Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (10): 1114-1122.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2017057

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Promoting diversity inventory and monitoring of birds through the camera-trapping network in China: status, challenges and future outlook

Shuyi Zhu, Fei Duan, Sheng Li*()   

  1. School of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871
  • Received:2017-08-03 Accepted:2017-08-23 Online:2017-10-20 Published:2018-05-05
  • Contact: Li Sheng


During the past two decades, camera-trapping has been widely used in biodiversity monitoring and wildlife research across China. Most of the existing camera-trapping projects focus on mammals, and birds are frequently considered in by-catch records. We analyzed 230 wildlife camera-trapping research projects in China since 1992, on the basis of an exhaustive review of Chinese and English literature, including published articles, conference reports, public news, and additional unpublished datasets. Results showed that at least 393 wild bird species, belonging to 17 orders and 56 families and accounting for 28.67% of the total number of bird species in China, have been documented using camera-trapping since 1992. The order with the most recorded species was Passeriformes (268). On the family level, Turdidae had the highest number of recorded species (58), followed by Timaliidae (50) and Phasianidae (42). There were 23 families that each only had one recorded species. Ground- and understory-dwelling forest birds accounted for the majority of all birds recorded, in terms of either species richness or camera detections. Published bird records were characterized by regional imbalances. Sichuan and Yunnan provinces were the most surveyed provinces, with 16 and 14 sites, respectively. The highest species richness was recorded in Sichuan (160), followed by Yunnan (91) and Zhejiang (66). A total of 104 new regionally recorded species were reported. Given the fact that there is still an abundance of camera-trapping data that has not been published, we speculated that the actual recorded bird species should be higher. These results indicated that camera-trapping can produce considerable bird distribution data of high accuracy, high quality and large amounts, which may provide a significant contribution to biodiversity monitoring and regional inventories of birds in China. Terrestrial birds, including Galliformes, Turdidae and Timaliidae, should be included as one of the target groups in current and future monitoring networks using standardized camera-trapping techniques, and such networks could also complement data and support the inventory and diversity monitoring of other taxa.

Key words: biodiversity monitoring, camera-trapping, bird inventory, terrestrial birds, monitoring network