9 COMMON Birds found in Hong Kong! (2024)

Are you trying to learn about the types of birds in Hong Kong?

Types of birds in Hong Kong

There are tons of interesting species to observe. From tiny bee-eaters to large, colorful peacocks, there’s something to catch everyone’s attention!

Due to the sheer number of species, there was no way to include every bird found in Hong Kong in this article. So instead, I tried to focus on the birds that are most regularly seen and observed.

Today, you will learn about 9 COMMON types of birds in Hong Kong!

#1. Black Kite

  • Milvus migrans

Types of birds in Hong Kong

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 48-60 cm (19-24 in) long with a wingspan of about 150 cm (59 in).
  • Their coloring is dark brown to brownish red, with a white face.
  • The legs are yellow, and the hooked beak is black with yellow at the base.

Although its name suggests a mostly black species, the Black Kite is generally dark brown to reddish. It’s easy to mistake this bird in Hong Kong for other birds of prey, so make sure to look closely when identifying!

Black Kites are graceful fliers, soaring over water and open land. They’re adept at catching their prey, such as frogs, mice, rats, small birds, snakes, salamanders, snails, and insects, but occasionally eat carrion (road-kill). This species can hunt on the ground as well as from the air and visits garbage dumps or beaches looking for edible trash.

Look for Black Kites near streams or rivers. They can hunt their favorite prey there and are adequate fish hunters, too. These clever birds will also soar around the fringes of forest fires, catching fleeing animals.

This species has a lonely, whistling call that might remind you of a red-tailed hawk.

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#2. Daurian Redstart

  • Phoenicurus auroreus

Types of birds in Hong Kong

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 14-15 cm (about 6 in) long.
  • Males have a rust-colored belly, grey cap, and black wings with a white patch. Their eyes, beaks, and legs are black.
  • Females are a dull brownish-gray all over, with a wash of orange on the tail and rump.

Daurian Redstarts live in open forests, the edges of agricultural areas, parks, and private gardens. This bird in Hong Kong is confident around humans, letting them get very close before moving off. Its primary food is insects, especially during breeding, but it also eats berries and seeds.

Females of the species are members of the ubiquitous LBJs (Little Brown Jobs, in ornithologist speak), meaning that they are nearly impossible to distinguish from each other. The best way to recognize a female Daurian Restart is the understated red rump and tail, more easily seen in flight. Males are easier to recognize because of their unique color patterns.

Daurian Redstarts are quiet birds, except when advertising their territory. Even while courting, this species rarely makes much noise. Instead, the male will feed the female and perform exaggerated wing and feather displays to show off its healthy colors.

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#3. Light-Vented Bulbul

  • Pycnonotus sinensis

Types of birds in Hong Kong

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 19 cm (7.4 in) long.
  • They are white on the underside, with a beige bib beneath a white chin and a black bill and face.
  • The back is smoky grey, the wings are grey and olive, and the legs are black.

Look for the Light-vented Bulbul in open spaces where it can stretch its wings. Lightly wooded forests, urban parks, suburbs, and towns are all common. Although omnivorous, they focus more on insects during the breeding season. They eat berries, vegetables, soft fruits, and figs in the winter.

Their cup-shaped nests are lined with rootlets, flowers, fine grasses, and leaves. But the easiest way to recognize their nest is to listen! The chicks sing constantly until they’re ready to fledge.

Its calls and songs vary widely, but the most common is a quick “chit-chit-chit.”

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#4. Oriental Magpie-Robin

  • Copsychus saularis

Types of birds in Hong Kong

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 19 cm (7.4 in) long.
  • Males are black on the head, back, and wings and white on the underside.
  • Females have the same color pattern, but their heads are slate gray instead of black.

By the looks of it, Oriental Magpie-Robins are ready for a night on the town! Their tuxedo-like plumage gives them an air of sophistication. ๐Ÿ™‚

During the breeding season, males sing long, melodic tunes to attract females. This habit only adds to their appeal, and in addition, if you can attract them to your yard, they’ll help by eating insects and leeches. Although they usually nest in tree cavities, they don’t mind buildings or nesting boxes. So, they’re a worthwhile investment in your yard for a chance to have these talented singers nearby.

Unfortunately, their sought-after coloration and vocals have led to illegal poaching activities by unscrupulous animal traders. Consequently, high-quality recordings are restricted, so they cannot be used to lure these beautiful birds. However, this video gives you an idea of how beautiful they sound.

YouTube video

#5. Spotted Dove

  • Streptopelia chinensis

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 28-32 cm (11-13 in) long.
  • This species has red eyes, a rosy-grey breast, head, and underbody, and a nearly-black mantle that is densely spotted with white.
  • The tail is unusually long for a pigeon and tipped in white.

Depending on where you live, you may know this bird in Hong Kong as the “lace-necked dove”, “pearl-necked dove”, “mountain dove”, or “spotted turtle dove”. They generally rove in pairs but may form groups, especially when foraging for seeds, grains, fruit fallen from trees, and grass seeds. They’ve been known to take insects on occasion.

The wing pattern is interesting as each feather has a drop-shadow, making it look extremely three-dimensional, even though they lay completely flat. This defensive characteristic interferes with a predator’s depth perception and makes them miss a strike.

Spotted Doves are a welcome addition to parks and backyards. However, their habit of springing into flight when disturbed is hazardous around airports, causing damage to planes. Some airports have responded by hiring falconers to fly their raptors around the airport, making them avoid the area and keeping it safe for air traffic.

Their sounds are soft and soothing, and they’re exceptionally comfortable around humans.

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#6. White Wagtail

  • Motacilla alba

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 16.5-19 cm (6.4-7.4 in) long.
  • Their coloring is black, white, and dull gray. Their white face and black throat are the most noticeable features.
  • This species has long legs, a puffed chest, and a rounded head.

White Wagtails are common across Eurasia, but incredibly, this little guy sometimes ventures all the way to western Alaska for nesting. It makes its home in abandoned fishing huts and cabins, beach debris, or empty oil drums.

This species falls victim to the Common Cuckoo, a brood parasite that lays its eggs in the host’s nest. Usually, a host bird is forced to care for the cuckoo chick, but not White Wagtails. Since they are too small to destroy the eggs, they often abandon an invaded nest and start over.

The White Wagtail got its name from the way it forages along the water’s edge, wagging its tail, looking for insects. They mostly hunt on land but will pursue prey in the air occasionally. Sometimes they wade in shallows or walk atop floating masses of vegetation while on the hunt. Likely prey includes crane flies, midges, mayflies, and aquatic larvae.

Its call is an extremely short and fast pair of high-pitched chirrups.

YouTube video

#7. Little Egret

  • Egretta garzetta

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 55โ€“65 cm (22โ€“26 in) long with an 88โ€“106 cm (35โ€“42 in) wingspan.
  • They are white with black bills and legs and yellow eyes and feet.
  • Their necks have a strong “S” curve, and they have a thin tuft of long feathers on the head.

These aquatic birds in Hong Kong are almost always found near the water.

Look for Little Egrets along coastlines and larger inland waterways like lakes and rivers. They catch fish, crustaceans, and insects directly from the water while standing in the shallows or flying over the surface.

Little Egrets are very sociable and commonly form small flocks. However, despite their tendency to group together, they can be very territorial about food. Often, these small egrets will fight one another for prime hunting locations unless food is abundant.

The population of the Little Egret has been threatened by overhunting not once but twice throughout history. During the Middle Ages, this species was hunted for food to near extinction. Then in the late 1800s, Little Egrets were threatened once more by overhunting for their feathers.

This species is protected by conservation laws and considered a species of least concern. It’s got to be persistent to have survived all that!

YouTube video

#8. Rock Pigeon

  • Columba livia

kinds of pigeons in the united states

Identifying Characteristics:

  • A plump bird with a small head, short legs, and a thin bill.
  • The typical pigeon has a gray back, a blue-grey head, and two black wing bars. But their plumage is highly variable, and it’s common to see varieties ranging from all-white to rusty brown.

Rock Pigeons are extremely common birds in Hong Kong but are almost exclusively found in urban areas.

These birds are what everyone refers to as “pigeons.” You have probably seen them gathering in huge flocks in city parks, hoping to get some birdseed or leftover food tossed their way.

Pigeons are easily attracted to bird feeders, especially if leftover food is on the ground. Unfortunately, these birds can become a nuisance if they visit your backyard in high numbers. Many people find their presence overwhelming and look for ways to keep them away!

These birds are easy to identify by sound. My guess is that you will already recognize their soft, throaty coos. (Press PLAY below)

Love them or hate them, Rock Pigeons have been associated with humans for a long time! Some Egyptian hieroglyphics suggest that people started domesticating them over 5,000 years ago. And because of these facts, scientists aren’t even sure where their original range was.

#9. Eurasian Tree Sparrow

  • Passer montanus

Identifying Characteristics:

  • The wings and back are medium brown with black streaks, and the belly is pale tan to white.
  • They have a black face, black eyes, and a blue-grey beak in summer that turns black during the winter.
  • A chestnut brown cap runs down the nape of the neck.

Eurasian Tree Sparrows are often found in cities, urban centers, and neighborhoods. However, you can also find them in farmland, open woods, and large parks.

Interestingly, these little songbirds are not only found in Hong Kong, but across the world. Twelve individuals were released in North America where they quickly took up residence. Since the North American population descended from these twelve birds, there’s a lot less variety in their size, coloring, and shape than the birds in Hong Kong, where there are as many as 30 subspecies!

At first glance, Eurasian Tree Sparrows might look like any other small brown bird. But once you know what to look for, they are easy to identify! The top of the head and back of the neck on a Tree Sparrow is covered in a rich chestnut color. They have a bright white patch on the cheeks and a black throat, with distinctive brown patterns on the wings.

Their call is high and shrill and sounds like “tchee-TCHEE, tchee-TCHEE, tchee-TCHEE.”

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Which of these birds in Hong Kong have you seen before?

Leave a comment below!

Check out these guides to other animals found in Hong Kong!

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