Literature list (Jan-June 2022)

1) Biology & ecology

  • Liu, D., Y. Zhou, Y. Fei, C. Xie, and S. Hou. 2021. Mitochondrial genome of the critically endangered Baer’s Pochard, Aythya baeri, and its phylogenetic relationship with other Anatidae species. Scientific Reports 11:24302.
  • Aung, P. P., G. M. Buchanan, P. D. Round, C. Zöckler, C. Kelly, N. Tantipisanuh, and G. A. Gale. 2022. Foraging microhabitat selection of Spoon-billed Sandpiper in the Upper Gulf of Mottama, Myanmar. Global Ecology and Conservation 35:e02077.
  • He, K., J. Lei, Y. Jia, E. Wu, G. Sun, C. Lu, Q. Zeng, and G. Lei. 2022. Temporal Dynamics of the Goose Habitat in the Middle and Lower Reaches of the Yangtze River. Remote Sensing 14:1883.
  • Qu, X., C. Du, H. Wu, Y. Xiong, G. Yu, J. Wang, J. Dai, L. Wu, Z. Zhang, Y. Zhu, and J. Liu. 2022. Effects of Poplar Ecological Retreat on Habitat Suitability for Migratory Birds in China’s Dongting Lake Wetland. Frontiers in Environmental Science 9:793005.
  • Arkajyoti, M., A. Bandyopadhyay, S. Pal, and S. K. Mukhopadhyay. 2021. Foraging Habitats and Foraging Techniques of Five Wintering Anatidae Waterfowl in Light of Genetic Distances. Russian Journal of Ecology 52:567-577.
  • Chan, Y.-C., T. L. Tibbitts, D. Dorofeev, C. J. Hassell, and T. Piersma. 2022. Hidden in plain sight: migration routes of the elusive Anadyr bar-tailed godwit revealed by satellite tracking. Journal of Avian Biology e02988.
  • Kawasaki, E., M. Hasebe, J. H. Hwang, E. Y. Kim, K. Lee, K. Momose, and H. Teraoka. 2022. Origin of a pair of red-crowned cranes (Grus japonensis) found in Sarobetsu Wetland, northwestern Hokkaido, Japan: a possible crossbreeding between the island and the mainland population. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science 84:233-237.
  • Zhu, F., Y. Zou, P. Zhang, S. Zhang, X. Chen, F. Li, Z. Deng, H. Zhang, Z. Yu, X. Zhu, Y. Xie, and D. Zou. 2022. Dyke demolition led to a sharp decline in waterbird diversity due to habitat quality reduction: A case study of Dongting Lake, China. Ecology and evolution 12:e8782.
  • Mukherjee, A., S. Pal, S. Adhikari, and S. K. Mukhopadhyay. 2022. Physical Habitat Attributes Influence Diversity and Turnover of Waterbirds Wintering at Wetlands on Central Asian and East Asian-Australasian Flyways in Eastern India. Wetlands 42:50.
  • Xu, N., W. Ye, C. Sun, K. He, Y. Zhu, H. Lan, C. Lu, and H. Liu. 2022. Genetic Diversity and Differentiation of MHC Class I Genes in Red-Crowned Crane Populations. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 10.
  • Zhai, H., D. Meng, Z. Li, Y. Si, H. Yu, L. Teng, and Z. Liu. 2022. Complete mitochondrial genome of the common Pochard (Aythya ferina) from Ningxia Hui autonomous region, China. Mitochondrial DNA B Resour 7:62-63.
  • Wei, C., M. Schweizer, P. S. Tomkovich, V. Y. Arkhipov, M. Romanov, J. Martinez, X. Lin, N. Halimubieke, P. Que, T. Mu, Q. Huang, Z. Zhang, T. Székely, and Y. Liu. 2022. Genome-wide data reveal paraphyly in the sand plover complex (Charadrius mongolus/leschenaultii). Ornithology 139:ukab085.
  • Bai, J., H. Zhang, H. Zhou, S. Li, B. Gao, P. Chen, L. Ma, Z. Xu, Z. Zhang, C. Xu, L. Ruan, and G. Ge. 2021. Winter coexistence in herbivorous waterbirds: Niche differentiation in a floodplain, Poyang Lake, China. Ecology and evolution 11:16835-16848.
  • Solovyeva, D., D. A. Barykina, O. D. Prokopenko, T. J. S. Balsby, and A. D. Fox. 2022. Annual variation in waterbird clutch initiation date in relation to spring thaw in Arctic Russia. International Journal of Biometeorology 66:1005-1012.


2) Conservation & management

  • Yong, D. L., J. Y. Kee, P. P. Aung, A. Jain, C.-A. Yeap, N. J. Au, A. Jearwattanakanok, K. K. Lim, Y.-T. Yu, V. W. K. Fu, P. Insua-Cao, Y. Sawa, M. Crosby, S. Chan, and N. J. Crockford. 2021. Conserving migratory waterbirds and the coastal zone: the future of South-east Asia’s intertidal wetlands. Oryx 56:176-183.
  • Hansen, B. D., D. I. Rogers, D. Watkins, D. R. Weller, R. S. Clemens, M. Newman, E. J. Woehler, T. Mundkur, and R. A. Fuller. 2022. Generating population estimates for migratory shorebird species in the world’s largest flyway. Ibis 164:735-749.
  • Wang, S., L. Zhou, J. Cai, B. Jiang, and W. Xu. 2022. Behavioral Response of Bean Goose (Anser fabalis) to Simulated Ship Noises at Lake. Animals 12:465.
  • Mu, T., S. Cai, H.-B. Peng, C. J. Hassell, A. Boyle, Z. Zhang, T. Piersma, and D. S. Wilcove. Evaluating staging habitat quality to advance the conservation of a declining migratory shorebird, Red Knot Calidris canutus. Journal of Applied Ecology
  • Duan, H., X. Yu, S. Xia, and Y. Liu. 2022. Combining Bootstrapping Procedure and Citizen Science Data to Elucidate Waterbirds’ Dependence on Coastal Wetland. Frontiers in Marine Science 9.
  • Choi, C.-Y., Xiao, H., Jia, M., Jackson, M. V., Lai, Y.-C., Murray, N. J., Gibson, L., & Fuller, R. A. (2022). An emerging coastal wetland management dilemma between mangrove expansion and shorebird conservation. Conservation Biology, 00, e13905.
  • Wang, C., X. Yu, S. Xia, Y. Liu, J. Huang, and W. Zhao. 2022. Potential Habitats and Their Conservation Status for Swan Geese (Anser cygnoides) along the East Asian Flyway. Remote Sensing 14:1899.
  • Hemminger, K., H. König, J. Månsson, S. D. Bellingrath-Kimura, and L. Nilsson. 2022. Winners and losers of land use change: A systematic review of interactions between the world’s crane species (Gruidae) and the agricultural sector. Ecol Evol 12:e8719.
  • Wang, Y., M. Gong, C. Zou, T. Zhou, W. Wen, G. Liu, H. Li, and W. Tao. 2022. Habitat selection by Siberian Cranes at their core stopover area during migration in Northeast China. Global Ecology and Conservation 33:e01993.
  • Bragina, E. V., I. V. Balan, N. V. Kuznetsova, M. P. Parilov, and J. C. Slaght. 2022. Reintroduction of Parent-Reared and Semi-Wild Chicks of Red-Crowned Grus japonensis and White-Naped Cranes Antigone vipio in Russia: Lessons from 29 Years of Experience. Ornithological Science 21:53-62, 10.
  • Deng, X., Q. Zhao, J. Zhang, A. Kölzsch, D. Solovyeva, I. Bysykatova-Harmey, Z. Xu, H. Kruckenberg, L. Cao, and A. D. Fox. 2021. Contrasting habitat use and conservation status of Chinese-wintering and other Eurasian Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) populations. Avian Research 12:71.
  • Duan, H., X. Yu, S. Xia, and Y. Liu. 2022. Conserving unprotected important sites for shorebirds on China’s coasts. Ecosphere 13:e3950.
  • Barry, K., and S. Suliman. 2022. Bordering Migratory Shorebirds through Contested Mobility Developments. Geopolitics:1-20.


