Birding Tour China: Sichuan Tour


Dates and Costs

 

22 May – 08 June 2022

Price: US$6,492 £4,887 / €5,657 per person sharing, assuming 4-8 participants

Single Supplement: US$560 £421 / €488

 

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

 

21 May – 07 June 2023

Price: US$6,492 £4,887 / €5,657 per person sharing, assuming 4-8 participants

Single Supplement: US$560 £421 / €488

 

19 May – 05 June 2024

Price: US$6,817 £5,131 / €5,941 per person sharing, assuming 4-8 participants

Single Supplement: US$588 £442 / €512


Tour Details

Duration: 18 days
Group Size: 4 – 8
Tour Start: Chengdu, Sichuan
Tour End: Chengdu, Sichuan


Price includes:

All accommodation (from Day 1 to Day 17 as described)
Meals (from evening dinner on Day 1 until breakfast on Day 18)
Drinking water – please bring a refillable water bottle
Expert tour leader
Local bird and wildlife guides fees
Birdwatching site entrance fees and travel permits
All ground transport and tolls/taxes while on tour, including airport pick-up and drop-off

Price excludes:

Flights
Expenditures due to flight cancellations/delays or other causes beyond our control (force majeure) 
Visa fees if visa required (we will provide you with an ‘Invitation Letter’, usually required to get your Chinese visa)
Departure tax
Items of a personal nature, e.g. gifts, laundry, internet access, phone calls, etc.
Any pre- or post-tour accommodation, meals, or birding/sightseeing/monument excursions
Soft/alcoholic drinks
Personal travel insurance
Camera permits
Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)

China: Sichuan Tour
May 2022/2023/2024

 

Sichuan offers an excellent introduction to birdwatching in China with large numbers of endemic and special species, set in some seriously stunning mountain landscapes. The huge, mountainous province of Sichuan is blessed with a range of interesting habitats, and we will ensure that we visit a representative sample of as many of these as possible in our quest to find the region’s exciting birds. The tour will start and end in Chengdu, the capital of the province, and we will visit the renowned Longcanggou Forest Park, Labahe Nature Reserve, Wolong National Nature Reserve with Balang Shan, the slopes of Mengbi Shan, and the Baxi Forest areas in our search for birds.

China birding toursTemminck’s Tragopan is one of the many spectacular target birds on this amazing Sichuan tour (photo Summer Wong).

 

We will find many gorgeous game birds, parrotbills, laughingthrushes, and rosefinches during the tour, with particular highlights likely to include Chinese Monal, Blood Pheasant, White Eared Pheasant, Blue Eared Pheasant, Golden Pheasant, Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, Tibetan Snowcock, Temminck’s Tragopan, Snow Partridge, Black-necked Crane, Giant Laughingthrush, Firethroat, Golden Bush Robin, Chinese Rubythroat, Siberian Rubythroat, Emei Shan Liocichla, Grandala, Przevalski’s Nuthatch, Pere David’s Tit, Sichuan Tit, Wallcreeper, Crested Tit-warbler, and Przevalski’s Finch along with a near-endless list of interesting thrushes, chats, and warblers. Throw in some excellent food, friendly local people, with a great infrastructure, and a fantastic, bird-filled trip is on the cards.

China birding toursPrzevalski’s Finch (formerly Pink-tailed Rosefinch, and also known as Przevalski’s Pinktail) is a highly sought-after monotypic family which is found on the Tibetan Plateau. Sichuan being one of the best places to see this species in the world.

 

This Sichuan tour can be combined with our China: Yunnan Tour (before) and/or with our China: Qinghai Tour (after) to make a mind-boggling 43-day China mega tour. It is even possible to combine it with our Taiwan: Birding Extravaganza tour, which precedes the Yunnan tour.

 

Itinerary (18 days/17 nights)

 

Day 1. Arrival in Chengdu

Arrival into Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, where you will be met and taken to our nearby hotel and welcome dinner. Depending on arrival times there may be time for some relaxed birding in the city.

