Blue Whistling Thrush at Cape Nanhui: First Record in Shanghai Since 1987

Blue Whistling Thrush
Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus, Cape Nanhui, 15 May. The species had not been recorded in Shanghai since 1987.

by Craig Brelsford

A coastal record of Blue Whistling Thrush Myophonus caeruleus is rare; the species had not been recorded in Shanghai since 1987. The places closest to Shanghai where I’ve seen the species are the Tianmu Mountains in Zhejiang and in Nanjing Zhongshan Botanical Garden. When on 15 May we first saw the glossy blue-black bird, my partners Jan-Erik Nilsén and Elaine Du and I were flummoxed. We lingered around microforests 3-8 at Cape Nanhui, waiting to get another look. We finally got a second look and realized it was the whistler.

Birders tend to think of Blue Whistling Thrush as the ultimate resident, a fixture along fast-flowing mountain streams. The bird is however at least partly migratory, as our record and observations of other birders prove. In a message to the Shanghai Birding WeChat group, Jonathan Martinez wrote: “BWT are migrants; I used to have them annually in northern Hunan at a site not suitable for breeding.”

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Craig Brelsford

Craig Brelsford is the founder of Brelsford lived in Shanghai from 2007 to 2018. Now back home in Florida, Brelsford maintains close ties to the Shanghai birding community and continues his enthusiastic development of this website. When Brelsford departed China, he was the top-ranked eBirder in that country, having noted more than 930 species. Brelsford was also the top-ranked eBirder in Shanghai, with more than 320 species. Brelsford’s photos of birds have won various awards and been published in books and periodicals and on websites all over the world. Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, published in its entirety on this website, is the most Shanghai-centric field guide ever written. Brelsford is a graduate of the University of Florida and earned a master's in business administration at the University of Liege, Belgium.

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