DOI: 10.3390/d15090985 ISSN:

Overwintering Cranes, Waders, and Shorebirds versus Ducks and Coots Showed Contrasting Long-Term Population Trends in Caohai Wetland in Guizhou Province, China

Jiao Zhang, He-Qin Cao, Can-Shi Hu, Hai-Jun Su
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Ecology

The Guizhou Caohai Wetland plays a crucial role as a wintering site for migratory birds in the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau and ranks among the largest wintering spots globally for black-necked cranes (Grus nigricollis). To better understand the factors influencing waterbird populations and ecosystem changes, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of historical waterbird population variations over a 30-year period spanning from 1992 to 2022. The current investigation revealed a downward trend in the abundance index curve of the total number of waterbirds during this observation period. Among the five waterbird guilds examined, dabbling ducks, diving ducks, and coots (Fulica atra) experienced declines in their populations, while wading birds and shorebirds saw an increase. Moreover, we observed a rise in species richness within the community over time, accompanied by smaller compositional changes. Additionally, the findings indicated positive growth trends in wintering endangered species such as black-necked cranes and common cranes (Grus grus) in Caohai. Furthermore, we observed an increase in the occurrence and persistence of rare species, such as Eurasian spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia), black-faced spoonbills (Platalea minor), and black storks (Ciconia nigra) wintering in Caohai. These occurrences suggest that the wetland environment provides favorable conditions for a diverse range of species. Despite the rise in species richness, these trends in the abundance and species composition of wintering waterbirds over the past thirty years are still of concern. This study serves as fundamental scientific support for waterbird conservation and the restoration of ecological wetlands in the Guizhou Caohai Wetland.

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