Taiwan hosts largest wintering population of black-faced spoonbills

Taipei--Taiwan recorded the world's largest wintering population of black-faced spoonbills this year, with 2,601 birds recorded, the Forestry Bureau under the Council of Agriculture said Tuesday.

This year's figure marks 541 more than last year, or a world record high increase, and it is the third consecutive year in which the number has exceeded 2,000, the bureau said, citing the results of the International Black-faced Spoonbill Census 2017 conducted Jan. 14-15.

The Taiwan section of the census was conducted at 51 sites in Taiwan by the Wild Bird Society of the Republic of China, along with 26 wild bird groups around the country, according to the bureau.

The black-faced spoonbill is classified as a globally endangered species under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List.

A total of 3,941 birds were recorded in this year's global census, including 2,601 in Taiwan, or 66 percent of the global total. The global population of the bird was 585 fewer than 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 in southwestern Taiwan, according to the bureau.

The bureau said it has authorized the Wild Bird Society to carry out the survey in Taiwan since September 2015 in order to monitor the distribution of the birds in Taiwan and evaluate the effectiveness of the existing wild bird conservation measures.

The survey this year showed that the birds were largely found in wetlands on Taiwan's southwestern coast, with the highest number of 1,810 recorded in Tainan, followed by Chiayi at 513 and Kaohsiung at 247. Tainan saw the biggest increase of 282 from last year.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel