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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The breeding season begins in early May and nests are constructed upon cliffs; the clutch size is usually three eggs. Breeding success is relatively low but fledging generally occurs at around five weeks old (4). By mid-August, the young are independent and the annual migration to the wintering grounds can begin. These birds are relatively gregarious, roosting together in flocks usually during daylight hours (4). Foraging may also occur in groups, and flocks of around 25 birds have been seen feeding on the mud flats, their bills just skimming the surface of the water for food (4). A variety of tidal species are taken, from small fish to crabs and shrimp; foraging appears to take place in the dark or is dependent on the tide (4).
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Description

The black-faced spoonbill is a relatively small wading bird with, as its name would suggest, an elongated, spoon-shaped bill. The plumage is white in colour, and the face and bill are black (2). During the breeding season, mature adults develop longer crest feathers at the back of the neck, and these and the breast area become a golden yellow (5). Adult black-faced spoonbills have red eyes and yellow patches on their cheeks (6). Male black-faced spoonbills can be distinguished from females by their longer bills; while the bills of immature birds are a pinkish-grey rather than black (5).
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Distribution

Range Description

Platalea minor breeds on islets off the west coast of North Korea and South Korea, and Liaoning province in mainland China (Birdlife International 2001). Birds have been reported in the Tumen estuary of Russia, and breeding was recorded in South Primorye for the first time in 2006 (Litvinenko and Shibaev 2007). The three major wintering sites are the Tsengwen estuary of Taiwan, the Deep Bay area of Hong Kong (China), and the Chinese mainland and Hainan Island. It also winters in Cheju, South Korea, Kyushu and Okinawa, Japan, and Red River delta, Vietnam (Yu Yattung 2003), and there are recent records from Thailand, the Philippines, Macau (China) and inland China (Yu Yattung and Swennen 2005). The key known stopover sites used during migration include Yueqing Bay, Wenzhou Bay and Sanmen Bay (Ding Ping 2002), as well as Chongming Dongtian, Shanghai (Yu Yattung in litt. 2012). A recent study infers an historical population of c.10,300 individuals (Yeung et al. 2006), which fell to an estimated low of 288 individuals in 1988 but it appears to have recovered subsequently, with a total of 1,679 individuals counted during the 2006 International Black-faced Spoonbill Census (Yu Yattung and Wong Chichun 2006). The 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 censuses recorded totals of 1,695, 2,065, 2,041 and 2,347 birds respectively (Yu Yattung and Wong Chichun 2007, Yu Yattung 2008, 2009a,b; Nguyen Duc Tu 2009, Anon. 2011), and a new high was recorded during the 2012 census, with a total of 2,693 individuals (Yu Yattung in litt. 2012), representing a steady increase on previous totals that may reflect genuine increases and result from successful conservation measures at a number of sites (Yu Yattung 2008, Chan et al. 2010). Some uncertainty remains over whether census increases represent increased survey effort, displacement of birds from unknown wintering sites or genuine population increases, thus on the basis of on-going habitat loss and degradation the overall population is expected to decline in the near future.

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Range

Breeds ne China and Korea; winters to SE Asia.

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Range

Found along the east Asian coast, these birds are known to breed on islands off the coast of North and South Korea and in Liaoning Province, China. Following the breeding season, the population migrates to wintering grounds at three major sites: Tsengwen Estuary, Taiwan, Inner Deep Bay, Hong Kong, and the Red River Delta, Vietnam (2).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It breeds in mixed colonies on small islands from March to August (Wei Guoan et al. 2005). Breeding success is low. It is mainly a crepuscular feeder and utilises intertidal mudflats (Yu Yattung and Swennen 2004b); resting, sleeping and digesting occur at a variety of sites (trees, man-made structures, shallow water) within 2-3 km of feeding areas (Yu and Swennen 2004a). Spoonbills employ tactile feeding using lateral sweeps of the bill to locate fish and shrimp prey (Swennen and Yu Yattung 2005). Satellite tracking has shown that birds wintering in Hong Kong and Taiwan migrate along the coast of eastern China to northern Jiangsu, then over the Yellow Sea to the Korean peninsula. Wintering birds form large aggregations and it has been recorded amongst flocks of Eurasian Spoonbills Platalea leucorodia (Yu Yattung and Swennen 2005). It matures at five years of age and birds of at least 9.5 years old have been recorded in the wild (Yu Yattung 2005).


