- Bird

Birding Kangding, Sichuan – 10,000 Birds

In Kangding, there’s a somewhat opulent chook disguise – two tales, strong building, spacious, a lot of glass, a separate paved car parking zone, although mysteriously (and so far as I can inform from my expertise of residing in China for nearly 20 years, not indicative of basically totally different bodily wants of Chinese language folks) lacking a rest room.

This was the place I spent a very good half a day in February 2023, once more within the firm of Bella from Alpinebirding, who luckily compensates her disturbing fondness for leaf warblers with an enormous data of Chinese language birds and notably their calls (although clearly, the latter functionality is rather more essential when birding together with her within the wild somewhat than from a disguise, so I suppose I ought to have used the final bit in one other weblog publish).

Anyway, in case you might be nonetheless studying, the principle attraction at this disguise is Woman Amherst’s Pheasant, which perversely just isn’t featured on this publish (it’s handled in a separate one, thus grudgingly acknowledging the just about disgusting flamboyance of that species).

Nonetheless, there are many birds left to see from this disguise.

Among the many key points of interest are a number of laughingthrushes. I believe my favourite this time was the Barred Laughingthrush.

The best way eBird describes the species might effectively be an outline of my perfect girlfriend – “good-looking however shy”.

The Latin species identify lunulata is derived from luna, “moon”, with the diminutive added – it means thus “little moon” and in addition “crescent-shaped”. My guess is that that is derived from the half-moonish patterns everywhere in the most important physique of the chook.

I’m not positive why the change – hopefully some constructive growth – however the categorization of the species was modified from Close to Threatened (it’s range-restricted) to Least Concern.

Elliot’s Laughingthrush is known as after Daniel Giraud Elliot (1835 – 1915), an American ornithologist who apparently didn’t actually do something associated to laughingthrushes and/or Asia however was wealthy. Possibly that was sufficient. Not less than he didn’t have a ebook titled “The Artwork of the Deal” ghostwritten for him.

This species tends to make use of loads of hair gel to get the right moist look.

In a current publish, I discussed that scientific papers more and more appear to have literary titles. A very current one (2023) involving Elliot’s Laughingthrush follows the identical pattern: “Asian Koel removes nestlings of Elliot’s Laughingthrush from their nest: farming or retaliatory mafia conduct?

The paper describes a videotaped incident of an grownup feminine Asian Koel eradicating three Elliot’s Laughingthrush nestlings from a nest (by the way, additionally in Kangding, Sichuan). The more than likely clarification – as judged by the authors – is one thing known as the farming speculation, which states that brood parasites such because the koel could intentionally destroy nests because it offers them a very good probability to deposit an egg within the alternative clutch. Not one thing I might severely contemplate doing myself, however then I do probably not wish to reproduce anyway.

Pity the mafia speculation cited within the title of the paper just isn’t pursued additional although – that might have been attention-grabbing.

Photobombing appears to be an enormous factor for Elliot’s Laughingthrush, not less than on this location (right here with a Large Laughingthrush).

The Chinese language Babax additionally does some photobombing however in a way more delicate approach (to compensate for the earlier photograph, right here with an Elliot’s Laughingthrush).

The identify half “Babax” apparently is borrowed from Historical Greek, with “babax” which means “chatterer”. The identify “Chinese language” apparently is derived from the truth that the chook is especially present in China.


As an instance my ceaselessly made level that mammals are type of evil, right here is one other piece of proof. A paper describes how a Golden Snub-nosed Monkey (which appears a bit like anyone had kicked Donald Trump within the nostril, which in itself could most likely not be such a foul concept) ate three Chinese language Babax chicks from a nest in Shennongjia Nationwide Park.

A few of the grotesque particulars are given within the summary of the paper: “The monkey killed all of the three chicks by biting off their heads whereas feeding on them. On this case, a number of people, most have been feminine juveniles, have been concerned in watching the method of predation”. So not solely do mammals kill birds, however additionally they see this as a type of spectator sport.

The Large Laughingthrush is a little bit of a disappointment in that it’s not actually sufficiently big to eat you (or perhaps a pet cat), despite the fact that that’s what one would anticipate from an animal with the Large half in its identify. Possibly the species has shrunk previously few many years.


If in case you have ever considered having youngsters and need my opinion on it, I counsel in opposition to it. Nonetheless, on the plus facet, you most likely is not going to should eat the feces of your younger youngsters, as Large Laughingthrushes do (supply; after all, many different chook species do that as effectively).


Within the (lately barely diminished) custom of this weblog masking non-avian subjects that presumably none of its readers are occupied with, right here is an unpaid intermission to plug a video by one in all my favourite bands, The Burning Hell: “All I want”. Because the band describes it, it’s “an animated sci-fi Western quick movie/music video” that’s effectively value watching even in the event you mistakenly assume that the music just isn’t that good. Finish of commercial.

The Black-browed Bushtit just isn’t actually all that totally different from the extra widespread (together with Shanghai) Black-throated Bushtit. Each have a black forehead and a blackish throat. The extraordinary world of chook names once more.

