Birding Shanghai in February 2023 – 10,000 Birds

February 2023 was a gradual month for birding in Shanghai, a minimum of for me – so gradual that I nearly put the Noticed Dove, probably my least favourite hen right here, on the quilt. However then, sanity (or perhaps respect for you, the reader) prevailed.

Not a canopy species

The Black Kite is just not really black, however in fact, deceptive hen names aren’t precisely uncommon. One of the best eBird can provide when it comes to plumage colour is “darkish”, and even that appears a little bit of an exaggeration.

By the best way, if you happen to google “Black Kite”, the very first outcome you get even earlier than the Wikipedia entry on the hen is an organization named Black Kite. By their very own declaration, “Black Kite is disrupting third-party threat administration practices by offering safety specialists with the trade’s most correct and complete cyber intelligence, leading to unparalleled visibility into the danger distributors introduce into their environments” – no matter meaning. Additionally, the corporate “pushes the boundaries on predictive insights, delivering the best high quality intelligence to assist organizations make higher threat selections and enhance the well being and security of the whole planet’s cyber ecosystem.”

Again to non-cyber ecosystems similar to those containing the Black Kite (hen). Perhaps these must be protected too? Really, the Black Kite is supposedly the most typical of all raptors with a inhabitants of about 6 million, however some populations are declining.

Provided that the Black Kite is politely described as an “opportunistic hunter” – which incorporates the truth that they’re extra prone to scavenge than most different raptors – the title alternative of the corporate defending the world’s cyber ecosystem is a bit bizarre. Or perhaps not – aren’t vultures typically praised for eradicating pathogens and toxins within the setting by consuming carrion?

Wikipedia factors out that the Black-winged Kite has some similarities with owls, particularly, the “owl-like forward-facing eyes with pink irises”. On Chongming Island, a few of them appear to be comparatively unafraid of individuals, a minimum of by the requirements of raptors.

I’m not certain in regards to the safety scenario in Iraq as of late however a minimum of some folks do ornithological analysis there – leading to papers similar to one titled “Breeding observations of the Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus (Desfontaines, 1789) in Iraq”. Spectacular.

Whereas the one-chick coverage for Chinese language Hooded Cranes has just lately been lifted as the federal government is frightened about an growing older crane inhabitants, most crane {couples} nonetheless prohibit themselves to a single chick. It’s principally a query of economics – elevating only one is troublesome sufficient given the assets required to feed and educate the chick.


Chongming Dongtan, the place these images have been taken, is the wintering location of about 100 Hooded Cranes – about 1% of the worldwide inhabitants. No shock then that the species is listed as Susceptible.


In Thailand, apparently, the variety of Oriental Magpie-Robins has critically declined in some areas apparently, partly due to poaching for the pet hen commerce because the birds are good singers (supply).

Fortuitously, they’re fairly frequent in Shanghai.

The Latin species title of the Widespread Greenshank, nebularia, sounds a bit like a science fiction novel to me – nevertheless, it means “misty” and apparently is derived from the birds’ misty, marshy habitat (HBW).

The White-rumped Munias of Shanghai don’t look significantly white-rumped – both they should bathe extra often, or (extra seemingly) they’re of a unique subspecies, swinhoei, than the certainly properly White-rumped Munias proven on the HBW web page of the species. Really, the HBW remarks that “Type swinhoei seems distinctive; additional analysis, together with vocal and genetic analyses, fascinating”, so perhaps this may turn into a separate species finally.

One attention-grabbing bit of knowledge on these munias is that birds that inhabit areas with extra blended flocks sing easier songs (supply). The authors suppose that this can be as a result of in blended flocks simplification is important to keep away from confusion with different species (to be sincere, within the unique paper the phrasing of the final sentence is the somewhat extra scientific-sounding “The track complexity is perhaps constrained to accentuate distinct conspecific alerts from associated species”).

Whereas primarily an Asian hen, the Purple-flanked Bluetail has just lately been seen in elements of Europe (significantly Finland and Scotland) extra often, indicating a doable vary extension (supply).

Surprisingly, the HBW distribution map of this species signifies that Shanghai must be exterior of the species’ wintering vary – actually, it’s a somewhat frequent species right here in winter.

I assume I not often take images of the Gentle-vented Bulbul as it’s so frequent right here in Shanghai and elsewhere. Additionally it is referred to as Chinese language Bulbul.

In considerably doubtful English, the summary of 1 paper on this species by Chinese language authors states that “Pycnonotus sinens has bought used to town life and change into a sort of metropolis hen which might be carefully related to human” (in fact, my Chinese language – spoken solely anyway – is much worse than this English).

I ponder if male eBird staff ever name their girlfriends “modestly enticing”? If sure, then mentioned girlfriends can simply think about how the Yellow-browed Bunting feels by being described as a “small, modestly enticing bunting”.

Presumably, the bunting is a bit higher in conserving its calm upon listening to this assertion than the girlfriend involved.

The Tristram’s Buntings at Tianmashan usually make offensive jokes about their “modestly enticing” kinfolk. Birds could be so merciless to one another.

Tristram’s Buntings additionally make enjoyable of Yellow-throated Buntings, always reminding them that they’re now not referred to as Elegant Buntings.


Because of this degradation, a few of these poor birds now earn cash directing visitors.

Based on Wikipedia, White-eyes similar to Swinhoe’s White-eye are “principally of undistinguished look”. Hm. A bit unfair, I believe.


Based on Kenn Kaufman, the grosbeak title a part of the Chinese language Grosbeak comes from the French Gros for “thick” and Bec for “beak”. In fact, he’s speaking about an American species, the Night Grosbeak, however I assume the etymology is identical.

