There is a traditional saying in China: “In Guizhou you will never see three consecutive days of sunshine, three taels of silver, or three mou of flat land!” This traditional Chinese saying does the province a disservice.
Lying on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau in southwestern part of China, Guizhou Province covers 176,200 square kilometers. The province boasts karst landforms, mountains, abundant rainfall, a rich flora and fauna and a colorful ethnic minority culture.
Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta ©Philip He Alpine Birding
Demographically Guizhou province is one of the most diverse provinces in China with 15 ethnic minority groups, accounting for over 37% of its 39.55 million people. The capital city of Guizhou is Guiyang, which has a 700-year history.
In terms of topography, Guizhou is famous for mountains and hilly areas, which account for over 90% of the province. Its abundant rainfall has contributed to rich water resources in this province with 984 rivers, 74 natural lakes and 40 reservoirs of different sizes.
Huangguoshu Dapubu ©WikiCommons
The climate in Guizhou is a subtropical, humid monsoon climate.
The humid climate and different landforms have endowed this province with rich nature resources and a wide range of vegetation types ranging from aquatic, broadleaf, mixed, conifer, to montane scrub and grassland. They serve as ideal habitats for the 482 bird species recorded in the province including black-necked crane Grus nigricollis and large number of rare and precious animals including gray snub-nosed golden monkeyRhinopithecus brelichi and Francois’s Leaf Monkey Rachypithecus francoisi. According to zoogeographical division, Guizhou belongs to the Oriental zone, and the bird species in Guizhou account for two thirds of the total bird species in the whole of Oriental zone.
Golden Pheasant Chrysolophus pictus ©Philip He Alpine Birding
Golden Pheasant is the ‘State Bird’ of this province.
Caohai Lake, the largest fresh water lake in Guizhou, is located in the west of Weining County, with an area of 12,000 hectares. It is named ‘Grass Lake’ (or Sea of Grass) because of the vast water surface of the lake and lush grass at the bottom of the lake. The lake is a marvelous habitat for over 200 bird species. Caohai Nature Reserve was established in 1985 to protect Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis as over 400 over-winter from November thru March, and the ecosystem of plateau wetlands and was upgraded to national-level reserve in 1992. The hedgerows around villages at the edge of of Caohai are a place for Daurian Redstart, Brown-breasted Bulbul and White-browed Laughingthrushes. In an area with few mature trees, Grey-headed Woodpeckers will search for grubs under the eaves of traditional houses. There are also good numbers of Bar-headed Geese, Red-crested Pochard and other wintering ducks.
Black-necked Crane Grus nigricollis ©Philip He Alpine Birding
Located in northeastern Guizhou Province and covering nearly 42,000 hectares, Fanjingshan Nature Reserve was established in 1978, and granted National Reserve status in 1986. The reserve has recorded 195 bird species, from 39 families in 16 orders. The reserve boasts abundant passerines with 129 species of 19 families. Guizhou’s highest peak, Fanjing Shan (2,570m) is a site for Temminck’s Tragopan for those hardy enough to climb the 6,000 stone steps to the summit. At the top one may also see Blue-fronted Redstart and Elliot’s Laughingthrushes close to the eastern end of their ranges.
Temminck’s Tragopan Tragopan temminckii ©Philip He Alpine Birding
To the southeast of Libo County, Maolan National Nature Reserve covers an area of 20,000 hectares, over 90% of which is forested. The reserve was established in 1985 and upgraded to National Level Reserve in 1988. The reserve has recorded over 200 bird species, of which more than 125 are passerines. Endangered species in this reserve include Orange-bellied leafbird Chloropsis hardwickii, Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha, Silver Oriole Oriolus mellianus and Elliot’s Pheasant Syrmaticus ellioti.
Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus ©Philip He Alpine Birding
Situated in Xishui County in northern Guizhou and covering nearly 50,000 hectares, Xishui Nature Reserve was established in 1992 and upgraded into National Level Reserve in 1997. It is the largest nature reserve in Guizhou Province. According to a study in 2005, there are around 150 bird species in the reserve. Among which are over 90 resident species and around 30 breeding summer visitors. An endangered bird species on the reserve is Reeve’s Pheasant Syrmaticus reevesii andit also holds two Chinese endemics, Chinese Bamboo PartridgeBambusicola thoracicaand Yellow-bellowed tit Parus venustulus.
Major Source: Fatbirder
Map Source: Googlemaps™
Photo Source: ©Philip He Alpine Birding