Paradise Flycatchers in Shanghai – 10,000 Birds


Such an embarrassingly populist title of a weblog put up ought to clearly be adopted by some dry info. Right here goes: Paradise Flycatchers are a genus within the broader (and somewhat massive) household of Monarchidae. There are 17 totally different species of them, just a few of them endangered, notably some island endemics. Whereas most of them are non-migratory, the 2 that go to Shanghai are migratory: the Amur Paradise Flycatcher and the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher.

A attribute of most however not all Paradise Flycatchers is the lengthy tail of the male hen (tail size is considered a criterion by which females choose their companions – please insert your individual pornographic joke right here). Which means that the hen proven under – if I’m right in pondering it’s a male Japanese Paradise Flycatcher with a somewhat quick story – will wrestle to discover a companion this 12 months.


The Japanese Paradise Flycatcher often arrives in Shanghai a bit sooner than the Amur one, because it nonetheless has to journey on to Japan. It’s listed as Close to Threatened – the HBW cites the same old causes which are simply different methods of claiming that people don’t care sufficient for different species, equivalent to forest loss and degradation in its winter vary. After all, for nations with largely average climates such because the US, China, Japan, or Germany, it’s all the time simpler to say that the winter vary is the issue (i.e., not their very own).

Wikipedia claims that in Japanese, its music is rendered as tsuki-hi-hoshi, hoi-hoi-hoi, which interprets to Moon-Solar-Stars and provides the Japanese title of the hen sankocho (actually, hen of three lights, i.e. moon, solar, star, from san three + ko lights + cho hen) – and perhaps that’s true, or perhaps the one that wrote the Wikipedia entry simply has a humorousness just like mine …


I’m certain that like me, you’ve spent many sleepless nights questioning in regards to the territory dimension of breeding Japanese Paradise Flycatchers. Worry not, science has a solution: about 1.16 hectares, which is an area of a bit greater than 100 meters by 100 meters (US readers: please do your individual conversion into sq. ft per inch, or no matter antiquated items you employ. Simply be sure that to do the conversion accurately earlier than you launch any house shuttles).



In some way, watching the male Japanese Paradise Flycatcher fly with its lengthy tail following it just like the ribbons of a ribbon dancer jogs my memory of Oscar Wilde’s play “Salome” – I assume it’s the “Dance of the seven veils” affiliation … with the web page of Herodias always saying that “One thing horrible could occur” … and it does. Oscar Wilde was type of my past love as a reader once I was about 15 – perhaps I ought to learn Dorian Grey once more one in every of as of late.

There’s not likely that a lot different info on the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher. Under are some images of the feminine.



Switching to the Amur Paradise Flycatcher, which has the Latin species title of incei.

This title is derived from Commander John Matthew Robert Ince (1812-1850) Royal Navy, surveyor, collector in Australia, New Guinea and China (supply: HBW). Sadly, there may be not a lot info on Mr. Ince – no Wikipedia entry, so far as I can inform – simply the curious bit of knowledge that round 1846, he was on half pay on board the Fly 18 (supply). This doesn’t fairly appear to benefit naming a lovely hen species after him, however what do I do know – I’d not have named a successful card in a card sport after an atrocious US president both …

The male is available in two morphs, although the white morph is considerably uncommon, and I didn’t see it this 12 months.

Whereas additionally migratory, the Amur Paradise Flycatcher could finish its journey in Shanghai and breed right here, although the kind of habitat it requires is getting rarer and rarer (one of many previous locations I knew of is simply getting destroyed this 12 months).

How you can distinguish the 2 species, as they appear considerably related? You’ll be able to look it up right here – it’s a rather more detailed description than I may ever handle.

Personally, I discover it virtually simpler to simply hearken to the hen – the calls are totally different, with those of the Amur Paradise Flycatcher sounding a bit extra refined to me (although to be trustworthy, none of those sound notably good – should you look this spectacular, you don’t want to be an important singer as properly).


Other than that, not a lot I can say about these two species – I’ll finish with some images of the feminine Amur Paradise Flycatcher.



(all images taken at Nanhui, Shanghai in Could 2023)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *