2014 Vol. 35, No. S1

Display Method:
This paper is a specie account for Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) in the IUCN global crane conservation action plan. The paper reviewed distribution and status (population, breeding and wintering) of Black-necked Crane, its ecology, population trends (the global population of this species is estimated as 10,000-10,200); analyzed main threats facing this species; and summarized major efforts in conservation and research for this species. Based on the results and practices over the past three decades, we recommended not down-list this species. We proposed priority actions in research, monitoring and conservation, in dealing with major threats for this species.
Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) is classified as Vulnerable under the IUCN Red List Categories and legally protected in Bhutan. Bhutan is an important and the largest winter non-breeding habitat outside of the Chinese boundary. Black-necked Cranes winter in Bhutan for about five months, and they come to central (Phobjilka, Khotokha and Gyetsa) and eastern (Bumdeling) Bhutan. In Bhutan most wintering areas lie within the Conservation or protected areas, and Bumdeling and Khotokha are declared as RAMSAR site. The Royal Society for Protection of Nature and Department of Forest and Park Services initiated the counting of Black-necked Cranes in Bhutan from 1986-1987 winter. In the last 28 winters (1986-2013), the average annual number of arrivals of Black-necked Cranes in Bhutan was 4151. With only 370 Black-necked Cranes visiting Bhutan in the 1986-1987 winter to 550 Black-necked Cranes visiting Bhutan in 2013-2014 winter there has been an increase of 48.6% growth2. The average growth rate of Black-necked Cranes visiting Bhutan has increased by 1.73% (six cranes) annually in the last 28 years. Black-necked Cranes visiting Bhutan has steadily increased over the past two and a half decades. While Phobjikha valley has a gradual increase in Black-necked Crane arrivals, Bumthang, Bumdeling and Khotokha have seen fewer cranes especially after the early 1990s. For Bhutan as a whole, in the year with the highest count of Black-necked Cranes (550), this number included 63 juveniles indicating juvenile recruitment of 11.4%.Threats to these birds are mostly anthropogenic in nature driven by economic development and advancement. Around the globe, primarary threats impacting Black-necked Cranes are agriculture and tourism. Conservation initiatives in these habitats include habitat rehabilitation, habitat and predation studies, awareness programs and banding research activities. Sustainable livelihood programshave also been implemented in Phobjikha and Bumdeling with the former receiving more attention. Bhutan's sound conservation policies and respect for the Black-necked Cranes as the LhaBja heavenly bird have provided both legal and social protection to this winter guest.
In this present study, by reorganizing and classifying the bird banding and recovery records from 1985 to 2012, we discussed the current research status of the migrations of Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) in China. The results showed that 94 Black-necked Cranes in total were banded and 13 among them were also attached with satellite transmitters. Whereas, only 66 counts were recovered, i.e., 27 or 28 birds (same color ring combinations were used on two individuals repeatedly, but were recovered at different places), indicating a recovery rate of 28.72% or 29.79%, while, most of the recovery (63 counts, 95.45%) happened in wintering sites. Data of banding showed that Black-necked Cranes hit their sexual maturity at the age≥5 years, and the morphological indexes of the sub-adults are all smaller than those of the adults. After being banded, the average life span of banded individuals was 40±40 months (n=26, 1-161 months). Moreover, the recovery records indicate three migration routes of Black-necked Cranes: (1) the eastern flyway: from the Greater Ruoergai wetland area (breeding ground) of Sichuan and Gansu Provinces to northeastern Yunnan and northwestern Guizhou Provinces; (2) the central flyway: from the Longbaotan Nature Reserve of Qinghai Province (breeding ground, several other breeding sites along this route are located in northwest Sichuan Province) to the Napahai Natural Reserve, Yunnan Province (wintering ground); (3) from the vast area of northwestern Qinghai, Xinjiang, and northern Tibet (breeding ground) to the Yarlung Zangbo valley, southcentral Tibet and Bhutan. Our findings provide useful information to the relevant conservation and research facilities and institutes upon the banding, recovery and protection of the Black-necked Cranes. We recommend carrying out bird banding at breeding sites, while intensifying banding recovery and observation at wintering sites. Moreover, to establish long-term and stable information platforms and facilitate communication, it is urgent and necessary to standarize the banding and morphology measuring systems.
