China: Birds & Culture: Apr 16—May 01, 2015

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Departs: Beijing
Tour Limit: 8
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (119.2 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Dion Hobcroft

Dion Hobcroft has been working for VENT since 2001. He has led many tours (more than 170) to...

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Golden Snub-nosed Monkey

Golden Snub-nosed Monkey— Photo: Dion Hobcroft

Combining cultural and birding sites, our early focus will be on several of China’s most famous cultural sites including the Terracotta Warriors, Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace. We will then explore several protected natural areas to enjoy some excellent early spring birding hoping to encounter globally threatened birds ranging from Crested Ibis, Swan Goose, Great Bustard, and Jankowski’s Bunting to Siberian, Red-crowned, and White-naped cranes.

Our trip begins in Beijing where we will visit sites such as Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Ming Tombs, the Summer Palace, and the Great Wall. We should also see a variety of birds ranging from Azure-winged Magpie to Mandarin Duck and scarce endemics like the White-browed Hill-Babbler. At Wild Duck Lake we will have the chance to see such unusual species as Chinese Penduline-Tit and Swan Goose.

A journey west to Xian will place us in the precinct of the Terracotta Warriors, and we will spend several hours exploring this World Heritage Site. This also enables us to connect with one of the world’s rarest birds, the unique Oriental Crested Ibis, which is staging a carefully managed comeback from the brink of extinction. In protected forests, we will try to see the Golden Pheasant, Brown Dipper, and a host of other interesting central Chinese birds. We hope to encounter, as on previous tours, some of this region’s unusual mammals including the Golden Takin and Golden Snub-nosed Monkey.

Bronze Chariot and Horses, Xian

Bronze Chariot and Horses, Xian— Photo: Dion Hobcroft

Our final four days will be spent exploring Xianghai Nature Reserve and the Baicheng grasslands in Inner Mongolia, where we hope to find, among many possibilities, Siberian Crane, White-naped Crane, Hooded Crane, Red-crowned Crane, Great Bustard, Baikal Teal, Eurasian Bittern, Mongolian Lark, and the critically endangered Jankowski’s Bunting.

This comfortable tour will combine some of the best cultural sites in China with some very interesting early spring birding, with a focus on several globally threatened endemics.

Accommodations range from five-star hotels in the major cities to more traditional guest houses and three-star hotels in more remote areas; largely roadside birding with a possibility of cold temperatures in the mountainous areas, with highest altitude about 7,000 feet; food will be Chinese banquet style (freshly prepared in the wok typically) with generally limited opportunities for western food.