Biodiv Sci

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On the status and distribution of threatened birds of China

Hongfeng Zhao1,4, Xuebin Gao1,2*, Fumin Lei1**, Xinyang Liu3, Ning Zheng3, Zuohua Yin1   

  1. 1 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080
    2 Shanxi Institute of Zoology,Xi'an 710032
    3 Capital Normal University,Beijing 100037
    4 Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences,Beijing 100039
  • Received:2004-06-15 Revised:2004-12-22 Online:2005-01-20 Published:2005-01-20
  • Contact: Fumin Lei


We compared bird species in the China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals (Aves) and Chinese bird species in the Threatened Birds of Asia. Species composition was different in the two red data books, and only 69 species were listed in both. Most bird species listed in the two books live in forest, wetlands and scrub. We established a geographical database of threatened birds and used Arcview (3.2) software to analyze their zoogeographical patterns. We find threatened birds are mainly distributed in the Southwest Mountain subregion, East Hillock-Plain subregion, Huanghuai Plain subregion, and Taiwan subregion. Threatened resident birds occur more frequently in the Southwest Mountain subregion and adjacent areas, and threatened migratory birds in the East Hillock-Plain subregion and adjacent areas. Of the 57 outstanding important bird areas identified by BirdLife International in China, 51 are within protected areas, whereas another 6 are not. We suggest much attention should be paid to the six areas. Based on IUCN criteria of causes of threats, the foremost cause of bird endangerment is human-induced habitat loss and degradation. We conclude that the threatened birds inhabiting mountain areas in southwestern China, Taiwan and Hainan Island, where ecosystems are more vulnerable, are facing more threats.