Birding in Beijing Municipality
Beijing, also known as Peking in old times, is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. With a population of more than 17.65 million and covering 16,000 square kilometers, Beijing is a municipality directly under the central government and the second largest city in China. Though not famous as a hot bird spot or for certain groups of endemic birds, Beijing has recorded about 400 bird species thanks to the fact that the city is located in the flyway for migrating birds.
In past years, southern birds have shown increasing appearance in Beijing. Each year there are two groups of birds visiting this city. The summer birds arrive in Beijing and breed between April and May，and leave during autumn and winter. The Wetlands and forests in Beijing suburbs serve as temporary habitats for wading birds and forest birds.
The best season for bird-watching in Beijing is early spring, mid- and late autumn when the migratory birds fly their way to the north for summer breeding or to the south for wintering.
Beijing has a typical sub-humid warm temperate continental monsoon climate which is characterized by a hot and humid summer as a result of East Asian Monsoon and generally cold, windy and dry winter. As one of ancient Chinese capitals, Beijing has a history of more than 3,000 years.
Some Important Birding Sites in Beijing
Beijing Yeyahu Lake Wetland Nature Reserve, the artificial lake wetland in southwest Yanqing County of Beijing, consists of Kuan-ting Reservoir and neighboring mudflat. Yeyahu Lake has recorded 264 bird species, with more than 20,000 water birds passing through this territory in spring and autumn each year, according to the survey, like Swan Goose, Whooper Swan, Ruddy Shelduck, Mandarin Duck, Falcated Duck, Northern Pintail, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Collared Dove, Black-winged Stilt, Northern Lapwing, Grey-headed Lapwing, Purple Heron, Great White Egret, Chinese Pond Heron, etc. In addition, we can also look for Eastern Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Amur Falcon, Chinese Grey Shrike, Chinese Penduline Tit, Bearded Tit, Black-browed Reed Warbler, Oriental Reed Warbler, White-cheeked Starling, Water Pipit, Buff-bellied Pipit, Pallas's Reed Bunting, Little Bunting, Black-faced Bunting, etc.
Beijing Botanical Garden
Beijing Botanical Garden where inhibited a lot of northern specials in the lush forest like Beijing Babbler, Snowy-browed Nuthatch, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Pere David's Laughingthrush, Grey-capped Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Spotted Dove, Azure-winged Magpie, Yellow-bellied Tit, Marsh Tit, Silver-throated Tit, Light-vented Bulbul, Chinese Blackbird, Red-throated Thrush, Dusky Thrush, Yellow-billed Grosbeak, Oriental Greenfinch, etc.
The Parks in Downtown Beijing
The best birding sites in downtown Beijing are parks of different sizes, the Summer Palace, Yuanmingyuan Imperial Garden, the Temple of Heaven, Botanical Garden, Yuyuantan Park, Ritan Park, Beihai Park, to name a few. The Temple of Heaven is a famous birding spot in Beijing, with over 130 bird species and May is the best time to watch birds there, like Eurasian Hoopoe, Gray-capped Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Tit, Marsh Tit, Light-vented Bulbul, White-cheeked Starling, Chinese Blackbird, Red-throated Thrush, Dusky Thrush, Red-flanked Bluetail, Yellow-billed Grosbeak, Oriental Greenfinch, etc.
Donglingshan Mountain, the branch of Small Wutai Mountain, is located in the mountainous region of west Beijing quite distant from the downtown, with an average elevation of 800 to 1,500 meters. The forest coverage in this area amounts to 70% due to its geographical isolation, low human interference and recent forestation efforts. The 2,000 year survey showed endemic bird species amount to 71, most of which from Palearctic Realm, including 27 resident bird species, 46 travelling bird species. Some birds like Hill Pigeon, Black Vulture, Golden Eagle, Eastern Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Carrion Crow, Beijing Babbler, Willow Tit, Chinese Leaf Warbler, Yellow-streaked Warbler, Silver-throated Tit, Pere David's Laughingthrush, Black-throated Thrush, White-winged Redstart, Alpine Accentor, Siberian Accentor, Brambling, Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Long-tailed Rosefinch, Pallas's Rosefinch, Asian Rosy-Finch, Godlewski's Bunting, Meadow Bunting, etc.
Songshan Nature Reserve
Songshan Nature Reserve, which was founded in 1986, is situated in Yanqing County. The vegetation in Songshan Mountain is dominated by temperate broad-leaved deciduous forest. Songshan Mountain is an important habitat for forest birds. Songshan Mountain is an ideal birding site throughout the year, especially the migrating season in spring and fall. There are 3 birding sites in this region, namely Lanjiaogou Virgin Forest, Songshan Forest scenic spot and the route along the asphalt road. Birds including Koklass Pheasant, Smew, Goosander, Hill Pigeon, Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Kingfisher, Grey-capped Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Eurasian Hobby, Eurasian Jay, Azure-winged Magpie, Spotted Nutcracker, Yellow-bellied Tit, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Silver-throated Tit, Light-vented Bulbul, Beijing Babbler, Snowy-browed Nuthatch, Chinese Thrush, Dusky Thrush, Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Godlewski's Bunting, Meadow Bunting, Yellow-throated Bunting, etc.