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Shanghai Municipality

Reed Parrotbill Paradoxornis heudei ©Craig Brelsford Website

Birding Shanghai

Strictly speaking Shanghai is not a province but a municipality. However, 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'.

It 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 centre 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 just 4m (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 103m (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, $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.



GNU Free Documentation License


Number of Species

Number of bird species: 454

(As at August 2018)

Useful Reading

Birds of Nanhui Shanghai

By Kai Pflug | Huayu Nature Book Trade Co.Ltd | 2018 | Paperback | 184 pages, 380 colour photos | Text Chinese & English |

ISBN: 9787202126158

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Chongming Dongtan Habitats for Birds

By Shanghai Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve | Huayu Nature Book Trade Co.Ltd | 2009 | Paperback | 108 pages, col photos |

ISBN: 9787503854026

Buy this book from NHBS.com


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

IBA Cape Nanhui Marsh


Satellite View

...home of Reed Parrotbill and dozens of other species, and part of the large reed beds on the Dazhi River at Cape Nanhui. In the face of manic development, and in spite of being under no protection, Cape Nanhui conserves the best reed beds on the Shanghai Peninsula as well as mudflats critical to tens of thousands of migrating shorebirds. To save these treasures, Shanghai people must act now.

NNR Chongming Dongtan


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…

NR & IBA Jiuduansha


Satellite View

Located on the eastern coast of Shanghai. The IBA is an estuary in the outmost part of the Yangtze, which includes four sandy islands and the adjacent water. There are no permanent human residents, only occasional visits by fishermen. The reserve aims to protect the estuarine ecosystem. The area is located in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, and large numbers of shorebirds occur on passage. It is also the major wintering area for ducks and geese in Shanghai.

Guides & Tour Operators

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

Alpine Birding

Tour Operator

Birding trips here are made for avid birders including yearly-run trips and new China birding trips developed by AlpineBirding team and guided by our bird experts in the best

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…

Summer Wong Bird Tours

Tour Operator

Summer Wong Bird Tours specialises in China birding tours of Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai, Tibet & Eastern China

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.

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.

2017 [05 May] - Hannu Jannes

PDF Report

Birdquest’s Eastern China tour , an epic 25 day journey across much of eastern China, focusses on a n array of rare Chinese endemics a nd migrants , and this year’s tour once again proved a great success. The focus of the first part of the tour i s to achieve good views of rarities like Spoon - billed Sandpiper, the critically endangered Blue - crowned ( Courtois’s ) Laughingthrush, the superb Ca bot’s Tragopan and Elliot’s Pheasant and the ultra - rare Chinese Crested Tern.

2017 [12 December] - Oscar Campbell & Mark Siles

PDF Report

This trip report details a birding and tourism visit (in that order!) to Eastern China, travelling from Shanghai to Nancha ng (Po Yang Lake area) by car over the course of 14 days and then flying back to Shanghai...

2018 [05 May] - Dave Sargeant


...At Nanhui we spent three hours searching for two targets - the stunning Reed Parrotbill and Marsh Grassbird - although only the former found, on account of the cloudy, cool weather not at all conducive to singing grassbirds. Other species observed in passing: Black-tailed Gull, Grey-tailed Tattler, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Japanese Reed Bunting, Manchurian Bush Warbler and Chinese Egret. Generally rather quiet though...

2018 [05 May] - James Eaton

PDF Report

...A total of 318 species were recorded but more impressive is the list of mo uth - watering highlights , in chronological order ; Reed Parrotbill, Spoon - billed Sandpiper, Chinese Crested Tern, White - necklaced Partridge, Cabot’s Tragopan, Elliot’s Pheasant, Blue - crowned Laughingthrush, Short - tailed Parrotbill, Reeves’s Pheasant, Fairy P itta, Brown - chested Jungle Flycatcher, Crested Ibis, Brown Eared Pheasant, Jankowski’s Bunting, Oriental Stork, Zappey’s and Green - backed Flycatchers, Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Blunt - winged Warbler, Schren c k’s Bittern and Baer’s Pochar d...


China Bird Festival 2017


The 3rd China International Birding Festival took place around Laotieshan in Lushun District, Dalian, from 20-22 October 2017.

Other Links

Bird Information of Shanghai Municipality


The total number of bird species recorded in Shanghai reaches 424, including 160 species of water birds....

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.