3) Avian Influenza /Others

  • Ankhanbaatar, U., T. Sainnokhoi, T. B. K. Settypalli, S. Datta, D. Gombo-Ochir, B. Khanui, G. Dorj, G. Basan, G. Cattoli, W. G. Dundon, and C. E. Lamien. 2022. Isolation and Identification of a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N6 Virus from Migratory Waterfowl in Western Mongolia. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 58:211-214.


1) Biology & ecology

Mitochondrial genome of the critically endangered Baer’s Pochard, Aythya baeri, and its phylogenetic relationship with other Anatidae species

Dawei Liu, Yongwu Zhou, Yiling Fei, Chunping Xie, Senlin Hou

Abstract: Historically, the diving duck, Baer’s Pochard (Aythya baeri) was widely distributed in East and South Asia, but according to a recent estimate, its global population is now less than 1000 individuals. To date, the mitochondrial genome of A. baeri has not been deposited and is not available in GenBank. Therefore, we aimed to sequence the complete mitochondrial genome of this species. The genome was 16,623 bp in length, double stranded, circular in shape, and contained 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNA genes, two rRNA genes, and one non-coding control region. Many structural and compositional similarities were discovered between A. baeri and the other three Aythya mitochondrial genomes. Among 13 protein-coding genes of the four Aythya species, the fastest-evolving gene was ATP8 while the slowest-evolving gene was COII. Furthermore, the phylogenetic tree of Anatidae based on Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood methods showed that the relationships among 15 genera of the Anatidae family were as follows: Dendrocygna was an early diverging lineage that was fairly distant from the other ingroup taxa; Cygnus, Branta, and Anser were clustered into one branch that corresponded to the Anserinae subfamily; and Aythya, Asarcornis, Netta, Anas, Mareca, Mergus, Lophodytes, Bucephala, Tadorna, Cairina, and Aix were clustered into another branch that corresponded to the Anatinae subfamily. Our target species and three other Aythya species formed a monophyletic group. These results provide new mitogenomic information to support further phylogenetic and taxonomic studies and genetic conservation of Anatidae species.

Foraging microhabitat selection of Spoon-billed Sandpiper in the Upper Gulf of Mottama, Myanmar

Pyae Phyo Aung, Graeme M. Buchanan, Philip D. Round, Christoph Zöckler, Chris Kelly, Naruemon Tantipisanuh, George A.Gale

Abstract: Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea) is Critically Endangered, declining 9% per year since 2009; although important wintering sites have been identified, little is known about why particular sites are selected. The Gulf of Mottama, Myanmar, supports perhaps 60% of the global population in winter. Our objective was to identify macrohabitat and microhabitat characteristics of Spoon-billed Sandpiper foraging locations. We considered 1) location (relative to distance to the main channel of the gulf), 2) temporal patterns (relative to the tide cycle), 3) physical substrate characteristics and 4) possible food sources. Spoon-billed Sandpipers were observed at 26 foraging locations during the study (November 2019-March 2020). The sandpipers were found more frequently on mixed sand-mud substrate, similar to over-wintering sites in Bangladesh, and while it is likely that the mixed sand-mud substrate was generally further from the main channel than the pure sand substrate, presumably due to tidal action, we found no evidence that Spoon-billed Sandpiper locations were associated with the tide cycle. Logistic regression models indicated that foraging locations were associated with shallow surface puddles, compared to random locations. The mixed sand-mud substrate supported more polychaetes relative to crabs or insect larvae, the three most common prey types in our 442 benthos samples used to assess prey availability. Our results reinforce the point that Mottama needs to be protected as an intact functioning estuary and key site for Spoon-billed Sandpiper and other threatened shorebirds. Although we have identified some characteristics of foraging sites associated with Spoon-billed Sandpiper at Mottama, we still lack understanding as to whether and how potential prey is driving site selection and how these characteristics vary among wintering sites.

Temporal Dynamics of the Goose Habitat in the Middle and Lower Reaches of the Yangtze River

Ke He, Jialin Lei, Yifei Jia, Entao Wu, Gongqi Sun, Cai Lu, Qing Zeng and Guangchun Lei

Abstract: The middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River are the most important areas for geese to overwinter in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway, where about 180,000 geese fly to overwinter each year. Over the past 20 years, the region has experienced extensive and rapid land cover changes that may have exceeded the adaptability of geese, and have led to suitable goose habitat area loss, thereby, reducing the stability of the geese population. In order to identify the suitable goose habitat areas in this region, based on ensemble modeling and satellite tracking data, in this study, we simulated the spatial distribution changes in the suitable goose habitat areas over the past 20 years. The results showed that the suitable goose habitat areas had suffered varying degrees of loss, among which, the lesser white-fronted goose had the greatest suitable goose habitat area loss of over 50%. Moreover, we found that wetlands, lakes, and floodplains were the key components of suitable goose habitat areas, and the categories (land use) showed significant differences in different periods (p < 0.01). This may be one of the main reasons for the decrease in suitable goose habitat areas. The results of this study provide an important reference for the adaptive management and protection of geese in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

