Today`s post is a continuation of last week`s – an introduction to Shanghai`s 20 most commonly seen birds. After getting to the letter C last week in a roughly alphabetical order, I will show the second 10 species today.

Start with Eurasian Tree Sparrow, an unlikely high-ranked target for anybody watching birds in Shanghai. Still, a bird that has its moments – and I am always surprised how this sparrow really seems to enjoy human presence, however destructive it may be. Even in the comparable wilderness of coastal Shanghai, it is far more likely to see the tree sparrow near an abandoned hut than in a more pristine spot.

The Japanese Tit is the far eastern equivalent of the Great Tit, and was thought to be a subspecies of it before people realized they do not really interbreed much. How they manage to avoid that is a bit of a mystery to me, as they look fairly similar.

The Light-vented Bulbul is probably one of the two or three most common species here in Shanghai, which is not bad given that it is a fairly attractive bird. HBW describes it as a “noisy, conspicuous bulbul”, and indeed it is probably the bird I can hear from my Shanghai apartment the most frequently.

In contrast, the Little Egret is mostly quiet, which is a good thing given that it sounds a bit like an asthmatic dog when deciding to be vocal. While very common in the more rural areas of Shanghai, it can still be a bit of a surprise for city dwellers to see this bird. I remember showing a photo of a Little Egret to a young local fruit vendor once, and her reaction “This bird must be very expensive” …

The Little Grebe is the default bird on Shanghai`s many ponds. It looks fairly flashy in its breeding plumage, much less so in winter.

Possibly the noisiest and also one of the most common birds in Shanghai, the Long-tailed Shrike sometimes seems to talk itself into a rage, when not quietly babbling along. It is easy to see as it likes to perch conspicuously on trees, complaining about any disturbance coming from, let’s say, the occasional bird photographer. Of course, these disturbances are nothing compared to being pestered by your own chicks …

For the Oriental Magpie, the story is somewhat similar to the Japanese Tit – it looks quite similar to the Common Magpie found in Europe, though it is supposed to be a bit stockier. Interesting for a lister, not quite so interesting for a photographer like me.

I am not a big fan of the Spotted Dove, though it has to be said that in the right light, it can also look quite nice.

The Vinous-throated Parrotbill is a smaller relative of Shanghai`s Reed Parrotbill. It is much more likely to be found in larger flocks, at least outside the breeding season. While quite common in scrubland, it is not that easy to get a decent photo of as it moves around very quickly.

Finally, the White Wagtail is a widespread and common bird of open country in Shanghai. For some reason, it is also the National Bird of Latvia, though this does not give it any special status here in Shanghai.

And that ends this little presentation of Shanghai`s 20 most common birds. I promise that my next post will feature some rarer birds again …

Written by Kai Pflug
Kai Pflug has been living in Shanghai for 20 years. He only became interested in birds in China – so he is much more familiar with birds in China than with those in Germany. While he will only ever be an average birder, he aims to be a good bird photographer and has created a website with bird photos as proof. He hopes not too many clients of his consulting company read this blog, as they will doubt his dedication to providing consulting services related to China`s chemical industry. Whenever he wants to shock other birders, he tells them his (indoor) cats can distinguish several warblers by taste.