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Pink dolphin
Photograph: Courtesy Flickr/Judy Gallagher

Hong Kong’s most intriguing native wildlife and where to find them

Nature wanderers, rejoice! See where to find Hong Kong’s native wildlife

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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Who said wildlife is dead? Long before we were the world’s densest concrete jungle, we were,
in fact, a rainforest ecosystem – which explains the humidity everywhere. Nevertheless, we’re
home to some of the most unique plant and animal species in the world, making up about one-third of the total bird population in China. From country parks to an average street of Hong Kong, read on the find out where to see Hong Kong’s endemic wildlife up close. By Karl Lam

RECOMMENDED: If you’re more of a fan of winged creatures, these are some of the best spots to go birdwatching. Or if you prefer animals in a more confined space, these pet cafés should do the trick. 

Best places to see wildlife in Hong Kong

Romer’s tree frog
  • Things to do
  • Tai Po

Despite it being the smallest amphibian in the region, the Romer’s tree frog is easily spotted with its triangular yet blunt snout and brown lips. It was first discovered on Lamma and Lantau Island in 1952, with the largest population ever recorded in Chek Lap Kok before the construction of the airport in the mid-1990s. Now, the species are under protection and you can find them at the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden.

Image: KFBG/Tan Kit-sun

The black-faced spoonbill

The black-faced spoonbill

The black-faced spoonbill can be recognised through its distinctive beak resembling a spoon, or a pipa – a Chinese classical instrument that's similar to a guitar. This bird is found in coastal areas of Southeast Asia but in winter, they migrate southwards to places like Hong Kong and Macao. In the colder months, a tenth of the world’s black-faced spoonbills migrates to the Mai Po Inner Deep Bay, near Yuen Long, so that’s the place you need to be to see these birds up close. 

Image: Kym Wallis/Flickr

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Pink dolphin
Photograph: Courtesy Flickr/Judy Gallagher

Pink dolphin

The pink dolphin, or Chinese white dolphin, gets its name from its grey-pink colour, which is caused by the blushing during its body temperature regulation (honestly, that’s so cute). They usually hang around in the Pearl River estuary, near Lantau and Peng Chau, but if you really want to see them, join Dolphinwatch. Offering regular boat tour services to Lantau Island, it has a 96 percent success rate on sightings and if you fail to spot a dolphin the first time, you can join again for free on the next available trip.

Image: Judy Gallagher/Flickr

Saunders gull
  • Things to do
  • Yuen Long

The Saunder's gull is native to Hong Kong’s intertidal marshes but it’s often mistaken for a duck (if it walks like a duck...) The creature is known to have a pale fluffy white body, a narrow black head and a tail with grey features, making it a favourite among birdwatchers. If you’re lucky, you can see them at Mai Po Marshes circling the air hunting for mudskippers,crabs, fish and worms.

Image: lonelyshrimp/Flickr

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Archduke Butterfly
  • Things to do
  • Tung Chung

First discovered here eight years ago, archduke butterflies are one of the rarest butterflies in Hong Kong. What makes these flutterers particularly special are their different metamorphic features – male archdukes wings have white spots; females have a blue-green tinged edge. Though they’re difficult to find, your best bets are on Lantau Island – there are a recorded 199 butterfly species there, so either way, you’re bound to find something there.

Image: rogue2408/Flickr

Don’t forget these furry celebrities too

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