World Bird Day, or World Migratory Bird Day as it is now internationally known, is celebrated around the world on the second weekend of May. A global event dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of birds in our ecosystem and advocating for their conservation, this time we will be looking at Cantonese words for Bird Day and some of the ways to get involved.
A reminder of the beauty and significance of these feathered creatures that share our planet, World Migratory Bird Day 2024 will be celebrated on 8th May in Hong Kong and the rest of China. This day highlights the incredible journeys that migratory birds undertake during their annual migrations, often spanning many thousands of miles, and emphasizes the need for international cooperation to protect the habitats and stop the threats that these birds face along their migration routes.
Hong Kong‘s location at the crossroads of major migratory routes makes it a strategic position and a crucial stopover and wintering ground for numerous Chinese birds and other international species, earning it a prime place on the map for birdwatchers worldwide.
Cantonese Words For Bird Day & The Birdlife Of Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s varied landscape, comprising lush countryside, wetlands, and the iconic Victoria Harbor, provides a rich habitat for a diverse range of bird species. Here are some of the fascinating Chinese bird names (with their scientific names) you can encounter in and around Hong Kong:
1. Mandarin Duck (Aix Galericulata) – Yuānyāng (鸳鸯)
Known to the Chinese as “yuanyang”, a combination of the Chinese words “yuan” (鴛) and “yang”‘ (鴦) meaning male and female ducks respectively, Mandarin Ducks are a symbol of fidelity in mainland China as it is believed they pair up for life. It is an ancient tradition that Mandarin ducks attend wedding ceremonies because of their reputation as lovers for life.
2. Black-Faced Spoonbill (Platalea Minor) – Hēi Miàn Pí Lù (黑面琵鷺)
The Black-faced Spoonbill is only one species among many of Hong Kong’s most iconic other birds. These striking waders are instantly recognizable by their distinctive long, black bills with spoon-shaped tips. They migrate from their breeding grounds in Korea, Japan, and China to Hong Kong and Central Asia during the winter months, making them a star attraction for birdwatchers.
3. Chinese Egret (Egretta Eulophotes) – Huáng Zuǐ Báilù (黄嘴白鹭)
The Chinese Egret is another migrant bird that visits Hong Kong and other parts of Southeast Asia. With its elegant white plumage and yellow bill, this bird is a true symbol of purity. It breeds in northeastern China and the Korean Peninsula and migrates to Hong Kong for the winter.
4. Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus Saularis) – Què Qú (鵲鴝)
For those exploring Hong Kong’s urban parks and gardens and the many species of birds to be found, the Oriental Magpie-Robin is a common and charming sight. These small birds are known for their melodious songs and distinctive white and black plumage.
5. Black Kite (Milvus Migrans) – Hēi Yuān (黑鸢)
The Black Kite is a resident raptor in Hong Kong and is often seen soaring gracefully in the sky. These large birds of prey, closely related to other raptor species, are known for their distinctive forked tails and keen hunting abilities.
6. Collared Scops Owl (Otus Lettia) – Lǐng Jiǎo Xiāo (领角鸮)
Venture into the city’s woodlands and you might be lucky enough to spot a Collared Scops Owl. This small owl species is known for its distinctive “barking” call and excellent camouflage.
7. Chinese Bulbul (Pycnonotus Sinensis) – Zhōngguó Qiújīng (中國球莖)
The Chinese Bulbul is a common resident bird in Hong Kong. One of Hong Kong’s favorite birds, its melodious songs and vibrant yellow plumage add a splash of color to the city’s green spaces.
Hong Kong’s Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
Hong Kong boasts several Important Bird Areas designated by BirdLife International due to their significance for bird conservation and great diversity.
Mai Po Nature Reserve
Mai Po Nature Reserve is a wetland paradise located in the northwest of Hong Kong. It is a critical stopover site for migratory birds, with over 390 bird species that come to nest here. Visitors can explore a network of boardwalks and hides to observe the resident and migratory birdlife as well as other animals.
Inner Deep Bay
Inner Deep Bay, adjacent to Mai Po, is another vital wetland area for several species of migratory birds. It provides feeding and roosting grounds for thousands of waterbirds, including the aforementioned Black-faced Spoonbills and Chinese Egrets.
Long Valley, located in the New Territories, is a vast agricultural freshwater wetland area surrounded by trees and hills. It is a prime spot for birdwatchers interested in both resident and migratory birds. During the winter months, this area attracts flocks of wild geese, waders, and other waterbirds.
Conservation Efforts In Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s unique position as a haven for migratory birds has led to increased efforts in conservation and education. Organizations like the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS) work tirelessly to promote bird conservation and educate the public and other members about the importance of protecting these avian visitors.
HKBWS conducts regular birdwatching outings, bird counts, and conservation projects. They also provide valuable resources for bird enthusiasts, making it easier for both locals and tourists to appreciate and contribute to the conservation of Hong Kong’s avian treasures.
So, whether you’re a seasoned birder or a curious beginner, make your way to Hong Kong on 8 May to celebrate the global avian event and witness the magic of migratory birds in this vibrant city.
Improve Your Cantonese With Ling
If you are planning to visit Hong Kong in May for World Migratory Bird Day, you need to brush up on your Cantonese with Ling before you “fly”. Ling app has all the language learning tools you will need to quickly master the Cantonese tongue. Why not check Ling app out today by clicking on Google Play or the App Store?