- Bird

Birding Shanghai in March 2023 – 10,000 Birds

Shanghai in March continues to be an excellent time to see quite a lot of buntings earlier than they migrate North. Most of them are straightforward to see – the Japanese Reed Bunting will not be. Certainly it’s listed as Close to Threatened, which is a pity as it’s form of a soulmate of mine (eBird: “Not as social as Reed and Pallas’s Buntings and doesn’t expose itself as typically; often solitary”).

And naturally, its predominant subject mark is invisible, or as eBird says, “Ochre rump is seen in all plumages and is diagnostic, however it may be tough to see”.

Different buntings (for which on the finish of a barely overlong winter season I can’t be bothered to dig out additional semi-interesting info) embody the Pallas’s Bunting aka Pallas’s Reed Bunting (extra social than the Japanese one, see above) …

Yellow-throated Bunting


Yellow-browed Bunting


Black-faced Bunting


Little Bunting


and Tristram’s Bunting.


If you’re extra all for moist tits than in buntings, listed below are some Japanese Tits.


Black-throated Bushtits don’t lend themselves to dangerous jokes fairly as effectively. However they’re cute …


… significantly when reenacting a portray by Caspar David Friedrich, “Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer” (Wanderer over the ocean of fog). Okay, minus the fog.

Opposite to what I wrote in my February submit, a number of Hooded Crane {couples} have now chosen to have two chicks. Possibly the grandparents assist.



Chinese language Penduline Tits should not significantly woke birds. For 80% of all nests, uniparental care was noticed, primarily by the feminine (71% vs. 9% by the male). Presumably, the vast majority of males have lots of mediocre jokes about their chick-caring conspecific males.


White’s Thrush is described as “burly” on eBird – not totally unjustified, I suppose, however this description fails to seize the way in which the intricate patterns of the fowl make for nice camouflage and in addition for its personal form of magnificence.


The Frequent Pheasants in Shanghai are all wild – there isn’t a program of supporting the wild inhabitants by releasing hand-reared birds. Such packages are considerably inefficient anyway – in one research, the breeding success of untamed male pheasants was 2-5 occasions increased than for hand-reared and launched ones whereas for females, hand-reared birds had been 3 occasions as weak to predation because the wild ones. Makes you wonder if kindergartens are such a good suggestion. Possibly kids ought to simply be launched into the wild as quickly as doable.


A Pale Thrush with a foul hair day.

Its temper will not be helped by the ambiguous assessment on eBird: “Though not truly pale, this brownish songbird is among the plainer thrushes in its vary”.

The Latin species title of the Dusky Thrush is eunomos (I suppose that’s Greek, however no matter) – which means well-ordered. Apparently, this title is derived from the well-ordered patterns of the male.

And naturally, the images right here present a feminine, so far as I can inform.

Apparently, there’s a web site simply displaying stamps depicting fowl species. One web page is devoted to the Lengthy-tailed Shrike. It’s a bit arduous for me to think about a lot of an overlap between birders and stamp collectors, but when it didn’t exist, why would (for instance) the Republique Federale Islamique des Comores difficulty shrike-themed stamps?


I’m not positive how it’s in male opera singers – do older singers sing longer? No less than that’s how it’s amongst Frequent Rosefinches: older males sing with an extended strophe size than yearlings.

After all, this factoid must be introduced with a photograph of a male, not a feminine rosefinch. Alas, it appears they had been already gone from Tianmashan in March.

It could not sound truthful, however high-quality particular person Gray-capped Greenfinches favor to mate with one another (supply).

What among the much less enticing birds then suppose might be alongside the traces of “If I’m Not Sizzling, Are You Sizzling or Not?”, which by some exceptional coincidence can be the title of a paper on “Bodily-Attractiveness Evaluations and Relationship Preferences as a Operate of One’s Personal Attractiveness” (amongst people, not Gray-capped Greenfinches).

That paper raises an fascinating query: “When much less enticing folks settle for much less enticing dates, do they persuade themselves that the folks they select thus far are extra bodily enticing than others understand them to be?”, with the reply given “Much less enticing folks don’t delude themselves into considering that their dates are extra bodily enticing than others understand them to be”. So, folks presumably find yourself being depressed and lifelike relatively than completely happy and delusional.

In my expertise, folks eat extra meals they’re acquainted with than meals that’s unfamiliar. In addition they eat extra when along with different folks. Lastly, they’re extra prepared to eat new varieties of meals when different folks they’re along with eat these new meals as effectively. All this was verified in a research.

Wait, the research was not carried out with folks however with Eurasian Siskins.

Chinese language Blackbirds are among the many commonest birds within the Shanghai compound the place I reside (and the place luckily this 12 months I’m not truly locked in, a distinction to the state of affairs one 12 months in the past). It was my impression that they’re thriving right here, and a really current (2023) paper confirms that certainly Chinese language Blackbirds do effectively in cities. 16% of city nests had been invaded by predators however 43% of rural nests had been.

They’re described as “bigger and extra highly effective than the Frequent Blackbird of Europe” – I can think about some Chinese language nationalists rejoicing that “my blackbird can beat your blackbird” …


Based on Wikipedia, the distribution of the Pink-billed Leiothrix stretches over India, Bhutan, Nepal, Burma, and components of Tibet. In fact, it’s current in lots of components of China (not talked about) however not likely in Tibet. This leads us to the surprising realization that there’s a mistake on the web. Thoughts you, this isn’t the primary time – this has occurred earlier than, as reported by The Onion. Nonetheless, I’m shocked. What’s subsequent? Mendacity US-Ex-Presidents?


