Wintering bird communities in newly-formed wetland in the Yangtze River estuary
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- Ma, Z., Gan, X., Choi, C. et al. Ecol Res (2007) 22: 115. doi:10.1007/s11284-006-0193-7
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We compared wintering bird communities and their habitats among three shoals at Jiuduansha, a newly-formed wetland in the Yangtze River estuary. The highest species richness and diversity were recorded in Shangsha, which is the highest shoal, and the highest abundance and lowest species diversity were recorded in Xiasha, which is the lowest shoal. Shangsha had the largest abundance of perching birds whereas Xiasha was the most abundant in waterbirds. Bird assemblages showed different associations with the different habitat types—perching birds were favored by reed (Phragmites australis) communities, shallow water foragers and dabbling ducks preferred sea-bulrush (Scirpus mariqueter) communities, and moist-soil foragers and gulls showed a preference for bare intertidal zones. All bird assemblages, however, avoided the smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) communities, which are dominated by an alien invasive plant. The composition of avian communities was related to habitat types at the three shoals. Our results suggest that the newly-formed tidelands can provide suitable habitats for waterbirds and that the lower tidelands can attract more waterfowl than the higher tidelands. Because the shoal with low species diversity could have exclusive bird species, conservation efforts should not concentrate only on the area with high species diversity. The estuarine wetlands should be considered as a whole when conservation strategies are designed. The alien invasive plant should, moreover, be effectively controlled, to provide suitable habitats for birds.