A fabulous male Firethroat at Erlangshan, by David Beadle.
The birds listed here are usually present during the northern summer.
Chinese Endemics 72 (+ 6 on Hainan Island) - not all of these occur in Sichuan
(A monal, a tragopan, six pheasants, a ground-jay, five parrotbills and ten laughingthrushes) Sichuan Partridge, Collared (White-necklaced) Partridge, Przevalski’s Partridge, Chinese Bamboo Partridge, Chestnut-throated (Verreaux’s) Partridge, Chinese Monal, Cabot’s Tragopan, Elliot’s Pheasant, Reeves’s Pheasant, Golden Pheasant, White Eared-pheasant, Brown Eared-pheasant, Blue Eared-pheasant, Chinese (Severtzov’s) Grouse, Asian Crested Ibis (being reintroduced to Japan), Sichuan (Pere David’s) Owl, Chinese Barbet, Dark-bodied (Eurasian Three-toed) Woodpecker, Giant (Chinese) Grey Shrike, Sichuan Jay, Xinjiang Ground-jay, Yellow-bellied Tit, White-browed Tit, Rusty-breasted (Pere David’s) Tit, Sichuan Tit, Chinese Cupwing, Sichuan Grasshopper-warbler, Emei Leaf-warbler (winter range unknown, possibly Myanmar), Gansu Leaf-warbler (winter range unknown), Alpine Leaf-warbler, Sooty Tit, Silver-throated Tit, Rufous-tailed Babbler, Tarim Hill-warbler (Babbler), Grey-hooded Fulvetta, Chinese Fulvetta, Spectacled Fulvetta, Three-toed Parrotbill, Spectacled Parrotbill, Yunnan (Brown-winged) Parrotbill, Grey-hooded Parrotbill, Rusty-throated Parrotbill, Grey-sided Scimitar-babbler, Nonggang Babbler, Golden-fronted Fulvetta, Huet’s (Grey-cheeked) Fulvetta, Barred Laughingthrush, White-speckled (Biet’s) Laughingthrush, Giant Laughingthrush, Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush, Plain (Pere David’s) Laughingthrush, Giant Babax, Tibetan Babax, Buffy Laughingthrush, Blue-crowned (Yellow-throated) Laughingthrush, Brown-cheeked (Prince Henry’s) Laughingthrush, Emei Shan (Grey-faced) Liocichla, Sichuan Treecreeper, Przevalski’s (White-cheeked) Nuthatch, Chinese Thrush, Chinese Shortwing, Ala Shan Redstart, Przevalski’s Rosefinch (Pinktail), Tibetan Snowfinch, Pink-rumped Rosefinch, Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Tibetan Rosefinch, Sillem’s Rosefinch, Three-banded Rosefinch (likely to occur in adjacent Indian subcontinent), Chinese White-browed Rosefinch (recorded in India), Tibetan Bunting and Slaty Bunting.
(Blackthroat breeds in north-central China. Its non-breeding grounds are unknown but it has been recorded in northwest Thailand although possibly only as a vagrant)
(Vaurie’s Nightjar is known only from the type specimen from Pishan, southwest Xinjiang, in the west)
Lady Amherst’s, Blood and Common Pheasants, Temminck’s Tragopan, Tibetan Snowcock, Snow and Tibetan Partridges, Black-necked Crane, Wood Snipe, Snow Pigeon, Himalayan Owl, Asian Azure-winged Magpie, Ground Tit (Hume’s Ground-jay), Tibetan Lark, Collared Finchbill, Crested Tit-warbler, Ashy-throated and Vinous-throated Parrotbills, Black-streaked (Spot-breasted) Scimitar-babbler, Red-winged Laughingthrush, Chinese Babax, Streaked Barwing, Wallcreeper, White-backed (Kessler's) Thrush, Grandala, Firethroat, Indian Blue Robin, White-bellied and White-throated Redstarts, and Maroon-backed Accentor.
Ruddy Shelduck, Chinese Pond-heron, Himalayan Griffon, Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Saker Falcon, Great Black-headed (Pallas’s) Gull, White-throated Needletail, Tiger Shrike, Black-naped Oriole, White-browed Shrike-babbler, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Southern Nutcracker, tits including Black-throated (Red-headed) and Fire-capped, White-browed Tit-warbler, Long-tailed Minivet, Chestnut-headed Tesia, leaf-warblers, Brown, Fulvous, Golden and Great Parrotbills, flycatchers, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Golden and White-browed Bush-robins, Blue-fronted, Daurian and Hodgson’s Redstarts, Plumbeous and White-capped Water-redstarts, Blue Whistling-thrush, thrushes including Chestnut, Slaty-backed Forktail, Streak-breasted Scimitar-babbler, laughingthrushes, Red-billed Leiothrix, fulvettas including Golden-breasted, yuhinas, Chestnut-flanked White-eye, Gould's Sunbird, Alpine and Rufous-breasted Accentors, Grey-headed Bullfinch, rosefinches, Collared, White-winged and Chinese (Yellow-billed) Grosbeaks, and snowfinches.
Also a chance of Koklass Pheasant and Black-capped Kingfisher.
Jiuzhaigou in far north Sichuan supports Blue Eared Pheasant and Rufous-headed Robin, and at Tangjiahe Panda Reserve, also in north Sichuan, between Jiuzhaigou and Chengdu, it is possible to see Golden and Koklass Pheasants, Indian Blue Robin, and Rusty-throated, Spectacled and Three-toed Parrotbills, as well as Golden Takin, Chinese Serow, Chinese Goral, Hog Badger, Tufted Deer and Reeve's Muntjac.
Blue Sheep, Chinese Goral, Chinese Serow, Tufted Deer, Tibetan Gazelle, Tibetan Fox, Himalayan Marmot, Plateau (Black-lipped) and Large-eared Pikas, Siberian Chipmunk and Woolly Hare. Also a chance of Red Panda (particularly October to mid-November when this species ventures into bare trees to eat berries, especially at Labahe and Longcanggou), Pallas's Cat, Golden Takin, Pere David’s Macaque, and Siberian Roe and Sika Deer, and an outside chance of Wolf, Chinese Mountain Cat and Hog Badger.
One of the richest temperate floras in the world includes many spectacular rhododendrons, primulas and pedicularises, and is notable for its blue poppies, the black Primula euprepes (Zhedou Pass near Kangding), Chionocharis hookeri (Chola Pass near Dege) and Lilium regale.
Mid-May to mid-June is usually the peak time to look for most birds, mid-June to mid-July for plants, and October to mid-November for mammals, notably Red Panda which forages in often bare small fruiting trees at this time of the year.
A Field Guide to the Birds of China by J MacKinnon and K Phillipps. OUP, 2000.
Birds of South-East Asia by C Robson. Helm, 2014 (Second Edition).
Birds of South-East Asia Concise Edition by C Robson. Helm, 2015.
Bradt Travel Guide: Chinese Wildlife by M Walters. Bradt, 2008.
Mammals of China (Pocket Edition) edited by A Smith and Y Xie. PUP, 2013.
A Guide to the Mammals of China by A Smith, Y Xie et al. PUP, 2008.
The Mammals of China by Sheng Helin et al. China Forestry Publishing House, 1999.
Where to watch birds in Asia by N Wheatley. Helm, 1996.
Don’t know which country/countries/regions to visit in Asia? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them in the region, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.
Many trip reports, some for Sichuan, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Sichuan. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Sichuan' below.
The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.
There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.
While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.
Tour companies who are running organized tours to Sichuan in the next couple of years include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.