Open Access

Identification of coastal wetlands of international importance for waterbirds: a review of China Coastal Waterbird Surveys 2005–2013

  • China Coastal Waterbird Census Group,
  • Qingquan Bai1Email author,
  • Jianzhong Chen2,
  • Zhihong Chen3,
  • Guotai Dong3,
  • Jiangtian Dong4,
  • Wenxiao Dong5,
  • Vivian Wing Kan Fu6,
  • Yongxiang Han7,
  • Gang Lu8,
  • Jing Li9,
  • Yang Liu10,
  • Zhi Lin3, 11,
  • Derong Meng12,
  • Jonathan Martinez13,
  • Guanghui Ni14,
  • Kai Shan15,
  • Renjie Sun16,
  • Suixing Tian4,
  • Fengqin Wang2, 17,
  • Zhiwei Xu3,
  • Yat-tung Yu6,
  • Jin Yang14,
  • Zhidong Yang18,
  • Lin Zhang19,
  • Ming Zhang20 and
  • Xiangwu Zeng21
Avian Research20156:12

DOI: 10.1186/s40657-015-0021-2

Received: 16 October 2014

Accepted: 25 May 2015

Published: 11 July 2015

Abstract

Background

China’s coastal wetlands belong to some of the most threatened ecosystems worldwide. The loss and degradation of these wetlands seriously threaten waterbirds that depend on wetlands.

Methods

The China Coastal Waterbird Census was organized by volunteer birdwatchers in China’s coastal region. Waterbirds were surveyed synchronously once every month at 14 sites, as well as irregularly at a further 18 sites, between September 2005 and December 2013.

Results

A total of 75 species of waterbirds met the 1 % population level Ramsar listing criterion at least once at one site. The number of birds of the following species accounted for over 20 % of the total flyway populations at a single site: Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), Siberia Crane (Grus leucogeranus), Far Eastern Oystercatcher (Haematopus osculans), Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica), Spotted Greenshank (Tringa guttifer), Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris), Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmeus), Saunders’s Gull (Larus saundersi), Relict Gull (Larus relictus), Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor) and Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus). A total of 26 sites supported at least one species of which their number met the 1 % criterion. Forty-two species met the 1 % criterion in the Yellow River Delta, Shandong; 29 at the Cangzhou coast, Hebei and 26 species at the Lianyungang coast, Jiangsu.

Conclusions

The results highlight the international importance of China’s coastal wetlands for waterbirds. This study also demonstrates that participation of local birdwatchers in waterbird surveys results in data that are invaluable not only for understanding the current status of waterbirds in China’s coastal regions but also for waterbird conservation and management.

Keywords

1 % criterion Citizen science Coastal wetlands Ramsar site Waterbirds

Background

China’s coastal wetlands provide critical breeding, stopover and wintering sites for millions of waterbirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Unfortunately, coastal wetlands have been severely altered through reclamation, pollution, the spread of invasive species and over-harvesting of marine organisms (MacKinnon et al. 2012; Ma et al. 2014; Hua et al. 2015). Waterbirds are not only conservation targets, but also indicators of the quality and importance of wetlands. Over the past several decades, waterbird surveys have been conducted along China’s coasts. For example, between 1996 and 2005, Mark Barter and colleagues conducted surveys of migrating shorebirds in the Yellow Sea region (Barter 2002) and wintering bird surveys were conducted in Fujian (Barter et al. 2007). Waterbirds were also surveyed in nature reserves, especially focusing on threatened species such as the Red-crowned Crane (Grus japanensis) (Su and Zou 2012) and the Chinese Crested Tern (Sterna bernsteini) (Fan et al. 2011), while synchronous waterbird surveys have been conducted in some reserves continuously throughout the years. All these surveys have provided basic data for conservation and management measures.

However, the current population status of most waterbird species is still largely unclear, especially outside nature reserves where waterbird surveys have seldom been conducted. More recently, birdwatching has become increasingly popular in China; over 30 birdwatching societies have been established and the number of birdwatchers continues to increase (Ma et al. 2013). Since 2005, birdwatchers in China’s coastal regions have organized and conducted synchronous waterbird surveys once every month (China Coastal Waterbird Census Group 2009, 2011). These provide basic data in order to understand the status of waterbirds in coastal regions. Our surveys complement those of wintering waterbirds reported by Cui et al. (2014).

The criteria for the identification of ‘wetlands of international importance’ under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat include two that relate specifically to waterbirds: criterion 5 states that a site should regularly support 20000 or more waterbirds, while criterion 6 insists that the site should regularly support 1 % of the number of individual birds in a population of a species or subspecies of waterbirds (Ramsar Convention Secretariat 2010). Wetlands International regularly reviews waterbird populations and publishes the number of birds meeting the 1 % criterion for different populations (Wetlands International 2014). In this review, we identify sites of international importance using the Ramsar 1 % population criterion and highlight several species for which population estimates apparently require revision. This will be helpful for conservation and management measures of waterbirds and their wetland habitats.

Methods

The China Coastal Waterbird Census Group was established in 2005, training birdwatchers in bird identification and counting methods. Surveys have been conducted monthly since September 2005.

Because most of the surveyors are volunteers, surveys are conducted at weekends. To facilitate bird counts, surveys are generally conducted at high tide during periods of spring tides (China Coastal Waterbird Census Group 2009, 2011).

