Travel Tips for Birding Travelers in Yunnan

Due to varied terrain and enough sunshine & rainfall, Yunnan boasts half of China’s plants and animal species. Since the weather in most areas of Yunnan is mild in winter, thousands of various birds migrate to Yunnan, mainly from Sibiria during the winter. Of course, apart from winter, you can pay a visit to Yunnan to watch the birds and take nice pictures in other seasons. For giving you a better birding experience in Yunnan, here we introduce you some useful travel tips.

1. Top Birding Places in Yunnan


Baihualing Scenic Spot is the first bird watching camp developed in Gaoligongshan Mountain. Because of well-protected natural environment, the number of birds species recorded accounts for 43.3% of the total recorded bird species in Yunnan Province, among which 5 species belong to the national first-class protection species and 33 species of national second-class protection species. It is known as “the Golden Triangle of China bird watching Zone” and “the five-star holy land” in bird photographers’ hearts. 

Best Season to Visit: Every October to next May


Xishuangbanna is reputed as a fauna kingdom, which is true to name. It is the best place in Yunnan to plan a Birding Tour. According to statistics of scientific research, there are more than 450 kinds of birds living in the forest of Xishuangbanna. Jungle is the best home of these lovely cherubs, they are smart, naughty, cute and shy, so, it won’t be easy to see them even you have already heard they twittering around you. 

Best Season to Visit: Every October to next April

Nianhu Lake

Located 260 km from Kunming, Nianhu Lake stands at Huize County of northeast Yunnan. It was approved as a nature reserve for the black-necked cranes in 1994, and from November to March these cute angels migrate to spend winter here. Early in the morning you can watch the sunrise of Nianhu and a flock of birds flying when the sun comes from the lake and paved with red and dyed golden, black-necked cranes fly up to the sky. In the late afternoon, enjoy the sunset of the lake and the return of the black-necked cranes, in the loneliness of intoxicating beauty, you can get a kind of longing of wide and boundless.

Best Season to Visit: Every November to next March

Dashanbao Nature Reserve

Dashanbao Nature Reserve is one of the most popular destination for Yunnan Birding Tours. Covering a total area of 19,200 hectares, the Reserve is a plateau marshland. There are more than 1,300 black-necked cranes wintering in Dashanbao Reserve which has become the largest winter habitat of black-necked cranes and is regarded as one of the “Hometowns of Black-necked Cranes in China”. The reserve  has been designated as a Ramsar site since 2004. 

Best Season to Visit: Every October to next March

Please read more information about Winter Birding Places in Yunnan.

2. Best Time for Birdwatching

The best time to watch the birds is 6am–8am, 2pm—4pm. In the early morning migratory birds waking, gathering and flying to search food. In the late afternoon, you can see the return of the birds. If forest birds, the best time are also morning and nightfall. 

3. Birding Distance

Keep enough space with the wild birds. The best is not to enter the water. Not contact with birds faeces and excreta. This is the first important point for bird watching .

4. Birding Dressing

When outside watching, the best is not to dress brightly, and not to speak loudly. Bring enough clothes if cold and bring rain gear if necessary.

5. Birding Equipment

 8—10 times binoculars telescope are essential equipment for bird watching. The magnification of a single telescope is between 20 and 60 times. It is mainly used for observing wild birds (such as wild geese and ducks in the water) with a long distance and a relatively fixed position, but it needs to be used with a tripod, which is complicated to operate. Of course, if you want to capture a great moment with your camera, be sure to bring a telephoto lens of at least 200mm.

6. Special Tips

Birds are not afraid of automobile. We watch birds in the cars that could be more close to them than walking, which also don’t disturb their daily life. The car window is the right holder when filming birds.