[Pelicans] Dalmatian Pelicans - Discussion Only

Mike: I think we had another winter without pelicans in mid-1990s. I will check it later on.

This winter has gone half way already and I think the pelicans would not come to HK this winter. A total of 19 Dalmatian Pelicans are recorded in mainland China at this moment. Details could be referred to the information on the bottom.

My question is 'why do the pelican not come to HK?' I just could not see any particular reason in this winter. It is because we might have fewer disturbances from mudskipper collectors this winter (just my personal feeling - also see not many complaints made in this BBS about it so far) and also we actually have very high number of other waterbirds coming to Mai Po this winter - over 6000 Avocets, over 4000 Tufted Ducks and I see there is an increase of the total number of waterbirds comparing to the previous years. This winter is not very cold that may be the reason for pelicans not going to the south.

However, the situation of the pelican in the East Asia region is in very critical situation. The 19 pelicans present at this moment are probably already the whole East Asia population. We think the decline of this species in this region is caused by some reasons, such as lost of wintering and staging sites, hunting in both breeding and wintering sites. The Black-faced Spoonbill could finally a safer place to breed - the coast of North Korea which has very few human disturbances, but the pelicans are still being hunted in the breeding site in the steppe lakes in Mongolia.

I think both local and international conservation efforts have to be greatly increased for safeguarding this species from the extinction in this region.

Yat-tung YU
Waterbird Monitoring Programme

Dear all,

With an increase of birdwatching societies formed in China there are more
information on birds from China, as you have occasionally received news
from the Beijing Birdwatching Society summarizing exciting discoveries.

The eastern population of Dalmatian Pelican breeds in western Mongolia (and
formerly in Xinjiang, China) and the only major winter population known in
recent years is in the Deep Bay (or Shenzhen Wan) between Hong Kong and
Shenzhen, Guangdong Province of China. In this winter no pelicans have been
recorded so far, and one immature Dalmatian Pelican found in Hangzhou,
Zhejiang Province of China was found dead in early January 2007.

Records compiled by the birdwatchers in China so far are seven Dalmatian
Pelican at Haifeng County, Guangdong Province on 20 January, one at the Min
Jiang Estuary, Fujian Province on 21 January and on at Luoyang City, Henan
Province on 13 and 14 January.

The most exciting news comes from Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province today. More
than 10 birds (including one young bird) were found at the coastal area of
Wenzhou City. Photos have been posted on the website of the Zhejiang
Natural History Museum:

On the same day more than 2,000 Saunders's Gulls were counted at the same
location. The bay of Wenzhou (Wenzhou Wan) has been identified as an
Important Bird Area (IBA) at the BirdLife International inventory of IBA in
Asia published in 2004.

The information above suggests about 20 Dalmatian Pelicans are now
wintering in China (mostly at the southeastern coast). These are probably
the only surviving individuals of the eastern population that breeds in
western Mongolia.

Simba Chan
Senior Conservation Officer
BirdLife International Asia Division