Result of the International Black-faced Spoonbill Census 2015

Yat-tung Yu,
Coordinator, EAAFP Black-faced Spoonbill Working Group

The 2015 International Black-faced Spoonbill Census was carried out between 16-18 January. A total of 3,272 individuals was recorded. This is 546 birds more than last year’s record 2,726 and represents an increase of 20% from 2014. It is a new high figure for the species, and the population of Black-faced Spoonbill exceeded three thousand for the first time.

The Tainan area of Taiwan still hosts the largest wintering numbers of Black-faced Spoonbill with 1,997 individuals (61% of the global figure) counted. Numbers in Taiwan, Deep Bay, South Korea and Japan increased while Macau & mainland China recorded slight decreases.

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

  • Taiwan: 2,034 (1,659 in 2014, + 22.6%)
  • Deep Bay (Hong Kong and Shenzhen): 411 (252 in 2014, + 63.1%)
  • Japan: 371 (350 in 2014, + 6%)
  • Mainland China (inc. Hainan): 330 (339 in 2014, – 2.7%)
  • Macau: 55 (60 in 2014, – 8.3%)
  • Vietnam: 40 (40 in 2014, no change)
  • South Korea: 31 (26 in 2014, +19.2%)
  • The Philippines: 0 (none recorded during in 2014 census)
  • Cambodia: 0 [1 outside census period] (none recorded during in 2014 census)
  • Thailand: 0 [1 outside census period] (none recorded during 2014 census)

Several highlights are indicated below:

  1. The great increase is attributed to the increase in three ‘traditional’ major sites, the Tainan region, Deep Bay and Kumamoto (Japan). The figures in other regions are more or less the same as last year. The conditions of all main habitats remain stable and no great destruction or deterioration was recorded.
  2. The Black-faced Spoonbills recorded in Deep Bay this year were found scattered in various small areas. This means a large number of volunteers is needed to improve the coverage and accuracy of census. Coordinators are encouraged to recruit and train beginning birdwatchers and enthusiastic public for the census (which is already going well in many regions).
  3. This year some regions recorded the age structure of wintering populations (and we are still receiving records). Hopefully, the data could provide supplementary information for the figure of census to know more about site and habitat preference among different age groups and better predict the population trend after a few years of monitoring.

This census was very successful thanks to the volunteer surveyors who participated in, the countries and the site coordinators to help coordination of the census in their sites/areas, and support from the EAAFP Black-faced Spoonbill Working Group.

To see more results below, please click here.

  • Table 1: Results of different locations in 2015 Census
  • Diagram 1: Numbers of wintering Black-faced Spoonbill in the world from 1989-90 to 2014-15
  • Diagram 2: Proportion of global population of Black-faced Spoonbill wintering at different locations in the 2015 International Census
  • Diagram 3: A comparison of the trends of the known global population of Black-faced Spoonbill at main wintering areas

Please note that the final report for the 2015 census will be prepared in the following months.

To find out more about Black-faced Spoonbill, visit the EAAFP BFS Working Group page.

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