Site Guide

Here is a Google map showing some of the best birding sites in Beijing.

By clicking on the name, download PDF files for each site, including a short overview, directions and a species list.

Central Beijing (inside the 5th ring road)

Botanical Gardens

An excellent site nestled at the base of the mountains on the northwest side of the city.  A great site for the resident Chinese Nuthatch and usually a reliable site for waxwings in years when there are irruptions.  The ridge at the north of the gardens holds Beijing Babbler and Plain Laughingthrush and can also be good for raptor migration in spring and autumn.  More in the PDF guide.

The Botanical Gardens is a reliable site for Chinese Nuthatch.

Olympic Forest Park

An excellent urban birding site, easily accessible via metro.  This large park can be very busy at weekends but, with two large sections, it’s relatively easy to get away from the masses.  The ‘wetland’ area in the southwest of the park can be good all year around and is usually the focus of the local bird photographers who are happy to tell birders what’s around.  The less visited northern section is worth a look if time allows.  More detail in the PDF guide.

The Olympic Forest Park is an excellent urban birding site, easily accessibly via metro.

Outer Beijing (outside the 5th ring road)


Beijing’s highest peak at 2,303masl, this site is around 110km west of central Beijing. There is quite a contrast to the site between summer and winter both in terms of how it looks (see below) and the birds it hosts.  A great site for breeding phylloscopus warblers, flycatchers and thrushes and, in winter, the best Beijing site for Pallas’s Rosefinch and the high altitude redstarts.  Whilst a pleasant 10 degrees cooler than the city in summer, this site can be bitterly cold in winter.  The PDF guide tells you all you need to know.

Ma Chang

Ma Chang, around 70km northwest of central Beijing, is a superb site even if rather diminished in recent years due to the rising level of Guanting Reservoir.  It’s the most reliable spot for Oriental Plover in late March and early April and is a world-class site for wagtails and pipits, particularly in early April when five subspecies of White Wagtail (leucopsis, ocularis, baicalensis, personata and alba) have been recorded.  Beijing’s only records of Isabelline Wheatear and Desert Wheatear have come from Ma Chang.  Check out the PDF guide for more information.

Ma Chang is a flat plain adjacent to Guanting Reservoir near Yanqing in northwest Beijing.  Sitting at around 500masl it is often cooler than Beijing and, due to its situation between two lines of mountains, often windy too.

Miyun Reservoir ***Please note that as of April 2016, access to Miyun Reservoir has been prohibited***

Yeyahu Nature Reserve

After access to Miyun Reservoir was prohibited, Yeyahu is undoubtedly Beijing’s premier wetland site.  A vast nature reserve with trails and observation towers, this site is superb from when it opens in mid-March until it closes for the winter in mid-November.  Breeding Eastern Marsh Harriers, Yellow and Schrenck’s Bitterns and Amur Falcons are just some of the attractions and, during migration season, just about anything can turn up.  A super place to see cranes and geese in late autumn and early spring and probably the best place in the capital to see raptors.  Check out the PDF guide for more information.

The impressive tower hide at Yeyahu National Wetland Park, one of Beijing’s best birding sites.

A Birder’s Guide To The Great Wall

The Great Wall runs atop the mountains to the north of Beijing.  A trip to any part of this impressive monument can produce birds including resident species such as Beijing Babbler, Plain Laughingthrush, Willow and Silver-throated Tits and Meadow Bunting with summer breeders including Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Eastern Crowned, Claudia’s Leaf and Chinese Leaf Warblers. Download the PDF guide for more details.

The Birds of the Wenyu, Beijing’s Mother River – a free to download status of the birds of the Wenyu by Steve Bale.

***Coming Soon***: Baiwangshan, Baihe Valley, Huairou Reservoir, Shahe Reservoir, Shidu and Yuzhou Valley.

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