Effects of Poplar Ecological Retreat on Habitat Suitability for Migratory Birds in China’s Dongting Lake Wetland

Xinyu Qu, Chunyan Du, Haipeng Wu, Ying Xiong, Guanlong Yu, Jiasheng Wang, Juan Dai, Lixue Wu, Zhuo Zhang, Yuqian Zhu, Jingdu Liu

Abstract: The Poplar Ecological Retreat (PER) project in Dongting Lake wetland is an important measure in response to China’s ecological civilization construction policy, it aims to remove eastern cottonwoods (Populus deltoides) that artificial large-scale planted in this area and restore the natural state of the wetland, and has got a lot of attention by society and scholars. However, as one of the most important wintering place for migratory birds in the world, the impact of PER on migratory bird habitats in Dongting Lake wetland has not been evaluated. In this paper, we used the habitat suitability index model based on remote sensing to explore the impact of PER on the four mainly migratory bird guilds (Anatidae, Charadriidae, Ardeidae and Laridae) in Dongting Lake wetland. The suitability included four grades: poorly (0–25), generally (25–50), moderately (50–75), and highly (75–100). The results showed that the area of poplars in Dongting Lake wetland decreased significantly after PER was implemented. There was a negative correlation between poplar area and moderate grade habitat area of Anatidae and Ardeidae, and a positive correlation between poplar area and general grade habitat area. However, there was no significant change in different grades of habitat area of Charadriidae and Laridae after PER. Thus, PER improved the habitat suitability of Anatidae and Ardeidae, but had no significant effect on the suitability of habitat for Charadriidae and Laridae. These conclusions could provide reference for understanding the living conditions of Dongting Lake wetland waterbirds, determining the priority protection areas and maintaining wetland biodiversity.

Foraging Habitats and Foraging Techniques of Five Wintering Anatidae Waterfowl in light of Genetic Distances

Arkajyoti Mukherjee, Anwesha Bandyopadhyay, Sudin Pal, Subhra Kumar Mukhopadhyay

Abstract: The diversity of foraging behaviour in waterfowl species is often estimated to mostly be the result of adaptations to different foraging habitats and diets. Understanding of adaptive radiation within a rapidly multiplying lineage can be used to detect behavioural patterns and can also be useful in identifying the underlying factors in the emergence of divergence of foraging behaviour within a lineage. This paper recorded the similarities and dissimilarities in foraging behaviour of five nonbreeding Anatidae waterfowl in different foraging habitats. Genetic distances between these waterfowl might have influenced the foraging behaviour of these species. Phylogenetic tree of the birds based on mitochondrial DNA supported the observation. Pairwise post hoc analyses of the species highlighted significant differences between foraging techniques employed by these Anatidae birds. Canonical Correspondence Analysis clearly demarcated the foraging preferences between three prominent clusters of waterfowl species being studied. Generalist nature of foraging behaviour was recorded in Lesser Whistling Duck, which branched apart early in the evolution. Northern Pintail, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, and Tufted Duck showed specialized foraging behaviour such as predominantly upending and diving. Significant Pearson correlation coefficient (p < 0.01) between genetic distance and time allocated for diving was 0.899, and the corresponding coefficient for upending was 0.876. Red-crested Pochard, which is considered to be a link between dabbling ducks (Anatinae) and pochards (Aythyinae), showed interesting foraging behaviour to attest their phylogenetic position between divers and dabblers depending on the foraging habitats. Red-crested Pochard used beak-dip more frequently like Northern Pintail. Gene-mediated physical and physiological constraints might have led to the behavioural dominance on a particular foraging technique and resource partitioning in a given habitat, which has supported the stable coexistence of several waterfowl in a wetland.

Hidden in plain sight: migration routes of the elusive Anadyr bartailed godwit revealed by satellite tracking

Ying-Chi Chan, T. Lee Tibbitts, Dmitry Dorofeev, Chris J. Hassell and Theunis Piersma

Abstract: Satellite and GPS tracking technology continues to reveal new migration patterns of birds which enables comparative studies of migration strategies and distributional information useful in conservation. Bar-tailed godwits in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway Limosa lapponica baueri and L. l. menzbieri are known for their long nonstop flights, however these populations are in steep decline. A third subspecies in this flyway, L. l. anadyrensis, breeds in the Anadyr River basin, Chukotka, Russia, and is morphologically distinct from menzbieri and baueri based on comparison of museum specimens collected from breeding areas. However, the non-breeding distribution, migration route and population size of anadyrensis are entirely unknown. Among 24 female bar-tailed godwits tracked in 2015–2018 from northwest Australia, the main non-breeding area for menzbieri, two birds migrated further east than the rest to breed in the Anadyr River basin, i.e. they belonged to the anadyrensis subspecies. During pre-breeding migration, all birds staged in the Yellow Sea and then flew to the breeding grounds in the eastern Russian Arctic. After breeding, these two birds migrated southwestward to stage in Russia on the Kamchatka Peninsula and on Sakhalin Island en route to the Yellow Sea. This contrasts with the other 22 tracked godwits that followed the previously described route of menzbieri, i.e. they all migrated northwards to stage in the New Siberian Islands before turning south towards the Yellow Sea, and onwards to northwest Australia. Since the Kamchatka Peninsula was not used by any of the tracked menzbieri birds, the 4500 godwits counted in the Khairusova–Belogolovaya estuary in western Kamchatka may well be anadyrensis. Comparing migration patterns across the three bar-tailed godwits subspecies, the migration strategy of anadyrensis lies between that of menzbieri and baueri. Future investigations combining migration tracks with genomic data could reveal how differences in migration routines are evolved and maintained.

Origin of a pair of red-crowned cranes (Grus japonensis) found in Sarobetsu Wetland, northwestern Hokkaido, Japan: a possible crossbreeding between the island and the mainland population

Erika Kawasaki, Makoto Hasebe, Ji-Hee Hwang, Eun-Young Kim, Kisup Lee, Kunikazu Momose, Hiroki Teraoka

Abstract: Red-crowned cranes Grus japonensis, which are an endangered species, have two separate populations, a mainland population in the Eurasian continent and an island population in eastern Hokkaido, Japan. Island cranes showed three haplotypes (Gj1, Gj2 and Gj13), whereas ten haplotypes (Gj3-Gj12) were confirmed in captive cranes and stray cranes. We found Gj5 haplotype in feathers of two cranes as well as four new haplotypes in seven wild crane feathers collected in South Korea. We also found feathers in the nest in Sarobetsu Wetland in northwestern Hokkaido. While the haplotype of female-derived feathers was Gj2, that of male-derived feathers was Gj5. The results suggest that there has been crossbreeding between cranes in the island population and cranes in the mainland population.

