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Yunnan Province

Myzornis
Fire-tailed Myzornis Myzornis pyrrhoura ©Craig Brelsford Website

Birding Yunnan

Yunnan Province is a huge and colourful province that borders Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan and Tibet. It also has international borders with Burma, Laos and Vietnam. The provincial capital is Kunming which lies at an elevation of 1,800m and is known as the 'City of Eternal Spring'.

From the snowclad 6,000m peaks of Meilixue Shan in the northwest to the jungles of Xishuangbanna in the south, Yunnan boasts every kind of habitat, and the longest provincial birdlist in China with 800+ species.

Where do you start in a place this size? The Western Hills, or Xishan, near Kunming, are a popular area for the capital’s daytrippers, and the woods support a number of interesting species, including Rosy Minivet, Godlewski’s Bunting, Black-throated Tit, and Spectacled Fulvetta. Three hours’ bus ride further west, near the city of Chuxiong, the scenic area of Zixi Shan (Purple Stream Mountain) has similar and less-disturbed habitat than the Western Hills with Collared Grosbeak, Chinese Thrush and Yunnan Nuthatch.

Cultural tourists head for the ancient city of Dali, which lies at the base of a fifty kilometre line of 4000m high peaks – Cang Shan - the Azure mountains. These slopes support Blood Pheasants near the top, Lady Amherst’s Pheasants in the middle, and Common Pheasants near the bottom. High above Dali the 'Cloudy Tourist Walk' at a height of 2,500m provides great views as well as the chance to see Nutcracker, Brown Parrotbill and Chinese Babax, among others. The well-worn tourist circuit leads north to the World Heritage Site of Lijiang, with birding opportunities at Black Dragon Pool Park at the outskirts of town, and Lashi Hai, a wetland 25 kms distant.

Further west, Gaoligong Shan, on the west side of the Salween river, is an area where a spur of the Himalayas reaches toward the wet jungles of southeast asia. Here there are birds in common with the mountains of northeast India, such as Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Red-faced Liochichla, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Fire-tailed Myzornis and Ward’s Trogon.

Black-necked Crane breeds on the Tibetan Plateau and the eastern population winters in northern Yunnan Province. The cranes may be seen in winter in northwest Yunnan at Napahai near Zhongdian/”Shangri-la”, and in northeast Yunnan near Zhaotong at Dashanbao National Nature Reserve (a brisk and breezy 3,000m elevation) and at Huize, a provincial nature reserve, as well at several other sites.

Top Sites

NR Lashihai-Wenhai Watershed

Information

Satellite View

Discover the Lashihai/Wenhai Watershed reserve at an elevation of 2500 meters, Lashi Lake (half an hour from Lijiang) is the largest highland lake in Lijiang County, and an important habitat for over 57 species of migratory birds - including protected species such as the black-necked crane, whooper swan and black stork.

Contributor

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 975

(As at August 2018)

Useful Reading

Birds in Yunnan

Ji Weizhi | China Forestry Publishing House | 2006 | Hardback | 287 pages,colour photos |

ISBN: 750384390X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Baima Snow Mountain

By Ge Ma Jiangchu | Huayu Nature Book Trade Co.Ltd | 2014 | Hardback | 364 pages, colour photos | Text Chinese/Tibetan |

ISBN: 9787541680489

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of Hong Kong and South China

By Clive Viney, Karen Phillips & Lam Chiu Ying | Hong Kong Government Information Service | 2005 | Paperback | 255 pages, 91 colour plates, b/w illus, 4 maps |

ISBN: 9620204042

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

Kunming Birdwatching Association

Website

Kunming Birdwatching Association (KBA) is managed by Kunming Association for Science and Technology (KAST), and is a community-based organization which aims to protect and to conduct research on birds…

Xishuangbanna Wildbird Society

Information

Xishuangbanna Wildbird Society (XWS) which depends on the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve is a legally registered society which cares for birds and their habitats in the largest rainforest in mainland China. XWS aims at spreading the idea of wild bird conservation through promoting birdwatching in rainforest. It also promote ecotourism which really stresses on the rainforest, birds and other wildlife. Hope that XWS can cooperate with other birdwatching societies and birdwatchers to conserve the birds in this largest primary rainforest…

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

NNR Dashanbao

Information

Satellite View

The reserve has been set up to protect a total area of 19,200 hectares of plateau marshland at altitudes between 2,200 and 3,300 meters that provide winter habitat for the Black-necked crane. The reserve has been designated as a Ramsar site since 2004.

