Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Hong Kong

Key habitats and birds

Hong Kong lies on the Pearl River delta, the largest intertidal area in southern China, and the extensive inter-tidal wetlands around Deep Bay in north-west Hong Kong support large numbers of waterbirds on passage and in winter. They include the threatened Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus (Inner Deep Bay is the only regular wintering site in East Asia), Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes, Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor, Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer, Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus, Saunders's Gull Larus saundersi and Styan's Grasshopper-warbler Locustella pleskei (the only confirmed wintering records of this species are from Hong Kong).

From the 1960s to 1980s a few pairs of the threatened Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes bred at Yim Tso Ha, Starling Inlet, north-east Hong Kong, the only known breeding population in the world until colonies were found in Korea and northern China in the 1980s. The colony at Yim Tso Ha was affected by development and disturbance as border traffic between Hong Kong and mainland China increased in the 1980s, and the last breeding record there was in 1985; it is therefore not listed as an IBA.

Almost all of the original forest in Hong Kong had been cleared by the mid-nineteenth century. Although subsequent reforestation allowed a reasonable forest cover to develop, most of this secondary forest was destroyed during the Second World War. Since then, areas of forest have regenerated, with the most extensive in the central New Territories (including Tai Po Kau, Shing Mun and Tai Mo Shan). Some of these secondary forests have not been seriously disturbed for more than 50 years, and there is almost no hunting pressure as most species of wild animals are protected by law. The forests of Hong Kong therefore support healthy populations of many of the typical forest birds of south-east China (Biome AS08: Sino-Himalayan subtropical forest).

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Related Links


Overview of the inventory

Key habitats and birds

Inner Deey Bay and Shenzhen River Catchment

Tai Po Kau, Shing Mun, Tai Mo Shan

Conservation infrastructure and protected area system

Looking forward

Summary of IBA in Asia (in PDF format, 2.2Mb)

Press release (Hong Kong): 18 Nov 2004

Press release (BirdLife, global): 18 Nov 2004

News reports and relevent news