Threatened Birds of the Huben-Hushan Area

by Mark B.Wilkie


Huben; Photo by Mark Wilkie


Important Bird Areas in Asia

More than one quarter of the world's bird species are found in Asia. That means that Asia supports over 2,700 bird species. Three hundred and thirty-two of those species are threatened with global extinction. The greatest threat faced by birds is the loss of habitat and as Asia develops suitable habitat is disappearing at an alarming rate.

Birdlife International is the largest global network of non-governmental conservation organizations with a special focus on birds (Birdlife, 2004, p 1). Birdlife International (formerly known as the International Council for Bird Preservation, or ICBP) started to develop the IBA or Important Bird Area program in the mid-1980s. Basically the program identifies a network of globally important areas for the conservation of birds and their habitats using standard, internationally-agreed criteria.

Taiwan has a total of 53 IBAs. For its size, Taiwan has a very high number of IBAs. Only 11 or 21% fall within totally protected areas. 17 IBAs or 32% fall within partially protected areas. That leaves 25 or 47% of Taiwan's IBAs without any protection. Huben is one of the IBAs without any protection.

Status of the Huben Area

The Huben-Hushan area has been internationally identified as an IBA or Important Bird Area and is listed as one of Asia's key sites for conservation (Birdlife, 2004, p 94). The details of the Huben IBA are as follows:

Important Bird Areas in Taiwan.
Number: TW017.
Category: A1.
Admin Region: Yunlin.
Coordinates: 23° 43’N 120° 36’E.
Altitude (highest point): 519m.
Area: 2,200 ha.
Habitats: Artificial landscapes (terrestrial); Forest.
Threatened Species: Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha.
Protected Area Status of the IBA: Unprotected.


A Hushan stream; Photo by Mark Wilkie

The Major Threat to the Huben-Hushan Area

Much of the area is threatened by the proposed construction of the Hushan Dam project.


Husham Dam Project; Photo by Mark Wilkie


Husham Dam Project; Photo by Mark Wilkie

Threatended Species in the Huben-Hushan Area

1. Taiwan Partridge Arborophila crudigularis (Swinhoe 1864) Endemic to Taiwan.
Threatened Species Category: Globally Threatened Species.
IUCN Red List Category: Near Threatened.
Protection: Legally protected in Taiwan.
Status in Huben-Hushan Area: Resident.

2. Swinhoe's Pheasant Lophura swinhoii (Gould 1863) Endemic to Taiwan.
Threatened Species Category: Globally Threatened Species.
IUCN Red List Category: Near Threatened.
Protection: CITES appendix 1. Legally protected in Taiwan.
Status in Huben-Hushan Area: Resident.


Swinhoe's Pheasant; Photo courtesy of Richard Yu

3. Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii ardens (Swinhoe 1862) Endemic Subspecies.
Threatened Species Category: Nationally Threatened Species.
IUCN Red List Category: Endangered.
Protection: Legally protected in Taiwan.
Status in Huben-Hushan Area: Resident.


Maroon Oriole; Photo courtesy of Richard Yu

4. Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha (Temminck & Schlegel 1850) Summer breeding resident.
Threatened Species Category: Globally Threatened Species.
IUCN Red List Category: Vulnerable.
Protection: CITES appendix II. Legally protected in Taiwan.
Status in Huben-Hushan Area: Summer breeding resident.


Fairy Pitta; Photo courtesy of Richard Yu

Huben-Hushan Species Listed on the Taiwan Red Data Watch List

1. Malayan Night Heron Gorsachius melanolophus (Raffles 1822) Resident.
2. Peregrine Falcon Falco Peregrinus (Tunstall 1771) Rare Visitor.
3. Slaty-legged Crake Rallina eurizonoides (Lafresnaye 1845) Probably Resident.
4. Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca (Linnaeus 1766) Resident.
5. Red Collared-Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica (Hermann1804) Resident.
6. Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica (Linnaeus 1758) Resident.
7. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis (Linnaeus 1758) Resident.
8. Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda (Latham 1790) Passage Migrant.
9. Varied Tit Parus varius (Temminck & Schlegel 1848) Rare Visitor.
10. Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis (Vigors & Horsfield 1827) Probably Resident.
11. Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula (Franklin 1831) Visitor.

Huben Bird List


Acknowledgements

A big thank you to Scott Lin Ruey-shing of the Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute for his valuable input on the birds of Huben. Also, to Ann Chaplin in the UK for her invaluable support and help in securing and sending out reference material from the UK for this and a number of other projects.


References

Birdlife International, Important Bird Areas in Asia. Key Sites for Conservation (Wakefield, UK, H.Charlesworth & Co, 2004).
Fang, A Guide to Threatened Birds of Taiwan (Taipei, Mao-tou Ying, 2005).
MacKinnon & Phillipps, A Field Guide to the Birds of China (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000).
Wu, et al, A Guide to the Wild Birds of Taiwan (Taipei, Taiwan Wild Bird Information Centre and Wild Bird Society of Japan, 1991). (in Mandarin)
Bird list adapted by Mark Wilkie, from the List of Huben Birds (Mandarin) by Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute Researcher, Lin Ruey-Shing.

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