Dyke demolition led to a sharp decline in waterbird diversity due to habitat quality reduction: A case study of Dongting Lake, China

Feng Zhu, Yeai Zou, Pingyang Zhang, Siqi Zhang, Xinsheng Chen, Feng Li, Zhengmiao Deng, Hong Zhang, Zhibing Yu, Xiaoyong Zhu, Yonghong Xie, Dongsheng Zou

Abstract: Dongting Lake, an important wintering habitat for migratory waterbirds in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway, has suffered serious degradation in recent decades. To restore habitats for biodiversity conservation and flood control, 459 dykes were demolished and 14 were preserved in 2017. However, the direct impact of dyke demolition on wintering waterbirds was not comprehensively assessed. In this study, based on annual waterbird census and habitat data (2013/14–2020/21), we compared the differences in habitat areas and species composition of waterbirds in the dyke-demolished and preserved areas, and explored whether habitat changes caused by the dyke demolition were responsible for the changes in the number of species and percentages of waterbird individuals. The results indicate that the areas of water (including shallow water) and mudflat habitats significantly decreased, but the vegetation area significantly increased in the dyke-demolished areas. The species numbers and percentages of waterbird individuals at the community and foraging guilds levels, and the percentages of nine species, were higher in the dyke-preserved areas than those in the dyke-demolished areas. Changes in the numbers of species and percentages of individuals of fish eaters, insectivores, and omnivores positively correlated with drastic changes in the percentages of water habitats (including shallow water) after dyke demolition. Effective measures should be carried out to restore hydrological regimes, providing waterbirds sufficient suitable habitats with different water depths. These findings improve our understanding of the influence of dyke demolition on waterbirds and provide insights for wetland management and waterbird conservation.

Physical Habitat Attributes Influence Diversity and Turnover of Waterbirds Wintering at Wetlands on Central Asian and East Asian-Australasian Flyways in Eastern India

Arkajyoti Mukherjee, Sudin Pal, Shuvadip Adhikari, Subhra Kumar Mukhopadhyay

Abstract: We assessed waterbirds richness and abundance in 13 selected wetlands with varied physiographic features and climatic heterogeneity, situated along the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) and East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), West Bengal, India. We aimed to test the prediction that the features of physical habitats (area, mean depth, shore length) are important determinants of migratory waterbird richness and abundance. Three consecutive surveys were conducted at each of the wetlands in the mid-wintering season. 117 species of waterbirds were found in the study areas which belong to 21 families. Wetlands on river floodplains (like Gajoldoba and Purbasthali) had greater species richness. Significance correlations between different physical features and the total birds, number of species and different diversity indices were noted. The sites with larger differences in the characters of the physical habitats, shown Whittaker’s index of beta-diversity (βw) highest viz. between Gajoldoba and Rasik Beel and also between Gajoldoba and Santragachi jheel. The canonical correspondence analysis plot depicted that abundance of waders, dabblers and divers were under the influence of shore length, area and depth respectively while the water-associated birds were under the influence of these three factors. Furthermore, waterbirds were excellent indicators of wetland health and the present study recorded their abundance and richness at the important wintering sites along the length and breadth of the state of West Bengal. This study would help in formulating future strategies for the conservation of waterbirds migrating along with CAF and EAAF.

Genetic Diversity and Differentiation of MHC Class I Genes in Red-Crowned Crane Populations

Nan Xu, Wentao Ye, Chenghe Sun, Ke He, Ying Zhu, Hong Lan, Changhu Lu and Hongyi Liu

Abstract: The red-crowned crane (Grus japonensis) has been demoted to “vulnerable species” because its populations have apparently stabilized in Japan and Korea. Low variation and genetic drift may cause damage to the nascent recovery of the G. japonensis population. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is one of the most polymorphic gene families in the vertebrate genome and can reflect information on the adaptive evolution of endangered species. In this study, variations in MHC I exon 3 of captive G. japonensis in China were assessed and compared with those in cranes from Japan. Forty MHC alleles of 274 base pairs were isolated from 32 individuals from two captive populations in China. There was high variability in the nucleotide and amino acid composition, showing the proportion of polymorphic sites of 18.98 and 32.97%, respectively. Comparative analyses of the Chinese and Japanese populations based on 222 base pair sequences revealed more alleles and higher variation in the Chinese population. The lack of significant geographical differentiation of G. japonensis was supported by the genetic differentiation coefficient (0.04506) between the Chinese and Japanese populations. Positive selection of antigen-binding sites was observed, which contributed to maintaining the diversity of MHC class I genes. Phylogenetic analysis suggested the persistence of trans-species polymorphisms among MHC class I genes in Gruidae species. Our results may contribute to optimizing the management of G. japonensis populations and population recovery of this threatened species.

Complete mitochondrial genome of the common Pochard (Aythya ferina) from Ningxia Hui autonomous region, China

Hao Zhai, Dehuai Meng, Zongzhi Li, YuHui Si, Hongxian Yu, Liwei Teng, Zhensheng Liu

Abstract: We determined the whole mtDNA genome of the Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China. The complete mitochondrial genome is 16,599 bp in length and consists of 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNA genes, 2 rRNA genes, and 1 control region (D-loop). The nucleotide composition is 29.34% A, 22.23% T, 15.66% G, and 32.77% C. Phylogenetic analysis results showed close genetic relationship between A. ferina and Aythya americana.