In order to understand and monitor the status and distribution of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) in India, we carried out systematic long term yearly surveys between 2000 and 2014 at all previously known locations as well as attempted to explore new areas. In this paper, we have summarized the distribution and status of the species in its historic range based on the literature and data collected during surveys in Jammu & Kashmir and at few locations in Northeast India. This paper presents a detailed account of the current status and distribution of the Black-necked Crane in India. The present study is first of its kind which monitored the Black-necked Crane population in India for a period of 15 years. During the entire study period, a maximum of 139 birds were recorded in breeding areas in Ladakh in 2012, and 11 wintering birds were recorded in norteast India in 2006.
Yunnan Province is home to seven crane species: Demoiselle (Anthropoides virgo), Siberian (Grus leucogeranus), Sarus (G. antigone), Eurasian (G. grus), Hooded (G. monacha), Black-necked (G. nigricollis) and Red-crowned (G. japonensis) Cranes, more than any other province in China, and the only province with sightings of Sarus Cranes. Of these seven crane species, Black-necked Cranes have been studied the most and Eurasian Cranes are moderately studied, while for the rest of species only distribution data are available. In Yunnan Province, 39 counties have recorded crane sightings, 25 of which were made before 2000. The major threats to the survival of the cranes are loss and degradation of habitats, especially wetland reclamation and farming practices. Conservation initiative should be launched to protect the cranes.
Through established nature reserve,reinforcement information, artificial feeding and habitat, the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) is getting effective protection, and the population continues to increase. Black-necked Cranes use large areas of open water, marsh or meadow, and farmland, and these areas have little disturbance from humans. Recently, the wintering habitats of the Black-necked Crane in Yunnan have been changing. Reservoir expansion in some reserves have resulted in the disappearance of night roosting sites. Water in some reservoirs has been seriously polluted. Forestation in some reserves has reduced the feeding habitats of the Black-necked Crane. Cultivation Maca (Lepidium peruvianum) in vast areas in these wintering areas may be the cause of a shortage of food for the cranes. Changes in wintering habitat will bring potential threats to the Black-necked Crane. More attention should be paid in monitoring the population of the cranes and management measures could be adopted in time.
There are three species of cranes in Guizhou Province-Common (Grus grus), Black-necked (Grus nigricollis) and Hooded Crane (Grus monacha). Currently cranes are found only at Caohai in western Guizhou Province. Historically, Black-necked Cranes were recorded in Puan County in the early 1900s, and an injured bird was found in Xishui County in 2008; a small number of Common Cranes were recorded in Hongfeng Lake near Guiyang City in 1970s. Black-necked Cranes wintering in Guizhou Province migrate to Ruoergai of Sichuan Province to breed. According to one return of banded Black-headed Gulls (Larus ridibundus) and one of the Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca), these birds share the same wintering area in Guizhou with Common Cranes. One Black-headed Gull and one Green-winged Teal banded in Guizhou were recovered in Siberia (Russia), which allows us to suggest that Eurasian Cranes wintering in Guizhou may come from Siberia.
According to field investigations, literature and crane rescue reports, the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) is distributed in 34 counties (districts) of Sichuan Province, including 10 counties with crane breeding and 24 counties with migrating. So far, the Black-necked Crane has not been found overwintering in Sichuan Province. The Black-necked Crane breeds in two areas in Sichuan Province-one is the Ruoergai Wetland which is famous for its high density and population of Black-necked Cranes during the breeding season; another one is Shaluli Mountains in the western Sichuan plateau where the Black-necked Crane breeding groups are scattered and small. Most of the breeding areas of the Black-necked Crane are protected and are in nature reserves,but the management of these nature reserves needs to be improved. The systematic breeding ecological study of Black-necked Crane is limited, therefore more and further research is needed.
Qinghai Province is the first specimen collecting place of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis), however, research of Black-necked cranes in this place started only in the 1980s. Moreover, Qinghai was the earliest area where artificial reproduction of the Black-necked Crane was successfully carried out. Because of its unique plateau landscape, Qinghai Province, with the exception of the east agricultural zone, has become a superior breeding habitat, for Black-necked Cranes. Qinghai Province has also established a vast wetland nature protection area covering 200,000 km2, accounting for 2/7 of the provincial land area. However, the known reproduction of Black-necked Cranes in the wild is less than 200 pairs and more study about the distribution of breeding pairs of Black-necked Cranes needs to be undertaken. Given that human activities are intensifying in the Black-necked Crane breeding habitat, the research support for its protection is not enough and professional staff training for wetland investigation and monitoring are primary issues which need more attention and solutions in the future.