Unusually, the HBW calls the Pink-billed Leiothrix a “medium-sized, inexperienced and yellow babbler” – to me, the outline of the fowl as inexperienced appears fairly far-fetched. Notes on colorblind ornithologists half 1.

“It ain’t straightforward being known as inexperienced”

Notes on colorblind ornithologists half 2: a fowl with orange legs (Noticed Pinkshank) and one with yellowish ones (Frequent Inexperiencedshank).



(I attempted to think about a joke devoted to George Santos – one thing in regards to the legs of the Greenshank not being yellowish however yellow-ish – however couldn’t make it work. Any options?).

Notes on colorblind ornithologists half 3: Inexperienced (?) Sandpiper.

Notes on colorblind ornithologists half 4: Black Bulbul.

(sure, I do know that is the white-headed morph – however that’s the one most simply seen in Shanghai, and don’t you suppose that mentioning that solely a particular morph makes the title of the species nonsensical is relatively a lame excuse?)

To be truthful, the title of the Chestnut Bulbul appears applicable – apparently, not all ornithologists are colour blind.


The Chinese language title of the Rufuous-faced Warbler mysteriously interprets as Brown-faced Flycatcher Warbler (Zong Lian Weng Ying) – colorblind Chinese language Ornithologists?



Maybe to keep away from additional criticism, the identical Chinese language colorblind ornithologist then selected a color-free title for the Brown(ish)-flanked Bush Warbler?

Certainly, the Chinese language title interprets as Sturdy-footed Tree Warbler (Qiang Jiao Shu Ying). Really, that’s extra aligned with the Latin species title (fortipes) than the English title.

So possibly the English-speaking ornithologists simply needed to point out off their non-colorblindness.

The Gentle-vented Bulbul apparently advantages from being a social animal, which I personally (being not very social) discover a bit unfair. A paper with the largely self-explanatory title “Consuming Extra and Preventing Much less: Social Foraging Is a Potential Benefit for Profitable Enlargement of Hen Supply Populations” hyperlinks the profitable vary growth of the Gentle-vented Bulbul in comparison with an identical species (Collared Finchbill) to the bulbuls being extra more likely to forage in bigger teams than the finchbills.


And right here is the Collared Finchbill, who like me suffers from being much less social than others. Which limits each its and my vary growth (although in my case, not having children is a crucial extra issue).

For pretty apparent causes, the Northern Shoveler jogs my memory of the wide-mouth frog joke I heard as a child. It appears this joke even made it into academia – there may be a paper titled “Jokes and covert language attitudes – The curious case of the wide-mouth frog”.

If you wish to cheer up Kaily Meek and Drew Bender (presumably undergraduates at Metropolitan State College of Denver), you may wish to view their on-line paper “Dynamics of cooperative feeding in northern shovelers”. In the intervening time, the stats for this paper are (grammatically incorrect) given as “Views: 1).

It’s arduous to say a paper on the displacement of Little Egrets at high-quality areas throughout the nesting colonies with out utilizing the outdated and relatively drained joke of “Location, location, location”. Significantly because it appears to be true – Cattle Egrets exclude Little Egrets from the perfect (most central) spots in heronries, which ends up in decrease breeding success.


Apparently, in Europe Bramblings are the species showing within the largest flocks and are thus “an fascinating case research for discussing quantity estimates” (supply). This isn’t a difficulty right here in Shanghai – I’ve solely seen them in very small teams this winter.



In my (luckily relatively restricted) expertise, Chinese language karaoke singers adapt their singing primarily based on the chosen track, the viewers, and the quantity of alcohol of their blood. Equally, Oriental Magpie-Robins adapt their track to the surroundings (city or rural) by various parameters equivalent to frequency, size of strophe, the interval between strophes, and the variety of components per strophe (supply).



Scaly-breasted Munias appear to be pretty eclectic of their alternative of habitat. One paper describes them dwelling within the cemeteries of Yogyakarta in Indonesia.

The lead writer – presumably as a result of big success of the paper “Public cemetery as a fowl habitat in Yogyakarta, Indonesia” – then ready a sequel paper, “Campuses in Yogyakarta as a fowl habitat” and (shock) additionally discovered Scaly-breasted Munias. Most college students would in all probability see themselves as completely different from lifeless folks, however the munias don’t appear to make such a distinction.

Scaly-breasted Munias are in all probability followers of Christopher Hitchens, who acknowledged that “faith poisons all the pieces”. The species is among the most focused for the advantage fowl commerce – birds which might be captured for cash after which offered to (Buddhist) believers who launch the fowl in an try to realize advantage.

After all, for the birds concerned, this typically results in dying. Sarcastically (and personally, on condition that I’m not significantly keen on the human race, additionally deservedly) this may increasingly assist the unfold of illnesses carried by birds, equivalent to avian influenza (supply). Luckily, some Buddhist temples at the least in Thailand have now spoken out towards the follow (supply).

The Scaly-breasted Munia has a bigger head measurement than the White-rumped Munia, and a analysis paper speculates that it is a purpose for its wider distribution vary.

The broader distribution vary additionally appears to have an effect on the size of every species’ Wikipedia entry – the one for the White-rumped Munia is just about one-third of the size of the Scaly-breasted Munia.

Whereas you could have heard about issues in China’s development business, spring brings some hope to the sector – as evident from this Silver-throated Bushtit


… and this Gray-capped Greenfinch.


Apparently, there as soon as was a Buick mannequin named Buick Skylark. From the images I’ve discovered on-line, it’s fairly a showy automotive – not like the birds named skylark, which are usually described as “a relatively non-descript species” (supply) or “inconspicuous” (eBird). The widespread skylark species right here in Shanghai is the Oriental Skylark, a fowl with the doubtful honor of being talked about final on this months’ submit.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *