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Bright Yellow songbird in Hangzhou, China (1 Viewer)


New member
Hi all. I had a fantastic day today in the Hangzhou Botanical Gardens, but i still haven't figured out one of my sightings.

Firstly, it was a medium-sized songbird, and my first guess based on body size and the shape of the head and beak would be a Starling or maybe a Thrush. The problem is that it was almost entirely bright yellow, and i haven't been able to find such a starling.

Other features: a dark black stripe going through the eye, not much thicker than the eye itself, and extending from the front to near the back of the head (IIRC). The beak was either pink or orange, or somewhere in between. The breast area was white or beige with black speckles. On the back, besides the bright yellow, there was some dark gray outlining of the edge of the wings (while the wings were folded).

I've been looking through some bird reports on www.cnbirder.com and haven't been able to find this bird through random browsing, and when i looked through different types of starlings i couldn't find an all-yellow one.

thanks everyone, and if anyone's in hangzhou from now until february 2008, send me a message and we'll go birding :)


New member
"You don't have permission to access /u12/r53lanc/upload/19931218.bp40copy.jpg on this server."

I can't see your image, but i checked some other ones on Oriental Bird Club. It seems close, but there's one big difference. All of the pictures on OBC have a bright yellow chest, whereas the bird i saw had a very light chest with distinct black speckles. The color was definitely not anywhere near the bright yellow of the back, tail, and head....it was either white or beige (hard to tell in the shade).

Also, the dark parts on the wings were very mild. My impression of the bird was "YELLOW!" until i noticed the slight shading around the edges of the wings, whereas these black-naped oriole pics seem to have very strong black areas on the wings. The immature pictures on OBC look closer to my bird, but they also don't have the white speckled chest.

Other than those details, there's some very close resemblance to that oriole...but i don't think it's it.


Mike Kilburn
Hong Kong
Hi Doviende

Welcome to BF and Hangzhou.

The only medium-sized all-yellow bird with a balck mask and orange-pink bil in Eastern China is Black-naped Oriole. Like many birds it can show a combination of features in post breeding.

The impression of BNO is almost always "yellow" - even on rather green-tinged females and immatures.

It seems likely to me that your bird was a first winter male BNO. BNO is a common breeder and migrant in Eastern/Central China that should be passing through Hangzhou now. A couple have already arrived in Hong Kong, and we expect more in the next month or so.

I can't think of anything else this could be except for a freak vagrant Golden Oriole (nearest are in Xinjang) or Slender-billed Oriole (nearest - Yunnan)


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