Endangered black-faced spoonbill population in Taiwan shrinks

Taipei, The number of black-faced spoonbills recorded in Taiwan during the recent winter season showed a decline from the previous winter, although Taiwan remained the main wintering destination for the endangered species, a survey showed Wednesday.

According to the 2018 International Black-faced Spoonbill Census, 2,195 black-faced spoonbills overwintered in Taiwan this year, a decline of 406 from last year.

However, it was the largest number of black-faced spoonbills recorded in any one country, with Taiwan accounting for 55.7 percent of the global population of 3,941, said Yu Yat-tung (???), research manager of the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society that coordinates the census across the region.

Yu said China was the second biggest overwintering destination for the endangered species, hosting 744, which was an increase of 347 from the previous year.

The population in Japan also increased this year, from 433 to 508, while the Hong Kong population was 350, he said,

The number of black-faced spoonbills worldwide has been increasing steadily in recent decades, from fewer than 300 in 1990 to almost 4,000 this year, which is a remarkable conservation success story, Yu said.

Taiwan is a major habitat of black-faced spoonbills, which overwinter in wetlands in Tainan, Kaohsiung and Chiayi, but the number recorded in Tainan this year showed a decline of 545, said Lu Yi-wei (???), a research fellow of the Taiwan-based Chinese Wild Bird Federation, citing the 2018 census.

He said while it is not known for sure why the countrywide population fell this year, it is important to protect and improve the birds' habitat.

The annual census was conducted Jan. 19-21 at 40 sites in 10 countries and regions in East and Southeast Asia, according to Yu.

Black-faced spoonbills are included on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a globally endangered species.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel