Birding Ruili, Yunnan – 10,000 Birds

Ruili is a Chinese language metropolis proper on the border to Myanmar, and a significant border crossing. After I final visited the city nearly 10 years in the past, it had a Wild West really feel, and Wikipedia claims that it’s “an essential location for commerce with Myanmar, in each authorized and unlawful items and companies” but it surely appeared fairly tame to me this time. My main wrestle within the metropolis was with the gear in a brilliant fashionable lodge room, with directions all in Chinese language, stopping me from getting a sizzling bathe and sizzling espresso within the morning. I admit this isn’t fairly on the extent of fellow writers’ posts describing birding as an excessive sport.

The proximity to the Myanmar border is mirrored within the presence of Burmese Shrikes right here – on the fallacious aspect of the border, however it’s well-known that this species has by no means been notably good at geography.

Its scientific title is a bit pathetic – collurioides, that means that it resembles (-oides) the Crimson-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio). A extremely inventive title this isn’t.

The identical park in Ruili additionally had Lengthy-tailed Shrike, presumably subspecies tricolor, which right here appears fairly completely different from the subspecies widespread in Shanghai (schach). If you’re impressed by me mentioning subspecies, don’t be – I simply appeared it up within the HBW however mainly, I nonetheless assume that subspecies must be unlawful.

One way or the other I had beforehand not observed the great thing about the Coppersmith Barbet, a chicken that may certainly be recognized comparatively simply by its name that can be answerable for its title (it’s a metallic name that sounds considerably like a coppersmith hammering steel).

This picture explains the scientific species title haemacephalus (bloodheaded).

Curiously, the Chinese language title highlights the crimson breast moderately than the crimson head – it interprets roughly as “Crimson-breasted Imitation Woodpecker”.

The HBW – in a barely Puritan streak – appears to criticize the work ethics of the species: “It apparently begins exercise 5-10 minutes earlier than dawn, later than different chicken species sharing its habitat”. Possibly it’s simply higher at attaining a great work-life stability.

Thankfully for human males, the everyday courtship of people differs from that of the Coppersmith Barbets, which the HBW describes as follows: “When the nest is prepared, the male could start courtship feeding, providing fruit to the feminine. The feminine typically rejects this fruit, turning her again and defecating within the route of the male”. A extra detailed (and barely much less disgusting) description of the mating conduct could be discovered right here.

One paper on the species and its breeding conduct has the good sentence “Coppersmith barbet lives fortunately both alone, in pairs, or in small teams of 4 to 5 birds”.

In accordance with an article within the Enterprise Commonplace, “Ashy Drongos have chosen the damaging profession of tackling bugs with nasty stings despite the fact that they don’t possess protecting dense feathers or thick-skin across the eye”.

Ashy Drongos can apparently mimic different birds and imitate the motion of different chicken species, then subsequently attempt to steal their meals (supply).

As with many different drongo species, the Ashy Drongo largely simply sits someplace and appears round, an exercise which in a paper is politely described as “Scanning”.

Whereas the Ashy Drongo thus spends 71% of its time, the Bronzed Drongo tops this with 76%, in keeping with the identical paper.

“Not lazy, simply scanning”

Each time there’s a type to fill out, the Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike curses its title. By the point it has completed, the opposite species are already ready in line on the counter, and it has to maneuver to the top of that line.

The chicken has now began utilizing its scientific title, Hemipus picatus, as it’s considerably shorter.

Maybe the center part of weblog posts must be comparatively boring as a way to do away with the extra informal readers. So, listed below are some widespread birds seen at Ruili:

Gray Heron

Plumbeous Water Redstart

White-capped Redstart

Olive-backed Pipit

Crimson-vented Bulbul

Crimson-whiskered Bulbul

If this put up was a music, the part above may be known as the center eights, although in a great music, the center eights are usually extra attention-grabbing.

Which is nearly as good as any location on this put up to say one other music favourite, “Faux Empire“, as regular by The Nationwide.

After studying a shiny movie star paper – possibly about an Oscar celebration – the eBird reviewer will get again to writing brief descriptions of birds however nonetheless has the vocabulary of the journal in his or her head. The result’s an outline of the Velvet-fronted Nuthatch like this: “One of many few nuthatches to interrupt the overall impartial colour scheme of the household, this stunner could be fairly widespread …”.



This species is a cavity nester however unable to construct its personal cavities. Not an important state of affairs given the power housing scarcity in appropriate environments. For instance, one paper states that in Sri Lanka’s cloud forest, solely about 3% of all bushes have appropriate cavities.


For some purpose, the Mandarin Chinese language title of the Scarlet Minivet interprets as “Crimson Mountain Pepper Chook”

I do hope a Chinese language reader of this weblog can clarify the origin or that means of this title.

The web site has an outline of the Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush that reads prefer it has been written by ChatGPT after particularly having obtained directions to mock tourism companies:

“With its pleasant presence, the Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush is an emblem of Nepal’s wealthy avian variety. Recognizing its worth for eco-tourism and biogeographical analysis, it’s important to preserve this magnificent chicken. Preserving its habitat via sustainable practices and inspiring accountable wildlife tourism are essential steps in guaranteeing the continued existence of this charismatic species. In conclusion, the Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush provides a splash of colour and attraction to the already spellbinding Nepali wilderness. As we proceed exploring Nepal’s unparalleled magnificence and biodiversity, allow us to respect these vibrant gems hidden in its forests and try to guard them for future generations to admire.”

Frequent Tailorbirds could be very productive, with as much as 4 broods per 12 months (supply).

In 93% of circumstances, the birds constructed new nests for every brood regardless of on common solely transferring 10 meters away from the earlier nesting website. This might trace at an answer for the struggling Chinese language housing market – transferring to a brand new house for every new youngster? Then again, most Chinese language {couples} solely have one youngster anyway, so this could not make an excessive amount of of a distinction within the total housing demand.

Some analysis matters appear a bit weird to me. A paper on the Little Cormorant is titled “Actions of the Little Cormorant, Phalacrocorax niger (Vieillot) in relation to daylight in captivity”. Not solely was this examine achieved in a zoo, which ought to significantly have an effect on the relevance of the outcome. It additionally appears that no person has ever proofread the summary because it incorporates the next puzzling sentence:

“Time spent in preening was the best (32.25 min/h) in wet day. Lowest (22.47 min/h) in cloudy day and intermediate (14.73 min/h) in sunny day.” Peer evaluation, schmeer evaluation?

One other paper asks “Does the weight-reduction plan of the Little Cormorant Microcarbo niger have an effect on business fisheries?”. And concludes that it presumably does.

Slaty-backed Forktails appear to be fairly widespread at Moli Tropical Rainforest Spot, a birding location about half an hour away from Ruili by automotive.

2024 additionally lastly sees the long-awaited launch of a paper on the entire mitochondrial genome of the Slaty-backed Forktail. I hope there are nonetheless a couple of species left for future scientists to investigate.

Other than bugs, these forktails additionally eat small fish – some pictures could be seen in this paper.

Lastly, the White-hooded Babbler appears a bit like it’s a proud member of essentially the most unique tennis membership in a smallish city. However I don’t maintain that in opposition to the species.

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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