A Birder’s Guide to Beijing

“A Birders Guide to Beijing” includes information about the best sites, likely species encountered, tips on how to see the local specialities, travel directions etc.  If you have any helpful tips, hints or sites you’d like to see included here, please let me know.

Below is a Google Map of some of the main birding sites in Beijing, each with a short descriptor.  Detailed site guides include travel directions, likely species encountered in each season and, where possible, a full species list.

1.  Detailed Site Guide

Want to know the best sites in Beijing for birding?  Click on this link to find out how to get there, what you might see and some hints and tips about how to maximise your visit.

site guide image

2.  A Guide To Beijing’s Common Birds

New to birding?  Seen a bird you don’t recognise in the city?  Birding Beijing has produced a downloadable PDF guide – available in English and Chinese – showing some of the species most commonly encountered in central Beijing’s parks and green spaces.

Download The PDF Guide To Beijing’s Common Birds (English)

北京常见鸟类指南 (中文)

brambling square
Brambling, one of the birds most commonly encountered in winter in Beijing’s parks. Look out for flocks of small birds wheeling around overhead or feeding on the ground under trees.

3.  A Guide to Beijing’s Most Sought-after Birds

Want to know where to see Beijing Babbler or Pallas’s Rosefinch?  Download this PDF guide on how to find the 10 most sought-after birds in Beijing.

pallas's rosefinch square
An adult male Pallas’s Rosefinch, one of the most sought-after birds in Beijing. Lingshan is a regular site for this species from late October to late March.

 

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13 thoughts on “A Birder’s Guide to Beijing”

    1. The Olympic Forest Park (accessible by metro) is always a rewarding place.. especially the southwest section (the wetland area). There is usually a Water Rail in winter plus Water Pipit, Red-flanked Bluetail, Daurian Redstart, Silver-throated Tit etc. Other city options are the Botanical Gardens or Yuanmingyuan Park. There are downloadable PDF guides to the OFP and Bot Gardens on this website under “Site Guide”. Good luck!

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  1. In the Beijing guide I am a bit confused by the “sparrow” entry. The ones I have on my balcony (gongti area) are not so colorful and pretty dark colored. Aren’t they rather “house sparrows” or simply “sparrows”? I also have “spotted doves” as frequent visitors. I first thought they were turtle doves. All daily visitors as I feed them (grains, peanuts, water).

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    1. Thank you for the comment. The urban Tree Sparrows can look very dark, mainly caused by the grime of the city. But all sparrows in the city of Beijing are Eurasian Tree Sparrows. There are no records of House Sparrow. Another type of sparrow – the Russet Sparrow – is an attractive richly coloured sparrow and is a summer migrant to Beijing, mostly to mountain villages, but it is rarely seen in the city itself. Great to have Spotted Doves, too!

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      1. Thanks for the explanation! I know little about birds but enjoy watching them from my desk, looking at my balcony where they come to eat, drink, play – and fight with each other. Magpies don’t land here, guess they are too afraid of humans. Should post my pics at one stage on one of my websites…

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  2. “If you enjoy watching birds, you’re a good birder.. and if you REALLY enjoy watching them, you’re a great birder!” One of my favourite birding quotes from Kenn Kaufman. Please do post your photos.. we can’t have too many photos of birds from Beijing!

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  3. Hi, I’m a Beijing resident that really enjoys bird watching and want to start some bird photography and audio recording, however I don’t know where to start in terms of the equipments to use, do you have any suggestions? Equipment that aren’t too expensive but works well for beginners would be the best, thanks!

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  4. Hello there,

    Rally informative article indeed. I appreciate the effort you took to share it with us. A birder who has a passion to visit many places for birding will get benefited from here. Thanks for a nice explanation. Hope, will get more from you soon.

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  5. Hi Terry, I just notice your website this morning. My name is Sun Yue or Pat and I’m a birding lover based in Beijing, only at a junior level. I first followed your tweeter account by a machine recommandation some days ago. This morning I was attracted by your Redwing report and I clicked the link therein which brought me here. When I opened up the page, I blamed myself for finding you so late. I have to say this is an amazing website to birding lovers, because the contents are just what we love to read. The one most impressive to me is the one about Beijing Swift. I have been to Summer Palace many times every summer and seen those swifts also many times. I also know some birds migrate long distance. But I never imagine that the species living so close to me do the same. So I cannot help writing these comments to you. Thank you very much for what you have done not only for birding lovers but also for Chinese natural conservations.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I am pleased you found the website useful. The story of the Beijing Swift is astonishing and every time I see a Swift I marvel at the journey it has made. I appreciate you taking the time to write a comment and I hope to see you birding one day! Terry

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