China is a vast and productive land. Our China birding tours showcase the region’s many special and spectacular species, including numerous endemics and near endemics, as well as birds that are otherwise difficult to see elsewhere.
Sichuan Province showcases China’s finest and most rewarding birding hotspots, and we will explore some of the most pristine and remote regions for the many special breeding residents. Habitats that we shall explore range from moss-draped, broad-leaved, and coniferous forests and extensive hillsides covered with bamboo to the vast alpine meadows and scrubby slopes of the Tibetan Plateau. The scenery on this tour is truly spectacular with amazing panoramic views throughout the tour. Pheasants are of particular interest, and we will be on the lookout for an astonishing fifteen species! These include White Eared and Blue Eared, Golden, Koklass, Blood and Lady Amherst’s Pheasants, Temminck’s Tragopan, Chinese Monal, Tibetan and Snow Partridges, Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge, Chinese Grouse and Tibetan Snowcock. The supporting cast includes an astonishing ten species of Parrotbill including Great, Three-toed, Spectacled, Ashy-throated, Fulvous and Golden Parrotbills, as well as the rare Pere David’s Owl, Wallcreeper, Snow Pigeon, the stately Black-necked Crane, Darjeeling and Black Woodpeckers, range-restricted Emei Shan Liocichla, Pere David’s Tit, the recently described Sichuan Treecreeper, spectacular Firethroat, White-browed and Crested Tit-Warblers, the endemic and monotypic Przevalski’s Finch, Przevalski’s and Chinese Nuthatches, Sichuan Jay, the stunning Grandala and an amazing selection of laughingthrushes, warblers, snowfinches and rosefinches. Fascinating cultures, dramatic and breath-taking landscapes, plus a bounty of exceptional birds all make for one of the most rewarding birding experiences in all of Asia!
Located in south-western China, Yunnan Province has recorded over 770 bird species, including several species that are restricted to this tiny area of southern China, neighbouring northern Myanmar, and remote north-east India, ranking first in China in terms of total bird species. Yunnan has a varied climate ranging from warm, subtropical forests in the hills and lowlands to cool temperate forests in the higher mountains. Highlights include Giant and Yunnan Nuthatches, Red-tailed and Blue-winged Laughingthrushes, superb Scarlet-faced Liocichla, Chinese Babax, Chinese and Black-breasted Thrushes, Rusty-capped, Yellow-throated, Spectacled and Yunnan Fulvetta, Grey-headed and Brown-winged Parrotbills, Black-headed Greenfinch, Black-headed and Beautiful Sibia, Chinese Blue Flycatcher, Black-streaked Scimitar Babbler, Godlewski’s Bunting, Black-bibbed Tit and with much luck the very rare White-speckled Laughingthrush and Mrs. Hume’s Pheasant.
Our Southeast China in Spring tour tour targets some Asia’s rarest species, drawing the attention of even those with already impressive Asia and world lists. Seldom visited by western birders, we shall embark on an action packed adventure beginning at north of Shanghai searching for the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper, which fattens up on the mud flats near Rudong before making its final flight to breed in Russia. We then fly south to Minjiang Estuary, Fuzhou for the very skulky White-necklaced Partridge in Fuzhou itself. We move north east to Emei Feng, to find one of the world’s rarest pheasants, Cabot’s Tragopan and the scarce Spotted Elachura, now placed in its own family. We also target Elliott’s Pheasant and Blyth’s Kingfisher before moving onwards to Wuyuan for the recently discovered Blue-crowned (Courtois’s) Laughingthrush, of which perhaps 200 individuals still exist. Aside from the big draw card species, we shall collect a host of migrant passerines and other sought after species including Nordmann’s Greenshank, Saunders’s Gull, Fujian Fulvetta, Hartert’s Warbler, Siberian Blue Robin, Red-flanked Bluetail, Siberian Thrush, Pallas's Reed Bunting and a bevy of Phylloscopus warblers. We complete our tour in the country of Henan Province, traversing Dongzhai Nature Reserve, Ling Shan mountain and the marshes surrounding Xinyang searching for Reeves's Pheasant and Crested Ibis – both Critically Endangered species.
