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Hong Kong is busy with birds

Over 540 species of birds have been recorded in Hong Kong, which is a major stopever point for many migratory birds. This accounts for a third of the recorded species in China and an amazing one twentieth of the total global number. All in tiny Hong Kong!

Here a fork-tailed sunbird enjoys a rest.

Among this total number of species, about 20% are residents, 30% are winter visitors, 40% are passage migrants and 5% are summer visitors. The remaining 5% are vagrant/occasional visitors, maybe blown onshore by storms etc..

A tiny Japanese White Eye.

There are three main reasons why there is an abundance of birds in Hong Kong. Firstly, Hong

Kong is in the middle of two main bio-geographical regions, Paleartci and Oriental, so birds from both

regions can be seen here. Secondly, Hong Kong is in the East Asia-Australia Flyway, one of the main waterbird migration routes. Thirdly, Hong Kong contains a wide diversity of habitats, including wetlands, streams, open country, islands, woodland and urban areas. Also, typhoons sometimes bring oceanic species into Hong Kong’s waters. If you want to easily see some species then the forested slopes of the Peak attract many woodland species including barbets, minivets, bulbuls, warblers, tits, cuckooshrikes, sunbirds, thrushes and flowerpeckers. The species that are easiest to see are the black-eared kites - the most common raptor of Hong Kong - bulbuls, Japanese white-eyes and fork-tailed sunbirds. The latter three birds, particularly the sunbird favour the flame trees at the main entrance to the Matilda Hospital, where i have often watched them forage. Here a black-eared Kite on the left, and a Re-Whiskered Bulbul on the right. Click them for larger images.

Listen for the different bird calls and cries, and stand still for 10 minutes and you are sure to hear and see more birdlife than you expect.

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