Religious Release of Birds in Hong Kong


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Abstract of thesis entitled

RELIGIOUS RELEASE OF BIRDS IN HONG KONG Submitted by

Chan Sin Wai For the degree of Master of Philosophy at The University of Hong Kong in November 2006 Religious followers, mainly Buddhists, release birds to gain merits and purify sins. This is a traditional practice in much of Asia, but in some areas it has become commercialized, leading to large-scale trapping, trans-border trading and the release of huge numbers of birds into novel environments. This study investigated the numbers, species, causes and consequences of bird release in Hong Kong. The Yuen Po Street Bird Garden was surveyed twice a month between October 2004 and September 2005, and a sample of bird shops elsewhere in Hong Kong was surveyed less comprehensively. A mean of 9,650 birds per visit were being sold for release at the Bird Garden (80% of all birds on sale) and an estimated additional 3,120 birds were available at other bird shops. Over the year, 41 species were sold for release, of which 23 were exotic to Hong Kong. Munias (Lonchura striata, L. punctulata), Japanese White-eyes (Zosterops japonica) and Eurasian Tree Sparrows (Passer montanus) made up 74% of the individual birds sold for release. Assuming a turnover time of 6-10 days, 470,000-770,000 birds are sold for release through shops every year.

i

A telephone survey of 229 religious organizations showed that 48 released birds, of which 90% were Buddhist. These organizations reported releasing from 10. A contingency table of the number of deaths (and expected number of deaths) of the granivores and the non-granivores. Kruskal-Wallis One Way ANOVA on Ranks to compare the total scores of Japanese White-eyes from different batches. Kruskal-Wallis One Way ANOVA on Ranks to compare the total scores of Scaly-breasted Munias from different batches. Kruskal-Wallis One Way ANOVA on Ranks to compare the total scores of White-rumped Munias from different batches. One Way ANOVA to compare the total scores of Light-vented Bulbuls from different batches. Mann-Whitney Rank Sum Test to compare the total scores of Red-whiskered Bulbuls from different

170 171 172 172

172

173

173

174

174 175

batches. xiv

Table 5.13

Kruskal-Wallis One Way ANOVA on Ranks to compare

175

the total scores of Eurasian Tree Sparrows from different batches.

Chapter 6 Table 6.1 Table 6.2 Table 6.3 Table 6.4 Table 6.5

Table 6.6

Fate and range characteristics of the released birds. Kruskal-Wallis One Way ANOVA on Ranks to compare the minimum range sizes of different species. Kruskal-Wallis One Way ANOVA on Ranks to compare the minimum range spans of different species. Damage scores of different body parts of the released birds. A contingency table of the actual number (and the expected number) of birds that died and were lost between the bulbuls and the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. T-test on the mean total score between birds that died and those that were lost.

207 208 208 209 209

209

Chapter 7 Table 7.1

Table 7.2 Table 7.3

List of species sold for release recorded in the Yuen Po Street Market Survey but not reported in the official trade figures. Ecological characteristics of the exotic species sold for release. H5N1-infected wild birds found in Hong Kong in 2006

232

233 241

and 2007.

List of Figures Chapter 3 Figure 3.1 Figure 3.2

Figure 3.3

Cages of birds for release put at the back of the shop, stacked on top of each other. Availability of the Narsiccus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden from October 2004 to September 2005. Availability of the Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana in the Yuen Po Street Bird

110 111

112

Garden from October 2004 to September 2005. xv

Figure 3.4

Figure 3.5

Figure 3.6

Figure 3.7

Figure 3.8 Figure 3.9

Figure 3.10

Availability of the Mongolian Lark Melanocorypha mongolica in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden from October 2004 to September 2005. Availability of the Yellow-billed Grosbeak Euphona migratoria in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden from October 2004 to September 2005. Availability of the Bearded Parrotbill Panurus biarmicus in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden from October 2004 to September 2005. Availability of the White-cheeked Starling Sturnus cineraceus in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden from October 2004 to September 2005. Relationship between the price and size of birds sold for release. Relationship between the price of birds sold for release and the minimum displacement from the natural distribution to Hong Kong in summer.

113

114

115

116

117 118

Relationship between the price of birds for release and the minimum displacement from the natural distribution to Hong Kong in winter.

118

Proportion of different types of religions that release animals. Type(s) of animals released by religious organizations.

147

148 148

Figure 4.5

Number of birds released in one release event. Number of releases by religious organizations in one year. Bird release sites reported

Figure 4.6 Figure 4.7 Figure 4.8 Figure 4.9

Money spent on each bird for release. Mode of purchase of birds for release. Number of participants participating in a release. Map of bird release sites.

149 150 150 151

Relationship between the number of birds with sickness and/or damage and the mortality of birds for

176

Chapter 4 Figure 4.1 Figure 4.2 Figure 4.3 Figure 4.4

147

149

Chapter 5 Figure 5.1

release across species with n>10. xvi

Figure 5.2 Figure 5.3

Figure 5.4

Relationship between the physical condition and the mortality of birds for release across species with n>10. Relationship between the number of birds with sickness and/or damage and the mortality of White-rumped Munia across batches.

177 178

Relationship between the physical condition and the mortality of White-rumped Munia across batches.

179

Vertical colour aerial photograph of Long Valley Top view of the 0.8 g PIP radio-transmitter for the Light-vented Bulbul and Red-whiskered Bulbul. Side view of the 0.8 g PIP radio-transmitter.

198 199

The 0.8 g PIP radio-transmitter with harness. The 0.5 g LMT-337 radio-transmitter for the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. The 0.5 g LMT-337 radio transmitter with cotton gauze

200 201

Chapter 6 Figure 6.1 Figure 6.2 Figure 6.3 Figure 6.4 Figure 6.5 Figure 6.6

Figure 6.8

attached. Relationship between the physical condition and the minimum range size of the released birds. Relationship between the physical condition and the

Figure 6.9 Figure 6.10 Figure 6.11

minimum range span of the released birds. MCPs of the Red-whiskered Bulbuls. MCPs of the Light-vented Bulbuls. MCPs of the Eurasian Tree Sparrows.

Figure 6.7

Figure 6.12

199

201 210 210 211 212 213

Photos of the damaged carcass of the Light-vented Bulbul ID 3.

214

Location of the H5N1-infected wild birds found in Hong Kong in 2006. Location of the H5N1-infected wild birds found in Hong Kong in 2007.

242

Chapter 7 Figure 7.1 Figure 7.2

244

List of Appendixes Chapter 1 Appendix 1.1

Species that have become established in Hong Kong

20 xvii

since 1860 through human agency Appendix 1.2

List of birds belonging to Category E of the Avifauna of Hong Kong

22

Questionnaire of the telephone questionnaire survey of religious organizations.

156

Chapter 4 Appendix 4.1

xviii

Chapter 1 General introduction

1.1 The bird trade

Huge numbers of birds have been traded internationally for more than a century (Mulliken et al. 1992). The total number of species and individuals in trade is largely unknown due to poor and insufficient recording and monitoring of imports and exports. A total of 2,600 bird species (27% of all the described bird species) have been recorded in the international trade between 1970 and 1990 (Mulliken et al. 1992). It was estimated that a minimum of 7.5 million birds were traded annually in the early 1970s (Mulliken et al. 1992). The estimate dropped to 2-5 million a year by 1990, by extrapolating from the 1983-1988 trade volumes of major producer and consumer countries, which was probably due to increased restrictions and better enforcement of regulations (Hemley 1994). These estimates, however, underrepresented the number of birds harvested from the wild as they did not include those imported from China; mortality during capture, transport, or holding prior to export; domestic trade; and illegal trade (Mulliken et al. 1992). Hemley (1994) produced a similar estimate for 1990 (2-5 million), but Brooke and Birkhead (1991) gave a much higher estimate of 20 million a year. Although the exact total volume of bird trade is unknown, the scale is huge and the volume of birds harvested from the wild is even bigger due to pre-export mortalities, which are affected by many factors, such as the degree of overcrowding and adequacy of care. Various studies on pre-export mortalities, albeit old and anecdotal, suggest that the figure varied from 2% to 80% (Nilsson 1

1977; Inskipp 1983; Brookland et al. 1985; Panagis & Stutterheim 1985; Carter & Curry 1987). The high demand and wastage of the trade unavoidably leads to overexploitation of wild birds. A total of 12% of all the bird species are currently being threatened, of which 117 are threatened by trapping for the cage-bird trade (Baillie et al. 2004). The charismatic species and those that have a special vocal repertoire such as parrots are especially at risk. The Hill Myna Gracula religiosa, famous for its ability to mimick words and sounds and therefore a highly demanded species, was once common in many parts of its range (including India, the Sundas, Palawan and southwest China in Yunnan, southwest Guangxi and Hainan), but can only be found in national parks now (James 1990; Carey et al. 2001). The population of the vulnerable Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus, selling at a high price of US$120 per bird in 2005, is declining as a result of the high level of trapping (Jepson & Ladle 2005; BirdLife International 2004 2006d). Birds have been in close association with man for thousands of years in China, as depicted in old Chinese paintings, carvings, architecture, and their symbolization within the very ancient religion – Buddhism (Layton 1991). Birds are traded for many purposes apart from their usual role as pets: waterfowl are commonly traded as food (Melville 1982); owls are traditionally consumed as medicine to cure bad eyesight (Webster 1975b); eating the male Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus is believed in some traditional magic to help men to attract women (Shepherd et al. 2004); bulbuls and the Hwamei Garrulax canorus are trained for bird-fighting (Rocha 1976; Ahmed 1997); pigeons are trained to deliver messages (Layton 1991); and munias and sparrows are often released by religious followers, who believe this helps them to attain full enlightenment and be freed from suffering, in many parts of Asia (Nash 1993; Severinghaus & Chi 2

1999). The bird trade as a whole is poorly documented, particularly in Asia, but in general the trade for food and for pets has been much better studied than the third major element of the Asian bird trade, the trade in birds for religious release. I became aware of the huge scale of this trade in Hong Kong as a result of my final-year

BSc

project

at

the

University

of

Hong

Kong

(Chan

unpublished). Religious bird-release in Hong Kong is therefore the focus of the remainder of this thesis. In this chapter, I will focus on the religious release of birds and the problems associated with it. The geography and climate, as well as the exotic avifauna of Hong Kong, will also be discussed.

