Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp 1852–1862 | Cite as

Seasonal waterbird population changes in Lashihai Lake in northwest Yunnan, China

  • Jun-tao Liao
  • Hui Ye
  • Ting-fa Huang
  • Gui-hong Peng


We studied the waterbird population at Lashihai Lake, Yunnan Province, China, which is a Ramsar Site (Wetland of International Importance), to determine seasonal variation in the species composition and size of the waterbird population. The study was conducted at five selected spots along Lashihai Lake at the same time each week from August 2011 to September 2013. In total, 62 waterbird species were recorded, of which 38.71%, 35.48%, 16.13%, and 9.68% were winter migrants, passage visitors, residents, and summer migrants, respectively. We found important seasonal changes in waterbird species composition and population size. Waterbird species richness was highest from September to the following April, with the total species numbers peaking in December. Total individual numbers peaked twice from late November to early December and mid-to-late February. However, waterbird species and individual numbers were comparatively lower from May to August. The change in species composition was determined by the arrival and departure dynamics of winter migrants and passage visitors. Winter migrants primarily caused the periodic changes in population size. Of concern, species and overall waterbird numbers seemed to be lower than the numbers in historical records. The decline of waterbird numbers implies that environmental changes caused by the implementation of the dam upstream of Lashihai Lake may have had adverse effects on this waterbird population. This study confirms the existence of major seasonal changes in species composition and size of the waterbird population at Lashihai Lake. Furthermore, the findings demonstrate that this wetland is of high conservation importance for waterbirds using the Central Asian–Indian and Asian–Pacific migratory routes.


Seasonal variation Species number Individual number Waterbird population 


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The authors thank Ting-Fa Huang and Gui-Hong Peng of the Conservation Bureau of Lashihai Provincial Conservation Area for assistance in field surveys, and Dr. Shao-Ji Hu and Dr. Jun Lü of Yunnan University for improving the earlier drafts of this paper. The present study was funded by the “Technology Supporting Programme” of the “State Wetland Conservation Project for Lashihai Wetland”.

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11629_2016_4164_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (97 kb)
Seasonal waterbird population changes in Lashihai Lake in northwest Yunnan, China


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesYunnan UniversityKunming, YunnanChina
  2. 2.The Lijiang Administration Bureau of Yunnan Provincial Plateau Wetland Nature ReserveLijiang, YunnanChina

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