The Status of the Birds of Beijing

Title image: Birding in Beijing by Madeleine Donohue.

This page provides a basic status of those species reliably recorded in the capital, including maximum counts where available.  The intention is to maintain this page as “live” and it will be updated as and when new species or notable records are discovered, or when there is a greater understanding of a species’ status.  Additional information, such as first and last dates for migrants, will be added in due course.

As of October 2020, the official list of species recorded in Beijing, last published in 2014, is under review by a team led by Professor Zhao Xinru of Beijing Normal University.  We expect the revised list to be published later this year and this page will be updated to reflect the latest list as soon as it is available.

Sources for the information included on this page include: The Birds of Beijing by Cai Qikan (1987); A Handbook to the Birds of Eastern China (J D D La Touche, 1931-1935); The Birds of Hopei Province by Tsen-Hwang Shaw (1936); China Bird Reports (CBR) 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007; birdreport.cn; eBird; Birding Beijing Latest Sightings page; the Birding Beijing WeChat group; and personal notes.  A huge thank you to all the birders who have submitted sightings to one or more of these repositories!

There are gaps in this summary and Birding Beijing welcomes corrections, additions and updates in order to ensure this page is, and remains, as accurate as possible.  Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the author.

The Status of the Birds of Beijing

Last update: 22 November 2020

Format: English name, scientific name, Chinese name, pinyin

Phasianidae 雉科

CHUKAR Alectoris chukar 石鸡 Shí jī

Scarce resident in mountainous areas of Beijing, in particular Mentougou District. Most reliable site is the Youzhou Valley near Yanhecheng in Mentougou District.  Also recorded at Lingshan, Shidu (Fangshan District) and in the mountains of Yanqing County.

Highest count: 50 on 12 January 2019 at Yanhecheng (Li Zhaonan)

DAURIAN PARTRIDGE Perdix dauurica 斑翅山鹑 Bān chì shān chún

Formerly scarce and now rare, and declining, resident. Formerly present at Ma Chang, Yeyahu and along the nearby Guishui River but no recent records, possibly due to a rise in water levels. The most recent record is of one on 24 December 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt).

Highest count: 15 on 5 November 2005 at the GuiShui River, Yanqing (WC, CBR2005)

JAPANESE QUAIL Coturnix japonica, 鹌鹑 Ānchún

Common passage migrant and winter visitor in any areas of scrub or long grass. Recorded in every month but rare in July (one singing on 5 July 2020 in Shunyi was an exceptional record). Possibly breeds on occasion.

Highest count: 30 on 9 May 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (白尾 海雕)

KOKLASS PHEASANT Pucrasia macrolopha, 勺鸡 Sháo jī

Uncommon resident in mountainous areas, especially Mentougou and Miyun Districts.

Highest count: “Up to eight females with seven juveniles” at Donglinshan, Mentougou on 14-16 June 2003 (CBR2003).

BROWN EARED PHEASANT Crossoptilon mantchuricum, 褐马鸡 Hè mǎ jī

Rare and unobtrusive resident in the mountains in Mentougou District. Recorded most frequently at Baihuashan, Lingshan and Xiaolongmen.

Highest counts: 25 on 26 January 2004 at Lingshan (BA in CBR2004); nine at Donglingshan, Mentougou on 20 December (CBR2003); five on 4 April 2017 at Xaolongmen (Beijing Feiyu et al.)

COMMON PHEASANT Phasianus colchicus 雉鸡 Zhì jī

Common resident in scrubby lowland and mountains alike.

Highest count: 30 on 30 October 2004 at Yeyahu (Zli in CBR2004)

Anatidae 鸭科

SWAN GOOSE Anser cygnoides, 鸿雁 Hóngyàn

Passage migrant and winter visitor in small numbers, mostly October to March.

Highest count: 400 on 19 March 2011 at Yeyahu (Terry Townshend, Brian Jones and Spike Millington); 400 on 25 March 2007 at Wild Duck Lake (Bjorn Andersson, CBR2007)

TAIGA BEAN GOOSE Anser fabalis, 豆雁 Dòu yàn

Passage migrant and winter visitor. Recorded in all months except July and August. Scarcer than Tundra Bean Goose; sometimes found in mixed flocks. Relative to Tundra Bean Goose, prefers to feed in water where it looks for submerged tubers, similar to Swan Goose. Status may be clouded by difficulty in separation from Tundra, with some individuals safest left unassigned beyond Bean Goose sp.

Highest counts: 1,000 reported on 27 October 2014 (with just 200 Tundra Bean Geese) at Miyun Reservoir (盎然子 via Birdreport.cn); 57 on 21 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt)

TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE Anser serrirostris, 短嘴豆雁 Duǎn zuǐ dòu yàn

Common passage migrant and winter visitor, sometimes in flocks of over 1,000. Prefers to graze and less often seen feeding on water cf Taiga Bean Goose. Best sites are reservoirs such as Guanting, Miyun and Shahe.

Highest count: 1,740 on 3 December 2013 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt)

GREYLAG GOOSE Anser anser 灰雁 Huī yàn

The pink-billed eastern subspecies is a scarce passage migrant in spring (late Feb to May, peaking in April) and in autumn (September to November); has over-summered at Yeyahu NR – possibly bred – but rare December to mid-February).

Highest count: 80 on 13 October 2019 at Yeyahu (Xue Boning)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser albifrons 白额雁 Bái é yàn

Uncommon passage migrant in spring (peaking in April) and autumn (peaking in October). Rare winter visitor.

Highest count: 114 on 21 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt)

LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE Anser erythropus 小白额雁 Xiǎo bái é yàn

Rare passage migrant. Not annual. Often with flocks of other goose sp, especially Greater White-fronted or Tundra/Taiga Bean Goose. When it occurs, often in small groups.

Highest count: 47 on 21 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt)

BAR-HEADED GOOSE Anser indicus 斑头雁 Bān tóuyàn

Scarce passage migrant, primarily March to May and September to October, and rare winter visitor but true status clouded by the occasional occurrence of birds of presumed feral origin. An apparently free-flying population exists at Beijing Zoo.

Most sightings are of singles but occasionally up to five have been seen together. Favoured sites include Miyun reservoir, Ma Chang/Yeyahu and Shahe reservoir.

Highest count: five at the DaShi River on 22 April 2018 (Luo Qingqing)

BRENT GOOSE (BLACK BRANT) Branta bernicla nigricans 黑雁 Hēi yàn

Very rare. Only one confirmed Beijing record, from Huairou Reservoir 24 April 2014 (Hou Xiaoyu), remaining until 3 May at least.

EGYPTIAN GOOSE Alopochen aegyptiaca 埃及雁 Āijí yàn

One historical record, of suspect origin, from May 1866 (Cai, 1987)

MUTE SWAN Cygnus olor 疣鼻天鹅 Yóu bí tiān’é

Rare passage migrant in late Autumn and early spring, occasional in winter. Most records November-December and late February-March.

Highest count: 19 on 2 March 2019 at Nanhaizi (DaHe).

TUNDRA SWAN Cygnus columbianus 小天鹅 Xiǎo tiān’é

Passage migrant in late autumn and early spring and scarce winter visitor. Very rare in summer. Most records in March and April and late October and November. One unusual record in June/July 2017 at Huairou Reservoir (Paul Holt, XiaoPT, Zhao Min et al..)

Highest count: 400 on 25 March 2007 at Wild Duck Lake (Bjorn Andersson, CBR2005).

WHOOPER SWAN Cygnus cygnus 大天鹅 Dà tiān’é

Passage migrant and winter visitor to wetlands, especially reservoirs, primarily from November to March. Rare May to August. Four on 30 June 2019 at Nanhaizi (pksunking via Birdreport.cn) is an exceptional mid-summer record and possibly relates to feral birds.

Highest count: 403 on 15 March 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Jan-Erik Nilsén)

COMMON SHELDUCK Tadorna tadorna 翘鼻麻鸭 Qiào bí má yā

Recorded in all months but primarily a passage migrant in spring (March to May, peaking in late March-early April), and again in autumn (October and November). Rare in winter and summer.

Highest count: 200 on 24 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Chen Liang)

RUDDY SHELDUCK Tadorna ferruginea 赤麻鸭 Chìmá yā

Common winter visitor and passage migrant from mid-September to May, often in large numbers at wetlands and reservoirs. Recorded in all months but uncommon June to early September.

Highest count: 2,000 on 10 March 2013 at Miyun Reservoir (Yan Shen)

MANDARIN DUCK Aix galericulata 鸳鸯 Yuānyāng

Common summer breeder and passage migrant, with some wintering. Breeds in urban parks including Peking University, Beijing Zoo and the Agricultural Exhibition Center, as well as the Wenyu River and more remote wooded rivers and streams. Reliable winter sites include Beihai Park, Peking University, Agricultural Exhibition Center and Shidu.

Highest count: 198 on 30 January 2018 at Beihai Park (SEE大年 via Birdreport.cn)

COTTON PYGMY-GOOSE Nettapus coromandelianus 棉凫 Mián fú

Rare overshooting summer vagrant (May to October). Recent records: one on 16 May 2017 at Summer Palace (Zhang Yu); one on 20 September to 5 October 2017 at least at Yuanmingyuan (Zhang Weimin et al..); two on 13 September 2019 at Huanghuacheng Great Wall Water Park, Huairou District (ChenQian9119 via Birdreport.cn)

GADWALL Anas strepera 赤膀鸭 Chì bǎng yā

Common passage migrant, peaking in late March and October and uncommon winter visitor; scarce in July and August.

Highest counts: 2,000 on 15 October 2020 at Yeyahu (Hu Ruocheng et al.); 1,445 on 31 October 2018 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt)

FALCATED DUCK Anas falcata 罗纹鸭 Luówén yā

Common passage migrant, with peaks in early April and September to November. A few winter if suitable open water. Rare in summer (June, July and August).

Highest count: 400+ on 13 April 2013 at Miyun Reservoir (Jan-Erik Nilsén); 400 on 5 April 2013 at Ma Chang (Tong Mu)

EURASIAN WIGEON Anas penelope 赤颈鸭 Chì jǐng yā

Common passage migrant and scarce winter visitor. Records in all months except June, July and August.

Highest count: “Almost 1,000” on 6 November 2005 at Wild Duck Lake (Bjorn Andersson)

AMERICAN WIGEON Mareca americana 绿眉鸭 Lǜ méi yā

Very rare vagrant. One record: a male at Ming Tombs Reservoir on 5 March 2020 (Wang Xue et al.)

MALLARD Anas platyrhynchos 绿头鸭 Lǜ tóu yā

Abundant breeder, passage migrant and winter visitor, with counts of 100s and even 1000s not uncommon.

Highest count: 3,732 on 30-31 October 2004 at Shahe Reservoir, Changping (CYZn CBR2004).

CHINESE SPOT-BILLED DUCK Anas zonorhyncha 斑嘴鸭 Bān zuǐ yā

Common passage migrant, breeder and winter visitor.

Highest count: 300 on 2 October 2004 at Hanshiqiao, Shunyi (HP in CBR2004)

NORTHERN SHOVELER Anas clypeata 琵嘴鸭 Pí zuǐ yā

Primarily a passage migrant in spring (peaking in March and April), and autumn (September to November). Scarce winter visitor and rare in June, July and early August.

Highest count: 100 on 31 March 2018 at Miyun Reservoir (Shanghai Wild Bird Society)

NORTHERN PINTAIL Anas acuta 针尾鸭 Zhēn wěi yā

Passage migrant peaking in March and October, and winter visitor in small numbers. No records in June, July or August.

Highest count: 200 on 1 March 2003 at Yeyahu (CBR2003)

GARGANEY Anas querquedula 白眉鸭 Báiméi yā

Passage migrant in spring (March to May, peaking in late April) and autumn (late August to October, peaking in September). Rare November to February and in  June and July.

Highest count: 42 on 25 March 2006 at the Wenyu River (Wu Qi)

BAIKAL TEAL Anas formosa 花脸鸭 Huāliǎn yā

Passage migrant and scarce winter visitor (September to April). 

Highest count: 1,050 on 8 November 2015 at Miyun (Jan-Erik Nilsén)

EURASIAN TEAL Anas crecca 绿翅鸭 Lǜ chì yā

Very common passage migrant, with numbers peaking in April and late October-early November, winter visitor and possible occasional summer breeder.

Highest count: 1,200 on 29 September 2004 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt); 

RED-CRESTED POCHARD Netta rufina 赤嘴潜鸭 Chì zuǐ qián yā

Scarce, but increasing, passage migrant in spring, peaking in April, and autumn, peaking in late September-early October. Possibly has bred at Yeyahu. Rare in winter.

Highest count: 35 on 4 October 2018 at Yeyahu (Fishing Cat/Beijing Feiyu2018)

COMMON POCHARD Aythya ferina 红头潜鸭 Hóngtóu qián yā

Common passage migrant in spring, peaking in late March and early April, and autumn, peaking in second half of October. Uncommon winter visitor. Records from all months except July.

Highest count: 1,420 on 25 March 2007 at Wild Duck Lake (Bjorn Andersson, CBR2007)

BAER’S POCHARD Aythya baeri 青头潜鸭 Qīng tóu qián yā

Scarce passage migrant in spring, with most records in late March and April and autumn, peaking in late October and early November. Rare in winter. Possibly has bred at Yeyahu.

Highest count: 114 in ‘late March’ 1989 at the Summer Palace (Jesper Hornskov)

FERRUGINOUS POCHARD Aythya nyroca 白眼潜鸭 Báiyǎn qián yā

Passage migrant in spring, peaking in April, and autumn, peaking in October. Recent summer breeder at Yeyahu and maybe other sites. Scarce in winter. Increasing.

Highest count: 59 on 26 April 2020 at Ma Chang (Terry Townshend, Steve Bale and Marie Louise Ng)

TUFTED DUCK Aythya fuligula 凤头潜鸭 Fèng tóu qián yā

Passage migrant in spring (March and early April) and autumn, peaking in October and November. Scarce in winter. No records in June, July or August.

Highest count: 200 on 24 April 2005 at Wild Duck Lake (LHY, CBR2005)

GREATER SCAUP Aythya marila 斑背潜鸭 Bān bèi qián yā

Rare passage migrant and occasional winter visitor from October to March.

Highest count: Seven on 2 November 2018 at Yeyahu (Fishing Cat & 飞羽观鸟大年)

HARLEQUIN Histrionicus histrionicus 丑鸭 Chǒu yā

Very rare. Only one Beijing record, remarkably from an inner city location near the 2nd ring road north (from 9 February (庭草) to at least 13 March 2017 (西澨) but apparently present for “at least 20 days” before). Found by Hou Jinsheng.

WHITE-WINGED SCOTER Melanitta deglandi stejnegeri 斑脸海番鸭 Bān liǎn hǎi fān yā

Rare passage migrant, not quite annual, at large water bodies such as Miyun and Guanting Reservoirs. Most records in autumn (October to early December). Very rare in spring – just one record of two on 7 May 2004 at Yuanmingyuan (CYZ in the 2004 China Bird Report).

Highest count: seven on 22 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt, Terry Townshend and Ben Wielstra)

LONG-TAILED DUCK Clangula hyemalis 长尾鸭 Cháng wěi yā

Rare passage migrant, primarily in late autumn, and very rare winter visitor to large water bodies (late October to late April). At least twelve records, all since 2001.

Highest count: three on 6 December 2014 and 28 March 2015 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore)

COMMON GOLDENEYE Bucephala clangula 鹊鸭 Què yā

Common passage migrant and winter visitor (October to May). No records in June, July, August or September.

Highest count: 298 on 13 November 2004 at Yeyahu (LJY in CBR2004)

SMEW Mergellus albellus 白秋沙鸭 Báiqiū shā yā

Passage migrant and winter visitor (October to May).

Highest count: 1,000 on 25 March 2007 at Wild Duck Lake (Bjorn Andersson, CBR2007)

COMMON MERGANSER Mergus merganser 普通秋沙鸭 Pǔtōng qiū shā yā

Common passage migrant and winter visitor to reservoirs, lakes and rivers, primarily from mid-October to April, with highest numbers in the second half of the winter. Recorded in all months but scarce in May and rare June to September.

Highest counts: 1,000 on 12, 29 & 30 January 2020 and 26, 27 February 2020 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Alice168123, Niaotu and 云飞扬 via Birdreport.cn); 980 on 23 February 2020 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Steve Bale, Terry Townshend)

RED-BREASTED MERGANSER Mergus serrator 红胸秋沙鸭 Hóng xiōng qiū shā yā

Scarce to rare passage migrant in spring (late March to mid-May) and autumn (October to mid-December), mostly at the larger reservoirs (Huairou, Miyun, Shahe and Yeyahu).

Highest count: ten on 21 October 2017 at Shahe Reservoir (Chen Wenjia)

SCALY-SIDED MERGANSER Mergus squamatus 中华秋沙鸭 Zhōnghuá qiū shā yā

Rare passage migrant November to April. Only seven Beijing records. One on 10 November 2011 at the Summer Palace (Jesper Hornskov); three ‘possibly this species’ on 8 April 2012 at the Summer Palace (Jesper Hornskov); one, a male, on 13 December 2016 at Huairou Reservoir (Paul Holt); at least three (two males and a female) were reported as having been photographed at the Wenyu River no later than the 3rd February 2018 (Zhang Xiaoling 张小玲 in litt. to XiaoPT) and a female was recorded at the same site on 5th by Li Xiaomai (via XiaoPT); finally, a pair photographed on the Wenyu River on 25 January 2020 and at least one was still present on 9 February 2020 (see here).

Gaviidae 潜鸟科

RED-THROATED LOON Gavia stellata 红喉潜鸟 Hóng hóu qián niǎo

Very rare. Only three Beijing records. One on 22 October 1932 in Tongxian (Tongzhou), one on 12 October 1933, Tongzhou (Wilder and hubbard, 1938 p.501) and one 22 October – 2 November 2014 at least at Miyun Reservoir (Terry Townshend et al.).

BLACK-THROATED LOON Gavia arctica 黑喉潜鸟 Hēi hóu qián niǎo

Very rare passage migrant in late autumn. Possibly only six records. Most recent records: one on 12 November 2016 at Yeyahu (Terry Townshend et al.); one on 14 November 2016 at Dayunhe Forest Park, Tongzhou (via XiaoPT); one from 19 October to 4 November 2018 at least at the Summer Palace (Denis Corbeil, 管理员 et al..); one on 22 November 2020 at Shahe Reservoir (Wang Xiaobo et al.)

Podicipedidae 鸊鷉科

LITTLE GREBE Tachybaptus ruficollis 小䴙䴘 Xiǎo pì tī

Abundant resident breeder; often congregates in large numbers in winter; race ‘poggei‘ (note pale eye compared with nominate).

Highest count: 300 on 29 April 2006 at Shahe Reservoir (LHY, CBR2006)

RED-NECKED GREBE Podiceps grisegena 赤颈䴙䴘 Chì jǐng pì tī

Very rare. Fewer than ten Beijing records. Two males on 8 Nov 1931 on the outskirts of Beijing (The Birds of Hopei Province Part I, p.73, 1936); October 1958 and December 1962 on Yondinghe near Yanhecheng, Mentougou District (Cai, 1987); one on 22 October 2003 at Baihepu Reservoir, Yanqing (CBR2003); two on 18 October 2008 at Yeyahu (林达京); one on 23 April 2018 at the Summer Palace (Ji Xiangyu via Chen Yan); one on 13 March to 17 April 2020 at least at the Summer Palace (first found by 冬天里的童话).

GREAT CRESTED GREBE Podiceps cristatus 凤头䴙䴘 Fèng tóu pì tī

Very common summer breeder, passage migrant and scarce winter visitor

Highest count: 200 on 6 April 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (nknemo)

SLAVONIAN (HORNED) GREBE Podiceps auritus 角䴙䴘 Jiǎo pì tī

Rare autumn, and very rare spring, passage migrant (10-20 records in total), mostly to reservoirs such as Huairou, Miyun and Guanting but records also from the Summer Palace and Nanhaizi. The majority of records in the period mid-October to mid-November.

Highest counts: four on 5 November 2017 at Yeyahu (逸少); four on 27 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Chen Liang)

BLACK-NECKED GREBE Podiceps nigricollis 黑颈䴙䴘 Hēi jǐng pì tī

Passage migrant, more common in autumn than spring. Spring migration is from late March to May (peaking in April) and in autumn, primarily from October to December, with most records from mid-October to mid-November, mostly on the larger reservoirs such as Miyun, Guanting, Huairou and Shahe. Rare outside these windows.

Highest count: 32 on 12 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend)

Phoenicopteridae 红鹳科

GREATER FLAMINGO Phoenicopterus roseus 大红鹳 Dà hóng-guàn

Very rare vagrant. Only one record: a first-winter photographed along the Wenyu River on 6 December 2015 (finder unknown) remained until at least the 15th of that month. What was presumably the same bird was seen at Shahe on 10th December (Li Boyang) and photographed at Nanhaizi, Daqing sometime during the 17-21 December (lixing via China Bird Watch) and again on the 23 December (tomatofamily2 via China Bird Watch) before returning to Shahe on the 30 December (Colm Moore).

Ciconiidae 鹳科

BLACK STORK Ciconia nigra 黑鹳 Hēi guàn

Breeds in mountainous areas with rivers/streams in north and west Beijing; also a passage migrant and winter visitor. Recorded in all months. Shidu in Fangshan District is one of the most reliable areas.

Highest count: 30 on 1 October 2004 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt)

ORIENTAL STORK Ciconia boyciana 东方白鹳 Dōngfāng bái guàn

Now almost annual passage migrant in small numbers and increasing. Only five records up to 2000 but at least 17 since then. Now breeds in Tianjin and a possible future breeder in Beijing. Recorded in all months except July. Most likely to be encountered in spring with March and April hosting the highest percentage of records. Autumn records from late August to December.

Highest count: 14 in January 1999 on a flooded area of the ChaoBai River, Shunyi Districy (Qian Fawen in litt 1999)

Threskiornithdae 鹮科

CRESTED IBIS Nipponia nippon 朱鹮 Zhū-huán

Historical. Two ‘collected’ in Beijing in 1867 (Oustalet 1872).

EURASIAN SPOONBILL Platalea leucorodia 白琵鹭 Bái pí lù

Passage migrant in Beijing with most records in spring (mid-March to May); less common in autumn (October) and occasional summer records, usually relating to immatures.

Highest count: 70 on 29 April 2019 at Cuihu Wetland Park (Hou Xiaoru)

BLACK-FACED SPOONBILL Platalea minor 黑脸琵鹭 Hēi liǎn pí lù

Very rare vagrant. Possibly only two records: one on 5 May 1924 at HouMen, near Drum Tower (Wilder & Hubbard 1924, Journal of North China British Royal Asiatic Society, LV p.211); and one photographed at Bulaotun, Miyun Reservoir on 11 June 2017 by Zhang Weimin was the first photo-documented record for Beijing (apparently present since 7 May 2017).

Ardeidae 鹭科

GREAT BITTERN Botaurus stellaris 大麻鳽 Dà má jiān

Mostly a passage migrant in spring (late March to May) and autumn (late August- November). Possibly has bred and occasionally stragglers overwinter, especially in city parks (e.g. Olympic Forest Park). Recorded in every month.

Highest count: five on 4 November 2017 at Yeyahu (Liu Chunhong)

YELLOW BITTERN Ixobrychus sinensis 黄苇鳽 Huángwěijiān

Summer breeder and passage migrant (second half of May to September, rarely October and exceptionally November).

Highest counts: 20 on 30 June 2011 at the Olympic Forest Park (Gina Sheridan); 20 on 27 June 2004 at Bahe Wetland, Chaoyang (RKY in CBR2004)

VON SCHRENCK’S BITTERN Ixobrychus eurhythmus 紫背苇鳽 Zǐ bèi wěi jiān

Scarce summer breeder and passage migrant (late May to September); has bred at Yeyahu and, more unusually, in the grounds of the Agricultural Exhibition Center in 2017.