Apparently, it’s the high-altitude counterpart to the Black-throated Bushtit. Presumably, the Latin species identify bonvaloti is derived from the French explorer Gabriel Bonvalot (1853-1933), although I didn’t get a transparent affirmation for that. This Bonvalot apparently was the standard ruthless explorer of these occasions – Wikipedia states that “As a European, Bonvalot felt superior to the locals and used threats or pressure to acquire tools, provides, pack animals and porters” and on one other expedition “once more coerced the inhabitants into offering horses and guides and even threatened the native commander with imprisonment”. Unsurprisingly and well-deservedly, his expedition was later detained by officers of the Tibetan authorities and never allowed to enter Lhasa. In any case, no cause to call a chook after him.

Like different bushtits, this species is sort of social and shamelessly performs on its cuteness as its USP (in the event you have no idea what USP means, congratulations – you undoubtedly don’t work in advertising).

As customary for the HBW, the Black-browed Bushtit remains to be handled as conspecific with the Rufous-fronted Bushtit, a distinction that Wikipedia already makes. I suppose Wikipedia is extra centered on birds than the HBW.

The Rufous-vented Tit is certainly rufous-vented, assuming that vent is a well mannered ornithological phrase for “ass” (certainly, merckvetmanual.com states that the vent is the outermost a part of the cloaca).

The Noticed Nutcracker is thought to be a little bit of a jerk amongst some crops, if this paper is to be believed. (Would you may have believed that there’s a scientific journal titled “Motion Ecology”? Me, undoubtedly not).

Why? Effectively, the nutcracker ceaselessly caches the seeds of the Swiss stone pine at low elevations in spruce forest, the place the Swiss stone pine can not develop. Wasted effort from the perspective of the tree, and a cause why many of those timber are somewhat keen on cats.

As their discovering sounds a bit too easy and easy, the authors don’t spare any effort to phrase their findings in a way more tough and obscure assertion: “We conclude that the implications of such long-distance seed dispersal actions for plant populations ought to be fastidiously thought of together with the consequences of habitat high quality on plant recruitment.” Congratulations.

Apparently, each elements of the Latin identify Nucifraga caryocatactes principally simply imply nutcracker, despite the fact that the second half sounds extra just like the identify of a Brazilian samba band.

Why do nesting makes an attempt of the Purple-billed Blue Magpie generally fail? In keeping with Chinese language researchers, nest predation and brood parasitism are the 2 most important causes.

This not notably stunning consequence doesn’t preserve authors from making some pretty grandiose claims on the finish of the summary: “This examine supplies the primary dependable and complete info on the reproductive parameters of U. erythrorhyncha, which is able to lay a basis for additional understanding this species’ biology and opens up an avenue for large-scale comparative research of the Urocissa genus or higher-level taxa.”

All people desires to put the groundwork, no one desires to enter particulars. Possibly this may be delegated to some interns?

When you occur to reside in St. Louis, USA, you’ll be able to see the species at your native zoo.

eBird makes the White-browed Fulvetta sound like some type of hobbit: “Chunky fulvetta of scrubby, stunted subalpine forests.”

The Latin species identify vinipectus, or “wine(colour)-breasted” doesn’t instantly make a lot sense to me.


Drummers most likely assume that their particular person fashion is exclusive and distinct – and perhaps it’s. Presumably, Nice Noticed Woodpeckers assume alike, given that there’s a paper titled “Vocal individuality in drumming in nice noticed woodpecker”.

Generally ornithological analysis have to be deeply disappointing. For instance, when researchers examined paternity in Nice Noticed Woodpeckers, they most likely already of their heads phrased a raunchy headline for his or her paper – most likely not “Not manufactured from wooden?” however perhaps “They often drum the place they need to not drum”?

As an alternative, they discovered that in all 161 younger from 36 broods have been sired by the male feeding on the nest gap. What a bummer. As a consequence, the title of the paper is the somewhat boring “Parental care and parentage in monogamous nice noticed woodpeckers”.

Fortuitously, the one Streaked Rosefinch visiting the disguise was a male. Sure, sexism, I do know.

eBird is partaking in some borderline fat-shaming by calling it a big, cumbersome rosefinch.

The Latin identify is a bit lame – rubicilloides, or “resembling rubicilla”, which is the species identify of the Nice Rosefinch.

In fact, Elliot’s Laughingthrush doesn’t simply hand over on its photobombing efforts.

As regular, the one destructive facet of this disguise was a mammal – on this case, an previous Chinese language chook photographer, head to toe in camouflage gear, which on condition that he was in an nearly absolutely inclosed disguise was pretty ridiculous however most likely made him really feel extra like an actual man. He additionally appeared to assume that any passing of my journey companion in entrance of his lens was a significant infraction whereas on the identical time being extraordinarily tolerant of his personal loud speaking to the disguise proprietor and on his cellphone. Effectively, you already know, mammals.

One other mammal, luckily not as noisy.



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