Guangdong Province

Silver Oriole Oriolus mellianus ©Matthew Kwan Website

Guangdong  is a coastal province located in South China, on the north shore of the South China Sea and has a total of 4,300 km (2,700 miles) of coastline.  The provincial capital is the mega-city of Guangzhou (home to 15 million people). With a population of around 127million across a total area of about 180,000 km2 (70,000 square miles), Guangdong is the most populous province of China and the 15th-largest by area as well as the third-most populous country subdivision in the world. The province is spread across 600km of tropical south China, between the Nanling mountain range to the north and the South China Sea to the south. The provincial capital is at the head of the Pearl River delta with its hundreds of small islands.

Guangdong borders Fujian to the northeast, Jiangxi and Hunan to the north, Guangxi autonomous region to the west, and former British colony of Hong Kong and the former Portuguese colony of Macau (both Special Administrative Regions) to the south. Hainan is offshore across from the Leizhou Peninsula. Pratas Island, which were traditionally governed as part of Guangdong, are part of Taiwan. Cities around the Pearl River Delta include Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shenzhen, Shunde, Taishan, Zhongshan, and Zhuhai. Other cities in the province include Chaozhou, Chenghai, Nanhai, Shantou, Shaoguan, Zhanjiang, Zhaoqing, Yangjiang, and Yunfu. 75% of the population is urban.

Shenzhen – ©Charlie fong, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Guangdong has a humid subtropical climate. Winters are short, mild, and relatively dry, while summers are long, hot, and very wet. Average daily highs in Guangzhou in January and July are 18 °C and 33 °C respectively, although the humidity makes it feel hotter in summer. Frost is rare on the coast but may happen a few days each winter.

Baiyun Mountain – ©Kakashikenji via Wikipedia

Notable attractions include Danxia Mountain in Shaoguan, Yuexiu Hill, Baiyun Mountain in Guangzhou, Star Lake and the Seven Star Crags, Dinghu Mountain in Zhaoqing, the Huangmanzhai waterfalls in Jieyang, and the Zhongshan Sun Wen Memorial Park for Sun Yat-sen in Zhongshan.

Birding Guangdong

In the past forty years, much of lowland Guangdong had been transformed into factories and industrial estates. This has led to economic advancement on a huge scale, but the environment has paid a heavy price. Nonetheless, Nanling National Nature Reserve, which straddles Guangdong’s northern border with Hunan Province, has a good coverage of warm temperate forest and is home to Cabot’s Tragopan and Silver Pheasant, as well as the spectacular Red-tailed Laughingthrush. Silver Orioles breed in Nanling in summer, before dispersing to southeast Asia for the winter.

Further east and at a lower elevation, Chebaling National Nature Reserve is a site for Blyth’s Kingfisher and White-eared Night Heron. It is a good place to see and hear Chinese Barbet, a split from Black-browed Barbet. The site has suffered from ill-considered development in the past few years, especially small hydroelectric projects downstream from the reserve boundary which have damaged riverine habitat. However, Chebaling still has five species of woodpecker, Crested Kingfisher, Red-headed Trogon, and some wintering species that rarely get to the south of the province, such as Eurasian Siskins, Common Rosefinch and several buntings.

There are few nature reserves on Guangdong’s coast, but Gongping Dahu in Haifeng County supports a good number of wintering duck, and a significant proportion of the very rare eastern population of Dalmatian Pelican. On the west side of Shenzhen city the mangrove reserve of Futian looks south across Deep Bay to Hong Kong’s Mai Po Nature Reserve. Although Dalmatian Pelicans have become irregular in Deep Bay in recent years, there is still plenty to see in winter. The bay supports over 200 endangered Black-faced Spoonbills, as well as thousands of duck, Avocet and Black-headed Gulls.

In spring and autumn there are thousands of migrating waders of about forty species – including Nordmann’s Greenshank and Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

The Shenzhen Birdwatching Society is heavily committed to public education about wild birds, and members travel all over China to pursue their hobby.

This page is sponsored by Alpine Birding

  • John & Jemi Holmes

    Hong Kong |

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 668

  • Number of endemics: 0 - 3 'breeding endemics'

    Chinese Leaf Warbler Abrornis yunnanensis
    Alström's Leaf Warbler Seicercus soror
    Chinese Thrush Otocichla mupinensis
  • Avibase

    PDF Checklist
    This checklist includes all bird species found in Guangdong , based on the best information available at this time. It is based on a wide variety of sources that I collated over many years. I am pleased to offer these checklists as a service to birdwatchers. If you find any error, please do not hesitate to report them.
  • eBird

    PDF Checklist
    406 species (+63 other taxa) - Year-round, Current year
Useful Reading

  • A Naturalist's Guide to the Birds of Hong Kong

    | By Ray Tipper | John Beaufoy Publishing | Edition 2 | 2021 | Paperback | 176 pages, ~300 colour photos, 2 colour maps| ISBN: 9781913679088 Buy this book from
  • Atlas of Birds in Chebaling

    | By Song Xiangjin | Guangdong Science and Technology Press | 2017 | hardback | 284 pages, colour photos | ISBN: 9787535967787 Buy this book from
  • Birding South East China

    | By Tim J Woodward | Tim Woodward | 2006 Paperback | 423 pages, 88 colour photos, 160 maps | ISBN: 9628508423 Buy this book from
  • Where to Watch Birds and Other Wildlife in Hong Kong and Guangdong

    | By Tim J Woodward & Geoff J Carey | Tim Woodward | 1996 | Paperback | 197 pages, Col photos, line illus, 30 maps | Out of Print | ISBN: 9789628508419 Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • Official Provincial Bird

