Birding Tour China: 15-day Qinghai Extension

June 2021

Dates and Costs


07 – 21 June 2021

Price: US$7,092 / £5,460 / €6,143 per person sharing, assuming 4-8 participants.

Single Supplement: US$449 / £345 / €389

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to base price when making final payments.

Tour Details

Duration: 15 days
Group Size: 4 – 8
Tour Start: Xining
Tour End: Xining

Price includes:

Service of guide and driver
Admission fees
Snacks and water


Price excludes:

All flights
Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts
Travel insurance
Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)

Andrew WalkerAndrew Walker

China: 15-day Qinghai Extension
June 2021


This tour focuses on the northwestern Chinese province of Qinghai, the fourth-largest province in China but with the third-smallest population in the country. Known as the ‘roof of the world’, much of the province is over 3000 meters (9,800 ft) in elevation and formed by the famed Tibetan Plateau. Our tour starts and ends in Xining, the capital of the province, which is also close to the huge, saline Qinghai Lake, after which the province is named.

Our two-week tour traverses across some stunning landscape in pursuit of some exceptional birds of this high-elevation zone, such as Tibetan SandgrousePallas’s SandgrouseTibetan SnowcockTibetan PartridgeHimalayan SnowcockWhite Eared PheasantBlood PheasantSzechenyi’s Monal-PartridgeIbisbillCrested Tit-warblerSnow PigeonBlack-necked CraneTibetan SnowfinchTibetan RosefinchTibetan BuntingTibetan BabaxTibetan SerinHenderson’s Ground Jay, and Grandala.

This tour can be combined with our two preceding China tours, China: 9-day Yunnan Pre-tour and China: 18-day Sichuan, into a mind-boggling 43-day China mega tour. It is even possible to also combine it with our Taiwan Birding Extravaganza tour, which precedes the Yunnan pre-tour of the Sichuan main tour.


Itinerary (15 days/14 nights)


Day 1. Arrival in Xining

Arrival at Xining Caojiabao International Airport, where you will be met and transferred to our hotel. We will spend some time birding the Xining hills. Possible species here may include Pale RosefinchRed-billed ChoughPied WheatearMeadow BuntingGodlewski’s BuntingRufous-breasted AccentorCommon Rock ThrushCommon PheasantLittle Owl,  and Przevalski’s Partridge.

Overnight: Xining


Day 2. Morning birding at Dongxia Forest Park and drive to Gonghe

The morning will be spent birding in the Dongxia Forest Park, where we will look for Gansu Leaf WarblerPrzevalski’s and Chinese NuthatchesCrested Tit-warblerGoldcrestChinese White-browed and Common RosefinchesWhite-throated RedstartChinese ThrushElliot’s LaughingthrushWhite-winged GrosbeakBlack-faced Bunting, and Grey-headed Bullfinch. Afterwards we will drive to Gonghe , ready for the next day’s birding.

Overnight: Gonghe


Day 3. Birding Gonghe and Ela Mountain and travel to Madoi

The morning’s birding will see us in Gonghe, where we will look for Mongolian FinchDesert FinchLesser WhitethroatPine and Black-faced BuntingsIsabelline and Desert WheatearsRock Sparrow, and Twite, White-rumped, and Rufous-necked Snowfinches. Afterwards at Ela Mountain we will be trying to find Tibetan RosefinchGüldenstädt’s RedstartWhite-winged Snowfinch, and Brandt’s and Plain Mountain Finches.

Overnight: Madoi


Day 4. Madoi to Nangqen

We’ll have a full day’s drive between Madoi and Nangqen, our base for the next few nights. There’s a range of birds possible along the way, and we will keep our eyes peeled for some great roadside birds such as Upland BuzzardHimalayan VultureBearded Vulture (Lammergeier), Saker FalconDaurian JackdawLittle OwlRuddy ShelduckLesser Sand PloverBar-headed GooseCommon RedshankPallas’s GullBrown-headed GullCommon TernTibetan LarkPale MartinCitrine WagtailSalim Ali’s SwiftEurasian Crag MartinAsian House MartinWhite-rumped and Rufous-necked SnowfinchesEurasian HoopoeKessler’s ThrushChinese Grey ShrikeIbisbillBrown DipperHodgson’s and Blue-fronted RedstartsAlpine Leaf WarblerRed-rumped Swallow, and Common and Great Rosefinches.