NNR Gaoligong Mountain

Information

Satellite View

There are more than 300 species of birds such as silver pheasants, golden pheasants, peacocks, sunbirds and various Garrulax canorus

NNR Xishuangbanna

Information

Satellite View

The Reserve boasts 539 species of terrestrial vertebrate which accounts for 25% of the total in China, 429 species of birds, 36% of the total, 47 species of amphibians, 68 species of reptiles and 100 species of fish…

NR Lashihai Wetland

Information

Satellite View

At the turn of each autumn and winter, thousands of water fowls migrate afar from the north, among which there are some of national protected birds, such as Black Storks, Black Neck Cranes, Chinese Mergansers, etc. as well as great numbers of ordinary water birds like Ruddy Shelducks and Mandarin Ducks and so on. According to the records, the quantity of bird species in the area of Lashihai wetland each year amounts to 25,000 ~ 30,000, the Anatidae of Anseriformes takes the dominant. 9 from 57 species of birds in wetland are of special, rare and distinctive ones. They are distributed in the shallow lake areas in the south, west and east side of Lashihai.

WII & NR Napahai Wetland

Information

Satellite View

A seasonal karst marsh composed of meadow, open water, peatlands, and surrounding forests situated at about 3,260m above sea level, with lake outflow through karst caves draining underground into the Jinsha River in the upper reaches of the Yangtze…

WII Bitahai Wetland

Information

Satellite View

Provincial Nature Reserve. An alpine wetland between 3,000 and 4,260 meters above sea level, with swamps, lake, peatlands, and adjacent forest cover. The site has very high hydrological values such as flood prevention and control in the key catchment zones of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; as part of the Jinsha River watershed in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, it supplies water to the aquifers and stabilizes the flow in the lower reaches of the Yangtze…

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...

China Birding Tour

Tour Operator

China Birding is a travel company based in China, Chengdu and Tibet.We do tailor made itineraries for any bird watchers who have an interest in the birds of China: Qinghaai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet. We have the experience. We can do tour arrangements for individuals or for for birding travel companys visiting China. We can arrange all your hotels, travel and guiding…

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…

CloudBirders

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.

2013 [03 March] - Jesper Hornskov

PDF Report

Annotated List…

2013 [03 March] - Jesper Hornskov - Yunnan

PDF Report

Based mostly on my own field notes, this brief write-up covers the birds & mammals noted by A Bassett, D Heintz & myself during 12 days in Yunnan, China’s SW-most and biologically most diverse province…

2013 [06 June] - Hannu Jannes

PDF Report

…Other highlights included such stunning and difficult to get species as Tibetan Snowcock, Snow Partridge, White Eared, Lady Amherst's and Silver Pheasants, many Black-necked Cranes, a very showy pair of Wood Snipes, Tawny Fish Owl, many Grandalas, stunning Firethroats, Bar-winged Wren-babbler, Severtzov’s and Crested Tit-Warblers, Great, Brown, Spot-breasted, the very cute Golden and the very range restricted Grey-hooded and Przevalski’s (or Rusty-throated) Parrotbills, showy Barred and Giant Laughingthrushes, Emei Shan Liocichla, Sooty, White-browed and Père David’s Tits, Przevalski’s Nuthatch, Sichuan Jay, Hume’s Groundpecker, Slaty Bunting, and Sharpe's, Three-banded, Blanford's and Red-breasted Rosefinches…

2013 [06 June] - James Eaton

PDF Report

…Feeding flocks dominated proceedings, always containing a variety of warblers; Ashy-throated, Sichuan Leaf, Bianchi’s, Marten’s, Claudia’s, Chestnut-crowned, Large-billed Leaf – all species we would see almost daily for the rest of the tour, Mrs Gould’s Sunbird, Rufous-vented, Coal and the Chinese endemic, Yellow-bellied Tits, more fulvettas and on three occasions, several Fire-capped Tits, with several more later in the day and the following morning….

2014 [06 June] - Craig Brelsford - Sichuan & Yunnan

Report

...Being among the first birders to visit Dulong Gorge, “The Last Green Valley in China,” in the far northwestern corner of Yunnan...

