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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Shortly before the spring migration to the breeding grounds the Chinese egret acquires its breeding plumage. Breeding takes place on offshore islands amongst breeding colonies of other species, on cliffs or in trees and low bushes. The disc-shaped nest is built of straw and creeping plants, and in it the female lays between three and five eggs. They are incubated by the female for 24 to 30 days, and the hatchlings remain in the nest for a further 36 to 40 days being fed crabs and fish by the female (4). The Chinese egret is a feisty feeder, running after the receding tide with open wings to catch mobile prey, such as crabs and other invertebrates. It is often found feeding amongst other heron species, and will take fish and shrimps when possible (4).
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Description

This beautifully elegant member of the heron family is characterised by its long legs, neck and bill, and upright body. It has a drooping head-crest and bluish facial skin running from the orange bill through the eye. Its feathers are pure white, and especially long on the back and breast. The legs are black but the feet are greenish-yellow (2).
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Distribution

Range Description

Egretta eulophotes breeds on small islands off the coasts of eastern Russia, North Korea, South Korea and mainland China. It formerly bred in Taiwan (China) and Hong Kong (China), but is now only a non-breeding visitor or passage migrant. It is also a non-breeding visitor to Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Peninsular and eastern Malaysia (Sarawak), Singapore, Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan and Sulawesi) and Brunei. Key wintering areas are the Eastern Visayas (Leyte, Bohol and Cebu), Philippines, and the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Selangor where 30-50% of the global populaton are believed to winter based on winter counts in 2004/2005 (Li 2006). The population is estimated at 2,600-3,400 mature individuals. There has been no significant decline in this species in the last ten years (Simba Chan in litt. 2002), and recent discoveries of new colonies off southern China may represent increased observer effort, but possibly indicate some improvement in the species's status.

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Range

E Asia; winters to SE Asia, Philippines and Indonesia.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Historic Range:
China, Korea

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Range

Occupying Russia, North Korea, South Korea and mainland China during the breeding season, the Chinese egret used to breed also in Taiwan and Hong Kong, but is now just a non-breeding visitor. It also visits Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Peninsular and eastern Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei as a non-breeder. It migrates to the eastern Visavas of the Philippines for the winter. It is not thought to have declined significantly in the last decade (2).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It occurs in shallow tidal estuaries, mudflats and bays, occasionally visiting fishponds and paddy-fields. Since 1985, all breeding records have been from uninhabited offshore islands.


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Inhabits shallow tidal estuaries, mudflats and bays, and may also be seen in paddy fields and fishponds (2).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Egretta eulophotes

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 2 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACTCGATGATTATTCTCAACCAACCACAAAGACATCGGTACTCTATACCAAATCTTCGGAGCATGAGCCGGTATAATTGGAACCGCCCTC---AGCCTCCTTATCCGAGCTGAACTTGGCCAGCCAGGAACGCTCCTAGGAGAC---GACCAGATCTATAATGTGATTGTCACCGCTCATGCCTTCGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTCATACCAATCATAATTGGAGGATTCGGAAACTGACTAGTACCCCTCATA---ATTGGTGCCCCCGACATAGCATTCCCACGCATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTCCTTCCACCATCATTTATACTCCTACTAGCCTCATCCACAGTCGAAGCAGGAGCAGGCACGGGCTGAACAGTCTACCCACCCTTAGCTGGCAACCTAGCCCATGCCGGAGCCTCAGTTGACCTA---GCCATCTTCTCCCTTCACTTAGCAGGGGTATCTTCCATCCTAGGGGCAATCAACTTCATTACAACTGCCATCAACATAAAACCTCCAACCCTATCACAATACCAAACTCCCCTATTCGTATGATCCGTCCTAATCACCGCTGTTCTACTCCTACTTTCACTCCCAGTTCTCGCTGCA---GGTATTACAATACTACTAACTGATCGAAACCTAAACACCACATTCTTTGACCCTGCCGGAGGTGGCGACCCAGTCCTCTATCAACACCTATTCTGATTCTTCGGCCACCCAGAAGTCTATATTCTAATCCTACCAGGATTCGGAATCATCTCCCACGTAGTAGCCTACTACGCGGGTAAAAAG---GAACCATTTGGCTATATAGGCATAGTATGAGCCATACTATCAATTGGATTCTTAGGCTTCATCGTATGAGCTCACCATATATTTACAGTAGGAATAGACGTAGACACCCGAGCATACTTCACATCCGCCACTATAATCATTGCAATTCCAACTGGCATCAAAGTCTTTAGCTGACTG---GCCACA
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Egretta eulophotes

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
C2a(i)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Allen, D., Chan, S., Chen, X., Fang, W., Lin, Q. & Zhou, X.

Justification
This species has a small, declining population, principally as a result of the reclamation of tidal mudflats, estuarine habitats and offshore breeding islands for industry, infrastructure development and aquaculture. These factors qualify it as Vulnerable.


History
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Threatened (T)
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