Overnight: Chengdu

 

Day 2. Morning birding at Chengdu Panda Base and afternoon travel to Longcanggou

This morning we will drive to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Built in 1987 jointly by the Chinese government and WWF, the base aims at helping captive Giant Pandas to increase their population in order to help pandas in the wild. After years of construction this base now covers about 100 hectares of land. The peaceful environment of the research base has made it an excellent habitat for birds. During the morning we will search the Chengdu parks for Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Black-throated Bushtit, Chinese Grosbeak, Red-billed Leiothrix, Rufous-faced Warbler, Chinese Bamboo Partridge, and White-browed Laughingthrush, as well as a range of other more widespread and common species. After lunch, on our drive to Longcanggou Forest Park, we will look for Ashy-throated Parrotbill.

Overnight: Longcanggou Forest Park

China birding toursThe tiny Black-throated Bushtit is a gorgeous little bird and is always a delight to see.

 

Days 3 – 4. Birding Longcanggou Forest Park

We will have two full days birding here in some beautiful landscapes and a range of forested and more open habitats. This is a fantastic area to bird and is sure to be an early tour highlight. We will look for a range of spectacular gamebirds, such as Temminck’s Tragopan, Chinese Bamboo Partridge, Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, Golden Pheasant, Common Pheasant, and Silver Pheasant.

China birding toursThe gorgeous Golden Pheasant is one stunning member of the family and one of many we will see during the tour (photo Summer Wong)!

 

There are so many wonderful birds here it is tough to know where to start, over 300 species have been recorded from the local area. Parrotbills are particularly well represented, and we will be looking for five species: Grey-hooded Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, Golden Parrotbill, Great Parrotbill, and Brown Parrotbill.

The area holds plenty of small birds (more on those later) and so it is no surprise to find out that a good selection of brood-parasitic cuckoos can be found here. We will keep our ears, and eyes, open for Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Hodgson’s Hawk-Cuckoo, Lesser Cuckoo, Himalayan Cuckoo, Common Cuckoo, and Oriental Cuckoo while overhead we will keep our eyes peeled for the agile White-throated Needletail and Pacific Swift, both huge swifts. Also overhead we might find Crested Honey Buzzard, Black Baza, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Grey-faced Buzzard, and a range of migratory Accipiters, including Chinese Sparrowhawk and Eurasian Sparrowhawk. At night we will have the chance for Oriental Scops Owl and Himalayan Owl, and during the day, Collared Owlet.

The forests themselves hold some amazing birds and we could find Red-headed Trogon, Great Barbet, Speckled Piculet, White-backed Woodpecker, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Bay Woodpecker, and Grey-headed Woodpecker. Open areas in the woodlands could hold Tiger Shrike, Brown Shrike, Long-tailed Shrike, Grey-backed Shrike, and Eurasian Hoopoe. Corvids, tits, and flycatchers are well represented, with five, ten, and 14 species possible respectively, as are leaf warblers, with at least 22 species available! Emei Leaf Warbler, Kloss’s Leaf Warbler, and Sichuan Leaf Warbler being the top picks.

China birding toursOne of the most highly sought-after and beautiful birds in the world, we will have a good opportunity to find Firethroat while in the Longcanggou area (photo Summer Wong).

 

Some of the other highlights possible over the two days include Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Streaked Barwing, Sichuan Treecreeper, Red-winged Laughingthrush, Spotted Laughingthrush, Elliot’s Laughingthrush, White-browed Laughingthrush, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Chinese Babax, Emei Shan Liocichla, Red-billed Leiothrix, Chinese Blue Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Bunting, Forest Wagtail, Scaly-breasted Wren-Babbler, Firethroat, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Spotted Bush Warbler, Sichuan Bush Warbler, and White-bellied Redstart.

Along the beautiful watercourses of the area, we might find Common Kingfisher, Brown Dipper, Little Forktail, White-crowned Forktail, and Spotted Forktail, all great birds.

Overnight: Longcanggou Forest Park

 

Day 5. Longcanggou Forest Park to Labahe Nature Reserve

After a final morning birding at Longcanggou we travel to Labahe. We will keep an eye open for any interesting birds along the way.

Overnight: Labahe Nature Reserve

 

Day 6. Birding Labahe Nature Reserve

We will spend the full day birding at, and around the excellent Labahe Nature Reserve, where we will look for plenty more exciting birds like Temminck’s Tragopan, Lady Amherst’s Pheasant, Specked Wood Pigeon, Himalayan Swiftlet, Salim Ali’s Swift, Bearded Vulture, Himalayan Vulture, Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker (and eight other species), Long-tailed Minivet, Spotted Nutcracker, Fire-capped Tit, Pere David’s Tit, Chinese Cupwing, Pygmy Cupwing, Asian House Martin, Collared Finchbill, Black Bulbul, Sichuan Leaf Warbler, and Large-billed Leaf Warbler.

