A Bird-Watcher's Guide to Haikou

By / hicn.cn / Updated: 19:03,18-March-2023

Spring has sprung, and the air is alive with the smells and sounds of a new season. When visiting Haikou's many parks, rivers, lakes, wetlands or beaches, you may notice some of the city's many fine feathered friends who call it home throughout the year.  Lu Gang (Director of the  Haikou Duotan Wetland Research Institute) put together this guide to introduce casual bird-watchers to Haikou's spring birds.

Swinhoe's White-Eye 

Swinhoe's White-Eye (Zosterops simplex) is a bird species from the Zosteropidae family. These diminutive birds with their strikingly white eyes are decked out in a light green "jacket" with a yellow and white "waistcoat". Known for naturally gathering in flocks, they prefer forested environments where they feed on insects, plant nectar, fruits and seeds. A common inhabitant of Haikou every winter, they can be spotted in some forests or parks.

 [Swinhoe's White-Eye/Lu Gang]

Crested Myna 

The Crested Myna (Acridotheres cristatellus), also known as the Chinese starling, is a species of starling in the Acridotheres family. Named after the tuft of feathers on its forehead that resembles a crest, Haikou's starling population is very dense with large groups present in Evergreen and Baishamen parks. An omnivorous bird, in addition to preying on insects, they also eat fruits and seeds.

[Crested Myna/Lu Gang]


Egrets are a kind of heron. These generally long-legged wading birds have white or buff plumage and develop fine (usually milky white) plumes during breeding season. They can be found in Haikou's farmlands, and along wet areas such as riversides, beaches and mangroves.

[Egret/Lu Gang]

Light-Vented Bulbul ​

The Light-Vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis), also called the Chinese Bulbul, is a species of bird in the bulbul family. A common species of songbird that favors lightly wooded habitats, it can frequently be seen in towns, suburbs and urban parks within its range. During migration season, one can occasionally see flocks of hundreds of Light-Vented Bulbuls along the coast. An omnivorous bird, in addition to  preying on insects, they also eat fruits and seeds. In the winter, they are particularly fond of eating the fruits of the Chinaberry Tree.

 [Light-Vented Bulbul /Lu Gang]

White-Breasted Waterhen

Widespread throughout South and Southeast Asia, the White-Breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus) is a waterbird of the Rallidae family. They are a dark, slate coloured bird with a clean white face, chest and belly. Slightly bolder than most rails, they are often seen walking slowly, tail up, in open marshes or even drainage ponds near busy roads. They are mainly active at dusk and during the breeding season. They make a loud and repeated croaky call which is commonly part of the background noise of Baishamen Park. Look for them walking around on the water lily leaves.

[White-Breasted Waterhen /Lu Gang]

Black-Winged Stilt 

The Black-Winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) is a widely distributed long-legged wader in the avocet and stilt family (Recurvirostridae). On account of the hundreds of them that winter there, you can easily spot them at Dongzhai Port. When startled, they will take flight in a tight formation, which is spectacular to see.

[Black-Winged Stilt/Lu Gang]

Black-Throated Laughingthrush

The Black-Throated Laughingthrush (Pterorhinus chinensis) is a species of bird in the family Leiothrichidae. A unique subspecies to Hainan,.their natural voice souds like laughter, loud and pleasant. Medium-sized and brown in colour, this species of Laughingthrush likes to live in woods and bushes, and—common throughout Haikou—can easily be found in Jinniuling Park and in the suburban woodlands.

[Black-Throated Laughingthrush/Lu Gang]

Black Drongo 

The Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus) is a small Asian passerine bird of the drongo family Dicruridae. With a diet primarily made up of a variety of insects (such as grasshoppers and dragonflies), they are usually found perched on the branches of trees and electric utility poles.  There are a small number of Black Drongos that live in Haikou year round and a much larger number who come to Haikou for the winter. They can be seen in the wetlands and forests surrounding Haikou.

 [Black Drongo/Lu Gang]

Common Sandpiper 

The Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) is a small Palearctic wader. These sandpipers usually live near the water and on rocks in the water;  river boats can also become their roosts. Besides the sea, they can be seen in lakes and reservoirs around the Yangshan Wetlands.

[Common Sandpiper/Lu Gang]

Long-Tailed Shrike

The Long-Tailed Shrike or Rufous-Backed Shrike (Lanius schach) is a member of the bird family Laniidae. With a relatively wide distribution, it is a non-migratory resident of Haikou which can be seen year round. Mimicking the calls of other birds, their calls are actually quite distinctive. Despite their small size, these strong shrikes are ferocious predators of insects, small birds, and even larger birds.

 [Long-Tailed Shrike/Lu Gang]



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