Sichuan Province

Firethroat Calliope pectardens ©Craig Brelsford Website
Birding Sichuan

Landlocked Sichuan Province has long been one of the most popular Chinese destinations for overseas birders. Although the basin around the provincial capital, Chengdu, is polluted and heavily built-up, the mountains at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau are only a few hours drive to the west. Here there are species that would be familiar to those who have birded elsewhere in the Himalayas, as well as many of China’s fifty-or-so endemic bird species. Clear blue skies, snowcapped mountains and ethnic Tibetan culture all add to the excitement of a visit.The bird tour companies began exploratory trips to Sichuan in the 1980s. Twenty years on, a typical three-week programme has evolved into visits to isolated peaks such as Emei Shan and Wawu Shan, a visit to Wolong/Balangshan, a visit to the Tibetan Plateau through Rouergai and on to scenically outstanding Jiuzhaigou. Emei Shan (‘Shan’ is mountain in Chinese) has a well-developed tourist infrastructure. There are plenty of places to stay at different levels of the mountain. Fit and keen birders can walk from the base (around 600m) to the summit at 3,000m, or descend the many stone steps. Emei can also be tackled by birding around different levels, for example near mid-level Wannian Temple (cable car access to 1,020m) or from Leidongping/Jieyin Hall beneath the summit (at the end of the road at 2,500m).Wawu Shan is about three hours drive southwest from Leidongping at Emei. Wawu is famous as the place of discovery of Sichuan Treecreeper. It has a remarkable summit plateau habitat of bamboo beneath fir trees, although it is very wet and misty in May and June. No fewer than eight species of parrotbill have been seen at Wawu Shan. It is probably easier to see Grey-hooded Parrotbill and Emei Liochichla here than at Emei Shan. Wolong was close to the epicentre of the (2008) earthquake, and there was loss of life at both the Panda Research Centre and at Shawan village.The road from Wolong westwards over Balangshan pass provides access to good habitat up to an elevation of 4,700m. Chinese Monal, White Eared Pheasant and Grandala are among the many special birds recorded near the road. The Tibetan Grasslands near Rouergai are home to different birds, such as Hume’s Ground Tit, Tibetan Lark and (in summer) breeding Black-necked Cranes.Jiuzhaigou is a famous, scenically beautiful and hugely popular National Nature Reserve (NNR), still open for business year-round. It is located in the Min Shan, an area with many Chinese endemics. Sought-after birds here include Sooty Tit, Spectacled Parrotbill, Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush and Rufous-headed Robin. These birds may also been seen at the less-visited Wanglang National Nature Reserve, which has a common border with Jiuzhaigou. Tangjiahe NNR, a good site to see mammals such as Takin, as well as endemic Golden Pheasant and Slaty Bunting nearby. Although the earthquake affected a vast area at the centre of commonly-birded areas of Sichuan, it should be remembered that Sichuan is a huge province with many new site discoveries to be made. These days there are local Chinese birdwatching groups such as the Chengdu Birdwatching Society and Mianyang Bird Society who are exploring the many ornithologically little-known corners of the province.

This page is sponsored by Alpine Birding

  • John & Jemi Holmes


Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 789

    (As at April 2020)
  • Number of endemics: 2

    Sichuan Hill Partridge Arborophila rufipectus
    Sichuan Treecreeper Certhia tianquanensis
Useful Reading

  • Guide to the Birds of China

    See the main China page for details ISBN: 9780192893673 Buy this book from
  • The Colour Handbook of the Birds of Sichuan

    | By Li Guiyuan | China Forestry Publishing House | 1995 | Hardback | 349 pages, Colour illustrations | ISBN: 9787503811692 Buy this book from
  • Chengdu Bird Watching Society

    CDBWS is active throughout Sichuan Province and in other parts of western China… Chinese only
  • Mianyang Love Bird Association

    E-mail: or Contact Mr. Li Peng

Abbreviations Key

  • IBA Mount Emei

    InformationSatellite View
    Visitors to Mount Emei will likely see dozens of Tibetan macaques who can often be viewed taking food from tourists. Local merchants sell nuts for tourists to feed the monkeys.
  • MFP & IBA Wawu Mountain