During surveys, surveyors walk along fixed routes and record waterbirds using binoculars and telescopes. Surveys of most sites can be finished in one day, whereas some larger sites need at least two days, e.g., along the Yalu Jiang, which covers some 60 km of coastline with multiple roost sites (Choi et al. 2015). Surveys at this site usually need at least two days to count different sections; at this site it is known that two sections for counting birds contain, essentially, discrete populations with little movement of birds between the two sections on consecutive days. Therefore, different sections at Yalu Jiang were counted on consecutive days, combining the number of birds of the two sections. This method was also used in the wider Rudong area. To ensure consistency of the survey methods, every site had a survey coordinator as the main investigator and team leader and surveys were arranged to minimize the risk of double-counting within the site on the same and consecutive days.

From September 2005 to December 2013, waterbirds were counted at 32 sites: 14 sites were surveyed each month and a further 18 sites at irregular intervals. At least one site was surveyed in each coastal province (Fig. 1). Some nature reserves were not covered in our surveys; however, there have been previous waterbird surveys in these coastal nature reserves (Barter et al. 2002).
Fig. 1

Survey sites along China’s coasts. The dark grey shows the regular survey sites and light grey the occasional survey sites. NR: Nature Reserve

The number of birds of each species recorded during every census were compared with the 1 % population estimates published in Waterbird Population Estimates (Wetlands International 2014).

Results and discussion

Species

A total of 75 species, including 33 shorebirds, 19 ducks and geese, 5 terns, 5 cranes, 4 gulls, 2 storks, 2 egrets, 2 spoonbills, 1 cormorant and 1 pelican, were recorded in numbers that met the 1 % criterion at least once at a single site during each census from September 2005 to December 2013 (Table 1). Among these species, the numbers of Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus), Far Eastern Oystercatcher (Haematopus osculans), Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica), Spotted Greenshank (Tringa guttifer), Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris), Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmeus), Saunders’s Gull (Larus saundersi), Relict Gull (Larus relictus), Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor), and Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) exceeded 20 % of the total flyway population estimate at a single site (Table 1). The numbers of Spotted Greenshank and Dalmatian Pelican exceeded the estimated numbers of the entire flyway population, suggesting an underestimate of the total population.
Table 1

Waterbird species at sites that meet the Ramsar 1 % criterion (Wetlands International 2014)

Species

1 % criterion

Sites supporting 1 % or more of the flyway population (Maximum number, Year.Month.Date)

Wintering period

Northward migration

Southward migration

Summering/Breeding

Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)

600

  

YRD (1780, 2010.11)

 

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

15

YRD (397, 2013.01)

   

Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus)

1000

 

TJ (960, 2011.03)

TJ (1118, 2009.11)

 

YRD (1040, 2007.11)

Bean Goose (Anser fabalis)

1100

 

CZ (5045, 2007.03)

YRD (4500, 2012.11)

 

STZ (2200, 2013.03.17–18)

YRD (1540, 2013.03)

Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides)

680

MJE (950, 2008.02)

   

Graylag Goose (Anser anser)

710

 

CZ (1694, 2009.03)

YRD (3500, 2012.11)

 

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea)

710

YRD (1946, 2007.01)

 

CZ (1750, 2010.11)

 

Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)

1200

 

YLJ (7415, 2012.03.24–25)

CZ (7494, 2008.11)

 

STZ (3200, 2013.04.16–17)

YLJ (3394, 2011.10.29)

CZ (1521, 2011.03)

 

Gadwall (Anas strepera)

7100

  

YRD (21500, 2011.11)

 

Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha)

11,300

  

YRD (14500, 2008.08)

 

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

5000

SZ (12520, 2008.01)

   

HK (7567, 2011.01)

Falcated Duck (Anas falcate)

830

LYG (6800, 2011.02)

CZ (1120, 2012.04)

YRD (12000, 2012.11)

 

YRD (6500, 2008.01)

NH (1580, 2012.02.09)

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

2400

HK (3615, 2010.12)

   

HF (3400, 2008.01)

YRD (2450, 2010.12)

Baikal Teal (Anas formosa)

7100

CMDT (8000, 2006.02)

   

Baer’s Pochard (Aythya baeri)

5

 

CZ (15, 2012.03.09–13)

TJ (8, 2010.10)

 

Common Pochard (Aythya farina)

3000

  

YRD (3500, 2010.10)

 

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

2400

HK (5987, 2012.12.16)

   

SZ (4100, 2010.12)

Smew (Mergellus albellus)

250

YRD (3100, 2007.02)

TJ (1600, 2011.03)

CZ (2924, 2010.11)

 

CZ (498, 2008.03)

TJ (2000, 2011.11)

 

YRD (1320, 2009.11)

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)

710

 

TJ (1192, 2006.03)

YRD (845, 2009.11)

 

YLJ (973, 2011.03)

Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus)

30

 

YRD (42, 2011.03)

YRD (700, 2011.11)

 

STZ (500, 2013.11.17)

White-naped Crane (Grus vipio)

30

 

CZ (44, 2010.03)

YRD (220, 2012.11)

 

Common Crane (Grus grus)

150

CZ (1628, 2007.02)

YRD (880, 2011.03)

YRD (1320, 2011.11)

 

YRD (1250, 2011.12)

CZ (174, 2008.03)

Hooded Crane (Grus monacha)

15

 

YLJ (99, 2010.03)

YRD (150, 2012.11)

 

Red-crowned Crane (Grus japonensis)

4

YRD (123, 2011.01)

STZ (280, 2013.03.17–18)

STZ (300, 2013.11.17)

 

YRD (150, 2009.3)

YRD (84, 2008.11)

LYG (86, 2013.02)

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)

5

 

YRD (14, 2009.3)

YRD (8, 2009.10)

 

Oriental White Stork (Ciconia boyciana)

30

YRD (65, 2011.01)

CZ (502, 2010.03)

TJ (480, 2012.11.12)

YRD (260, 2011.06)

STZ (320, 2013.03.17–18)

YRD (150, 2010.11)

YRD (210, 2011.04)