Highest count: three on 12 August 2019 at Chaoyang Park (Stefan Andrew)

CINNAMON BITTERN Ixobrychus cinnamomeus 栗苇鳽 Lì wěi jiān

Scarce summer visitor, primarily from late May to August, not annually recorded; Recent records: one on 20 July 2003 at Cuihu Wetland (CBR2003); one on 2 October 2004 at Hanshiqiao (HP in CBR2004); one on 30 May 2011 at Shahe Reservoir (Li Zhaonan); one on 19-20 May 2012 in OFP (Terry Townshend, XiaoPT); three on 10 June 2012 at the Summer Palace (Stefan Andrew); one on 29 July 2012 at OFP (Yan Shen); one on 2 September 2012 in OFP (Zhang Shen); one on 16 May 2013 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale); a female on 23 May 2013 on the Wenyu River (Steve Bale); one on 31 May 2014 in OFP (Jesper Hornskov); one on 17 July 2016 at the Agricultural Exhibition Center (何文喵); reported as ‘breeding’ at Agricultural Exhibition Center on 23 July 2016 (David Consineo); two on 7 June 2017 at Shisanling (Colm Moore); three on 11 and 15 July 2017 in the Agricultural Exhibition Center (Zhen Niu and _星畔_); one reported at the same location on 24 July (Yan Shen) and 3 August 2017 (Lu Wei and Fishing Cat); two very early migrants on 5 April 2018 at the Agricultural Exhibition Center (Guan Xueyan); one on 23 July 2018 at OFP; one at the Agricultural Exhibition Center on 1 September 2018 (Jun Yang); one on 3 and 8 August 2019 at Nanhaizi (Dahe and Wang Yishan); one on 1 August 2020 at Liangshui River (Wang Xiaobo).

Highest count: three on 11 and 15 July 2017 at China Agrcultural Museum (Zhen Niu and _星畔_)

BLACK BITTERN Dupetor flavicollis 黑鳽 Hēi yán Just two records.

One on the late date of 25 November 2011 at Yeyahu (Terry Townshend, Jesper Hornskov and Phil Benstead). One on 20-27 September 2014 at least at Nukouyu in Fangshan District (via Zhang Weimin)

JAPANESE NIGHT HERON Gorsachius goisagi 栗鳽 Lì yán

Very rare vagrant. Only one record: one on 25 May 2014 in the Temple of Heaven Park (per Li Xiaomai)

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON Nycticorax nycticorax 夜鹭 Yè lù Common breeder and passage migrant, and a few winter. Numbers peak from April to September, after which numbers drop. Winters in reasonable numbers in Beijing’s larger parks, for example Beijing Zoo and Olympic Forest Park, but scarce in this season away from traditional wintering sites.

Highest count: 310 on 18 April 2015 at Shahe Reservoir (Lusen and 七彩文鸟 via Birdreport.cn).

STRIATED HERON Butorides striata 绿鹭 Lǜ lù

Scarce breeder and passage migrant (April to September); most often seen along mountain streams/rivers.

Highest count: 13 on 15 June 2018 at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Huairou (Gua Ku)

CHINESE POND HERON Ardeola bacchus 池鹭 Chí lù

Common summer breeder (primarily April to September), occasionally October and stragglers into November. Rare in winter (two December and two January records up to March 2020).

Highest count: 80 on 7 May 2006 at Baiwangshan (HD, CBR2006)

EASTERN CATTLE EGRET Bubulcus coromandus 牛背鹭 Niú bèi lù

Passage migrant and possible breeder (mid-April to October). Very rare in November (just one record).

Highest count: 50 on 14 May 2011 at the Summer Palace (Richard Knapton); 50 on 3 May 2006 at Baiwangshan (HD, CBR2006)

GREY HERON Ardea cinerea 苍鹭 Cāng lù

Common breeder, passage migrant and winter visitor in lower numbers. Breeds alongside Purple Heron in reedbeds at Yeyahu and on cliffs at Shidu, Fangshan District.

Highest count: 500 on 1 April 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (Zhen Niu); 500 on 24 March 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (panxiaoji)

PURPLE HERON Ardea purpurea 草鹭 Cǎo lù

Local summer breeder and passage migrant from late March to September, with late migrants into October. Very rare November to mid-March. Best site Yeyahu, where it breeds colonially in reedbeds alongside Grey Heron.

Highest count: 58 on 17 April 2018 at Yeyahu (Paul Holt)

EASTERN GREAT EGRET Ardea modesta 大白鹭 Dà báilù

Common summer breeder and passage migrant. Uncommon in winter.

Highest count: 70 on 1 September 2019 at Huairou Reservoir (XiaoPT)

INTERMEDIATE EGRET Mesophoyx intermedia 中白鹭 Zhōng báilù

Scarce non-breeding visitor, primarily May to September, with most records in late summer, presumably post-breeding/failed breeding dispersals.

Highest counts: 50 on 30 April 2006 at Baiwangshan (HD, CBR2006); 13 on 18 October 2018 at Ma Chang (毛毛淘淘); five at Ming Tombs Reservoir on 28 June 2018 (Colm Moore)

LITTLE EGRET Egretta garzetta 白鹭 Báilù

Common breeder and passage migrant; recorded in all months but scarce from the second half of November to the end of February.

Highest counts: 200 on 20 August 2016 at Shahe Reservoir (何文喵); 130 on 26 August 2017 at Shahe Reservoir (何文喵).

Pelecanidae 鹈鹕科

GREAT WHITE PELICAN Pelecanus onocrotalus 白鹈鹕 Bái tí hú

Very rare vagrant. Possibly only three records: one at Miyun Reservoir in October-November 2009 (per Paul Holt); one on 16 April 2011 at Ma Chang (Terry Townshend and Jesper Hornskov); one 5-27 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Terry Townshend et al.).

DALMATIAN PELICAN Pelecanus crispus 卷羽鹈鹕 Juǎn yǔ tí hú

Rare passage migrant in spring and autumn (most records in April) at the larger reservoirs (Miyun, Guanting, Shahe etc).

Highest count: three on 24 April 2005 at Wild Duck Lake (LHY, CBR2005)

Fregatidae 军舰鸟科

LESSER FRIGATEBIRD Fregata ariel 白斑军舰鸟 Báibān jūnjiàn niǎo

Rare vagrant. Possibly only seven records (some records missing): one on 14 April 2007 at Shahe Reservoir (HWP, CBR2007) was the first record for Beijing; one at Miyun Reservoir 20-29 August 2014 (Fu Jianping et al.); one on 28 April 2017 at Shahe Reservoir (小青鸟-北京市); one on 1 May 2018 at Yeyahu (Pan Wenxin et al..); one at Yeyahu, 30 August 2019 (Paul Holt et al.); and presumably the same on 31st at Shahe Reservoir (Ashy-Mimivet and pksunking et al.). 

Phalacrocoracidae 鸬鹚科

GREAT CORMORANT Phalacrocorax carbo 普通鸬鹚 Pǔtōng lú cí

Very common passage migrant in spring from late February (peaking March and early April) and in autumn (August to November), with the highest counts in spring; recorded in all months but scarce in summer (June, July) and in winter (December, January and early February).

Highest counts: 1,400 on 5 April 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Jan-Erik Nilsén); 1,300 on 31 March 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (稻草大魔王); 1,000 on 22 March 2020 at Miyun Reservoir (健 宋 et al.)

JAPANESE CORMORANT Phalacrocorax capillatus 暗绿背鸬鹚 Àn lǜ bèi lú cí

On the official Beijing list from two historical records. No recent records possibly due, at least in part, to the difficulty of certain identification. This species is common in Liaoning, but highly coastal. It is possible it reaches Beijing on occasion. Two historical records: on 5 April 1932, Professor Hu C.H. of the Department of Pathology, former Peiping United Hospital, took a specimen in the waters around Beijing; on 6 March 1935, Kuomintang general He Yingqin collected a male bird at the Kunming Lake in the Summer Palace in Beijing, weighing 2,500 grams (Shou Zhenhuang [Shaw], 1936, The Birds of Hopei Province Part. I, p. 88-89).

Pandionidae 鹗科

OSPREY Pandion haliaetus 鹗 È

Passage migrant in spring (late March to mid-May) and autumn (late August to early October). Best sites are reservoirs, such as Shahe, Ming Tombs, Guanting and Miyun.

Highest count: 20+ on 18 April 2020 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Liu Aitao); 17 on 12 April 2015 at Shahe (Colm Moore); 17 on 16 April 2016 at Shahe (Colm Moore)

Accipitridae 鹰科

BLACK-WINGED KITE Elanus caeruleus 黑翅鸢 Hēi chì yuān

Formerly very rare, now scarce and increasing passage migrant and possible breeder. Most records in spring (late March to May) and autumn (late August to mid-November). Rare in winter. First recorded as recently as 9 April 2007 at Yeyahu (Diane Holsinger).

Highest count: two on 8 October 2020 at the Wenyu River (Terry Townshend and Wu Lan); two on 14 September 2019 at Ma Chang (Liu Chunhong et al.)

LAMMERGEIER Gypaetus barbatus 胡兀鹫 Hú wùjiù

Very rare. Two records: one in February 2008 at Shidu, Fangshan District (Wang Qin); one (juvenile) at Lingshan on 12 December 2016 (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend). Given the expanding population in Mongolia due to an increase in cattle husbandry (per Nyambayar Batbayar, Wildlife Science and Conservation Center), this is the most likely origin of individuals in Beijing and one might expect more records in the future.

CRESTED (ORIENTAL) HONEY BUZZARD Pernis ptilorhynchus 凤头蜂鹰 Fèng tóu fēng yīng

Passage migrant in spring (late April to early June, peaking in mid-May) and autumn (late August to October, peaking in mid-September) and occasional summer records in the mountains. Best sites are traditional raptor watchpoints such as Baiwangshan but can be recorded over the city centre.

Highest count: 2,098 recorded from Baiwangshan on 11 May 2015 (Beijing Birdwatching Society)

HIMALAYAN VULTURE Gyps himalayensis 高山兀鹫 Gāoshān wùjiù

Very rare vagrant. Possibly only three records; one in 2010 (date unknown) at Yeyahu (Brian Jones); one on 15 May 2016 at Baiwangshan (Zhang Peng); one 2cy on 21 June 2020 at Baihuashan (Li Siqi et al.)

CINEREOUS VULTURE Aegypius monachus 秃鹫 Tūjiù

Winter (late October to early April) visitor to the mountains around Beijing. Scarce away from Mentougou District. One June record: 4 June 2019 at Lingshan (Steve Bale)

Highest count: 30 on 3 December 2016 at Shidu (白尾 海雕, 七彩文鸟)

CRESTED SERPENT EAGLE Spilornis cheela 蛇雕 Shé diāo

Very rare. Only three records, all from the raptor watchpoint at Baiwangshan. One on 13 May 2011 (Sun Chi and Huang Wei), one on 28 April 2013 (Friends of Nature); and one on 21 May 2013 (Friends of Nature).

SHORT-TOED SNAKE EAGLE Circaetus gallicus 短趾雕 Duǎn zhǐ diāo

Scarce passage migrant in spring (late March to May) and autumn (late August to early October). Has over-summered and possibly bred in the mountains in the north of Beijing.

Highest count: five at Miyun Reservoir on 26 August 2015 (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend)

GREATER SPOTTED EAGLE Aquila clanga 乌雕 Wū diāo

Regular passage migrant in spring (late March to May) and autumn (late September to October); occasional in June.

Highest count: 27 on 25 October 2010 at the ridge above the Botanical Gardens  (Jesper Hornskov)

BOOTED EAGLE Hieraaetus pennatus 靴隼雕 Xuē sǔn diāo

Scarce passage migrant in Spring (late March to mid-May) and autumn (late August to September). Most records have been of pale morph birds in April but dark morph birds have occurred.

Highest count: four on 18 April 2017 at Bawangshan (小青鸟-北京市, Fishing Cat).

STEPPE EAGLE Aquila nipalensis 草原雕 Cǎoyuán diāo

Rare passage migrant/vagrant, with most records relating to juvenile birds in autumn. An exceptional summer record on 16 June 2020 at Baihuashan (Xiao Hong)

Highest count: two on 15 November 2019 at Lingshan (XiaoPT); two on 2 October 2016 at Yeyahu (_星畔_)

EASTERN IMPERIAL EAGLE Aquila heliaca 白肩雕 Bái jiān diāo

Rare vagrant. Recent records include an immature on 25 March 2011 at Yeyahu (Terry Townshend and Spike Millington); a 2cy on 12 April 2013 at Baiwangshan (Tong Mu); one immature at Ma Chang (Jesper Hornskov, Terry Townshend et al.) the same day; one on 2 May 2014 at Baiwangshan (Zhao Min et al.); one on 19 September 2015 at Shahe (Colm Moore).

GOLDEN EAGLE Aquila chrysaetos 金雕 Jīn diāo

Scarce resident breeder in the mountainous areas of Beijing, particularly Mentougou District and Miyun and Yanqing Counties.

Highest count: five on 13 January 2018 at Yanhecheng (Niao Pan)

BONELLI’S EAGLE Aquila fasciata 白腹隼雕 Bái fù sǔn diāo

Very rare vagrant. Only three records, two of which are historical: one, “a female collected on September 22, 1935, in the Western Hills weighed 1,970 grams”; the other was “J. Delacour, during his visit to the old capital, noticed this bird in a taxidermist shop in Peiping, and it was recorded in the China Journal by Wilder (1928, p. 85).” Shaw said “This bird seems to be rare.” The only modern record was one on 25 May 2010 at the Baihe Valley (Bo Peterson).

CRESTED GOSHAWK Accipiter trivirgatus 凤头鹰 Fèng tóu yīng

Rare, but possibly overlooked, vagrant to Beijing. Three recent records: on 10 March 2017 near Wangjinglou, Botanical Gardens, photographed by Li Boyang and Liu Ziang; one on 19 April 2017 at DongGaoDi, Fengtai District (迪迪); and one on 2 October 2020 at Baiwangshan (Kevin 盛).

CHINESE SPARROWHAWK Accipiter soloensis 赤腹鹰 Chìfù yīng

Scarce passage migrant and local breeder in mountainous areas with rivers (May to early October).

Highest counts: 11 on 11 May 2015 at Baiwangshan (Wang Yan); 11 on 12 May 2015 at Baiwangshan (猛进侠)

JAPANESE SPARROWHAWK Accipiter gularis 日本松雀鹰 Rìběn sōng què yīng

Passage migrant in spring (mid-April to mid-May) and autumn (late August to October). Stragglers into November. Rare in summer.

Highest counts: 46 on 8 May 2015 at Baiwangshan (雨燕); 34 on 5 May 2015 at Baiwangshan (海南观鸟会, 雨燕); 32 on 12 May 2015 at Baiwangshan (海南观鸟会, 雨燕).

BESRA Accipiter virgatus 松雀鹰 Sōng què yīng

Very rare vagrant. Two records: one on 30 March 2015 at Xiaolongmen (老丢); one on 23 April 2016 at Baiwangshan (Du Songhan et al.)

EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK Accipiter nisus 雀鹰 Què yīng

Primarily a passage migrant, peaking in April and early October, and winter visitor but recorded in all months of the year. Scarce in summer (June, July and August) but possibly breeds locally.

Highest counts: 82 on 30 September 2020 at Xin Wangjinglou (Anonymous); 57 on 12 October 2014 at Baiwangshan (盎然子); 44 on 12 September 2018 at Baiwangshan (SEE大年); 43 on 26 April 2013 at Baiwangshan (Tong Mu)

NORTHERN GOSHAWK Accipiter gentilis 苍鹰 Cāng yīng

Scarce passage migrant in spring (March-April) and autumn (late September to November) and winter visitor. Rare from May to mid-September.

Highest counts: 22 on 1 October 2015 at Baiwangshan (Liu Zhiheng); 16 on 12 October 2014 at Baiwangshan (盎然子)

WESTERN MARSH HARRIER Circus aeruginosus 白头鹞 Báitóu yào

Several claims but no confirmed records. Status possibly clouded by difficulty of separation from Eastern Marsh Harrier. One juvenile marsh harrier photographed at Bulaotun, Miyun Reservoir on 2 September 2017 (Jing Xin) was a good candidate.

EASTERN MARSH HARRIER Circus spilonotus 白腹鹞 Bái fù yào

Local summer breeder and passage migrant in Spring (late March to May) and autumn (late August to early November). Breeds at Yeyahu.

Highest count: 19 at Shahe Reservoir on 16 April 2016 (Colm Moore)

HEN HARRIER Circus cyaneus 白尾鹞 Báiwěi yào

Winter visitor and passage migrant. Most records from the second half of September to April, with a peak in late October and early November. However, has been recorded in every month except July.

Highest count: 50 on 1 November 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (朔风)

PALLID HARRIER Circus macrourus 草原鹞 Cǎoyuán yào

Very rare.  Two records: one collected by Père David; also, one adult male on the afternoon of 24 October 2010 flew SW at the tower near Guanting Reservoir, Yeyahu (Jan-Erik Nilsén)

PIED HARRIER Circus melanoleucos 鹊鹞 Què yào

Passage migrant in Spring (mid-April to May) and autumn (late August to early October).

Highest count: seven on 11 May 2015 at Baiwangshan (朔风).

MONTAGU’S HARRIER Circus pygargus 乌灰鹞 Wū huī yào

Very rare. No modern-day records [need details of historical record(s)]

BLACK KITE Milvus migrans lineatus 黑鸢 Hēi yuān

Formerly bred. Now a declining passage migrant in spring (late March to early May) and autumn (late August to early October). Rare in June and July and very rare in winter. Two historical winter records from 19 and 28 February 1960 when it was much more common.

Highest count: 110 on 2 April 2018 at Shisanling (Colm Moore and Zhao Qi)

PALLAS’S FISH EAGLE Haliaeetus leucoryphus 玉带海雕 Yùdài hǎi diāo

Very rare. Unconfirmed and undated report(s) from Beijing (Wilder in Thomas 1978). Only one modern-day record, a bird “for several days” at Yeyahu Wetland Reserve in early June 2016, photographed by local warden, Fang Chun, on 7th. An unidentified eagle, possibly the same individual, was seen on 1 June at the same site whilst tagging Common Cuckoos (Chris Hewson, Dick Newell, Lyndon Kearsley and Terry Townshend).

WHITE-TAILED EAGLE Haliaeetus albicilla 白尾海雕 Báiwěi hǎi diāo

Scarce winter visitor, mostly to large water bodies such as reservoirs between late October and March, with most records January to March. Most are immatures.

Highest counts: eight on 26 February 2020 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (山色空蒙); seven on 26 February 2020 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (簌簌的雪); seven on 23 February 2020 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Steve Bale and Terry Townshend); seven on 23 December 2006 at Miyun Reservoir (GJJ)

STELLER’S SEA EAGLE Haliaeetus pelagicus 虎头海鵰 Hǔtóu hǎi diāo

Very rare vagrant. One historic record: Père David writes in ‘Les Oiseaux de la Chine’ that he “once met with this eagle in Chihli [modern day Beijing and Hebei Province], in the Peking district, at very close quarters at the end of a severe winter” (La Touche 1925–1934). This is presumably the source of the record in “Hebei Province” by Père David in Cheng Tso-hsin (1987).  Given the difference between historical and modern boundaries, it is unclear whether this record was from within the boundaries of modern day Beijing.

GREY-FACED BUZZARD Butastur indicus 灰脸鵟鹰 Huī liǎn kuáng yīng

Scarce passage migrant and local breeder in the mountains (late March to early October). Baiwangshan is the most reliable site.

Highest count: 150 on 2 October 2005 at Baiwangshan (HD, CBR2005)

ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD Buteo lagopus 毛脚鵟 Máo jiǎo kuáng

Rare and irruptive winter visitor (mid-October to March) in varying numbers, not quite annual.

Highest counts: ten on 12 December 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Wang Yan); ten on 13 December 2015 (猛进侠)

UPLAND BUZZARD Buteo hemilasius 大鵟 Dà kuáng

Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor, primarily mid-October to early April. Declining.

Highest count: 21 on 6 December 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (白尾 海雕); 20 on 1 November 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (朔风)

EASTERN BUZZARD Buteo japonicus 普通鵟 Pǔtōng kuáng

Very common passage migrant and scarce winter visitor (September to May). Rare in summer.

Highest counts: 200 on 6 October 2019 at Baiwangshan (pksunking); 200 on 3 October 2018 at Mentougou District (caihua0314); 182 on 12 October 2014 at Baiwangshan (盎然子); 172 on 29 Match 2013 at Baiwangshan (Tong Mu)

COMMON (STEPPE) BUZZARD Buteo buteo 欧亚鵟 Ōu yà kuáng

No confirmed records. See a candidate here by Tong Mu from 15 March 2013 at Baiwangshan. 

Falconidae 隼科

LESSER KESTREL Falco naumanni 黄爪隼 Huáng zhǎo sǔn

Scarce passage migrant, with most records in spring (late March to early May). Rare in autumn (mid-September to late October). Sometimes associates with Amur Falcons. Former breeder.

Highest count: seven on 29 March 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Terry Townshend et al.)

COMMON KESTREL Falco tinnunculus 红隼 Hóng sǔn

Common resident breeder with a modest number of additional birds seen on passage in April and May and again in September and October.

Highest count: 20 on 9 May 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Fishing Cat)

AMUR FALCON Falco amurensis 红脚隼 Hóng jiǎo sǔn

Common passage migrant in spring (peaking second half of April) and autumn (peaking in the second half of September), and local breeder.

Highest count: 520 on 17 September 2017 in maize fields near Ma Chang (Paul Holt)

MERLIN Falco columbarius 灰背隼 Huī bèi sǔn

Scarce winter visitor from October to April, exceptionally May and September.

Highest counts: four on 13 October 2018 at Ma Chang (BejingFeiyu2018); four on 2 November 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Yan Shen)

EURASIAN HOBBY Falco subbuteo 燕隼 Yàn sǔn

Summer breeder and passage migrant (mid-April to October). Rare before mid-April and scarce after the first week of October, but several unconfirmed reports from November.

Highest counts: 16 on 24 May 2020 at Fragrant Hills (Li Xuejun); 16 on 17 September 2016 at Bawangshan (何文喵).

SAKER FALCON Falco cherrug 猎隼 Liè sǔn

Uncommon and possibly declining. Recorded in every month except July but most in spring (March-May) and autumn (September-October) with a few in winter. Recent records from June and August likely to relate to wandering immature birds rather than breeders.

Highest count: five on 19 October 2013 at Miyun Reservoir (Jan-Erik Nilsén, Per Alström and “LM”)

PEREGRINE FALCON Falco peregrinus 游隼 Yóu sǔn

Uncommon resident and passage migrant. Increasing.  Recorded in every month of the year. Breeds in small numbers, including in Yanqing County, and migrants/post-breeding dispersals of the southern race, peregrinator, have been recorded in autumn. Sometimes seen hunting feral pigeons in the city centre.

Highest count: ten on 1 September 2018 at Fragrant Hills (Jenny Fang et al.)

Otididae 鸨科

GREAT BUSTARD Otis tarda 大鸨 Dà bǎo

Scarce passage migrant in spring (March-April) and autumn (October-November) and rare winter visitor.

Highest count: 21 on 25 November 2005 at Wild Duck Lake (Bjorn Andersson); 14 on 15 April 2017 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Colm Moore)

Rallidae 秧鸡科

SWINHOE’S RAIL Coturnicops exquisitus 花田鸡 Huātián jī

Very rare passage migrant. At least six records, all since 2014. Most in autumn (September-October). Only one in spring: a singing bird on 15 April 2019 at Ma Chang (Terry Townshend) 

SLATY-BREASTED RAIL Lewinia striata 蓝胸秧鸡 Lán xiōng yāng jī

Very rare. One on 25 May 2000 at Beijing Capital International Airport (Prof. Zhao Xinru); one on 7 June 2018 in the Olympic Forest Park (Lou Fangzhou).