Genome-wide data reveal paraphyly in the sand plover complex (Charadrius mongolus/leschenaultii)

Chentao Wei, Manuel Schweizer, Pavel S Tomkovich, Vladimir Yu Arkhipov, Michael Romanov, Jonathan Martinez, Xin Lin, Naerhulan Halimubieke, Pinjia Que, Tong Mu, Qin Huang, Zhengwang Zhang, Tamás Székely, Yang Liu

Abstract: Correct assessment of species limits and phylogenetic relationships is a prerequisite for studies in ecology and evolution. Even in well-studied groups such as birds, species delimitation often remains controversial. Traditional avian taxonomy is usually based on morphology, which might be misleading because of the contingent nature of evolutionary diversification. The sand plover complex (genus Charadrius) may be such an example wherein 2 Lesser Sand Plover C. mongolus subspecies groups have been proposed to comprise 2 species. We use genome-wide data of 765K SNPs to show that the widely accepted taxonomic treatment of this sand plover complex appears to be a paraphyletic grouping, with two Lesser Sand Plover subspecies groups found not to be each other’s closest relatives, and with the mongolus subspecies group being the sister taxon of Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii. Based on genomic and acoustic analyses, we propose a three-way split of the Sand Plover complex into the Siberian Sand Plover C. mongolus, Tibetan Sand Plover C. atrifrons, and Greater Sand Plover C. leschenaultii. The similar sizes of the Siberian and Tibetan Sand plovers may be the result of niche conservatism coupled with rapid morphological and ecological differentiation in the Greater Sand Plover. Gene flow between the non-sister Tibetan and Greater Sand plovers might have happened in phases of secondary contact as a consequence of climate-driven range expansions. We call for further studies of the Sand Plover complex, and suggest that speciation with intermittent gene flow is more common in birds than currently acknowledged.

Winter coexistence in herbivorous waterbirds: Niche differentiation in a floodplain, Poyang Lake, China

Junpeng Bai, Huan Zhang, Hongkang Zhou, Shu Li, Bin Gao, Peng Chen, Long Ma, Zhifeng Xu, Zhen Zhang, Changxin Xu, Luzhang Ruan, Gang Ge

Abstract: The classical niche theory supports the idea that stable coexistence requires ecological differences between closely related species. However, information on waterbirds coexistence in the entirely landlocked freshwater system of Poyang Lake is not well understood, especially when the available biomass of their food in the area decreases. In this study, we tested the ecological segregation mechanisms in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 wintering periods among eight herbivorous waterbirds (including the Siberian crane Grus leucogeranus, hooded crane Grus monacha, white-naped crane Grus vipio, common crane Grus grus, greater white-fronted goose Anser albifrons, bean goose Anser fabalis, swan goose Anser cygnoides, and tundra swan Cygnus columbianus) at Poyang Lake. Using field observations and species niche and foraging habitat selection models, we investigated the abundance, distribution, and food sources of these eight waterbird species to quantify and compare their habitat use and ecological niches. Our results showed that niche segregation among the waterbirds, with respect to food types, time, and spatial location, allow them to coexist and use similar resources. The water level gradually receded in the sub-lakes of the Poyang Lake, which could provide food sources and various habitats for wintering herbivorous waterbirds to coexist. We demonstrated that the differences in habitat use could mitigate interspecific competition, which may explain the mechanism whereby waterbirds of Poyang Lake coexist during the wintering period, despite considerable overlap in the dietary niches of herbivorous waterbirds.

Annual variation in waterbird clutch initiation date in relation to spring thaw in Arctic Russia

Diana Solovyeva, Daria A. Barykina, Olga D. Prokopenko, Thorsten J. S. Balsby & Anthony D. Fox

Abstract: To test for the degree of species-specific variation in clutch initiation date in relation to spring thaw, we recorded first egg dates in 1433 nests of seven large bodied long-distance migratory waterbird species breeding on Ayopechan Island in the Chaun Delta, Chukotka, in the Russian Arctic during 2002–2020. Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica, Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis and Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus all adjusted timing of clutch initiation completely to annual variation in first frost-free dates. First egg dates of Spectacled Eider Somateria fischeri also significantly advanced in warmer springs, but the rate of change was significantly less than unity, implying a reduced capacity to accommodate change in vernal thaw that may not be able to keep up with greater change in the future. Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis and Vega Gull Larus vegae showed a tendency for earlier first egg dates in years with earlier first frost-free date, but for both species, the relationship failed to reach statistical significance. Bewick’s Swan Cygnus columbianus showed almost no change in mean first egg date across the observed variation in first frost-free dates. Based on these data, we suggest that while all seven species showed signs of plasticity in their timing of onset of breeding, Pacific Loon, Sandhill Crane and Glaucous Gull showed greater adaptability to adjust the timing of their breeding season to recent variation in spring thaw than the other four species studied here over this period.


2) Conservation & management

Conserving migratory waterbirds and the coastal zone: the future of South-east Asia’s intertidal wetlands

Ding Li Yong, Jing Ying Kee, Pyae Phyo Aung, Anuj Jain, Chin-Aik Yeap, Nyat Jun Au, Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok, Kim Keang Lim, Yat-Tung Yu, Vivian W. K. Fu, Paul Insua-Cao, Yusuke Sawa, Mike Crosby, Simba Chan, and Nicola J. Crockford

Abstract: South-east Asia’s diverse coastal wetlands, which span natural mudflats and mangroves to man-made salt pans, offer critical habitat for many migratory waterbird species in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway. Species dependent on these wetlands include nearly the entire population of the Critically Endangered spoon-billed sandpiper Calidris pygmaea and the Endangered spotted greenshank Tringa guttifer, and significant populations of several other globally threatened and declining species. Presently, more than 50 coastal Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in the region (7.4% of all South-east Asian IBAs) support at least one threatened migratory species. However, recent studies continue to reveal major knowledge gaps on the distribution of migratory waterbirds and important wetland sites along South-east Asia’s vast coastline, including undiscovered and potential IBAs. Alongside this, there are critical gaps in the representation of coastal wetlands across the protected area networks of many countries in this region (e.g. Viet Nam, Indonesia, Malaysia), hindering effective conservation. Although a better understanding of the value of coastal wetlands to people and their importance to migratory species is necessary, governments and other stakeholders need to do more to strengthen the conservation of these ecosystems by improving protected area coverage, habitat restoration, and coastal governance and management. This must be underpinned by the judicious use of evidence-based approaches, including satellite-tracking of migratory birds, ecological research and ground surveys.