1.2 Religious release in Asia

Religious release is common and widespread in most of Southeast Asia (including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Lao PDR) as well as some parts of East (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and probably Japan in the past) and South (Nepal and India) Asia, especially in countries with substantial Buddhist influence (McClure & Chaiyaphun 1971; Nash 1993; Howell 1996; Severinghaus & Chi 1999; Bagla 2002; Shepherd et al. 2004; Anon. 2006b). Despite the lack of documentation of the release, bits and pieces of information scattered in trade reports, cultural records, and news give some insight into the practice in different parts of Asia. The religious release of birds in Singapore was documented as early as 1923, with a description of the release of Java Sparrows Padda oryzivora by a Chinese nun in front of the Victoria Memorial Hall (Howell 1996). Layton (1991) also 3

recorded the release of 10,000 Java Sparrows from a temple in Singapore by a Chinese man celebrating the birth of his firstborn son. Thousands or sometimes tens of thousands of munias were imported from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia into Singapore in the early 1990s (Nash 1993). All of them were primarily destined for religious release. Traders reported that individual consignments of 8,000-10,000 munias were imported from Indonesia to Singapore in 1991 in preparation for important Buddhist festivals (Nash 1993). In Indonesia, wagtails, munias, Eurasian Tree Sparrows Passer montanus, Baya Weavers Ploceus philippinus, and Java Sparrows were commonly released (Shepherd et al. 2004). The release of these species, except for the Java Sparrow which is believed to assist men in meeting girls, were for religious reasons (Buddhism). Shephard (2006) reported that large quantities of munias were exported from Indonesia to Malaysia and Singapore for religious release. Species of birds reported for sale for release in Thailand were diverse: including weavers, finches, sparrows, buntings, wagtails, pipits, bulbuls, starlings and hawks (McClure & Chaiyaphun 1971). McClure and Chaiyaphun (1971) banded and released 1,900 weavers Ploceus species at the edge of Bangkok and found that 40 of them appeared again in the market in the following two years. In Vietnam and the Lao PDR, birds were mostly traded for food and for release by Buddhists rather than for pets (Nash 1993). The bird species for sale in the local markets in Vietnam for these purposes included munias, weavers, Red Avadavats Amandava amandava, Sand Martins Riparia riparia, and various swallows Hirundo species, while those in the Lao PDR included White-rumped Munias Lonchura striata, Scaly-breasted Munias L. punctulata and Pin-tailed Parrrotfinches Erythrura prasina (Nash 1993). The religious release in Taiwan has been the best studied in the region. 4

Religious release, mainly by followers of Buddhism and Taoism, as well as some other religions (Severinghaus & Chi 1999), is common in the Taichung, Taipei and Kaohsiung Counties (Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan 2004) and presumably elsewhere in Taiwan. As much as US$6 million is spent by the Taiwanese annually to release 200 million animals, ranging from insects to monkeys (Agoramoorthy & Hsu 2005). The Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (2004) interviewed 155 bird shops in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung and found that 59% of them sold birds for release. There were more than 35 species of birds for release for sale in these shops, with doves and pigeons, Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis, Scaly-breasted Munia, Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonica, and Eurasian Tree Sparrow being the commonest. The more expensive species of Hwamei, skylarks Alauda species, and the captive bred Mikado Pheasant Syrmaticus mikado were also available for release. Severinghaus and Li (1999) conducted a questionnaire survey interviewing 1,040 households in Taipei and found that 29.5% of them released animals. A total of 73 out of 102 temples in Taichung City were interviewed by Chen (1995), showing that 29% of them organized religious releases. He further estimated 97-100 releases in one year in Taichung City, resulting in the release of 128,000 birds. Religious releases elsewhere in China are quite widespread, as recorded in newspaper articles, occurring at least in Hong Kong (Carey et al. 2001), Shenzhen (Anon. 2004), Guangzhou (Xu & Zhong 2005), Liaoning (Xu 2006), Changchun (Lin 2006), Jiangxi (Anon. 2006b), Beijing (Zhao 2005), and Haerbin (Li 2005). Although not much can be learned from these newspaper articles, they reveal that religious releases are carried out in various parts of China from Guangdong in the south to Heilongjiang in the north. 5

Religious release of birds is a common practice among many communities in India, including the Jains, Parsis, Sindhis and Hindus (Ahmed 1997; Bagla 2002). They believe this can add to their piety, purify the soul and relieve personal sins. Ahmed (1997) found from 64 surveys in 57 trading establishments or trapping areas that a huge variety of birds were for sale for release, including egrets, herons, hawks, lapwings, parakeets, cuckoos, koels, kingfishers, bee-eaters, rollers, hoopoes, woodpeckers, larks, shrikes, drongos, starlings, mynas, treepies, crows, minivets, ioras, bulbuls, babblers, flycatchers, warblers, redstarts, chats, robins, tits, wagtails, sunbirds, white-eyes, sparrows, weavers, munias, finches, and buntings. Besides religious releases, birds are also released in public celebration such as the foundation stone laying day of new complexes or special occasions such as the Independence Day (Ahmed 1997). The religious release in Japan was mentioned in an old traveling record in 1923 by Howell (1996): “The custom is known as Fong Sang…… It is a Buddhist belief, and is done in temples in Japan.” However, this is the only record I could find of religious release in Japan and Japanese ornithologists doubt it is still happening (R. T. Corlett, personal communication).

1.3 Nature and problems of religious bird-release

Religious release or liberation of animals is the freeing of animals from threats, danger or the brink of death. I will focus on the Buddhist way of release in the following discussion as it is the religion responsible for most releases. It is essential to understand two important Buddhist terms before discussing further the nature and reason of release: “samsara” – “the cycle of uncontrolled death and rebirth pervaded by suffering”; and “karma” – this word in itself means “all 6

intentional bodily, verbal, and mental actions” but usually being used to mean “the effect of karma we have accumulated either in previous lives or earlier in this life” (Geshe 2002). The central idea of religious release is, in simple terms, cause and effect. In theory, good karma leads to rebirth in the higher realms and future happiness, while bad karma leads to rebirth in the lower realms and future suffering. There are altogether six realms, divided into the lower realms – the animal, the hungry ghost, and the hell realm; and the higher realms – the human, the demi-god, and the god realm (Geshe 2002). Since the Buddhists believe that everyone, except the enlightened, is trapped in samsara, even if one was born in the higher realms, he/she may be reborn in the next life in the lower realms if he/she performed bad karma. One needs to practice the six perfections – the perfections of giving, moral discipline, patience, effort, mental stabilization, and wisdom, in order to attain full enlightenment – being freed from samsara (Geshe 2002). The Buddhists believe that releasing animals from suffering and/or death is a good way to gain good karma and practice the six perfections (Venerable Yuan; Lama Rinpoche 2001). In addition, they believe that every living being in the six realms is or was once their parents or relatives (Venerable Yuan). To the Buddhists, saving the animals’ lives is synonymous with saving their parents’ or relatives’ lives. According to the Buddhist teaching of the Great Treatise on the Perfection of Wisdom, animal liberation is the best among all the karmas. The merits of releasing animals include longevity; happiness; healthiness; wealth; curing of cancer, AIDS, or other life-threatening diseases of oneself as well as of family and friends; purifying ones sins committed in this and/or previous lives; raising ones kindness towards lives; and having many descendants (Venerable Yuan; Lama Rinpoche 2001). Animal release is not limited to the physical liberation of the animals, but also the ultimate spiritual 7

liberation through giving them “Dharma” – “Buddha’s teachings and ones own inner experience of the teachings” (Geshe 2002). By reciting Buddha’s teachings in front of the animals, seeds of Dharma are believed to be sown into the animals’ minds so that they will be reborn in the human realm in the next life. This provides them with the opportunity to practice the Dharma in the next life, which eventually will lead to ultimate enlightenment (Lama Rinpoche 2001). In practice, three “no-fix” recommendations are usually given to the releasers: (1) the kind of animal for release should not be fixed – releasers should buy according to their ability and release whatever they come across in danger; (2) the date of release should not be fixed – although the release should be carried out once a month or during the Buddha Birthday, the date of release should not be fixed so as to prevent the sellers from making a profit from it; (3) the release site should not be fixed – the place of release should be changed from time to time to avoid the sellers from re-catching/re-trapping the animals (Anon. 2006a; Venerable Lian 2006). In other words, anyone may release anything anywhere at anytime they want, making the release highly variable. Sadly, the virtuous nature of animal liberation has been twisted and become ritualized and commercialized (Chen 1997; Shi 2003). Many of the releasers lose focus on the rationale of release, only seeing it as a tool or a ritual to gain merit and purify their sin. This is especially prominent in the case of bird release. The majority of bird species for release have neither attractive plumage nor good songs, so they would not otherwise have been caught for pets. These birds are either deliberately caught for release or are unwanted stocks of birds that are sick and/or without a market to be sold as pets, such as the juveniles of the Black-headed Munia Lonchura malacca and the females of the Red Avadavat Amandava amandava (Ahmed 1997). Since there is no criterion for birds to be 8

sold for release, any by-catch species not suitable for pets, which would normally be released on-site, are now retained for sale for release (Ahmed 1997). The religious release becomes “releasing lives” but not “saving lives” as the releasers release birds that are deliberately set for them to be released. Even worse, McClure and Chaiyaphun (1971) reported that dealers in Bangkok often deliberately sell weakened and starved birds for release so that they can easily recapture and resell the birds. In some other instances, releasing animals has become a celebration ritual (Layton 1991): all of the cage-birds in China were released in celebration of the Empress Dowager Tz’u-hsi giving birth to an heir to the throne. Layton (1991) also recorded the release of 10,000 Java Sparrows by a Chinese man in Singapore to celebrate the birth of his first born son. Moreover, the releasers generally lack the biological and ecological knowledge about the species they release, which often result in the release of unsuitable animals into unsuitable habitats. Such religious bird-release can lead to a number of problems: a large number of birds are trapped for release, often transported across borders to different countries. Since their appearance and condition is often not a concern of the releasers, the birds are usually not taken good care of and often live in dirty and crowded cages. Stress arising from the poor housing condition weakens the birds and leads to increased susceptibility to diseases (Cheville 1979). Infectious diseases may easily spread in such a packed and unhygienic condition. Such diseases may spread to the wild populations if these birds are released. When they are released into novel environments, they may die due to predation, poor health condition, unsuitable environment and/or harsh environmental condition. If they survive, this may lead to the establishment of exotic species, as any birds can be the target of release. 9

1.3.1

Disease transmission and religious release

Zoonoses, diseases that can be spread between humans and animals, have affected human health since as early as 2,300 BC (Kruse et al. 2004). The most famous and the deadliest in history was the bubonic plague, which emerged in the 14th century, with rats and fleas being the main vector of transmission and killed approximately one third of Europe’s population (Kruse et al. 2004). More recently, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused over 8,000 cases of infection world-wide, resulting in 774 deaths within less than a year (World Health Organization (WHO) 2004). It was originated from small mammals including palm civets, racoon dogs, ferret badgers, bats, cats, rats and red foxes, with the majority of which obtained from the live animal markets in southern China (Guan et al. 2003; Wang et al. 2005; Tang et al. 2006). Guan et al. (2003) suggested that the trade in these species provided a venue for the virus to amplify and be transmitted to new hosts. The highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, has infected 256 people and killed 152 between 2003 and October 2006 (World Health Organization (WHO) 2006b), raising fears of a future influenza pandemic (Watts 2004; World Health Organization (WHO) 2006a). A literature review carried out by Taylor et al. (2001) identified 1,415 species of pathogens that were infectious to people, of which 61% were zoonotic in nature. A total of 132 of these zoonotic pathogens were two times more likely to be associated with emerging diseases than the non-zoonotic ones (Taylor et al. 2001). They are mainly transmitted by skin contacts, bites (saliva), direct contacts with excreta or aerosols in dust from excreta, or insect vectors (Kruse et al. 2004). 10

On the other hand, infectious diseases spread between animals cause huge numbers of animal fatalities, ecological disasters, and economic losses. One of the well-known infections that causes ecological disaster to wild animals is the Chytridiomycosis, a fungal disease caused by the fungus Batrachochythum dendrobatidis (Daszak & Berger 1999; Mazzoni et al. 2003; Weldon et al. 2004). It originated from Africa and has spread as a result of international trade (Mazzoni et al. 2003; Weldon et al. 2004). It appears to be responsible for serious population declines and extinctions of amphibians on several continents, including Australia, Spain, Central, North and South America (Daszak & Berger 1999; Weldon et al. 2004; La Marca et al. 2005; Bosch & Martínez-Solano 2006; Lips et al. 2006; Rachowicz et al. 2006). Lips et al. (2006) predicted that within 4-6 months of the arrival of the B. dendrobatidis at a site where it has not been present before, c. 50% of the amphibian species and c. 80% of individual amphibians may disappear. The H5N1 avian influenza, apart from killing hundreds of people, has also killed millions of poultry and wild birds (Chen et al. 2005; Rosner 2006; World Health Organization (WHO) 2006a). Moreover, these animal-related diseases have resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars of economic loss (Karesh et al. 2005). These examples illustrate the damage caused by the spread of infectious diseases. The act of religious release can potentially contribute to this. Karesh et al. (2005) clearly stated the risk of the release: “Wild mammals, birds, and reptiles flow daily through trading centers, where they are in contact with persons and with dozens of other species before they are shipped to other markets, sold locally, or even freed and sent back into the wild as part of religious customs such as merit (religious) release…… (which) provides another avenue for introducing novel infectious agents into the wild and warrants further 11

attention.”

1.3.2

The problem of exotic species

Exotic species is the second most frequent cause of species being listed as threatened by extinction after habitat loss (Sol et al. 2005). It is responsible for 25% of all the bird species at risk of extinction (Stattersfield & Capper 2000). Exotic species may affect the local ecosystem by predation, competition for resources, disease transmission, and hybridization and/or introgression (Manchester & Bullock 2000; Primack 2000; del Hoyo et al. 2005). Although not every species invading a new environment is able to establish, once a species is established, it is costly and often impossible to control or eradicate (Sol et al. 2005). Exotic species not only cause ecological damage but also crop, building and statue damage; nuisance to the public; and disease transmission to people, leading to huge economic losses (Pimentel et al. 2000; Lever 2005). Pimentel et al. (2000) estimated a total of approximately US$137 billion economic loss caused by exotic species per year in the USA, in particular, approximately US$1,100 and US$800 millions caused by pigeons and starlings respectively. Extinction driven by predation from exotic species is widely documented, especially on oceanic islands where native vertebrate predators are usually absent (Primack 2000; Davis 2003). The famous example of the Brown Tree Snake Boiga irregularis caused extinction or serious population reduction of most of the 25 species of native bird species on Guam (Wiles et al. 2003). In Tahiti, French Polynesia, the introduced Indian Myna Acridotheres tristis, through predating the nests of the critically endangered Tahiti Flycatcher Pomarea nigra, played a contributing role in causing only five of the 19 nests to produce fledged 12

young in the 2000 breeding season from the remaining 28 individuals (Blanvillain et al. 2003). There is, as yet, no known example of species extinction directly caused by competition from introduced species (Case 1996; Davis 2003). However, competition may threaten native species by reducing their numbers (Petren & Case 1996; Carlton et al. 1999), making them more vulnerable to other threats such as habitat loss, hunting or predation. The long extinct thylacine Thylacinus cynocephalus in Australia may have been threatened by competition from the dingo Canis lupus dingo, and was then driven to extinction by over-hunting, habitat loss, and disease (Davis 2003). Blanvillain et al. (2003) found that the introduced Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer hampered the reproductive success of the critically endangered Tahiti Flycatcher in the year 2000 through interspecific competition for nest sites and territories. The introduction of exotic species may bring along the exotic parasites or pathogens to the recipient environment, causing population decline or even extinction of the native species. The malaria parasite Plasmodium, spread by the mosquito Culex species which was probably brought into Hawaii by introduced birds, readily killed the native birds and restricted their range to higher elevations and drier areas (Warner 1968; van Riper III et al. 1986). Another example is the decline of the Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris partly caused by a parapoxivirus in the UK, which was probably brought into the UK by the introduced Grey Squirrel S. carolinensis (Thomas et al. 2003; Tompkins et al. 2003). The problem of hybridization and introgression is complex and often difficult to detect. There are two main types of hybridization: the hybridization with and without introgression (Allendorf et al. 2001). The major negative effect of hybridization without introgression, resulting in the production of sterile 13

hybrids, is the wasted reproductive effort (Rhymer & Simberloff 1996; Allendorf et al. 2001). The effect is especially significant in species with small and isolated populations. In the case of hybridization between the Red Hartebeest Alcelaphus buselaphus and the Blesbok Damaliscus dorcas producing sterile offspring, both species have a gestation period of eight months and only one calf is usually born (Rhymer & Simberloff 1996; Allendorf et al. 2001). The effect is more widespread and profound for hybridization with introgression. This may lead to the elimination of unique genotypes from local populations, obscuration of taxonomic boundaries, and production of less fit populations (Rhymer & Simberloff 1996; Primack 2000). The pure population of the endemic and endangered Hawaiian Duck Anas wyvilliana, initially threatened by habitat loss and degradation, is now shrinking due to hybridization with the introduced Mallard Duck A. platyrhynchos (Rhymer & Simberloff 1996; BirdLife International 2004 2006a). The problem of hybridization and introgression of exotic species is evident in Taiwan where the endemic Taiwan Bulbul Pycnonotus taivanus is threatened with extinction by hybridization with the Light-vented Bulbul P. sinensis which has been released into the Taiwan Bulbul’s range by religious followers (Severinghaus & Chi 1999; BirdLife International 2004 2006c). Similarly, the release of the imported Hwameis Garrulax canorus may threanten the Taiwan Hwamei G. c. taewanus, which is considered an endemic subspecies or species (Li et al. 2006).

1.4 The study area: Hong Kong

1.4.1 Geography and climate

14

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong) of the People’s

Republic

of

China

(China)

is

situated

at

22°09’-22°37’N;

113°52’-114°30’E, to the east of the Pearl River (Zhujiang) estuary on the South China coast. It has a total land area of 1,104 km2, of which more than 60 km2 have resulted from land reclamation. It is composed of a section of the China mainland (Kowloon and the New Territories – 795 km2), the Hong Kong Island (81 km2) and numerous outlying islands (total 228 km2) (HKSAR Government Information Centre 2006a). Having an extremely rugged topography, most of the 6.88 million populations in Hong Kong (of predominantly Chinese descent) are crowded in less than 20% of the land area, with the remaining 80% relatively undeveloped (Dudgeon & Corlett 2004; HKSAR Government Information Centre 2006a). The most extensive semi-natural habitat is grassland (23.4% of the total land area), followed by lowland forest (16.3%) and mixed shrubland (14.8%) (Environment Protection Department (EPD) 2006). Almost 40% of the total land area receives legal protection as Country Parks. Hong Kong has a subtropical monsoon climate, with a hot and wet summer (May-September) and a cold and dry winter (November-February). The mean annual rainfall recorded at the Hong Kong Observatory is 2,383 mm (30-year average of 1971-2000) (Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) 2005b), with about 80% of the rain falling between May and September (Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) 2005a). The wettest and the driest months are August (30-year monthly average: 445 mm) and January (25 mm) respectively. Typhoons, which are concentrated in the summer months, often lead to heavy rainfall. The mean annual temperature is 23.1℃ (1971-2000) (Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) 2005b). January is usually the coldest month (30-year monthly average: 16.1℃), while July is the hottest (28.7℃). The temperature in winter sometimes drops below 10℃, with the 15

lowest temperature recorded near sea-level being 0℃ (Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) 2005a). Sub-zero temperatures occur several times a decade above 400 m altitude and in the northern New Territories.

1.4.2 The exotic avifauna of Hong Kong

Although Hong Kong is only a dot on the map of the world, a total of 448 bird species have been recorded there, approximately one-third of the total number of bird species recorded in China (Dudgeon & Corlett 2004). Of these species, less than 25% are year-round residents. The other 75% are mainly winter visitors migrating from the north to over-winter in Hong Kong, or passage migrants passing through Hong Kong on their way to and from the wintering grounds as far as Australia. Apart from its high natural diversity of bird species, there is also a high diversity and number of birds imported and sold in Hong Kong (Melville 1982, 1994; Lau et al. 1997). The religious release of birds, together with occasional escaped pet birds, getting rid of unwanted pet birds and the release of diseased birds or surplus stock from the trade by bird dealers, has contributed to hundreds of exotic birds being recorded in Hong Kong over recent decades (Appendix 1.1 and 1.2). Some of these survive and breed and about 15% of the 141 breeding bird species recorded in 1993-1995 were exotics (Carey et al. 2001). Carey et al. (2001) carried out a comprehensive review of the status of birds considered to occur in Hong Kong. Birds were divided into six categories, with categories C and D including birds established in Hong Kong by human agency; and Category E including those escaped or released from captivity. All the species included in Category E that were possibly related to the pet bird trade are listed in Appendix 16

1.2. Among these 98 species listed, the Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus and Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora were reported to be involved in large-scale releases (a flock of about 150 Java Sparrows were seen near Shek Kong on 26th February, 1967). At least 14 White-collared Yuhina Yuhina diademata were sighted at Happy Valley during 5-7th May, 1990 in very poor condition. Over 100 individuals of the Collared Finchbill Spizixos semitorques were released in Kowloon Hill. These sightings probably relate to birds being released for religious reasons. Apart from these clues, however, it is very difficult to distinguish which birds were from religious release and which ones were not. Birds from categories C and D were further reviewed by Leven and Corlett (2004) as listed in Appendix 1.1. The House Crow Corvus splendens was added to the established list as it reached a population size of 200-250 in 2003 (Advisory Council on the Environment Nature Conservation Subcommittee 2006) and has been breeding in Hong Kong, especially Kowloon (Dudgeon & Corlett 2004; Viney et al. 2005). Nineteen out of 41 species established as breeding birds in Hong Kong since 1860 were regarded as established through human agency. All, except the House Crow which probably arrived on ships, possibly invaded Hong Kong by means of cage birds, including small-scale escapes and large-scale deliberate religious releases (Leven & Corlett 2004). The White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata was regarded as colonizing Hong Kong without direct human agency. It is, however, widely traded and the breeding population may have been reinforced by released birds. Religious releases may be responsible for most of these establishments as escapes of cage-birds or releases of unwanted pets usually involve too few individuals to establish a breeding population (Dudgeon & Corlett 2004).

17

1.5 Research aims

Religious bird-release is a common and widespread practice in much of Asia which originated from a kind intention. However, the practice had become ritualized and commercialized which poses harm to the birds, the ecosystem and even people. Although the practice is widespread and potentially harmful, only a handful of studies (mostly from Taiwan) have been dedicated to religious release (Chen 1995; Severinghaus & Chi 1999; Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan 2004). Hong Kong, with a substantial influence from Buddhism and related traditional religions, is known to be the site of religious releases. There is no legislation, whatsoever, governing the release of animals in Hong Kong, not even in Country Parks and other protected areas. A total of 18 exotic species have already been established in Hong Kong as a probable result of the religious release (Leven & Corlett 2004). The problem is too huge to be ignored. This study, therefore, aims to look at the numbers and species of birds being released from both the supply side (the market) and the demand side (the releasers), as well as at the health condition of the birds for release and their fate after release. For the supply side, the records of birds imported into and exported out of Hong Kong kept by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) were examined (Chapter 2). Since these records does not take into account many imports, I also surveyed the number and species of birds on sale to obtain a more complete picture of the bird trade in Hong Kong (Chapter 3). For the demand side (Chapter 4), I carried out a telephone questionnaire survey of religious organizations in Hong Kong to collect information on their release practices. Other aspects of the release were investigated through collecting release sightings, joining releases, and interviewing releasers. The health 18

condition of birds sold for release was assessed by carrying out physical examination and H5N1 avian influenza virus testing of birds purchased from bird shops (Chapter 5). In order to assess the fate of birds after release, I employed radio telemetry to look at the survival of birds sold for release and cause of death (Chapter 6).