Systems
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Inhabits intertidal habitats along the coast; nesting occurs on cliffs close to tidal flats, whilst winter grounds are situated on estuary wetlands, mudflats and mangroves (4).
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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 15 years (captivity) Observations: One specimen lived for 15 years in captivity (Brouwer et al. 1994).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Platalea minor

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 2 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

AACCGATGATTATTCTCCACCAACCACAAAGACATTGGCACACTGTACCTAATTTTCGGCGCATGAGCTGGCATAGTTGGAACCGCACTC---AGTCTACTTATCCGTGCAGAACTAGGCCAACCAGGAACACTCCTAGGAGAC---GACCAAATCTATAACGTAATCGTCACAGCCCATGCCTTCGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTAATACCAATCATAATTGGCGGATTTGGCAACTGACTAGTGCCACTTATA---ATTGGTGCGCCCGACATAGCATTCCCACGTATAAACAACATAAGTTTCTGATTACTACCCCCCTCATTCCTGCTTCTTCTAGCCTCTTCTACAGTAGAAGCAGGAGCAGGCACAGGATGAACTGTATATCCGCCACTCGCTGGCAACCTTGCCCATGCTGGGGCCTCAGTTGACCTG---GCCATCTTCTCACTTCACCTAGCAGGTGTATCATCCATCTTAGGGGCAATCAACTTTATCACAACCGCCATCAACATAAAACCACCAGCCCTTTCACAATACCAAACACCCCTATTCGTCTGATCAGTCCTAATCACTGCCGTCCTGCTACTGCTCTCACTACCAGTCCTTGCTGCT---GGCATCACTATGCTACTAACAGACCGAAATCTAAACACTACATTCTTCGACCCAGCCGGAGGAGGAGACCCTGTCTTGTACCAACATCTATTTTGATTCTTTGGCCACCCAGAAGTTTACATTCTAATCCTGCCTGGCTTTGGAATCATTTCACATGTAGTAGCATACTATGCAGGTAAAAAA---GAGCCATTCGGTTACATAGGAATAGTATGAGCAATACTATCCATTGGATTCCTAGGCTTCATTGTCTGAGCTCACCACATATTTACCGTCGGAATAGACGTAGACACCCGAGCATACTTCACATCAGCTACCATAATCATTGCCATCCCAACAGGCATCAAAGTCTTTAGCTGACTG---GCTACCCTACACGGAGGA---ACTATTAAATGAGACCCACCAATACTATGAGCCCTAGGCTTCATTTTCCTATTCACTATCGGCGGATTAACAGGAATCGTCCTCGCAAACTCCTCACTAGATATTGCCCTACATGACACATACTATGTAGTAGCACACTTCCACTATGTC---TTATCAATAGGAGCTGTATTTGCCATCCTAGCTGGATTCACCCACTGATTCCCACTATTTACCGGATACACCCTACACCCCACATGAGCTAAAGCCCACTTTGGAGTTATATTCACAGGTGTGAACCTAACCTTCTTCCCCCAGCACTTCCTAGGTCTAGCAGGTATGCCCCGA---CGATATTCGGACTACCCAGATGCCTACACT---CTATGAAACACCATGTCATCCATCGGCTCACTAATCTCAATAACAGCCGTTATCATACTAATATTTATCATCTGAGAAGCCCTTGCATCAAAACGAAAAGTC---TCACAACCAGAACTAACCACCACCAAC
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Platalea minor

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
C2a(ii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Coulter, M. & Yu, Y.

Justification
This spoonbill is listed as Endangered because it has a very small population, which is expected to undergo a continuing decline in the near future owing primarily to the loss of habitat to industrial development, land reclamation, and pollution. A lack of baseline data makes identifying a population trend problematic, but if the apparent recent increases are confirmed as genuine, the species may warrant downlisting in the future.


History
  • 2012
    Endangered
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Status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1), and listed on Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention) (3).
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Population

Population
The 2012 census recorded a new high of 2,693 birds, thus the total number of mature individuals is estimated at c.1,600, as adults appear to account for around 60% of the total population (Yu Yattung in litt. 2012).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
Recent speculation suggests that pollution from pesticides is most congruent with demographic history, in terms of scale and timing of declines and subsequent recovery, as an explanation of past population reduction (Yeung et al. 2006). However, habitat destruction is probably the biggest threat currently. The main wintering grounds are threatened by industrial development, particularly a key site in Taiwan and also in China, and reclamation, especially in South Korea, Japan and China. Economic development in China has converted many coastal wetlands into aquaculture ponds and industrial estates. Pollution remains a major threat to birds wintering in Hong Kong. An outbreak of botulism at one of the major wintering sites killed 73 birds representing 7% of the world population from December 2002 to February 2003 (M. C. Coulter in litt. 2003, Yu Yattung 2003). Increasing levels of disturbance by fishers and tourists and also hunting are threats in China and Vietnam (Wei Guoan et al. 2005). Fishers in China collect waterbird eggs at nesting sites.

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Habitat destruction in the form of the alteration and drainage of wetlands for aquaculture and industrial development is probably the biggest threat to the survival of the black-faced spoonbill (4). The small number of wintering sites means that the species is very vulnerable to any chance event that may occur, particularly to the potentially catastrophic effects of pollution (4).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
It is legally protected in China (including Hong Kong), Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea and Japan. Breeding sites in North Korea, at Taegam-do, Unmu-do, Sonchonrap-do and Tok-do, are designated as seabird sanctuaries and sites in China have been declared as non-hunting areas. Protected wintering sites include Tainan National Park (Taiwan), Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay (Hong Kong), Xuan Thuy and Tien Hai (Vietnam), and Manko (Japan). An action plan was published in 1995 and workshops involving all major range countries were held in 1996 and 1997. A second single species action plan was published in 2010 (Chan et al. 2010). Education material, satellite tracking and field survey results and management recommendation have been produced. Annual censuses have been conducted in recent years. In January 2006, the International Symposium on Research and Conservation of the Black-faced Spoonbill was held in Hong Kong (HKBWS 2007). In May 2007, the Macao Ecological Society held the 2007 Macao International Symposium on Black-faced Spoonbill, with the themes of city development and wetland protection (Choi 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey coastal wetlands in China for additional wintering sites and summering sites for non-breeders. Ensure full protection of the wintering site at Tainan (Taiwan), new breeding sites in China, important wetland sites along the western and southern coast of South Korea, and wintering sites at Hakata Bay and Ariake Bay, Japan. Develop management plans and education programmes for all sites. As pollution has been heavily implicated in the major population reduction that this species suffered, environmental monitoring is recommended as a proactive step to prevent future pollution or disease outbreaks (Yeung et al. 2006). Continue annual population censuses.

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Conservation

The black-faced spoonbill is protected in China, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea and Japan, and a number of both breeding and wintering sites are protected as sanctuaries (2). An Action Plan for the species was produced in 1995, following an international workshop; the Wild Bird Society of Japan acts as the secretariat of the Black-faced Spoonbill Conservation Network (4). Educational and research programmes have been undertaken in a number of countries, and an international census has been established and run by Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (5).
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Wikipedia

Black-faced spoonbill

Platalea minor.jpg

The black-faced spoonbill (Platalea minor) has the most restricted distribution of all spoonbills, and it is the only one regarded as endangered. Spoonbills are large water birds with dorso-ventrally flattened, spatulate bills.[2] These birds use a tactile method of feeding, wading in the water and sweeping their beaks from side-to-side to detect prey.[3] Confined to the coastal areas of eastern Asia, it seems that it was once common throughout its area of distribution. It has a niche existence on only a few small rocky islands off the west coast of North Korea, with four wintering sites at Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam, as well as other places where they have been observed in migration. Wintering also occurs in Cheju, South Korea, Kyushu and Okinawa, Japan, and Red River, Delta Vietnam. More recently, sightings of black-Faced spoonbill birds were noted in Thailand, the Philippines, mainland China, and Macau[4] They were classified as an endangered species through IUCN in 2005.[5] Declines in their population are predicted in the future, mainly due to the amount of deforestation, pollution, and other man-made industries.