Generating population estimates for migratory shorebird species in the world’s largest flyway

Birgita D. Hansen, Danny I. Rogers, Doug Watkins, Dan R. Weller, Robert S. Clemens, Mike Newman, Eric J. Woehler, Taej Mundkur, Richard A. Fuller

Abstract: Population estimates are widely used to underpin conservation decisions. However, determining accurate population estimates for migratory species is especially challenging, as they are often widespread and it is rarely possible to survey them throughout their full distribution. In the East Asian–Australasian Flyway (EAAF), this problem is compounded by its size (85 million square kilometres) and the number of migratory species it supports (nearly 500). Here, we provide analytical approaches for addressing this problem, presenting a revision of the EAAF population estimates for 37 migratory shorebird species protected under Australian national environmental legislation. Population estimates were generated by (1) summarizing existing count data in the non-breeding range, (2) spatially extrapolating across uncounted areas, and (3) modelling abundance on the basis of estimates of breeding range and density. Expert review was used to adjust modelled estimates, particularly in under-counted areas. There were many gaps in shorebird monitoring data, necessitating substantial use of extrapolation and expert review, the extent of which varied among species. Spatial extrapolation to under-counted areas often produced estimates that were much higher than the observed data, and expert review was used to cross-check and adjust these where necessary. Estimates of population size obtained through analyses of breeding ranges and density indicated that 18 species were poorly represented by counts in the non-breeding season. It was difficult to determine independently the robustness of these estimates, but these breeding ground estimates were considered the best available data for 10 species that mostly use poorly surveyed freshwater or pelagic habitats in the non-breeding season. We discuss the rationale and limitations of these approaches to population estimation, and how they could be modified for other applications. Data available for population estimates will vary in quality and extent among species, regions and migration stage, and approaches need to be flexible enough to provide useful information for conservation policy and planning.

Behavioral Response of Bean Goose (Anser fabalis) to Simulated Ship Noises at Lake

Sujuan Wang, Lizhi Zhou, Jinzhou Cai, Bo Jiang, and Wenbin Xu

Abstract: Environmental noise influences the behavioral patterns of animals. However, few quantitative studies have evaluated the effects of ship noise on wintering waterbirds in lakes. In this study, the effects of ship noise simulated by noise playback at different intensities and interference distances on the behaviors of the bean goose, a wintering waterbird species, were evaluated. Sensitivity to noise was higher in small populations than in large populations. Noises of >70 dB at distances of <100 m and >80 dB at <200 m clearly altered the flight patterns of bean geese. This study provides insight into the tolerance of endangered and protected waterbirds to environmental noise and may guide the development of strategies to minimize the impact of ship noise.

Evaluating staging habitat quality to advance the conservation of a declining migratory shorebird, Red Knot Calidris canutus

Tong Mu, Shangxiao Cai, He-Bo Peng, Chris J. Hassell, Adrian Boyle, Zhengwang Zhang, Theunis Piersma, David S. Wilcove

Abstract: Identifying where and when population ‘bottlenecks’ occur is critical to the conservation of migratory species, many of which are declining precipitously worldwide. Especially challenging is the evaluation of changes to staging sites. These sites are indispensable links in the migratory cycle but are typically used only briefly. We devised a field-based approach to assess the quality and carrying capacity of a critical staging site in Nanpu, China, for the declining, migratory Red Knot (Calidris canutus rogersi & C. c. piersmai) during northward migration. The Nanpu tidal flat supports 50,000–100,000 Red Knots annually, and while there, the knots feed almost exclusively on the bivalve Potamocorbula laevis. We simultaneously monitored changes in the abundance of Red Knots and bivalves across this entire staging site in spring 2018. After taking into account potential competition with other shorebird species, we estimated that the Nanpu tidal flat was capable of supporting approximately 1.46–1.70 times the observed level of Red Knot usage of this site, and therefore is operating below, but close to, carrying capacity with respect to food resources for Red Knots. This result suggests that any further habitat loss or degradation at this site could harm the Red Knot population along the entire East Asian Australasian Flyway. Synthesis and applications. Quantitative monitoring and evaluation of habitat quality of staging sites are essential to successfully conserve declining migratory species. In particular, researchers and conservation practitioners should incorporate both population size and staging duration to more accurately assess the importance of different sites and to quantify how changes in staging habitat quality may translate into changes in the population sizes of migratory species at both local and global scales.

Combining Bootstrapping Procedure and Citizen Science Data to Elucidate Waterbirds’ Dependence on Coastal Wetland

Houlang Duan, Xiubo Yu, Shaoxia Xia and Yu Liu

Abstract: Coastal wetlands of the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea, China, along the East Asian–Australasian Flyway (EAAF) migratory route provide important stopover sites for waterbirds. Natural wetland loss caused by external stress has posed serious threats to the population of waterbirds. Elucidating the extent to which species depend on natural wetland and providing conservation and management recommendations for species are important steps toward relieving such population declines. We created a natural landscape (NL) index along the coastal wetlands of the Yellow and Bohai Seas, China, using the inverse distance-weighted nearest-neighbor approach. Then, we used a bootstrapping procedure to combine the NL index with 11,485 occurrence records for 80 waterbird species attributed to four functional groups (shorebirds, ducks, herons, and gulls) to quantify species’ dependence on coastal natural wetlands. Twenty-seven out of the 80 species selected (16 shorebird, 3 duck, 4 heron, and 4 gull species) significantly depended on natural wetlands. The shorebirds [standardized effect size (SES) = 4.37] and herons (SES = 2.56) were more dependent on natural wetlands than the ducks (SES = −0.02) and gulls (SES = −3.22). The threatened species (those classified as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened) showed significantly higher dependence on natural wetlands than the non-threatened species (t = 2.613, df = 78, p < 0.05). Of the 27 species showing significant dependence on natural wetlands, only nine species were listed as national protected species. Threatened species that highly depend on natural wetlands need more attention as these species could face greater risk due to natural wetland loss.

An emerging coastal wetland management dilemma between mangrove expansion and shorebird conservation

Chi-Yeung Choi, Hui Xiao, Mingming Jia, Micha V. Jackson, Yi-Chien Lai, Nicholas J. Murray, Luke Gibson, Richard A. Fuller

Abstract: Coastal wetlands around the world have been degraded by human activities. Global declines in the extent of important coastal wetlands, including mangroves, salt marshes, and tidal flats, necessitate mitigation and restoration efforts. However, some well-meaning management actions, particularly mangrove afforestation, can inadvertently cause further loss and degradation of other habitats if these actions are not planned carefully. In particular, there is a potential conflict between mangrove and shorebird conservation because mangrove afforestation and restoration may occur at the expense of bare tidal flats, which form the main foraging habitats for threatened shorebirds and support other coastal organisms. We examined several case studies that illustrate the trade-off between mangrove restoration and bare tidal flat maintenance. To investigate whether these examples reflect an emerging broad-scale problem, we used satellite imagery to quantify the change in mangrove habitat extent in 22 important shorebird areas in mainland China from 2000 to 2015.The extent of tidal flat across all sites declined significantly (p < 0.01, n = 22) while among sites with mangroves present, the extent of mangroves expanded significantly (p < 0.01, n = 14). Our results suggest mangrove expansion and tidal flat loss have considerably reduced shorebird habitat in 8 of these sites. To improve the overall conservation outcome, we devised a decision tree for addressing the dilemma. Important factors to consider include whether the area of interest is of importance to shorebirds and what the potential impacts of mangrove expansion are; what the value of the proposed mangrove ecosystem is compared with the existing ecosystem; and that a conflict-resolution process will be needed if the choices are very similar. With careful consideration of alternative management strategies, decision makers can ensure that the conservation of mangroves does not imperil migratory shorebirds.

