Birding Shanghai in January 2024

In German colloquial language, there may be the jokingly derogative time period “Warmduscher”, indicating an individual who prefers heat to chilly showers (the effectivity of the German language in utilizing such a brief time period to explain what requires an entire sentence in English just isn’t fairly matched by the German file in successful world wars). If the birds had been Germans, Siberian Rubythroats wintering in Xishuangbanna (the place I noticed them a number of years in the past) would definitely be described as “Warmduscher” by their fellow species members seen in Shanghai this month.

Word the good brilliant colour of the birds (certainly, there have been three male Siberian Rubythroats on the identical spot) even in winter.


And notably in comparison with this juvenile Higher Flamingo.

Shouldn’t it’s pink, you ask? Apparently, the brilliant pink colour of flamingos comes from beta-carotene, a red-orange pigment that’s present in excessive quantities throughout the algae, brine fly larvae, and brine shrimp that flamingos eat of their wetland surroundings (supply). So, no beta-carotene, no pink colour.

Additionally as a video, by which it appears to stroll with a variety of objective – solely to cease a bit later and resume its roosting place.

Some Frequent Rosefinches winter in Shanghai yearly – and the colour of the male birds compensates for the dearth of pink within the flamingo.

Apparently, in case you are a youthful male Frequent Rosefinch, your plumage betrays you as a youthful and thus presumably much less fascinating mate (says the creator of this publish, who whereas considering of himself as middle-aged is already undoubtedly on the fallacious facet of the age 50).

So, what to do? One resolution is to sing quicker and take shorter breaks, which younger male Frequent Rosefinches apparently do. As the supply explains: “The upper singing fee of yearling males might be a type of compensation for decrease age (male high quality), which can be necessary to find a mate or avoiding aggression from older males.”

Not an issue for the feminine, I suppose. Then, folks would most likely not wish to watch movies of females.

Plainly like me, Oriental Storks will not be that keen on people. A research discovered that in areas with intense human exercise, their nests had been increased, whereas in safer environments, the nests had been decrease and nearer to meals assets, permitting guardian storks to take a position extra within the nestlings.

One other research additionally discovered that human disturbance was the primary detrimental issue affecting the Oriental Stork’s collection of nests.

That issues as a result of Oriental Storks – as soon as pretty frequent – at the moment are listed as Endangered, with Birdlife Worldwide estimating the world inhabitants at 1000–2499 mature people (that means the three people I noticed signify 0.1% to 0.3% of the overall, a sobering thought).

For some purpose, Merlins are a uncommon sight in Shanghai – these are the perfect images I’ve of the species to this point.

Discovering scientific analysis associated to the species on-line is troublesome because the phrase Merlin is used for thus many different issues as properly – a chicken ID app, a wizard (e.g., “A typical depiction of Merlin tends to be of an outdated, cloaked wizard with a protracted white beard.”), and so forth. …

Like most people, Merlins are “seasonally monogamous” (supply) – for some purpose, I’ve at all times been vaguely fascinated by the almost-self-contradictory time period of “serial monogamy”, and it appears it’s a time period that applies to the Merlin as properly. A video is right here.

Whereas the Speckled Piculet is described as being unusual in China, it appears to have a reasonably established presence at Tianmashan, Shanghai – presumably as a result of in depth bamboo there (and perhaps as a result of the chicken has gotten considerably tolerant of noisy Chinese language vacationers).

I don’t know why the species’ title is innominatus (“unnamed”) although – it appears virtually like one in all these logical puzzles (if you happen to title one thing as “unnamed”, is it actually nonetheless unnamed? All Cretans are liars, says the Cretan?)


The Eurasian Bittern is excellent at pretending to be a dull piece of wooden – a high quality that’s helpful for the species however didn’t do a lot for me on the event of my first few job interviews some a long time in the past.

Any Eurasian Bitterns following this weblog (as I feel they need to) could be to study profitable nest-building places: “nests constructed over deep water and in dense vegetation had the perfect possibilities of survival” (supply is this, quite than the extra in style “7 Habits of Extremely Profitable Eurasian Bitterns”).

One other supply advises Eurasian Bitterns towards having too many chicks: “Nestlings in broods of two and three grew quicker than these from broods of 4 and 5”. US dad and mom saving for the faculty training of a number of youngsters certainly will have the ability to relate.

eBird calls the Eurasian Woodcock a “weird and cumbersome-looking relative of the snipes”, which is a fairly good description, I feel.

eBird goes on to note the Eurasian Woodcock‘s “fats physique” – a bit extra respect for the species would have been appreciated …

I can’t touch upon the variations between the American and the Eurasian Woodcock, as my earlier comparability between sunbirds and hummingbirds (“Sunbirds are mainly hummingbirds with none hazard of Trumpism or MAGA ideology”) already led to 10,000 Birds dropping one esteemed reader, Dave R, who commented “Might’ve been an fascinating article is ruined by the dumb, drained, hacky anti-American intro. You must know that there aren’t many Trump supporters within the American birding group, but when that is what you suppose I suppose I’m now not a reader.” Can’t afford to lose any extra readers.

For many who wish to see a video of the fast-paced lifetime of Eurasian Woodcocks, please see right here.

Plainly Eurasian Spoonbills are very particular concerning the water depth by which to forage. One research discovered that that they had increased foraging success charges in areas with a water depth of 28.1-36.6 cm in comparison with different areas and most well-liked to forage in these areas.

In fact, it is a issue that makes the precise scenario at a given lake (like Poyang Lake in China) so related to them.

Science proving the apparent once more, half 78: Eurasian Spoonbills most well-liked departing from one in all their stopover websites when tailwind circumstances had been good.

One Black-faced Spoonbill sneaked in as properly (additionally in one of many images above). No apparent racism there. Nicely, they’re birds, not people. Movies right here and right here.

Some skilled conspiracy theorists declare that there aren’t any birds anymore and that they’ve all been changed by authorities drones. One of many alleged proofs is that these drones typically land on energy traces to recharge their batteries. In fact, this isn’t true. I personally spoke to this Frequent Kestrel and the chicken assured me it was not a drone however quite wanted electrical energy to recharge its cell phone.

As frequent when the author is just too drained and/or has nothing new to say about some nonetheless enticing or fascinating species seen this month, here’s a little picture gallery to finish the publish.

White’s Thrush

Blue Rock Thrush


A couple of buntings: Yellow-browed Bunting

Tristram’s Bunting


Rustic Bunting


Hooded Crane



(video right here and right here)

Gray-capped Greenfinch

Northern Lapwing


Silver-throated Bushtit


Black-throated Bushtit


Japanese Yellow Wagtail


Pied Avocet (in winter)

Frequent Greenshank (additionally as video)

Noticed Redshank (additionally as video)

And at last, some extra raptors: Crested Goshawk

Black-winged Kite


Upland Buzzard



Peregrine Falcon


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