19

Appendix 1.1 Species that have become established in Hong Kong since 1860 through human agency (Leven & Corlett 2004). Common name

Species name

First record

Possible reasons for invasion

Rock Pigeon

Columba livia

Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea

Poorly documented;

Released birds and/or

present by 1953

farmed birds

1960s

Released birds (extralimital species)

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Psittacula krameri

1903-1913

Released birds (extralimital species)

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Pycnonotus jocosus

Apparently not present in Probably human agency 1860; common in 1904

(not necessarily in Hong Kong)

Streak-breasted

Pomatorhinus

Single record in 1949,

Released birds but

Scimitar Babbler

ruficollis

1978; rapid spread since

facilitated by availability of

1986

suitable habitat

1985

Released birds but

Rufous-capped Babbler

Stachyris ruficeps

facilitated by availability of suitable habitat Chinese Babax

Babax lanceolatus

1959

Released birds

Greater-necklaced

Garrulax pectoralis

1969

Released birds but

Laughingthrush

facilitated by availability of suitable habitat

Black-throated

Garrulax chinensis

Laughingthrush

1913; not recorded again Released birds; recent until 1950s

spread facilitated by availability of suitable habitat?

White-browed

Garrulax sannio

1941

Released birds

Leiothrix argentauris

One record in 1970;

Released birds

many from 1987

(extralimital species)

Laughingthrush Silver-eared Mesia

Red-billed Leiothrix

Leiothrix lutea

1913

Released birds

Blue-winged Minla

Minla cyanouroptera

1992

Released birds (extralimital species)

Vinous-throated

Paradoxornis

Parrotbill

webbianus

1971

Released birds

Cont.

20

Appendix 1.1 Cont. Common name

Species name

First record

Possible reasons for invasion

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis

1989

Released birds

Yellow-cheeked Tit

Parus spilonotus

1988

Released birds

Baya Weaver

Ploceus philippinus

1993

Released birds (extralimital species)

Common Myna

Acridotheres tristis

1952

Released birds (extralimital species)

House Crow

Corvus splendens

1974

Probably ship-assisted (extralimital species)

21

Appendix 1.2 List of birds belonging to Category E of the Avifauna of Hong Kong (Carey et al. 2001) – species for which all published Hong Kong records are considered likely to relate to birds that have escaped or have been released from captivity. “*” Species observed in the pet bird trade between October 2004 and September 2005 (Chapter 3). Wood Duck Aix sponsa, Chukar Alectoris chukar, Chinese Bamboo Partridge Bambusicola thoracica and House Crow Corvus splendens are listed in Category E but are not included in this list as their occurrence in Hong Kong is not related to the cage-bird trade. All information is from Carey et al. (2001). Common name Species name First No. of records Natural Range Records of trade in Hong Kong recorded in Carey et al. (2001) Swan goose Anser cygnoides 1985 2 Northeast China to Kazakhstan, winters along Yangtze Valley Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis 1992 1 Holarctic Silver Pheasant

Lophura nycthemera

1961

Common Pheasant

Phasianus colchicus

1861

Purple Swamp-hen

Porphyrio porphyrio

1988

Irregularly reported from 1988-1998, 2-3 individuals involved

Traded in small numbers and is Mediterranean, east through apparently kept as a collection bird the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to Indochina, and south to in a number of places southeast Asia, Indonesia and Australasia

1992 1959 1992 1993

6 Escaped or released birds frequently recorded 2 1

Lesser Sundas Wallacea southwards to southeastern Australia Northern Moluccas Irian Jaya to Queensland

1996

1

Southern Moluccas

1995 1988 1979

1 3 records of 1 or 2 individuals 2

Northern Moluccas Tanimbar Islands of Indonesia Australia

Red Lory* Rainbow Lorikeet*

Eos bornea Trichoglossus haematodus Chattering Lory* Lorius garrulus Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus Salmon-crested Cockatoo Cacatua moluccensis White Cockatoo* Cacatua alba Goffin's Cockatoo* Cacatua goffini Cockatiel* Nymphicus hollandicus Cont.

One substantiated record of a live bird Occasionally reported

Southern coastal and southwest China

Occasionally traded in bird shops

From Central Asia east to China

22

Appendix 1.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

Eclectus Parrot*

Eclectus roratus

Budgerigar* Rosy-faced Lovebird*

Melopsittacus undulatus Agapornis roseicollis 1983

Widespread and regularly reported 1

Fischer's Lovebird*

Agapornis fischeri

1980

4

South Angola to Northwest Cape Province of South Africa Tanzania

Alexandrine Parakeet*

Psittacula eupatria

1979

Irregularly reported

Indian subcontinent and Indochina

Blossom-headed Parakeet Psittacula roseata

1979

1

Red-breasted Parakeet

Psittacula alexandri

1953

Occasionally reported

West Bengal east to Myanmar and Indochina Southern Himalayas east to Indochina

Mealy Amazon*

Amazona farinosa

1998

1

Central America south to eastern Brazil

Asian Emerald Cockoo

1978

2

1988

1

Barn owl

Chrysococcyx maculatus Phaenicophaeus tristis Tyto alba

1997

1

Blue-throated Barbet

Megalaima asiatica

1997

1

Himalayas east to southern China and south to Malay peninsula Southwest China as far east as western Guangdong Europe, Africa, India to Indochina and southwest China in western Guangxi Himalayas, northern Thailand and Indochina to southwest China east to western Guangxi

Green-billed Malkoha

First No. of records recorded 1985 2

Natural Range Moluccas and Lesser Sundas to Queensland Australia

Records of trade in Hong Kong in Carey et al. (2001)

Commonly kept cage-bird; mass releases have been noted

Records refer to released or escaped cage-birds

Had been noted in the bird shops on several occasions

Cont.

23

Appendix 1.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Dendrocopos major

First No. of records recorded 1978 4

Eastern Bushlark

Mirafra javanica

1991

1

Crested Lark

Galerida cristata

1990

Horned Lark

Eremophila alpestris

Collared Finchbill* Brown-breasted Bulbul

Natural Range

Records of trade in Hong Kong in Carey et al. (2001)

From Europe to Japan south to north Africa, central Asia, northwest China; in the eastern part of its range, it extends south through China to Indochina, Myanmar and Assam

1

Africa, India, southern China, Borneo, Java, Philippines and Australia Eurasia to northern and northwest China

Larks are frequently traded in Hong Kong Larks in general are heavily traded and appeared in substantial numbers in the bird shops

1985

1

Eurasia to northern and northwest China

Larks in general are heavily traded and appeared in substantial numbers in the bird shops

Spizixos semitorques

1988

5

Central and southern China

Pycnonotus xanthorrous

1990

9

Myanmar, Thailand and much of China south of the Yellow River

Over 100 were released in Kowloon Hill One trapped had badly damaged feet, may have been held in captivity at some point

Pycnonotus goiavier Chloropsis cochinchinensis Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons Burmese Strike Lanius collurioides

1987 1991

1 11

Tropical Asia Southwest Yunnan into southeast Asia

1966 1988

12 2

Bohemian Waxwing

1987

2

Southwest Yunnan into southeast Asia Assam, southern China, including Guangdong Northern Palearctic, wintering as far south as northern Fujian

Yellow-vented Bulbul Blue-winged Leafbird

Bombycilla garrulus

A number of birds were noted in the bird trade in 1988 This species is traded in Hong Kong

Cont.

24

Appendix 1.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

White-rumped Shama*

Copsychus malabaricus Phoenicurus frontalis 1997

Blue-fronted Redstart

White-capped Redstart

First No. of records recorded 1995 2

Natural Range India to southwest China

1

Northern Indian subcontinent to southeast Tibet, and northeast to Qinghai and south to western Guangxi

1974

2

Himalayas

White-tailed Robin

Chaimarrornis leucocephalus Cinclidium leucurum

1990

2

Southwest China

Pied Bushchat*

Saxicola caprata

1976

Occasional and widespread records 1

Philippines, Indonesia and southwest China in Yunnan and southeast Tibet Southeast Asia to southern China

Chestnut-capped Babbler Timalia pileata

1993

Yellow-eyed Babbler White-throated Laughingthrush Moustached Laughingthrush

Chrysomma sinense 1991 Garrulax albogularis 1992

1 1

West Pakistan to southern China Northwest Himalayas to southwest China

Garrulax cineraceus

1978

3

Assam to the southern part of China

Rusty Laughingthrush

Garrulax poecilorynchus Garrulax elliotii Garrulax formosus Garrulax milnei

1982

1

1997 1993

1 5

1987

1

China south of the Yangtze, excluding Guangdong Southwest China Yunnan and Sichuan, possibly western Guangxi of China Indochina, Thailand and China south of the Yangtze

Elliot's Laughingthrush Red-winged Laughingthrush* Red-tailed Laughingthrush Cont.

Records of trade in Hong Kong in Carey et al. (2001)

Males of this species are heavily trapped in China for the bird trade One trapped male showed obvious signs of cage damage All records have involved singles, almost exclusively male

One showed clear signs of captivity; a flock of at least 10 included birds in very bad condition

25

Appendix 1.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

Red-faced Liocichla

Liocichla phoenicea

First No. of records recorded 1990 1

Red-tailed Minla Grey-cheeked Fulvetta*

Minla ignotincta Alcippe morrisonia

1989 1984

White-collared Yuhina*

Yuhina diademata

1990

Ashy-throated Parrotbill Grey-headed Parrotbill

Paradoxornis 1995 alphonsianus Paradoxornis gularis 1977

Small Niltava* Vivid Niltava*

Niltava macgrigoriae 1986 Niltava vivida 1995

Irregularly and rarely recorded Sikkim to China south of the Yangtze, Regularly seen in Hong Kong bird including Hainan shops 2 Himalayas to southwest China 1 N.v. oatesi from the Himalayas to southwest China; nominate taxon endemic to Taiwan

Hill Blue Flycatcher* White-throated Fantail* Long-tailed Tit

Cyornis banyumas Rhipidura albicollis Aegithalos caudatus

3 1 2

Black-throated Tit

Aegithalos concinnus 1976

Marsh Tit Coal Tit Green-backed Tit

Parus palustris Parus ater Parus monticolus

1990 1989 1989

1989 1988 1995

Natural Range

Records of trade in Hong Kong in Carey et al. (2001)

4 Regularly though scarcely recorded each year 1

Himalayas, southeast Asia, and southwest China in Yunnan Nepal to southwest China Myanmar, northern Thailand north to Regularly noted in the bird trade much of China south of the Yellow River West China, Myanmar to southwest China At least 14 birds in very poor condition had obviously been released from captivity

1

Sichuan

Himalayas east to southwest China West Pakistan to southern China Eurasia, including northern and central China Recorded annually, though has Extends from the western Himalayas declined in recent years through Myanmar and Indochina to central and southern China

1 2 2

Eurasia, including northern China Eurasia, including northern China Himalayas to western and southwest China

