diversity, especially during migration season. Nearby coastal sites such as Yangkou in Jiangsu and mountainous areas in Zhejiang add to the birding richness of the Shanghai region.

Wild Bird Society of Shanghai


[Site in Chinese] Wild Bird Society of Shanghai was founded voluntarily by a group of people who care about the protection of wild birds in 2005. It is an independent organization under the leadership of Shanghai Wildlife Conservation Association with 41 members. It is committed to conducting surveys and monitoring wild birds in Shanghai and the surrounding areas, saving wild birds and the promotion of bird-watching and the protection of habit…


Abbreviations Key: See the appropriate Continent Page (or Country Page of those used on country sub-divisions)

Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve


Satellite View

An extensive area of fresh and salt water marshes, tidal creeks, and intertidal mudflats at the eastern end of Chongming Island, a lowlying alluvial island in the mouth of the Yangtze River, which supports farmland, fish and crab ponds, and extensive reedbeds. The site is a staging and wintering site for millions of birds…

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Shanghai Birding

Tour Operator

We take business travellers to the hot spots in and around Shanghai.

Shanghai Birding Tour

Tour Operator

In a two/three days' trip to some famous Nature Reserves, you can see Cabot's Tragopan, Elliot's Pheasant, Reeves's Pheasant, White-necklaced Partridge, Swan Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Scaly-sided Merganser, White-backed Woodpecker, Siberian Crane, White-naped Crane, Red-crowned Crane, Swinhoe's Crake, Chinese Crested Tern, Pied Falconet, Dalmatian Pelican, Oriental Stork, Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Fujian Niltava, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, Yellow-browed Tit, Courtois's Laughingthrush, Rusty Laughingthrush, Short-tailed Parrotbill, Slaty Bunting…


Tour Operator

Outstanding among China's birds are its fabulously evocative cranes and we expect to see six species, including majestic Red-crowned Cranes on the edge of the Yellow Sea, rare Black-necked Cranes at Caohai Lake and mythical Siberian, White-naped and Hooded Cranes at Poyang Hu National Nature Reserve, the site of what has been described as "the greatest avian spectacle in Asia."

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2005 [04 April] - Edward C Hall


During the course of an OAT tour of China, I took every opportunity to break away for birding. Following are some suggestions as to where others might productively visit. These suggestions reflect, of course, the time of year that I was there and may not be as applicable to other seasons…

2014 [10 October] - Zhang Lin - Yomping the Yangtze

PDF Report

...The spectacle of huge numbers of shorebirds was spiced by 15 Spoon-billed Sandpipers, 5 Black- faced Spoonbills and 10 Nordmann’s Greenshank. Martin was so moved that he built his first installation of the trip...

2016 [02 February] - Craig Brelsford


Shanghai-area Autumn & Winter Birding, 2015-16 By Craig Brelsford and Elaine Du

2016 [05 May] - Devaram T


XiaoYangshan, a small island located south of Shanghai in the Hangzhou bay is best known for the massive deep-water port. Even-though the island falls under the administration of Zhejiang province, the 32.5km long Donghai Bridge makes the accessibility easy from Shanghai. Besides the huge container port and economic development, XiaoYangshan is a hot place among Shanghai birders during the migration season. There are huge developments underway to expand the port but the island offers a variety of habitat for various passage migrants.


China Bird Festival 2006


In order to raise the public awareness and their interest in birdwatching and bird conservation, birdwatching societies in China joined the World Bird Festival of BirdLife International with the support of BirdLife International and Darwin Initiative. Totally 26 activities were held in Beijing, Jiangsu, Wuhan, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Luzhou, Mianyang and Kunming in October 2006, involving at least 43,600 citizens. This year's China Bird Festival is really a success!

Other Links

The Birds of Shanghai


Every birder in the Shanghai region should have three field guides: Birds of East Asia by Mark Brazil, A Field Guide to the Birds of China by John MacKinnon and Karen Phillipps, and the Collins Bird Guide by Lars Svensson, Dan Zetterström, and Killian Mullarney. If you do most of your birding around Shanghai and can have just one, then make it Brazil.