The survey of Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) and other large waterfowl conducted from 2002-2005 revealed the distribution and population of the Black-necked Crane wintering on the Yunnan and Guizhou Plateau. Ten years later, from January 17-20, 2013, Yunnan Forestry Department and International Crane Foundation collaborated again to explore the current status of the Black-necked Crane and other large waterfowl of the Yunnan and Guizhou Plateau. By using the method of synchronous counting, this survey recorded 3,919 (increased by 12.36% over 2003) Black-necked Cranes from 33 sites over 8 counties. Moreover, 1,475 Common Cranes (Grus grus), 7,178 Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus) and 9,371 Ruddy Shelducks (Tadorna ferruginea) were recorded, increasing by 2, 3,223 and 1,903 individuals over 2003, respectively.
Caohai, lying on the eastern Yunnan and Guizhou Plateau, is the most important wintering and stopover area for waterbirds in the southwestern China. To document species, their populations, and changes of waterbirds wintering at Caohai, a survey was conducted on 11-12 January 2012. Twenty-six species of waterbirds, with a total of 76,872 individuals were recorded. Of the 26 species of waterbirds, 8 species had a population of more than 1,000, including Common Teal (Anas crecca), Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis), Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha), Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus), Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope), and Coot (Fulica atra). Coot, Eurasian Wigeon, and Ruddy Shelducks each had population of near 10,000 or more. Over the past 20 years, the total counts of waterbirds have been between 50,000-80,000. Numbers of Black-necked Cranes have been increasing steadily, while Eurasian Cranes (Grus grus) have been declining. The number of diving ducks is far less than the number of 10,000 diving ducks in 1996, likely due to the decline in water quality at Caohai over the past decades. We recommended the following measures be taken into account in waterbird monitoring and protection: more systematic waterbird count; special attention paid to species or groups with dramatic increase or decrease; land use and change to be monitored; and urgent measures to be taken on pollution, invasive species, urban expansion, and tourists.
To promote avian influenza surveillance, wetland conservation and management, surveys on the wintering waterbird community were conducted in the Yarlung Zangbo River valley of Tibet in January of 2009 and 2014. The two surveys recorded a total of 33 species and 90,407 individuals, and 24 species and 95,106 individuals, respectively. The geese and ducks accounted for over 90% of the total waterbirds counted. We recorded a total of 5,558 Black-necked Cranes in 2014. Lazi County has the highest count of 1,555 Black-necked Cranes, and other counties with high numbers include: Dazi (639), Nanmulin (598), Rikaze (572), Sajia (540), and Linzhou (395). There were no Black-necked Cranes recorded in Lhasa City, Duilongdeqing, Jiacha, Langkazi, Renbu and Nimu. By valleys, Yarlung Zangbo main valley had the highest number of 2,730 Black-necked Cranes, while Lhasa River valley had 993, Pengbo valley and Xiabuqu Chu each had 395 and 393 birds. A total of 45,681 and 67,031 of Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus) were recorded in 2009 and 2014 respectively, mostly in Rikaze, Jiangzi, Bailang, Qushui, Dazi and Linzhou. Nyang Chu Valley, Pengbo Valley and Yarlung Zangbo Valley each had more than 10,000 Bar-headed Geese in 2014. The Bar-headed Geese usually moved in large flocks and foraged in winter wheat fields in the valleys.
During the period of 2007-2014, eight surveys were conducted at the upper-middle valley of Yarlung Zangbo. Following are the results: 1) The average population size of the wintering Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) at the upper-middle reaches of Yarlung Zangbo valley was 1,541±227. From 2007 to 2010, the population size decreased and in 2010-2013, it increased; then the population decreased in 2014. 2) The total wintering Black-necked Crane population size in this region was positively correlated to the Black-necked Crane population at south of the valley(P<0.01, r=0.928). The population size in the north was less than the south, but the stability was higher than the south. 3) The wintering Black-necked Cranes moved in flocks, while the family and individual form is rarely seen in the winter season. Most crane families were composed of two adults with 1-2 young birds, however, we did observe two adults with three young cranes. 4) From the eight surveys and the statistical analysis, the largest crane flock had 375 birds during the surveys. 5) In 2014, the Black-necked Cranes used 79.14% of the stubble land, 3.73% of the cultivated land, 0.76% of the winter wheat land, and 16.37% of the others.
The Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) is the endemic species of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and the population in Xinjiang is mainly distributed in the regions of Pamir, Karakorum, Kunlun and Altun Mountains. A survey on the distribution, population size, population fluctuation, behavior character, breeding ecology and conservation strategy was conducted from 2010 to 2013. Population size and distribution in this area was investigated with direct count methods. At a total of 25 sampling sites, 164 observations were made during this period. We found 173 Black-necked Cranes on the wetlands of Wuzunxiaoer, Tiemulike, Yusup Aleksei, Yaziquan, Qimantag, Tula Ranch and so on. 126 individuals were recorded in the Yixiekepati wetlands (N37°15'-37°23',E90°11'-90°20', elevation 3,903 m), which is the largest population we have observed in this area. Combined with the previous records, we concluded that there are about 220-260 individuals of Black-necked Cranes in this region. The population size was estimated of 300-380 individuals in the whole Xinjiang. The numbers of family members varied from one to four, and those four types of families accounted for 5.9%, 60.3%, 29.4% and 4.4% of the records respectively. Before October, the cranes moved in single families, and they did not join other family groups. Cranes gathered in the middle of October and the highest numbers appeared on 29 October. All of the cranes migrated out of this area by 6 November. In addition, we found Eurasian Crane (Grus grus), Demoiselle Crane (Anthropoides virgo), Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus), Greylag Goose (Anser anser) and Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) in this area. According to our field work and preliminary interviews, we found that because of environmental changes, the increase of livestock husbandry, mining and eco-tourism, the population of Black-necked Cranes has faced threats in recent years. Increasing livestock husbandry, mining and eco-tourism activities potentially threaten Black-necked Cranes with poaching and egg-collection. In response to these threats, the protection and management work of the reserve administration needs to be strengthened, and herders, miners, tourist and reserve staff all need to be educated about the protected status of cranes. At the same time, a long-term monitoring program should be established to strengthen the conservation and management of Black-necked Cranes in the reserve. The number of juveniles that we observed (16.5%, n=158) can be used as a baseline to monitor future fecundity and population trends.
The vast Dam Chu Wetland (N32°54', E94°08') lies at an elevation of 4,700 m in Qinghai's Zaduo County. The wetland has maximum length and width of roughly 150 km and 60 km, respectively, and is comprised of thousands of permafrost-controlled ponds and pools set amidst Kobresia and Carex meadow ecosystems. The wetland is crossed by the upper Dam Chu River, the largest source of the Yangtze by volume. Due to its remote location, the Dam Chu Wetland is little studied, with an extensive literature review turning up no published crane records for the site. Three 2-3-day visits were made to the Dam Chu Wetland in July 2011, April 2012, and July 2012, during which three partial surveys of the eastern wetland were made resulting in Black-necked Crane counts of 4, 45, and 14 individuals, respectively. Notably, in July 2012 three crane pairs were observed, each with a pair of recently hatched chicks. Although cranes in the Dam Chu Wetland are widely scattered, the wetland appears to be an important Black-necked Crane site and breeding ground. The wetland is frozen from about early November to early May each year. However, with regional warming, the annual frozen period is expected to shorten, possibly resulting in more favorable conditions for cranes and increased crane numbers. Five mammal and 21 other bird species were also sighted in the wetland. The Dam Chu Wetland currently qualifies for Ramsar designation under Criterion 2 based on its Black-necked Crane population.
Gansu is one of the main breeding areas of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis). From April to October 2014, a survey was conducted by the line transect and the point count methods at the Yanchiwan National Nature Reserve. We also investigated the habitat and conservation status of cranes in this area. The peak Black-necked Crane count was 148, including 30 sub-adults and 38 nestlings, which remained stable, compared to the same period in previous years (140 cranes in 2012 and 149 cranes in 2013). We also found 42 crane nests in wetlands, including riverine wetlands, lakes and marshlands, which have abundant water resources and food resources (Carex atrofusca Schkuhr Riedgr), located between 3,160 and 3,260 m a.s.l. Due to the decrease of water level in wetlands, however, some cranes were seriously disturbed by predators. Hence, a detailed management plan is urgently needed to maintain wetlands for the endangered cranes, improve management level, increase public awareness and education, strengthen law enforcement, as well as to minimize disturbance to cranes by human activities.