Cont. 26

Appendix 1.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

Eurasian Nuthatch

Sitta europaea

First No. of records recorded 1988 1

Natural Range

Mrs Gould's Sunbird*

Aethopyga gouldiae

1988

3

Black-throated Sunbird

Aethopyga saturata

1992

1

Blue-faced Honeyeater Pine Bunting

Entomyzon cyanotis Emberiza leucocephala

1994 1990

1 1

Rock Bunting

Emberiza cia

1986

1

Northwest Africa and southern Europe east to Central Asia, Himalayas and northwest China in the Tian Shan mountains

Meadow Bunting

Emberiza cioides

1990

21

Breeds from central Asia and southern Siberia east to Ussuriland and Japan and south through central and eastern China

Red-crested Cardinal Paroaria coronata Yellow-fronted Canary* Serinus mozambicus

1982

2 Regularly reported

Northern South America Central and southern Africa

European Goldfinch*

Carduelis carduelis

1990

1

Twite

Carduelis flavirostris 1996

1

Western Palearctic east to northwest China Northwest Europe, central and eastern Asia, extending to China as far east as northwest Sichuan and southwest Gansu

Eurasia, including southwest, southern and eastern China, though not southern Guangdong

Records of trade in Hong Kong in Carey et al. (2001) The bird showed plumage damage

Himalayas to southwest China and 2 birds showed feather damage southeast Asia suggesting captive origin Southeast Asia, Himalayas and southwest China Australia and New Guinea Breeds Siberia and northeast Qinghai and adjacent Gansu, and winters in the Himalayas and parts of northeast and northern China

This is a very common cage-bird in Hong Kong

Cont. 27

Appendix 1.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

Pallas's Rosefinch

Carpodocus roseus

Hawfinch

Coccothraustes coccothraustes

First No. of records recorded 1989 1

Records of trade in Hong Kong in Carey et al. (2001) Central Siberia to Sakhalin, winters in Several were present in bird shops northern China as far south as the Yangtze around that date

1976

Europe east through central Asia to the Himalayas and eastern Asia

3

Natural Range

Orange-cheeked Waxbill Estrilda melpoda 1978 Black-rumped Waxbill Estrilda troglodytes 1979 Red Avadavat* Amandava amandava 1953

1 West central Africa 1 Central Africa Now rarely reported, previously Indian subcontinent and Indochina and more common southwest China in southern Yunnan and possibly western Guangxi

Tricoloured Munia

Lonchura malacca

1959

White-headed Munia

Lonchura maja

1958

Java Sparrow*

Padda oryzivora

1861

26; rarely reported, mainly at Mai Po 8; previously irregularly reported, but none since 1989 Reported irregularly

Pin-tailed Whydah*

Vidua macroura

1987

2

House Sparrow*

Passer domesticus

1994

1

Streaked Weaver

Ploceus manyar

1997

1

Heavily trapped in China, though apparently much less highly valued than Eophona species, and occurs in bird markets in Hong Kong

India Peninsula Thailand and Malaysia, Sumatra, Java and Bali Java and Bali

A popular cage-bird species; a flock of about 150 seen near Shek Kong on Feb 1967

Senegal to Ethiopia and Cape Province of South Africa Holarctic and Oriental, extending to China in western Tibet, Xinjiang, Heilongjiang and eastern Inner Mongolia Indian subcontinent, Java, Bali and possibly Yunnan in southwest China

Cont. 28

Appendix 1.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

Golden Bishop

Euplectes afer

First No. of records recorded 1984 Escaped or released birds frequently recorded at Mai Po during 1984 to 1991

Asian Pied Starling

Sturnus contra

1981

7

Natural Range Sub-Saharan Africa

Vinous-breasted Starling Sturnus burmannicus 1976

Reported irregularly

Black-winged Starling

Sturnus melanopterus 1989

1

India to Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, and Yunnan in southwest China Myanmar, Thailand and Indochina and western Yunnan in southwest China Java and Bali

Bank Myna

1982

5

Northern Indian subcontinent

Jungle Myna

Acridotheres ginginianus Acridotheres fuscus

1990

2

White-vented Myna*

Acridotheres cinereus 1970

Hill Myna*

Gracula religiosa

Black-hooded Oriole

Oriolus xanthornus

1994

1

Green Jay Azure-winged Magpie*

Cyanocorax yncas Cyanopica cyanus

1990 1975

9 Now very scarce, though previously regularly reported on Hong Kong Island

India east to Myanmar, Malaysia and peninsula Thailand East Pakistan to southwest China in Yunnan and western Guangxi India, the Sundas, Palawan and southwest China India, southeast Asia and southwest China in western Yunnan Central America Northern and eastern China, Portugal

Scarcely though regularly reported Widespread and scarce

Records of trade in Hong Kong in Carey et al. (2001)

29

Chapter 2 Official Records of Bird Trade in Hong Kong

2.1

Introduction

2.1.1

Animal trade legislation in the Hong Kong Special

Administrative Region

2.1.1.1 Domestic legislation

Under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, Cap. 170, all wild birds, nests and eggs in Hong Kong are protected from hunting, willful disturbance, buying, selling or exportation unless in accordance with a special permit which is usually only given for scientific research. Therefore, although a small amount of illegal trapping still occurs now and then, almost all birds sold in Hong Kong are imported from other countries. The animal trade in Hong Kong is regulated by the Public Health (Animals and Birds) Ordinance, Cap. 139 (PHO). According to Regulation 1 of the ordinance, a permit granted by the senior veterinary officer is required for any animals or birds brought into Hong Kong via vessel or aircraft. However, this permit is not required for animals or birds imported into Hong Kong via vehicles. Regulation 7A states that: “No person shall bring, or cause to be brought, into the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from any place outside the HKSAR any bird unless it is accompanied by a valid health certificate…… The health certificate shall be produced on demand to 30

the Director or any person authorized by him.” In this respect, animals or birds brought into Hong Kong from mainland China by road require a health certificate which needs to be produced only on demand. In contrast, birds imported for food are more strictly regulated in respect of import as stated in Regulation 7B of the PHO that: “(1) No bird intended to be slaughtered for food shall be brought into Hong Kong otherwise than through the relevant designated point of entry specified in Schedule 5. (2) No water bird intended to be slaughtered for food shall be brought into Hong Kong unless it is carried in or on a vehicle, vessel or an aircraft in or on which no bird other than a water bird is carried at the same time. (2A) No quail intended to be slaughtered for food shall be brought into Hong Kong unless(a) it is carried in or on a vehicle, a vessel or an aircraft; and (b) no other bird (other than a quail) is carried in or on the vehicle, vessel or aircraft at the same time. (3) No bird which is brought into Hong Kong for the purpose of being slaughtered for food shall be removed from the relevant designated point of entry except with the permission of the senior veterinary officer.” The designated point of entry specified in Schedule 5 included the Man Kam To Control Point for those transported by land; the piers at Western Wholesale Food Market (for waterfowl) and Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Food Market (for non-waterfowl) for those by sea; and the Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok for those by air. 31

According to the PHO, the health certificate, signed by a duly qualified veterinary surgeon recognized by the local authority of the country of origin of the animals not more than five days before the departure from that country, should certify that: “(a) the bird or birds: (1) shows or show no clinical signs of disease; (2) has or have not been kept at premises or at a farm or other establishment where there is serological or virological evidence of H5 avian influenza virus infection having occurred within the 180 days immediately preceding the day on which the health certificate was issued; and (3) has or have been segregated from other birds for the five days immediately preceding the day on which the health certificate was issued; and (b) the bird or birds, or a sample of birds forming such portion of all birds covered by the certificate as may be acceptable to the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, was or were subjected to a diagnostic test for H5 avian influenza within the five days immediately preceding the day on which the health certificate was issued with negative results.” While the health certificate requirement listed in the Public Health (Animals and Birds) Regulations gives a five-day segregation period, the requirement listed in the “Permit Terms for Importation/Transhipment of Pet Birds” from the AFCD website (http://www.afcd.gov.hk/english/quarantine/qua_ie/qua_ie_ipab/ qua_ie_ipab_ibpo/files/terms_birds.pdf) requires a 14-day segregation period instead. In addition, it also requires the testing for the H7 avian influenza virus 32

and the West Nile Virus (unless the birds have not been within 100 km of a reported case of West Nile Virus in the 180 days preceding export, which will usually be the case). Moreover, any person in possession of any birds should observe and make himself/herself acquainted with the health condition of the birds. No person shall knowingly bring into Hong Kong any birds suffering from disease. According to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) (2005a), all recorded pet birds imported from China are from two registered pet bird farms in Guangdong Province. These two farms are inspected and monitored by the Guangdong Veterinary Authority, and inspected from time to time by the AFCD officers (M. Yeung, personal communication). The AFCD will be notified upon arrival of the birds from these two farms at the Hong Kong import control point. They will then inspect the health condition, animal welfare standards, and health certificates of the imported birds. All birds imported from China should be, in theory, captive-bred in nature. The conditions under which birds are kept in Hong Kong are governed by the PHO and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance. Regulations on enclosure environment, cleanliness of the enclosure, light sufficiency, animal safety, and food and water supplied are listed in these two ordinances. In addition, birds transported by air must be carried and caged in accordance with the current Live Animals Regulations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which specifies the minimum requirements for the international transport of animals and indicates what precautions airlines and traders should take during transport (Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) 2005b). In view of the source of birds from China, and all the importation requirements and guidelines, birds imported into Hong Kong should theoretically be kept and 33

transported under suitable housing condition; in good physical condition; and with no clinical signs of disease. There is currently no legislation governing the export of birds from Hong Kong. The only available record of birds exported out of Hong Kong is the health certificate issued by the veterinary officer from the AFCD if the countries of import require one. Therefore, the species and numbers of birds exported out of Hong Kong and their destinations are largely unknown. For birds of global conservation concern (as recognized in CITES – see section 2.1.1.2), import, possession and export are regulated under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, Cap. 586 (PEAPO). Under this ordinance, no person shall import, export or be in possession of any live animals listed in Appendices I, II and III of the ordinance except in accordance with a licence issued by the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, or a Convention certifying document or certificate in lieu issued by a relevant authority of the exporting country in respect of that specimen.

2.1.1.2 International conventions

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments aimed at ensuring the international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. It was first enforced in 1975 and currently has 169 contracting parties (The CITES Secretariat 2006f). It is enforced by the AFCD with legislation power given by the PEAPO. Appendices I, II and III of the Ordinance list the species in Appendices I, II and III of the CITES. The border between Hong Kong and the rest of China is treated as an international 34

border for the purpose of CITES.

