Birding in Hong Kong’s Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve
New Territories, Hong Kong
Mai Po Nature Reserve is in the northwest New Territories of Hong Kong. With habitat professionally managed by WWF HK, it is an area of tidal shrimp ponds – known as “Gei Wais” – and fishponds and it lies in the heart of the 1,500 hectares of Deep Bay that was gazetted as a Ramsar Wetland Site in 1994.
Mai Po forms a vital resting point for tens of thousands of migratory shorebirds that use the East Asian flyway every spring and autumn. Travelling between their wintering areas in east asia and Australia and their breeding grounds in Siberia shorebirds literally flock to Mai Po. Rarities can include Nordmann’s Greenshank, Asian Dowitcher and the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper. The reserve is well-prepared with paths and hides for birders to appreciate the spectacle. Spring migration peaks in April, and southbound birds are most numerous in September and October.
In winter (November to March) tens of thousand of duck arrive at Mai Po and are joined by south China’s biggest concentration of Great Cormorants. These are preyed on by a variety of raptors, including Eastern Marsh Harrier, Greater Spotted and Eastern Imperial Eagle. Mai Po is a significant wintering ground for the Endangered Black-faced Spoonbill, – occasional winter counts of over 400 individuals account for up to 20% of the known world population.
Mai Po boasts the biggest birdlist of any area in Hong Kong, with over 380 species recorded to date. Walk Hong Kong’s specialist bird guides are familiar with the reserve and know the effect the tides in Deep Bay with have on bird distribution. David and John will ensure that you get the best out of any visit to this spectacular wetland.