    Silver Pheasaant Lophura nycthemera
  • Shenzhen Bird Watching Society

    Shenzhen Bird Watching Society (SZBWS) was formally established on 3 March 2004, with support from Shenzhen Municipal Oceanic Bureau. The organization is now a legal entity, with the approval of the Shenzhen Civil Affairs Bureau
  • Shenzhen Bird Watching Society

    (In chinese only) Shenzhen Bird Watching Society (SZBWS) was formally established on 3 March 2004, with support from Shenzhen Municipal Oceanic Bureau. The organization is now a legal entity, with the approval of the Shenzhen Civil Affairs Bureau

Abbreviations Key

  • NNR Dinghu Mountains

    InformationSatellite View
    …there are more than 170 species of birds, 30 species of animals and 20 species of pythons, among which leopards, serows and silver pheasants are under the state protection. Silver pheasant is the official bird of Guangdong Province…
  • NNR Huidong Harbor Sea Turtle Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    At the juncture of Daya Bay and Honghai Bay in the South China Sea, presently the only sea turtle protected area in China, with seawater and gently-sloping sandy beaches still in good environmental quality and eminently suitable for sea turtles…
  • NNR Nanling

    InformationSatellite View
    Nanling National Nature Reserve is one of the sources of the Pearl River. In addition, it is the most abundant biological resources of nature reserves, the largest biological species gene pool, and one of the 14 biodiversity hotspots in China. It is a forest ecological protected area that protects the subtropical evergreen broadleaf forest and rare flora and fauna as well as their inhabitants. 261 bird species have been observed.
  • NNR Wuyishan

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Wuyi Mountain stretches for thousands of miles like a green dragon all the way across the provinces of Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Guangdong. The world-famous Wuyishan National Key Nature Reserve just sits on the highest section on the north of the Mountains. It is the single biggest and the most comprehensive surviving semi-subtropical forest system in the south-east mainland China. It is within the World biosphere Protection Network of the United Nations and is ranked Class-A global nature reserve…
  • NNR Zhanjiang Mangroves

    WebpageSatellite View
    The largest mangrove forest wetland reserve in China, located along coastal areas of the Leizhou Peninsula at the southernmost tip of China between the South China Sea and the Tonkin Gulf, adjacent to Hainan Island…
  • NR Ba Bao Shan

    WebpageSatellite View
    One of the last refuges for the Chinese Tiger…
Sightings, News & Forums
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Alpine Birding

    Tour Operator
    Guangdong is a paradise to birds with abundant bird resources. About 510 bird species have been recorded in the province, accounting 43.4% of the total in China. In 1988, the Silver Pheasant has been elected a provincial bird.
  • BirdQuest

    Tour Operator
    Our Eastern China birding tour will begin at the city of Guangzhou, from where we head into northern Guangdong province in search of the stunning Silver Oriole at a new site that Birdquest pioneered on our highly successful South China Expedition in 2019. Other good birds here include the wonderful Fairy Pitta, the endemic Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler and the superb, near-endemic Fork-tailed Sunbird, as well as a variety of other more common lowland species.
Trip Reports
  • 2017 [06 Jun] - Matthew Kwan - Nanling National Forest Park

    We arrived at outside Nanling at around noon, we had lunch by a roadside restaurant, where we met with our local guide Mr. Chen, he had agreed to show us the location of several species within the park, namely the Cabot's Tragopan and Fairy Pitta...
  • 2018 [06 June] - Lo Chun Fai

    ...The White-eared Night Heron is one of our dream ticks when studying South-east China bird guide because it is so secretive due to its nocturnal behavior and small population size. I missed two times for seeing the night heron, one in Zhejiang because of my schedule; and one in Guangxi because of bad weather. This year, when I found a paper about the breeding of White-eared Night Heron in Guangxi, I decided to try our luck again....
  • 2019 [06 June] - Matthew Kwan - Liuxihe National Forest Park, Guangdong Province

    The Silver Oriole is a relatively little known species that breeds in southern China and over winters in mainland South East Asia. It is listed as Endangered due to their limited range and heavy habitat loss of the tropical and sub-tropical forest throughout their range. They are probably one of the rarest breeding species in Guangdong...
Other Links
  • Everything about Birds - In Birdless Era

    The White-eared Night Heron is one of our dream ticks when studying South-east China bird guide because it is so secretive due to its nocturnal behavior and small population size.
  • Nanshan parks host more migratory birds

    As Shenzhen is getting cooler, our feathered friends are also traveling thousands of miles along the East Asia-Australia flyway to their wintering grounds or stopovers in the southern coastal city of Shenzhen, in response to the autumn season and the cycle of life.
  • Shenzhen, a haven for birds

    Shenzhen is an important stopover of the winter birds' East Asia-Australia migratory route. From October to April, a peak season for migrant birds in Shenzhen, is a good time for birdwatching since there are also more than 200 species of resident birds that can be admired in the city, according to official data.
  • When and where to go birding in Guangdong?

    In Guangdong, every autumn to spring are perhaps the hottest birding periods, as hundreds of thousands of migrant birds pass through our parks, woods and wetlands. According to statistics, we can see 389 species of migrant birds in Guangdong, accounting for 70% of the total number of bird species.

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