2.1.2

Animal trade legislation in the People’s Republic of China

2.1.2.1 Domestic legislation

The trade in wildlife between China and neighboring countries through the Silk Road dates back at least to the West Han Dynasty when China exported furs and medicines, and imported ivory, rhinoceros horns and rare animals (Li et al. 2000). The first wildlife conservation laws appeared in the Xia Dynasty, and continued to develop throughout later dynasties (Zhang 1992). In terms of modern regulations and laws, regulations protecting rare animal and plant species were put into effect as early as 1950 (Watters & Xi 2002). The promulgation of the China Wildlife Protection Law (CWPL) in 1989 marks the first comprehensive legislation specifically for the protection of wild animals in modern China. The CWPL is based on the constitution and the Environmental Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China, which is the current comprehensive environmental basic law (Li & Li 2004). A list of Animals under the State’s Special Protection (ASSP), with two categories of protected species, was included in the CWPL (Li et al. 2000). This law prohibits the hunting of wildlife without government permission, and states that those who hunt and export species on the ASSP list will be prosecuted. At the same time, the Supplementary Regulation regarding Penalties for Hunting and Killing Rare and Endangered Species, which amended the Criminal Law in accordance with the new CWPL, was passed by the National People’s Congress. The State Council and other national level government agencies also issued a number of related 35

policies and regulations to support the implementation of the CWPL. These are more detailed and some practical issues specific to the locality related to the enforcement of wildlife conservation laws are addressed (Zhang 1992; Li & Li 2004). The most significant of these documents supporting the implementation of the CWPL is the Terrestrial Wildlife Protection Implementation Act (TWPIA) issued by the Ministry of Forestry in 1992. According to the TWPIA, hunting and/or trapping, killing and selling of animals listed on ASSP is strictly prohibited except with a permit for scientific, educational or other special purposes. The hunting and/or trapping of animals which are not listed in ASSP requires a permit issued by local level forestry departments. The species, quantity, location, time period, and methods for hunting and/or trapping should be specified in the permit. These local government departments are also responsible for managing and setting regulations for the hunting of non-ASSP species. The TWPIA regulates the export and sale of ASSP species. The TWPIA states that non-ASSP species can only be sold after registration at the relevant commerce department, within the quotas set by the provincial forestry department and at designated markets or to approved units. However, regulation regarding the export of non-ASSP species is not specified in the TWPIA. The CWPL is complemented by a number of other laws and regulations such as the Criminal Law which makes poaching a criminal offence, the Grasslands Law which protects birds and other animals that prey on pests, and the Fishery Law (Zhang 1992; Li & Li 2004). Local governments in various provinces and prefectures have established regulations according to local circumstances, and some townships and villages even have created their own informal conservation rules based on community needs or tradition (Zhang 36

1992). Scholars examining wildlife trade and wildlife conservation in China have identified some problems in policy and law in these areas and their implementation. First of all, some have pointed out flaws in the existing laws and policies. Some feel that the regulations are not detailed enough, are based on outdated lists of protected species, are too weak in terms of penalties for offences, have limited power to control international smuggling, do not deal with foreign hunters and traders, and are difficult to implement (Wang 1998; Li et al. 2000). Secondly, scholars have also observed that laws and policies are not always fully enforced (Wang 1998; Li et al. 2000). Li and Li (1998) noted that species which are prohibited in trade to China are mixed in with species which are permitted to brought into China. Thirdly, differences between wildlife trade laws and regulations in China and that of other countries also affect the effectiveness of national laws for controlling international trade in wildlife (Li et al. 2000).

2.1.2.2 International conventions

China has been a member of CITES since 1981 (The CITES Secretariat 2006d). Any international trade of the species listed in the CITES Appendices I and II requires a licence. This convention is put into power by the TWPIA, under which the Appendix species can only be exported by authorized organizations with the auditing of the provincial forestry department and permission from the State Council.

2.1.3

Chapter objectives

37

In this chapter, the official statistics of birds imported into and exported out of Hong Kong are examined determine at the trade pattern over the years. The trade data in 2005 will later be compared with the bird market survey data from Chapter 3 in Chapter 7 to look at the differences between the two. Mortality during transit of birds arriving Hong Kong in 2004 and 2005 will also be discussed.

2.2 Methods

The bird trade in Hong Kong prior to the year 2000 was reviewed by looking at the literature available from the 1860s to 1990s. For the bird trade from 2000 onwards, official trade statistics of birds (for non-food purposes) imported into and exported out of Hong Kong for 2004 and 2005 were obtained from the AFCD. Species of birds traded, numbers of each species, origin (import) or destination (export) were included in the data. Under Regulation 14 of the Public Health (Animal and Birds) Regulations, a certificate, signed by the master of the vessel or the commander of the aircraft, stating the number and cause of death of animals (if any) may be required for importation of animals into Hong Kong. Such information for the year 2004 and 2005 was also obtained from the AFCD.

2.3 Results

2.3.1

Bird trade before the 1970s

The earliest known record of bird trade in Hong Kong was from the British

38

ornithologist R. Swinhoe (Swinhoe 1864,

1865). The Black-throated

Laughingthrush Garrulax chinensis (Swinhoe 1864), the Red-billed Blue Magpie Urocissa erythrorhyncha and abundant Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea (Swinhoe 1865) were recorded on sale in the bird shops in Hong Kong in the 1860s. Although these were the only traded species mentioned, he commented that “I could send a fine collection of so-called Chinese birds, if I only had an agent at Hong Kong or Canton to watch the bird shops”, revealing the diversity of the bird trade in Hong Kong in those days (Swinhoe 1862). About a century later, Anderson (1966) recorded the sales of francolins, snipes, quails, waterhens, rails and ducks for food; bulbuls, kingfishers and other small birds as cage birds; and herons, nightjars, owls and hawks for medicinal use in the marketplace of San Hui, New Territories. Some of the birds were illegally caught from Hong Kong, while some were brought in from China.

2.3.2

Bird trade between the 1970s and 1990s

Bird trade records from the 1970s onwards are more readily available from market surveys, interviews and government statistics. However, records supplied by the government were far from complete since imports from China were almost unregulated. As a result, the volume of birds imported from China and those sold in Hong Kong could only be estimated, which is still a major problem in quantifying the bird trade in Hong Kong today. Tens of thousands of birds (34,750-94,293), with irregular annual fluctuations, were reported imported into Hong Kong from countries other than China over the years (Table 2.1). Indonesia remained the largest reported source of exports to Hong Kong (except China) in 1979, and the early 1990s (Melville 39

1982, 1994; Lau et al. 1997). However, far more birds were imported from China. The Agriculture and Fisheries Department figure quoted by M. A. Webster indicated a total of 695,000 birds were reported to be imported to Hong Kong in 1975, with 95% of which came from China (Inskipp & Thomas 1976). Melville (1982) calculated the absolute minimum number of birds imported from China in 1979, by comparing the differences between the numbers of exports and imports, to be 541,315. He further estimated the total numbers (including those for food) to be at least 1,000,000 and 750,000-1,000,000 annually in 1979 and 1990-1992 respectively (Melville 1982, 1994). Lau et al. (1997) pointed out that the species imported and exported showed limited overlapping in their study and concluded that the majority of birds (re)exported from Hong Kong originated from China. In terms of exports, information from the health certificates issued for the importing countries reveals that between 424,783-614,248 birds were transported out of Hong Kong in a year between 1975 and 1994 (Table 2.1). The slight decrease in the number of birds (re)exported from Hong Kong from 1979 to the early 1990s was probably due to the increase in the direct export of birds from China (Nash 1993). Nash (1993) estimated that the number of birds sold in Hong Kong was at least 100,000 a year. Dick et al. (1993) surveyed the Bird Street (the former Yuen Po Street Bird Garden) – the largest bird market in Hong Kong - on 1st December, 1992 and recorded a total of 6,325 birds from 104 species. A bird market survey carried out by Lau et al. (1997) from November 1993 to October 1994 estimated an average of 5,579 birds for sale in the Bird Street at any one time. The trade in birds of prey was prominent before it was banned in November 1976 (Webster 1977). A total of 2,073 owls and 223 other birds of prey, and 9,486 owls and 7,075 others were reported to be sold in Hong Kong in 1974 and 40

1975 respectively. The increase in number between the two years was probably due to the increased accuracy in recording. Buzzard Buteo buteo, Black Kite Milvus migrans, Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca, Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo, Collared Scops Owl Otus lettia, and Eagle Owl Bubo bubo were traded in relatively large numbers (>300) in the early 1970s (Webster 1975a). Tight control has been enforced since the ban was enacted, resulting in the cessation of the trade (Anon. 1979). For passerines, the Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis, Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata, and flycatchers remained the long-term favourites (Melville 1982; Nash 1993; Lau et al. 1997). Munias Lonchura species, Japanese White-eyes Zosterops japonica, African finches Serinus species, and parrots were also commonly for sale in Hong Kong (Webster 1975b, a; Melville 1982; Dick et al. 1993; Lau et al. 1997). Although there is no specific mention of birds for release, there is too little information to conclude that the religious release was less important then. The data is all derived from either anecdotal market surveys or the trade statistics from the government which did not include species imported from China via vehicle, and therefore, did not represent the complete picture of species traded in Hong Kong in those days. Apart from being kept as pets, birds imported into Hong Kong were also for consumption as food and/or medicinal purposes, religious release, bird fighting, as well as a small number of aviculture collections (Webster 1975b; Rocha 1976; Melville 1982; Carey et al. 2001).

2.3.3

Bird trade in the 2000s

According to the trade statistics, a total of 88,476 birds from 76 species and 41

120,032 birds from 71 species were imported into Hong Kong in 2004 and 2005 respectively (Table 2.2). Birds were transported into Hong Kong either by air (14,095 birds for 2004 and 9,787 birds for 2005) or by ship (74,381 birds for 2004 and 110,245 birds for 2005). All birds transported into Hong Kong by ship were from China. No bird was reported to be imported into Hong Kong via vehicle in either year according to the AFCD. Birds imported were for business (birds for sale in Hong Kong or re-export imported by importers holding a valid “Animal Trading Licence”), pets (birds imported by person without the “Animal Trading Licence” – the pet owners), racing, or zoo, with those for business making up the largest proportion (87,779 birds in 2004 and 119,446 birds in 2005). Sixty-five species imported into Hong Kong were listed in the CITES appendices in 2004 (seven in appendix I and 58 in appendix II); while 58 species (all from appendix II) were listed in 2005 (Table 2.2). All of the 58 listed species from 2005 and 62 of the 65 species from 2004 were parrots. According to the 2006 IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, five of the species imported in 2004 are critically endangered, two are endangered, three are vulnerable and three are near threatened; while in 2005 one species is critically endangered, eight are endangered, five are vulnerable and three are near threatened. Only four species (Edward's Pheasant Lophura edwardsi, Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon, Zebra Finch Poephila guttata and Gouldian Finch Chloebia gouldiae) listed in the Red List were not parrots in both years. The Zebra Finch and Gouldian Finch are believed to be captive-bred as they were imported from China. China was the largest exporting country in both years, representing 84% and 92% of all the birds imported in 2004 and 2005 respectively (Table 2.3). This 42

was followed by Mozambique and Malaysia in 2004, and Mozambique and Belgium in 2005. From the available bird export statistics, 65 birds were exported to six countries in 2004 and 35 birds were exported to six different countries in 2005 (Table 2.4). Export information was not representative and was not clearly recorded because bird export is not controlled under the current Hong Kong legislation.

2.3.4

Mortality during transport in 2004 and 2005

According to the official figure from the AFCD, there were no reports of death of birds from the masters of the vessels or the commanders of the aircraft in 2004 and 2005.

43

Table 2.1 Number of birds (for non-food purposes) imported into Hong Kong (excluding those from China) and exported out of Hong Kong in 1975-1994. Year

Import

Export

1975

1

34,750

-

1979

2

72,933

614,248

1990

3

94,293

489,960

1991

3

34,896

525,214

1992

3

68,816

424,783

41,106

473,989

Nov 1993-Oct 19944 “-” Data not available. 1

Source from Inskipp and Thomas (1976).

2

Source from Melville (1982).

3

Source from Melville (1994).

4

Source from Lau et al. (1997).

