Birding Shanghai in March 2024

Birding Shanghai has its personal particular annoyances aside from birds not displaying up. One is the persevering with destruction of a lot of its atmosphere. Anywhere that was once good for an fascinating species final 12 months is prone to have been was one other development website this 12 months. The opposite is that increasingly locations are closed to the general public, jealously guarded by black-clad, Mussolini-inspired watchmen who with none trace of irony let you know {that a} particular place is privately owned although personal land possession doesn’t exist on this supposedly socialist nation. Lastly, there are particular restrictions for foreigners – I assume we’d steal some very important state secrets and techniques which have some form of relationship with the native birds.

However anyway, Shanghai in March. A number of adjustments occur in March – for instance, many European international locations and the USA change to sunlight financial savings time. On Chongming Island, some birds change their first names – particularly, the Northern Lapwings change their names to Gray-headed Lapwings.

Gray-headed Lapwings are listed as Least Concern, which is a bit puzzling because the species was once categorized as Close to Threatened, and the HBW doesn’t sound too optimistic about their inhabitants measurement and growth: “Beforehand thought of Close to Threatened. Inhabitants, excluding Japan, numbers lower than 10,000–25,000 birds, and doubtless reducing”.

Gray Herons flaunt their magnificence fairly overtly (I’m nonetheless pondering of Gustav Klimt when seeing the patterns on the wings) …


… whereas different birds like Black-crowned Evening Herons present their magnificence a bit extra fastidiously.

Tianmashan had two fascinating birds in March. One, a Ryukyu Minivet.

The scientific identify tegimae honors Seiichi Tegima (1850-1918), a Japanese educationalist, bureaucrat, and museum director. I don’t assume many different fowl species are named after Japanese residents.

Tegima was a key determine in establishing the Japanese pavilion on the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (supply). After his arrival in Chicago in preparation for the exhibition, he was featured in Arthur’s Residence Journal, Vol 62 (which to me doesn’t sound like probably the most thrilling publication on this planet) and described as “a most courtly, elegant gentleman, who, besides on events of utmost ceremonial, appeared in European costume.  He was wined and dined on the Chicago golf equipment and in probably the most unique properties.”

I form of like birds named after nasty guys (makes for higher tales), however Tegima (additionally named Tejima, see right here) was not considered one of them. He was a robust promoter of technical schooling and one of many founders of a girls’s college. Actually not a lot enjoyable to put in writing about good guys.

Till just lately, the Ryukyu Minivet was thought of a subspecies of the Ashy Minivet, and certainly the variations from that species – as described within the HBW – appear comparatively refined. Additionally, there are fairly some variations inside every species – for particulars, see right here. The writer of that paper proudly states “This work, counting on a comparatively massive knowledge set, significantly improves our understanding of the geographic sample in morphometric variation in Pericrocotus spp. in northeast Asia.”

Whereas range-restricted, it’s apparently widespread on Ryukyu Island – however a uncommon sight right here in Shanghai.

The opposite fascinating species – additionally on Tianmashan – was a Verditer Flycatcher. As I didn’t discover any new and fascinating details about the species, I did what everyone does lately – I requested ChatGPT. It appears to be impressed by the species: “The Verditer Flycatcher (Eumyias thalassinus) is a strikingly lovely fowl present in South Asia.” And concludes “Total, the Verditer Flycatcher will not be solely admired for its gorgeous look but additionally performs an essential ecological function as an insect predator in its native habitats.”

Bonus birds on Tianmashan: Gray-capped Greenfinch

… a species that – whereas described by eBird as gregarious – appears to favor nesting in obscurity, with the three components of environmental concealment, nest location concealment, and nest location inaccessibility listed as the primary nest location choice standards in a paper

… and Black-throated Bushtit. That is considered one of my favorites amongst cute birds – however that’s simply my private opinion. So, once more I requested ChatGPT a query: “Is the Black-throated Bushtit a cute fowl?”

