Wed, Mar 29, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan top winter spot for black-faced spoonbills

Staff writer, with CNA

Black-faced spoonbills land in shallow water at an unknown location in an undated photograph taken by wildlife photographer Wang Cheng-chi. A record number of 2,601 spoonbills have been recorded in Taiwan this year.

Photo: CNA, courtesy of Wang Cheng-chi

The world’s largest wintering population of black-faced spoonbills this year — 2,601 birds — was recorded in Taiwan, the Forestry Bureau said yesterday.

That is 541 more than wintered in Taiwan last year, a world record increase, and it is the third consecutive year in which the number has exceeded 2,000, the bureau said, citing the International Black-faced Spoonbill Census conducted on Jan. 14 and Jan. 15.

The Taiwan portion of the census was conducted at 51 sites by the Wild Bird Society of the Republic of China, along with members of 26 birdspotting groups nationwide, the bureau said.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List says the black-faced spoonbill is a globally endangered species.

A total of 3,941 birds were recorded globally this year, with those in Taiwan accounting for 66 percent. The global population fell by 585 from last year.

About 98.8 percent of the black-faced spoonbills in Taiwan were recorded in wetlands, fish ponds, saltwater ponds and lagoons in coastal areas of Tainan and Chiayi County, the bureau said.

The bureau in September 2015 authorized the Wild Bird Society to conduct local surveys to monitor the distribution of the birds in Taiwan and evaluate the effectiveness of conservation measures.

The survey this year showed that the birds were largely found in wetlands on Taiwan’s southwestern coast, with the highest number — 1,810 — recorded in Tainan, followed by Chiayi County with 513 and Kaohsiung with 247.

Tainan saw the biggest increase from last year with 282.

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