Enthusiastic about what to jot down in regards to the Pale Thrush, it occurred to me that I had no concept how the expression “past the pale” originated (and no worries, I cannot later write that this thrush is “past the pale” – my jokes are typically unhealthy, however not that unhealthy).

It’s sort of attention-grabbing, really, and in regards to the Norman invasion of Eire. As this supply explains, “Throughout the Pale ditch [a ten-foot-deep ditch surrounded by eight-foot banks on each side and ringed by a thorny hedge, fortifying the boundaries of English settlements], settlers lived below the safety of the crown. However when you handed ‘the Pale,” you have been exterior the authority and security of English legislation, and topic to all of the savageries of rural Eire. ‘Past the pale’ then grew to become a colloquial phrase which means ‘exterior the boundaries of acceptable habits or judgment.’ “

This has completely nothing to do with the Pale Thrush, in fact. Thanks for pointing this out although.

Eurasian Siskins can die from ingesting massive highway salt grains that the birds apparently mistake for potential gizzard stones (supply). Fortuitously, given the local weather, this isn’t very seemingly in Shanghai.

These Eurasian Spoonbills on Chongming Island almost definitely spend their summer time in Heilongjiang, if a current paper is right: “Monitoring information confirmed no geographical overlap through the annual cycle in Eurasian Spoonbills marked within the two principal summering areas. Birds marked within the Naoli River Basin in Heilongjiang Province, China, wintered alongside the Jiangsu shoreline in China, whereas Eurasian Spoonbills from two discrete summering areas (in Internal and western Mongolia) overwintered inland within the Yangtze River floodplain of China.”



At Tianmashan, one can nearly all the time hear Gray-capped Greenfinches. Whereas to me they sound like an affordable cat toy with a dying battery, the HBW (being extra scientifically oriented and in addition presumably much less feline-oriented) talks of “a particular twittering ‘dzi-dzi-i-dzi-i’ flight word with ringing or metallic high quality”.


Writing a weblog publish is all the time a little bit of a balancing act – you need to be as clear as doable but in addition keep away from offending delicate teams of individuals similar to the great US of us opposing drag exhibits. In that spirit, I cannot provide the English title of the species beneath however simply its Latin title, Parus minor.

Some examples of animal names working the opposite method round – with the Latin title sounding naughty – could be discovered right here.

A relative of this species is the Yellow-bellied Tit.

Its Latin species title venustulus means “charming, pretty” – and who might oppose that?

This can be a male, as recognizable by the black throat, black brow and black crown and (presumably) black ideas.

In distinction to me, whose vogue sense is restricted to simply liking all the things black, kinfolk of those tits appear to comply with vogue – they incorporate wool strings of a selected colour into their nests relying on what different, presumably older birds have achieved earlier than (unique supply, widespread science model). This analysis was really achieved solely about 10 km away from a spot I as soon as lived for a few years, in Radolfszell, Germany.

If you wish to sign to your setting that you simply
a. Like this hen household
b. Like unhealthy jokes
c. Are a bit sexist,
you would possibly need to contemplate getting a T-Shirt that mixes all these three messages. I’m pondering of getting one for Bella, my common hen information from Alpinebirding, however am a bit afraid she’s going to solely discover Little Egrets for me on my subsequent journey …

The Widespread Snipe shares a part of its title with one of many all-time nice songs of all time, “Widespread Individuals” by Pulp. Wherein an strange man exhibits a wealthy woman round on the earth frequent folks dwell in:

“I took her to a grocery store
I don’t know why however I needed to begin it someplace
So it began there
I mentioned ‘fake you bought no cash’
And she or he simply laughed and mentioned ‘oh, you’re so humorous’
I mentioned ‘yeah…
Nicely, I can’t see anybody else smiling in right here’”

Perhaps a dialog between a Widespread Snipe and one of many rarer ones sometimes seen in Shanghai, similar to Pin-tailed or Swinhoe’s Snipe, would sound considerably related …

Whereas the inexperienced background makes it appear like this photograph was staged in a photograph studio, the blue plastic bit signifies that this Northern Lapwing photograph was taken in China’s open air.

On Halloween, some Eurasian Hoopoes gown up as Ring-necked Parakeets to shock their mates. Their response is justified – in Israel, the place Ring-necked Parakeets are an invasive species, they’ve a big damaging impact on the breeding density of hoopoes (supply).



Based on a duck-focused web site, “On the planet of geese, the Northern Pintail takes the prize for magnificence”.

Within the HBW, the part “Priorities for future analysis” alone has 576 phrases, which is longer than the whole entry for some species not occurring in North America (for instance, the entry for the Brown Parrotbill has a complete of 530 phrases) – which appears to show my suspicion that the necessity for additional analysis will increase with the quantity of analysis already achieved.

An everyday function in my posts is the part “hen images taken in colour that appear like they have been taken in black and white”. As we speak, the species featured are Pied Kingfisher

… and Pied Avocet.

One good side of dwelling and birding in Shanghai is that it’s comparatively straightforward to see Reed Parrotbills, a beautiful and cute-looking species that apparently in some unspecified time in the future switched from bamboo (the popular habitat of many different parrotbill species) to reed.

The hen is certainly a reed specialist (supply), listed as Close to Threatened as a result of decline in such habitat.

Notice the subtle coiffure of the hen within the first photograph. They do use high quality coiffure merchandise, these birds.

Other than shrinking habitats, snakes appear to make the lifetime of Reed Parrotbills troublesome. In one research, greater than two-thirds of nests failed because of predation from snakes. It’s thus not shocking that it’s uncommon to listen to a Reed Parrotbill communicate neutrally about snakes.

The Latin species title heudei is in honor of Pierre Marie Heude, a French missionary and naturalist who helped open up a pure historical past museum in Xujiahui (an space in Shanghai these days principally recognized for buying facilities) and finally died there (supply).

And that’s it for this month.

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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