Bird Conservation International



Status update on White-eared Night Heron Gorsachius magnificus in South China

(Nycticorax magnifica Ogilvie-Grant, 1899, Ibis (7) 5: 586 )


JOHN R. FELLOWES  a1 c1 , ZHOU FANG  a2 , LEE KWOK SHING  a1 , BILLY C.H. HAU  a1 , MICHAEL W.N. LAU  a1 , VICKY W.Y. LAM  a1 , LLEWELLYN YOUNG  a3 and HEINZ HAFNER  a4
a1 Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Lam Kam Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. E-mail: scbt@kfbg.org.hk
a2 College of Animal Science, Guangxi University, 13 Xiuling Road, Nanning City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China. Postal code: 530005
a3 World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong, Mai Po Marshes Nature Reserve, Yuen Long, New Territories, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. E-mail: deblew@netvigator.com
a4 Station Biologique, La Tour du Valat, Le Sambuc, F-13200- Arles, France. E-mail: hafnerhp@aol.com

Abstract

White-eared Night Heron Gorsachius magnificus is probably the most threatened heron species in the world, and the highest priority for heron species conservation. From 1990 to 1998, there were sightings from only six localities in the wild. There are none in captivity. In 1998 a caged bird was found in a wildlife market in the city of Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China. This finding prompted a 12-month survey in 1998–1999 of both markets and potential habitats in Guangxi. Several captured birds provided direct evidence of the existence of small populations in Guangxi and Guangdong Provinces. The respective habitats were surveyed in spring 2000, with emphasis on observations at dusk. The species was seen at two locations. Although some of the captured birds came from highly degraded habitat, the best sites seemed to be in areas near extensive primary forests, with streams, rice fields and marshes. The information obtained will be used to compile a detailed Action Plan designed to prevent the extinction of the species.


Correspondence:
c1 Author for correspondence; current address: 109 The Manor Drive,Worcester Park, Surrey KT 4 7 U.K. E-mail: jr.fellowes@virgin.net