STZ (140, 2013.11.17)

TJ (72, 2009.03)

CZ (32, 2011.11)

Far Eastern Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

70

LYG (2806, 2013.12.15)

YLJ (2458, 2013.03.17)

STZ (1450, 2012.08.26)

YLJ (102, 2010.06.14)

DL (1400, 2013.12.10–11)

STZ (210, 2011.03)

YLJ (361, 2008.09)

 

RD (145, 2010.03.07)

RD (235, 2013.08.15)

  

DL (155, 2013.10.15–19)

  

CZ (111, 2011.11)

  

YRD (85, 2012.09)

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

1000

 

TJ (5002, 2010.04)

YRD (1,550, 2010.09)

YRD (2100, 2010.07)

YRD (1450, 2010.05)

CZ (1076, 2010.09)

CZ (1723, 2010.08)

CZ (1407, 2008.04)

 

Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

1000

HK (16120, 2008.01)

SZ (7180, 2010.03)

LYG (7400, 2011.10)

 

LYG (7000, 2012.01.13)

LYG (3000, 2009.04)

CZ (4065, 2011.10)

SZ (2866, 2010.12)

NS (1572, 2013.03.19)

YRD (2100, 2010.09)

 

YRD (1200, 2009.04)

TJ (1040, 2011.11)

Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

1000

 

LYG (8870, 2013.03.16)

YLJ (4020, 2011.08.17)

 

YLJ (6145, 2011.04.21)

YRD (2300, 2010.09)

TJ (3000, 2011.05)

TJ (2250, 2011.12)

CZ (2089, 2005.05)

STZ (2000, 2011.08.13–14)

 

RD (1741, 2012.10.14)

 

DL (1240, 2013.10.15–19)

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)

250

   

YRD (330, 2011.07)

CZ (277, 2007.08)

Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)

1000

SZ (4303, 2010.01)

CZ (4016, 2007.04)

RD (14760, 2010.10)

 

HK (3220, 2012.01.20)

LYG (2000, 2011.04)

STZ (10000, 2011.08.13–14)

QZB (1856, 2012.12.18)

 

YLJ (6500, 2010.09.12)

  

DL (5000, 2013.10.15–19)

  

LYG (2500, 2012.10.14)

  

CZ (2238, 2011.09)

  

HK (2000, 2008.11)

  

YRD (1250, 2010.08)

  

MJE (1000, 2010.11)

Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus)

390

 

RD (1000, 2010.05)

RD (3820, 2008.08)

 

LYG (750, 2013.05)

RD (3590, 2013.09.07–09)

XT (688, 2012.03.22)

DL (2000, 2013.10.15–19)

YLJ (520, 2010.05)

YLJ (1950, 2011.09.01)

MJE (400, 2011.05)

LYG (1300, 2013.09.08)

 

JDS (1044, 2006.10)

 

STZ (400, 2011.08.13–14)

Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultia)

790

  

MJE (1780, 2008.09)

 

QZB (1717, 2012.08.18–19)

RD (1600, 2011.08)

DL (1435, 2013.07.21)

DWB (1022, 2013.07)

BH (900, 2013.07.21–22)

Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus)

230

 

LYG (2800, 2013.5.12)

LYG (1899, 2012.08.07–09)

 

HK (428, 2008.04)

TJ (420, 2010.08)

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

1400

SZ (1900, 2010.02)

TJ (11125, 2007.04)

LYG (4425, 2012.08.07–09)

 

YRD (6550, 2012.04)

CZ (2404, 2010.09)

STZ (2000, 2012.04.08–09)

STZ (1750, 2011.08.13–14)

HK (1924, 2013.04.14)

 

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

1500

 

YLJ (67826, 2013.4.29–30)

YLJ (15000, 2009.08.22–23)

 

LYG (4702, 2013.04.14)

STZ (2470, 2011.08.13–14)

STZ (4000, 2012.04.08–09)

 

YRD (2150, 2012.04)

 

CZ (1725, 2010.05)

 

Little Curlew (Numenius minutus)

1800

 

YRD (4300, 2007.05)

  

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

550

  

QZB (909, 2012.08.18–19)

 

CZ (865, 2007.08)

DWB (776, 2012.08)

Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)

1000

CZ (6625, 2007.01)

CZ (4895, 2011.03)

CZ (5280, 2009.11)

 

TJ (2800, 2010.02)

TJ (3000, 2010.03)

YLJ (4100, 2010.09.12)

HK (1602, 2011.01)

YLJ (1782, 2011.03)

RD (1487, 2013.10.15–19)

QZB (1539, 2013.12.21)

YRD (1550, 2008.04)

STZ (1250, 2011.08.13–14)

ZHB (1225, 2012.01.20)

  

LYG (1200, 2011.01)

 

Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis)

320

 

YLJ (4840, 2011.04.21)

YLJ (5289, 2011.07.16–17)

 

YRD (650, 2008.05)

TJ (1675, 2007.09)

STZ (480, 2013.04.16–17)

ZHB (1323, 2011.09.02)

 

STZ (700, 2011.08.13–14)

 

CZ (603, 2007.07)

 

RD (495, 2011.06)

 

YRD (350, 2009.09)

Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)

250

HK (1686, 2006.02)

YRD (1150, 2008.05)

CZ (2734, 2008.9)

 

HK (711, 2010.04)

YLJ (1300, 2008.10)

SZ (406, 2010.04)

STZ (1200, 2011.08.13–14)

LYG (406, 2011.04)

NH (720, 2007.10)

YLJ (380, 2011.05.05)

TJ (450, 2012.10.14)

RD (300, 2012.04.22)

YRD (350, 2010.09)

 

HF (345, 2010.07)

 
 

LYG (250, 2011.07)

