2014 International Black-faced Spoonbill Census

The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society has announced preliminary results of the 2014 International Black-faced Spoonbill Census. A total of 2,726 individuals was recorded, showing an increase of just 1 individual (0.04%) since to the previous year. Despite this being a new high for the species, such a small increase is a concern.

Taiwan remains the largest wintering site of Black-faced Spoonbill with around 61% (1,659 individuals) of the total wintering population. The number of individuals in Taiwan, Japan and Macao increased, but decreased in Deep Bay & mainland China.

Yat-tung Yu, of The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, explains that industrial development in Fujian could be a contributing factor for the decrease of the mainland China’s figure and the decline in the Deep Bay area (including both Hong Kong and Shenzhen) is unclear. Preparation of roosting sites in some areas of Japan could have stimulated the increase, showing potential for habitat restoration in urbanised areas. There are also some reports from Japan that Spoonbill are using inland agricultural ponds during the night.

The numbers of Black-faced Spoonbills recorded in different areas are as follows:

Taiwan: 1,659 (1,624 in 2013, +2.2%)
Mainland China (inc. Hainan): 339 (363 in 2013, -6.6%)
Deep Bay (Hong Kong and Shenzhen): 252 (351 in 2013, -28.2%)
Japan: 350 (277 in 2013, +26.4%)
Macao: 60 (48 in 2013, +25%)
Vietnam: 40 (39 in 2013, +2.6%)
South Korea: 26 (23 in 2013, +13%)
The Philippines: 0 [3 outside census period] (none recorded during in 2013 census)
Cambodia: 0 (none recorded during in 2013 census)
Thailand: 0 (none recorded during 2013 census)

Black-faced Spoonbill (c) Chun Yun Tak

Black-faced Spoonbill © Chun Yun Tak

The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society thank all the surveyors who offered their time to participate in this year’s census, and acknowledge the valuable coordination of countries and site coordinators of the census in their sites/areas

The full report for the 2014 census is being prepared and will be available for download later

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