Birding Kangding, Sichuan – 10,000 Birds

In Kangding, there’s a fairly opulent chook disguise – two tales, strong building, spacious, numerous glass, a separate paved parking zone, although mysteriously (and so far as I can inform from my expertise of dwelling in China for nearly 20 years, not indicative of basically completely different bodily wants of Chinese language individuals) lacking a toilet.

This was the place I spent an excellent half a day in February 2023, once more within the firm of Bella from Alpinebirding, who happily compensates her disturbing fondness for leaf warblers with an unlimited information of Chinese language birds and significantly their calls (although clearly, the latter functionality is way more vital when birding together with her within the wild fairly than from a disguise, so I assume I ought to have used the final bit in one other weblog publish).

Anyway, in case you’re nonetheless studying, the principle attraction at this disguise is Girl Amherst’s Pheasant, which perversely is just not featured on this publish (it’s handled in a separate one, thus grudgingly acknowledging the virtually disgusting flamboyance of that species).

Nevertheless, there are many birds left to see from this disguise.

Among the many key sights are a number of laughingthrushes. I believe my favourite this time was the Barred Laughingthrush.

The best way eBird describes the species may properly be an outline of my splendid girlfriend – “good-looking however shy”.

The Latin species title lunulata is derived from luna, “moon”, with the diminutive added – it means thus “little moon” and likewise “crescent-shaped”. My guess is that that is derived from the half-moonish patterns all around the important physique of the chook.

I’m not positive why the change – hopefully some optimistic growth – however the categorization of the species was modified from Close to Threatened (it’s range-restricted) to Least Concern.

Elliot’s Laughingthrush is called after Daniel Giraud Elliot (1835 – 1915), an American ornithologist who apparently didn’t actually do something associated to laughingthrushes and/or Asia however was wealthy. Possibly that was sufficient. No less than he didn’t have a ebook titled “The Artwork of the Deal” ghostwritten for him.

This species tends to make use of loads of hair gel to get the proper moist look.

In a current publish, I discussed that scientific papers more and more appear to have literary titles. A very current one (2023) involving Elliot’s Laughingthrush follows the identical pattern: “Asian Koel removes nestlings of Elliot’s Laughingthrush from their nest: farming or retaliatory mafia habits?

The paper describes a videotaped incident of an grownup feminine Asian Koel eradicating three Elliot’s Laughingthrush nestlings from a nest (by the way, additionally in Kangding, Sichuan). The most probably clarification – as judged by the authors – is one thing referred to as the farming speculation, which states that brood parasites such because the koel might intentionally destroy nests because it provides them an excellent likelihood to deposit an egg within the alternative clutch. Not one thing I’d significantly think about doing myself, however then I do not likely wish to reproduce anyway.

Pity the mafia speculation cited within the title of the paper is just not pursued additional although – that might have been attention-grabbing.

Photobombing appears to be an enormous factor for Elliot’s Laughingthrush, at the least on this location (right here with a Large Laughingthrush).

The Chinese language Babax additionally does some photobombing however in a way more refined method (to compensate for the earlier photograph, right here with an Elliot’s Laughingthrush).

The title half “Babax” apparently is borrowed from Historic Greek, with “babax” which means “chatterer”. The title “Chinese language” apparently is derived from the truth that the chook is especially present in China.


For example my ceaselessly made level that mammals are form of evil, right here is one other piece of proof. A paper describes how a Golden Snub-nosed Monkey (which appears to be like a bit like anyone had kicked Donald Trump within the nostril, which in itself might in all probability not be such a foul thought) ate three Chinese language Babax chicks from a nest in Shennongjia Nationwide Park.

A few of the grotesque particulars are given within the summary of the paper: “The monkey killed all of the three chicks by biting off their heads whereas feeding on them. On this case, a number of people, most have been feminine juveniles, have been concerned in watching the method of predation”. So not solely do mammals kill birds, however additionally they see this as a form of spectator sport.

The Large Laughingthrush is a little bit of a disappointment in that it’s not actually large enough to eat you (or perhaps a pet cat), despite the fact that that’s what one would count on from an animal with the Large half in its title. Possibly the species has shrunk up to now few a long time.


If in case you have ever considered having youngsters and wish my opinion on it, I counsel in opposition to it. Nevertheless, on the plus aspect, you in all probability won’t need to eat the feces of your younger youngsters, as Large Laughingthrushes do (supply; after all, many different chook species do that as properly).


Within the (not too long ago barely diminished) custom of this weblog overlaying non-avian subjects that presumably none of its readers are inquisitive about, right here is an unpaid intermission to plug a video by one in every of my favourite bands, The Burning Hell: “All I want”. Because the band describes it, it’s “an animated sci-fi Western quick movie/music video” that’s properly value watching even for those who mistakenly assume that the music is just not that good. Finish of commercial.

The Black-browed Bushtit is just not actually all that completely different from the extra widespread (together with Shanghai) Black-throated Bushtit. Each have a black forehead and a blackish throat. The strange world of chook names once more.