We surveyed Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis)from 2009-2012 at the Qinghai Lake area. The highest number was 104 in 2010 at the end of the breeding season. Eighteen breeding pairs of Black-necked Cranes, the highest counts among all years, were recorded in 2012. Right after arriving in Qinghai Lake, the cranes mainly moved around at Quanwan, Ganzihe, and Shadao, while before departure for wintering areas they congregated at Shaliuhe, Naren, Quanwan, and Ganzihe. There were a total of 13 breeding sites of the cranes from 2009-2012. Among the 13, nine were used every year, including Quanwan, Xiannuwan, Shaliuhe, Naren, Ganzihe, Shadao, Xiaopohu, Daotanghe, and Heimahe.
A survey was conducted on Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) and their breeding success from April-September, 2013 at Ruoergai National Nature Reserve. There were 893 Black-necked Cranes in September, including 174 breeding pairs (348 birds), 275 chicks, and 270 non-breeding individuals. The cranes mainly were recorded at Huahu, Cuolajian, Haqiu, and Cuoqiu Lakes and the surrounding marshes, as well as riverine marshes at Lalianqiao, Heiqinqiao, and Nanenqiekai valleys. All of them, 70% were breeding pairs, 30% were non-breeding individual, with a largest flock of 106 birds was recorded. Of all breeding pairs, 90.2% had their eggs laid and hatched, mostly in June with 151 chicks (54.5%). Number of chicks accounted for 30.8% of the total number of Black-necked Cranes in September. Effective measures should be taken to protect lakes and other wetlands that are used by Black-necked Cranes for breeding at Ruoergai.
Understanding the distribution and population size information is essential to conservation and management of endangered species. In June and July 2009, we carried out a survey on Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis)at Ruoergai (Zoige) Wetland (including Ruoergai, Hongyuan, Aba, Maqu, and Luqu counties). We visited 95 areas with Black-necked Cranes previously recorded or potentially to be found, while many possible areas were not visited either due to time constraints or not accessible. We sighted 728 Black-necked Cranes. Ruoergai County had the highest count of cranes, followed by Maqu County, Luqu County and Hongyuan County. No cranes were recorded at Aba County. Most Black-necked Cranes were concentrated at Huahu-Cuorewajian-Haqiucuogan Wetland in Ruoergai County, Manrima-Cairima Wetland in Maqu County, and Riganze Wetland in Hongyuan County. We estimated a total of 2,635 Black-necked Cranes breeding and summering at Ruoergai by extrapolating the density of cranes in the visited areas to the whole Ruoergai Wetland.
It is essential to get information of population size and distribution of endangered species. The Bitahai Wetland is one of the most important wintering sites of the central population of Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis). There is still little information about this bird wintering at Bitahai Wetland. In winters of 2004 and 2008, we conducted counting surveys covering all wetlands at Bitahai Nature Reserve and adjacent areas. Our results showed that there were about 40 Black-necked Cranes wintering in this area. Of the 40 birds, 82.5%-92.3% individuals used the Jiligu Valley, and the rest were at Northern Shudu Lake, Militang valley, Gangchaba Valley, Haitou, and Wucaicaodian.
We used historical and our recent survey data of the Yongshan Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) population to analyze its number dynamics and determine its distribution range. We analyzed the possible impact of maca (Lepidium meyenii) planting on the crane habitat use. We also reviewed literature to assess the potential impacts of human activities such as road construction, wind farm construction, mining, and tourism on Black-necked Cranes. Our results suggest that the Black-necked Crane population kept stable and the distribution range could provide required habitats for wintering Black-necked Cranes. However the wetlands were being destroyed by grazing and pit digging; cranes didn't use maca and maca planting reduced food resources of Black-necked Cranes; and construction of roads and wind farm, together with mining and tourism activities, created unfavorable situation for the Black-necked Cranes. We suggest that a nature reserve be established to administrate the wetland conservation, and out coming tourists management, on the other hand further study is needed to assess the effect of human activities such as maca planting, wind farm construction on Black-necked Crane.
We surveyed number and location of Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) during the winters of 2011/12 to 2013/14 at Xundian County, Yunnan Province. Currently, the cranes move mainly in Yangtangzi, Shaozeiba and Laoqiuchang, accounting for 37.02%, 12.44% and 13.78%, respectively. Over the past three winters, 0%, 10.57% and 51.01% of the cranes were in farmlands; these farmlands are >500 m to the closest marshes or meadows, indicating the cranes are moving away from the marshes. We found the population of the Black-necked Cranes declined dramatically over the past 20 years from more than 300 to fewer than 30 birds, mostly likely due to wetland degradation and human disturbance. We recommend the restoration of wetland and strengthenmanagement and conservation for this species in this area.
