Sichuan Birding Intro
Sichuan Birding Sites
Sichuan Bird Calls
Sichuan Bird List
Rats, Mice, Gerbils, Hamsters and Jerboas
Bears and The Pandas
Cats and Civets
Pieridae - whites and yellows
Lycaenidae - blues, hairstreaks etc.
Nymphalidae - brush-footed butterflies
Papilionidae - swallowtail butterflies
Hesperiidae - skipper butterflies
Trip Reports 2013
Trip Reports 2014
Trip Reports 2015
Trip Reports 2016
Trip Reports 2017
Mammal Watching Reports
Books and Other ID References
Hog Badger (Arctonyx collaris) has a complicated taxonomy and there are potential splits to consider. We record two distinctive types of this animal – a smaller forest dwelling form at Labahe and Tangjiahe and larger more robust animals that lives on grasslands/alpine forest margins, up to altitudes of 4,000m, on Balang Shan and other alpine habitats along the western edge of the Sichuan Basin. There are suggestions of splitting the species into Southern (A. c. collaris) and Northern (A. c. albogularis), which make our badgers all Northern. However the issue is further complicated by existence of further subspecies – Chinese Hog Badger (A. c. leucolaemus), which might be the type found at Tangjiahe, since its distribution includes Southern Gansu, with which Tangjiahe borders, and Greater Hog Badger (A. c. collaris), having an Eastern Himalayan distribution, that might be the larger upland animals we see at Balang. On the Tibetan Plateau, Hog Badger is replaced by Asian. Identification is through facial markings and the distinctive pig like snout, which is used for digging prey and plant items. In forest situation we only see as nocturnal but on grasslands we often see during daytime
Asian Badger (Meles leucurus) is very similar to European but they are generally lighter in pelage. This is the badger we see on the Tibetan Plateau and although most of our sightings are nocturnal it is also seen during daylight hours. On the plateau we don’t find large numbers of animals at sets but usually singles or pairs hunting/foraging, sometimes with Tibetan Foxes trailing and ready to pirate any prey species the badgers have dug. Among prey items, we have witnessed them digging up and taking Zokor. We have also found the species in agricultural land around Ganzi and semi-desert areas around Chaka Salt Lake, Qinghai, which indicates they are not restricted to grasslands.
Chinese Ferret Badger (Melogale moschata) also goes under the common name of Small-toothed. We have recorded it a Labahe and Tangjiahe and have found it as roadkill at various sites. We mainly find it in lower forest habitat, but the dead animals have been found in agricultural areas and there are reports of sightings close to Chengdu. However, it is a shy species and can be difficult to find. Small size and distinctive body shape make it easy to identify and all or our sightings, bar just two, have been made during night-time.
Mountain Weasel (Mustela altaica) is a high-altitude species we find on the Tibetan Plateau and alpine habitats like Balang Mountain. It can be curious and approachable and is often very responsive to squeaking sounds. Favoured habitats include stone piles or ruins that provide a labyrinth of crevices in which the animal can hide and find prey.
Siberian Weasel (Mustela sibirica) is a widespread species we have seen at a number of Sichuan sites, ranging from the edges of the Sichuan Basin, at Dujiangyan, to Baxi on the lower edges of Tibetan Plateau. Larger than Mountain Weasel its more rufous pelage and dark face are identification features. We mainly find this species during daytime but have also had nightime sightings.
Steppe Polecat (Mustela eversmanii) are found on the Tibetan Plateau but with their habit of hunting below ground in the burrow complexes of prey species, which must mostly consist of Plateau Pika, can be difficult to find. Their distinctively contrasting light and dark pelage makes them easy to identify. We mostly find during night-time.
Yellow-throated Martin (Martes flavigula) a larger mustelid it is well distributed in all suitable forest habitat. We mainly sight this species at forest parks such as Labahe and Tangjiahe but have also recorded it in more alpine situations at Baxi. We have seen both during night and daytime but it is a shy and reclusive animal that is always difficult to find.