Apparently, it’s the high-altitude counterpart to the Black-throated Bushtit. Presumably, the Latin species title bonvaloti is derived from the French explorer Gabriel Bonvalot (1853-1933), although I didn’t get a transparent affirmation for that. This Bonvalot apparently was the standard ruthless explorer of these instances – Wikipedia states that “As a European, Bonvalot felt superior to the locals and used threats or power to acquire gear, provides, pack animals and porters” and on one other expedition “once more coerced the inhabitants into offering horses and guides and even threatened the native commander with imprisonment”. Unsurprisingly and well-deservedly, his expedition was later detained by officers of the Tibetan authorities and never allowed to enter Lhasa. In any case, no cause to call a chook after him.

Like different bushtits, this species is sort of social and shamelessly performs on its cuteness as its USP (for those who have no idea what USP means, congratulations – you undoubtedly don’t work in advertising and marketing).

As customary for the HBW, the Black-browed Bushtit remains to be handled as conspecific with the Rufous-fronted Bushtit, a distinction that Wikipedia already makes. I assume Wikipedia is extra targeted on birds than the HBW.

The Rufous-vented Tit is certainly rufous-vented, assuming that vent is a well mannered ornithological phrase for “ass” (certainly, states that the vent is the outermost a part of the cloaca).

The Noticed Nutcracker is considered a little bit of a jerk amongst some crops, if this paper is to be believed. (Would you may have believed that there’s a scientific journal titled “Motion Ecology”? Me, undoubtedly not).

Why? Properly, the nutcracker ceaselessly caches the seeds of the Swiss stone pine at low elevations in spruce forest, the place the Swiss stone pine can not develop. Wasted effort from the perspective of the tree, and a cause why many of those timber are fairly keen on cats.

As their discovering sounds a bit too simple and easy, the authors don’t spare any effort to phrase their findings in a way more troublesome and obscure assertion: “We conclude that the implications of such long-distance seed dispersal actions for plant populations needs to be rigorously thought-about together with the results of habitat high quality on plant recruitment.” Congratulations.

Apparently, each components of the Latin title Nucifraga caryocatactes principally simply imply nutcracker, despite the fact that the second half sounds extra just like the title of a Brazilian samba band.

Why do nesting makes an attempt of the Pink-billed Blue Magpie typically fail? In line with Chinese language researchers, nest predation and brood parasitism are the 2 important causes.

This not significantly stunning consequence doesn’t maintain authors from making some pretty grandiose claims on the finish of the summary: “This examine supplies the primary dependable and complete info on the reproductive parameters of U. erythrorhyncha, which is able to lay a basis for additional understanding this species’ biology and opens up an avenue for large-scale comparative research of the Urocissa genus or higher-level taxa.”

Everyone desires to put the groundwork, no person desires to enter particulars. Possibly this may be delegated to some interns?

When you occur to dwell in St. Louis, USA, you’ll be able to see the species at your native zoo.

eBird makes the White-browed Fulvetta sound like some form of hobbit: “Chunky fulvetta of scrubby, stunted subalpine forests.”

The Latin species title vinipectus, or “wine(shade)-breasted” doesn’t instantly make a lot sense to me.


Drummers in all probability assume that their particular person type is exclusive and distinct – and possibly it’s. Presumably, Nice Noticed Woodpeckers assume alike, given that there’s a paper titled “Vocal individuality in drumming in nice noticed woodpecker”.

Generally ornithological analysis should be deeply disappointing. For instance, when researchers examined paternity in Nice Noticed Woodpeckers, they in all probability already of their heads phrased a raunchy headline for his or her paper – in all probability not “Not manufactured from wooden?” however possibly “They often drum the place they need to not drum”?

As an alternative, they discovered that in all 161 younger from 36 broods have been sired by the male feeding on the nest gap. What a bummer. As a consequence, the title of the paper is the fairly boring “Parental care and parentage in monogamous nice noticed woodpeckers”.

Luckily, the one Streaked Rosefinch visiting the disguise was a male. Sure, sexism, I do know.

eBird is participating in some borderline fat-shaming by calling it a big, cumbersome rosefinch.

The Latin title is a bit lame – rubicilloides, or “resembling rubicilla”, which is the species title of the Nice Rosefinch.

In fact, Elliot’s Laughingthrush doesn’t simply surrender on its photobombing efforts.

As traditional, the one unfavorable facet of this disguise was a mammal – on this case, an previous Chinese language chook photographer, head to toe in camouflage gear, which provided that he was in an nearly absolutely inclosed disguise was pretty ridiculous however in all probability made him really feel extra like an actual man. He additionally appeared to assume that any passing of my journey companion in entrance of his lens was a significant infraction whereas on the similar time being extraordinarily tolerant of his personal loud speaking to the disguise proprietor and on his cellphone. Properly, you already know, mammals.

One other mammal, happily not as noisy.



Autor Kai Pflug


Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.

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