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)

4.4.6 Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis

Subspecies None; entire global population confined to the EAAF.

Distribution

Breeding: Yakutia, central and e. Amur Region, ne. China and Kamchatka.

Non-breeding: Coastal. Great majority in n., e. and se. Australia; few in South Korea, se. China and Taiwan.

Usage and importance of Yellow Sea

Occurrence: Intertidal areas. NM and SM Common on coasts of China and South Korea. NB Few s. from Yancheng NNR and on w. coast of South Korea. B Large numbers of immature birds (1718 max.) are present at Yancheng NNR in the northern summer. Numbers are probably underestimated, as this species is often spread thinly over upper tidal flats which are difficult to count effectively.

Movements: NM Arrive early March onwards after long non-stop flights from the non-breeding areas (Driscoll 2000), with main passage on e. and w. coasts of Yellow Sea during March and April. High numbers at Yalu Jiang NNR in early May could indicate that many birds relocate to n. Yellow Sea before leaving for breeding grounds. SM Return passage commences in early July, with peak passage during August and September. Birds from nw. and se. Australia occur in Yellow Sea on both NM and SM, but se. Australian birds seem to have a more easterly migration route on NM, including through Japan.

Significance of Yellow Sea: The Yellow Sea is extremely important for this near-threatened species as it supports about 80% of the estimated flyway population on NM. Fewer appear to occur during SM. Relatively few pass through Japan on either migration (e.g. 486 max.).

Key sites: 13 sites of international importance have been identified, 6 in China, 6 in South Korea and 1 in North Korea; 12 of the sites are important during NM and 7 during SM (see site location maps below). 6 sites are important during both NM and SM (Dong Sha, Shuangtaizihekou NNR, Ganghwa Do, Yeong Jong Do, Mangyeung Gang Hagu and Dongjin Gang Hagu). Yalu Jiang NNR supports almost 10% and Ganghwa Do >5% of the estimated flyway population during NM.

Status of key sites: 4 of the Chinese sites, the North Korean site 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: Incomplete geographical and temporal coverage in China. Little information from North Korea.

CONSERVATION STATUS: Near threatened
EAAF POPULATION ESTIMATE: 38 000
YELLOW SEA
Status: Passage migrant and uncommon non-breeding visitor
Estimated minimum numbers:
NM: South Korea: 6 500; China: 25 000.
SM: South Korea: 3 800.
INTERNATIONALLY IMPORTANT SITES (and Protected Area status)
South Korea: 6 (part of 1)
North Korea: 1 (1)
China: 6 (4)

Site count references

  1. Barter et al. 2000e
  2. Yi & Kim in prep.
  3. UNDP 2000c
  4. Barter et al. 2000d
  5. Zhu et al. 2000
  6. Wang & Barter 1998
  7. Barter et al. 1997a
  8. Y.X. Li in litt.
  9. J. Kriegs in litt.
Sites of international importance for Eastern Curlew
Sites of international importance for Eastern Curlew
  China   South Korea  
1 Chongming Dao PNR 8 Ganghwa Do  
2 Dong Sha 9 Yeong Jong Do  
3 Huang He NNR 10 Asan Man  
4 Shi Jiu Tuo 11 Geum Gang Hagu  
5 Shuangtaizihekou NNR 12 Mangyeung Gang Hagu  
6 Yalu Jiang NNR 13 Dongjin Gang Hagu  
  North Korea      
7 Mundok MBWR      
Sites of international importance for Eastern Curlew during northward migration
Sites of international importance for Eastern Curlew during northward migration
  Site Country Count Ref
1 Yalu Jiang NNR China 3 744 1
2 Ganghwa Do South Korea 2 120 2
3 Mundok MBWR North Korea 1 890 3
4 Shuangtaizihekou NNR China 1 803 4
5 Asan Man South Korea 1 170 2
6 Yeong Jong Do South Korea 1 140 2
7 Huang He NNR China 1 125 5
8 Dongjin Gang Hagu South Korea 1 045 2
9 Dong Sha China 819 6
10 Chongming Dao PNR China 794 7
11 Mangyeung Gang Hagu South Korea 625 2
12 Geum Gang Hagu South Korea 422 2
Sites of international importance for Eastern Curlew during southward migration
Sites of international importance for Eastern Curlew during southward migration
  Site Country Count Ref
1 Shuangtaizihekou NNR China 1 817 8
2 Yeong Jong Do South Korea 1 620 2
3 Ganghwa Do South Korea 1 535 2
4 Dong Sha China 1 532 6
5 Mangyeung Gang Hagu South Korea 1 100 2
6 Dongjin Gang Hagu South Korea 680 2
7 Shi Jiu Tuo China 500 9