The black-Faced spoonbill population as of 2012 census was recorded at 2,693 birds, with an estimation of 1,600 mature birds. Breeding colonies occur between March and August, on small islands. These birds are known to be crepuscular eaters, using intertidal mudflats.[4]

Conservation efforts have been made, and surveys were taken in order to determine the opinions and awareness of the local residents, residing close to the black-Faced spoonbill’s natural habitats. One survey taken by Jin et al. 2008, inquired upon the ‘Willingness-To-Pay” factor in the locals, as well as understanding effects on mandatory surcharges compared to voluntary payments.[3]

Taxonomy[edit]

A study of mitochondrial DNA of the spoonbills found that the black-faced and royal spoonbills were each other's closest relatives.[5] Out of the six Platalea species within the family Threskiomithidae, the black-faced spoonbill is the rarest.[5]

Breeding[edit]

Black-faced spoonbills reached a serious low in population in the 1990s, but as of 2003, their numbers increased to at least 1069 counted individuals.[5] While it is known that their breeding area covers northeastern China and several islands between North and South Korea,[6] human-assisted breeding efforts have not been overly successful due to the difficulty in sexing the black-faced spoonbills, yet using the polymerase chain reaction technique on DNA samples has allowed researchers to use another method to correctly sex adult Platalea minor specimens.[5]

After migrating to their wintering locations, black-faced spoonbills return with yellow breeding plumage, which extends from the back of their heads to their breasts.[6] While this plumage only develops during the third or fourth year of life when the black-billed spoonbill is sexually mature, only about half of black-billed spoonbills with this plumage breed each breeding season, which contributes to the very slow pace at which the population numbers are increasing.[6]

Distribution[edit]

The global population of this species, lily based on the winter population count carried out in 1988-1990 in all known sites, was estimated at 288 individuals. As of 2006, thanks to conservation efforts over the years, the estimated global population had increased to 1,679 [1]; the 2008 census resulted in an estimated total count of 2,065 individuals [2]; and a 2010 census reported 2,346 [3]. The niche population of North Korea does not exceed 30 birds, which implies that there must be another colony which has not been discovered yet, and which is perhaps located in northeast China; for example, on the islands of Liaoning (near the Korean nesting zone).

The model at right shows that the founder effect speciation was more likely for the divergence of the Pl. regia species and the Pl. minor, Black-faced spoonbill, species. Founder effect speciation occurs when a population arises from a small set number of individuals, known as the founders. This type of speciation adds significance to the importance of selection even though there is a vast diversity of birds. The speciation process and demography at the time also contribute together in the birds’ evolutionary changes in behavior such as migration routes and habitat locations.[7]

Black-faced spoonbills are migratory birds so their conservation is based on the protection of their breeding, “stop-over” and wintering grounds.[8] Thus, their conservation comes with a lot of conditions. However, spoonbills are able to adapt to disturbances of large-scale. Their distribution remains unclear.[8] However, through models, maps a-h, black-faced spoonbills’ wintering distributions were able to be recorded. From these models, the spoonbills’ future distributions were predicted under possible climate changes conditions.[8]

Threats[edit]

It is thought that the principal cause of the decline of this species is the destruction of its habitat, more particularly the "valorization" of intertidal mudholes for agriculture, and more recently aquiculture and industrialization. The Korean War (1950–1953) must also have had a negative impact on the species, because the birds ceased nesting in South Korea at that time. In Japan, where it was once common for them to winter, they became extremely rare at this same time, and in later years there has never been a winter in which more than 5 birds were observed.

With the construction of the Shinkansen Bridge in the Yatsushiro Sea between 2004 and 2009 next to a very important migration site for the black-faced spoonbills, many feared that it would cause their numbers to decrease. Thankfully, because of carefully planned out measures implemented in order to counter act the construction of the bridge, the population actually managed to increase during the time of construction.[9]

Human disturbances can also be much more direct. Many humans disturb mating patterns unknowingly by taking photographs of birds during their mating time, leading to a decrease in offspring. Other humans willingly take eggs for selfish reasons, which accounted for 10% of the eggs taken in the Xing-Ren Tuo region of China in 1999.[10]

Conservation[edit]

In Hong Kong, it is a protected species under Wild Animals Protection Ordinance Cap 200. In Mai Po Marshes, a quarter of the world's population of black-faced spoonbill can be found during migration.