Our China in Winter birding tour concentrates on the south-east of this huge nation and offers a rich kaleidoscope of impressive and localised bird specialities, including several of the world’s most spectacular cranes. Foremost among these, poetically referred to as ‘the birds of heaven’, will be the elegant Siberian Crane, one of the rarest cranes on Earth. During this China birding tour we will also be looking for an impressive supporting cast of exciting birds, including the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper, which has recently been found to winter in this area, the rare Scaly-sided Merganser, thousands of Swan Geese, Falcated Duck, Baikal Teal, Oriental Stork, Saunders’s Gull, Reed Parrotbill, Pied Falconet, Elliot’s Pheasant and possibly even the rare Swinhoe’s Crake!
Our Qinghai and Tibetan Plateau tour showcases China’s remote, seemingly endless and scenically spectacular Tibetan Plateau and targets every single Tibetan speciality and much more! Commencing in Qinghai Province, we explore some of north-eastern Tibet’s most pristine and remote regions for its many breeding residents and northern migrants. Targets include the superb Blue Eared Pheasant, Chinese Grouse, elegant Black-necked Crane, Tibetan and Pallas’s Sandgrouses, Himalayan Snowcock, Henderson’s Ground Jay, Wallcreeper, Przevalski's (Ala Shan) Redstart, Crested Tit-Warbler, Gansu Leaf Warbler, Ground Tit, an assortment of rosefinches (including Tibetan and Great) and six species of snowfinches, as well as the unique and beautiful Przevalski's Finch and Ibisbill (both placed in their own monotypic families). We then make our way as far south as Nangqian where we search the extensive coniferous forests, gorges and scrub-covered slopes for specialities like White Eared Pheasant, Szechenyi’s Monal-Partridge, Tibetan Snowcock, Tibetan Partridge, Tibetan Bunting and Tibetan Babax amongst many other range-restricted and habitat-specific avian delights before returning to Xining. Fascinating cultures, dramatic and breathtaking landscapes, plus a bounty of exceptional birds all make this tour one of the most rewarding birding experiences that Asia has to offer!
Our exciting Lhasa extension takes us to one of the least visited ‘cities’ on our planet. Here we have the very rare opportunity of exploring this ancient city and its surrounds – all of which was previously off-limits to foreigners – for some very special birds, not to mention the wealth of traditional arts and crafts for which this region is so very famous. On the bird front, our primary targets include such specials as Tibetan Eared Pheasant, Giant Babax and Tibetan Blackbird, along with more widespread yet no less exciting species as the beautiful Tibetan Partridge, Tibetan Snowcock, Japanese Tit and unique Ibisbill.
Our Highlights & Qinghai Extension tour targets some of Asia’s rarest species, drawing the attention of even those with already impressive Asia and world lists. Seldom visited by western birders, we shall embark on an action packed adventure covering the major sites of south east China, Sichuan and Qinghai.
We hit the ground running searching for the Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Tern at the Minjiang Estuary and the very skulky White-necklaced Partridge in Fuzhou itself. We move north east to Emei Feng, to find one of the world’s rarest pheasants, Cabot’s Tragopan, as well as Elliott’s Pheasant and Spotted Elachura, now placed in its own family. Moving further north, we make a stop in Wuyuan for Pied Falconet and the recently discovered Blue-crowned (Courtois’s) Laughingthrush, of which perhaps 200 individuals still exist.
We then head to Sichuan Province, showcasing some of China’s finest and most rewarding birding hotspots in the most pristine and remote regions. The scenery on this section of the tour is truly spectacular with amazing panoramic views of forest-clad mountains and snow-capped peaks. Pheasants are of particular interest and we will be on the lookout for White Eared, Golden, Koklass, Blood and Lady Amherst’s Pheasants, Temminck’s Tragopan, Chinese Monal and Snow Partridge, Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge and Tibetan Snowcock.
The supporting cast includes an astonishing nine species of Parrotbill that includes Short-tailed, Ashy-throated, Golden, Fulvous, Grey-hooded, Great, Brown and Three-toed Parrotbills, as well as Wallcreeper, Snow Pigeon, Darjeeling Woodpecker, range-restricted Emei Shan Liocichla, Pere David’s Tit, the recently described Sichuan Treecreeper, spectacular Firethroat, White-browed and Crested Tit-Warblers, the stunning Grandala and an amazing selection of laughingthrushes, fulvettas, warblers and rosefinches.