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)

4.4.17 Red Knot Calidris canutus

Subspecies Worldwide 5 (canutus, rogersi, roselaari, islandica and rufa), plus probably another piersmai (Tomkovich 2001); Yellow Sea 2 (rogersi and piersmai).

Distribution of C. c. rogersi and C. c. piersmai

Breeding: C. c. rogersi, Chukotka; C. c. piersmai, New Siberian Is.

Non-breeding: Coastal. Both subspecies mainly in Australasia, but small numbers in e. and se. Asia. However, the geographical distributions of the two subspecies are yet to be determined.

Usage and importance of Yellow Sea

Occurrence: Intertidal areas. NM and SM Widespread along Chinese and w. South Korean coasts, but common only in n. Bohai Wan and Yancheng NNR during NM, and at Dongsha and in Shuangtaizihekou NNR during SM. Numbers counted are probably realistic estimates of birds present in surveyed areas.

Movements: Insufficient data. Birds from nw., e. and se. Australia, and from New Zealand occur in the Yellow Sea on NM.

Significance of Yellow Sea: The Yellow Sea is important for this species as it supports about 30% of the estimated flyway population during NM; numbers appear to be lower on SM. The numbers of Red Knot counted is small considering the estimated flyway population size and the fact that this species is an obligate user of intertidal areas. The species is known to use only a small number of staging sites (Davidson & Piersma 1992) and it seems probable that some of the Yellow Sea areas yet to be surveyed, perhaps in North Korea, must support large numbers. It is possible that the birds using the e. Chinese coast are from the westerly-breeding piersmai population.

Key sites: 5 sites of international importance have been identified, all in China; 3 of the sites are important during NM and 2 during SM (see site location maps below). N. Bohai Wan is of particular importance during NM, supporting >5% of the combined flyway populations, and the Yancheng NNR-Dongsha region is important during both NM and SM.

Status of key sites: 2 of the 5 sites are within Protected Areas.

Major gaps in knowledge: Insufficient knowledge of subspecies distribution and migration strategies. Incomplete geographical and temporal coverage in China. No information from North Korea.

Site count references

  1. Barter et al. 2001
  2. Regulus Travel in litt.
  3. ang 1997
  4. Wang & Barter 1998
  5. Y.X. Li in litt.

Status: Passage migrant
Estimated minimum numbers:
NM: South Korea: 4 300; China: 62 000.
SM: South Korea: 1 200.
China: 5 (2)

Sites of international importance for Red Knot
Sites of international importance for Red Knot
1 Dong Sha
2 Yancheng NNR
3 Tianjin Municipality
4 Shi Jiu Tuo
5 Shuangtaizihekou NNR
Sites of international importance for Red Knot during northward migration
Sites of international importance for Red Knot during northward migration
  Site Country Count Ref
1 Tianjin Municipality China 14 277 1
2 Shi Jiu Tuo China 5 000 2
3 Yancheng NNR China 3 169 3
Sites of international importance for Red Knot during southward migration
Sites of international importance for Red Knot during southward migration
  Site Country Count Ref
1 Dong Sha China 8 140 4
2 Shuangtaizihekou NNR China 4 200 5