Overnight: Nangqen


Day 5. Birding the Kanda Shan Pass

We will have a full day birding at the Kanda Shan Pass, where we will target Tibetan BuntingTibetan SnowcockTibetan PartridgeSichuan TitTibetan BabaxWhite Eared PheasantSzechenyi’s Monal-PartridgeChinese RubythroatGrandalaChinese BeautifulRed-fronted, and Streaked RosefinchesWhite-browed TitWhite-browed Tit-warblerSnow PigeonWhite-capped RedstartGolden EaglePlain Mountain FinchWhite-winged Grosbeak, and Eurasian Eagle Owl.

Overnight: Nangqen


Day 6. Birding at Baizha Forest

We will spend a full day birding at Baizha Forest, where we will look for Szechenyi’s Monal-PartridgeBlood PheasantGiant LaughingthrushWhite Eared PheasantThree-banded and Common RosefinchesWhite-throated DipperTibetan BabaxHodgson’s TreecreeperLong-tailed ThrushEurasian SparrowhawkChinese Grey ShrikeBlack and Grey-headed WoodpeckersHimalayan BluetailSlaty-backed FlycatcherRosy PipitJapanese and Rufous-vented TitsGrey Crested TitTibetan SerinChinese FulvettaBlack-streaked Scimitar BabblerMaroon-backed AccentorSalim Ali’s SwiftAberrant Bush Warbler, and Sichuan Leaf Warbler.

Overnight: Nangqen


Day 7. Travel between Nangqen and Qumalai

Today we have another long drive as we make our way through gorgeous mountain landscapes between Nangqen and Qumalai, but we will bird along the way.

Overnight: Qumalai


Day 8. Travel between Qumalai and Budongguan

We will travel the mountain roads between Qumalai and Budongguan but we will bird along the way, with our main target being Tibetan Sandgrouse.

Overnight: Budongguan (very basic accommodation)


Day 9. Travel between Budongguan and Golmud

During morning birding we will search for Tibetan SandgrousePallas’s Sandgrouse, and Tibetan Rosefinch. Later we will continue traveling across the stunning mountain landscapes. We make our way to Golmud, birding along the way and keeping our eyes peeled for Mongolian Finch and Great Rosefinch.

Overnight: Golmud


Day 10. Travel between Golmud and Dulan

We will travel between Golmud and Dulan. One of the chief targets of the day will be the interesting Henderson’s Ground Jay, and we might also spot Przevalski’s Redstart and Daurian Partridge.

Overnight: Dulan


Day 11. Birding in Dulan and travel to Chaka

We will do some birding around Dulan, where we will look for Pallas’s SandgrousePrzevalski’s Redstart, and Daurian Partridge, among others. Afterwards we will travel the short distance to Chaka, where we will spend the next couple of days birding.

Overnight: Chaka


Days 12 – 13. Birding at Chaka

We will enjoy two full days birding around the Chaka area, with some very special birds being possible, such as Pallas’s SandgrouseTibetan and Himalayan SnowcocksTibetanChukar, and Daurian PartridgesChinese Grey ShrikeHenderson’s Ground JayPrzevalski’s RedstartWallcreeperDesert and Isabelline WheatearsPine BuntingWhite-winged Grosbeak, and Mongolian Lark.

Overnight (two nights): Chaka


Day 14. Birding at Rubber Mountain and Qinghai Lake, followed by drive to Xining

Our final birding of the tour will take us to Rubber Mountain, where we will look for White-browed TitWhite-rumped and Tibetan Snowfinches, and the pretty Robin Accentor. At Qinghai Lake we hope to find Bar-headed GoosePallas’s GullBlack-necked CraneGround TitMongolian LarkHume’s Short-toed LarkTibetan Lark, and Pere David’s Snowfinch.

Overnight: Xining


Day 15. Departure

The tour will conclude with your departure from Xining Caojiabao International Airport.


Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.

Download Itinerary