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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 110(4)

Red Knots (Calidris canutus piersmai and C. c. rogersi) depend on a small threatened staging area in Bohai Bay, China

Danny I. Rogers A F H, Hong-Yan Yang B F, Chris J. Hassell C, Adrian N. Boyle C, Ken G. Rogers D, Bing Chen E, Zheng-Wang Zhang B and Theunis Piersma F G

A Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, PO Box 137, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia.
B Key Laboratory of Ministry of Education for Biodiversity and Ecological Engineering, College of Life Science, Beijing Normal University, 100875 Beijing, China.
C Global Flyway Network, PO Box 3089, Broome, WA 6725, Australia.
D 340 Ninks Road, St Andrews, Vic. 3761, Australia.
E Room 2511, Building 1, 2 Nan-Fang-Zhuang, Fengtai District, Beijing 100079, China.
F Global Flyway Network, c/o Department of Marine Ecology, Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ), PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands.
G Animal Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, PO Box 14, 9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands.
H Corresponding author. Email: drogers@melbpc.org.au

Emu 110(4) 307-315 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU10024
Submitted: 8 April 2010  Accepted: 30 June 2010   Published: 9 November 2010

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We monitored numbers of Red Knots (Calidris canutus) staging in Bohai Bay, China (39°02′N, 118°15′E) on northward migration. Knots were identified to subspecies, and we systematically searched for colour-banded birds from the non-breeding grounds. We modelled migratory turnover, and revised estimates of flyway population using recently published counts from the non-breeding grounds. Two Russian-breeding subspecies occurred at our study site: C. c. rogersi (migrating to Chukotka), and C. c. piersmai (migrating to the New Siberian Islands); they co-occur on non-breeding grounds in Australia and New Zealand, but differ markedly in timing of migration. We conservatively estimate that our study site, comprising only 20 km of coastline, was used by over 45% of the combined world population of adult C. c. rogersi and C. c. piersmai – a conclusion supported by the independent data on frequency of resighting of colour-banded birds from north-western Australia and New Zealand. Much of this vital staging area is now being destroyed through construction of the Caofedian Industrial Zone and more westerly developments, which comprise only some of the many tidal flat ‘reclamation’ projects in the region. Preservation of the remaining tidal flats of Bohai Bay is essential to the conservation of Red Knots in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway.


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