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Endangered black-faced spoonbills found breeding in Yellow River Delta

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-06-18 16:15

JINAN -- Two black-faced spoonbill birdlings, an endangered species with only a few thousand individuals remaining worldwide, were discovered for the first time at their southernmost breeding ground in East China's Yellow River Delta.

According to the management committee of the Shandong Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve, this finding extends the endangered birds' breeding range to the south by several hundred kilometers, which generally breed on islands near the Korean Peninsula.

Zhang Shuyan, deputy head of the Huanghekou management station in the reserve area, discovered the birds in the wetland restoration area during a routine patrol in late May. So far, the two fledglings are healthy and have since left the nest.

The endangered black-faced spoonbill, a large white wading bird with a distinctively spoon-shaped beak resembling a traditional Chinese instrument called pipa, is under the national first-class protection.

According to the newly released 2024 International Black-faced Spoonbill Census, the global population of the species is 6,988, with 6,200 residing in China.

"The bird is an indicator species of wetland environmental quality, demonstrating that the ecological environment of the Yellow River Delta has improved," Zhang said. "Moreover, the birds observed this time are hybrids of black-faced spoonbills and white spoonbills, which have significant research value."

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