On July 4, 2018, a black-billed crested tern was foraging in the sandbank of the Minjiang Estuary in Fujian Province. The black-billed crested tern, also known as the Chinese crested tern, has a black pointed eagle, the male feathers are white, and the females are grayish white. Because of its difficult to trace, the population is sparse, and the black-headed crested tern is now the world's most endangered bird, and is called the "mythical bird" by ornithologists. Xinhua News Agency reporter Mei Yongcun photo
"In 2018, we observed 77 adult birds at two experimental sites along the coast of Zhejiang. They gave birth to 25 chicks, a total of 102, which means that the number of this rare bird has exceeded 100 for the first time. Although the number is very small, Dr. Chen Shuihua, the ornithologist and deputy director of the Zhejiang Natural Museum, is still happy: the extremely endangered Chinese Crested Tern tends to be extinct.
The Chinese Crested Tern was discovered in Indonesia in 1861 and was named in 1863. It comes to the east coast of China during the summer and winters in Indonesia and the Philippines. From 1937 to 2000, it disappeared for a long time. Although it was witnessed many times, it was not confirmed. It was not until 2000 that it appeared on the island of Mazulie. Due to its extremely rare and mysterious traces, the Chinese crested tern is known as the "mythical bird." It has long been widely evaluated as less than 50 and has been included in the Extremely Endangered (CR) species by the World Conservation Union.
In June 2003, under the suggestion of Taiwanese ornithologist Yan Chongwei, Zhejiang Natural History Museum began to search for the “mythical bird” on the coast of Zhejiang. Chen Shuihua led a team to search for 3061 islands in Zhejiang until July 2004. Twenty Chinese crested terns were found in the Lushan Islands of Xiangshan County, but they were not able to successfully breed due to the influence of two typhoons. In 2007, the "Mythical Bird" reappeared in the local area, but encountered a thief. Since then, they have not come to the local area until 2012.
Fortunately, in the summer of 2008, the Chinese Crested Tern came to the Wuyishan Islands in the Zhoushan Islands. Under the close supervision of the Zhejiang Natural Museum and the Wuyishan Provincial Nature Reserve, two pairs of adult birds were bred. Only chicks, this is the first time people have observed the success of the "mythical bird" in Zhejiang.
In 2013, with the support of Zhejiang Forestry Department, Environmental Protection Department and Marine Fisheries Bureau, Zhejiang Natural History Museum, Oregon State University and Xiangshan County Marine and Fisheries Bureau launched the first domestically in the Laoshan Islands National Nature Reserve. Artificially guided birds to experiment with breeding habitats. Using the habit of tern colony breeding, the researchers installed a fake bird model and played a sound recording to attract the Chinese crested tern and the large crested tern that resembled its shape. The former often mixes in the latter to live.
In the summer, the experiment attracted 19 Chinese crested terns. In the fall, when the researchers observed their southward migration, they found at least one of the Chinese crested tern chicks. In 2014, the experiment attracted 43 Chinese crested terns and successfully bred 13 chicks. Experiments carried out on the Wuyishan Islands since 2015 have also been successful. However, until 2017, data from all parties showed that their global number has never exceeded 100.
By 2018, 35 Chinese crested terns came to the Lushan Islands, and 42 came to the Wuyishan Islands. They raised a total of 25 chicks. In the same period, in South Korea and other places, local bird scholars discovered 14 Chinese crested terns. This means that its global number has officially exceeded 100.
Chen Shuihua said that the female Chinese crested tern has only one egg at a time, and only one more will be produced after the first breeding failure in a year. Its reproduction is often attacked by natural enemies such as snakes, rats, and falcons, as well as disturbances caused by typhoons and human activities, and the success rate is very low. At present, it is still an extremely endangered bird and needs more protection. In recent years, in addition to conducting enrollment experiments, they have also carried out research on conservation genetics, reproductive ecology, etc., and have received funding from the National Natural Science Foundation. The research results of conservation genetics show that the Chinese Crested Tern will cross with the Great Crested Tern, and its offspring can be paired with the Chinese Crested Tern. The result is likely to affect the survival of the Chinese Crested Tern population. continue.
Editor in charge: Yu Xingxin
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