A major new report on the 4th coordinated waterbird census of the Central and Lower Yangtze floodplain has been published.
The census was undertaken in January 2015 by a network of observers, developed and coordinated by the State Forestry Administration, WWF China and the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership’s (EAAFP) China National Committee Secretariat, supported by WWT.
This region is of huge global significance for its wintering waterbirds. It holds almost all Oriental Stork and Siberian Crane at this time of year, as well as a large proportion of the global populations of Swan Goose, Lesser White-fronted Goose, White-naped Crane and Baer’s Pochard.
In total, more than 920,000 waterbirds of 81 species were counted at 68 sites in five provinces. More than 500,000 waterbirds were counted in Jiangxi province alone. Notable counts included >64,000 Swan Geese (>80% of the world population), almost 40,000 Falcated Duck, 28,000 Spotted Redshank, 32,000 Pied Avocet and 125 Baer’s Pochard.
A total of 26 species were counted in internationally important numbers (>1% of their total population size) at one or more sites. Eleven sites held >20,000 waterbirds and two (Poyang Lake NR and East Dongting Lake) held >100,000 birds, underlining the huge importance of this region for wintering waterbirds.
This survey was funded by HSBC and the SEE Foundation and could not have been carried out without the huge support of the counters and, in particular, the provincial team leaders: Gu Changming (Anhui), Li Zhenwen and Tao Xudong (Hubei), Zhang Hong and Yao Yi (Hunan), Liu Guanhua (Jiangxi) and Wang Hui (Jiangsu).
This 4th census was preceded by others in 2004, 2005 and 2011; reports for all can be downloaded here. We hope to repeat this census again in January 2018.
Further details about the Yangtze Waterbird Monitoring Network project can be found here.