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Ten Rare Birds of China

Sep 16, 2010

China has a vast territory spanning 5000km from East to West and from North to South. This vast territory provides one of most diversified ecosystems on planet Earth. And this ecosystem is home to many beautiful creatures. Since this post, I am going to introduce some of the most beautiful wildlife in China. Today, we start with ten rare birds of China.

This list of ten birds is not a complete list of all rare birds in China, rather ten representatives. Some are unique to China, some are rare in China as well as in the world, and the others might be in a less critical situation in other countries.

Believe it or not, China’s population is huge burden to natural resources and ecosystem. So many important habitat of wildlife has been transformed and destroyed by environmental destruction. I wish the public as well as the government realize this as soon as possible that we are not the only living beings of this world. Otherwise, we will soon only see these beautiful birds in pictures.

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Mute Swan

1. Mute Swan 疣鼻天鹅 – wikiphoto by wildphotons

China has three kinds of swans: Whooper Swan, Tundra Swan and the rare Mute Swan. Mute Swans breed in the Northwestern China and migrate to Lower Yangtze River region in winter. In Bayanbulak Wetland, there is China’s largest Wild Swan Conservation Area, many Mute Swans come here for breeding. It has become a famous “Swan Lake”.

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Crested Ibis

2. Crested Ibis 朱鹮 – wikiphoto by Andy Li

Also known as Red Crane, it was thought to be extinct through 1960s and 1970s, until 1981 when seven ibises were found in Shaanxi, China. Extensive captive breeding programs have been developed by Japan and China to conserve the species.

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Black Stork

3. Black Stork 黑鹳 – wikiphoto by Sergey Yeliseev

Black Stork is a widespread species but is endangered in China.

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Mandarin Duck

4. Mandarin Duck 鸳鸯 – wikiphoto by digitalART2

Mandarin Ducks are frequently featured in Oriental art and are regarded as a symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity. A Chinese proverb for loving couples uses the Mandarin Duck as a metaphor: “Two mandarin ducks playing in water”. The Mandarin Duck symbol is also used in Chinese weddings, because in traditional Chinese lore they symbolize wedded bliss and fidelity. The reason for this metaphor is because unlike other species of ducks, most Mandarin drakes reunite with the hens they mated with along with their offsprings after the eggs have hatched and even share scout duties in watching the ducklings closely.

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Blue Pitta

5. Blue Pitta 蓝八色鸫 – wikiphoto by stfbfc

These bright colorful tropical birds can only be found in China in the tropical forests in Sipsongpanna.

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Red Junglefowl

6. Red Junglefowl 原鸡 – wikiphoto by Mike in Thailand

A direct ancestor of domestic chicken. It was first raised in captivity at least several thousand years ago in Asia, and the domesticated form has been used all around the world as a very productive food source for both meat and eggs. Some breeds have been specifically developed to produce these.

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Lady Amherst’s Pheasant

7. Lady Amherst’s Pheasant 白腹锦鸡 – wikiphoto by Gabriel Kamener

These are native to southwestern China and Myanmar, but have been introduced elsewhere, and have established a self-supporting, but now declining, feral population in England, the stronghold of which is now in Bedfordshire. The name commemorates Sarah Countess Amherst, wife of William Pitt Amherst, Governor General of Bengal, who was responsible for sending the first specimen of the bird to London in 1828.

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Green Peafowl

8. Green Peafowl 绿孔雀 – wikiphoto by Tony the Misfit

They can only be found in Yunnan Province in China, and they are the “Lucky Birds” of Dai People.

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Red Crowned Crane

9. Red-crowned Crane 丹顶鹤 – wikiphoto by bertrudestein

One of the most promising candidates for China’s National Bird. But its latin name “Grus japonensis” contains “Japan” in it, which put on a big hinder for its way to the “National Bird” crown. Nonetheless, this graceful bird is very important in Chinese culture as a symbol of longevity and immortality.

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Eurasian Eagle Owl

10. Eurasian Eagle-owl 雕鸮 – wikiphoto by Al Power

This widespread species is a powerful bird and a predator of rats and insects. China has about 28 different kinds of eagle owls, they are all enlisted as State Protected Species.

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