The Taiwanese government, academia, and civic groups came together to release the country's first national bird report Tuesday (Dec. 22), detailing population status, trends, and conservation work relating to birds in Taiwan.
The "State of Taiwan's Birds 2020" is the first comprehensive assessment of the bird population in Taiwan, incorporating data collected by long-term citizen science projects and scientific studies, according to the Taiwan Wild Bird Federation.
Among the 674 species of wild bird that have been spotted in Taiwan since 2018, 52 are considered "threatened," according to federation secretary-general Allen Lyu (呂翊維).
Based on decades-long observation records from numerous groups and online data, the report also identified falling populations for 29 non-migratory birds and 15 species of migratory waterbirds, highlighting the deteriorating natural environment in Taiwan, he said.
Lin Da-li (林大利), an assistant researcher at the Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute, said the birds most urgently in need of protection are the Taiwan hwamei, Styan's bulbul, and the Ringneck pheasant.
Lyu said the process of creating a national report began in 2013, amid Taiwan's efforts to follow the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity, which required members to write national reports on avian diversity in their countries.
"Taiwan joins the ranks of other countries to have produced such reports, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand," Lyu said.
It is also important to note "bird-watching capacity" in Taiwan, he said, adding that in addition to about 3,000 members of the federation, it is possible that thousands of birders across the country contributed data that made the report possible.
For instance, eBird, an internationally used online platform that records bird observations, has nearly 3,900 dedicated Taiwanese users who over decades have contributed more than 473,000 birdwatching checklists to date, Lyu said.
Taiwan has the seventh-highest number of birders by nation on the site, according to Lyu.
The bilingual report will be available online and be free to download within two to three weeks, Lyu said.
In the future, a biannual report will be published addressing bird species and issues that did not make it into the first report, as well as updating existing information.