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The black-faced spoonbill (''Platalea minor'') is a species of wading bird in the ibis and spoonbill family
Threskiornithidae The family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to th ...
, found in eastern Asia. This species has the most restricted distribution of the six
spoonbill Spoonbills are a genus, ''Platalea'', of large, long-legged wading bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic ...

spoonbill
species, and it is the only one regarded as
endangered An endangered species 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 the largest group ...
. Spoonbills are large water birds with dorso-ventrally flattened, spatulate bills. These birds use a tactile method of feeding, wading in the water and sweeping their beaks from side-to-side to detect prey. Confined to the coastal areas of eastern
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
, it seems that it was once common throughout its area of distribution. It currently breeds only on a few small rocky islands off the west coast of
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
, with four wintering sites at
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Lond ...

Macau
,
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
,
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
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
, as well as other places where they have been observed in migration. Wintering also occurs in Jeju,
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
,
Kyushu is the third largest island of 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 ...

Kyushu
and
Okinawa is a prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. T ...

Okinawa
,
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
, and the Red River delta in
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
. More recently, sightings of black-faced spoonbill birds were noted in
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
, 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
, and additional sites in China. They were internationally classified as an endangered species by the
IUCN The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institut ...
in 2000. Declines in their population are predicted in the future, mainly due to the amount of deforestation, pollution, and other man-made industries. The black-faced spoonbill population in the 2012 census was recorded at 2,693 birds, with an estimation of 1,600 mature birds. Breeding colonies occur between March and August, on small islands. These birds are known to be crepuscular eaters, using intertidal mudflats. Conservation efforts have been made, and surveys were taken in order to determine the opinions and awareness of the local residents, residing close to the black-faced spoonbill's natural habitats. One survey taken by Jin et al. 2008, inquired upon the ‘Willingness-To-Pay” factor in the locals, as well as understanding effects on mandatory surcharges compared to voluntary payments.


Taxonomy

A study of mitochondrial DNA of the spoonbills found that the black-faced and
royal spoonbill The royal spoonbill (''Platalea regia'') also known as the black-billed spoonbill, occurs in mudflat, intertidal flats and shallows of fresh and saltwater wetlands in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. ( ...

royal spoonbill
s were each other's closest relatives. Out of the six ''Platalea'' species within the family Threskiornithidae, the black-faced spoonbill is the rarest.


Breeding

Black-faced spoonbills reached a serious low in population in the 1990s, but by 2003 their numbers increased to at least 1,069 counted individuals. While it is known that their breeding area covers northeastern China and several islands between North and South Korea,Black-faced Spoonbill Conservation Association. (2001).Black-faced Spoonbill. Retrieved from http://www.bfsa.org.tw/en/ep02.htm human-assisted breeding efforts have not been overly successful due to the difficulty in sexing the black-faced spoonbills, yet using the polymerase chain reaction technique on DNA samples has allowed researchers to use another method to correctly sex adult Platalea minor specimens. After migrating to their wintering locations, black-faced spoonbills return with yellow breeding plumage, which extends from the back of their heads to their breasts. While this plumage only develops during the third or fourth year of life when the black-billed spoonbill is sexually mature, only about half of black-faced spoonbills with this plumage breed each breeding season, which contributes to the very slow pace at which the population numbers are increasing.


Distribution

The global population of this species, is likely based on the winter population count which was carried out in 1988–1990 in all known sites. This count estimated about only 288 individuals. As of 2006, following sustained conservation efforts, the estimated global population had increased to 1,679; the 2008 census resulted in an estimated total count of 2,065 individual

and a 2010 census reported 2,34

The known localised population of North Korea is not known to exceed 30 birds. However, there is believed to be another, so far undiscovered colony which provides regional population stability and it is assumed to be probably located in north-east China; for example, on the islands of Liaoning (near the Korean nesting zone). As black-faced spoonbills are migratory birds, their conservation is based on the protection of their breeding, "stop-over" and wintering grounds, making conservation efforts complex. However, spoonbills are able to adapt to disturbances of large-scale. The exact distribution of the species remains unclear, although some attempts at modelling population developments under climate change impacts have been made.