WESTERN WATER RAIL Rallus aquaticus 西方秧鸡 Xīfāng yāng jī

Very rare but possibly overlooked winter visitor. Only two records: one on 20 December 2011 until February 2012 at least in the Olympic Forest Park (found by Yang Yuejang and identified by Jesper Hornskov); one at the eastern end of Shahe Reservoir from 26 January to 11 February 2020 at least (Dahe@Beijing et al.).

BROWN-CHEEKED RAIL Rallus indicus 普通秧鸡 Pǔtōng yāng jī

Unobtrusive but probably not uncommon. Passage migrant, winter visitor and possible breeder. Recorded in all months but few records June to September.

Highest count: 11 on 17 April 2018 at Yeyahu (Paul Holt)

WHITE-BREASTED WATERHEN Amaurornis phoenicurus 白胸苦恶鸟 Bái xiōng kǔ è niǎo

Scarce but increasing summer overshooting migrant from late April to October. Has bred (CBR2003). Surprisingly, a handful of winter records too, including a long-staying individual from 23 December 2017 to 7 January 2018 at Peking University (Chen Xier et al.).

Highest count: three on 13 June 2015, 26 April 2016 and 12 June 2016, all at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore)

BAILLON’S CRAKE Porzana pusilla 小田鸡 Xiǎo tiánjī

Scarce passage migrant in spring (May-June) and autumn (late August to early October) and possible breeder.

Highest count: three on 3 October 2013 at Olympic Forest Park (Inna P Smith) and three on 8 May 2015 at Yeyahu (Terry Townshend)

RUDDY-BREASTED CRAKE Porzana fusca 红胸田鸡 Hóng xiōng tiánjī

Passage migrant and summer breeder from second half of May to September. 

Highest count: ten on 3 June 2002 at the Summer Palace (Jan Smith)

BAND-BELLIED CRAKE Porzana paykullii 斑胁田鸡 Bān xié tiánjī

Very rare passage migrant. One on 5 September 2018 in Shunyi (Terry Townshend). [other records?]

WATERCOCK Gallicrex cinerea 董鸡 Dǒng jī

Scarce and declining spring passage migrant (and former breeder?).

Highest count: four (three males and a female) on 27 June 2009 at the Wenyu River (Brian Ivon Jones)

COMMON MOORHEN Gallinula chloropus 黑水鸡 Hēi shuǐ jī

Common and widespread resident breeder, passage migrant and increasingly a winter visitor.

Highest count: 400 on 29 May 2005 and 25 September 2005 at Shahe Reservoir (WJ via CBR2005)

COMMON COOT Fulica atra 骨顶鸡 Gǔ dǐng jī

Common breeder, passage migrant and winter visitor. Increasing.

Highest count: 1,050 on 17 October 2018 at Huairou Reservoir (Steve Bale).

Gruidae 鹤科

SIBERIAN CRANE Grus leucogeranus 白鹤 Báihè

Rare passage migrant, mostly in mid-March-April but also November. Just six records: a second calendar year from 19-31 March 2009 at Wild Duck Lak (Jesper Hornskov et al.); three, a family party with two adults and a first year on 19 March 2012 at Miyun reservoir (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend) increasing to eight there on the 25 March (奈何, 朱磊, 付建平, 计云, 吴劲松 via BirdTalker), before decreasing back to three (two adults & one immature) on the 1 April (Jan-Erik Nilsén). These three were seen again on the 3 April with the immature lingering until the 22 April (Terry Townshend & Ben Wielstra); one from 11-16 March 2013 at Miyun Reservoir (天天 云起 via BirdTalker et al.); an adult and an immature on 27 March 2013 at Wild Duck Lake (An Yi); 18 (15 adults and three 2cy) on 24 March 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt); one on 27 November 2017 at Guanting Reservoir (Xu Liang).

SANDHILL CRANE Grus canadensis 沙丘鹤 Shāqiū hè

Very rare vagrant. One record on 8 December 2013 to 22 January 2014 at least at Miyun Reservoir (Zhu Lei, Lei Ming et al.).

WHITE-NAPED CRANE Grus vipio 白枕鹤 Bái zhěn hè

Passage migrant, mostly in Spring (late March-April) and autumn (late October-November). Rare in winter.

Highest count: 1,020 on 22 March 2013 at Miyun Reservoir (via Weibo)

DEMOISELLE CRANE Anthropoides virgo 蓑羽鹤 Suō yǔ hè

Rare vagrant. Six records: seven on the 19 May 2007 at Wild Duck Lake (Bjorn Anderson); one photographed on 5 June 2009, also at Yeyahu (Brian Ivon Jones and Spike Millington); one on 1 June 2013 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend); one in December 2013 at Miyun Reservoir (Zhu Lei et al.) and one on 12 December 2018 at Ma Chang (Tong Menxiu); one on 20 November 2020 over the Agricultural Exhibition Center Park (amal amer).

RED-CROWNED CRANE Grus japonensis 丹顶鹤 Dāndǐnghè

Very rare passage migrant. Only four records: the first record was of an injured bird rescued in Mentougou in September 2007 and taken to the Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (BBWS 2009); one at Miyun Reservoir 15 to 18 October 2013 at least (Paul Holt et al.); one juvenile at Miyun Reservoir 17 November 2013 (Jan-Erik Nilsén and Zhu Jia); and one at Miyun Reservoir on 23-24 March 2015 (Paul Holt).

COMMON CRANE Grus grus 灰鹤 Huīhè

Common passage migrant and winter visitor, primarily October to April. Summer records rare.

Highest count: 6,000 on 24 February 2019 at Yeyahu (Jenny Fang)

HOODED CRANE Grus monacha 白头鹤 Báitóu hè

Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant (most records late October to April).

Highest count: 30 on 13 March 2013 at Miyun Reservoir (Steve Bale)

Turnicidae 三趾鹑科

YELLOW-LEGGED BUTTONQUAIL Turnix tanki 黄脚三趾鹑 Huáng jiǎo sān zhǐ chún

A passage migrant and probable local and opportunistic sporadic breeder (most records mid-May to August).

Highest count: 16 on 15 August 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Jan-Erik Nilsén)

Ibidorhynchidae 鹮嘴鹬科

IBISBILL Ibidorhyncha struthersii 鹮嘴鹬 Huán zuǐ yù

Scarce, possibly now rare, and declining resident along fast-flowing shallow rivers. Most records along Bai He and Chao He rivers in the north/northeast. Decline most likely caused by gravel extraction along rivers and human disturbance.

Highest count: 12 on 2 September 2007 at Tanghekou, Huairou (TJL, CBR2007)

Recurvirostridae 反嘴鹬科

BLACK-WINGED STILT Himantopus himantopus 黑翅长脚鹬 Hēi chì cháng jiǎo yù

Common passage migrant and breeder (late March to October) with most records in Spring (late March to May).

Highest count: 200 on 29 April 2007 at Wild Duck Lake (Bjorn Andersson, CBR2007)

PIED AVOCET Recurvirostra avosetta 反嘴鹬 Fǎn zuǐ yù

Scarce passage migrant, predominantly in spring (March to May) and rare in autumn August to October). Very rare in summer. Increasing.

Highest counts: 60 on 26 March 2020 at the Xinzhuang Bridge Chaohe River, Miyun (云飞扬); 40 on 24 April 2003 at Miyun Reservoir ( 王沁 via BirdTalker); 30 on 26 March 2020 at Shahe Reservoir (D逍遥法外, 麦克曹); 30 on 10 April 2018 at Shisanling Reservoir (Zhen Niu)

Charadriidae 鸻科

NORTHERN LAPWING Vanellus vanellus 凤头麦鸡 Fèng tóu mài jī

Common passage migrant, peaking in March and early April and again in October, and local breeder. Records from March to November.

Highest counts: 1,000 on 24 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Chen Liang); 500 on 27 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (盎然子)

GREY-HEADED LAPWING Vanellus cinereus 灰头麦鸡 Huī tóu mài jī

Passage migrant (March to October), with most records in spring. Possible occasional local breeder.

Highest count: 50 on 11 April 2018 at Shahe Reservoir (Fishing Cat)

PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER Pluvialis fulva 金斑鸻 Jīn bān héng

Passage migrant in spring (April to early June, peaking mid-May) and autumn (September to November, peaking mid-September).

Highest counts: 400 on 18 and 19 May 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Lusen, 七彩文鸟); 348 on 14 May 2017 at Yeyahu (Terry Townshend et al.)

GREY PLOVER Pluvialis squatarola 灰斑鸻 Huī bān héng

Scarce passage migrant in spring (March to May) and autumn (August to November).

Highest count: 30 on 2 November 2016 at the Guishui River, Yanqing ( 林达京); 20 on 8 November 2018 at Ma Chang (毛毛淘淘).

COMMON RINGED PLOVER Charadrius hiaticula 剑鸻 Jiàn héng

Very rare vagrant. Only three records: one on 8 April 2012 at Shahe Reservoir (Jan-Erik Nilsén); one on 8 May 2012 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale); and one heard on 31 August 2019 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt, Paul Hyde and Phil Hyde).

LONG-BILLED PLOVER Charadrius placidus 长嘴剑鸻 Cháng zuǐ jiàn héng

Local summer breeder, and uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor to rivers such as the Chao River in Miyun, Juma River in Fangshan, Wenyu River in Chaoyang/Shunyi, Tonghui River in Tongzhou and around the reservoirs at Huairou and Miyun. Recorded in all months.

Highest counts: 26 on 11 March 2005 at Tonghui River (Paul Holt and Wang Qingyu); 23 on 3 September 2020 at the Lower Weir on the Wenyu River (Terry Townshend)

LITTLE RINGED PLOVER Charadrius dubius 金眶鸻 Jīn kuàng héng

Passage migrant and summer breeder (March to October). Very rare in winter.

Highest count: 200 on 14 April 2019 at Ma Chang (Zhen Niu)

KENTISH PLOVER Charadrius alexandrinus 环颈鸻 Huán jǐng héng

Passage migrant in spring (late March to May) and autumn (August to mid-September). Scarce in June and July. May breed.

Highest counts: 200 on 23 April 2020 at Yeyayu (Vincent Wang); 100 on 28 March 2020 at Yeyahu (Niaotu); 95 on 11 April 2018 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt)

LESSER SAND PLOVER Charadrius mongolus 蒙古沙鸻 Ménggǔ shā héng

Rare spring vagrant. Very few records. One at Ma Chang on 7 April 2014 (XiaoPT, 盎然子) and presumably the same bird at the same site on 11 April 2014 (Jan-Erik Nilsén); one on 7 May 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (海南观鸟会, 雨燕); one on 28 March 2020 at Yeyahu (niaotu).

GREATER SAND PLOVER Charadrius leschenaultii 铁嘴沙鸻 Tiě zuǐ shā héng

Scarce passage migrant in spring (late March to mid-May). Rare in autumn (August). 

Highest counts: 70 on 23 April 2020 at Yeyahu (Vincent Wang); 30 on 10 May 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Virginia Fairchild).

ORIENTAL PLOVER Charadrius veredus 东方鸻 Dōngfāng héng

Scarce and local passage migrant in spring (last week of March and April). Rare in autumn. Loyal to preferred sites with the majority of records from Ma Chang.

Highest count: 223 on 10 April 2018 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt)

Rostratulidae 彩鹬科

GREATER PAINTED SNIPE Rostratula benghalensis 彩鹬 Cǎi yù

Rare (fewer than five records annually) passage migrant and possible breeder with records from late April, May, June, July, August and September.

Highest count: three (two females chasing one male) on 5 July 2009 at the Wenyu River (Brian Ivon Jones)

Jacanidae 水雉科

PHEASANT-TAILED JACANA Hydrophasianus chirurgus 水雉 Shuǐ zhì

Rare summer overshoot. Formerly more common. One on 22 May 2013 at Huairou Reservoir was possibly the first Beijing record for c40 years. Since then, one at Yeyahu on 8 June 2013 (Paul Holt, Chen Liang and Terry Townshend); one at Nanhaizi on 10 October 2015 (observer unknown); and one at Nanhaizi on 26 May 2019 (Wang Libin); one on 21 July 2020 at the ChaoBai River (via Zhen Niu).

Scolopacidae 丘鹬科

EURASIAN WOODCOCK Scolopax rusticola 丘鹬 Qiū yù

Scarce passage migrant and rare winter visitor. Most records in April and October.

Highest counts: five on 7 May 2017 at Yeyahu (Quan G).

JACK SNIPE Lymnocryptes minimus 姬鹬 Jī yù

Rare winter visitor and passage migrant. Possibly only nine records. Recorded “before 2009” at the Wenyu River (Brian Ivon Jones); one on 18 January to 3 February 2014 at least at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale et al.) was “possibly the 6th record for Beijing” (Paul Holt via Birding Beijing WeChat group). Possibly the same individual was recorded on 30 March 2014 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore); two were at Miyun Reservoir on 27 February 2015 (Terry Townshend); one on 23 March 2020 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore).

SOLITARY SNIPE Gallinago solitaria 孤沙锥 Gū shā zhuī

Rare winter visitor, usually along fast-moving streams (November to February). Recorded from the BaiHe Valley, Dashihe, Mangshan, Shidu and Shisanling.

Highest count: two on 19 January 2020 at the Qingshui River, Miyun County (Yawen, CeoffreyLions)

LATHAM’S SNIPE Gallinago hardwickii 澳南沙锥 Ào nán shā-zhuī

Very rare vagrant. Only one record: 9th to 14th May 2009 at the Wenyu River (Brian Ivon Jones)

PINTAIL SNIPE Gallinago stenura 针尾沙锥 Zhēn wěi shā zhuī

Probably a regular passage migrant in Spring (May) and Autumn (August and September) but, due to the difficulty in separating this species from Swinhoe’s Snipe in the field, the vast majority of records are “Pintail or Swinhoe’s Snipe”. One Pintail Snipe was found dead at Tsinghua University on 21 August 2017 (Ben Wielstra), allowing the tail to be seen. Another, this time alive, was seen at close quarters at Tsinghua University on 11 September 2018 and identified definitively. A further two were heard displaying pre-dawn at Ma Chang on 19 May 2019 (Paul Holt).

SWINHOE’S SNIPE Gallinago megala 大沙锥 Dà shā zhuī

As with Pintail Snipe, likely a regular passage migrant in Spring (May) and Autumn (August to September) but difficulty in separating Swinhoe’s and Pintail in the field clouds its true status. One on 13 September 2018 on the “Shunyi Patch” was seen well, with tail spread (Terry Townshend and Ben Wielstra) and one was identified from photos of the spread tail at the Wenyu River on 16 May 2020 (Terry Townshend, Steve Bale and Wang Xue).

COMMON SNIPE Gallinago gallinago 扇尾沙锥 Shàn wěi shā zhuī

Regular passage migrant in spring and autumn, and a winter visitor in smaller numbers. Scarce in June and July.

Highest counts: 107 on 30 April 2009 at the Wenyu River (Brian Ivon Jones); 50 on 3 May 2017 at Yizhuang Wetland, Tongzhou (迪迪)

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER Limnodromus scolopaceus 长嘴半蹼鹬 Cháng zuǐ bàn pǔ yù

Very rare vagrant. One record from Yeyahu on 19 October 2009 (Yan Xiaoqin). See here.

ASIAN DOWITCHER Limnodromus semipalmatus 半蹼鹬 Bàn pǔ yù

Rare passage migrant. Recorded in May, July and August. 

‘EASTERN’ BLACK-TAILED GODWIT Limosa limosa melanuroides 黑尾塍鹬 Hēi wěi chéng yù

Regular passage migrant in spring (late March to May) and autumn (mid-August to September). Rare outside these windows.

Highest count: 300 on 30 September 2005 at Wild Duck Lake (LJY via CBR2005)

BAR-TAILED GODWIT Limosa lapponica 斑尾塍鹬 Bānwěi chéng yù

Very rare. Only four Beijing records: one at Miyun Reservoir on 13 April 2013 (Jan-Erik Nilsén); a group of seven at Shahe Reservoir on 22 June 2013 (Colm Moore) – this record coincided with a period of heavy rain and also saw Beijing’s first record of Long-tailed Skua; one on 22 May 2015 at Guojiawu, Huairou District (林达京, 观鸟别激动队); and one on 17 September 2016 at Yeyahu (七彩文鸟)

LITTLE CURLEW/LITTLE WHIMBREL Numenius minutus 小杓鹬 Xiǎo biāo yù

Scarce passage migrant with between 10-20 records up to mid-2020, all since 2004. Most recorded in late April to May and late August to early September. First record 11 May 2004 at Huairou Reservoir (JHa in CBR2004).

Highest count: 14 on 26 April 2016 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore)

WHIMBREL Numenius phaeopus 中杓鹬 Zhōng biāo yù

Scarce passage migrant in spring (May) and autumn (late August to September)

Highest count: 24 on 20 May 2018 at Miyun Reservoir (XiaoPT and Zhen Niu)

EURASIAN CURLEW Numenius arquata 白腰杓鹬 Bái yāo biāo yù

Scarce passage migrant. Most records in spring (March-May). One June record and one September record.

Highest count: 15 on 6 May 2004 at Miyun Reservoir (LJY in CBR2004).

FAR EASTERN CURLEW Numenius madagascariensis 大杓鹬 Dà biāo yù

Rare passage migrant with between 10-20 records up to end of 2019 (all but three since 2015). All records in March to June (most records in April) and late August to September.

Highest counts: nine on 22 March 2020 at the Xinzhuang Bridge over the River Chao, Myun (云飞扬); three on 31 August 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt, Terry Townshend, Zhao Min and Wu Lan).

SPOTTED REDSHANK Tringa erythropus 鹤鹬 Hè yù

Passage migrant in Spring (late March to June) and in autumn (late August to November).

Highest count: 300 on 30 September 2005 at Wild Duck Lake (LJY via CBR2005).

COMMON REDSHANK Tringa totanus 红脚鹬 Hóng jiǎo yù

Passage migrant in spring (March to May, peaking in April) and autumn (September to November). Rare in winter: two reported on 30 January 2020 at Shahe Reservoir (Wu Jinsong).

Highest count: ten on 20 April 2019 at Yeyahu (Liu Chunhong, panxiaoji)

MARSH SANDPIPER Tringa stagnatilis 泽鹬 Zé yù

Common passage migrant in Spring (April to May) and autumn (July to September).

Highest count: 60 on 6 October 2004 at Yeyahu (ZAH in CBR2004).

COMMON GREENSHANK Tringa nebularia 青脚鹬 Qīng jiǎo yù

Passage migrant in spring (late March to May) and autumn (July to October). Rare in June.

Highest count: 150 on 30 September 2005 at Wild Duck Lake (LJY via CBR2005)

GREEN SANDPIPER Tringa ochropus 白腰草鹬 Bái yāo cǎo yù

Common passage migrant and winter visitor. Recorded in all months.

Highest count: 70 on 13 May 2017 at DaShiHe (Tan Spring)

WOOD SANDPIPER Tringa glareola 林鹬 Lín yù

Passage migrant in spring (April-May) and autumn (August-September). Scarce in June and July and October-November.

Highest count: 580 on 11 May 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Terry Townshend)

GREY-TAILED TATTLER Tringa brevipes 灰尾漂鹬 Huī wěi (piào) yù

Very rare passage migrant. Only three Beijing records: a juvenile on 12 September 2012 at the Wenyu River (Per Alström, Steve Bale and Terry Townshend); a remarkable 49 on 25 May 2014 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore); and one on 8 September 2014 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore).

TEREK SANDPIPER Xenus cinereus 翘嘴鹬 Qiào zuǐ yù

Scarce passage migrant in spring (April – May) and autumn (July to September). 

COMMON SANDPIPER Actitis hypoleucos 矶鹬 Jī yù

Passage migrant and rare winter visitor. Recorded in all months with peaks in May and late August to early September.

Highest counts: 25 on 13 May 2017 at Shahe Reservoir (何文喵); 25 on 16 May 2013 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale).

RUDDY TURNSTONE Arenaria interpres 翻石鹬 Fān shí yù

Rare passage migrant in Spring (late April and May) and Autumn (late August to mid-September).

Highest count: seven on 2 September 2019 at Ma Chang (Su Liang)

RED KNOT Calidris canutus 红腹滨鹬 Hóng fù bīn yù

Rare passage migrant in Spring (late April and early May) and Autumn (late August to early September). 

SANDERLING Calidris alba 三趾滨鹬 Sān zhǐ bīn yù

Rare passage migrant in autumn. Possibly only six records: two on 1 September 2013 at Yeyahu (Fu Cong); two juveniles on 6 October 2016, Ma Chang (Paul Holt); one juvenile at Ma Chang from 25 to 31 August 2019 at least (John MacKinnon, Li Siqi, Terry Townshend et al.); one moulting adult on 3-5 August 2020 at least at Ma Chang (Wang Xiaobo, Terry Townshend); one juvenile on 1-3 September 2020 at least at Ma Chang (Wang Xiaobo, XiaoPT et al.); and a remarkable six juveniles on 11 September 2020 at Shahe Reservoir (Mei Zhaoluo and David Mou), with five remaining on 15th.

RED-NECKED STINT Calidris ruficollis 红颈滨鹬 Hóng jǐng bīn yù

Passage migrant in spring (April to May) and autumn (August to September). Scarce in July.

Highest count: 29 on 31 August 2019 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt)

LITTLE STINT Calidris minuta 小滨鹬 Xiǎo bīn yù

Rare passage migrant in spring (April to May) and autumn (August to September) but probably overlooked given difficulty of separation from Red-necked Stint. Possibly only ten records: recorded “prior to 2009” on the Wenyu River (Brian Ivon Jones); one on 3 May 2013 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale); one on 22 April 2018 at Miyun Reservoir (XiaoPT and Chen Wei) was the 6th Beijing record (per Paul Holt); one at Wanping Hu sometime in May 2018 (Zhao Xiangyu pers. comm. to XiaoPT); one on 26-29 April 2019 at Shahe (Li Mengxuan et al.); one on 4 May 2019 at Ma Chang (Ben Wielstra and Richard Davis); two juveniles at Ma Chang, 27 August 2019, with one remaining until 11 September at least (Terry Townshend). 

TEMMINCK’S STINT Calidris temminckii 青脚滨鹬 Qīng jiǎo bīn yù

Passage migrant in spring (late April and May), and in autumn (August to September).

Highest count: 30 on 29 April 2006 at Shahe Reservoir (LHY, CBR2006)

LONG-TOED STINT Calidris subminuta 长趾滨鹬 Zhǎng zhǐ bīn yù

Passage migrant in spring (late April and May) and autumn (August to mid-September). A few records from July.

Highest counts: 32+ on 14 May 2016 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore); 32 on 11 May 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Terry Townshend)

PECTORAL SANDPIPER Calidris melanotos 斑胸滨鹬 Bān xiōng bīn yù

Very rare. Only three records: two on 28 April 2012 at Shahe Reservoir (Wang Chuanbing) with one there on 12 May 2012 (蛐蛐儿, 荒野呼唤 via BirdTalker); one juvenile on 12 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt, Terry Townshend, Jan-Erk Nilsén) and one on 4 May 2019 at Ma Chang (Ben Wielstra and Richard Davis).

SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER Calidris acuminata 尖尾滨鹬 Jiān wěi bīn yù

Rare passage migrant. Recorded in April, May, June, July, August and September.

Highest counts: 15 on 27 August 2005 at Wild Duck Lake (Zli, CBR2005); 10 on 11 May 2020 at Kangxi Grassland/Ma Chang (大牙齿 458)

CURLEW SANDPIPER Calidris ferruginea 弯嘴滨鹬 Wān zuǐ bīn yù

Scarce passage migrant in spring (late April and May) and autumn (August to early October, with most records in September). Rare outside these windows.

