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)

4.4.5 Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata

Subspecies Worldwide 2 (arquata and orientalis); Yellow Sea 1 (orientalis).

Distribution of N. a. orientalis in the EAAF

Breeding: e. and w. of L. Baikal.

Non-breeding: Coastal. se. and e. Asia, including e. and s. China, Japan and South Korea.

Usage and importance of Yellow Sea

Occurrence: Intertidal areas. NM and SM Widespread, particularly common in China from the Bo Hai to the North Korean border, and in nw. South Korea. NB Common in China in Tianjin Municipality and s. from Yancheng NNR, and along w. and s. coasts of South Korea. Numbers are probably underestimated, as this species is often spread thinly over upper tidal flats which are difficult to count effectively.

Movements: NM Main passage in April. SM Extended passage period from August to October, peaking in South Korea during October when migrants and non-breeding birds occur together. Large numbers (15 000) present in mid-August in Bohai Wan, declining to 1 350 by mid-September. Many of birds seen on both NM and SM in South Korea are believed to be those spending non-breeding period there.

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. Large numbers also occur on SM and during the NB season.

Key sites: 15 sites of international importance have been identified, 8 in South Korea and 7 in China; 7 of the sites are important during NM, 11 during SM and 6 in the NB season (see site location maps below). 5 sites are important during both NM and SM (Huang He NNR, Tianjin Municipality, Shi Jiu Tuo, Shuangtaizihekou NNR and Namyang Man). The Bo Hai region supports particularly large concentrations during both NM and SM (probably >50% of the estimated flyway population); whilst Namyang Man during both NM and SM, and Geum Gang Hagu during SM, support >5% of the population.

Status of key sites: 4 of the Chinese sites and a small part of 1 of the South Korean sites (Dongjin Gang Hagu) are within Protected Areas. The Dongjin and Mangyeung estuaries are currently being reclaimed as part of the Saemangeum Reclamation Project.

Major gaps in knowledge: More data is needed on distribution and abundance in Bohai Wan, which appears to be the key staging region on both NM and SM. Incomplete geographical and temporal coverage in China. No information from North Korea.

EAAF POPULATION ESTIMATE: 35 000
YELLOW SEA
Status: Passage migrant and non-breeding visitor
Estimated minimum numbers:
NM: South Korea: 2 400; China: 30 000.
SM: South Korea: 5 900.
NB: South Korea: 2 700.
INTERNATIONALLY IMPORTANT SITES (and Protected Area status)
South Korea: 8 (part of 1)
China: 7 (4)

Site count references

  1. Zhu et al. 2000
  2. RSPB Sabbatical Report 2002
  3. S.P Zhang in litt.
  4. Yi & Kim in prep.
  5. Barter et al. 2000d
  6. Barter et al. 2000c
  7. F. Heintzenberg in litt.
  8. Wang et al. 1991
  9. Brazil 1992
  10. Wang 1997
  11. Moores 1999a
  12. Wang & Barter 1998
Sites of international importance for Eurasian Curlew
Sites of international importance for Eurasian Curlew
  China   South Korea
1 Dong Sha 8 Ganghwa Do
2 Yancheng NNR 9 Yeong Jong Do
3 Huang He NNR 10 Namyang Man
4 Tianjin Municipality 11 Geum Gang Hagu
5 Shi Jiu Tuo 12 Mangyeung Gang Hagu
6 Shuangtaizihekou NNR 13 Dongjin Gang Hagu
7 Yalu Jiang NNR 14 Aphae Do
  15 Nakdong Gang Hagu
Sites of international importance for Eurasian Curlew during northward migration
Sites of international importance for Eurasian Curlew during northward migration
  Site Country Count Ref
1 Huang He NNR China 9 766 1
2 Shi Jiu Tuo China 3 400 2
3 Tianjin Municipality China 2 000 3
4 Namyang Man South Korea 1 880 4
5 Shuangtaizihekou NNR China 1 535 5
6 Yalu Jiang NNR China 563 6
7 Ganghwa Do South Korea 363 4
Sites of international importance for Eurasian Curlew during southward migration
Sites of international importance for Eurasian Curlew during southward migration
  Site Country Count Ref
1 Shi Jiu Tuo China 15 000 7
2 Geum Gang Hagu South Korea 2 800 4
3 Namyang Man South Korea 2 451 4
4 Tianjin Municipality China 2 000 3
5 Huang He NNR China 912 8
6 Yeong Jong Do South Korea 852 4
7 Dongjin Gang Hagu South Korea 775 4
8 Shuangtaizihekou NNR China 700 9
9 Mangyeung Gang Hagu South Korea 530 4
10 Nakdong Gang Hagu South Korea 479 4
11 Yancheng NNR China 379 10
Sites of international importance for Eurasian Curlew in the non-breeding season
Sites of international importance for Eurasian Curlew in the non-breeding season
  Site Country Count Ref
1 Tianjin Municipality China 2 000 3
2 Namyang Man South Korea 1 148 11
3 Yancheng NNR China 697 10
4 Dong Sha China 400 12
5 Aphae Do South Korea 397 11
6 Geum Gang Hagu South Korea 350 11