East China

East China

TBC May 2026

Leader: Rob Hutchinson

East China - a tour that until recently proved time-consuming and difficult to get around. Now, with China's huge bullet-train network, easily accessible birding sites, and surprisingly easy, but enjoyable birding means that we are able to cover a vast distance, without taking that many internal flights - some 3,000km south to north.

Taking in all of the Eastern China endemics, and those seen rarely elsewhere include some mouth-watering birds: Silver Oriole, Reed Parrotbill, Cabot's Tragopan, White-necklaced Partridge, Elliot's Pheasant, Blue-crowned Laughingthrush, Reeves's Pheasant, Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Fairy Pitta, Brown Eared Pheasant, Jankowski's Bunting, Swan Goose, Baer's Pochard, Von Schrenck's Bittern, Green-backed and Zappey's Flycatcher and Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch. Not is it just this list, but a whole raft of migrants and supporting species, means you can expect to see over 30 new birds, even for those with extensive experience of birding in China.

Day 1:
Arrivals into Guangzhou International Airport (CAN).

Day 2:
Morning at forest park outside of Guangzhou in search of Silver Oriole, with a supporting cast including Grey-sided Scimitar Babbler. We return to Guangzhou International Airport in the late afternoon for an internal flight to Shanghai International Airport (PVG) in the early evening. Night at Shanghai Airport Hotel.

Day 3:
After early morning birding for Reed Parrotbill and Japanese Swamp Warbler, and perhaps a few migrants passing through, drive north to Rudong, after a quick lunch head directly to the coast. Birding on the mudflats on the incoming tide we have a reasonable chance of finding Spoon-billed Sandpiper among the thousands of shorebirds, most of which will be in stunning summer plumage, along with breeding Saunder’s Gulls. The nearby scrub and plantations provide shelter for passage migrants, with a whole host of buntings, starlings, warblers and flycatchers of various species possible. Night in Dongtai.

Day 4:
Morning birding at Rudong in search of migrants in the coastal bushes. After lunch depart for Shanghai Pudong Airport (300km / 4 hours), to connect with flight to Fuzhou.

Day 5:
Heading inland, we visit an area of mid-elevation forest where Cabot’s Tragopan, Elliot’s Pheasant and White-necklaced Partridge are all possible, with a small chance of Blyth’s Kingfisher too. Night in Fujian province.

Day 6:
We spend a day inside Emeifang NNR to locate the main prizes of this beautiful, isolated mountain range. The jewel in the crown is the Cabot’s Tragopan, in addition, Elliot's Pheasant and White-necklaced Partridge are the other two jewels we'll be hoping to see here.
As a supporting cast, Grey-sided Scimitar-babbler, Huet's Fulvetta and a variety of leaf warblers will be possible.
Night in Fujian province.

Day 7:
Depending on our previous days successes we drive north to Wuyuan. If we arrive in time we can search for any of the following Pied Falconet, Courtois’s and Masked Laughingthrushes, Swinhoe’s Minivet or Mandarin Duck. Night at Wuyuan.

Day 8:
Today we will visit one of the small colonies of Blue-crowned Laughingthrush in the beautiful Wuyuan countryside. This Critically Endangered species is known from only 5-6 colonies, all within the Wuyuan county borders with the current known population numbering no more than 200 individuals. Driving around the local villages, seemingly trapped in a time warp while the rest of the country develops at neck-breaking speed, we will search for several scarce species including Short-tailed Parrotbill, Pied Falconet, Masked Laughingthrush, Chinese Bamboo Partridge, Swinhoe’s Minivet, Rufous-faced Warbler, Red-billed Starling and even the spectacular Mandarin Duck which has a healthy population along the riversides. Night at Wuyuan.

Day 9:
Long day driving north, skirting the outer edges of Wuhan to Dongzhai. Some birding can be done either side depending on our previous days success. Night at Baiyun Hotel, Dongzhai NNR.

Day 10:
A full day in search of one of China’s most recognisable endemics – the splendid Reeves’s Pheasant. Dongzhai has the largest population of this increasingly rare species but it is still difficult to find. Other species possible here include Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Chinese Hwamei, Oriental Scops Owl and even Fairy Pitta is possible, while a Crested Ibis reintroduction project has proved to be successful here, so we will see these feeding in the open fields, where Collared Crow is also possible. Night at Baiyun Hotel, Dongzhai NNR.

Day 11:
Departing early, we take a train to Taiyuan, deep in Shanxi province, where some late afternoon birding could mean an early Brown Eared Pheasant, if we’re lucky! Night in Jiaocheng.

Day 12:
A remote monastery at the end of a deep gorge is the home of a group of Brown Eared Pheasant, which at some point in the morning are fed by the monks living here. The surrounding scrub is inhabited by Beijing Babbler, Silver-throated Bushtit, Yellow-streaked Warbler and Long-tailed Rosefinch. After morning birding, return to Taiyan and head north, to Ulanhot Airport (HLH) in Heilongjiang. Night in Ulanhot.

Day 13:
A day in the remnant grasslands for one of China’s rarest specialities, Jankowski’s Bunting, which really is just clinging onto what habitat remains. Other species in the area include Amur Falcon, Chinese Grey Shrike, Pallas’s Reed Bunting, Asian Short-toed Lark and Japanese Quail. Night in Heilongjiang.

Day 14:
A morning visiting a vast wetland, we have numerous possibilities including Red-crowned and White-naped Cranes, Swan Goose, Oriental Stork, Amur Falcon, Japanese Reed Bunting, Chinese Penduline-tit and a variety of other waterbirds. Before returning to Beijing in the afternoon.

Day 15:
A day birding in the richly biodiverse mountains that flank the west side of Beijing. The forest-covered slopes here are home to Grey-sided Thrush, Green-backed Flycatcher, Zappey’s Flycatcher and Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch. Night at Lingshan.

Day 16:
After mornings birding, afternoon drive south to Hengshui Lake. Hengshui Lake is now well known as one of the very few known breeding sites for the Critically Endangered Baer’s Pochard. Schrenck’s Bittern and Blunt-winged Warbler are also possible here. Night near Hengshui.

Day 17:
Mornings birding at Hengshui Lake in search of Baer’s Pochard, Reed Parrotbill, Blunt-winged Warbler and Schrenck’s Bittern before driving back north to Beijing. Night in Beijing.

Day 18:
Departures from Beijing International Airport (PEK or PKX).

Tour details

Cost: £ TBC or $ TBC

Deposit: £ 500 or $ 700

Single room supplement:

Maximum group size: 8

Tour cost includes: all accommodation, main meals, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, entrance fees, drinking water, tips to local drivers and guides, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes: International flights, visa, travel insurance, drinks, tips to tour guides, and other items of a personal nature.

Accommodation: comfortable twin-bed, and single rooms, all with private facilities.

Walking difficulty: generally easy to moderate throughout. The highest we potentially reach is 2,300m.

Expected number of species: 300-340 species.

Number of endemics of range-restricted species: A large number of breeding endemics, and near-endemics, along with several endemic Galliformes including Cabot's Tragopan, Elliot's and Reeves's Pheasant.

Map of the tour

Tour Reports

Our latest tour reports from the region