Potential Habitats and Their Conservation Status for Swan Geese (Anser cygnoides) along the East Asian Flyway

Chunxiao Wang, Xiubo Yu, Shaoxia Xia, Yu Liu, Junlong Huang Wei Zhao

Abstract: Habitats provide essential space for migratory birds to survive and reproduce. Identifying potential habitats in annual cycle stages and their influencing factors is indispensable for conservation along the flyway. In this study, we obtained satellite tracking of eight swan geese (Anser cygnoides) wintering at Poyang Lake (28°57′4.2″, 116°21′53.36″) from 2019 to 2020. Using the Maximum Entropy species distribution model, we investigated the potential habitats distribution of the swan geese during their migration cycle. We analyzed the relative contribution of various environmental factors to habitat suitability and conservation status for each potential habitat along the flyway. Our results show that the primary wintering grounds of swan geese are located in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Stopover sites were widely distributed, mainly in the Bohai Rim, the middle reaches of the Yellow River, and the Northeast Plain, and extended westward to Inner Mongolia and Mongolia. Breeding grounds are mainly in Inner Mongolia and eastern Mongolia, while some are scattered in Mongolia’s central and western. The contribution rates of major environmental factors are different in breeding grounds, stopover sites, and wintering grounds. Breeding grounds were influenced by slope, elevation, and temperature. Slope, human footprint index, and temperature were the main factors that affected stopover sites. Wintering grounds were determined by land use, elevation, and precipitation. The conservation status of habitats is 9.6% for breeding grounds, 9.2% for wintering grounds, and 5.3% for stopover sites. Our findings thus provide a critically international assessment of potential habitats protection for geese species on the East Asian Flyway.

Winners and losers of land use change: A systematic review of interactions between the world’s crane species (Gruidae) and the agricultural sector

Karoline Hemminger, Hannes König, Johan Månsson, Sonoko-Dorothea Bellingrath-Kimura, Lovisa Nilsson

Abstract: While agricultural intensification and expansion are major factors driving loss and degradation of natural habitat and species decline, some wildlife species also benefit from agriculturally managed habitats. This may lead to high population densities with impacts on both human livelihoods and wildlife conservation. Cranes are a group of 15 species worldwide, affected both negatively and positively by agricultural practices. While eleven species face critical population declines, numbers of common cranes (Grus grus) and sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) have increased drastically in the last 40 years. Their increase is associated with higher incidences of crane foraging on agricultural crops, causing financial losses to farmers. Our aim was to synthesize scientific knowledge on the bilateral effects of land use change and crane populations. We conducted a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed publications on agriculture-crane interactions (n = 135) and on the importance of agricultural crops in the diet of cranes (n = 81). Agricultural crops constitute a considerable part of the diet of all crane species (average of 37%, most frequently maize (Zea mays L.) and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)). Crop damage was identified in only 10% of all agriculture-crane interactions, although one-third of interactions included cranes foraging on cropland. Using a conceptual framework analysis, we identified two major pathways in agriculture-crane interactions: (1) habitat loss with negative effects on crane species dependent on specific habitats, and (2) expanding agricultural habitats with superabundant food availability beneficial for opportunistic crane species. The degree to which crane species can adapt to agricultural land use changes may be an important factor explaining their population response. We conclude that multi-objective management needs to combine land sparing and land sharing strategies at landscape scale. To support viable crane populations while guaranteeing sustainable agricultural production, it is necessary to include the perspectives of diverse stakeholders and streamline conservation initiatives and agricultural policy accordingly.

Habitat selection by Siberian Cranes at their core stopover area during migration in Northeast China

Yuhang Wang, Minghao Gong, Changlin Zou, Tianyuan Zhou, Wanyu Wen, Gang Liu, Huixin Li, Weichun Tao

Abstract: Stopover habitats are crucial refuelling and resting sites for migratory birds to ensure their complete migration and successful reproduction and survival. The Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus) has been recognized as critically endangered according to ‘Red List’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); however their stopover habitats are threatened by various causes and thus, are depleting. To identify the range and environmental characteristics of the stopover habitats selected by the Siberian Cranes during their migration in Northeast China, important factors influencing these habitats and habitat suitability distribution were studied by using the maximum entropy model. Subsequently, climate conditions and wetland types were the most important factors, based on which the Siberian cranes selected the stopover habitats. The stopover habitats selected by the Siberian Cranes were primarily located in areas with mean annual total precipitation less than 400 mm, mean annual temperature between 4 °C and 7 °C, and seasonal brackish and alkaline marshes. Areas within and near the Momoge National Nature Reserve on the West Songnen Plain were vital resting sites for the Siberian Crane. The spatial distribution of habitat suitability evidently varied, and 20% areas of the reserve, which demonstrated a high degree of habitat suitability, were observed outside the reserve boundaries, thus, indicating gaps in conservation of the Siberian Cranes habitats in Northeast China. The results of this study highlight the need for implementing effective measures to conserve the Siberian Cranes habitat to maintain sustainable ecosystems.

Reintroduction of Parent-Reared and Semi-Wild Chicks of Red-Crowned Grus japonensis and White-Naped Cranes Antigone vipio in Russia: Lessons from 29 Years of Experience

Eugenia V. Bragina, Irina V. Balan, Nadezhda V. Kuznetsova, Mikhail P. Parilov, Jonathan C. Slaght

Abstract: Red-crowned Grus japonensis (IUCN status: Endangered) and White-naped Antigone vipio (IUCN status: Vulnerable) cranes are both rare, with wild populations of ∼3,000 and ∼6,000 individuals, respectively. Since 1991, the Rare Bird Reintroduction Station at the Khingansky State Nature Reserve, Russia, has been rearing and reintroducing chicks of both species to bolster wild populations. The station uses two different chick-rearing methods: (1) the “parent-reared” method, in which chicks are raised in enclosures by natural parents and stay with them until their release into the wild, and (2) the “semi-wild” method, a modification of hand-rearing, in which cohorts of 2–7 chicks spend most of their time together in an enclosure but are guided on daily excursions outside the enclosure, under supervision of a keeper from a distance of 30–50 m. We have assessed and compared apparent survival of crane chicks reared under these methods. Of the 165 juveniles released into the wild from 1991–2019 (104 Red-crowned; 61 White-naped), no difference was found between apparent survival of parent-reared and semi-wild chicks. Six-month apparent survival of Red-crowned Cranes was 84.2% (95% confidence interval: 75.3–90.3%); for White-naped Cranes –89.5% (95% CI: 83.9–93.3%). Both parent-reared and semi-wild chicks were later observed in mated pairs with their own offspring (17 chicks in total), coupling with either other reintroduced birds or with wild individuals. We conclude that both the parent-reared and semi-wild methods had similar outcomes with respect to apparent survival. However, since the semi-wild method is less costly with respect to time (i.e., more juveniles can be released annually using this method) we recommend that it be used whenever possible to bolster these Endangered and Vulnerable populations.