2015 [02 February] - Michael Grunwell - Western Yunnan

PDF Report

...Red-tailed Laughingthrush Trochalopteron milnei Accustomed to being fed at the partridge hide, came straight down to freshly delivered mealworms. At one point, for about two seconds, I counted 17 birds in front of the blind.

2015 [04 April] - Jesper Hornskov - Xishuangbanna

PDF Report

2015 [05 May] - Pete Morris - Sichuan & Northern Yunnan

Report PDF

Our long run of tours to Sichuan continued with another highly successful visit to what is ‘the heart of China’. As with the previous visit, we tagged on a visit to Yunnan which added a number of additional localized species, and amongst the 350+ species recorded were a vast majority of the specialities on offer

2015 [05 May] - Remco Hofland

Report PDF

Birding the Gaoligongshan mountain range had been a dream of me ever since I first visited China for the first time, in 2005; regular reports from the area by Jesper Hornskov on [OB] email wetted my appetite even further.

2015 [11 November] - Jonathan Martinez - Ruili, Pianma, Dulongjiang Valley

PDF Report

2016 [01 January] - Max Berlijn

PDF Report

Annotated list

2016 [03 March] - Craig Brelsford - Dulong Gorge

Report

A week in Yunnan is under our belt, and Dulong Gorge is yielding amazing Himalayan specialties. Among the species noted by us so far are Fire-tailed Myzornis, Grandala, Rufous-breasted Bush Robin, Striated Laughingthrush, and Assam Laughingthrush as well as Gongshan Muntjac. We have noted western Yunnan favorites Rusty-flanked Treecreeper, Yellow-throated Fulvetta, Beautiful Sibia, Rusty-fronted Barwing, and Streak-throated Barwing. We have heard the mournful whistle of Hill Partridge, found a flock of 140 Tibetan Serin, noted Goldcrest in a mixed flock at 2960 m, and discovered 4 Eurasian Teal looking out of place on the Dulong River. Also using the river are Common Merganser, Great Cormorant, Crested Kingfisher, and Brown Dipper. Crimson-breasted Woodpecker was a lifer for us, and Wallcreeper delighted us all. We noted a troop of Stump-tailed Macaque.

2016 [05 May] - Glen Valentine & David Hoddinott - Sichuan & Yunnan

PDF Report

406 species recorded, the following were just some of the most memorable and desirable species seen: Tibetan and Snow Partridges; Tibetan Snowcock; Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge; the spectacular Temminck’s Tragopan; Chinese Monal; White Eared, Blue Eared, Blood, Golden and Lady Amherst’s Pheasants; dancing Black-necked Cranes; the rarely seen Solitary Snipe; sky-pointing Eurasian Bittern...

2017 [02 February] - MJ Grunwell - Baihualing

PDF Report

The blinds are better referred to as ponds as it is the provided pond which attracts the birds not the blind. There are now over 50 ponds at Baihualing! Jeremy keeps a log of sightings and can give advice. Generally though, most pond-visiting species can be seen at most forest ponds. I can recommend the three I visited: Pond 16 which is just below the hot spring CP, this is where I had my lucky encounter with scarlet finch.

2017 [06 June] - Craig Robson

PDF Report

...Some of the numerous highlig hts , amongst the nearl y 350 species recorded, were 15 species of Galliform, including Temminck’s Tragopan, Chinese Monal, White Eared, Blue Eared, Golden and Lady Amherst’s Pheasants, Black - necked Crane, Black - tailed Crake, Saker Falcon, Collared Crow, Fir e - capped, White - browed, Pere David’s, Black - bibbed, Sichuan, and Ground Tits, Tibetan Lark, Chinese Wren - babbler (or Cupwing), Sooty Bushtit, White - browed and Crested Tit - Warblers, 23 species of Phylloscopus and Seicercus warblers, 36 species of babbler...

2017 [06 June] - Glen Valentine

PDF Report

The provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan certainly offer some of the best birding in all of China and , quite simply , in Asia as a whole . Rockjumper’s 2017 comprehensive Sichuan birding tour and pre - tour extension of Yunnan was , as 2016’s trip , a mammoth success. Birding our way through the picturesque mountains and landscapes of these two very interesting provinces was an absolute pleasure...

Other Links

Birding In Yunnan Province

Webpage

The province has the richest biodiversity of China which account for over 50% of the total flora and fauna species that have been recorded in China including about 18000 kinds of plants and 1704 vertebrate species. Over 900 bird species ensure Yunnan has the most abundant bird resources in China...