ChatGPT first replies in a barely evasive method however then will get virtually annoyingly optimistic:

“Opinions on whether or not the Black-throated Bushtit is cute might differ relying on private preferences and views. Nonetheless, many individuals discover this fowl lovely resulting from its small measurement, fluffy look, and energetic habits. With its distinctive markings and sociable nature, it typically captivates birdwatchers and nature fanatics alike.”

Personally, I’m a bit nervous that when completely everybody makes use of ChatGPT, sentences equivalent to “captivates birdwatchers and nature fanatics alike” will turn out to be much more widespread than they already are.

The variety of Hooded Cranes on Chongming is scaling down …

… and there additionally appear to be fewer Eurasian Spoonbills.


They nonetheless combine with Black-faced Spoonbills, which in any other case would presumably really feel slightly lonely given their low world numbers.

I’m positive some folks will hate this picture of a Eurasian Hoopoe, framed as it’s by human artifacts. After all, me being me, it is a good motive to point out it.

As I’m positive I’ve talked about earlier than, lots of science work appears to intention to show the apparent – although the researchers nonetheless phrase their outcomes very fastidiously. For instance, here’s a assertion primarily based on analysis on the Goldcrest (supply): “These outcomes counsel that the flexibility to deposit fats within the face of an energetically demanding migration could also be affected by a person’s state of well being.” Or in my phrases: In case you are sick, it’s exhausting to get fats (however please don’t take this as dietary recommendation).

One other paper – additionally marginally mentioning goldcrests – describes how totally different tit species keep away from one another, very like I attempt to keep away from different folks when birdwatching, if potential:

“Nice tits happen solely in forests close to homes, and the crested tit averted the foraging websites of the good tit in these forests. The willow tit averted bushes utilized by the crested tit when each have been foraging collectively. In the most effective studied case, willow tits moved to outer and higher components of spruce within the presence of nice tits, which forage in decrease and internal components, however within the presence of crested tits, which favor higher and outer components of bushes, willow tits moved to internal and decrease sections of spruce.”

Aren’t all of us at the very least somewhat bit fascinated by psychology? So, when taking a look at papers on the Eurasian Siskin, I used to be completely satisfied to seek out one with the title “Antipredator behavioral compensation of proactive persona trait in male Eurasian Siskins“.

Apparently, male siskins which have a bigger black bib are extra proactive, which makes them extra liable to predation. Nonetheless, they compensate by being extra vigilant when feeding, thus compensating for the elevated dangers. The authors (who presumably consider themselves as proactive as nicely) conclude that the proactive males are “not reckless”.

Considerably equally, male Eurasian Siskins – that are a lot brighter coloured than the females – additionally typically present larger vigilance than the females, presumably as compensation for his or her increased visibility

Little Grebes are already turning into a bit extra engaging than in mid-winter …

… whereas Pied Avocets look excellent all 12 months spherical anyway.

A number of images of species that I can’t consider writing something fascinating proper now …

Yellow-bellied Tit


Reed Parrotbill


Daurian Redstart


Silver-throated Bushtit

Yellow-throated Bunting

Little Bunting (considerably surprisingly not consuming seed regardless of the winter season)

Oriental Magpie (probably contributing to China’s actual property points by including one other nest)

Widespread Moorhen

Siberian Rubythroat ( admittedly not an ideal instance, however nonetheless)

… and an outdated favourite of mine, White’s Thrush.

And to finish the publish, some raptors, by no means a quite common sight in Shanghai.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Based mostly on one paper, one would possibly suggest this feminine to breed in a metropolis as apparently city nesters have increased breeding success (although admittedly, that paper checked out rural vs. city in Scotland, not China).

One thing related appears to use to the Northern Goshawk: “… goshawks seem to thrive in some city environments, probably because of excessive native availability of worthwhile pigeon prey. We conclude that the Northern Goshawk could be categorized as an city exploiter in components of its distribution.” (supply).

Lastly, there’s the Japanese Marsh Harrier. As there are not often any marshes in city areas, I assume this species higher stays exterior of the cities.

Due to Paul for the assistance with getting data on Mr. Tegima.

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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