    InformationSatellite View
  • NNR Huanglong

    WebpageSatellite View
    Biodiversity is very rich in the Reserve. Tall arbors and shrubs, vines, herbs and moss constitute a harmonious picture…
  • NNR Jiuzhaigou

    WebsiteSatellite View
    More than just spectacular scenery, Jiuzhai Valley National Park is home to nine Tibetan villages, over 220 bird species as well as a number of endangered plant and animal species, including the giant panda, Sichuan golden monkey, the Sichuan takin and numerous orchids and rhododendrons...
  • NNR Tangjiahe

    InformationSatellite View
    Some of the birding highlights include crested kingfisher, Gould’s sunbird, spectacled parrotbill, golden-breast fulvetta and even Temminck’s tragopan. In addition to this fantastic wildlife, Tangjiahe is also complemented by its scenery of lush forests, valleys and vegetated hillsides.
  • NNR Wolong

    InformationSatellite View
    In the Reserve there are over 50 species of animals and 300 species of birds. The number of giant pandas here approximately accounts for one tenth of the total, and therefore Wolong National Nature Reserve is also identified as homeland of giant pandas…
Guides & Tour Operators
  • 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
  • Birding Sichuan

    Tour Operator
    Birding and mammal tours for individuals and groups over the whole of China
  • 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…
  • Parrotbill Nature Tours

    Tour Operator
    We are local Chinese. We came into contact birding tourism nearly 15 years. Up to 2016 we have been cooperating with more than 10 of the best birdwatching companies worldwide. Up to 2016, we have operated more than 150 tours involving more than 1200 birders from all over the world. In the last 5 years we have organised around 30 private tours involving more than 180 birders. We have earned lots of good feedback from clients
  • Summer Wong Bird Tours

    Tour Operator
    Summer Wong Bird Tours specialises in China birding tours of Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai, Tibet & Eastern China...
Trip Reports
  • 2014 [06 June] - Craig Brelsford - Sichuan & Yunnan

    ...On the Old Erlang Road in Sichuan, spotting, waiting out, and finally photographing a rare female Firethroat, as well as photographing and sound-recording a male...
  • 2014 [08 August] - Petri Hottola - Balang Shan & Emei Shan

    PDF Report
    ...Between 1st and 7th July, 2014, I finally had a chance to visit Sichuan, albeit briefly, with a focus on two sites:Balang Shan (2.000-4.600 m) and Emei Shan (1.000-3.100m). The short duration of the stay was intentional.It was a part of a private RTW tour designed to cross the 7.000 species limit...
  • 2014 [08 August] - Sjef Ollers

    PDF Report
    InTangjiahe Nature Reserve in Sichuan white-­‐maned serow, Chinese goral and tufted deer could beadded to the list. Birds had to take the back seat on this tour but we still managed to see favourites such as Przewalksi’s pinktail, Ala Shanredstart, Kozlow’s bunting, Roborowski’s rosefinch, Pallas’s sandgrouse, black-­‐necked crane and Kozlow’s Babax. Amajor dip was Tibetan Sandgrouse.
  • 2015 [05 May] - Summer Wong

    PDF Report
    After tour Carsten wrote: Thanks for all the nice pictures. Blackthorn, Temminck’s Tragopan and Tawny Fish Owl were among the stars on our trip but I was also impressed by the large number of leaf and bush warblers we saw thanks to your impressive collection of calls!
  • 2016 [05 May] - Glen Valentine & David Hoddinott - Sichuan & Yunnan

    PDF Report
    406 species recorded, the following were just some ofthe most memorable and desirable species seen:Tibetan and Snow Partridges; Tibetan Snowcock;Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge; the spectacularTemminck’s Tragopan; Chinese Monal; White Eared,Blue Eared, Blood, Golden and Lady Amherst’sPheasants; dancing Black-necked Cranes; the rarelyseen Solitary Snipe; sky-pointing Eurasian Bittern...
  • 2016 [10 October] - Stefan Lithner