The species is reasonably well protected in North Korea, where their nesting islands off the coast were declared a Zone of Protection with restricted access. There remain nevertheless several threats, mainly in the wintering zones. The need for land to assign to industry is great in the wintering sites in Taiwan, whereas those in Vietnam are being converted for shrimp breeding, though they are within a reserve subject to the Ramsar Convention.

During the winter months, over half of the black-faced spoonbill population migrates to the Chiku Wetland in southwestern Taiwan. The birds incapable of catching large fish; therefore many of them rely on the largescale mullets to feed off of in the winter months spent in the wetlands.[11] These mullets however have recently become endangered due to the increase of spoonbill population who spend the winter months there (minimum of 191 birds in 1991/1992 up to a minimum of 840 in 2004/2005). Conservation of the largescale mullet is imperative in order to continue to sustain the endangered black-faced spoonbills.[11]

In Hong Kong, disturbances by fishermen and shell gatherers often prevent the birds from feeding at low tide. In addition, with the continued expansion of human populations in the Far East, pollution will probably become an important problem. Disease has the ability to devastate the black-face spoonbills as well. In the winter of 2002/2003, 73 of the population died due to avian botulism. It may be necessary to establish additional protective areas or reserves in order to not let the population of birds to succumb to disease.[12]

The black-faced spoonbill is legally recognized as natural monument #205 in South Korea.

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Platalea minor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Swennen, C., & Yu, Y. (2005). Food and Feeding Behavior of the Black-faced Spoonbill. Waterbirds, 28(1), 19-27.
  3. ^ a b Jianjun Jin, Zhishi Wang, Xuemin Liu, Valuing Black-faced Spoonbill Conservation in Macao: A Policy and Contingent Valuation Study, Ecological Economics, Volume 68, Issues 1–2, 1 December 2008, Pages 328-335, ISSN 0921-8009.
  4. ^ a b BirdLife International 2012. Platalea minor. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  5. ^ a b c d e Chesser, R.Terry; Yeung, Carol K.L.; Yao, Cheng-Te; Tians, Xiu-Hua; Li Shou-Hsien (2010). "Molecular Phylogeny of the Spoonbills (Aves: Threskiornithidae) based on mitochondrial DNA". Zootaxa (2603): 53–60. ISSN 1175-5326
  6. ^ a b c Black-faced Spoonbill Conservation Association. (2001).Black-faced Spoonbill. Retrieved from http://www.bfsa.org.tw/en/ep02.htm
  7. ^ Yeung, C. K. L., Tsai, P. (n.d.) (2010). Testing Founder Effect Speciation: Divergence Population Genetics of the Spoonbills Platalea regia and Pl. minor. MBE, 28(1), 473-482 .
  8. ^ a b c Hu, Junhua, Hu, Huijian, Jiang, Zhigang (2010). The Impacts of Climate Change on the Wintering Distribution of an Endangered Migratory Bird. Oecologia 164: 555-565.
  9. ^ Takano, S., & Henmi, Y. (2012). The Influence of Constructing a Shinkansen Bridge on Black-faced Spoonbills Platalea minor Wintering in Kyushu, Japan. Ornithological Science, 11(1), 21-28.
  10. ^ Guo-An, W., Fu-Min (n.d.) , (2005). Nesting and Disturbance of the Black-faced Spoonbill in Liaoning Province, China. Waterbirds, 28(4), 420-425.
  11. ^ a b Ueng, Y., (n.d.), (2007). Diet of the Black-faced Spoonbill Wintering at Chiku Wetland in Southwestern Taiwan. Waterbirds, 30(1), 86-91.
  12. ^ Ueng, Y., Wang, J., & Hou, P. L. (2007). Predicting Population Trends of the Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor). The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 119(2).
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