|Scientific Name:||Larus saundersi|
|Species Authority:||(Swinhoe, 1871)|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable A3cde+4cde ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Symes, A.|
|Contributor/s:||Hark-Jin, K., Holt, P. & Liu, Y.|
This species's moderately small population is thought to be in decline, and this is likely to become rapid over the next three generations (18 years) as a result of land reclamation on tidal flats and disturbance at colonies, resulting in its listing as Vulnerable.
|Range Description:||Larus saundersi breeds in eastern mainland China, and sporadically at sites on the south-west coast of South Korea (BirdLife International 2001). The most important breeding grounds are Yancheng National Nature Reserve and Shuangtai Hekou National Nature Reserve in China. A count of 1,317 birds was made at Shuangtai Hekou, Liaoning in October 2001 (Robson 2002), with 8,671 adults recorded and 399 banded in 2007 (Jiang Hongxing 2007). At the Yellow River Delta of Shandong, 801 adults were recorded and 27 juveniles banded, while in Yancheng of Jiangsu, 575 adults were recorded in 2007 (Jiang 2007). Non-breeding birds occur in North Korea, where it may also breed. It winters in eastern and southern China (9,625 individuals), from Jiangsu southwards, Hong Kong (China) (35 individuals), Macau (China), Taiwan (China) (700 individuals), along the western and southern coast of South Korea (2,000 individuals), in south-western Japan (2,000 individuals) and in Vietnam (10 individuals) (Cao et al. 2008). The coast of Dandong is an important stopover site on the flyway of Panjing-Japan, with 232 adults sighted in April 2008, 75% of which were sub-adults in their first winter (Bai Quing-Quan 2008). The key wintering grounds are Bohai Bay, where 864 birds were counted in 2005/2006 (Liu Yang et al. 2007) and Wenzhou-Yueqing bays, Guangdong and Guangxi in China and Suncheon-Kwangyang bays, with c.750 individuals recorded at Kum River estuary in January 2004 (Kim Hark-Jin in litt. 2004), in South Korea. The global population is estimated to be 7,100-9,600 birds although recent figures point to a minimum of 14,400 birds, mostly likely due to increased survey effort rather than any real increase in the population (Cao et al. 2008). However, it is likely that the population is continuing to decline, given the significant threats to habitat and high human disturbance levels occurring across the species's range (Jiang et al. 2010).|
Native:China; Hong Kong; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Macao; Russian Federation; Taiwan, Province of China; Viet Nam
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||A population estimate of 14,400 mature individuals has been derived from analysis of records and surveys by BirdLife International (2011). This is roughly equivalent to 21,000-22,000 individuals in total.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||It nests on the ground and is restricted to common seepweed Suaeda glauca saltmarsh habitats. Wintering birds are found on estuarine tidal flats with regular movements between different sites dependent on weather and food supply.|
The key threat is reclamation of tidal flats and saltmarshes, particularly in China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. From 1990-1995, many former breeding sites at Yancheng were lost through reclamation and construction. Common seepweed habitat, in which the species nests, decreased in areas by 79.1% (27,358 ha) over 15 years predominantly as a result of conversion to aquaculture ponds (Jiang et al. 2010). In 2011, many chicks and eggs at a breeding colony in Panjin were lost to rising water levels associated with land conversion to aquaculture ponds, which is a potential future threat to other colonies (Liu Yang in litt. 2012). The introduction of smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora in 1982 has also caused considerable habitat degradation by replacing common seepweed habitats and increasing in area by 322% (11,057 ha) between 1999 and 2007 (Jiang et al. 2010). The other two breeding sites in China, Shuangtai Hekou and the Yellow River delta, are major oilfields and birds are under increasing threats from pollution and human activities. Reclamation developments associated with the Tianjin New Coastal District project (started in 2006) had seriously impacted an important wintering area by autumn 2011, resulting in a substantial loss of inter-tidal mudflats in Tianjin municipality (P. Holt in litt. 2012). Disturbance of nest-sites is a problem, particularly through the collection of lugworms on tidal flats in China, and by photographers in South Korea. The disturbance of adults results in increased predation of eggs and chicks. In China, eggs are sometimes collected by fishers. Unfavourable weather conditions threaten birds and nests at Yancheng.
Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix I. The key nesting sites in China are all nature reserves. Wintering sites at Manko (Japan), Mai Po (Hong Kong), and Xuan Thuy (Vietnam) are all protected areas. The species is classed as Vulnerable in China and therefore receives full legal protection. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys in North Korea for potential breeding sites. Expand the Yellow River Delta Nature Reserve (China), to include additional nest-sites. Establish protected areas at the wintering sites of Wenzhou-Yueqing bays (China), Tutu estuary, Hanpao and Aoku (Taiwan), Suncheon-Kwangyang bays (South Korea), Daijyu-garami, Hakata Bay and Sone (Japan). Provide management plans for coastal wetlands to promote their conservation and prevent the expansion of smooth cordgrass through active management measures (Jiang et al. 2010). Ensure full legal protection for this species.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Larus saundersi. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 May 2013.|
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