Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (12): 1483-1495.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020328

• Special Feature: Biodiversity Conservation along the Yellow River • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Discussion of existing protection for three waterbirds’ habitats in the Yellow River basin nature reserves, based on satellite tracking

Yuxi Wang1, Yanbo Xie1, Nyambayar Batbayar5, Baoguang Zhu4, Shubin Dong4, Anna Barma7, Anton Sasin6, Lei Cao2,3,*()   

  1. 1. University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China
    2. Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4. Honghe National Nature Reserve, Jiansanjiang, Heilongjiang 156332, China
    5. Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia, Sukhbaatar District 14210, Mongolia
    6. Public Environmental Organization “AmurSEU”, Blagoveshchensk 675000, Russia;
    7. WWF-Russia, Amur Branch, Vladivostok 690003, Russia
  • Received:2020-08-16 Accepted:2021-01-18 Online:2020-12-20 Published:2021-01-27
  • Contact: Lei Cao


Nature reserves represent an important form of biodiversity conservation, and their presence is particularly crucial for migratory waterbirds. From 2016‒2018, six Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus), five Eurasian Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia) and ten Oriental Storks (Ciconia Boyciana) were captured in China, Mongolia and Russia. During the tracking period, 844,592 pieces of high-frequency GPS tracking data were obtained, we analyzed the duration that these birds spent in the Yellow River basin and, the land cover types during their stay. Then we simulated the home range of the three species using kernel density estimation. The results showed that the Yellow River basin wetlands are used as a stopover site during the migration of these three waterbirds. Some juveniles of the Eurasian Spoonbills use the land as a summering area, and some of the Oriental Storks use it as a wintering area. There are differences in land cover of three waterfowl in the Yellow River basin. The Bar-headed Goose used the grassland (49.0%), bare land (26.2%) and water (22.5%). The Eurasian Spoonbill used the cropland (42.1%), grassland (19.8%) and wetland (19.6%). The Oriental Stork used the wetland (49.8%), cropland (34.5%) and water (4.6%). Our study found that 50% of the home range of the Bar-headed Goose overlaps with the existing nature reserves, while the homes range of the Eurasian Spoonbill and the Oriental Stork only overlap 1.6% and 0 with existing nature reserves, respectively. The habitats of these latter two species are in need of greater protection. At the same time, by analyzing the proportion of land types in the coverage area, we found that the birds’ utilization of bare land, grassland and cropland is more passive, while the utilization of wetland and water is active. The results detail the movement and living characteristics of three waterfowl in the Yellow River. Given the lack of overlap between their habitats and existing nature reserves, it will be important to establish comprehensive protected areas for Eurasian Spoonbills and Oriental Storks as part of further development of the Yellow River nature reserves.

Key words: Bar-headed Goose, Eurasian Spoonbill, Oriental Stork, satellite telemetry, Yellow River nature reserve, protection status