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

1000

 

SZ (5200, 2006.04)

STZ (1000, 2011.08.13–14)

 

HK (1106, 2007.04)

Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

1000

HK (1027, 2011.01)

SZ (2528, 2010.04)

TJ (2064, 2011.10)

 

HK (1936, 2008.04)

YLJ (1626, 2013.08.24–25)

 

HK (1251, 2012.08.19)

 

STZ (1120, 2011.08.13–14)

Spotted Greenshank (Tringa guttifer)

5

 

HK (46, 2007.04)

DT (940, 2013.10.15–19)

 

YLJ (40, 2013.05.10–11)

RD (158, 2013.10.15-19)

DWB (17, 2009.04.08)

DL (19, 2013.10.15–19)

 

YLJ (14, 2010.08.28)

Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)

500

 

QZB (610, 2011.04)

MJE (980, 2012.07.22)

LYG (650, 2013.06.16)

RD (880, 2013.08.15)

YLJ (825, 2013.07.21)

Grey-tailed Tattler (Heteroscelus brevipes)

440

 

QZB (520, 2011.05)

  

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

290

 

YLJ (464, 2011.05.25)

  

Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris)

2900

 

STZ (80000, 2013.04.27)

STZ (12500, 2011.08.14)

 

YLJ (74900, 2013.04.29–30)

DL (5000, 2013.07.21)

 

YLJ (3220, 2011.08.19)

 

LYG (3018, 2012.08.07–09)

Red Knot (Calidris canutus)

1100

 

LYG (2500, 2013.04.14)

STZ (4700, 2011.08.14)

 

TJ (2000, 2012.05.13)

YRD (1300, 2010.09)

CZ (1116, 2012.05.19–20)

 

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

220

MJE (680, 2011.01)

MJE (850, 2012.04.21)

MJE (1900, 2008.09)

 

QZB (310, 2011.01)

QZB (330, 2013.04.14)

QZB (276, 2013.10.21)

LYG (232, 2010.05)

 

Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis)

3200

 

NH (7552, 2007.05)

LYG (6853, 2012.08.07–09)

 

LYG (3572, 2011.05)

RD (6710, 2008.08)

Long-toed Stint (Calidris subminuta)

250

  

RD (750, 2008.08)

 

LYG (600, 2012.07.21)

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminate)

1600

 

LYG (8000, 2008.05)

STZ (1600, 2012.08.25)

 

CZ (2549, 2012.05.19–20)

YLJ (1788, 2011.05.17)

Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)

1400

 

HK (9168, 2008.04)

  

SZ (5100, 2013.04.14)

LYG (3000, 2013.05.12)

CZ (2481, 2012.05.19–20)

Dunlin (Calidris alpina)

10,000

 

YLJ (35770, 2011.04.21)

YLJ (25700, 2013.09.19)

 

YRD (24500, 2012.04)

RD (14364, 2010.04)

LYG (14000, 2008.05)

Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus)

3

MJE (14, 2011.02)

RD (25, 2012.04.22)

RD (103, 2011.10.12)

 

YLJ (4, 2012.05.19–27)

RD (61, 2013.10.15–19)

XT (3, 2012.03.11)

DT (44, 2013.10.15–19)

DWB (3, 2006.03)

DL (38, 2013.10.15–19)

Broad-billed Sandpiper (Limicola falcinellus)

250

 

YLJ (1869, 2010.05.26)

RD (500, 2011.08)

 

DWB (290, 2013.04)

YLJ (300, 2011.09.01)

LYG (250, 2013.05.12)

 

Temminck’s Stint (Calidris temminckii)

250

  

TJ (456, 2012.08.20)

 

Saunders’s Gull (Larus saundersi)

85

XHB (1710, 2007.02)

YRD (1450, 2009.03)

DL (2555, 2013.10.15–19)

STZ (6000, 2012.06.17)

QZB (742, 2013.01.13)

RD (880, 2010.04)

YRD (1200, 2008.09)

YRD (1250, 2010.05)

DWB (737, 2008.01.19)

WZB (520, 2008.03)

YLJ (984, 2012.09)

RD (1085, 2012.07.02)

WZB (345, 2008.02)

YLJ (263, 2011.03)

DWB (669, 2009.11)

YLJ (930, 2013.06.22)

CZ (256, 2012.02.17–18)

 

RD (629, 2012.09.16)

DL (320, 2013.07.21)

TJ (230, 2009.02)

 

TJ (380, 2011.11)

 
  

LYG (226, 2009.10)

 

Relict Gull (Larus relictus)

120

TJ (4100, 2008.02)

TJ (6000, 2010.03)

CZ (3909, 2011.09)

 

CZ (2155, 2011.02)

CZ (1423, 2008.03)

STZ (745, 2011.08.14)

ZHB (1730, 2012.01.20)

YLJ (269, 2011.03.21)

LYG (218, 2010.10)

Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)

250

DWB (333, 2009.02)

 

YRD (980, 2010.10)

 

TJ (357, 2007.09)

Chinese Crested Tern (Sterna bernsteini)

1

 

MJE (7, 2010.05)

  

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

460

  

MJE (470, 2013.09)

YRD (1450, 2012.06)

RD (1000, 2012.06)

Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)

1000

   

YRD (1350, 2009.6)

Little Tern (Sterna albifrons)

1000

  

TJ (3256, 2007.09)

 

Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans)

610

JZB (6,000, 2013.03.23–24)

 

YLJ (2062, 2012.10.14–15)

 

ZHB (954, 2012.01.20)

Mew Gull (Larus canus)

1000

ZHB (1550, 2012.01.20)

   

Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

1000

HK (10569, 2013.01.20)

YRD (1450, 2011.03)

YRD (21000, 2011.11)

