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The Chinese egret or Swinhoe's egret (''Egretta eulophotes'') is a threatened species of
egret Egrets are herons that have white or buff plumage, developing fine plumes (usually milky white) during the breeding season. Egrets are not a biologically distinct group from herons and have the same build. Biology Many egrets are members of ...

egret
from
east Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...

east Asia
. The species was
first described First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number 1 (number), one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record, specifically the first instance of a particular achievement Arts and media Music * 1$T, American rapper, singer-songwriter, DJ, ...
by
Robert Swinhoe Robert Swinhoe List of Fellows of the Royal Society S,T,U,V, FRS (1 September 1836 – 28 October 1877) was an English diplomat and naturalist who worked as a consul (representative), Consul in Formosa. He catalogued many Southeast Asian birds, a ...
in 1860.


Description

The Chinese egret averages 68 cm in height. The plumage is white throughout the bird's life and resembles the
little egret The little egret (''Egretta garzetta'') is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as ...

little egret
(''Egretta garzetta''). Outside the breeding season the bill is dusky with the basal portion being tannish peach and the lores and legs yellow green, while the iris is yellow. All individuals are similar in this season. In the breeding season the adults develop a luxuriant crest which is sometimes over 11 cm long. It also develops long
lanceolate The following is a list of terms which are used to describe leaf A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant plant stem, stem, usually borne above ground and specialized for photosynthesis. The leaves ...

lanceolate
plumes on its breast and dorsal plumes extending beyond the tail, called
aigretteImage:Aigrette (PSF).png, upright=0.75, Aigrette on a hat The term aigrette (; from the French language, French for egret, or ''lesser white heron'') refers to the tufted crest or head-plumes of the egret, used for adorning a headdress. The word may ...

aigrette
s and similar to those of little egret. The bare parts change too, the bill becomes a bright, almost orange, yellow while the lores turn bright blue and the legs black with yellow feet.


Distribution and population

The Chinese egret breeds on small islands off the coasts of far eastern
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
,
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
,
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and sharing a Korean Demilitarized Zone, land border with North Korea. Its western border is for ...

South Korea
and mainland
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
. It formerly bred in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
and the
New Territories The New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a and of China on the eastern in . With over ...
of
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
although it is now only a non-breeding visitor or passage migrant to these countries. It is also a non-breeding passage migrant or winterer in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
, the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
,
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
,
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
,
Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language fr ...
,
Sarawak Sarawak (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Sarawak
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
,
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
and
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi alphabet, Jawi: ), is a sovereign state, country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coa ...

Brunei
. The most important wintering areas are the
Eastern Visayas Eastern Visayas ( war, Sinirangan Kabisay-an; ceb, Sidlakang Kabisay-an; tl, Silangang Kabisayaan or ''Silangang Visayas'') is an administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management ( ...
, i.e. the islands of
Leyte Leyte ( ) is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), someti ...

Leyte
,
Bohol Bohol (), officially the Province of Bohol ( ceb, Lalawigan sa Bohol; tl, Lalawigan ng Bohol), is an island province of the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Rep ...

Bohol
and
Cebu Cebu (; ceb, Sugbo), officially the Province of Cebu ( ceb, Lalawigan sa Sugbo; tl, Lalawigan ng Cebu), is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , ...

Cebu
in the Philippines, and the
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
n states of
Sarawak Sarawak (; ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

Sarawak
and
Selangor Selangor (; ), also known by its Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transc ...

Selangor
where between one third and a half of the world population are believed to winter, based on the results of a winter census undertaken in 2004/05. The total population is estimated at 2,600–3,400 individuals. During the decade from 2002 to 2012 there was no significant decline in the population of this species, and there are newly discovered colonies off the coast of southern China which may represent increased observer effort, but could also indicate a real growth in the population. It is classified as
vulnerable Vulnerable may refer to: General *Vulnerability *Vulnerability (computing) *Vulnerable adult *Vulnerable species Music Albums *Vulnerable (Marvin Gaye album), ''Vulnerable'' (Marvin Gaye album), 1997 *Vulnerable (Tricky album), ''Vulnerable'' (T ...
, the biggest threat being
habitat loss Habitat destruction (also termed habitat loss and habitat reduction) is the process by which a natural habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the rela ...
.


Habitat

Outside the breeding season the Chinese egret occurs in shallow tidal estuaries, mudflats and bays, occasionally visiting rice fields and fish ponds. All recent breeding records have been from offshore islands.


Behavior

In South Korea the first returning Chinese egrets, almost always already in full-breeding plumage, start to arrive back in mid-April. Their first appearance is in small numbers on offshore islands, especially in stormy weather, with immigration over by mid-May. The period of spring migration is therefore rather short, and most birds are thought to arrive in their Korean breeding colonies without staging anywhere along the Korean coast. The autumn migration is rather more leisurely with many egrets appearing to move southwards along the west coast during August and September, before departing Korea probably out through the south-west of the peninsula across the
Yellow Sea The Yellow Sea is a marginal sea This is a list of seas of the World Ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of Saline water, salt water that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of Earth and contains 97% o ...

Yellow Sea
. Other Chinese egrets probably move westwards directly across from Gyeonggi Bay towards the
Shandong Peninsula The Shandong Peninsula or Jiaodong Peninsula is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body ...
, and then down the Chinese coast. During August and September 1998 two survey circuits were conducted along most of the west and south coast of South Korea and provided some insight into the suspected autumn migration strategy, with around 475 Chinese egrets found between August 18 and September 2, increasing to 615 between September 13 and 28. Most were found in the north-western Gyeonggi Bay, which also holds most of South Korea's breeding birds, but significant counts were made at several more southern sites, especially in the second survey circuit.


Conservation

The nuptial plumes of the Chinese egret, like other egrets, were
in demand In Demand (stylized as iN DEMAND) is an American cable television service which provides video on demand services, including pay-per-view. Comcast, Cox Communications, and Charter Communications (with former independent companies Time Warner Cab ...
for decorating hats. They had been used for this purpose since at least the 17th century but in the 19th century it became a major craze and the number of egret skins passing through dealers reached into the millions. This is thought to have contributed to the decline of all of the white ''
Egretta ''Egretta'' is a genus of medium-sized herons, mostly breeding in warmer climates. Representatives of this genus are found in most of the world, and the little egret, as well as being widespread throughout much of the Old World, has now started ...
'' species. The greatest modern threat is habitat loss and reclamation of tidal flats and estuarine habitats, and through pollution.


References


External links


Chinese Egret ''Egretta eulophotes''
- BirdLife International {{DEFAULTSORT:egret, Chinese
Chinese egret The Chinese egret or Swinhoe's egret (''Egretta eulophotes'') is a threatened species of egret from Palearctic, east Asia. The species was Species description, first described by Robert Swinhoe in 1860. Description The Chinese egret averages 68 ...
¨ Birds of Korea Birds of Manchuria
Chinese egret The Chinese egret or Swinhoe's egret (''Egretta eulophotes'') is a threatened species of egret from Palearctic, east Asia. The species was Species description, first described by Robert Swinhoe in 1860. Description The Chinese egret averages 68 ...
Chinese egret The Chinese egret or Swinhoe's egret (''Egretta eulophotes'') is a threatened species of egret from Palearctic, east Asia. The species was Species description, first described by Robert Swinhoe in 1860. Description The Chinese egret averages 68 ...