The time budget studies are an appropriate tool in understanding patterns of habitat utilization, exploitation of resources, and factors that limit survival. All this once understood can be integrated in developing of management strategies. Diurnal time budget of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) was studied in Ladakh during breeding seasons in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In order to understand the activity patterns during various stages of breeding cycle, the entire breeding period of a particular year was divided into three phases: pre-breeding, breeding and post breeding. Between 2008 and 2010, a total 95 days were spent in the field and Black-necked Cranes were observed for 785 hours. All observations were made during the day time only between dawn and dusk (6:00 to 19:00). During the observation period, 16,314 behavioural events were recorded. Feeding behaviour was most prevalent accounting for 48.5 ± 1.3% (mean ± SE) of the crane's diurnal time budget. It was followed by resting (14.2 ± 1.2%), locomotion (10 ± 0.7%), breeding activities (10 ± 2.6%), maintenance (5.7 ± 0.5%), out of sight (5.4 ± 1.9%), and alert (4.1 ± 0.9%). Black-necked Cranes spent 1.5 ± 0.3% of its time in defense while at least 0.7 ± 0.2% in courtship activities. In the present paper percentage breakdown of overall diurnal activity of the Black-necked Crane have been provided. While studying the activity in various habitats, it was found that Black-necked Cranes spent maximum (43 ± 0.9%) time in marsh meadows as compared to other habitats.
Vocal contact as a communication tool plays crucial role in the life history of birds. In this study, we studied the short vocal behaviors of Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis), and characteristics of these calls were analyzed. All the sound samples were collected from wild population in the Dashanbao National Nature Reserve during November, 2009 to March 2010 and from captive individuals in the Beijing Zoo in June-July, 2010. Six short call types were recorded including of contact call, flight intention call, alarm call, guard call, assembly call and pre-copulation call. We recorded six and seven syllable types from adult and young cranes separately, while the vocal frequency of adults (frequency range: 332.80-1 902.30 Hz) were significantly lower than that of young birds (frequency range: 2 229.20-5 266.70 Hz). Two kinds of syllable were confirmed for flight intension call and alarm call, and one syllable for guard call. The pre-copulation call was emitted by the female crane. Significant sonogram differences were detected between male and female cranes. The maximum frequency (F_max) of the alarm call (male: 1016.43±105.53 Hz; female: 1 817.97±512.68 Hz), the F_max of guard call (male: 1 127.00±83.05 Hz; female: 1 334.23±42.68 Hz), the frequency interval (F_interval) of alarm call (male: 485.77±42.01 Hz; female: 1 309.63±539.57 Hz), and the F_interval of guard call (male: 521.22±102.28 Hz; female: 705.88±88.42 Hz) of females were significantly higher than those of the male. And the guard call lasted longer for the female (0.41±0.06 s) than male bird (0.35±0.06 s). Our results indicated that sonogram analysis could be a useful tool determining male from female Black-necked Cranes.
Seasonal and daily migration behavior of Black-necked Cranes Grus nigricollis was observed from October 9, 2006 to May 19, 2007 at Dashanbao National Nature Reserve, NE Yunnan, China. An average of 947 Black-necked Cranes were recorded from November 19, 2006 to March 17, 2007 at the reserve, while a peak number of 1,199 occurred after March 17 during the spring migration period. There were 203 days from the first arrival to the last departure of the Black-necked Cranes, while 90% individuals left for their breeding ground after 153 days. Three numerical peaks of the cranes were detected during autumn and spring migration periods, indicating Dashanbao also served as a staging and stopover site for this species during their migration. The cranes started their spring migration on sunny days with a light breeze, and migration flock sizes were usually larger than 20 individuals. 94.7% of the migrating cranes took off before 13:00, mostly between 10:00 and 11:00. The timing of departure was highly correlated with air temperature at departure initiation-cranes departed earlier with higher temperatures(r= -1.000). When the air temperature was higher, a higher proportion of cranes and bigger flock sizes of the cranes departed. The proportion of the birds departing was mainly correlated with date and weather conditions, indicating that endogenous urging mechanism plays an important role in bird migration.