 

DWB (6000, 2013.01)

STZ (1400, 2013.04.16–17)

SZ (5627, 2010.02)

 

HF (3300, 2011.02)

Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes)

35

 

NH (41, 2006.05)

ZHB (128, 2011.09.01)

 

YLJ (77, 2008.09.14–15)

LYG (31, 2012.08.07–09)

Great Egret (Casmerodius albus)

1000

HK (1209, 2006.11)

  

HF (1172, 2007.06)

Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

100

 

YRD (550, 2010.04)

YRD (4500, 2011.11)

 

Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor)

15

HK (482, 2011.12)

SZ (57, 2013.03.17)

XHB (63, 2007.11)

 

DF (91, 2008.01)

XHB (45, 2007.03)

ZHB (56, 2011.09.02)

HF (81, 2012.01.15)

 

SZ (51, 2012.11.11)

SZ (37, 2013.01.20)

 

MJE (35, 2012.11.11)

CMDT (47, 2006.02)

  

XHB (34, 2007.02)

  

MJE (18, 2012.02)

  

Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)

1

WZB (66, 2011.12)

YRD (23, 2011.03)

DT (112, 2013.11.19)

 

HF (4, 2008.12)

LYG (3, 2009.04)

LYG (63, 2012.11.20)

HK (1, 2008.02)

 

YRD (58, 2011.11)

  

CZ (7, 2010.10)

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

350

HK (769, 2006.12)

CZ (526, 2011.04)

 

YRD (350, 2010.06)

Abbreviation of the site names: Yalu Jiang estuarine wetland (YLJ), Shuangtaizihekou National Nature Reserve (STZ), Zhuanghe Bay (ZHB), Jinzhou Bay (JZB), Tianjin coast (TJ), Cangzhou coast (CZ), Yellow River Delta (YRD), Lianyungang coast (LYG), Rudong coast (RD), Dongtai coast (DT), Dongling coast (DL), Nanhui coast (NH), Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve (CMDT), Juduansha National Nature Reserve (JDS), Wenzhou Bay (WZB), Minjiang Estuary National Nature Reserve (MJE), Xinghua Bay (XHB), Quanzhou Bay (QZB), Dadeng Island and Weitou Bay (DWB), Haifeng Nature Reserve (HF), Xitou coast (XT), Nansha Wetland (NS), Deep Bay Hong Kong side (HK), Deep Bay Shenzhen side (SZ), Dongfang Nature Reserve (DF), Beihai coast (BH)

Numbers in bold highlight those counts which are equivalent to, or exceed, 20 % of the flyway population for that species

Some waterbird species exceeded the 1 % criterion at more than one site (Table 1). For example, the Saunders’s Gull was recorded as exceeding the 1 % criterion at 12 sites, the Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus) and Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) both at 11 sites and the Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) at 10 sites.

Among the 75 waterbird species that met the 1 % criterion, shorebirds were the most abundant group. This reflects the fact that millions of shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway depend on China’s coastal wetlands for their stopover and wintering sites (Barter 2002; Bamford et al. 2008; Conklin et al. 2014). The surveys provided important data for understanding the number of shorebird populations at China’s coasts, especially for those species for which data in earlier times were absent or insufficient , such as for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and the Spotted Greenshank.

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper is a critically endangered species (IUCN 2014), endemic to the East Asian-Australasian Flyway and dependent on coastal wetlands for much of its life cycle, with an estimated population of 140–480 individuals (Wetlands International 2014). The Rudong and Dongtai mudflats in Jiangsu are the most important areas along the flyway, an important and key stopover site for refuelling and moulting on both their northward and southward migration (Tong et al. 2012). On 12 October 2011, 103 Spoon-billed Sandpipers were recorded at Rudong alone. In October 2012 and 2013, over 100 individual sandpipers were recorded in the Rudong area (including Dongling and Dongtai coasts), Jiangsu (Tong et al. 2013, 2014). The maximum number (143 individuals) was recorded in October 2013. Both adults and juvenile birds have been recorded in the autumn, including some adults moulting their primaries (Tong 2012). This is the only known moulting ground and it appears that most of their adult population moults here. Moreover, our surveys revealed that the Min Jiang estuary in Fujian, is a regular wintering site for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

The estimated total flyway population of the Spotted Greenshank was 400–600 individuals (Wetlands International 2014). However, a total of 1117 individuals was recorded at the Dongtai and Rudong (including Dongling) coasts, Jiangsu Province, between 15 and 19 October 2013 (Tong et al. 2014), of which 940 were found at the Tiaozini reclamation district, Dongtai. Moreover, a total of 112 Dalmatian Pelicans was recorded at Tiaozini reclamation district, the Dongtai coast, Jiangsu in November 2013 which exceeds the former estimated total number of 100 individuals, in East Asia (Wetlands International 2014). These results provide the basis for updating the total population of these waterbirds in the flyway.

