Natural Environment

Tung Chung River is one of the few local rivers that have not been extensively channelised. The natural landscape is largely retained from the headwaters to the estuary. The upper and middle courses of Tung Chung River are within a water gathering ground of Water Supplies Department, so there are measures to protect the water quality. Villagers living in the middle and lower course areas also made some efforts to protect local woods, and have cultivated many fruit trees along the river, hence partially safeguarding the river habitat. A rich ecological environment is maintained while the upper and middle courses of Tung Chung River remain largely free of human interference.

Upper Course

As the channel is small, these animals are often small, with low populations. In the pools and still waters, Sucker-belly loach (Pseudogastromyzon myersi), Vietnam Catfish (Pterocryptis cochinchinensis), Bee Shrimp (Caridina sp.) and Common Freshwater Crab (Cryptopotamon anacoluthon) can be found. Notable amphibian species have been recorded in the upper course near Tung Chung Road, including Short-legged Toad (Xenophrys brahykolos), which is not commonly seen in Hong Kong, Lesser Spiny Frog (Paa exilispinosa), the population of which has been in drastic decline in the mainland, and Romer's Tree Frog (Philautus romeri), which is under the protection of the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance. Common riverside trees such as Common Yellow Steg-fig (Ficus fistulosa) and Saurauia tristyla are found near pools and streams.

Vietnam Catfish (Pterocryptis cochinchinensis)
Sucker-belly loach(Pseudogastromyzon myersi)

Bee Shrimp (Caridina sp.)



Middle Course

Many fish, including Giant Mottled Eel (Anguilla marmorata), Japanese Eel (Anguilla japonica), Predaceous Chub (Parazacco spilurus), Beijiang Thick-lipped Barb (Acrossocheilus beijiangensis), Broken-band Hillstream Loach (Liniparhomaloptera disparis), Sucker-belly loach (Pseudogastromyzon myersi), Vietnam Catfish (Pterocryptis cochinchinensis) and Stream Goby (Rhinogobius duospilus), shelter in the pools in the middle course. Philippine Neon Goby (Stiphodon atropurpureum), which is not commonly seen in Hong Kong, has also been recorded.
Among the rocks on the riverside, you can spot damselflies that are commonly found near woodland rivers, such as Black-banded Gossamerwing (Euphaea decorata), Chinese Greenwing (Neurobasis chinensis) and Common Blue Jewel (Rhinocypha perforata).

Beijiang Thick-lipped Barb (Accrossocheilus beijiangensis)
© Matthew Sin

Chinese Greenwing (Neurobasis chinensis)

Common Blue Jewel (Rhinocypha perforata)

Lower Course

As much of the river along the middle course is intercepted to supply Shek Pik Reservoir, the water flow downstream, is greatly reduced. Water quality may have been affected in some sections, where tufts of fungi and bacteria (filamentous colony) can be found on rocks. In natural river channels, lots of fish species such as Oriental Weatherfish (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus), Whitespotted Walking Catfish (Clarias fuscus), Swampy Eel (Monopterus albus), Small Snakehead (Channa asiatica), Sharphead Sleeper (Eleotris oxycephala), Barcheek Goby (Rhinogobius giurinus) are found. In the channelised section and farmland nearby, you can occasionally see White Wagtail (Motacilla alba), Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus), Chinese Bulbul (Pycnonotus sinensis), Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster) and Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis).

fungi and bacteria(filamentous colony)

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)


There are quite a few trees on the river banks near the estuary, including mangrove associates Cuban Bast (Hibiscus tiliaceus) and Portia Tree (Thespesia populnea), and mangroves Milky Mangrove (Excoecaria agallocha), Many-petaled Mangrove (Bruguiera gymnorhiza), Kandelia obovata and Aegiceras corniculatum. Among them, Milky Mangrove is the most widely distributed species.
On the mudflat, many gastropods can be found. The commonest one is Mud Creeper (Cerithidea spp.). Apart from gastropods, there are other commonly seen molluscs such as Rock Oysters (Saccostrea cucullata), Ark Shell (Barbatia varescens) and Seashore Slug (Onchidium sp.). You can also found Fiddler Crabs (Uca spp.) and Mud-skippers (Periophthalmus modestus) here.

Milky Mangrove (Excoecaria agallocha)

Many-petaled Mangrove (Bruguiera gymnorhiza)

Aegiceras corniculatum

Fiddler Crabs (Uca borealis)

Mud-skippers (Periophthalmus modestus)

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