Highest count: 26 on 24 May 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt, Terry Townshend et al.)

DUNLIN Calidris alpina 黑腹滨鹬 Hēi fù bīn yù

Scarce passage migrant, mostly April and late August to October. One notable January record: one on 13 and 20 January 2013 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale and Per Alström)

Highest count: 32 on 21 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt) 

SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPER Eurynorhynchus pygmaeus 勺嘴鹬 Sháo zuǐ yù

Historical. Undated record from “Tong Xian county” (Cheng Tso-hsin, 1987).

BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER Limicola falcinellus 阔嘴鹬 Kuò zuǐ yù

Rare passage migrant, primarily in autumn (August to early September), with c12 records and only one in Spring. One juvenile on 22 September 2003 at Yeyahu (CBR2003) was described by the authors as the first record for Beijing; one on 9 September 2017 at Ma Chang (Terry Townshend, Marie Louise Ng and Ben Wielstra); one on 25 August 2018 at Ma Chang (Han Jing 韩京 & Yang Jie 杨杰) was just the fifth record (per Pail Holt); one on 23 August to 7 September 2019 at least at Ma Chang (Colm Moore), with two there on 25 August (John MacKinnon, Terry Townshend et al..) and four reported on 2nd September (Su Liang and te te); one on 30 April 2020 at Ma Chang (Vincent Wang); three on 1 August 2020 at Ma Chang (amal amer et al.); one on 13-14 August 2020 (Wang Xiaobo, Terry Townshend) and presumably the same on 19 August 2020 (Wang Xiaobo); one on 21 August 2020 at ChaoBaiHe (Wang Xiaobo); one on 30 August 2020 at Ma Chang (amal amer et al.)

RUFF Philomachus pugnax 流苏鹬 Liúsū yù

Rare passage migrant in spring (mid-March to April) and autumn (late August to September).

Highest counts: three on 28 March 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Jan-Erik Nilsén); three on 26 August 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend)

RED-NECKED PHALAROPE Phalaropus lobatus 红颈瓣蹼鹬 Hóng jǐng bàn pǔ yù

Rare passage migrant, with most records in autumn (August to November). First record was on 19 June 2004 at the Old Summer Palace (DCeng in CBR2004). 

Highest count: 16 on 2 November 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Chen Liang et al.).

RED PHALAROPE Phalaropus fulicaria 灰瓣蹼鹬 Huī bàn pǔ yù

Vary rare. Possibly only three records: [missing first record]; one on 19 September 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Terry Townshend and Paul Holt), and one on 1 October 2014 at the Tonghui River, Tongzhou (Paul Holt).

Glareolidae 燕鸻科

ORIENTAL PRATINCOLE Glareola maldivarum 普通燕鸻 Pǔtōng yàn héng

Passage migrant in spring (mid-April to May) and autumn (September to October) and occasional opportunistic breeder. Stragglers recorded into November.

Highest counts: 100 on 14 May 2005 at Wild Duck Lake (Bjorn Andersson); 85 at Ma Chang on 23 April 2011 (Terry Townshend).

Laridae 鸥科

BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE Rissa tridactyla 三趾鸥 Sān zhǐ ōu

Rare vagrant with c15 records to November 2020, the vast majority first-winter birds in late autumn (late September to early November) and only three in spring – one on 9 April 2016 near the Bird’s Nest Stadium (dianchi); a 2cy bird on 2 April 2017 at Ma Chang (Richard Fuller and Terry Townshend); and another 2cy bird on 27 March to early April 2020 at Guishui River, Yanqing (簌簌的雪, Wang Xue, Lou Fangzhou et al.). Only one adult: 2 November 2013 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore). 

SLENDER-BILLED GULL Chroicocephalus genei 细嘴鸥 Xì zuǐ ōu

Very rare vagrant. Only two records, both adults. The first on 3 September 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt et al.) and the second on 9 September 2015 at the same location (Paul Holt).

BROWN-HEADED GULL Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus 棕头鸥 Zōng tóu ōu

Scarce vagrant with all but one records relating to immature birds. Recorded in April, May, August, September and October. The single adult was photographed on 17 April 2020 at Shahe Reservoir (Li Bo via Jun Yang).

BLACK-HEADED GULL Chroicocephalus ridibundus 红嘴鸥 Hóng zuǐ ōu

Primarily a passage migrant in spring and autumn but records in all months. Scarce in mid-winter, numbers build from February, peaking late March and early April, before dropping off in summer and building again from August, peaking in September and October before trailing off again.

Highest count: 2,165 on 12 April 2018 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt, Terry Townshend and Ben Welstra)

SAUNDERS’S GULL Chroicocephalus saundersi 黑嘴鸥 Hēi zuǐ ōu

Very rare vagrant. Only one record: an adult in breeding plumage on 25-26 March 2020 at least at Miyun Reservoir (Guan Xiangyu, Jian Song, Su Liang et al.)

LITTLE GULL Hydrocoloeus minutus 小鸥 Xiǎo ōu

Rare passage migrant. Around 10 records to the end of 2019. Most in autumn (late August to early November) and two in Spring (late March to mid-May). Most relate to first-winter birds.

Highest count: five on 15 May 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Jan-Erik Nilsén and Terry Townshend)

RELICT GULL Ichthyaetus relictus 遗鸥 Yí ōu

Regular passage migrant in spring (late March to May) and less common in autumn (August to October). Rare at other times. First recorded on 10 April 1983. Breeds on inland lakes in Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi Province and Hangbao County of Hebei Province, as well as Mongolia, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Highest count: 374 at Shahe on 2 April 2016 (Colm Moore)

PALLAS’S GULL Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus 渔鸥 Yú ōu

Scarce passage migrant in spring (late February to early April) and autumn (mid-Sep to early November). Rare in winter. First record as recent as 19 October 2007 when a juvenile was at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt) but now annual, probably due to greater observer coverage and awareness.

Highest counts: ten reported on 23 September 2020 at the ChaoBai River; three on 27 March 2020 at Shahe Reservoir (fsongdm); three on 7 April 2018 at Shisanling (Colm Moore); and three on 13 March 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (Lou Fangzhou et al.)

BLACK-TAILED GULL Larus crassirostris 黑尾鸥 Hēi wěi ōu

Rare vagrant from the coast. Status clouded by an apparent free-flying population at the zoo and pitfalls in separating non-adults from immature Common Gulls. One photographed at Shahe Reservoir on 31 May 2019 (Wang Xiaobo) is probably the best recent candidate for a genuine wild bird.

MEW GULL Larus canus 海鸥 Hǎi’ōu

A passage migrant and scarce winter visitor. Most records from October to April.

Highest count: 28 on 7 April 2018 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Colm Moore)

GLAUCOUS GULL Larus hyperboreus 北极鸥 Běijí ōu

Very rare vagrant. One record: a first-winter on 12 November 2011 at Yeyahu (Jan-Erik Nilsén) remained until 18th at least.

VEGA GULL Larus vegae 西伯利亚银鸥 Xībólìyǎ yín ōu

No known documented records. Status may be clouded somewhat by different treatment of this taxa by different authorities, including the treatment by eBird and others as a form of Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) and also not straightforward separation from mongolicus.  The best chance of documenting this species in Beijing must be a photograph of an adult in winter, showing heavy streaking on the head, including the crown, and bubble-gum pink legs.

MONGOLIAN GULL Larus mongolicus 蒙古银鸥 Ménggǔ yín ōu

Predominantly a passage migrant to and from wintering grounds on the coast to inland breeding grounds. Highest numbers in Spring from late February to end of April, peaking in mid-March, and in autumn from late August to November, peaking in October. Scarce in mid-summer and mid-winter, with records in these seasons usually relating to immature birds.

Highest counts: 880 on 26 February 2020 at Shahe Reservoir (Steve Bale); 670 on 31 March 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (稻草大魔王)

SIBERIAN (HEUGLIN’S) GULL Larus fuscus taimyrensis 乌灰银鸥 Wū huī yín ōu

Scarce passage migrant in spring (late February to April) and autumn (October to early November). Relatively recent addition to the Beijing list, with the first record possibly being one 2cy migrating west on 26 April 2011 at Yeyahu (Jesper Hornskov and Terry Townshend). Annual in small numbers in the last few years, probably due to greater observer coverage and greater awareness.

Highest count: 14 on 8 April 2017 at Shisanling (Colm Moore)

GULL-BILLED TERN Gelochelidon nilotica 鸥嘴噪鸥 Ōu zuǐ zào ōu

Passage migrant in spring (late April to early June, peaking in late April and early May) and autumn (late August to September).

Highest counts: 60 on 29 April 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (蛐蛐儿); 52 on 29 April 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (Zhen Niu)

CASPIAN TERN Hydroprogne caspia 红嘴巨鸥 Hóng zuǐ jù ōu

A scarce passage migrant in spring (mid-April to early June) and autumn (September to October), occasional in July and August.

Highest count: 16 on 16 April 2020 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Colm Moore); 13 on 9 May 2015 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore) and 13 on 8 June 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore)

‘EASTERN’ LITTLE TERN Sternula albifrons sinensis 白额燕鸥 Bái é yàn ōu

Scarce passage migrant and occasional breeder from late April to September.

Highest count: 47 on 10 June 2004 at Miyun Reservoir (LJY in CBR2004).

COMMON TERN Sterna hirundo 普通燕鸥 Pǔtōng yàn ōu

Passage migrant and local summer breeder from mid-April to September, exceptionally early October. Two forms occur – minussensis and longipennis. Longipennis seems to be first to appear in Spring but minussensis seems to make up the bulk of the breeding birds in Beijing. However, a mixed breeding pair was observed on 15 July 2020 at Ma Chang (Terry Townshend).

Highest count: 111 on 1 June 2013 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend)

WHISKERED TERN Chlidonias hybrida 须浮鸥 Xū fú ōu

A passage migrant and summer visitor (late April to September, exceptionally October and November).

Highest count: 55 on 19 May 2019 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt)

WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN Chlidonias leucopterus 白翅浮鸥 Bái chì fú ōu

Uncommon passage migrant in spring (May and June) and again in autumn (August and September).

Highest count: 25 on 18 May 2018 at Shahe Reservoir (Max Breckenridge)

BLACK TERN Chlidonias niger 黑浮鸥 Hēi fú ōu

Very rare vagrant. One historic record: one collected from Tongxian (Tongzhou) on 24 August 1933 by Wilder (Cai, 1987)

Stercorariidae 贼鸥科

POMARINE JAEGER Stercorarius pomarinus 中贼鸥 Zhōng zéi-ōu

Very rare vagrant. Only two records: one at Yanqing pump station 30 October to 2 November at least (Zhang Weimin, Yang Yuhe et al.); and one at the Wenyu River on 31 October 2019 (Steve Bale).

ARCTIC JAEGER Stercorarius parasiticus 短尾贼鸥 Duǎn wěi zéi ōu

Very rare vagrant. Two records: one juvenile on 4 September 2014 at Ma Chang (per Chen Liang); one recorded on 15 April 2017 at Baiwangshan (unknown observer).

LONG-TAILED JAEGER Stercorarius longicaudus 长尾贼鸥 Cháng-wěi zéi-ōu

Very rare vagrant. One ‘near-adult’ on 22 June 2013 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore) the only record.

Pteroclididae 沙鸡科

PALLAS’S SANDGROUSE Syrrhaptes paradoxus 毛腿沙鸡 Máo tuǐ shā jī

A scarce and irruptive visitor, primarily in winter, sometimes in large numbers of 1,000+ birds. Not annual. November the prime month for arrivals, usually to open, grassy/sandy areas. Most recent irruptions in November 2013 and November 2019. Often some birds remain until the end of the winter.

Highest count: at least 1,050 over Changping District on 14 November 2019 (Wang Xiaobo)

Columbidae 鸠鸽科

ROCK PIGEON Columba livia 原鸽 Yuán gē

Resident population of feral pigeon in the city. Formerly may have bred in a wild state but, in recent years, population dominated by captive birds and escapes or releases. True status hard to assess due to numbers of feral birds and lack of attention by birders.

HILL PIGEON Columba rupestris 岩鸽 Yán gē

Common resident, primarily in the mountains around Beijing. Scarce in lowland Beijing.

Highest count: 100 on 11 January 2020 at Yanhecheng (Liu Chunhong et al.)

ORIENTAL TURTLE DOVE Streptopelia orientalis 山斑鸠 Shān bānjiū

Common resident and passage migrant. Slight peak in numbers in March-April and August-September suggesting resident breeding birds supplemented by migrants in spring and autumn.

Highest counts: 96 on 10 February 2020 at the Wenyu River (云飞扬); 80 on 6 January 2020 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale)

EURASIAN COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia decaocto 灰斑鸠 Huī bānjiū

Locally common resident, particularly in rural parts of the capital. Less common than Oriental Turtle Dove and Spotted Dove.

Highest counts: 80 on 26 September 2014 at Yeyahu (稻草大魔王); 78 on 27 October 2007 at Wild Duck Lake (BSQ, CBR2007).

RED COLLARED DOVE Streptopelia tranquebarica 火斑鸠 Huǒ bānjiū

Very scarce and probably declining passage migrant in spring (May) and autumn (August-September).

Highest count: three on 16 August 2014 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore) 

SPOTTED DOVE Spilopelia chinensis 珠颈斑鸠 Zhū jǐng bānjiū

Very common resident, including in urban parks.

Highest count: 102 on 19 December 2015 at Temple of Heaven Park (Meng Xiangxi)

Cuculidae 杜鹃科

LESSER COUCAL Centropus bengalensis 小鸦鹃 Xiǎo yā juān

Very rare overshooting summer visitor in June, July and August. Perhaps only five records, all since 2012. One photographed at the Olympic Forest Park on 27 June 2012 (webname Qing hua shou cang); one singing summer plumaged adult was seen well at Miyun Reservoir on the 27 July 2013 (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend); one photographed at NianTan park, Daxing on the 8 June 2014 (Zhong Zhenyu per XiaoPT); one at Miyun reservoir from the 25 July to the 7 August 2015 at least (Paul Holt); and one at Shahe Reservoir on 9 August 2020 (Wang Xiaobo).

CHESTNUT-WINGED CUCKOO Clamator coromandus 红翅凤头鹃 Hóng chì fèng tóu juān

Rare overshoot in late spring and early summer. All records between 22 May and 13 July. Recent records: one on 22 May 2016 at the Botanical Gardens (Jesper Hornskov); one on 25 June 2019 at Lingshan (Paul Holt and Steve Bale); and an exceptional three records in 2020 – one on 29 May at Nanhaizi (Zhong Zhenyu); one on 22-23 June in the Temple of Heaven Park (Li Zhaonan, Wang Xiaobo, amal amer et al.) and one on 13 July 2020 in the Botanical Gardens (Wang Xiaobo).

ASIAN KOEL Eudynamys scolopacea 噪鹃 Zào juān

Formerly scarce but now regular and increasing summer visitor from mid-May to September.

Highest counts: six on 5 June 2019 at XiangShan (Lena Wu); six on 20 May 2018 at Miaofengshan (Colm Moore)

LARGE HAWK-CUCKOO Hierococcyx sparverioides 鹰鹃 Yīng juān

Local summer breeder to the mountains (late April to late August); scarce in lowland Beijing on migration.

Highest count: 14 at Baihuashan on 10 June 2018 (Jan-Erik Nilsén)

NORTHERN (RUFOUS) HAWK-CUCKOO Hierococcyx hyperythrus 北鹰鹃 Běi yīng juān

Rare passage migrant (May to October). Around seven records, including one on 13 June 2015 at Huairou Reservoir (北斗夕子); one on 29 August 2018 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale); one on 17 May 2019 at Badaling Forest Park (Paul Holt); one 1cy bird in the Olympic Forest Park from 2-10 October 2020 at least (Gao Yuan).

ASIAN LESSER CUCKOO Cuculus poliocephalus 小杜鹃 Xiǎo dùjuān

Scarce summer visitor to the mountains. Best sites: Lingshan, Baihuashan, Miaofengshan, Laoyugou.

Highest count: four on 1 July 2020 at Miaofengshan (Zhen Niu); four on 11 June 2019 at Miaofengshan (Colm Moore).

INDIAN CUCKOO Cuculus micropterus 四声杜鹃 Sì shēng dùjuān

Common summer visitor May to mid-September. Most repots from May when newly arrived birds sing their four-note “one more bottle” frequently, often at night as well as during the day. Reports drop off rapidly from mid-June but some birds still sing into July. Few reports from August after adult birds have largely fallen silent, with juveniles reported into September, often being fed by the most common foster parents, Azure-winged Magpie.

Highest count: 20 on 3 June 2012 at the Wenyu River (Claus Holzapfel)

HIMALAYAN CUCKOO Cuculus optatus 中杜鹃 Běifāng zhōng dùjuān

Local summer breeder to the mountains (early May to end of June). Records scarce after end of June when stops singing.

Highest count: six on 2 June 2018 at Lingshan (Terry Townshend)

ORIENTAL CUCKOO Cuculus saturatus 北方中杜鹃 Zhōng dùjuān

Rare but probably much overlooked passage migrant in spring (mid-May and early June) and probably also in autumn (August and September). Very few documented records given non-vocalising birds are difficult to separate from Common Cuckoo and Himalayan Cuckoo in the field unless the underwing and underparts are seen very well. A notable pair of records in 2020: one was singing and sound-recorded near ID City in Shunyi District on 13 May 2020 (Terry Townshend); and another was singing and sound-recorded at Yuanmingyuan on the same day (Zhang Dongyuan).

COMMON CUCKOO Cuculus canorus 大杜鹃 Dà dùjuān

Common summer breeder and passage migrant from mid-May to September. In Beijing, where the breeding subspecies is bakeri, it is mainly a wetland species, parasitising Oriental Reed Warbler. Nominate canorus is a passage migrant on its way to breeding grounds in N China (Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning) and further north in Mongolia, Russia and Japan.

Highest count: 40 on 28 May 2006 at Shahe Reservoir, Changping (科目和夫人).

Strigidae 鸱鸮科

COLLARED SCOPS OWL Otus semitorques 领角鸮 Lǐng jiǎo xiāo

Rare and local summer visitor and presumed breeder. Xiaolongmen is the best site.

Highest count: three on 2 June 2018 at Xiaolongmen (Beijing Feiyu)

ORIENTAL SCOPS OWL Otus sunia 红角鸮 Hóng jué xiāo

Summer breeder April to September, most conspicuous when newly arrived and on migration in mid- to late April. At this time, it can often be heard in city locations such as the Olympic Forest Park, Peking University, Tsinghua University and the Botanical Gardens.

Highest count: six on 13 July 2013 at the Botanical Gardens (Yan Shen)

EURASIAN EAGLE-OWL Bubo bubo 雕鸮 Diāo xiāo

Local resident breeder, primarily in the mountains. Recorded at lower elevations in winter, often near reservoirs and in open areas. 

CHINESE TAWNY OWL Strix aluco 灰林鸮 Huī lín xiāo

Local resident breeder in the hills and mountains. Botanical Gardens, Badaling Forest Park, Lingshan and Xiaolongmen are some of the best sites. Most conspicuous when singing on clear, still nights from late February to May. 

URAL OWL Strix uralensis 长尾林鸮 Cháng wěilín xiāo

Probably now extirpated from Beijing with no records since 2007. One female collected at Shisanlng in 1870 (Swinhoe), with the specimen now in the British Natural History Museum, London (Cai, 1987); one reported from the Summer Palace on 15 March 2003 (CBR2003); one heard at Donglingshan, Mentougou on 31 May and 1 June 2003 (CBR2003); one report of a single bird heard on 2 May 2007 at Songshan (WQi, CBR2007).

ASIAN BARRED OWLET Glaucidium cuculoides 斑头鸺鹠 Bān tóu xiū liú

Very rare vagrant. No records of wild birds in the field. However, an odd series of records from October 2006 to March 2008, during which the Beijing Raptor Rescue Center received four individuals: one on 31 October 2006 from Haidian District; one on 30 January 2007 (district of origin unknown); one on 7 March 2008 from Fengtai District; and one on 17 March 2008 from Xicheng District (Chinese Journal of Zoology, 2008).

LITTLE OWL Athene noctua 纵纹腹小鸮 Zòng wén fù xiǎo xiāo

Local resident breeder. Most often seen in rural areas but can be present in relatively urban areas, for example Shunyi.

Highest count: ten associating together on 17 April 2004 at Bahe Wetland, Chaoyang (LHT In CBR2004).

NORTHERN BOOBOOK Ninox japonica 鹰鸮 Yīng xiāo

Scarce summer breeder (May to August). The Summer Palace and Peking University are the most reliable sites. Also recorded from Miaofengshan and Temple of Heaven Park. 

LONG-EARED OWL Asio otus 长耳鸮 Cháng ěr xiāo

Local winter visitor and passage migrant (October to April). Declining. One exceptional record on 27 August 2014 at Temple of Heaven Park (Lisiqi-bird).

Highest count: 21 on 10 December 2006 at Temple of Heaven Park (LDJ, CBR2006)

SHORT-EARED OWL Asio flammeus 短耳鸮 Duǎn ěr xiāo

Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant (October to April).

Highest count: eight on 16 January 2016 at Miyun Reservoir (Mint Ren)

Caprimulgidae 夜鹰科

GREY NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus jotaka 普通夜鹰 Pǔtōng yè yīng

Local summer breeder, primarily in the mountains, and a passage migrant, April to September. Sometimes recorded in city parks on passage. 

Highest count: ten on 3 July 2015 at Songshan (朔风)

Apodidae 雨燕科

HIMALAYAN SWIFTLET Aerodramus brevirostris 短嘴金丝燕 Duǎn-zuǐ jīn-sī-yàn

Very rare. Only two records: one on 14 September 2018 at Yeyahu (Paul Holt); and one on 26 May 2019 after heavy rain at the ‘Shunyi patch’ near the International Exhibition Center (Terry Townshend).

WHITE-THROATED NEEDLETAIL Hirundapus caudacutus 白喉针尾雨燕 Báihóu zhēn wěi yǔyàn

Scarce passage migrant in spring (April-May) and autumn (late August and September). The raptor watchpoint at Baiwangshan is the most reliable site.

Highest count: 35 on 19 September 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Terry Townshend, Paul Holt et al.)

COMMON ‘BEIJING’ SWIFT Apus apus pekinensis 普通楼燕 Pǔtōng lóu yàn

Common summer breeder from April, with most leaving by the end of July to spend the northern winter in southern Africa. Some records in August and stragglers into September. City centre old buildings such as Zhengyangmen, Qianmen, Yonghegong and Temple of Heaven are some of the best sites with colonies in excess of 1,000 birds; gatherings at dawn and dusk can be spectacular.

Highest count: 2,000 on 3 June 2020 at Baiwangshan (健 宋).

PACIFIC SWIFT Apus pacificus 白腰雨燕 Bái yāo yǔyàn

A scarce passage migrant in spring (April and May) and autumn (August and early September). A few pairs breed on cliffs in Mentougou District, for example at Lingshan and Yanhecheng.

Highest count: 350 on 23 April 2011 at Ma Chang (Terry Townshend).

Coraciidae 佛法僧科

EUROPEAN ROLLER Coracias garrulus 蓝胸佛法僧 Lán xiōng fó-fǎ-sēng

Very rare vagrant. Only one record: 28 June 2007 caught in mist nets at Beijing Airport (Zhao Xinru).

DOLLARBIRD Eurystomus orientalis 三宝鸟 Sānbǎo niǎo

Rare summer visitor and passage migrant (May to October). Has bred. Best sites are the Botanical Gardens and Yuanmingyuan.

Highest count: four on 22 July 2017 at Yuanmingyuan (_星畔_).