Sites

Of the 32 sites surveyed, 26 supported at least one species that met the 1 % criterion for recognition as a site of international importance (Table 2, Fig. 2). Previously, Barter (2002) listed 10 sites along the Yellow Sea coast as being internationally important for shorebirds (two of which, Yancheng and Dong Sha, were not included in our surveys). Our surveys identified additional sites for shorebirds, as well as new sites for other waterbird taxa.
Table 2

The 26 sites where waterbird species meeting the Ramsar 1 % population criterion have been recorded at least once during the 2005–2013 surveys

Survey sites

Waterbird species meeting the 1 % criterion

Total number of species meeting the 1 % criterion

Yalu Jiang estuarine wetland (YLJ), Liaoning

Common Shelduck, Common Merganser, Hooded Crane, Far Eastern Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Far Eastern Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Spotted Greenshank, Terek Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Great Knot, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Dunlin, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Saunders’s Gull, Relict Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Chinese Egret

24

Shuangtaizihekou National Nature Reserve (STZ), Liaoning

Bean Goose, Common Shelduck, Siberian Crane, Red-crowned Crane, Oriental White Stork, Far Eastern Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Far Eastern Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Great Knot, Red Knot, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Saunders’s Gull, Relict Gull, Great Cormorant

22

Tianjin coast (TJ)

Tundra Swan, Baer’s Pochard, Smew, Common Merganser, Oriental White Stork, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Grey Plover, Asian Dowitcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Far Eastern Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Red Knot, Temminck’s Stint, Saunders’s Gull, Relict Gull, Caspian Tern, Little Tern

20

Cangzhou coast (CZ), Hebei

Bean Goose, Graylag Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Common Shelduck, Falcated Duck, Baer’s Pochard, Smew, White-naped Crane, Common Crane, Oriental White Stork, Far Eastern Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Grey Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Far Eastern Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Red Knot, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Saunders’s Gull, Relict Gull, Dalmatian Pelican, Great Crested Grebe

29

Yellow River Delta (YRD), Shandong

Whooper Swan, Mute Swan, Tundra Swan, Bean Goose, Graylag Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Gadwall, Spot-billed Duck, Falcated Duck, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Smew, Common Merganser, Siberian Crane, White-naped Crane, Common Crane, Hooded Crane, Red-crowned Crane, Black Stork, Oriental White Stork, Far Eastern Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Grey Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Little Curlew, Eurasian Curlew, Far Eastern Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Red Knot, Dunlin, Saunders’s Gull, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Black-headed Gull, Great Cormorant, Eurasian Spoonbill , Dalmatian Pelican, Great Crested Grebe

42

Lianyungang coast (LYG), Jiangsu

Falcated Duck, Red-crowned Crane, Far Eastern Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Grey Plover, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Asian Dowitcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Terek Sandpiper, Great Knot, Red Knot, Sanderling, Red-necked Stint, Long-toed Stint, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Saunders’s Gull, Relict Gull, Chinese Egret, Dalmatian Pelican

26

Rudong coast (RD), Jiangsu

Far Eastern Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Eurasian Curlew, Far Eastern Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Spotted Greenshank, Terek Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint, Long-toed Stint, Dunlin, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Saunders’s Gull, Common Tern

17

Dongtai coast (DT), Jiangsu

Spotted Greenshank, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Dalmatian Pelican

3

Dongling coast (DL), Rudong, Jiangsu

Far Eastern Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Spotted Greenshank, Great Knot, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Saunders’s Gull

9

Nanhui coast (NH), Shanghai

Falcated Duck, Spotted Redshank, Red-necked Stint, Chinese Egret

4

Minjiang Estuary National Nature Reserve (MJE), Fujian

Swan Goose, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Terek Sandpiper, Sanderling, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Chinese Crested Tern, Common Tern, Black-faced Spoonbill

10

Quanzhou Bay (QZB), Fujian

Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Terek Sandpiper, Grey-tailed Tattler, Sanderling, Saunders’s Gull

8

Dadeng Island and Weitou Bay (DWB), Fujian

Greater Sand Plover, Whimbrel, Spotted Greenshank, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Saunders’s Gull, Caspian Tern, Great Cormorant

8

Haifeng Nature Reserve (HF), Guangdong

Northern Pintail, Spotted Redshank, Great Cormorant, Great Egret, Black-faced Spoonbill, Dalmatian Pelican

6

Deep Bay, Shenzhen side (SZ)

Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Pied Avocet, Kentish Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Great Cormorant, Black-faced Spoonbill

11

Deep Bay, Hong Kong side (HK)

Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Tufted Duck, Pied Avocet, Kentish Plover, Asian Dowitcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Spotted Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Great Cormorant, Great Egret, Black-faced Spoonbill, Dalmatian Pelican, Great Crested Grebe

18

Zhuanghe Bay (ZHB), Liaoning

Eurasian Curlew, Far Eastern Curlew, Relict Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Mew Gull, Chinese Egret, Black-faced Spoonbill

7

Jinzhou Bay (JZB), Liaoning

Yellow-legged Gull

1

Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve (CMDT), Shanghai

Baikal Teal, Black-faced Spoonbill

2

Jiuduansha Wetland National Nature Reserve (JDS), Shanghai

Lesser Sand Plover

1

Wenzhou Bay (WZB), Zhejiang

Saunders’s Gull, Dalmatian Pelican

2

Xinghua Bay (XHB), Fujian

Saunders’s Gull, Black-faced Spoonbill

2

Xitou coast (XT), Guangdong

Lesser Sand Plover, Spoon-billed Sandpiper

2

Nansha Wetland (NS), Guangdong

Pied Avocet

1

Dongfang Nature Reserve (DF), Hainan

Black-faced Spoonbill

1

Beihai coast (BH), Guangxi

Greater Sand Plover

1

Fig. 2

The 26 sites supporting at least one species for which the number of birds met the 1 % criteria. NR: Nature Reserve

Among the 26 sites identified as being of international importance 13 are currently under some form of protection (Table 3), of which 8 are National Nature Reserves, 4 are Provincial Nature Reserves, and 1 Wetland Park. The other 13 sites currently have no legal protection. Four of the sites (Shuangtaizihekou National Nature Reserve, the Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve, the Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve, as well as Mai Po and the Inner Deep Bay in the Hong Kong SAR) are currently designated by the Chinese government as Ramsar sites.
Table 3

Sites of international importance for waterbirds and their current protection status

Name of survey site

Latitude (N)

Longitude (E)

