Lower Jinsha Valley bird study

Authors: Associate Professor Wendy Wright (Project manager)
Professor Tang Ya, Sichuan University, China
Dr. Steb Fisher, Federation University Australia (Research Associate)
Sid Francis, Sichuan Birding, Chengdu, China

This study represents a systematic bird survey in part of the Lower Jinsha Valley, in Western China. The intention of the study is to document the bird fauna of the area before it undergoes significant environmental transformation.  The study area will be affected by the construction of a series of large hydropower dams along the Jinsha (Yangtze) River.  Flooding of the valleys in this area will be to an elevation of 825m and will result in the inundation of substantial areas of farmland and much of the current sparse and poor quality forest habitat in Ningnan County (Sichuan Province) and Qiaojia County (Yunnan Province).

Bird searches were conducted at 15 locations (5 in forest, 5 in farmland, 5 in Leucaena plantation) during two survey periods:

  • Winter 2012: Nov-Dec 2012 (six field days: 30/11 – 7/12) (survey period 3)
  • Summer 2013 June 2013 (seven field days 6/6 – 12/6) (survey period 4)

Two visits were made to each location during each study period. One visit occurred during the morning and involved a timed transect search plus a list building search.  The other visit occurred during the afternoon and involved a list building search only.  The timed transect search involved noting birds seen along the 100m transect during a 20min search period.  No recorded calls were used to attract birds during the timed transect search, which always occurred prior to the list building search.  List building searches were conducted in the interests of maximizing the opportunity to identify species present at each location.  Each list building search involved an initial broadcast playback of the call of Collared Owlet (Glaucidium brodiei) followed by identification of birds seen or heard, including birds responding to the call of the owlet.  Collared Owlet is a small owl, which sometimes hunts diurnally. It is commonly mobbed by small songbirds (Mackinnon and Phillips, 2010).  Where necessary, previously recorded calls of particular bird species were used to encourage birds to respond and therefore confirm identification.  In some cases, calling birds were recorded in situ and these calls were immediately played back in order to encourage a response and allow visual identification.  All birds clearly identified visually or by their call were recorded, including birds of prey seen flying overhead or in nearby valleys. Birds seen on roadsides during transit between locations were noted separately and are included in the bird list for the survey period, but not included in analyses.


Licensed CC BY NC 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0


Associate Professor Wendy Wright
Ph: +61 3 51226854


Wright, W., Francis, S., Fisher, S., Tang, Y. (2014). Observations of the 'yunnan parrotbill' Sinosuthora brunnea ricketti in the Lower Jinsha Valley, China. BirdingAsia, 21, 34-36.

Spatial Coverage:

Lower Jinsha Valley, Sichuan Province, China

Temporal Coverage:


Description of files:

Excel spreadsheet; ERI files; bird species presence data by habitat type

Field descriptions


Lower Jinsha, bird populations, bird distributions, birds, forest habitat, farmland habitat, avifauna

Fields of Research

060208 Terrestrial ecology; 
070504 Forestry management and environment;
050211 Wildlife and habitat management

Further information about this dataset is available on Research Data Australia.

This project is supported by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS). ANDS is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Program.

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Lower Jinsha Valley bird study

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This project is supported by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS). ANDS is supported by the Australian Government through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy Program.

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