HK Bird Market- Lets shut it down!

Its been a while since I last visited Yuen Po Street Bird Garden. My last visit as I recalled were just stores mainly selling parrots and “prayer birds” for release such as Japanese White-eyes, Munias and Finches, etc.

Yesterday, a visit to the bird garden exhibited more species for sale than I initially expected. An overwhelming 30 species of birds cramped in very small cages, many of which I couldn’t ID but some of which I could included:

Mongolian Lark


Chestnut-backed Thrush

Pied Bushchat

Orange-bellied Leafbird

Golden-fronted Leafbird

Siberian Rubythroat

Magpie Robin


Chinese blue flycatcher

Hill Blue Flycatcher

Common Starling

Mugimaki Flycatcher

Black Crested Bulbul

Orange-headed Thrush

Hill Myna

Eurasian Tree Sparrow


Top- Mugimaki Flycatchers Bottom- Common Starlings

Top- Mugimaki Flycatchers
Bottom- Common Starlings

Left- Hainan Blue flycatcher for sale at HKD550, Right- 2 Mongolian larks in a small cage with poor feather condition.

Left- Hainan Blue flycatcher for sale at HKD550, Right- 2 Mongolian larks in a small cage with poor feather condition.

Chinese blue flycatcher looking miserable!


Birds big and small get the same small cage

Birds big and small get the same small cage

It’s a miserly sight and very heartbreaking to see and definitely questions why Hong Kong resounding status as a World Class City still allows bird trade to exist and that HK law on Wild Animals Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170) does not prohibit the importation and sale of wild birds, and even more so, the HK Tourist Board promotes it as a HK highlight! :-/

Only a small percentage of birds survived the ordeal of trapping and logistics to get to where they are now and even so, many were clearly distressed and in poor condition. It does make one wonder how many died to get one bird on display in the small cage. While Birdlife , CITES and NGOs around the world work to combat the threats resulting from wild bird trade…HK, being a world class city should step up and mirror European Union Ban on wild bird trade/import.

While some old Chinese hobbies should be nurtured, this is clearly NOT one of them! Dear HK, please let’s just shut this bird market.




Birding in Xinjiang Day 2 新疆石河子-乌尔禾-福海

This was a long drive from Shihezi (石河子) to Fuhai (福海)! After our breakfast, our driver took us to some deserted pond in search for litte bittern! The pond was just next to some gas station…but reeds were ripped off for some reason, and needless to say, we couldnt see the bird! Moving on, we made stops on the highway…in particular, we saw a few European Bee-eaters (黄喉蜂虎)! Its about time they’ve arrived in this part of Xinjiang, and we’re reassured we’ll see loads more!

On both sides of the highway were semi-desert, and we took a detour! We made a short stop at one area hoping to scan for some raptors, but only managed to see a lizard at the beginning! But as we moved along the sandy, bumpy trail, we saw Isabelline Wheatears, Crested Larks, Desert Wheaters, and highlight was a pair of Saxaul Sparrows (黑顶麻雀)! 😛

saxaul sparrows

saxaul sparrows

The toll station was just a short distance away, but since we’re off the highway, we twirled round the toll fee station and that saved us 10 yuan..! LOL!

After a quick lunch, we headed for a forest in Urho, Karamay (乌尔禾)! We were told this forest is called the “Magic Forest”. As we got off the car, immediately we saw a White-winged woodpecker pecking on a tree next to our car! What a delight to see this beautiful bird at such close distance… 🙂

white-winged woodpecker

white-winged woodpecker

Moving deeper into the forest trail, Azure tits (灰蓝山雀), Turkestan tits (西域山雀), Hume’s warbler (淡眉柳莺) were seen prancing around in mid-noon! We also heard intricate songs from Nightingales but spotting them was a challenge! As we followed the song, we encountered Lesser Whitethroat (白喉林莺), and Sykes’s Warbler (赛氏篱莺) who loved the shrubs but for us to move in closer was more than difficult as the trail was muddy..! Nightingale (新疆歌鸲) finally made a brief show for us, but soon popped back into the bushes!

Azure Tit and Olivaceous Warbler

Azure Tit and Syke’s Warbler


Lesser Whitethroat and Turkestan Tit

Yellow Wagtail  and Turkestan Tit

When we headed back to the car, our driver babbled about seeing a pair of raptors and had messaged us…but we only received the message after we caught up with him! Talk about China mobile network…. :-/

Before we head to Fuhai county for the night, our last birding spot was a ranch (国营二牧场)! Here, the Bluethroat (蓝喉歌鸲) was very tame and sang in the open! We tried to search for Short-eared owl here but didnt see any..! Other birds included Demoiselle cranes, 蓑羽鹤 (probably over 200) and flying Pallas Sandgrouse, Great Cormorants, Grey-headed Buntings and a Black-Throated Thrush (黑颈鸫)!

蓝喉歌鸲 bluethroat

蓝喉歌鸲 bluethroat

It was 6pm when we began our journey to our hotel in Fuhai. As we drove along the highway, an Upland Buzzard (大鵟) was spotted! How cool is that!

upland buzzard in Xinjiang

upland buzzard in Xinjiang

We finally checked in to a not so dodgy hotel at 9pm! 😛 The highlight for the day was not the birds to me but a very funny event that happened over dinner, which kept me grinning till this day…I am really tempted to share my story here…but I think birding Guru will *KICK* me if I do! 😛 😛

PS. This was our quickie lunch shared~~”