Threats

It is thought that the principal cause of the decline of this species is the destruction of its habitat, more particularly the "valorization" of intertidal mudholes for agriculture, and more recently
aquaculture Aquaculture (less commonly spelled aquiculture), also known as aquafarming, is the farming of fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct rel ...
and industrialization. The Korean War (1950–1953) must also have had a negative impact on the species, because the birds ceased nesting in
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
at that time. In Japan, where it was once common for them to winter, they became extremely rare at this same time, and in later years there has never been a winter in which more than 5 birds were observed. With the construction of a
Shinkansen The , colloquially known in English as the bullet train, is a network of high-speed rail High-speed rail (HSR) is a type of rail transport that runs significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of specia ...

Shinkansen
bridge in the
Yatsushiro Sea The , which is also called the , is a shallow semi-enclosed Inland sea (geology), inland sea separating the island of Kyūshū from the Amakusa, Amakusa Islands. It lies mostly within Kumamoto Prefecture and at the southern end of the sea it als ...

Yatsushiro Sea
between 2004 and 2009 next to a very important migration site for the black-faced spoonbills, many feared that it would cause their numbers to decrease. Thankfully, because of carefully planned out measures implemented in order to counter act the construction of the bridge, the population actually managed to increase during the time of construction. Human disturbances can also be much more direct. Many humans disturb mating patterns unknowingly by taking photographs of birds during their mating time, leading to a decrease in offspring. According to a research done in the Xing-Ren Tuo region of China in 1999, shellfish collectors, photographers, powerboats, and gull egg collectors are the major sources of disturbance causing the black-faced spoonbill to leave their nests.


Conservation

The bird is a
protected species An endangered species 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 the largest group ...
in China as part of the ''China Red Data Book''; its stopover site at Jiuduansha islands of Shanghai, off Shanghai is a national nature preserve.Birds
". The Shanghai Jiuduansha Wetland Nature Reserve (Shanghai), 2014.
In
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
, it is a List of protected species in Hong Kong, protected species under Wild Animals Protection Ordinance Cap 200. In Mai Po Marshes, a quarter of the world's population of black-faced spoonbill can be found during migration. The species is reasonably well protected in North Korea, where their nesting islands off the coast were declared a Zone of Protection with restricted access. There remain nevertheless several threats, mainly in the wintering zones. The need for land to assign to industry is great in the wintering sites in Taiwan, whereas those in Vietnam are being converted for shrimp breeding, though they are within a reserve subject to the Ramsar Convention. During the winter months, over half of the black-faced spoonbill population migrates to the Chiku Wetland in southwestern Taiwan. The birds are incapable of catching large fish; therefore many of them rely on the largescale mullets to feed off of in the winter months spent in the wetlands. These mullets however have recently become endangered due to the increase of spoonbill population who spend the winter months there (minimum of 191 birds in 1991/1992 up to a minimum of 840 in 2004/2005). Conservation of the largescale mullet is imperative in order to continue to sustain the endangered black-faced spoonbills. In Hong Kong, disturbances by fishermen and shell gatherers often prevent the birds from feeding at low tide. In addition, with the continued expansion of human populations in the Far East, pollution will probably become an important problem. Disease has the ability to devastate the black-face spoonbills as well. In the winter of 2002/2003, 73 of the population died due to avian botulism. It may be necessary to establish additional protective areas or reserves in order to not let the population of birds to succumb to disease. The black-faced spoonbill is legally recognized as natural monument #205 and a first-class endangered species in
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


References


External links

*ARKive
images and movies of the black-faced spoonbill ''(Platalea minor)''Color-banded Black-faced Spoonbill Information SystemGeneral Ecology of the Black-faced Spoonbill
{{DEFAULTSORT:spoonbill, black-faced Platalea, black-faced spoonbill Birds of Japan Birds of Korea Birds described in 1849, black-faced spoonbill