Contrasting habitat use and conservation status of Chinese-wintering and other Eurasian Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) populations

Xueqin Deng, Qingshan Zhao, Junjian Zhang, Andrea Kölzsch, Diana Solovyeva, Inga Bysykatova-Harmey, Zhenggang Xu, Helmut Kruckenberg, Lei Cao & Anthony David Fox

Abstract: GPS/GSM tracking data were used to contrast use of (i) habitats and (ii) protected areas between three Arctic-nesting Greater White-fronted Geese (Anser albifrons, GWFG) populations throughout the annual cycle. We wished to demonstrate that the East Asian Continental Population (which winters on natural wetlands in the Chinese Yangtze River floodplain and is currently declining) avoids using farmland at multiple wintering sites. We also gathered tracking evidence to support general observations from two increasing population of GWFG, the North Sea-Baltic (which winters in Europe) and the West Pacific (which winter in Korea and Japan) winter mostly within farmland landscapes, using wetlands only for safe night roosts. We tracked 156 GWFG throughout their annual cycle using GPS/GSM transmitters from these three populations to determine migration routes and stopover staging patterns. We used Brownian Bridge Movement Models to generate summer, winter and migration stopover home ranges which we then overlaid in GIS with land cover and protected area boundary at national level to determine habitat use and degree of protection from nature conservation designated areas. Data confirmed that 73% of European wintering GWFG homes ranges were from within farmland, compared to 59% in Japan and Korea, but just 5% in China, confirming the heavy winter use of agricultural landscapes by GWFG away from China, and avoidance of farmland at multiple sites within the Yangtze River floodplain. The same GWFG used farmland in northeast China in spring and autumn, confirming their experience of exploiting such habitats at other stages of their annual cycle. Chinese wintering birds showed the greatest overlap with protected areas of all three populations, showing current levels of site safeguard are failing to protect this population. Results confirm the need for strategic planning to protect the East Asian Continental GWFG population. While the site protection network in place to protect the species seems adequate, it has failed to stop the declines. Buffalo grazing could serve as one simple strategy to improve the condition of feeding habitats at Dongting Lake and Poyang Lake in the Yangtze, where vast Carex meadows exist. In addition, while we warn against pushing GWFG to winter farmland feeding in China because of the long-term potential to conflict with agricultural interests, we recommend experimental sacrificial, disturbance-free farmland within designated refuge areas adjacent to the Yangtze River floodplain wetland reserves as a manipulative experiment to improve the conservation status of this population in years when natural food sources are limited.

Conserving unprotected important sites for shorebirds on China’s coasts

Houlang Duan, Xiubo Yu, Shaoxia Xia, Yu Liu

Abstract: The loss of natural wetland habitats along China’s coasts has contributed to population declines in waterbirds, especially migratory shorebirds. Identifying important shorebird sites is important for habitat conservation and management. We integrated shorebird survey datasets from multiple sources (bird-watching websites, survey reports, and published literature) for coastal wetlands in China and used the criterion of 1% of the global or flyway population (hereafter, Ramsar 1% criterion) and priority index Pi to identify conservation priority sites and corresponding prioritization rank. We used gap analysis to identify the conservation status of natural protected areas. Forty-eight conservation priority sites, where 31 shorebird species met the Ramsar 1% criterion. The prioritization rank was very high priority for six sites, high priority for five sites, and priority for 37 sites. There were 28 conservation priority sites for shorebirds with conservation gaps, and these accounted for 58.33% of all 48 conservation priority sites. Of these unprotected sites, the prioritization ranks were very high priority or high priority for six sites, which were mainly concentrated in Jiangsu province. We recommend prioritizing the protection of these sites by creating new protected areas or incorporating these areas into the existing system.

Bordering Migratory Shorebirds through Contested Mobility Developments

Kaya Barry, Samid Suliman

Abstract: Airports and seaports inhabit multiple geographies that dictate global mobility across political, economic, social, and environmental borders. In Australia and across the Asia-Pacific, large-scale mobility developments are being undertaken to connect local businesses and industries with global markets. However, these projects are proceeding without regard for the impacts that these mobility hubs will have on local and global ecologies. This is certainly the case across the Asia-Pacific region, where industry is impacting on the routes of migratory shorebirds along the ‘East Asian-Australasian Flyway’, which spans 18 countries and carries over 50 million migratory birds each year. Key sites that make up the Flyway are established and prolific hubs for these nonhuman mobilities, yet encroaching land reclamation practices are resulting in considerable avian population declines. This paper explores how more-than-human onceptualization of the EAA Flyway and the “borders” it instigates through global conservation and nation-state governance are inadequately protecting the migratory shorebirds. We examine the recent and contested developments in Moreton Bay, in Brisbane, Australia, and the many bordering practices that take shape in this local place along the EAA Flyway. We argue that the multi-sited path that compose these global Flyways challenge our all-too-human-centric conceptions of space, borders, and movement.


3) Avian Influenza /Others

Isolation and Identification of a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N6 Virus from Migratory Waterfowl in Western Mongolia

Ulaankhuu Ankhanbaatar, Tserenchimed Sainnokhoi, Tirumala B K Settypalli, Sneha Datta, Delgerzul Gombo-Ochir, Buyantogtokh Khanui, Gantsetseg Dorj, Ganzorig Basan, Giovanni Cattoli, William G Dundon, Charles E Lamien

Abstract: In April 2020, two Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) and one Swan Goose (Anser cygnoides) were found dead at three different locations in western Mongolia. Virus isolation from organs taken from the carcasses and full genome sequencing revealed that all three birds were positive for highly pathogenic H5N6 avian influenza virus (HPAIV) belonging to subclade Confirming similar reports from central Mongolia and western China, these findings have important implications for the monitoring, control, and management of HPAIVs in wild bird and commercial poultry populations in Mongolia.

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