    PDF Report
    ...Here we eventually managed tocall for a collared scops-owl until it came almost up to us. We also heard Northern boobook owl, butcircumstances did not allow us to see it. During our walk we also found a seriously injured serpent in the gutter,likely hit by a vehicle. It was photographed and retrospectively identified as brown spotted viper (Protobothropsmucrosquamatus)....
  • 2017 [04 April] - North Thailand Birding

    ...The excellent breakfast spread available by 06:00, is not to be missed, especially as included in the price. Collected by Sid at 07:00 and set off toward the Tibetan Plateau. A total change in the weather with overcast conditions and rain - much more the usual Sichuan weather. An all day drive to Baxi, with some roadside scans north of Songpan for Blue Eared Pheasant, of which several successfully located....
  • 2017 [06 June] - Glen Valentine

    PDF Report
    The provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan certainly offer some of the bestbirding in all of China and,quite simply,in Asiaas a whole. Rockjumper’s 2017comprehensive Sichuan birding tour and pre-tour extension of Yunnan was,as2016’s trip, a mammoth success. Birding our way through the picturesque mountains and landscapes of these two very interesting provinces was an absolute pleasure.
  • 2017 [06 June] - Summer Wong

    PDF Report
    ...Grey-capped Greenfinches very active and in big number, Chinese Pond Heron, Black-capped Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret flying across above head. Red-billed Liothrix went crazy to the owlet call, 2 Rufous-capped Babblers came with a few Japanese White-eye and a pair of Collared Finchbill. When we were watching at a small group of Vinous-throated Parrotbill on a open flowering land a pair of Chinese Bamboo Partridges walking alone the edge of bamboo...
  • 2017 [07 July] - Birthe Rasmussen

    PDF Report
    ...ending with birding in Sichuan province of China between 5th–25thJuly 2017 by a group of four Danish birdwatchers...
  • 2018 [04 April] - Mark Smiles - Beijing, Shaanxi & Sicuan

    PDF Report
    This was a trip with my wife aimed at visiting the main Chinese cultural sites and a return to Sichuan, a province I’d had a taste of in May 2015 when I visited with t wo birding friends from the UAE. Although a little early for most of the returning migrants (most of which I’d previously seen in 2015 ), the timing of this trip proved very successful for certain species (esp ecially pheasants & tit - warblers) which become trickier late on.
  • 2018 [04 April] - Summer Wong

    ...After around 5 hours drive, just before Foping town, we had one stop on the roadside on a slope we got Grey-capped Greenfinches, 2 Vinous-throated Parrotbills, 2 Streak-breasted Scimitar Babblers, Darian Redstart, Collared Finchbill, Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler, a male Yellow-throated Bunting, Brown-breasted Bulbuls. Red-billed Blue Magpie, Common Magpie and Large-billed Crow are common all alone the road....
  • 2018 [06 June] - Graham Talbot

    PDF Report the end the consensus was to go to Longcanggou in the hope of seeing Streaked Barwing, which was the last one they both needed to complete the “Barwing set”. The area was also good for Lady Amherst’s Pheasant and, as I had only seen the dodgy introduced ones in the UK, it suited me as well...
  • 2019 [05 May] - Mike Nelson

    PDF Report
    Stunning mountain passes replete with Tibetan Snowcock, Grandala and Snow Partridge were met by steep pine stands where Pere David’s Owl, Sichuan Jay, Severtzov’s Grouse and Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge lurked. Huge swaths of bamboo held many desired parrotbills including, Three-toed, Golden, Fulvous, Grey-hooded and Great. Some of the most captivating birds though are the true pheasants and Golden, Koklass and Lady Amherst’s all put on a good show, complimented by Chinese Monal and Temminck’s Tragopan.
  • 2019 [06 June] - Summer Wong

    PDF Report
    Tour leader : Summer Wong ( Wang Wenjuan ) Participant : David Diskin ( UK )
  • 2020 [06 June] - Tang Jun

    PDF Report
    Report of 2020 May/June China Sichuan & Tibet Plateau Wildlife Expedition
  • Sid & Meggie Francis - Sichuan Birds

    We're a Chinese/ British couple who have a passionate interest in the exiting nature and countryside that's found in the Chinese province of Sichuan. This blog is intended as a guide for those wishing to visit…

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Skip to content