birdwatching china

Unique Bird Watching Spots in China

Hosting over 1300 different species of birds, China is the place to be if you are interested in bird watching. Now, the question is; where do you go to find these incredible creatures, especially when it comes to the ones that are endangered and hard to find? Here we discuss some of the best places to see birds in China. Check it out and plan your trip accordingly to see these marvelous creations!

Yancheng Rare Birds Nature Reserve

This wetland area was dubbed a nature reserve in the year 1983 and became a member of the World Biosphere Network of UNESCO in 1992. The park earned these titles because it has become home to an incredible amount of different birds and animals. With over 377 different species nestled into this area, you’re sure to see some very interesting sights here.


The reserve borders the Yellow Sea and sits between two massive Chinese rivers: Yangtze and Yellow River.

It is thus a beautiful marshland that is perfect for birds that live in this type of habitat. Each year, over 3 million wild birds make this place their home, among them cranes, eagles, swans, and more.

Of particular interest here is the red-crowned crane. Its presence here has made this nature reserve even more famous. During the winter migration, 1,500 of these stunning birds take up residence within the reserve, and provide an incredible sight to see.

The best time, then, to visit this reserve is in the winter, although it is open all year round.

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Lashihai-Wenhai Watershed

Another winter wonderland for bird lovers. This beautiful area is settled at an elevation of 2500 meters and surrounded by mountains on all sides.

It is home to many different migratory birds and incredible natural phenomena. This lake has a curious habit that puzzles those who have tried to understand it.

As spring begins, the waters of the lake slowly disappear and don’t reappear until summer. During that time the entire area becomes beautiful grassland. When the rainy season starts in mid-summer, the lake slowly fills once again until it is back to its full size by December for the arrival of the birds.


At Lashi Lake, over 57 species of birds will make this their winter home, including black-necked cranes, whooper swans, and endangered black storks. The surrounding forests are also a lovely place to see bird raptors and other wildlife. The plant life here is also astounding, with beautiful rhododendrons blooming in spring.

This area is also a home to the Yi minority, so if you happen to visit Lashihai-Wenhai Watershed in August, you may be able to witness the Torch Festival of the Yi People.


Poyang Lake in Jiangxi

This gorgeous lake is one of the greatest freshwater lakes in all of China. It becomes a home of over 500,000 birds during the winter months.

They come from all over eastern Asia and settle here just for the winter. The vast waters create a lovely scene that is picturesque and inspiring.

Due to summer rains, there is a high concentration of mud that makes bird watching in close quarters tough (and you may come home feeling pretty dirty!). However, it is still possible to see thousands of beautiful birds in the summer months.

There is hardly any infrastructure for bird watching, but with the help of a guide and a spirit of adventure, it is a very rewarding trip.

bird watching china

Source: Coke and Sam Travelodge

Different species of cranes, such as the Siberian Crane and the Hooded Crane, can be seen here in the winter months. Check out this extensive article to see all the different types of birds that can be seen at Poyang, including kingfishers, shrikes, pheasants, swans, storks, egrets, herons and much more!

When to go?

A true lover of travel is never satisfied by a short vacation. We all know the feeling: it’s just not enough. However, with busy lives and short holidays from work, it’s important to make the most of the time we have to spend in the Middle Kingdom.

For bird watchers, the best time to visit China is certainly the winter, which is starting very soon! Don’t hesitate and start making the plans, or let us do it for you! The adventure is just waiting for you.

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Cez Krol

Travel blogger at eTramping
Cez lives in China like a local for the past 4 years. Apart from speaking the language, he loves to discover more about this unique country of extreme contrasts. He shares his China experiences here at Sublime China and on his blog eTramping, so go and check out what's out there for you in China.
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