44

Table 2.2 Official bird (for non-food purposes) import statistics for 2004 and 2005 (obtained from AFCD). “IUCN” refers to the 2006 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List of Threatened Species1; “CITES” refers to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora2. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Purpose3 Number Imported from

Imported from

of birds

Purpose3

of birds

Family Phasianidae Blue-breasted Quail

Coturnix chinensis

Edward's Pheasant

Lophura edwardsi

3,750

China

business

EN

6,100

China

business

4

Portugal

zoo

3

Australia

zoo

Belgium, Germany, USA

racing

2

The Netherlands

zoo

1

Taiwan

pet

Family Pelecanidae Australian Pelican

Pelecanus conspicillatus

Family Columbidae Rock Pigeon

Columba livia

662

Belgium,

South

Africa, pet

541

Thailand, The Netherlands, U.K., USA Pigeon species

Columba species

Southern

Goura scheepmakeri

10 II

U.K.

racing

Crowned-pigeon Spotted Dove

Streptopelia chinensis

Cont.

45

Table 2.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Purpose3 Number Imported from

Imported from

of birds

Purpose3

of birds

Family Psittacidae Fischer's Lovebird

Agapornis fischeri

Peach-faced Lovebird

Agapornis roseicollis

Blue-fronted Amazon

Amazona aestiva

NT

II

II

8

The Netherlands

business

12

The Netherlands

business

3

Ivory Coast, Philippines,

business

146

123

South

Africa,

Taiwan, USA

pet

Guinea, Ivory Coast,

business

Mozambique, Philippines

The

Netherlands White-fronted Amazon Amazona albifrons

II

Orange-winged

7

Ivory Coast, Philippines

business

II

1

U.K.

pet

Yellow-naped Amazon Amazona auropalliata

II

8

Guinea

business

Yellow-cheeked

Amazona autumnalis

II

9

Mealy Amazon

Amazona farinosa

II

Yellow-crowned

Amazona ochrocephala

II

Amazona amazonica

11

Philippines, South Africa

business

Amazon

South Africa

business

18

Ivory Coast, Philippines

business

48

Guyana, South Africa

business

19

Guinea, Ivory Coast

business

79

Guyana, Philippines, South business

57

Guinea,

Amazon

Amazon

Africa, The Netherlands

Ivory

Cost, business

Philippines

Cont.

46

Table 2.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Imported from

Purpose3 Number Imported from

of birds Yellow-headed

Amazona oratrix

EN

Purpose3

of birds

II

11

Canada, Guinea

Amazon

pet (1) business (10)

Hyacinth Macaw

Anodorhynchus

EN

I

3

Philippines

hyacinthinus

pet (2)

5

Philippines

pet

4

Philippines

pet

Guinea, Ivory Coast,

pet (2)

business (1)

Great Green Macaw

Ara ambigua

Blue-and-yellow

Ara ararauna

EN

I

3

II

54

Macaw

Philippines

pet

Guyana, Ivory Coast,

business

109

Philippines, South Africa

Philippines, Taiwan, U.K. business (107)

Green-winged Macaw

Ara chloropterus

II

29

Guyana, South Africa

business

21

Guinea, Ivory Coast,

business

Philippines Scarlet Macaw

Ara macao

I

3

Philippines

pet (2)

2

Philippines

pet

2

Philippines

pet

business (1) Military Macaw

Ara militaris

VU

I

1

Philippines

pet

Cont.

47

Table 2.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Imported from

Purpose3 Number Imported from

of birds Red-shouldered Macaw Ara nobilis

II

37

of birds Guyana, Ivory Coast,

business

45

Philippines Red-fronted Macaw

Ara rubrogenys

Chestnut-fronted

Ara severus

EN

2 5

Philippines, South Africa

Philippines, Guinea,

business

Ivory Coast

I II

Purpose3

business

Philippines

pet

10

Ivory Coast, Philippines

business

10

Philippines

business

4

Philippines

business

Guinea, Ivory Coast,

business

Macaw Macaw Hybrid

Ara species

Golden-capped Conure Aratinga auricapilla

VU

II

6

South Africa

business

Red-masked Conure

Aratinga erythrogenys

II

Sun Conure

Aratinga solstitialis

II

20

Ivory Coast

business

White Cockatoo

Cacatua alba

II

14

Philippines, South Africa

business

VU

48

Philippines Ducorps's Cockatoo

Cacatua ducorpsii

II

15

South Africa

business

Sulphur-crested

Cacatua galerita

II

2

South Africa

business

7

Philippines

business

Cockatoo Goffin's Cockatoo

Cacatua goffini

NT

I

2

Philippines

pet

1

Philippines

pet

Salmon-crested

Cacatua moluccensis

VU

I

1

Philippines

pet

2

Philippines

pet

Cockatoo Cont.

48

Table 2.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Imported from

Purpose3 Number Imported from

of birds Little Corella

Cacatua sanguinea

Yellow-crested

Cacatua sulphurea

of birds

II CR

I

15

Cockatoo

Purpose3

Philippines, South Africa,

business

2

Canada

pet

1

Philippines

pet

14

Guinea, Philippines

business

10

Ivory Coast

business

Ivory Coast

business

China

business

Australia, China

pet (4)

The Netherlands

Hawk-headed Parrot

Deroptyus accipitrinus

II

14

Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus roratus

II

Galah

Eolophus roseicapillus

Red Lory

Eos bornea

Chattering Lory

Lorius garrulus

Black-capped Lory

Lorius lory

Budgerigar

Melopsittacus undulatus

Orange-bellied Parrot

Neophema chrysogaster

Cockatiel

Nymphicus hollandicus

EN

Guyana

business

4

South Africa

business

II

4

South Africa

business

II

3

Ivory Coast

business

II II

12 4,220

CR

I

8 740

Ivory Coast, South Africa

business

10

China, The Netherlands

business

2,650

Philippines, South Africa

business

China

business

404

business (400) White-bellied Parrot

Pionites leucogaster

II

12

Philippines, South Africa

business

4

Philippines, USA

pet (1) business (3)

Cont.

49

Table 2.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Imported from

Purpose3 Number Imported from

of birds

Purpose3

of birds

Black-headed Parrot

Pionites melanocephala

II

60

Guyana, South Africa

business

4

Bronze-winged Parrot

Pionus chalcopterus

II

1

Dusky Parrot

Pionus fuscus

II

Blue-headed Parrot

Pionus menstruus

II

5

South Africa

business

White-crowned Parrot

Pionus senilis

II

6

South Africa

business

Pale-headed Rosella

Platycercus adscitus

II

17

South Africa

business

Eastern Rosella

Platycercus eximius

II

38

South Africa

business

Brown-headed Parrot

Poicephalus

II

Philippines

business

South Africa

business

15

Ivory Coast, Philippines

business

4

Ivory Coast

business

10

Ivory Coast

business

30

Mozambique

business

30

Guinea, Ivory Coast,

business

cryptoxanthus Jardine's Parrot

Poicephalus gulielmi

II

6

Philippines, South Africa

business

Philippines Brown-necked Parrot

Poicephalus robustus

II

12

Ivory Coast, Philippines

business

7

Guinea, Philippines

business

Senegal Parrot

Poicephalus senegalus

II

18

South Africa

business

35

Guinea, Philippines

business

Palm Cockatoo

Probosciger aterrimus

I

1

Philippines

pet

Yellow-collared Macaw Propyrrhura auricollis

II

14

Ivory Coast

business

Derbyan Parakeet

II

10

Ivory Coast

business

Psittacula derbiana

Cont.

50

Table 2.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Imported from

Purpose3 Number Imported from

of birds African Grey Parrot

Psittacus erithacus

II

575

Purpose3

of birds Ivory Coast, Philippines,

business

364

South Africa, The

Guinea, Ivory Coast,

business

Mozambique, Philippines

Netherlands Blue-throated Conure

Pyrrhura cruentata

VU

I

2

Philippines

pet

Green-cheeked Conure Pyrrhura molinae

II

1

USA

pet

Blue-naped Parrot

Tanygnathus lucionensis NT

II

4

Philippines

business

Rainbow Lorikeet

Trichoglossus

II

10

Ivory Coast

business

haematodus

Family Musophagidae Purple-crested Turaco

Tauraco porphyreolophus

II

1

The Netherlands

zoos

Black-necked Aracari

Pteroglossus aracari

II

6

Guyana

business

Green Aracari

Pteroglossus viridis

II

2

Guyana

business

Family Ramphastidae

Cont.

51

Table 2.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Imported from

Purpose3 Number Imported from

of birds

Purpose3

of birds

Family Alaudidae Singing Bushlark

Mirafra cantillans

20

Indonesia

business

Chloropsis aurifrons

10

Singapore

business

80

Singapore

business

20

Indonesia

business

Quelea quelea

20

Mozambique

business

Lanius schach

5

Indonesia

pet

Copsychus malabaricus

2

Indonesia

pet

20

Singapore

business

Family Chloropseidae Golden-fronted Leafbird Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati

NT

Family Ploceidae Red-billed Quelea

Family Laniidae Long-tailed Shrike

Family Muscicapidae White-rumped Shama Cont.

52

Table 2.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Imported from

Purpose3 Number Imported from

of birds Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis

3,041

Purpose3

of birds Indonesia, Malaysia,

business

280

Singapore

business

Canada

pet

Singapore Hill Blue Flycatcher

Cyornis banyumas

Pied Bushchat

Saxicola caprata

Blue-throated

Cyornis rubeculoides

90

Indonesia

business

300

Indonesia

business

40

Indonesia

business

21

Indonesia

pet (1)

Flycatcher

Family Turdidae Orange-headed Thrush Zoothera citrina

business (20) Chestnut-capped

Zoothera interpres

Thrush

21

Indonesia

pet (1) business (20)

Family Sturnidae Common Myna

Acridotheres tristis

1

Cont.

53

Table 2.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Imported from

Purpose3 Number Imported from

of birds Asian Pied Starling

Sturnus contra

1

Purpose3

of birds Indonesia

pet

Mozambique

business

Family Zosteropidae Pale White-eye

Zosterops pallidus

100

50

Mozambique

business

Family Viduidae Village Indigobird

Vidua chalybeata

90

Mozambique

business

Pin-tailed Whydah

Vidua macroura

120

Mozambique

business

Eastern

Vidua paradisaea

50

Mozambique

business

150

Mozambique

business

Paradise-whydah

Family Fringillidae Island Canary

Serinus canaria

Lemon-breasted

Serinus citrinipectus

Serinus leucopygius

7,218

China, The Netherlands

business

150

Mozambique

business

600

The Netherlands

business

Seedeater White-rumped Seedeater Cont.

54

Table 2.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Imported from

Purpose3 Number Imported from

of birds Yellow-fronted Canary Serinus mozambicus

6,780

Purpose3

of birds Mozambique, South Africa, business

6,550

Mozambique

business

8,245

Belgium, China

business

Mozambique

business

The Netherlands, Canary species

Serinus species

Brimstone Canary

Serinus sulphuratus

580

Mozambique

business

190

2,900

China

business

4,300

China

business

5,075

China

business

5,215

China

business

90

Mozambique

business

Family Estrildidae Red Avadavat

Amandava amandava

Gouldian Finch

Chloebia gouldiae

Common Waxbill

Estrilda astrild

Orange-cheeked

Estrilda melpoda

EN

500

China

business

Waxbill Black-tailed Waxbill

Estrilda perreini

40

Mozambique

business

Red-billed Firefinch

Lagonosticta senegala

50

Mozambique

business

White-rumped Munia

Lonchura striata

Black-throated Finch

Poephila cincta

Zebra Finch

Poephila guttata

Green-winged Pytilia

Pytilia melba

NT

29,155

China

business

66,610

China

business

3,928

China

business

10,710

China

business

15,800

China

business

3,945

China

business

Mozambique

business

80

Mozambique

business

80

Cont.

