China Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea) Winter Census 2020 was conducted from 17th January to 19th January, 2020, aiming to better understand the population and overwintering sites of the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper. A total of 33 sites were surveyed in all coastal provinces in South China, namely Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan Provinces. The survey covered all known SBS overwintering (and stopover) sites in China. In total, 49 Spoon-billed Sandpiper were recorded, of which 13 were individually tagged.
This census in China was part of the International Spoon-billed Sandpiper Winter Census, convened by the EAAFP Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force. The survey team was comprised of 27 SBS Conservation Alliance members with over one hundred people. Many of them are voluntary bird watchers. They recorded 49 SBS individuals, including 13 individually-marked individuals (12 with engraved flag and one with a metal ring). Fucheng, Leizhou Peninsula in Guangdong Province had the largest SBS winter population in China, with 28 individuals recorded, taking up 57% of the total count of this census. A further 10 SBSs were sighted at three new sites, accounting for 20% of the total count of this census.
Hunting and fishing were considered as the most common threats to waterbirds in the evaluation, and invasive species (spartina cordgrass) was recorded as a frequent threat. Among the 33 surveyed sites, the team recorded eight globally threatened species including Spoon-billed Sandpiper at 23 survey sites, which are: Oriental Stork (EN), Black-faced Spoonbill (EN), Great Knot (EN), Far Eastern Curlew (EN), Nordmann’s Greenshank (EN), Relict Gull (VU) and Saunders’s Gull (VU).
As a key component of the global SBS winter census, this census deepened our knowledge of Spoon-billed Sandpiper population and overwintering habitat locations in China. It also promoted collaboration among alliance members, increased alliance’s general ability to species monitoring and boosted public awareness of this globally Endangered species Spoon-billed Sandpiper and further conservation actions.
Content and images provided by Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Alliance