The number of the nation’s documented bird species has increased to 663 this month, including two more endemic species, the Chinese Wild Bird Federation said yesterday.
The federation, which updates its bird species directory every three years, will include this year’s findings — which were published in an annual report released on Friday — in its directory next year, federation environmental research section director Allen Lyu (呂翊維) said.
The federation’s directory is reliable and often referenced by other agencies, as many of its members are important ornithologists and its updates are based on scientific evidence and academic research, and not mere hearsay among bird watchers, Lyu said.
Photo courtesy of Hsinchu City Government
The newly documented birds are the western water rail (Rallus aquaticus korejewi), booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus), scarlet minivet (Pericrocotus speciosus fohkiensis), isabelline shrike (Lanius isabellinus isabellinus), blunt-winged warbler (Acrocephalus concinens concinens) and the russet bush warbler (Locustella mandelli melanorhyncha), the federation’s report said.
The federation has collected photographs of the first four species, but only sound recordings of the latter two as they are more elusive, Lyu said, adding that auditory differences are occasionally more helpful to differentiate birds with similar appearances.
Meanwhile, the number of Taiwanese endemic bird species has increased from 27 to 29, with the status of the Taiwanese shortwing (Brachypteryx goodfellowi) and Taiwanese thrush (Turdus niveiceps) being elevated from endemic subspecies, the report said.
Endemic species can be a tourist attraction for bird enthusiasts, who would visit a place just to take pictures of rarely seen birds and enrich their collection of bird images, Lyu said.
Among the 663 species, 15 more bird species can be observed in Kinmen County and eight more in Matsu, mainly because many migratory birds travel from China to the outlying islands, he said.
The increase in the number of documented species does not mean that local environmental conditions have changed for the better, but is more likely the result of advancements in documentation and analytical tools, such as molecular biology techniques and sound spectrum analysis that make taxonomy and nomenclature more precise, Lyu added.
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