Alcedinidae 翠鸟科

WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER Halcyon smyrnensis 白胸翡翠 Bái xiōng fěicuì

Very rare vagrant. No recent records.

BLACK-CAPPED KINGFISHER Halcyon pileata 蓝翡翠 Lán fěicuì

Scarce summer breeder and passage migrant (May to September, exceptionally October)

Highest count: nine on 11 June 2005 at the Yongdinghe Valley (ZYong via CBR2005)

COMMON KINGFISHER Alcedo atthis 普通翠鸟 Pǔtōng cuì niǎo

Very common summer breeder and passage migrant, and an uncommon winter visitor.

Highest counts: ten on 28 April 2018 at Ma Chang (Zhen Niu); ten on 2 April 2018 at Yeyahu (北京飞羽2018); ten on 18 April 2015 at Shahe Reservoir (七彩文鸟, Lusen)

CRESTED KINGFISHER Megaceryle lugubris 冠鱼狗 Guān yú gǒu

Uncommon and local resident, reported more frequently in winter. Breeds along rivers, primarily in the mountains, such as the Bai River, but also along the Wenyu River in Chaoyang/Shunyi Districts and the Juma River in Fangshan District.

Highest counts: five (a pair with three fledged young) on 17 June 2020 at the Wenyu River (Terry Townshend); four on 4 January 2020 at Shidu (Tian Li); four on 1 January 2019 at Shidu (SleeyBirder); four on 8 June 2018 at Chinese Academy of Sciences Yanqi Campus, Huairou (北京飞羽2018)

PIED KINGFISHER Ceryle rudis 斑鱼狗 Bān yú gǒu

Rare vagrant. Possibly only eight records.  Recent records include: one photographed on 29 October 2005 at Shahe Reservoir (ZLei in CBR2005); one on 5 February 2006 at the Wenyu River (CW in CBR 2006); one 18-21 October 2009 at Yeyahu (韩冬, 沈成, 及北大附中观鸟小组成员 via BirdTalker); one in October 2010 at Shahe Reservoir (?); one on 29 March 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Terry Townshend and Beijing Hikers); one on 25 August 2018 at Miyun Reservoir (XiaoPT, Luo Qingqing et al.); one on 28 August 2018 at Yeyahu (Guan Xueyan et al..); one on 7 July 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (黄非红).

Upupidae 戴胜科 

EURASIAN HOOPOE Upupa epops 戴胜 Dài shèng

Common breeder, passage migrant and winter visitor in lower numbers. Can often be seen in parks.

Highest count: 20 on 2 December 2018 at the DaShi River, Fangshan District (XiaoPT)

Picidae 啄木鸟科

EURASIAN WRYNECK Jynx torquilla 蚁鴷 Yǐ liè

Uncommon passage migrant in spring (mid-April to May) and autumn (primarily August to October, with a the peak in late August and early September). Exceptionally recorded in June, July and November). 

RUFOUS-BELLIED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos hyperythrus 棕腹啄木鸟 Zōng fù zhuómùniǎo

Uncommon passage migrant in spring (April and May) and autumn (late August to October). Rare in winter.

Highest counts: four on 11 September 2020 at Agricultural Exhibition Center Park (via Zhang Xiaoling); four on 7 September 2013 at Tsinghua University (XiaoPT); four on 10 September 2013 in the UK Ambassador’s garden (Terry Townshend)

JAPANESE PYGMY WOODPECKER Dendrocopos kizuki 小星头啄木鸟 Xiǎo xīng tóu zhuómùniǎo

Very rare, despite being resident at Wulingshan, just over the border in Hebei Province. Five summer records (in June and July) from the Beijing side of Wulingshan and only two records away from that site: one on 18 January 2018 at the nearby Huangyan River, Miyun County; and one on 3 September 2015 at Lingshan (Paul Holt).

GREY-CAPPED PYGMY WOODPECKER Dendrocopos canicapillus 星头啄木鸟 Xīng tóu zhuómùniǎo

Common resident in urban and rural areas.

Highest count: 12 on 23 November 2019 at the Olympic Forest Park (Li Zhaonan)

LESSER-SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos minor 小斑啄木鸟 Xiǎo bān zhuómùniǎo

Very rare. Only one record: on 6 November 2014 at Lingshan (Terry Townshend).

WHITE-BACKED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos leucotos 白背啄木鸟 Bái bèi zhuómùniǎo

Rare and local resident breeder. Best sites Lingshan, Xiaolongmen and the Beijing part of Wulingshan (most of Wulingshan Scenic Area is in Hebei). No documented records from city parks.

GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER Dendrocopos major 大斑啄木鸟 Dà bān zhuómùniǎo

Very common resident in urban and rural areas.

Highest count: 21 on 2 February 2019 in Yuanmingyuan Park (Wang Yishan)

BLACK WOODPECKER Dryocopus martius 黑啄木鸟 Hēi zhuómùniǎo

Historical records from the “Eastern Tombs”, a forest that was felled during the early 20th century. Almost certainly now not present in Beijing.

GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER Picus canus 灰头绿啄木鸟 Huī tóu lǜ zhuómùniǎo

Very common resident in urban and rural areas.

Highest count: 20 on 15 March 2018 at Peking University (Liu Zongzhuang)

Campephagidae 鹃鵙科

BLACK-WINGED CUCKOOSHRIKE Coracina melaschistos 暗灰鹃鵙 Àn huī juān jú

Rare but seemingly increasing summer visitor. Has bred in Yanqing, including at Yeyahu in 2019 (Fang Chun). Other recent records include one in ‘early September’ 2018 in Olympic Forest Park (via XiaoPT), one on 11-14 September 2019 at least at Beijing Normal University (_星畔_ et al.); one on 23 April 2020 at Liangshui He (DaHe); one on 27 May to 1 June 2020 at least at Yuanmingyuan (Wang Xiaobo et al.); one on 27 May 2020 at Temple of Heaven Park; one on 1-2 June 2020 at the Wenyu River (Terry Townshend).

SWINHOE’S MINIVET Pericrocotus cantonensis 小灰山椒鸟 Xiǎo huī shānjiāo niǎo

Rare. Has probably bred. First record at Summer Palace on 11 June 2015 (Jesper Hornskov). This was followed by one at Gubeikou on 1 August 2015 (Qingyu Ge), one at Peking University campus on 29 April 2016 (Chengdu Wei and Chen Xi’er via Huang Hanchen). Since then, has likely bred at Huairou Reservoir (2017) and at Gubeikou (2017, 2018). Only one bird recorded at Gubeikou in June 2019 so it remains to be seen whether this species has permanently colonised Beijing.

Highest count: ten on 24 June 2018 at Gubeikou (Li Zhaonan).

ASHY MINIVET Pericrocotus divaricatus 灰山椒鸟 Huī shānjiāo niǎo

Scarce passage migrant in spring (April and May) and autumn (late August to early October) 

Highest count: 18 on 5 October 2016 at Yeyahu (Paul Holt)

LONG-TAILED MINIVET Pericrocotus ethologus 长尾山椒鸟 Cháng wěi shānjiāo niǎo

Scarce and local breeder in the mountains and recorded on passage in lowland Beijing (April and May and September to November, peaking in early October).

Highest count: 100 on 4 October 2015 at Shisanling (Colm Moore)

Laniidae 伯劳科

TIGER SHRIKE Lanius tigrinus 虎纹伯劳 Hǔ wén bóláo

Rare passage migrant in spring (late May and early June) and autumn (late August). 

BULL-HEADED SHRIKE Lanius bucephalus 牛头伯劳 Niútóu bóláo

Rare and local breeder in the mountains and passage migrant in spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October). Very rare in winter.

Highest count: six on 25 July 2019 at Laoyugou (XiaoPT)

BROWN SHRIKE Lanius cristatus 红尾伯劳 Hóng wěi bóláo

Local breeder and common passage migrant in spring (peaking in May) and autumn (mid-Aug-Sep, peaking in late August). Stragglers into October.

Highest count: 28 on 26 August 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Terry Townshend and Paul Holt)

LONG-TAILED SHRIKE Lanius schach 棕背伯劳 Zōng bèi bóláo

Uncommon but increasing resident, passage migrant and possible breeder. Before 2013 it was very rare, with only around five records. However, since 2013 there has been a significant increase in records with birds recorded in all months at many sites in the capital.

Highest count: six at Shahe on 17 September 2016 (Colm Moore)

GREY-BACKED SHRIKE Lanius tephronotus 灰背伯劳 Huī-bèi bóláo

Very rare. Only one record: one photographed on 11 July 2020 by Ren Lipeng et al. at Lingshan. See here.

NORTHERN GREY SHRIKE Lanius excubitor sibiricus 灰伯劳 Huī bóláo

Rare but annual winter visitor (late October to March). Lingshan is the most reliable site. 

CHINESE GREY SHRIKE Lanius s. sphenocercus 楔尾伯劳 Xiē wěi bóláo

Common resident, passage migrant, winter visitor and a scarce breeder.

Highest count: Seven on 8 April 2017 at Yeyahu (白尾 海雕)

Oriolidae 黄鹂科

BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE Oriolus chinensis 黑枕黄鹂 Hēi zhěn huánglí

Fairly common passage migrant in spring (May and June) and autumn (August and September) and scarce breeder.

Highest count: ten on 4 August 2018 at Yanqing (北京飞羽2018).

Dicruridae 卷尾科

BLACK DRONGO Dicrurus macrocercus 黑卷尾 Hēi juàn wěi

Common passage migrant and local breeder (May to September)

Highest count: 200 on 21 August 2005 at Wild Duck Lake (LHT)

ASHY DRONGO Dicrurus leucophaeus 灰卷尾 Huī juàn wěi

Very rare. One photographed well on 18 May 2020 at Yuanmingyuan (amal amer). Apparently found the day before by an ‘unknown birder’.

HAIR-CRESTED DRONGO Dicrurus hottentottus 发冠卷尾 Fā guān juàn wěi

Scarce and local summer breeder in the mountains (mid-May to September) and a scarce/rare passage migrant in lowland Beijing. Occasional stragglers in October, November and even December.

Highest count: eight on 19 May 1988 at Mutianyu Great Wall (Peter Vickery)

Monarchidae 王鹟科

ASIAN PARADISE FLYCATCHER Terpsiphone paradisi 寿带 Shòu dài

Scarce and local breeder and passage migrant in spring (late May to June) and autumn (late August and September). 

Corvidae 鸦科

EURASIAN JAY Garrulus glandarius 松鸦 Sōng yā

Uncommon resident, mostly in the mountains and also in some of the larger parks such as Botanical Gardens. Occasional autumnal dispersals.

Highest counts: 70+ flying west on 22 September 2020 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Colm Moore); 20 on 6 December 2015 at Xiaolongmen (hoshi); 20 on 18 October 2013 in the Botanical Gardens (Lin Fangyee)

AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE Cyanopica cyanus 灰喜鹊 Huī xǐquè

Abundant resident in urban and rural areas. Gregarious and noisy.

Highest count: 280 on 24 December 2006 at Yuanmingyuan (JYP, CBR2006)

RED-BILLED BLUE MAGPIE Urocissa erythrorhyncha 红嘴蓝鹊 Hóng zuǐ lán què

Common resident in the mountains and in the larger parks such as Yuanmingyuan, Botanical Gardens and Olympic Forest Park.

Highest count: 40 on 25 December 2004 at Badachu (YZD in CBR2004)

ORIENTAL MAGPIE Pica serica 喜鹊 Xǐquè

Abundant resident in urban and rural areas.

Highest count: 320 at a roost on the evening of 27 November 2019 at Ma Chang (Terry Townshend)

SPOTTED NUTCRACKER Nucifraga caryocatactes 星鸦 Xīng yā

Uncommon resident. Best sites are the mountains in Mentougou District (Lingshan, Baihuashan and Miaofengshan) but also recorded in the Botanical Gardens. Very rare in lowland Beijing.  One on 17 September 2018 in Ritan Park was exceptional (Gong Huijun).

Highest count: eight at Baihuashan on 11 July 2015 (白尾 海雕)

RED-BILLED CHOUGH Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax 红嘴山鸦 Hóng zuǐ shān yā

Fairly common resident in the mountains in the north and west of Beijing. Rare in lowland Beijing.

Highest count: 300 on 13 January 2018 at the Youzhou Valley (Li Zhaonan)

WESTERN JACKDAW Corvus monedula 寒鸦 Hán-yā

Very rare vagrant. Only one record: 13 April 2020 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Colm Moore)

DAURIAN JACKDAW Coloeus dauuricus 达乌里寒鸦 Dá wū lǐ hán yā

Common winter visitor and passage migrant (predominantly October to April). Rare outside this window. 

Highest count: 13,000 on 14 October 2007 at Tongzhou, all between 1700-1745 (Paul Holt)

ROOK Corvus frugilegus 秃鼻乌鸦 Tū bí wūyā

Predominantly an uncommon passage migrant in spring (peaking late March and early April) and autumn (October and early November). Scarce in winter and rare from May to August.

Highest counts: 1,200 on 23 March 2019 at Laiguangying, Chaoyang District (金凤羽龙); 1,100 at Shahe Reservoir on 27 March 2016 (Colm Moore)

CARRION CROW Corvus corone 小嘴乌鸦 Xiǎo zuǐ wūyā

Common resident with numbers supplemented by migrants in winter. Large roosts in the university district of Haidain in winter.

Highest count: 3,500 on 5 January 2006 at Gongzhufen and Yongding Road, western Chang An Street (LY et al., CBR2006)

HOODED CROW Corvus cornix 冠小嘴乌鸦 Guān xiǎo zuǐ wūyā

Very rare. One record: one seen in flight on 29 October 2016 close to Beijing Capital International Airport (Jesper Hornskov)

COLLARED CROW Corvus torquatus 白颈鸦 Bái jǐng yā

Rare vagrant, with most records in Spring (April and May)

LARGE-BILLED CROW Corvus macrorhynchos 大嘴乌鸦 Dà zuǐ wūyā

Common resident in both rural and urban Beijing. The default crow in the mountains.

Highest count: 500 on 26 October 2007 at Temple of Heaven Park (HX, CBR2007)

Bombycillidae 太平鸟科

BOHEMIAN WAXWING Bombycilla garrulus 太平鸟 Tàipíngniǎo

Winter visitor in varying numbers from November to April, occasionally into May. Best sites are usually the larger parks such as Botanical Gardens, Agricultural Exhibition Center, Temple of Heaven and Yuanmingyuan. Sometimes in mixed flocks with Japanese Waxwings.

Highest counts: 150 on 7 April 2020 at Temple of Heaven Park (大牙齿 458); 120 on 14 February 2018 at Lingshan (Terry Townshend); 100 on 3 April 2020 at Temple of Heaven Park (XiaoPT)

JAPANESE WAXWING Bombycilla japonica 小太平鸟 Xiǎo tàipíngniǎo

Winter visitor in varying numbers from November to April, occasionally into May. Best sites are usually the larger parks such as Botanical Gardens, Agricultural Exhibition Center, Temple of Heaven and Yuanmingyuan. Sometimes in mixed flocks with Bohemian Waxwings.

Highest count: 260 on 23 February 2020 near Ming Tombs Reservoir (Steve Bale and Terry Townshend).

Stenostiridae 仙莺科

GREY-HEADED CANARY FLYCATCHER Culicicapa ceylonensis 方尾鹟 Fāng wěi wēng

Very rare overshooting spring migrant. At least two records. [early records?]. There was a singing bird on 22 May 2016 at Lingshan (Susanne Åkesson et al.).

Paridae 山雀科

COAL TIT Periparus ater 煤山雀 Méi shānquè

Uncommon resident in the mountains and larger parks of lowland Beijing.

Highest counts: 20 on 29 September 2018 at Baihuashan (Ryan Fuller); 20 on 14-15 July 2006 at Baicaopan (Zyu), CBR2006)

YELLOW-BELLIED TIT Periparus venustulus 黄腹山雀 Huáng fù shānquè

Common passage migrant (peaking in April and October) across the city, fairly common but local breeder, primarily in the mountains, and increasingly recorded in winter since the first record in that season on 28 January 1997 at Baiwangshan (Jesper Hornskov). Increasing.

Highest count: 220+ on 16 October 2016 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore)

VARIED TIT Poecile varius 杂色山雀 Zá sè shānquè

Very rare vagrant. Just four records, all from the 2012-2013 winter and part of an irruption that saw birds along the east coast of China, including Shandong, Rudong in Jiangsu (20 on 13 October), Shanghai and Hong Kong. First record of two migrating west along the ridge above the Botanical Gardens on 4 October 2012 (Jesper Hornskov).  Then one from 7 October to 5 November 2012 at least in the Botanical Gardens (Jesper Hornskov et al.); one on 13 January 2013 at Tongzhou Grand Canal Forest Park (via 大好); and one on 1 February 2013 at the Nirvana Hotel, Daoxianghu, NW Beijing (Paul Holt, Jennifer Leung and Terry Townshend), apparently present for “around 15 days” beforehand.

MARSH TIT Poecile palustris 沼泽山雀 Zhǎozé shānquè

Very common resident breeder. The default ‘black-capped’ tit in lowland Beijing and can be found up to [1,000m] in the mountains.

Highest counts: 35 on 17 October 2004 at Old Summer Palace (FON in CBR2004); 30 on 30 December 2019 at Peking University (Liu Zongzhuang)

WILLOW TIT Poecile montana 褐头山雀 Hè tóu shānquè

Common resident breeder above 500m elevation. Rare in lowland Beijing. Overlaps with Marsh Tit at some mountain sites such as Lingshan, Baihuashan and Miaofengshan.

Highest count: 50 on 3 June 2018 at Lingshan (XiaoPT)

NORTHERN GREAT TIT Parus major 大山雀 Dà shānquè

Very rare vagrant. Only one record: one on 31 March 2019 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale).

JAPANESE TIT Parus minor 大山雀 Dà shānquè

Common resident in lowland Beijing and mountainous areas alike.

51 on 10 November 2018 in the Botanical Gardens (BeijingFeiyu2018)

Remizidae 攀雀科

CHINESE PENDULINE TIT Remiz consobrinus 中华攀雀 Zhōnghuá pān què

Uncommon passage migrant (peaking April and May and again in September and October), local breeder and winter visitor to wetlands. Breeds at Yeyahu, Miyun Reservoir and probably other wetland sites.

Highest count: 200 on 28 January 2020 at Yeyahu (Zhao Xiaojian)

Panuridae 文须雀科

BEARDED REEDLING Panurus biarmicus 文须雀 Wén xū què

Formerly rare winter visitor; now an uncommon, but increasing, resident breeder, passage migrant and winter visitor to wetland sites. The number of reports, and the number of sites from which it has been reported, have increased markedly in the last ten years.

Highest count: 75 on 21 November 2019 at Yeyahu (Thomas Brooks)

Alaudidae 百灵科

MONGOLIAN LARK Melanocorypha mongolica 蒙古百灵 Ménggǔ bǎilíng

Annual but erratic and irruptive passage migrant and local winter visitor, usually from mid- October to early April.

Highest count: 1,477 flew south on 15 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt); 500 on 23 January 2010 at Yongdinghe Daqiao (aiyuanyang, wanggangge and 及北京鸟会成员十余人 via BirdTalker).

SYKE’S SHORT-TOED LARK Calandrella dukhunensis 大短趾百灵 Dà duǎn zhǐ bǎilíng

Scarce passage migrant in spring (late March to April) and autumn (late August to October), sometimes in large flocks.

Highest count; 1,775 at Wild Duck Lake on 17 April 2006 (Jesper Hornskov)

ASIAN SHORT-TOED LARK Calandrella cheleensis 亚洲短趾百灵 (Yàzhōu) duǎn zhǐ bǎilíng

Scarce and local breeder, uncommon passage migrant in spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) and locally common winter visitor. Declining.

Highest count: 1,000 on 25 November 2005 at Wild Duck (Bjorn Andersson in CBR2005)

CRESTED LARK Galerida cristata 凤头百灵 Fèng tóu bǎilíng

Scarce and local resident at a few sites scattered across the municipality. Dashihe is probably the most reliable site. Occasionally seen away from breeding sites. Described as a “common resident” by Cai Qikang in 1987, this species has declined significantly in the last 30 years.

Highest counts: 20 on 26 January 2004 at Ming Tombs Reservoir, Changping (WQ in CBR2004); ten on 26 February 2006 at Shisanling Reservoir (WJ, CBR2006); ten on 3 February 1985 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Peter Kennerley)

EURASIAN SKYLARK Alauda arvensis 云雀 Yúnquè

Rare breeder, very common passage migrant, peaking in early April and early October, and winter visitor. Suspected breeding at Lingshan in 2015 (c2000m asl) and since.

Highest counts: 25,000 were counted on 18 October 2000 passing Shangjinshan, Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt); 2,265 on 9 October 2016 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt).

HORNED LARK Eremophila alpestris 角百灵 Jiǎo bǎilíng

Passage migrant and winter visitor in varying numbers, early October to late March, with most reports coming in November and December. The vast majority are of the brandti subspecies (According to Birds of the Western Palearctic [Vol 5] the distribution of brandti is ‘steppes of lower Volga river and northern Transcaspia, E through plains of Kazakhstan to N Mongolia and W Manchuria; Altai, Tarbagatay, and E Tian Shan); it is a ‘partial migrant. The more northerly breeding, yellow-faced, flava subspecies is very rare: four on 18 December 2012 at Ma Chang (Jesper Hornskov and Terry Townshend);

Highest count: 8,824 flew south on 15 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt). 

Pycnonotidae 鹎科

COLLARED FINCHBILL Spizixos semitorques 领雀嘴鹎 Lǐng què zuǐ bēi

A small resident population in and around the Botanical Gardens probably originates from escapes or deliberate releases. Occasional birds recorded elsewhere but unclear whether this species has ever occurred in a truly wild state.

Highest count: 21 on 25 November 2018 at the Botanical Gardens (Xue Boning)

RED-WHISKERED BULBUL Pycnonotus jocosus 红耳鹎 Hóng ěr bēi

Escapes or deliberate releases occasionally reported but, as a sedentary species with a natural range in China limited to the south, it is very unlikely to have occurred in a wild state. Unlike Collared Finchbill, no self-sustaining population.

LIGHT-VENTED BULBUL Pycnonotus sinensis 白头鹎 Báitóu bēi

Very common resident breeder and passage migrant, easily visible in most parks and any green spaces. Increasing. Groups recorded on passage in spring (late March-April) and autumn (October).

Highest count: 240 on 17 October 2019 at Tongzhou – Dayunhe Forest Park (Paul Holt)

BROWN-EARED BULBUL Microscelis amaurotis 栗耳短脚鹎 Lì ěr duǎn jiǎo bēi

Rare winter vagrant (late October to January). Cai (1987) described it as “accidental in winter”. One was collected on 7 November 1952 at Beijing “South Gate” (Cai, 1987). More recent records include: one on 5 May 2005 at Banbidian Forest Park (CLiang); one on 25 December 2005 at the Botanical Gardens (SM, CBR2005); one on 9 February 2006 at the Botanical Gardens (ZLei, CBR2006); at least six were recorded in the winter of 2014-2015, beginning with three on 31 October 2014 at Yuanmingyuan Park with birds also recorded at Jingshan Park and the Olympic Forest Park from November 2014 to January 2015. In late November 2017-2018, up to four were recorded at sites including Beihai Park and Olympic Forest Park, remaining until 25 January 2018 at least. On 19 November 2019 three were recorded at Nanhaizi with up to eight birds there until January 2020 at least.

Highest count: eight on 1 and 8 December 2019 at Nanhaizi (XiaoPT and Liu Aitao).

Hirundinidae 燕科

SAND MARTIN Riparia riparia 崖沙燕 Yá shā yàn

A scarce passage migrant in spring (late March to early June) and autumn (August to September).