The Bitahai wetland is one of the most important wintering sites of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) because of little human disturbance and good habitat. Food is the determinant factor that influences the long term survival of Black-necked Cranes. To understand the ecological requirements of this bird and then make matching conservation measures, it is important to figure out their feeding habits and the food nutritional components. We used the standard quadrat method to employ underground food composition and biomass. Then we analyzed the nutritional components of each food using the standard method. We found 10 plant species with rhizome or tubers that could be the food of Black-necked Cranes and the total biomass was 926.30 g/m2. Sanguisorba filiformis and Blysmus sinocompressus were the key food plants and accounted for 47.75% and 19.96% of the total biomass, respectively. Sanguisorba filiformis included more crude protein and crude fat, and less crude fiber, therefore the Black-necked Crane may prefer the Sanguisorba filiformis rather than Blysmus sinocompressus. We provided the basic information of underground food items and food nutritional components on Black-necked Cranes at the Bitahai wetland, and the information has been useful for the conservation of endangered Black-necked Cranes.
We studied nutrients and biomass of plants in foraging areas of Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) at Caohai. Our results showed that the Scirpus yagara was the most valuable food plant for Black-necked Cranes for its high content of crude protein, N, P and low content of crude fiber. S. yagara, S. validus, S. triangulates and Heleocharis valleculosa grow in the shallow water area which is accessible to Black-necked Cranes, while Zizania latifolia and Eleocharis vallcculosa live in the deep water that cannot be used by the cranes. Plants with biomass in stems and leaves from high to low are: Typha orientalis> S. yagara>Zizania latifolia> Juncus effusus>S. validus>S. triangulatus>Eleocharis vallcculosa. Our study is critical in guiding management and restoration measures for habitats of Black-necked Cranes at Caohai.
The Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) feeds mainly on plants, sometimes they also take animal matter as food. Animal preys are one of the cranes most important protein and fat sources, especially before migration. Little is known, however, about the animal prey composition of the Black-necked cranes. Between 2004 and 2012, we made observations on animal food items fed by Black-necked Cranes wintering at Napahai Wetland and Dashanbao Wetland. As a result, we observed the cranes eating 3 vertebrate animals, the Common goldfish (Carassius auratus), Pond loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus), Chaochiao frog (Rana chaochiaoensis), as well as insect larvae. The prey items of the Black-necked Crane are noticeably different at these two wintering grounds. The Black-necked Cranes wintering at Napahai Wetland mainly feed on fish. In contrast, the Black-necked Cranes wintering at Dashanbao Wetland mainly feed on insect larvae living in the soil.
Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) are omnivorous birds, but mainly feed on plants. We studied the herbivorous diets of Black-necked Cranes using microhistological analysis at Dashanbao National Nature Reserve. Our results showed that Black-necked Cranes fed on a total of 43 plant species. The Trifolium repens, Carex muliensis, Picris hieracioides, Origanum vulgare, and Bupleurum gracillimum were the main food plants, accounting for 13.04%, 8.51%, 5.99%, 5.15% and 5.28% of the total dry biomass, respectively. Black-necked Cranes had selection on organs of plants(F=10.095, df=3, P=0.000)and preferred leafs (63.91%) than other organs. In the future wetland restoration act, we suggested Trifolium repens as the main plant species for the recovery of the plant community and increase food source of Black-necked Cranes.
Shigaze has the highest number of wintering Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) in Tibet. A roost site survey of Black-necked Cranes wintering at Shigaze area in the Yarlung Zangbo valley was undertaken from December 2009 to January 2010. A total of 11 roost sites were recorded, with 634 Black-necked Cranes. Most Black-necked Cranes left their roost sites at 09:15 in the morning. Side channels with shallow and slow moving waters in the valley were selected, often with sand bars. While Black-necked Cranes mainly forage in farmlands during day time, these small side river channels provide safe roosting places for the cranes.
Investigation and observation the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) during spring, summer, and autumn every year from 1998 to 2012. The results of 15 years of investigation and observation shows that the number of the Black-necked Cranes was on an increasing and steady trend. The population of the Black-necked Cranes was only 2 in 1998 and had increased to 32 in 2012. The distribution of the Black-necked Cranes was originally in some parts of the wetlands around Sugan Lake and extended through all the wetlands and along the Harten River.
We surveyed Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) at Gahai, Gansu Province from early March to mid-November every year from 2004-2014. During the count months each year, we observed breeding behavior of a pair of Black-necked Cranes nesting on the lake shore of Tianehu at Guomaotan. There were about 90 Black-necked Cranes breeding or summering at Gahai. The cranes begin to arrive at Gahai in mid-March and leave for their wintering ground by the end of November each year. The incubation period was ~33 days.
