China’s vast landscapes are home to an abundance of wildlife. The country has over 8,000 vertebrate species including 5,000 fish, 600 mammal, 1,200 birds, 400 reptiles, and 350 amphibians. The number of bird species in China ranks eighth highest in the world. Most of these species of animals are endemic to China including the 52 species of birds. Two species of birds have been introduced into the country’s ecosystem while 55 species are considered rare or accidental. Around 87 of these species are globally threatened. The shared habitat between human and wildlife has led to several animal species including birds being threatened or in danger of local extinction. Some of the most notable native birds of China are discussed below.
The Tibetan rosefinch, Carpodacus roborowskii, is a bird belonging to the rosefinch species in the Family Fringillidae. The bird is endemic to the Tibetan Plateau while its natural habitat is the montane tundra. The bird is referred to as rosefinch because of the various shades of red in its plumage. Tibetan rosefinch has a strong stubby beak, nine remiges, and twelve rectiles. An adult bird can grow up to 9.5 centimeters and a weight of 85 grams. Tibetan rosefinch feeds primarily on seeds and worms. The population of the Tibetan rosefinch is stable with no major threat except for migration to other ecological zones or other habitats.
The Slaty bunting, Latoucheornis siemsseni, is a bird species in the Family Emberizidae, and a monotype in the Genus Latoucheornis. The bird, which is endemic to China, is found in the tropical and subtropical moist shrubland. An adult Slaty bunting measures 13 centimeters in length and weighs 20 grams. The plumages are brown and highly distinctive with unusual tail feathers which are broad towards the tip. Its bill is comparatively small and neat. Its habitat includes the grassland, woodland, and marsh. Slaty bunting’s diet includes seeds, insects, and other small invertebrates. The population of Slaty bunting is not globally threatened. However, migration and clearing of vegetation for agriculture are some of the threats facing this species in China.
Xinjiang Ground Jay
The Xinjiang ground-jay, scientifically known as Podoces biddulphi, is a bird species in the Family Corvidae. The bird is endemic to Western China regions of Taklimakan Desert and Golmud. Xinjiang ground-jay has an attractive small. Its bill is gently curved while the rear crown is slightly ruffled. An adult bird measures between 26 and 31 centimeters and weighs between 120 and 140 grams. The bird produces a low whistle which rapidly descends the scale. Xinjiang ground-jay is omnivorous and uses the strong bill to dig for worms and insects. The birds’ species are near threatened because of the habitat degradation and fragmentation caused by human activities such as grazing and extraction of firewood.
The Sichuan treecreeper, Certhia tianquanensis, is a rare bird species in the Family Certhiidae. This bird is relatively large with a long tail. Its bill is strikingly short while the throat is whitish and darker underparts. Sichuan treecreeper sings aloud with a rapid and high-pitched trill. It feeds on invertebrates, especially insects and other creeping small animals. Logging of coniferous forests in the mountainous regions of Western China has significantly reduced the number of Sichuan treecreepers. The population of Sichuan treecreeper is currently less than 1000 adult individuals.