China birding tours
There are many stunning gamebirds possible on this Sichuan tour, one of the best must be Lady Amherst’s Pheasant (photo Summer Wong).

 

Other birds we will look for during the day include Great Parrotbill, Brown Parrotbill, Fulvous Parrotbill, Three-toed Parrotbill, and Golden Parrotbill, Emei Shan Liocichla, Stripe-throated Yuhina, White-collared Yuhina, Elliot’s Laughingthrush, Black-faced Laughingthrush, Red-winged Laughingthrush, Red-billed Leiothrix, White-throated Dipper, Chinese Thrush, Chestnut Thrush, Ferruginous Flycatcher, Fujian Niltava, Daurian Redstart, Grey-headed Bullfinch, Slaty Bunting, and the stunning Firethroat, along with many more interesting species. We also have a possibility of finding the rare and beautiful Red Panda while here.

Overnight: Labahe Nature Reserve

China birding toursWe should see Chestnut Thrush (above) and the closely related Kessler’s Thrush on the tour.

 

Day 7. Labahe to Wolong National Nature Reserve

After a final morning birding at Labahe we travel to Wolong National Nature Reserve; again, we will look out for interesting birds along the way.

Overnight: Wolong National Nature Reserve

 

Days 8 – 9. Birding Balang Shan

Based in Wolong National Nature Reserve at around 4,900 feet (1,500 meters), we will spend two days birding across a wide altitudinal range to beyond 14,750 feet (4,500 meters) in the impressive mountains of Balang Shan. We will spend time birding in and around a stunning landscape made up of wooded valleys, raging mountain rivers, alpine scrubs and meadows, and rocky scree slopes (including the famous ‘Balang Shan Tunnel’ where around 200 species have been recorded.

This is one of the best areas in Sichuan for gamebirds, and we will look for Chinese Monal, White Eared Pheasant, Tibetan Snowcock, Snow Partridge, Golden Pheasant, Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge, Koklass Pheasant, and Blood Pheasant during our time in the mountains.

China birding tours
We will look for White Eared Pheasant at higher elevations and we will also look for Blue Eared Pheasant later in the tour (photo Summer Wong).

 

There are plenty of other magnificent birds to be found here too (especially rosefinches), with opportunities for species such as Red-fronted Rosefinch, Streaked Rosefinch, Spot-winged Rosefinch, Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Chinese White-browed Rosefinch, Dark-breasted Rosefinch, and Crimson-browed Finch.

Other exciting birds include Grandala, Wallcreeper, Firethroat, Himalayan Bluetail, Golden Bush Robin, White-browed Bush Robin, Giant Laughingthrush, Chinese Rubythroat, Crested Tit-warbler, Collared Grosbeak, White-winged Grosbeak, Snow Pigeon, Spotted Bush Warbler, Sichuan Tit, Kessler’s Thrush and Chestnut Thrush.

Overnight: Wolong National Nature Reserve

China birding tours
There are a lot of spectacular birds on this tour and Grandala is one of the best (photo Summer Wong)!

 

Day 10. Wolong to Maerkang

Essentially a travel day as we move between Wolong and Maerkang. We will look for birds along the way, like Long-tailed Rosefinch, Blue Rock Thrush, and Yellow-streaked Warbler.

Overnight: Maerkang

 

Day 11. Birding at Mengbi Shan

The mountain of Mengbi Shan is in the transitional zone between the Sichuan Basin and the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and provides some important habitat for a wide range of species. There are a number of target birds for us here, such as Sichuan Jay, Verreaux’s Monal-Partridge, Blood Pheasant, Giant Laughingthrush, Himalayan Bluetail, Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch, Pink-rumped Rosefinch, Chinese White-browed Rosefinch, Three-banded Rosefinch, and Black Woodpecker.

Overnight: Maerkang

China birding toursHimalayan Bluetail can be found around Mengbi Shan and is a really good-looking bird.

 

Day 12. Travel from Maerkang to Ruoergai

We will travel between Maerkang and Ruoergai; along the way we will look for Tibetan Partridge, Plain Laughingthrush, Azure-winged Magpie, Saker Falcon, White-browed Tit-warbler, Sichuan Tit, White-browed Tit, Tibetan Snowfinch, Przevalski’s Finch (a monotypic and highly sought-after family), Little Owl, and Black-necked Crane.