Area covered

Main habitat types

Protection status

Yalu Jiang estuarine wetland (YLJ), Liaoning

39°51′

124°11′

Yalu Jiang Estuary National Nature Reserve

Intertidal mudflat and aquaculture pond

National Nature Reserve

39°52′

124°13′

Yalu Jiang West + Ash pond

Intertidal mudflat, ash storage pool

 

40°24′

124°48′

Yalu River in Dandong

River

 

40°01′

124°00′

Helong Reservoir

Reservoir and rice field

 

Zhuanghe Bay (ZHB), Liaoning

39°40′

123°00′

Zhuanghe river mouth + Geli Island

Intertidal mudflat, aquaculture pond

 

39°36′

122°54′

Zhuanghe Port + Xiaotangfu Village

Intertidal mudflat, aquaculture pond

 

Jinzhou Bay (JZB), Liaoning

39°06′

121°40′

Maoyingzi Dumping Area

Intertidal mudflat, dumping area

 

Shuangtaizihekou National Nature Reserve (STZ), Liaoning

40°50′

121°30′

Shuangtaizihekou National Nature Reserve

Intertidal mudflat and pond

National Nature Reserve

Ramsar Site

Tianjin coast (TJ)

38°46′

117°35′

Beidagang Wetland Provincial Nature Reserve

Reservoir and pond

Provincial Nature Reserve

38°50′

117°37′

Coast from Qingtuozi to Tangjiahekou

Intertidal mudflat

 

Cangzhou coast (CZ), Hebei

38°23′

117°41′

Nandagang Wetland and Bird Provincial Nature Reserve

Reservoir

Provincial Nature Reserve

38°31′

117°39′

Coast of Huanghua Port and Huanghua

Intertidal mudflat and pond

 

38°11′

117°44′

Haixing Wetland and Bird Provincial Nature Reserve

Reservoir, lake, intertidal mudflat

Provincial Nature Reserve

Yellow River Delta (YRD), Shandong

38°00′

118°50′

Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve

Intertidal mudflat, reed field, pond

National Nature Reserve

Ramsar Site

37°29′

118°51′

Guangbei Reservoir + coastal mudflat

Reservoir and intertidal mudflat

 

37°23′

118°49′

Swan Lake

Lake

 

Lianyungang coast (LYG), Jiangsu

34°47′

119°14′

Linhong mouth

Intertidal mudflat and aquaculture pond

 

34°31′

119°38′

Liezi mouth

Intertidal mudflat and aquaculture pond

 

Dongtai coast (DT), Jiangsu

32°45′

120°57′

Tiaozini Reclamation District, Jianggang, Dongtai

Intertidal mudflat, reclamation district

 

Rudong coast (RD), Jiangsu

32°34′

121°02′

Xiaoyangkou, Rudong

Intertidal mudflat

 

32°30′

121°10′

Fengli Town, Rudong

Intertidal mudflat

 

Dongling coast (DL), Rudong, Jiangsu

32°13′

121°27′

Dongling Kuqu Industrial Area

Intertidal mudflat, aquaculture pond

 

Nanhui coast (NH), Shanghai

30°55′

121°57′

Eastern tidal flat of Nanhui

Intertidal mudflat and reed field

 

Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve (CMDT), Shanghai

31°30′

121°58′

Chongming Dongtan Bird National Nature Reserve

Intertidal mudflat, reed field

National Nature Reserve

Ramsar Site

Jiuduansha Wetland National Nature Reserve (JDS), Shanghai

31°11′

122°02′

Jiuduansha Wetland National Nature Reserve

Intertidal mudflat

National Nature Reserve

Wenzhou Bay (WZB), Zhejiang

27°56′

120°52′

Wenzhou Bay

Reclamation pond, intertidal mudflat

 

Minjiang Estuary National Nature Reserve (MJE), Fujian

26°00′

120°00′

Minjiang Estuary National Nature Reserve

Intertidal mudflat

National Nature Reserve

Xinghua Bay (XHB), Fujian

25°28′

119°12′

Jiangkou town, Hanjiang district, Putian

Intertidal mudflat, aquaculture pond

 

Quanzhou Bay (QZB), Fujian

24°50′

118°46′

Quanzhou Bay and Jinjiang Estuary

Intertidal mudflat, pond

 

Dadeng Island and Weitou Bay (DWB), Fujian

24°32′

118°32′

Dadeng Island in Xiamen and Weitou Bay in Quanzhou

Intertidal mudflat and saltworks

 

Haifeng Nature Reserve (HF), Guangdong

22°52′

115°19′

Haifeng Bird Provincial Nature Reserve

Intertidal mudflat, mangrove and aquaculture pond

Provincial Nature Reserve

Deep Bay, Shenzhen side (SZ)

22°32′

114°00′

Shenzhen side of Deep Bay, including Futian National Nature Reserve

Intertidal mudflat, mangrove and aquaculture pond

National Nature Reserve

Deep Bay, Hong Kong side (HK)

22°30′

114°00′

Hong Kong side of Shenzhen Bay(Deep Bay), including Mai Po Nature Reserve

Intertidal mudflat, aquaculture pond and mangrove

National Nature Reserve Ramsar Site

Nansha Wetland (NS), Guangdong

22°36′

113°40′

Nansha Wetland Park

Ponds, mangrove

Wetland Park

Xitou coast (XT), Guangdong

21°37′

111°47′

Coast of Santouzui Village, Xitou, Yangxi county

Intertidal mudflat, mangrove and aquaculture pond

 

Dongfang Nature Reserve (DF), Hainan

19°13′

108°39′

Coast of Sibi villiage, Sigeng, Dongfang City

Intertidal mudflat, mangrove

Provincial Nature Reserve

Beihai coast (BH), Guangxi

21°24′

109°11′

Coast of Yintan and Daguansha, Beihai

Intertidal mudflat, aquaculture pond and mangrove

 

Among the sites of international importance that currently are without any form of legal protection, a number are of particular importance for conservation. For example, the mudflats in the Rudong area in Jiangsu, stretch for 120 km between Tiaozini, Dongtai in the north and Dongling in the south. This area was divided into three count sections: the Tiaozini reclamation district of Dongtai (DT), Rudong (RD) and Dongling (DL). At these three sites, a total of 19 waterbird species, including 16 shorebird species, met the 1 % criterion since 2010, including the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper and the endangered Spotted Greenshank (Table 2). As well, 112 Dalmatian Pelicans were recorded at the Tiaozini reclamation district, Dongtai.

