Black-faced Spoonbill

Black-Faced Spoonbill

Black-faced Spoonbill

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The Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor) has the most restricted distribution of all spoonbills, and it is the only one currently regarded as endangered. Confined to the coastal areas of eastern Asia, it seems that it was once common throughout its area of distribution. Currently, it has a niche existence on only a few small rocky islands off the west coast of North Korea, with three wintering sites at Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam, as well as other places where they have been observed in migration.


The global population of this species, 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 ; the 2008 census resulted in an estimated total count of 2,065 individuals ; and a 2010 census reported 2,346 . 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).


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...
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