Bird watching in China reveals bird distribution changes


Using China Bird Report (2003–2007) as data source in combination with descriptions about bird habitats, we built up the China Bird Watching Database. We also developed spherical GIS software “Global Analyst” to create the point-based database which contains accurate spatial-temporal information. The China Bird Watching Database can reflect the achievement of Chinese bird watchers and complement the basic knowledge of bird distribution. Now a total of 30936 records from 17 Orders, 70 Families and 1078 Species of 5 years are included in the database, representing over 80% of all bird species in China. Till 2007, the geographic coverage has encompassed all provincial level administrative districts in China, with the exception of Hong Kong and Taiwan. The China Bird Watching Database also recorded a group of species which are additions at national and provincial levels, including 14 species which are additions to the national checklist and 109 species which appeared outside their original distributions. Comparing the new records with their original distributions, we found the trend that species move to higher latitude and higher elevation regions and some species of waterfowls in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, including a suite of rare seabirds in the mainland China. The majority of bird watchers come from the Eastern Region of China, but their covering range is spreading northwest. At the same time, we appeal to adopting a suite of new technologies for observation, and building up sharing platform of bird watching data to capture the distribution dynamics of birds in China and provide a direct foundation for bird conservation.


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Correspondence to Peng Gong.

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Li, X., Liang, L., Gong, P. et al. Bird watching in China reveals bird distribution changes. Chin. Sci. Bull. 58, 649–656 (2013).

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  • bird watching database
  • bird distribution change
  • new records
  • Global Analyst crowdsourcing