Highest counts: 550 martins on 14 May 2017 at Yeyahu were either Sand Martins or Pale Martins. The calls of these birds were described as a little ‘drier and harsher’ than typical Sand Martin (Terry Townshend); 200 on 8 May 2005 at Shahe Reservoir (ZYQ, CBR2005)

PALE MARTIN Riparia diluta 淡色沙燕 Dàn sè shā yàn

Very rare, but possibly overlooked, passage migrant. At least one on 7 May 2016 at Shahe (Colm Moore).

STREAK-THROATED SWALLOW Petrochelidon fluvicola 彩石燕 Cǎi shíyàn

Very rare vagrant. Only one record: one on 4 May 2014 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore). Not only a first for Beijing but a first for China! See here.

BARN SWALLOW Hirundo rustica 家燕 Jiāyàn

Very common summer breeder and passage migrant (March to October). Occasional November to February.

Highest count: 800 on 11 September 2015 at the Olympic Forest Park (Zhao Min)

EURASIAN CRAG MARTIN Ptyonoprogne rupestris 岩燕 Yányàn

Scarce and local breeder, passage migrant and occasional winter visitor, primarily to mountain gorges and river valleys in the north and west of Beijing. Recorded in all months. Has bred under highway flyovers but most records from gorges. Shidu in Fangshan District is one of the most reliable sites, with a few often seen in winter. Migrants away from traditional sites are scarce.

Highest counts: 25 on 11 June 2005 at Shidu (ZYong, CBR2005); 25 on 30 October 2004 at the Juma River (LHY in CBR2004)

NORTHERN HOUSE MARTIN Delichon urbicum 白腹毛脚燕 Bái fù máo jiǎo yàn

Rare passage migrant with most records in late April and just two autumn records (September). Recent records include: one on 20 April 2016 at the Summer Palace (Jesper Hornskov); one was photographed in a colony of Asian House Martins at Lingshan on 24 July 2016 (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend); one on 28 April 2017 at Shisanling (Colm Moore and Zhao Qi); one on 22 April 2018 at Shisanling (Colm Moore); one in the early morning (0600-0630) of 23 April 2020 at Shahe Reservoir (DaHao) followed by one, probably the same, at the Wenyu River from 0820-0908 the same morning (Steve Bale); one on 10 May 2020 at HuoYing (Wang Xiaobo); and five on 13 September 2020 at Baiwangshan (鹪鹩 via birdreport.cn).

Highest count: 50 on 9 September 2006 at Baiwangshan (WJ, CBR2006);

ASIAN HOUSE MARTIN Delichon dasypus 烟腹毛脚燕 Yān fù máo jiǎo yàn

A scarce and local breeder in the mountains and passage migrant (April to September). Rare passage migrant in lowland Beijing.

Highest count: 30 on 23 May 1996 at Ming Tombs (Johan Fagefors)

RED-RUMPED SWALLOW Cecropis daurica 金腰燕 Jīn yāo yàn

Common summer breeder and passage migrant (late March to early October).

Highest counts: 200 on 15 May 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (Steve Bale); 200 on 12 September 2004 at Miyun Reservoir (PH in CBR2004).

Cettiidae.树莺科

RUFOUS-FACED WARBLER Abroscopus albogularis 棕脸鹟莺 Zōng-liǎn wēng-yīng

Very rare vagrant. Two records in spring 2020. One in the “first week of April” in Haidian District and a second on 16 April 2020 at the Temple of Heaven Park (via Wang Xue).

MANCHURIAN BUSH WARBLER Cettia canturians 远东树莺 Yuǎndōng shù yīng

Locally common breeder in the mountains and occasional passage migrant in lowland Beijing (late March to October). Recorded in all months but rare in winter (November to February).

Highest count: 25 on 11 June 2019 at Laoyugou (XiaoPT)

BROWNISH-FLANKED BUSH WARBLER Horornis fortipes 强脚树莺 Qiáng-jiǎo shù-yīng

Rare overshooting summer migrant. Since the first documented record on 12 June 2016 at Baihuashan (Jan-Erik Nilsén), there have been several reports from multiple sites, including Lingshan, Xiaolongmen, Yudushan and Laoyugou. Reported from Baihuashan for three consecutive summers (2016-2018). An increase in reports can be expected due to more observer coverage and greater awareness of the song of this skulky species, possibly combined with a genuine northerly range expansion but beware confusion with Manchurian Bush Warbler. 

ASIAN STUBTAIL Urosphena squameiceps 鳞头树莺 Lín tóu shù yīng

Locally common breeder in the mountains around Beijing and a scarce passage migrant to lowland Beijing (April to early October).

Highest count: 15 on 31 May at Xiaolongmen (LY, CBR2006)

Aegithalidae 长尾山雀科

NORTHERN LONG-TAILED TIT Aegithalos caudatus 北长尾山雀 Běi cháng wěi shān què

Rare winter vagrant (October to February). Reported from Olympic Forest Park, Botanical Gardens and the Wenyu River. Recent records include: one on 9 November 2007 in the Temple of Heaven Park (CW, CBR2007); one on 31 December 2014 in the Olympic Forest Park (Jesper Hornskov); one at the same site on 3 December 2015 (Paul Holt and Wang Qingyu) and presumably the same on 7 and 21 February 2016 at the same site (Kevin Cheng and Fishing Cat); c15 at the Wenyu River on 11 October 2018 (Steve Bale); 1 at Laoyugou on 9 November 2019 (Wang Xiaobo, XiaoPT).

SILVER-THROATED TIT Aegithalos glaucogularis 银喉长尾山雀 Yín hóu cháng wěi shān què

Common resident breeder and short-distance migrant in urban and rural Beijing.

Highest count: 100 on 15 October 2020 at Yeyahu (Hu Ruocheng); 52 on 21 November 2019 at Yeyahu (Thomas Brooks)

BLACK-THROATED TIT Aegithalos concinnus 红头长尾山雀 Hóngtóu cháng wěi shān què

Rare. Thought to be sedentary and with a distribution largely south of the Yellow River, the occasional records in Beijing may relate to escapes and/or deliberate releases or could be symptomatic of a northerly range expansion? Recent records: one on 3 January 2018 at Tsinghua University; and at least one in the grounds of the Beijing Zoo 9-15 January 2019 at least.

Phylloscopidae 柳莺科

(SIBERIAN) CHIFFCHAFF Phylloscopus collybita tristis 叽喳柳莺 Jī chā liǔ yīng

Very rare vagrant. Five records: one reported from Baiwangshan in February 2008 (no further details); one from 6-25 January 2014 at least in the Olympic Forest Park (found by photographers and identified by Li Xiaomai); one on 29 September 2016 at Yeyahu (Paul Holt); one on 10 November 2018 at Yeyahu (Lou Fangzhou); and one from 24 January to 1 February 2020 at least at the eastern end of Shahe Reservoir (Dahe@Beijing et al.).

WOOD WARBLER Phylloscopus sibilatrix 林柳莺 Lín liǔ-yīng

Very rare vagrant. Only one record: 14 September 2018 at Yeyahu (Paul Holt)

DUSKY WARBLER Phylloscopus fuscatus 褐柳莺 Hè liǔ yīng

Common passage migrant in spring (April to early June) and autumn (late August to late October) in any area of scrub or cover. Double figure counts not unusual. Rare in winter.

Highest count: 30 on 14 September 2019 at Laoyugou (XiaoPT)

BUFF-THROATED WARBLER Phylloscopus subaffiinis 棕腹柳莺 Zōng fù liǔ yīng

Very rare. Only one record: one on 28 September 2014 found in an illegal mist net at the Wenyu River (found by Steve Bale and identified by Per Alström from photos).

YELLOW-STREAKED WARBLER Phylloscopus armandii 棕眉柳莺 Zōng méi liǔ yīng

Common breeder in the mountains and scarce passage migrant in lowland Beijing (May to early October). Possibly overlooked due to difficulty in separating non-calling birds from Radde’s Warbler.

Highest count: 35 on 11 June 2019 at Laoyugou (XiaoPT)

RADDE’S WARBLER Phylloscopus schwarzi 巨嘴柳莺 Jù zuǐ liǔ yīng

Passage migrant in spring (mid- to late April to early June) and in autumn (late August to early October). Can be found in scrubby areas in urban and rural areas alike.

Highest count: 25 on 17 May 2013 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale)

ASHY-THROATED WARBLER Phylloscopus maculipennis 灰喉柳莺 Huī-hóu liǔ-yīng

Very rare vagrant. Only one record: one on 10 May 2019 at Baihuashan (He Wenbo). See here

CHINESE LEAF WARBLER Phylloscopus yunnanensis 云南柳莺 Yúnnán liǔ yīng

Locally common breeder in the mountains and a scarce passage migrant in lowland Beijing (April to October).

Highest count: 50 on 16 May 2018 at Lingshan (Max Breckenridge)

PALLAS’S LEAF WARBLER Phylloscopus proregulus 黄腰柳莺 Huáng yāo liǔ yīng

Common passage migrant in spring (peaking April and early May) and autumn (peaking late September to early November) and uncommon winter visitor. Rare in June, July and August.

Highest count: 100 on 17 April 2013 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale)

YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER Phylloscopus inornatus 黄眉柳莺 Huángméiliǔ yīng

Passage migrant in spring (April and May, peaking late April) and autumn (late August to October, peaking in the second half of September). Rare in late June, July and early August and from December to February.

Highest count: 50 on 8 September 2018 at the Olympic Forest Park (XiaoPT)

HUME’S LEAF WARBLER Phylloscopus humei mandellii 淡眉柳莺 Dàn méi liǔ yīng

Local breeder in the mountains and scarce, but possibly overlooked, passage migrant in lowland Beijing (mid-April to September).

Highest count: 30 on 20 May 2006 at Baicaopan (LY, CBR2006)

ARCTIC WARBLER Phylloscopus borealis 极北柳莺 Jí běi liǔ yīng

Passage migrant in spring (late April to early June, peaking in mid-May) and autumn (late August to September, peaking in early September). Rare in October.

Highest count: 40 on 19 May 2008 at the Botanical Gardens (Richard Dunn)

GREENISH WARBLER Phylloscopus trochiloides 暗绿柳莺 Àn lǜ liǔ yīng

A small breeding population of suspected obscuratus Greenish Warblers was found on 17 June 2016 at Lingshan, Mentougou District, in an area just below the peak on the border with Hebei Provice (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend). The birds were sound-recorded but there remains uncertainty as to the identification.

TWO-BARRED WARBLER Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus 双斑绿柳莺 Shuāng bān lǜ liǔ yīng

Passage migrant in spring (end of April to early June, peaking in mid-late May) and in autumn (late August to early October, peaking in the first half of September). Rare in summer.

Highest count: 20 on 9 May 2008 at the Botanical Gardens (Richard Dunn)

PALE-LEGGED LEAF WARBLER Phylloscopus tenellipes 淡脚柳莺 Dàn jiǎo liǔ yīng

Rare passage migrant in spring (May) and autumn (late August and September). 

EASTERN CROWNED WARBLER Phylloscopus coronatus 冕柳莺 Miǎn liǔ yīng

Common breeder in the mountains and a reasonably common passage migrant in lowland Beijing (mid- to late April to late September).

Highest count: 15 on 31 May 2003 at Songshan Nature Reserve (Steve Bale)

CLAUDIA’S LEAF WARBLER Phylloscopus claudiae 冠纹柳莺 Guān wén liǔ yīng

Locally common summer breeder in the mountains. Scarce on passage in lowland Beijing (late April to late September).

Highest count: 96 on 10 June 2018 at Baihuashan (Jan-Erik Nilsén)

SULPHUR-BREASTED WARBLER Phylloscopus ricketti 黑眉柳莺 Hēi méi liǔ yīng

Very rare spring overshooting migrant. At least three records: two from Temple of Heaven Park (dates and observers unknown) and one on 5 April 2017 at Nanhaizi (Guo Geng).

BIANCHI’S WARBLER Seicercus valentini 比氏鹟莺 Bǐ shì wēng yīng

Very rare vagrant. Only one documented record: a calling bird on 8 May 2019 at the Wenyu River (Paul Holt); one previous report ‘in early May’ 2004 at Xiaolongmen, Mengtougou (WN in CBR2004).

ALSTRÖM’S WARBLER Seicercus soror 淡尾鹟莺 Dàn wěi wēng yīng

Recently discovered local breeder in the mountains with most records from Lingshan and Xiaolongmen in May and June. Very rare in lowland Beijing.

Highest count: seven on 26 June 2019 at Xiolongmen (Steve Bale)

CHESTNUT-CROWNED WARBLER Seicercus castaniceps 栗头鹟莺 Lì tóu wēng yīng

Very rare vagrant. Two records. One on 6 May 2018 at the Temple of Heaven Park (游击队长). See here; and one singing bird on 17 April 2018 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt). Both racially identified as sinensis.

Acrocephalidae 苇莺科

ORIENTAL REED WARBLER Acrocephalus orientalis 东方大苇莺 Dōngfāng dà wěi yīng

Locally very common summer breeder in suitable wetland habitat (May to early October). Main arrival is in the second half of May. Large colonies at Yeyahu, Huairou and Miyun Reservoirs and also breeds in reedbeds in urban parks such as the Olympic Forest Park and Yuanmingyuan.

Highest count: 150 on 16 June 2018 at Yeyahu (David Kirsch)

BLACK-BROWED REED WARBLER Acrocephalus bistrigiceps 黑眉苇莺 Hēi méi wěi yīng

Common passage migrant in spring (mid-May to June) and autumn (mid-August to late October). Rare in July and November.

Highest count: 50 on 25 May 2019 at Binhe Forest Park (Zheng Qiuyang)

STREAKED REED WARBLER Acrocephalus sorghophilus 细纹苇莺 Xì wén wěi yīng

Very rare and decreasing passage migrant. An enigmatic and very likely endangered species. The breeding grounds remain unknown and its vocalisations have never been recorded (song described as “harsh in comparison to Black-browed Reed Warbler” by Claus Holzapfel, 2011). La Touche (1920) described this species as “very common every early autumn from about 22 August to the end of the first week in September in the small-millet crops near Qinghuangdao” (Hebei Province), and that “it passes in the same locality in May and June”. Cai (1987) described it as a passage migrant and possible summer breeder and says that specimens were collected from Dayouzhuang (Eastern suburbs) on 28 May 1962, Nanyuansanhaizi (Nanhaizi?) on 11 September 1962, Shenshucun on 25 September 1962 and Kangcun on 9 September 1964. Very few records anywhere in the last ten years. All modern Beijing records: one singing bird at the Summer Palace on 2 June 1985 (Peter Kennerley); one at Peking University campus, 23 September 2007 (Wen Chen); one at Yuanmingyuan, Haidian on 22 September 2008 (Zhu Lei); one at Wild Duck Lake on 18 October 2008 (Brian Ivon Jones); one at the Summer Palace, Haidian, Beijing on the 6 June 2009 (Paul Holt et al.); one in the Olympic Forest Park on 28-29 May 2011 (Claus Holzapfel); one on 15 June 2014 at Yanqing (Li Haitou per Chen Liang).  One (adult) on 24 September 2014 at Dayunhe Forest Park, Tongzhou, Beijing (Paul Holt); one probable on 6 October 2019 at the Shunyi Patch (Terry Townshend). Spring records in the period 28 May to 16 June. Autumn records from 9 September to 18 October.  Urgent research needed to discover the breeding grounds and gain a better understanding of its status.

BLUNT-WINGED WARBLER Acrocephalus concinens 钝翅苇莺 Dùn chì wěi yīng

Rare but just about annual passage migrant and possible breeder (mid-May to September). Recorded in reedbeds at Shahe Reservoir, Yeyahu and Olympic Forest Park. Formerly bred at the Summer Palace.

Highest count: three on 2 June 1985 at the Summer Palace (Peter Kennerley)

MANCHURIAN REED WARBLER Acrocephalus tangorum 远东苇莺 Yuǎndōng wěi yīng

Rare passage migrant, not quite annual, in spring (second half of May and early June) and autumn (late August and September). 

Highest count: at least five on 18 September 2004 at Yeyahu (LHT in CBR2004).

BLYTH’S REED WARBLER Acrocephalus dumetorun 布氏苇莺 Bù-shì wěi-yīng

Very rare vagrant with only two records: one seen and sound-recorded on 22 September 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt); one seen and sound-recorded on 5 October 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore).

THICK-BILLED WARBLER Iduna aedon 厚嘴苇莺 Hòu zuǐ wěi yīng

Fairly common passage migrant in spring (May and early June, peaking in late May) and autumn (mid-August to September, rarely into October). Rare in July and early August. Possibly breeds on occasion (in the mountains?) as Beijing lies at the southern edge of the breeding range.

Highest count: 32 on 23 May 2020 at the Wenyu River (Terry Townshend).

Locustellidae 短翅莺科

BAIKAL (DAVID’S) BUSH WARBLER Bradypterus davidi 斑胸短翅莺 Bān xiōng duǎn chì yīng

Scarce passage migrant in spring (late May and early June) and autumn (late August to early October).

Highest count: four on 2 June 2018 at the Olympic Forest Park (XiaoPT)

CHINESE BUSH WARBLER Bradypterus tacsanowskius 中华短翅莺 Zhōnghuá duǎn chì yīng

Rare, not quite annual, passage migrant in damp scrubby areas of Beijing and possibly a rare breeder in the mountains. Between 10 and 20 records. Most records in spring (last week of May and early June) and a few in autumn (September). 

LANCEOLATED WARBLER Locustella lanceolata 矛斑蝗莺 Máo bān huáng yīng

Passage migrant in spring (late May and early June) and autumn (late August to October).

Highest count: 16 on 8 September 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt)

PALLAS’S GRASSHOPPER WARBLER Locustella certhiola 小蝗莺 Xiǎo huáng yīng

Passage migrant in spring (peaking last week of May and early June) and autumn (late August and September).

Highest count: 15 on 29 May 2019 at DaShiHe (XiaoPT)

MARSH GRASSBIRD Locustella pryeri 斑背大尾莺 Bān bèi dà wěi yīng

Rare passage migrant in spring (late May and June) and autumn (late August to early October). Very rare in July.

Highest count: three singing birds at Yeyahu on 26-27 May 2016 (Terry Townshend, Dick Newell, Rob Jolliffe)

GRAY’S GRASSHOPPER WARBLER Locustella fasciolata 苍眉蝗莺 Cāng méi huáng yīng

Presumably a very rare passage migrant in late May and early June and again in September. [missing records]

Cisticolidae 扇尾莺科

ZITTING CISTICOLA Cisticola juncidis 棕扇尾莺 Zōng shàn wěi yīng

Common summer breeder to grassy and scrubby habitats and passage migrant (mid-April to mid-October). Rare in winter (records in November, December, January and February).

Highest count: 60 at Miyun Reservoir on 26 August 2015 (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend)

PLAIN PRINIA Prinia inortata 纯色山鹪莺 chún-sè shān-jiāo-yīng

Very rare vagrant. One record: one singing on 7-8 May 2019 at least at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale).

YELLOW-BELLIED PRINIA Prinia flaviventris 黄腹山鹪莺 huáng-fù shān-jiāo-yīng

Very rare vagrant. One record: two on 5 June 2019 at Xuanwu Park, Xicheng District (Zhu Yanning)

Leiothrichidae 噪鹛科

CHINESE HWAMEI Leucodioptron canorum 画眉 Huàméi

Recorded in all months but, with a natural range primarily to the south of the Yangtze and being sedentary, all records in Beijing almost certainly relate to escapes or deliberate releases. Hwamei is a very popular cagebird.

PERE DAVID’S (PLAIN) LAUGHINGTHRUSH Pterorhinus davidi 山噪鹛 Shān zào méi

Common resident in the mountains; uncommon in lowland Beijing.

Highest count: 34 on 5 January 2014 on the ridge above the Botanical Gardens (Jesper Hornskov, Jennifer Leung, Zhu Lei, Mark Maddock and Terry Townshend)

Sylviidae 莺鹛科

BARRED WARBLER Sylvia nisoria 横斑林莺 Héng bān lín yīng

Very rare vagrant. One historical record: a “young bird” which was described as “like Sylvia nisoria but much-less banded on the underparts” was captured by Père David sometime between autumn 1862 and autumn 1867 (David, 1877) .

LESSER WHITETHROAT Sylvia curruca 白喉林莺 Báihóu lín yīng

Rare vagrant. At least fourteen records. Recent records: one on 7 April 2012 (via BirdTalker); one on 10 January to 14 April 2015 at least in the Agricultural Exhibition Center Park (Yan Shen et al.); one on 23 September 2016 in the Botanical Gardens (James Pender); one on 6 February 2017 in the Olympic Forest Park (via Paul Holt); one on 29 April 2018 in the Agricultural Exhibition Center Park (Stefan Andrew); one on 22 December 2018 at Peking University (Xing Chao et al.); one on 30 August 2019 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt); one on 23 May 2020 at Temple of Heaven Park (Stefan Andrew); one on 16 October 2020 to 22 November 2020 at least in the Agricultural Exhibition Center Park (via Zhang Xiaoling).

BEIJING BABBLER Rhopophilus pekinensis 山鹛 Shān méi

Common resident in the mountains; uncommon in lowland Beijing. Prefers scrubby habitats. A talented vocalist.

Highest count: 40 on 2 February 1985 at Badaling (Peter Kennerley)

VINOUS-THROATED PARROTBILL Sinosuthora webbianus 棕头鸦雀 Zōng tóu yā què

Common resident in Beijing, encountered in urban and rural areas alike. Sociable and noisy, it is most often seen in groups, sometimes of over 100 strong, especially in winter.

Highest count: 400 on 20 January 2019 at Taishitun, Miyun (XiaoPT)

REED PARROTBILL Paradoxornis heudei 震旦鸦雀 Zhèn dàn yā què

Rare and local resident in small numbers since the first credible record of wild occurrence on 24 November 2016 at Wanping Lake involving at least ten birds. Since then, it has been recorded at many wetland sites in the city including Dashi River, Tongzhou-Dayunhe Forest Park, Shahe Reservoir, Niukouyu Reservoir, Yuanmingyuan, Yizhuang wetland, the Summer Palace and the Olympic Forest Park (but not yet Yeyahu).

Highest count: 20 on 1 January 2018 at Ludi Park (Jun Yang)

Zosteropidae 绣眼鸟科

CHESTNUT-FLANKED WHITE-EYE Zosterops erythropleurus 红胁绣眼鸟 Hóng xié xiù yǎn niǎo

Relatively common passage migrant in late April and May and late August to October. Scarce outside these windows.

Highest count: 300 on 30 September 2004 at Shahe Reservoir (CYZ in CBR2004)

SWINHOE’S WHITE-EYE Zosterops simplex 暗绿绣眼鸟 Àn lǜ xiù yǎn niǎo

Passage migrant and probable breeder in the hills around Beijing (late April to early November). Several recent records in June and July from the hills suggest this species could be breeding. Rarely reported in winter.

Highest count: 50 on 12 September 2018 at Badaling Forest Park (Paul Holt)

Regulidae 戴菊科

GOLDCREST Regulus regulus 戴菊 Dài jú

Uncommon winter visitor from September to May, most often seen in the well-watched larger parks such as Chaoyang Park, Olympic Forest Park, Botanical Gardens, Summer Palace and Yuanmingyuan.

Highest count: 30 on 17 November 2019 at Chaoyang Park (Li Zhaonan)

Troglodytidae 鹪鹩科

WINTER WREN Troglodytes troglodytes 鹪鹩 Jiāo liáo

Local breeder in the mountains and an uncommon winter visitor to lowland Beijing, primarily from late October to March, usually near water.

Highest count: ten on 2 June 2019 at Lingshan (Fishing Cat)

Sittidae 鳾科

EURASIAN NUTHATCH Sitta europaea 普通䴓 Pǔtōng shī

Locally common resident in the mountains and sometimes recorded in the larger parks of lowland Beijing, such as the Botanical Gardens. Two races occur – sinensis and amurensis.