We conducted a survey of cranes and waterfowl covered at the Dashanbao Black-necked Cranes National Nature Reserve, Yunnan Province during 19-20 th January, 2013. Our results showed that there were about 1,185 wintering Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis), 563 Ruddy Shelducks (Todorna ferruginea), 298 bar-headed geese (Anser indicus), and 3 Common cranes (Grus grus) in this area. The main habitats for cranes and waterbirds were at Dahaizi, Xiaohaiba, Changhuikou, and Lelizhai.
We conducted a survey for cranes and waterbirds at seven villages in Huize County, Yunnan Province during 17-19th January, 2013. Our results showed that there were about 424 wintering Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis), 322 Common Cranes (G. grus), 1 Siberian Crane (G. leucogeranus), 610 Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus), and 61 Ruddy Shelducks (Todorna ferruginea) in this area.
We conducted a survey of cranes and waterfowl covered at the Lashihai Plateau Wetland Nature Reserve in Lijiang City, Yunnan Province during 17-18th January, 2013. Our results showed that there were about 378 Common Cranes (Grus grus), 1,176 Bar-headed geese (Anser indicus), and 662 Ruddy Shelducks (Todorna ferruginea) in this area.
Zhuanshanbao of Ludian County of Yunnan Province, with an area of 44.44 ha wetland, is a winter place for Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis), Common Cranes (G. grus), and Ruddy Shelducks (Todorna ferruginea). We conducted a survey of cranes and other waterbirds in four villages at Zhuanshanbao from during 17-19th January, 2013. The survey recorded 135 wintering Black-necked Cranes, 3 Common Cranes, and 56 Ruddy Shelducks in this area.
We surveyed cranes and other large waterbirds in two townships in Yongshan County, Yunnan Province during 18-19 January, 2013, and recorded about 296 wintering Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis), 6 Common Cranes (G. grus), 13 Ruddy Shelducks (Todorna ferruginea), and 5 Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis).
We surveyed cranes and other large waterfowl in seven villages at Qiaojia County, Yunnan Province during 18-19th January, 2013, and recorded about 168 wintering Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis), 25 Common Cranes (G. grus), 181 Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus), and 92 Ruddy Shelducks (Todorna ferruginea) at Dahaizi area.
It is essential to get the information of population size and distribution of endangered species. The Napahai Nature Reserve, Yunnan Province is one of the most important wintering sites of the central population of Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis). We surveyed cranes and waterbirds at the reserve during 17-19 January, 2013 and recorded the results. The survey found about 189 wintering Black-necked Cranes, 806 Ruddy Shelducks (Todorna ferruginea), 444 Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus), and 72 Black Storks (Ciconia nigra).
We surveyed cranes and other waterbirds at the Luguhu Nature Reserve, Ninglang County, Yunnan Province on 18-19 January 2013, and recorded 32 Eurasian Cranes (Grus grus), 1542 Ruddy Shelducks (Todorna ferruginea), and two Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus), while no Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) were sighted. The Eurasian Cranes were seen in Shankua Village in the southeastern Luguhu. The Ruddy Shelducks were mainly in two lakes (1,420 ducks) near Zhudi Village and a marsh area (122 ducks) near Zhebo Village. Comparing to ten years ago, numbers of Ruddy Shelducks and Eurasian Cranes have increased, while Bar-headed Geese and Black-necked Cranes have either declined or disappeared.
The Bitahai Nature Reserve is one of the most important wintering sites of the central population of Black-necked Cranes. We surveyed cranes and waterbirds at the Bitahai Nature Reserve, Shangri-la County, Yunnan Province on 17-19 January 2013 and recorded at least 36 wintering Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) and four Ruddy Shelducks (Todorna ferruginea).
Using the roost count method, we surveyed the Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) and large waterbirds on 17th and 18th January 2013 at the Shuduhu wetland in Shangri-la County, Yunnan Province. During the two days, we did not record any Black-necked Cranes, Eurasian Cranes (Grus grus), Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus), Ruddy Shelducks (Todorna ferruginea), Black Storks (Ciconia nigra)and some other large waterbirds; 23 Black-necked Cranes, however, were found foraging in the wetland on 9 March 2013.
This study aims to examine the implementation of the Caohai Environmental Education Program, sponsored by the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund. Our examination includes the development of curriculum, teacher training, extracurricular environmental activities, and summer and winter ecological camps. We analyzed effectives and problems of the project, and how we could adjust project goals and methods to improve its effectiveness in the future. We provide some implications and suggestions for future environmental education activities at Caohai as well as other areas in China.