Shorebirds of the Yellow Sea

Importance, threats and conservation status
Mark Barter
Wetlands International, 2002
ISBN 90 5882 009 2

4. Shorebirds occuring in internationally important numbers at Yellow Sea sites (continued)

4.4 Species accounts (continued)

4.4.16 Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris

Subspecies None.

Distribution in the EAAF

Breeding: ne. and e. Yakutia, Magadan and Chukotka.

Non-breeding: Coastal. Mostly in n. Australia, but small numbers in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, se. Asia and e. Australia.
Usage and importance of Yellow Sea

Occurrence: Intertidal areas. NM Very common, except on s. coast of South Korea; particularly large concentrations on n. Chinese and w. South Korean coasts. SM Widespread, but much less common than during NM. Numbers counted are probably realistic estimates of birds present in surveyed areas.

Movements: NM Arrive in late March-early April after non-stop flights from non-breeding grounds in n. Australia. There is strong evidence that birds are aiming to reach the w. coast of South Korea and only stop on the e. Chinese coast when encountering adverse weather (Barter et al. 1997b). There is some evidence, based on flag-sightings (J.Y. Park pers. comm.) and departure dates from Australia (Barter 1996; Driscoll 2001), that nw. Australian birds are passing through the South Korean coast before those from ne. Australia. The large increase in numbers between mid-April and early May in the n. Yellow Sea (Barter et al. 2000a) could be explained by the arrival of nw. Australian birds from South Korea, which have been replaced in South Korea by later arriving birds from ne. Australia, as the numbers are similar in South Korea in mid-April and early May. SM In South Korea two peaks from late August to early September and mid-September to mid-October, presumably comprising firstly adults followed by juvenile birds. The lower number of birds during SM, compared to NM, indicates that many birds probably return to Australia by flying non-stop across the Pacific.

Significance of Yellow Sea: The Yellow Sea is extremely important for this species as it supports about 80% of the estimated flyway population during NM. Much lower numbers occur on SM.

Key sites: 12 sites of international importance have been identified, 6 in China and 6 in South Korea; 11 of the sites are important during NM and 3 during SM (see site location maps below). The Dongjin and Mangyeung estuaries are important during both NM and SM. The Dongjin and Mangyeung estuaries and Yalu Jiang NNR support >10% and Asan Man, Shuangtaizihekou NNR and Namyang Man support >5% of the estimated flyway population during NM. Status of key sites: 4 of the Chinese sites and a small part of 1 South Korean site (Dongjin Gang Hagu) are in Protected Areas. The 2 most important sites (the Mangyeung and Dongjin estuaries) are currently being reclaimed as part of the Saemangeum Reclamation Project.

Major gaps in knowledge: Insufficient data on the comparative migration strategies of the populations from nw. and ne. Australia. Incomplete geographical and temporal coverage in China. No information from North Korea.

Site count references

  1. Yi & Kim in prep.
  2. Barter et al. 2000e
  3. Barter et al. 2000d
  4. Barter et al. 2000b
  5. Zhu et al. 2000
  6. Barter et al. 1997a
  7. Regulus Travel in litt.

EAAF POPULATION ESTIMATE: 380 000
YELLOW SEA
Status: Passage migrant
Estimated minimum numbers:
NM: South Korea: 176 000; China: 300 000.
SM: South Korea: 31 000.
INTERNATIONALLY IMPORTANT SITES (and Protected Area status)
South Korea: 6 (part of 1)
China: 6 (4)

Sites of international importance for Great Knot
Sites of international importance for Great Knot
  China   South Korea
1 Chongming Dao PNR 7 Yeong Jong Do
2 Huang He NNR 8 Namyang Man
3 Shi Jiu Tuo 9 Asan Man
4 Linghekou 10 Geum Gang Hagu
5 Shuangtaizihekou NNR 11 Mangyeung Gang Hagu
6 Yalu Jiang NNR 12 Dongjin Gang Hagu
Sites of international importance for Great Knot during northward migration
Sites of international importance for Great Knot during northward migration
  Site Country Count Ref
1 Dongjin Gang Hagu South Korea 60 000 1
2 Mangyeung Gang Hagu South Korea 59 000 1
3 Yalu Jiang NNR China 54 178 2
4 Asan Man South Korea 34 000 1
5 Shuangtaizihekou NNR China 24 915 3
6 Namyang Man South Korea 21 000 1
7 Geum Gang Hagu South Korea 18 850 1
8 Linghekou China 17 540 4
9 Huang He NNR China 12 816 5
10 Chongming Dao PNR China 5761 6
11 Shi Jiu Tuo China 4000 7
Sites of international importance for Great Knot during southward migration
Sites of international importance for Great Knot during southward migration
  Site Country Count Ref      
1 Mangyeung Gang Hagu South Korea 8 021 1
2 Yeong Jong Do South Korea 6 000 1
3 Dongjin Gang Hagu South Korea 5 200 1