Highest count: 30 on 1 October 2018 at Xiaolongmen (BeijingFeyu2018)

CHINESE NUTHATCH Sitta villosa 黑头䴓 Hēitóu shī

Resident in the hills and larger parks of the capital. Mostly tied to woodland with coniferous trees.  The Botanical Gardens is probably the most reliable site.

Highest counts: 20 on 25 February 2018 at the Botanical Gardens (Liu Zongzhuang); 20 on 4 September 2004 at Sizuolou NR, Pingu (L in CBR2004).

Tichidromidae 悬壁雀科

WALLCREEPER Tichodroma muraria 红翅旋壁雀 Hóng chì xuán bì què

Rare, but annual, winter visitor (late October to mid-February). By far the most reliable location is Shidu in Fangshan District where photographers regularly attract wintering birds with meal worms. Also recorded at Yanhecheng, Mentougou, and an exceptional lowland record from the Longdao River, Shunyi, on 11 and 12 November 2018 (Terry Townshend). 

Highest count: three on 15 December 2019 at Shidu (Li Zhaonan)

Certhiidae 旋木雀科

EURASIAN TREECREEPER Certhia familiaris 旋木雀 Xuán mù què

Rare winter visitor (October to March) with fewer than ten records. One was collected on 30 October 1962 in the Temple of Heaven Park (Cai, 1987); one on 27 November 2007 at Peking University of Aeronautics and Astronaustics, with two there on 4 December (HJ, TJL, CBR2007); singles on 9 December, 16 December and 19 December 2007 at Peking University (WC), Temple of Heaven Park (LJia) and Yuan Dynasty Relic Park (CW); one was photographed in Ritan Park in March 2011; an exceptional two records in winter 2019-2020 included a popular individual in Chaoyang Park from 12 November 2019 until January 2020 at least and one was photographed at the Temple of Heaven Park, present from 15 January at least (WeChat name: VianVivian) and seen again on 8 February 2020 (XiaoPT).

Sturnidae 椋鸟科

CRESTED MYNA Acridotheres cristatellus 八哥 Bāgē

Locally common resident across the city, mostly in larger parks and around human habitation. The origin of Beijing’s population is unknown but, given the traditional range of this species is south and central China, coupled with its largely sedentary habits, it is likely to have originated from escaped or deliberately released captive birds. The species was not included in Cai’s Birds of Beijing (1987) suggesting it is a recent colonist.

Highest count: 35 on 3 June 2002 at the Summer Palace (Jan Smith)

RED-BILLED STARLING Spodiopsar sericeus 丝光椋鸟 Sīguāng liáng niǎo

Uncommon but increasing summer breeder with some remaining in the capital in winter. First recorded in 2002. Most records from the Botanical Gardens, Peking University and the Temple of Heaven Park. As with Crested Myna, the natural range of this species in China is primarily south of the Yellow River. Beijing’s population may well have originated from escapes or deliberate releases but seems to be thriving and slowly expanding.

Highest count: 31 on 28 October 2018 at Nanhaizi (Guan Xueyan)

WHITE-CHEEKED STARLING Spodiopsar cineraceus 灰椋鸟 Huī liáng niǎo

Common resident breeder, passage migrant and winter visitor. Although easy to see in parks and urban areas all year round, at least some Beijing breeders probably migrate south. Often encountered in flocks, in particular in spring an autumn, when birds are on passage to and from breeding grounds further north.

Highest count: 658 on 11 November 2005 at Yuyuantan (HXR, CBR2005)

PURPLE-BACKED STARLING Agropsar sturninus 北椋鸟 Běi liáng niǎo

Local breeder, in particular on some of the university campuses, and scarce passage migrant in late April and May and again in August and September.

Highest count: eight on 15 June 2014 at the Summer Palace (Mark Davidson)

COMMON STARLING Sturnus vulgaris 紫翅椋鸟 Zǐ chì liáng niǎo

Scarce, but possibly increasing, passage migrant in spring (March to early May, peaking in early April) and autumn (late September to early November, peaking mid-October). Rare outside these windows. Most reliable sites are Yeyahu/Ma Chang and Miyun Reservoir.  

Highest count: 180 on 22 October 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Steve Bale, Paul Holt, Terry Townshend, Ben Wielstra)

Turdidae 鸫科

ORANGE-HEADED THRUSH Zoothera citrina 橙头地鸫 Chéng-tóu dì-dōng

Very rare vagrant. Just two records: one on 22 May 2011 at the Temple of Heaven Park (Qinghua Shoucan) – see here; one photographed on 13 October 2017 in the Agricultural Exhibition Center (Yu Huashi).

SIBERIAN THRUSH Zoothera sibirica 白眉地鸫 Báiméi de dōng

Rare passage migrant in spring (May) and autumn (September and October).

Highest count: three (females) on 16 September 2013 in the UK Ambassador’s residence garden (Terry Townshend)

WHITE’S THRUSH Zoothera aurea 虎斑地鸫 Hǔbān de dōng

Scarce passage migrant in spring (April and May, peaking in the first half of May) and autumn (September and October, peaking in the last week of September). Rare in winter.

Highest count: four on 23 September 2007 at Temple of Heaven Park (Lja, CBR2007)

GREY-BACKED THRUSH Turdus hortulorum 灰背鸫 Huī bèi dōng

Rare passage migrant and winter visitor. Most records April and May and September and October; proof of breeding in 2019 when an adult was recorded feeding young on a camera trap in the Beijing part of Wulingshan (Terry Townshend). 

JAPANESE THRUSH Turdus cardis 乌灰鸫 Wū huī dōng

Very rare winter visitor. A male was at Peking University in December 2013 (via Li Xiaomai). Another was at the Agricultural Exhibition Center from 23 October 2017 until 3 March 2018 at least (Zhen Niu et al.). There is some uncertainty about the origin of these birds.

GREY-WINGED BLACKBIRD Turdus boulboul 灰翅鸫 Huī chì dōng

A rare and local summer visitor and likely breeder. Currently known only from Lingshan, where the first record – a singing male – was discovered on 18 June 2016 (Terry Townshend) with at least three singing males on 24th June (Terry Townshend, Paul Holt et al.). At least three singing males were present at the same site on 27 May 2017 (Terry Townshend et al.) and at least one on 25 June 2019 (Steve Bale and Paul Holt). 

COMMON [CHINESE] BLACKBIRD Turdus merula mandarinus 乌鸫 Wū dōng

A fairly common but local resident, particularly in urban areas such as the large parks, embassy district and in Shunyi. Some movement in spring and autumn and arrivals of birds sometimes recorded.

Highest counts: 80 on 25 April 2020 at Temple of Heaven Park (Hui Cui); 62 on 20 October 2018 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale).

CHESTNUT THRUSH Turdus rubrocanus 灰头鸫 Huī tóu dōng

Very rare. Two sightings of probably the same individual: a single photographed in the Olympic Forest Park on 19 November 2017 (夕阳红, Xīyáng hóng, Birdnet.cn name); probably the same on 23 February 2018 at the same site (Hu Xuehui 胡雪卉).

GREY-SIDED THRUSH Turdus feae 褐头鸫 Hè tóu dōng

A scarce and local summer breeder in the mountains (April to September). Rare on passage in lowland Beijing (mid-May and September).

Highest count: 30 on 2 July 2005 at Baicaopan (LiX, CBR2005)

EYEBROWED THRUSH Turdus obscurus 白眉鸫 Báiméi dōng

Scarce passage migrant in spring (April and May, with most records in mid-May) and autumn (September and October, peaking mid-September). Most records come from the larger parks in the city such as Temple of Heaven Park and the Olympic Forest Park, as well as university campuses.

Highest count: six on 13 May 2010 at the Temple of Heaven (Li Zhaonan)

PALE THRUSH Turdus pallidus 白腹鸫 Bái fù dōng

Rare winter visitor from September to May.

BROWN-HEADED THRUSH Turdus chrysolaus 赤胸鸫 Chì xiōng dōng

Very rare vagrant [details of records needed] 

BLACK-THROATED THRUSH Turdus atrogularis 黑颈鸫 Hēi jǐng dōng

Uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant, primarily October to April. Rare outside this period. The least common of the four ‘winter thrushes’ behind Naumann’s, Red-throated and Dusky. Intergrades with Red-throated Thrush are rare.

Highest count: 25 on 9 April 2006 at Shahe Reservoir (LHY, CBR2006)

RED-THROATED THRUSH Turdus ruficollis 赤颈鸫 Chì jǐng dōng

Common winter visitor and passage migrant (late September to early May). The most common ‘dark-throated’ thrush by some margin. Intergrades with Black-throated Thrush are rare.

Highest count: 450 on 3 February 1985 at Ming Tombs (Peter Kennerley)

NAUMANN’S THRUSH Turdus naumanni 红尾鸫 Hóng wěi dōng

The most common of the winter thrushes, especially in lowland Beijing (late September to early May). Largest arrivals in November and most have departed by early April). Intergrades with Dusky Thrush frequently reported.

Highest count: 345 on 16 November 2019 at Yeyahu (Paul Holt)

DUSKY THRUSH Turdus eunomus 斑鸫 Bān dōng

Common winter visitor and passage migrant (mid-September to mid-May). Intergrades with Naumann’s Thrush frequently reported. One on 27 June 2005 at Lingshan a rare summer record.

Highest count: 135 on 7 November 2015 at Mutianyu Great Wall (David Stejskal)

FIELDFARE Turdus pilaris 田鸫 Tián dōng

Very rare vagrant with only one record: one on 10 December 2017 at Lingshan, photographed by Zhang Bing.

REDWING Turdus iliacus 白眉歌鸫 Báiméi gē dōng

Very rare vagrant. Just three records, all since 2016 suggesting this species may have been previously overlooked. One from 6-14 April 2016 at least (via Jesper Hornskov); one on 5 December 2018 until 19th at least at Tsinghua University campus (Steve Bale); one on 7 and 14 January 2020 at Huairou (Terry Townshend and Steve Bale).

CHINESE THRUSH Turdus mupinensis 宝兴歌鸫 Bǎo xìng gē dōng

A scarce and local breeder in the mountains and a passage migrant in lowland Beijing (arriving mid-April and departing October). Rare in winter.

Highest count: seven on 2 June 2018 at Lingshan (Terry Townshend)

Muscicapidae 鹟科

EUROPEAN ROBIN Erithacus rubecula 欧亚鸲 Ōu yà qú

Very rare vagrant. Only three records: one in the grounds of Peking University on 16 December 2007 (Chen Wei); one on 10 November until 9 December 2014 at least in the Temple of Heaven Park; one on 8 January to 4 February 2019 at least in the grounds of Beijing Zoo (present “for several weeks” before 8 January according to photographers).

JAPANESE ROBIN Erithacus akahige 日本歌鸲 Rìběn gē qú

Very rare vagrant. Two records: one in “late November” (year?) in the Botanical Gardens; one on 23-27 November 2012 at least in Lianhua Chi Park (per Zhu Lei).

BLUETHROAT Luscinia svecica 蓝喉歌鸲 Lán hóu gē qú

Passage migrant in late April and May and again in September and October.

Highest counts: 13+ on 29 April 2018 at Shisanling (Colm Moore); 13 on 24 September 2016 at the Shunyi Patch (Terry Townshend)

SIBERIAN RUBYTHROAT Luscinia calliope 红喉歌鸲 Hóng hóu gē qú

Fairly common passage migrant in spring (May) and autumn (mid-August to early October, peaking in mid-September). An exceptional winter record on 31 December 2019 at Nanhaizi (Terry Townshend)

Highest count: 11 on 19 September 2018 at Yeyahu (Paul Holt)

SIBERIAN BLUE ROBIN Luscinia cyane 蓝歌鸲 Lán gē qú

Local breeder in the mountains and a passage migrant in lowland Beijing (April to September).

Highest count: 31 on 10 June 2018 at Baihuashan (Jan-Erk Nilsén)

RUFOUS-TAILED ROBIN Luscinia sibilans 红尾歌鸲 Hóng wěi gē qú

Rare passage migrant in spring (mid- to late May) and autumn (late August to October). Most records in autumn.

Highest count: four on 5 October 2019 at Temple of Heaven Park (Li Zhaonan)

RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL Tarsiger cyanurus 红胁蓝尾鸲 Hóng xié lán wěi qú

Common passage migrant, uncommon winter visitor and a scarce and local breeder. Two races in Beijing. Nominate race is a common passage migrant in spring (late March to early May, peaking in the first half of April) and autumn (late September and October, peaking in the second half of October), and an uncommon winter visitor. The vocally dstinct race albocoeruleus or “Gansu Bluetail”, was discovered at Lingshan in June 2015 (Jan-Erik Nilsén) and has since been found to be a local breeder in the mountains around Beijing.

Highest count: 30 on 9 October 2016 at Tsinghua University (XiaoPT)

ALA SHAN REDSTART Phoenicurus alaschanicus 贺兰山红尾鸲 Hèlánshān hóng wěi qú

Very rare winter visitor. Six records. Shaw (1936) states that Rev.Wilder observed one “in the mission of his compound of Tsung-hsien” and “A Synopsis of the Avifauna of China” (Cheng Tso-hsin, 1987) describes Przevalski’s (Alashan) Redstart as “Accidentally in Tongxian of Beijing Municipality”. Tongxian (which may be an alternative spelling of “Tsung-hsien”) is an area in the south-east part of Beijing Municipality and these two references may refer to the same record. One was recorded at Xiaolongmen in a winter survey 1992-1994, date unspecified (per Li Ming – reference: Sun X, Wang l, “Ecological analysis and classification of forest bird communities at XiaoLongMen, Beijing”, Chinese journal of ecology, 2001, 20(5):25-31 ); one female at Lingshan on 30 November 2013 (Terry Townshend); a male on 15 February 2014, until 8 March at least, when it was joined by a female, presumably the female bird from November 2013 (Terry Townshend); a male on 20 November 2014 at Lingshan (Breght Vanddenberghe) and three (a male and two females) at Lingshan on 29 December 2014 (Zhao Min et al.). Three at Lingshan (a male and two females) on 29 December 2014 at Lingshan (Zhao Min et al.)

BLACK REDSTART Phoenicurus ochruros 赭红尾鸲 Zhě hóng wěi qú

Very rare vagrant. Perhaps five records; details of three here: one in November and December 1975 at Baihuashan Baicaoping , Mentougou District (Cai, 1987); one on 9 November 2014 at Lingshan (Terry Townshend); and one on 24 October 2015 at Miaofengshan (Colm Moore).

WHITE-THROATED REDSTART Phoenicurus schisticeps 白喉红尾鸲 Báihóu hóng wěi qú

Very rare winter visitor. Only three records, all in winter 2018-2019. After one was discovered on the Hebei side of Lingshan, just 250m from the border with Beijing on 14 November 2018 (Steve Bale and Terry Townshend), a male was found on 30 November 2018 at Miaofengshan (Colm Moore), the first Beijing record; then, on 8 February 2019 on the Beijng side of Lingshan, a male was seen (Terry Townshend, XiaoPT and DaHao), with up to three (two males and a female) recorded at the same site until 25 February 2019 at least. Completing a remarkable winter for this species, a male was photographed in the Botanical Gardens on 24 February 2019 (Jiang Wenyue).

DAURIAN REDSTART Phoenicurus auroreus 北红尾鸲 Běi hóng wěi qú

Very common breeder in the hills and mountains, common passage migrant in lowland Beijing, peaking in April and October, and uncommon winter visitor, mostly to parks.

Highest count: 30 on 3 April 2018 at Yanhecheng (BeijingFeiyu2018)

WHITE-WINGED REDSTART Phoenicurus erythrogastrus 红腹红尾鸲 Hóng fù hóng wěi qú

Local winter visitor to the mountains, generally above 1,500m asl. Has been recorded annually since 2013 when 17 were seen on 26 February at Lingshan. Almost all records from Lingshan or mountains close by.  Arrives in Beijing late October with largest numbers recorded in November. Most depart by mid-March.

Highest count: 40 on 16 November 2019 at Lingshan (Zhu Haoqiang)

WHITE-BELLIED REDSTART Hodgsonius phaenicuroides 白腹短翅鸲 Bái fù duǎn chì qú

A local summer breeder in the mountains (late May to July). Very rare on passage in lowland Beijing.

Highest count: ten on 14 July 2006 at Baicaopan (Zyu, CBR2006)

PLUMBEOUS WATER REDSTART Rhyacornis fuliginosa 红尾水鸲 Hóng wěi shuǐ qú

Scarce and local resident, primarily along relatively fast-moving streams and rivers in the mountains and hills. Rare in lowland Beijing in winter.

Highest count: 20 on 25 December 2005 at the Juma River (Shidu), Fangshan (LiX, CBR2005)

WHITE-CAPPED WATER REDSTART Chaimarrornis leucocephalus 白顶溪鸲 Bái dǐng xī qú

Scarce and local resident along mountain streams; winter visitor to lower elevations.

Highest count: two on 4 January 2020 at Shidu (Li Tian)

BLUE WHISTLING THRUSH Myophonus caeruleus 紫啸鸫 Zǐ xiào dōng

Scarce and local summer breeder and rare passage migrant in lowland Beijing (late April to September).

Highest count: three on 17 June 2016 at Lingshan (Terry Townshend)

COMMON STONECHAT Saxicola maurus 黑喉石䳭 Hēi hóu shí jí

Common passage migrant in spring (April to early June, peaking in early May) and autumn (mid-August to early October, peaking in the first half of September). Bred in 2019 at Lingshan (per Paul Holt).

Highest count: 100 on 4 May 2019 at Yeyahu (Richard Davis and Ben Wielstra)

GREY BUSHCHAT Saxicola ferreus 灰林䳭 Huī lín jí

Very rare overshooting spring migrant. At least three records: one at Xiaolongmen on 28 May 1979 (Cai, 1987); one on 11 April 2013 (see here); and one near Yeyahu car park on 7 April 2019 (Tian Shu).

ISABELLINE WHEATEAR Oenanthe isabellina 沙䳭 Shā jí

Very rare vagrant. Only six records: one on 5 April 2012 at Ma Chang, originally identified as a female Desert Wheatear before being corrected by Killian Mullarney (Terry Townshend); one on 17 September 2015 at Ma Chang (per Zhu Lei); one on 7-8 April 2018 at Shisanling (Colm Moore); one on 1 April 2019 at Ma Chang (Lou Fangzhou); one on 27-28 April 2019 at Shahe Reservoir (Qing Xiaowei and Wen Chunzhi); one on 1 May 2020 at Lingshan (YiLiang – WeChat name)

NORTHERN WHEATEAR Oenanthe oenanthe 穗䳭 Suì jí

Very rare vagrant. Only two recent documented records: a female at Shahe, 26 April 2019 (Colm Moore); and one on 23 April 2020 at Kangxi Grasslands (Vincent Wang).

PIED WHEATEAR Oenanthe pleschanka 白顶䳭 Bái dǐng jí

Rare spring passage migrant (late March and April) and occasional breeder. First breeding record in Dujiazhuang, Mentougou District, June 1979 in a dry canal at 800m elevation (Cai, 1987). A first-winter in the Olympic Forest Park on 15-18 January 2017 was an exceptional winter record.

Highest count: three on 9 April 2006 at the Guishui River (ZL, CBR2006)

DESERT WHEATEAR Oenanthe deserti 漠䳭 Mò jí

Very rare vagrant. Only two records: one on 17 April 2010 at Ma Chang (Brian Ivon Jones et al.); one on 16 April 2020 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Colm Moore)

RUFOUS-TAILED ROCK THRUSH Monticola saxatilis 白背矶鸫 Bái bèi jī dōng

Very rare vagrant. Only one, historical, record: one collected at Baihuashan, Mentougou on 12 August 1917, preserved in the Tianjin Museum of Natural History (Cai, 1987).

BLUE ROCK THRUSH Monticola solitarius 蓝矶鸫 Lán jī dōng

Scarce and local summer breeder in mountainous valleys and gorges (May to early September). Rare in lowland Beijing on passage.

Highest counts: 20 on 14 June 2003 along the Juma River, Fangshan (CBR2003); 15 on 19 May 1988 at Mutianyu Great Wall (Peter Vickery)

WHITE-THROATED ROCK THRUSH Monticola gularis 白喉矶鸫 Báihóu jī dōng

Scarce and local breeder in the mountains and passage migrant in lowland Beijing (May to October, exceptionally in November). 

BROWN-CHESTED JUNGLE FLYCATCHER Rhinomyias brunneatus 白喉林鹟 Báihóu lín wēng

Very rare vagrant. One reported singing on ?? June ?? in Yanqing (Li Haitao) [details needed]

GREY-STREAKED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa griseisticta 灰纹鹟 Huī wén wēng

Passage migrant in spring (mid-May and early June) and autumn (August and September).

Highest count: ten on 22 May 2009 at the Wenyu River (Spike Millington and Brian Ivon Jones)

DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa sibirica 乌鹟 Wū wēng

Common passage migrant in spring (mid-May and early June) and autumn (August and September, peaking in late August).

Highest count: 20 on 21 May 2006 at Peking University (ZAH, CBR2006)

ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER Muscicapa dauurica 北灰鹟 Běi huī wēng

Passage migrant in spring (late April to early June) and in autumn (August to early October).

Highest counts: ten on 21 August 2019 at Yuanmngyuan (Kevin Cheng); ten on 13 May 2006 at Baiwangshan (HD, CBR2006)

BROWN-BREASTED FLYCATCHER Muscicapa muttui 褐胸鹟 Hè-xiōng wēng

Very rare vagrant. One photographed on 9 June 2019 at Xiaolongmen (Liang Zhijian, a member of the young birders’ group, “Beijing Feiyu”). The first record of this species in Beijing.

YELLOW-RUMPED FLYCATCHER Ficedula zanthopygia 白眉姬鹟 Báiméi jī wēng

A common breeder in the hills and passage migrant in any suitable habitat (May to September). Rare in April.

Highest counts: 16 on 14 and 15 June 2003 at Xiaolongmen, Mentougou (CBR2003); 15 on 15 June 2004 at Badaling (Don Roberson)

NARCISSUS FLYCATCHER Ficedula narcissina 黄眉姬鹟 Huángméijī wēng

Very rare vagrant. Possibly only three records: one on 16 August 2012 in the grounds of the Xiyuan Hotel (via Tong Menxiu); one on 10 May 2016 at the Wenyu River (Jian Guohao); one on 21 May 2020 at Temple of Heaven Park (健 宋)

GREEN-BACKED FLYCATCHER Ficedula elisae 绿背姬鹟 Lǜ bèi jī wēng

Scarce and local breeder in the mountains around Beijing and a scarce passage migrant in lowland Beijing (May to early October).

Highest counts: six on 15 June 2019 at Xiaolongmen, Mentougou (Zhen Niu); six on 14-15 June 2003 at Xiaolongmen, Mentougou (CBR2003)

MUGIMAKI FLYCATCHER Ficedula mugimaki 鸲姬鹟 Qú jī wēng

Rare passage migrant. Between 10-20 records (primarily May and October). Exceptional in winter.

SLATY-BACKED FLYCATCHER Ficedula hodgsonii 锈胸蓝姬鹟 Xiù xiōng lán jī wēng

Rare and local breeder in the mountains. First record was from 7 June 2005 at Xiaolongmen (Dr Wang Ning of Beijing Normal University, CBR2005) but, since 2015, known to be a regular but very local breeder in the mountains. Very rare in lowland Beijing: one on 22 May 2018 at Peking University (Feiyu2018 Beijing, XaoPT et al..); one adult male on 7 June 2018 in the Olympic Forest Park (Lou Fangzhou).

Highest count: five on 2 June 2019 at Lingshan (Fishing Cat)

RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER Ficedula parva 红胸姬鹟 Hóng xiōng jī wēng

Rare vagrant in late autumn and winter. Between 5-10 records. 