Overnight: Ruoergai

 

Day 13. Birding at Baxi Forest and Flower Lake

There are many exciting birds and other wildlife at the Baxi Forest and Flower Lake, such as Blue Eared Pheasant, Chinese Grouse, Three-banded Rosefinch, Przevalski’s Nuthatch, Snowy-cheeked Laughingthrush, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, Tibetan Lark, Horned Lark, Rufous-necked Snowfinch, and White-rumped Snowfinch.

The wetlands here are known as ‘the lungs of Sichuan’ and are the most important wetlands in the province. The abundant food resources attract a range of waterbirds such as Bar-headed Goose, Greylag Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, and Ferruginous Duck. The highly sought-after Black-necked Crane is possible here too. We will also have the chance of seeing the amazing Tibetan Fox, Tibetan Wolf (a subspecies of Grey Wolf), Himalayan Marmot, and Plateau Pika here.

Overnight: Ruoergai

Chinese birding toursRufous-necked Snowfinch can be found in the pretty wildflower meadows around Flower Lake.

 

Day 14. Travel Ruoergai to Chuanzhusi

We will have a final morning birding around the Ruoergai area and then will travel to Chuanzhusi. Along the way we will look for Collared Crow, Wallcreeper, Black-streaked Scimitar Babbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Spectacled Fulvetta, Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler, Spotted Bush Warbler, Pere David’s Tit, Olive-backed Pipit, and Giant Laughingthrush.

Overnight: Chuanzhusi

China birding toursWallcreeper (a monotypic family) will be looked for at higher elevations on this tour.

 

Day 15. Birding at Gonggangling

We will spend time in the forest area of Gonggangling, looking for Chinese Grouse, Blue Eared Pheasant, Crested Tit-warbler, White-browed Tit-warbler, Three-banded Rosefinch, Przevalski’s Nuthatch, Maroon-backed Accentor, Hodgson’s Treecreeper, Sichuan Treecreeper, White-bellied Redstart, Spectacled Fulvetta, and Pere David’s Owl. Other possibilities include Golden Eagle, Himalayan Buzzard, Upland Buzzard, Sichuan Jay, Oriental Magpie, Spotted Nutcracker, Red-billed Chough, Rufous-vented Tit, Grey Crested Tit, Sichuan Tit, Giant Laughingthrush, Plain (Pere David’s) Laughingthrush, Goldcrest, Eurasian Wren, Kessler’s Thrush, Chestnut Thrush, Long-tailed Thrush, Siberian Rubythroat, White-throated Redstart, and White-winged Grosbeak.

Overnight: Jiuzhaigou

China birding toursWhite-browed Tit-warbler is always one of the most desired birds on the trip, no wonder given its beauty (photo Summer Wong).

 

Day 16. Birding Jiuzhai Valley National Park

Jiuzhai National Park is a beautiful place full of exciting and stunning birds (around 300 species have been recorded here), and we will try and find as many of these as possible, focusing on the birds we have not yet seen on the tour including, with luck, the rare Rufous-headed Robin. Other targets will include Spectacled Parrotbill, Spectacled Fulvetta, Sooty Bushtit, Fujian Niltava, Sichuan Treecreeper, White-cheeked Laughingthrush, Indian Blue Robin, Pere David’s Tit, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, Chinese Nuthatch, Eurasian Nuthatch, Black Woodpecker, White-bellied Redstart, Brown Dipper, and White-throated Dipper.

Overnight: Jiuzhaigou

 

Day 17. Jiuzhaigou to Chengdu

We will spend the day traveling between Jiuzhaigou and Chengdu. We will have a final evening meal together and reminisce about the wonderful tour we have just concluded.

Overnight: Chengdu

 

Day 18. Departure from Chengdu

A none birding day. Departure from Chengdu or continue on our China: Qinghai Tour.

Overnight: Not included (unless you continue on the Qinghai Tour)

 

 

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. In addition, we sometimes have to use a different international guide from the one advertised due to tour scheduling.

Download Itinerary

CHINA, SICHUAN; CUSTOM TRIP REPORT JUNE 2018

This is a sample trip report. Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.

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