A total of 26 waterbird species, including 20 species of shorebirds, met the 1 % criterion at the Lianyungang coast, Jiangsu, in 2010–2013 (Table 2). The Far Eastern Oystercatcher had a stable winter population at Lianyungang, with a peak number of 2806 in 2013, which is about 25 % of the total flyway population estimate and the largest known wintering congregation in China (Melville et al. 2014). In addition, 8 % of the total flyway population of the Asian Dowitcher was recorded during the southward migration in 2012 and 12 % in the northward migration in 2013. Nine per cent of the total flyway population of the Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) was also recorded in 2013.

Xitou, Guangdong has ‘only’ two species that met the 1 % criterion, but this includes the ‘critically endangered’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper. At Quanzhou Bay, Fujian, the population of the Grey-tailed Tattler (Heteroscelus brevipes) met the 1 % criterion in May 2011; this is the first internationally important site for the Grey-tailed Tattler in China.

Many sites identified as being of international importance to waterbirds along the Chinese coast currently lack any formal protection and many are immediately threatened by reclamation projects (Ma et al. 2014). In particular, the Jiangsu coast is undergoing rapid development as the provincial government hopes to complete reclamation of 1800 km2 of intertidal flats by 2020 — including much of the areas currently used by Spoon-billed sandpipers and Spotted Greenshanks, as well as many other species. Tianjin is soon to lose most of its remaining intertidal areas and the northern Bohai coast is being reclaimed for infrastructure development and aquaculture (Yang et al. 2011; Murray et al. 2014).

In view of the extent of approved and planned coastal reclamation projects and the speed with which many are being implemented, there is an urgent need to prioritise the designation of new protected areas to safeguard sites of international importance for waterbirds. Additionally, even sites that are currently reserves often suffer from a variety of management problems, including the invasion of exotic species, such as cordgrass (Spartina) which covers tidal flats (Gan et al. 2009), as well as boundary changes to accommodate new development projects. There is an urgent need to strengthen the management of existing reserves, as well as designating new ones.

Conclusions

Globally, citizen science is making an increasing contribution to scientific research, especially in bird studies (Greenwood 2007; Ma et al. 2013). The China Coastal Waterbird Census is a typical case of citizen science in China: all the surveys over the past eight years were conducted by volunteer birdwatchers in their spare time. Information from the surveys is vital for understanding waterbird populations and their dynamics along China’s coasts and critical for conservation strategies.

Over the past three decades, China’s coastal wetlands have been subject to intensive development and the rate of wetland loss is still accelerating (Ma et al. 2014; Murray et al. 2014). The loss and degradation of coastal wetlands have become the most serious threats to waterbirds (Hua et al. 2015), which might be the major causes for the decrease in the number of waterbirds at some survey sites, e.g., the Tianjin coast (Yang et al. 2011).

Coordinated and regular waterbird surveys over the long-term, covering China’s coasts, will continue to provide baseline data for understanding the effects of habitat changes on waterbirds.

Our data will contribute to the demarcation of ‘ecological red lines’ (Li 2014) in order to maintain biodiversity in China. It must be recognised, however, that our surveys are not comprehensive and many coastal areas remain unsurveyed, which potentially could support important waterbird populations1.

Footnotes
1

As this paper was being finalized we discovered two further sites that support internationally important number of waterbirds, i.e., Yingkou, Liaoning (Great Knot, Far Eastern Curlew, Saunders’s Gull, Relict Gull) and Qingduizi, Dalian, Liaoning (Great Knot, Far Eastern Curlew, Far Eastern Oystercatcher, Saunders’s Gull).

 

Declarations

Acknowledgements

This paper was written with the help of Prof. Zhijun Ma and Kun Tan at Fudan University, and David Melville. We thank Paul Holt and Xiaodong Li for providing waterbird data from Zhuanghe in Liaoning Province and Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province. We greatly appreciate all the volunteers who have participated in the census.

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
Forestry Bureau of Dandong
(2)
Tianjin Birdwatching Society
(3)
Xiamen Birdwatching Society
(4)
Shenzhen Birdwatching Society, Management Office of Guangdong Neilingding–Futian National Nature Reserve
(5)
Shanghai Huaxia Wildlife Travel Limited
(6)
The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society
(7)
Xugou Primary School
(8)
Kadoorie Conservation China, Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden Corporation
(9)
Spoon-billed Sandpipers in China
(10)
State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol and College of Ecology and Evolution
(11)
Xiamen Costal Wetlands and Birds Research Center
(12)
Department of Life Science, Cangzhou Normal University
(13)
14, bis rue des Temples
(14)
Fujian Birdwatching Society
(15)
Management Office of Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve
(16)
Guangxi Mangrove Research Center
(17)
Tianjin Natural History Museum
(18)
Shanghai Wildbird Society
(19)
No. 221–702, Lane 4333
(20)
Panjin Birdwatching Society, Panjin Maternal and Child Care Service Centre
(21)
Haifeng Nature Reserve

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© Bai et al. 2015

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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