TAIGA FLYCATCHER Ficedula albicilla 红喉姬鹟 Hóng hóu jī wēng

Common passage migrant in spring (April and May, peaking in early May) and autumn (late August to October, peaking in first half of September).

Highest count: 100 on 13 May 2006 at Peking University (ZAH, CBR2006)

SLATY-BLUE FLYCATCHER Ficedula tricolor 灰蓝姬鹟 Huī lán jī wēng

Very rare vagrant. Three records. One on 11 September 2015 at Tsinghua University (Ben Wielstra) – see here; one, a singing male, on 23 June 2016 at Lingshan (Paul Holt); and one on 13 May 2019 at Tsinghua University (Ben Wielstra). Astonishingly, this third record was found just 50m from the location of Beijing’s first record of this species found by the same observer in 2015.

BLUE AND WHITE FLYCATCHER Cyanoptila cyanomelana 白腹姬鹟 Bái fù jī wēng

Very rare passage migrant. Recent records: one on 29 May 2019 at Qingshui, Mentougou (Xue Boning); one on 1 June 2019 at Xiaolongmen, Mentougou (Fishing Cat).

ZAPPEY’S FLYCATCHER Cyanoptila cumatilis 琉璃蓝鹟 Liúlí lán wēng

Uncommon and local breeder in the mountains.

Highest count: 10 on 23 May 2018 at Xiaolongmen (Feiyu2018 Beijing)

VERDITER FLYCATCHER Eumyias thalassinus 铜蓝鹟 Tóng lán wēng

Very rare vagrant. One apparent adult male on 29 October 2014 in the Botanical Gardens (per Li Xaomai) was of unknown origin.

Cinclidae 河乌科

BROWN DIPPER Cinclus pallasii 褐河乌 Hè hé wū

Local resident along fast-moving streams and rivers in the mountains. Rare in lowland Beijing.

Highest count: ten on 19 December 2005 at Shidu, Fangshan (LJQ, CBR2005)

Passeridae 雀科

HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus 家麻雀 Jiā máquè

Very rare vagrant. One male reported, and described well, on 3 May 2020 from the north gate of Chaoyang Park (Zhong Jia) was the first record for Beijing.

RUSSET SPARROW Passer rutilans 山麻雀 Shān máquè

Local summer breeder, primarily in the mountains and hills, often associated with human habitation (primarily April to October). Recorded in all months but rare in winter.

Highest count: 50 on 4 December 2004 at Juma River (QYX in CBR2004)

EURASIAN TREE SPARROW Passer montanus 树麻雀 Shù máquè

Abundant resident in urban and rural areas alike.

Highest count: 1,000 on 13 March 1985 at the Summer Palace (Dave Bakewell)

ROCK SPARROW Petronia petronia 石雀 Shí què

Very rare winter vagrant. One record: one collected on 30 January 1962 at Wuqixian (now Pinggu County in Beijing).

Prunellidae 岩鹨科

ALPINE ACCENTOR Prunella collaris 领岩鹨 Lǐng yán liù

Scarce winter visitor, October to April, primarily to mountainous areas, sometimes in large flocks. Very rare in September and May.

Highest count: 70 on 8 February 2019 at Lingshan (XiaoPT)

SIBERIAN ACCENTOR Prunella montanella 棕眉山岩鹨 Zōng méishān shí liù

Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant (October to April). Rare in September and May.

Highest counts: 55 on 17 December 2006 at Huaishahe, Huairou (LDJ, CBR2006); 50 on 2 February 1985 at Badaling (Peter Kennerley)

BROWN ACCENTOR Prunella fulvescens 褐岩鹨 Hè yán liù

Very rare winter vagrant. One collected at Miyun on 5 November 1979 (Cai, 1987); one on 23 February 2013 at Yanhecheng (Zhang Shen et al.). One on 13 January 2018 also at Yanhecheng (Li Zhaonan).

Motacillidae 鹡鸰科

FOREST WAGTAIL Dendronanthus indicus 山鹡鸰 Shān jí líng

Summer breeder, primarily in lowland woodlands, and a passage migrant (May to September).

Highest count: five on 20 May 2018 at Gubekou (XiaoPT)

WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla flava 西黄鹡鸰 Xī huáng jí líng

Very rare vagrant. One male of the race ‘feldeggi‘ (“Black-headed Wagtail” on 13 May 2013 at Shahe Reservoir (Colm Moore).

EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL Motacilla tschutschensis 黄鹡鸰 Huáng jí líng

Fairly common passage migrant in spring (April and May, peaking in early May) and autumn (mid-August to early October, peaking in early September). Rare in June and July. Races recorded in Beijing are tschutschensis/plexa, macronyx and taivana.

Highest counts: 600+ at Ma Chang on 4 May 2020 (Steve Bale and Terry Townshend).

CITRINE WAGTAIL Motacilla citreola 黄头鹡鸰 Huáng tóu jí líng

Fairly common passage migrant in spring (April and May, peaking in late April and first week of May) and in autumn (August and September).

Highest counts: 250+ on 26 April 2020 at Ma Chang (Steve Bale and Terry Townshend); 200 on 4 May 2019 at Ma Chang (Richard Davis)

GREY WAGTAIL Motacilla cinerea 灰鹡鸰 Huī jí líng

Uncommon resident and passage migrant. Breeds along streams and rivers in the hills and mountains. In winter and on passage often encountered in lowland Beijing.

Highest count: 50 on 1 May 2003 at Juma River, Fangshan District (CBR2003)

WHITE WAGTAIL Motacilla alba 白鹡鸰 Bái jí líng

Very common summer breeder, passage migrant and scarce winter visitor. Race leucopsis breeds; ocularis is a common passage migrant and occasional winter visitor; baicalensis is a scarce but annual passage migrant; alba is a rare but annual passage migrant; lugens is a rare but annual winter visitor; and personata is a rare vagrant.

Highest count: 165 on 24 September 2017 at Ma Chang (XiaoPT)

Status of races of White Wagtail:

leucopsis – Common breeder (March to October, rarely in winter); highest count: 67 on 25 March 2006 at Yuanmingyuan (LDJ, CBR2006)

ocularis – Very common passage migrant (late March to October, rarely in winter); highest count: 56 on 28 September 2020 at Ma Chang (Terry Townshend).

baicalensis – Scarce but annual passage migrant in late March-April.

lugens – Rare but annual winter visitor in small numbers (October to April)

personata – Rare vagrant. Nine records, all in Spring: first record on 14 April 2012 at Ma Chang (Terry Townshend and Jesper Hornskov); one male on 29 March 2015 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale); one female on 3 April 2015 at the Wenyu River (Steve Bale); one on 10 April 2016 at Ma Chang (Terry Townshend); one on 2 April 2017 at Ma Chang (Terry Townshend and Richard Fuller); one on 1-9 April 2018 at Shisanling (Colm Moore, XiaoPT, Niu Zhen et al.); one on 26, and presumably the same on 30 March 2020 at Miyun Reservoir (Terry Townshend, Steve Bale); one on 12 April 2020 at Niantan Park (Zhong Zhenyu); one on 26-27 April 2020 at Ma Chang (DaHao and Lou Fangzhou)

alba – Rare but annual spring vagrant. Since the first record or one on 29 March 2015 near Tongzhou (Luo Qingqing), has been recorded annually in small numbers.

RICHARD’S PIPIT Anthus richardi 理氏鹨 Lǐ shì liù

A common passage migrant in spring (mostly late April and May) and autumn (August to early October) and also a scarce and local breeder, for example at Yeyahu/Ma Chang.

Highest count: 160 on 14 September 2019 at Ma Chang (XiaoPT)

BLYTH’S PIPIT Anthus godlewskii 布氏鹨 Bù shì liù

Scarce passage migrant in spring (late April and May) and autumn (second half of August and September, exceptionally in early October).

Highest count: 21 on 31 August 2019 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt)

MEADOW PIPIT Anthus pratensis 草地鹨 Cǎodì liù Rare vagrant.

About 12 records to April 2020. Most in winter and early spring with just one autumn record. 6 April seems to be the magic date!

Highest count: two on 1 January 2019 at Shidu (Guan Xueyan et al.)

TREE PIPIT Anthus trivialis 林鹨 Lín liù

Very rare vagrant. Only one record: one on 13 May 2013 in the UK Ambassador’s garden (Terry Townshend).  See here.

OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT Anthus hodgsoni 树鹨 Shù liù

Common passage migrant in spring (April and May, peaking in early May) and autumn (late August to October, peaking in late September and early October). Uncommon in winter. Possibly breeds on occasion in the mountains.

Highest count: 700 on 14 September 2013 at Ma Chang/Yeyahu area, including 507 at Ma Chang (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend)

PECHORA PIPIT Anthus gustavi 北鹨 Běi liù

Scarce passage migrant in spring (May) and autumn (September to early October). Rare in June.

Highest count: four on 2 October 2015 at the Shunyi Patch (Terry Townshend)

ROSY PIPIT Anthus roseatus 粉红胸鹨 Fěnhóng xiōng liù

Scarce and local breeder in alpine meadows in the mountains, for example at Lingshan. Also a scarce passage migrant in spring (April and May) and autumn in lowland Beijing.

Highest count: 15 on 5 May 2018 at Lingshan (Luo Qingqing)

RED-THROATED PIPIT Anthus cervinus 红喉鹨 Hóng hóu liù

Common passage migrant in spring (April and May) and autumn (late August to October, peaking in late September).

Highest counts: 60 on 18 September 2019 at Ma Chang (Vincent Wang); 50 on 29 April 2020 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Zhen Niu)

BUFF-BELLIED PIPIT Anthus rubescens japonicus 黄腹鹨 Huáng fù liù

Common passage migrant in spring (April and May) and autumn (September to November, peaking in late September). Rare in winter. Recorded in all months except June and July.

Highest count: 7,200 on 17 October 2007 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt, Wang Qingyu)

WATER PIPIT Anthus spinoletta blakistoni 水鹨 Shuǐ liù

Common winter visitor and passage migrant (October to May).

Highest count: 100 on 19 February 2006 at Shidu (LHY, CBR2006)

Fringillidae 燕雀科

EURASIAN CHAFFINCH Fringilla coelebs 苍头燕雀 Cāng tóu yànquè

Scarce winter visitor (November to March).

Highest count: 7+ on 3 January 2020 at Shisanling (Colm Moore)

BRAMBLING Fringilla montifringilla 燕雀 Yànquè

Common passage migrant and winter visitor to urban and rural Beijing (late September to May). An exceptional mid-summer record on 20 July 2019 at Lingshan (dahe@Beijing via eBird).

Highest counts: 10,300 on 20 October 2015 at Huairou Reservoir (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend); 10,000 on 7 January 2004 at Zizhuyuan Park (WC in CBR2004)

HAWFINCH Coccothraustes coccothraustes 锡嘴雀 Xī zuǐ què

Uncommon winter visitor to urban and rural Beijing (October to early May). Recorded in all months but rare from June to September. Given this species is a popular cage bird, records in summer, particularly in city parks, may relate to escapes or deliberate releases.

Highest count: 50 on 19 October 2019 at Taishitun, Miyun (Hu Ruocheng)

CHINESE GROSBEAK Eophona migratoria 黑尾蜡嘴雀 Hēi wěi là zuǐ què

Common resident in urban Beijing. Less common in rural areas. Easy to see in the larger parks.

Highest count: 80 on 19 April 2013 (Aaron Maizlish)

JAPANESE GROSBEAK Eophona personata 黑头蜡嘴雀 Hēitóu là zuǐ què

Rare passage migrant and winter visitor. The number of wild occurences is probably clouded by escapes and deliiberate releases of this commonly kept species.

Highest count: three on 2 November 2018 at Lingshan (Paul Holt)

EURASIAN BULLFINCH Pyrrhula pyrrhula 红腹灰雀 Hóng fù huī què

Very rare winter visitor (November to April). Only five or six records: one on 2 November 2010 on the ridge above the Botanical Gardens (Jesper Hornskov); one on 9 December 2012 in the Botanical Gardens (via birdnet.cn); one, probably the same, on 17 January 2013 at the Botanical Gardens (Steve Bale, Zhou Xi Bale); one on 12 November to 1 December 2014 at least at the Temple of Heaven Park (via XiaoPT); one unconfirmed report on 19 April 2017 at the Olympic Forest Park (Andrew Thornton); one male photographed on 12 January 2020 at the Olympic Forest Park (David Mackie).

MONGOLIAN FINCH Eremopsaltria mongolica 蒙古沙雀 Ménggǔ shā què

Very rare vagrant. One photographed on 7 October 2017 at Baiwangshan was the first modern day record (Ding Deyong).

ASIAN ROSY FINCH Leucosticte arctoa 粉红腹岭雀 Fěnhóng fù lǐng què

Scarce and irruptive winter visitor to the rocky mountain slopes, sometimes in large numbers. Seemingly nomadic. Lingshan is the most reliable site. Rare elsewhere.

Highest count: 550 on 28 December 2014 at Lingshan (Paul Holt)

COMMON ROSEFINCH Carpodacus erythrinus 普通朱雀 Pǔtōng zhūquè

Common passage migrant in spring (late April and May) and autumn (late August to November). Rare in March, June, July and December.

Highest count: 220 on 10 May 2020 at HuoYing (Wang Xiaobo).

CHINESE BEAUTIFUL ROSEFINCH Carpodacus pulcherrimus 红眉朱雀 Hóng méi zhūquè

Local resident breeder in the mountains. Altitudinal migrant, moving to slightly lower elevations in winter.

Highest counts: 40+ on 21 January 2018 at Miaofengshan (Colm Moore); 40 on 16 July 2020 at Lingshan (XiaoPT)

LONG-TAILED ROSEFINCH Uragus sibiricus 长尾雀 Cháng wěi què

Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor (September to April). Two races occur. Uragus sibiricus ussuriensis: distribution – Russian Far East (middle R Amur E to Ussuriland) and NE China (Heilongjiang and Jilin); winters in Korea and E China (Liaoning S to Hebei and Shanxi, also S Gansu) and Uragus sibiricus lepidus – distribution: C China (E Xizang E to S Shaanxi and SW Shanxi). In Beijing, the mountains, including Lingshan, are the most reliable sites, especially for lepidus.

Highest count: 15 on 15 November 2019 at Lingshan (Paul Holt). Note these were racially identified as follows: 3 (2 male, 1 female) lepidus & 12 (including a flock of 7) ussuriensis.

PALLAS’S ROSEFINCH Carpodacus roseus 北朱雀 Běi zhūquè

Scarce winter visitor in varying numbers (late October to mid-March). Most likely to be encountered in the mountains. Rare in lowland Beijing.

Highest count: 96 on 27 December 2014 at Lingshan (Paul Holt)

GREY-CAPPED GREENFINCH Carduelis sinica 金翅雀 Jīn chì què

Common resident breeder, passage migrant and winter visitor in urban and rural Beijing. Often seen in flocks in winter.

Highest count: 200 in 15 December 2018 at Miaofengshan (XiaoPT)

COMMON REDPOLL Carduelis flammea 白腰朱顶雀 Bái yāo zhū dǐng què

Uncommon winter visitor (October to March) to urban and rural Beijing. Most often seen in the mountains but can sometimes be found in the larger parks.

Highest count: 260 on 19 January 2014 at Lingshan (Yan Shen)

HOARY (ARCTIC) REDPOLL Carduelis hornemanni 极北朱顶雀 Jí běi zhū dǐng què

Very rare winter visitor, usually among flocks of Common Redpoll. Only four records: one collected on 17 December 1956 at Shisanling (Cai, 1987); one on 13-26 January 2014 at least at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt); two on 6 November 2014 at Lingshan (Terry Townshend, Ben Wielstra); one on 21 January 2018 at Miaofengshan (Colm Moore).

RED CROSSBILL Loxia curvirostra 红交嘴雀 Hóng jiāo zuǐ què

Scarce winter visitor (late October to mid-March).

Highest count: nine on 8 February 2018 at Yuanmingyuan (Feiyu2018 Beijing)

WHITE-WINGED (TWO-BARRED) CROSSBILL Loxia leucoptera 白翅交嘴雀 Bái chì jiāo zuǐ què

Very rare vagrant. One collected on 10 October 1964 at TanZhe Temple Forest, Mentougou District (Cai, 1987). One on 21 January 2007 in the Botanical Gardens (via BirdTalker). Two (a pair) on 8 April 2012, with one (female) on 9th April 2012 at Jingshan Park thought to be most likely escapes.

EURASIAN SISKIN Carduelis spinus 黄雀 Huáng què

Uncommon winter visitor in varying numbers and passage migrant (October to June).

Highest count: 50 on 3 January 2020 at the Botanical Gardens (Cao Xiaorong)

Emberizidae 鹀科

SLATY BUNTING Emberiza siemsseni 蓝鹀 Lán wú

Very rare vagrant. One record: a female on 17 May 2016 at the Summer Palace (Jesper Hornskov).

YELLOWHAMMER Emberiza citrinella 黄鹀 Huáng wú

Rare winter vagrant. Around 14 records up to February 2020. One reported by Wilder in a Beijing bird market on the 12 November 1927 is the first record, all the others have been since 1979, when one was collected at Miyun on 10 September (Cai Qikan, 1987). All subsequent reports have been of singles between 24 September and 13 March, nearly always in flocks of Pine Bunting. Sites have included the Baihe Valley, Xiangshan, Labagou, Ma Chang, Shidu, Shisanling, Summer Palace, Taishitun and Yeyahu. 

PINE BUNTING Emberiza leucocephalos 白头鹀 Báitóu wú

Fairly common winter visitor (late September to early May), often in large flocks.

Highest count: 500 on 18 November 1984 at Ming Tombs Reservoir (Peter Kennerley)

GODLEWSKI’S BUNTING Emberiza godlewskii 戈氏岩鹀 Gē shì yán wú

Common resident, primarly in the hills and mountains. Scarce in the city parks.

Highest count: 200 on 8 January 2006 at Shisanling Reservoir (LHY, CBR2006)

MEADOW BUNTING Emberiza cioides 三道眉草鹀 Sān dào méi cǎo wú

Common resident in scrubby and hilly areas. More lkely to be encountered in lowland Beijing in winter.

Highest count: 250 on 3 February 1985 at Ming Tombs (Peter Kennerley)

JANKOWSKI’S BUNTING Emberiza jankowskii 栗斑腹鹀 Lì bān fù wú

Very rare winter visitor (November to April). Only three records. Two were collected in the vicinity of the Summer Palace in February and March 1941 by Alastair Morrison (IBIS Vol XC, 1948). It was almost 75 years later before the next record, a group of up to 13 at Miyun Reservoir from 9 January 2016 to 20 March 2016 at least (Xing Chao, Huang Mujiao). This remarkable record was followed by eight on 25 March 2017 at the same site (Beijing Birdwatching Society Wetland Bird Survey). Note that since 2016 there has been no public access to Miyun Reservoir and the area of scrub where the Jankowski’s Buntings wintered during two consecutive winters was cleared and planted with trees.

TRISTRAM’S BUNTING Emberiza tristrami 白眉鹀 Báiméi wú

Scarce passage migrant and occasional winter visitor (September to May). Very rare in June, July and August.

Highest counts: 30 on 25 April 2006 at the Wenyu River (Wu Qi & SG); 30 on 17 October 2004 at Yuanmingyuan (FON in CBR2004)

CHESTNUT-EARED BUNTING Emberiza fucata 栗耳鹀 Lì ěr wú

Scarce passage migrant in spring (late April to early June, peaking in second half of May) and autumn (late August to October, peaking late September). One exceptional record of a singing bird on 26 July 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Paul Holt).

Highest count: eight on 14 May 2006 at Shahe Reservoir (WRQ, CBR2006)

LITTLE BUNTING Emberiza pusilla 小鹀 Xiǎo wú

Abundant passage migrant and common winter visitor (late August to May). Spring passage is from mid-March to late May, peaking in late April and early May, and autumn passage from mid-September to early November, peaking in lare September and early October. Rare in June, July and early August.

Highest count: at least 50,000 south on 26 September 2014 at Miyun Reservoir (Terry Townshend)

YELLOW-BROWED BUNTING Emberiza chrysophrys 黄眉鹀 Huángméiwú

Scarce passage migrant and winter visitor (September to mid-May). Very rare in June.

Highest count: 16 on 21 October 2019 at Temple of Heaven Park (XiaoPT)

RUSTIC BUNTING Emberiza rustica 田鹀 Tián wú

Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor (October to May).

Highest count: 210 on 4 February 2019 at the Chaobaihe north of Hougezhuang cun, eastern Tongzhou (Paul Holt)

YELLOW-THROATED BUNTING Emberiza elegans 黄喉鹀 Huáng hóu wú

Common passage migrant, winter visitor and scarce, local, breeder in the mountains.

Highest count: 50 on 14 Match 2015 at Miyun Reservoir (Zhao Min)

YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTING Emberiza aureola 黄胸鹀 Huáng xiōng wú

Scarce passage migrant in spring (May) and autumn (August to early October). Very rare in winter (one remarkable record of a single on 20 December 2008 until 3 January 2009 at least (Brian Ivon Jones)

Highest count: 44 at Miyun Reservoir on 26 August 2015 (Paul Holt and Terry Townshend)

CHESTNUT BUNTING Emberiza rutila 栗鹀 Lì wú

Scarce passage migrant in spring (mid-April to early June) and autumn (late August to early October).

Highest counts: 20 on 7 May 2007 at Baiwangshan (WJ, CBR2007); 20 on 5 May 2006 at CAS Institute of Botany (ZYQ, CBR2006)

RED-HEADED BUNTING Emberiza bruniceps 褐头鹀 Hè tóu wú

Very rare vagrant. One historical record: one collected on 24 May 1923 (Wilder & Hubbard, 1924, Journal of North China, British Royal Asiatic Society, LV, p.174)

BLACK-FACED BUNTING Emberiza spodocephala 灰头鹀 Huī tóu wú

Common passage migrant and uncommon winter visitor (late August to May). Spring passage peaks in late April and early May and autumn passage peaks in late September and early October. Rare in June and no records in July.

Highest count: 40 on 4 May 2019 at Yeyahu (Richard Davis)

PALLAS’S BUNTING Emberiza pallasi 苇鹀 Wěi wú

Common passage migrant and winter visitor (late August to May). Rare in June and no records in July. Three races probably occur (pallasi, polaris and lydiae), although current knowledge means that differentiating them in the field is not straightforward. Found mainly in reed beds and scrub.

Highest count: 400 on 19 March 2011 at Yeyahu (Spike Millington and Terry Townshend)

OCHRE-RUMPED (JAPANESE REED) BUNTING Emberiza yessoensis 红颈苇鹀 Hóng jǐng wěi wú

Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor (late October to May). Predominantly found in reedbeds and scrub.

Highest count: 30 on 9 December 2017 at the Chaobai River (XiaoPT et al.. via eBird).

REED BUNTING Emberiza schoeniclus 芦鹀 Lú wú

Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor (September to mid-May).

Highest counts: 100 on 21 March 2004 at Yeyahu (LHY in CBR2004); ten on 2 April 2018 at Yeyahu (Feiyu2018 Beijing); ten on 9 December 2007 at Shisanling Reservoir (WRQ, CBR2007)

Calcariidae 铁爪鹀科

LAPLAND LONGSPUR Calcarius lapponicus 铁爪鹀 Tiě zhǎo wú

Common passage migrant and winter visitor, sometimes in large flocks (October to March).

Highest count: 5,600 at Miyun Reservoir on 30 November 2015 (Paul Holt, Terry Townshend, Ben Wielstra and Gennadiy Dyakin)

SNOW BUNTING Plectrophenax nivalis 雪鹀 Xuě wú

Very rare winter vagrant. Only one documented record: at least 10 at Miyun Reservoir on 7 January 2017 (Qu Lijun).