55

Table 2.2 Cont. Common name

Species name

IUCN1 CITES2

2004 Number

2005 Imported from

Purpose3 Number Imported from

of birds Cordon-bleu

Purpose3

of birds

Uraeginthus angolensis

120

Mozambique

business

China

business

Others Other miscellaneous

1,250

China

business

2,300

species Total 1

88,476

120,032

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Categories according to The IUCN Species Survival Commission (2006): CR – Critically endangered; EN – Endangered; VU –

Vulnerable; NT – Near threatened. 2

CITES Appendices according to CITES Secretariat (2006b): I – Species included in Appendix I are threatened with extinction, trade in specimens of these species is

permitted only in exceptional circumstances; II - Species included in Appendix II are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. 3

Cage birds imported into Hong Kong for sale or re-export by importers with valid “Animal Trading License” granted by the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and

Conservation are considered as for “business” purpose; while those imported by person without the License, the pet owners, are considered as “pet”.

56

Table 2.3 Countries of origin of birds (for non-food purposes) imported into Hong Kong in 2004 and 2005 (obtained from AFCD). Imported from

2004

2005

Number of birds

% total

Number of species

Australia Belgium

% total

Number of species

7

0.01

2

0.63

2

380

0.43

1

753 4

0.00

3

74,381

84.07

10

110,245

91.85

9

8

0.01

1

356

0.30

14

398

0.33

20

Canada China

Number of birds

Germany Guinea Guyana

210

0.24

9

Indonesia

540

0.61

11

Ivory Coast

156

0.18

8

Malaysia

2,921

3.30

1

Mozambique

6,710

7.58

6

7,640

6.36

15

147

0.17

21

296

0.25

30

4

0.00

1

300

0.25

2

4

0.00

3

2

0.00

1

Philippines Portugal Singapore South Africa

190

0.21

3

1,363

1.54

29

Taiwan Thailand

1

0.00

1

1,439

1.63

12

U.K.

18

0.02

1

2

0.00

2

USA

20

0.02

1

13

0.01

4

Total

88,476

100.00

120,032

100.00

The Netherlands

57

Table 2.4 Species and destination of bird (for non-food purposes) exported from Hong Kong in 2004 and 2005 (obtained from AFCD). Common name

Species name

2004

2005

Quantity Exported to

Quantity Exported to

Common Quail

Coturnix coturnix

2

Pakistan

Japanese Quail

Coturnix japonica

1

Pakistan

Rock Pigeon

Columba livia

Peach-faced Lovebird

Agapornis roseicollis

21

South Africa

1

U.K.

Lovebird Sp.

Agapornis sp.

2

Japan

Orange-winged Amazon

Amazona amazonica

1

USA

Yellow-naped Amazon

Amazona auropalliata

1

USA

Yellow-crowned Amazon Amazona ochrocephala

1

USA

Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus roratus

1

USA

Galah

Eolophus roseicapillus

2

USA

Cockatiel

Nymphicus hollandicus

1

Japan

African Grey Parrot

Psittacus erithacus

1

Singapore

Parrot Species

6

Myna Species

2

Pigeon Species

57

Total

65

Canada, Germany, Japan, Macau, South Africa Japan, USA South Africa 35

58

2.4 Discussion 2.4.1

The trade pattern

A total of 88,476 and 120,032 birds were recorded by the AFCD to be imported into Hong Kong in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Although most of the past trade records in the literatures were from the government statistics, which did not include all of the birds traded in Hong Kong (mostly birds from China), this is the only source of records for comparing the bird trade in Hong Kong over time. There is an overall increasing trend of bird import records over the years from 1979 to 2004, except for a peak in 1990 (94,293 birds), when compared with records reported in other studies (Tables 2.1 and 2.2). Reported imports from Indonesia, the biggest source other than China in 1979 and the early 1990s (Melville 1982; Nash 1993; Lau et al. 1997), have been reduced drastically to 540 in 2004 and none in 2005. Imports from Vietnam, an increasingly important exporter to Hong Kong in the early 1990s (Nash 1993; Lau et al. 1997), had also vanished in 2004 and 2005. On the other hand, reported imports from China have risen exponentially from 48 birds in 1994 (Lau et al. 1997) to 74,381 (84% of the total) in 2004 and 110,245 (92%) in 2005. Reported imports from Mozambique (mostly Yellow-fronted Canaries Serinus mozambicus) also showed an increase when comparing between 1994 and 2004 and 2005. The majority of the species recorded as imported from China in 2004 and 2005 were the captive-bred finches and canaries. The huge increase in reported imports from China may be partly due to the rise in the captive-breeding industry or an increase in the proportion of imports from China being recorded or both. The White-rumped Munia comprised the largest proportion among the birds reported to be imported from China, with 29,155 (39% of the total import from China) and 66,610 (60%) birds reported imported in 2004 and 2005 respectively, whereas only 1,000 individuals of this species were reported to be imported in 1992 (Nash 1993). However, the figure from Nash (1993) did not include all the birds imported from China. These White-rumped Munias are believed to be wild caught because of their very low price (HK$4-5 each) in the market, commonness in the wild, and their physical condition and plumage. Almost all of them were sold for religious release. A captive-bred variety of this species (the Bengalese Finch

59

Lonchura striata var. domestica) was sometimes for sale in the bird market but they had good plumage and kept in better condition than the ones for release. A large variety of parrots were reported imported into Hong Kong in 2004 and 2005, of which the Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus was in relatively large quantities (4,220 in 2004 and 2,650 in 2005), but there are no comparable past records published. The Budgerigar is a common pet bird species in Hong Kong but is also sometimes sold for release. Apart from the large numbers of finches and canaries imported from China, the Blue-breasted Quail Coturnix chinensis (3,750 in 2004 and 6,100 in 2005) and the Yellow-fronted Canary (6,780 in 2004 and 6,550 in 2005) were also reported imported in large numbers, but did not appear in the 1990-1992 trade (Nash 1993). The reported imports of the previous long-term favourites, the Oriental Magpie Robin, Pied Bushchat and flycatchers, had declined considerably by 2004 and 2005, compared with the early 1990s (Nash 1993; Lau et al. 1997). The change in reported exports is larger than the change in reported imports, with hundreds of thousands of birds reported exported from Hong Kong in 1979 and the early 1990s (Table 2.1) but only 65 in 2004 and 35 in 2005 (Table 2.4). This may be due to the increase in direct export of birds from China in recent years or the lack of recording by the AFCD (since the only record of exports is from the health certificate, which is issued only if the importing country requires one) or both. The changes in trade pattern of reported imports and exports over the years suggest that there has been a large increase in volume in recent years, with an increasing number of birds imported from China. A high proportion of this increase consists of birds for religious release purposes, mainly the White-rumped Munia. Such large scale of birds imported for release is believed to have started within the last 10-15 years (D. Melville & W. N. Lau, personal communication). For other imported species (excluding birds imported from China by road), the reports suggest that they have shifted from the Southeast Asian passerines to parrots and African and Australian finches and canaries, both in terms of abundance and diversity.

2.4.2

Mortality during transport

There is only very limited information on the mortality of birds during transit, mostly from import records in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) more than two decades ago (Mulliken et al. 1992). Inskipp and Thomas (1976) 60

reported that among consignments of birds arriving at the RSPCA Hostel at Heathrow, 15.5% of softbill passerines, 4.6% of parrots and 3.6% of seed-eating passerines were dead on arrival. The highest consignment mortality was 95.7% (Inskipp & Thomas 1976). Nilsson (1977) found that 5,765 (2.4%) of birds were dead on arriving in the US in 1976. The highest consignment mortality was 35% (Nilsson 1977). Brookland et al. (1985) reported that, based on UK and US import statistics, 3.8-4.2% of birds died during transport. The only known records of mortality during transit related to Hong Kong were for exports from Hong Kong to Japan and England. A cable from Japan to a bird dealer in Hong Kong revealed that 167 (33%) Japanese White-eyes and 600 (28%) Red-billed Leiothrixes were dead on arrival, with 50% of the Red-billed Leiothrixes without tail, wings and with broken heads (Melville 1982). Three consignments of birds from Hong Kong to England had a total of 236 (35%) birds dead upon arriving the Heathrow Airport, London (Inskipp & Thomas 1976). The rate of mortality during transport varies from species to species and from country to country. Mortality during transit usually relates to inadequate provision of food and water, exposure to extreme temperatures, lack of adequate ventilation, disease, aggression and other causes (Mulliken et al. 1992). Since special efforts and costs are needed to avoid or minimize all these mortality related factors, trade related deaths are almost certainly present, especially for birds of low economic value. As a result, the official data stating no reports of death of birds in the years 2004 and 2005 is clearly an under-representation of the real picture.

61

Chapter 3 Surveys of Birds Sold in Hong Kong

3.1 Introduction

Although birds imported into Hong Kong by air or sea are recorded, those imported by road from China are generally not, as no permit is needed and a health certificate is only required to be presented upon demand. As a result, the only way to obtain a complete picture of the bird trade in Hong Kong is to survey the birds on sale here. Moreover, a survey is the only way to assess which species are being sold for release. The aim of this chapter, therefore, is to quantify the supply side of bird release in Hong Kong. The Yuen Po Street Bird Garden and other bird shops in Hong Kong were surveyed to look at the bird trade and the supply side of bird release in Hong Kong. Bird markets from Shenzhen and Guangzhou were also visited to look at the birds traded and to see if birds for religious release are available in south China. Data from the Bird Garden survey in Hong Kong is then compared with the official trade statistics from Chapter 2 in Chapter 7 to look at the differences between the two.

3.2 Methods

3.2.1

The Yuen Po Street Bird Garden

3.2.1.1 Survey Method

A one-year market survey was carried out to document the overall species 62

composition, identify possible species for release and estimate the numbers sold. The main survey site was the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, at Yuen Po Street, Mongkok, Kowloon. It is by far the largest bird market in Hong Kong, with 35 operating bird shops, and 11 of which selling birds for release. Surveys were carried out twice a month during weekends from October 2004 to September 2005. They were carried out during weekends because most bird shops were open then and birds were put out for display. Survey was not carried out on rainy days as most birds were put back inside the shop and were covered with plastic sheets. This made the counting more difficult and less accurate. Bird species were identified to species level whenever possible and the numbers of each species per bird shop and per cage were counted. Prices of birds were recorded from shop signs or asked if possible. Large flat bamboo cages (68 x 39 x 17 cm for the “larger cage” and 41 x 21.2 x 13.5 cm for the “smaller cage”) were used to hold the commonest species sold for release, mostly Scaly-breasted Munias Lonchura punctulata (11-12 cm in length), White-rumped Munias L. striata (11 cm), Japanese White-eyes Zosterops japonica (11 cm) and Eurasian Tree Sparrows Passer montanus (15 cm), in large numbers. For birds as small as the four species mentioned above (there were usually 100 birds in a “larger cage” and 50 birds in a “smaller cage”), the housing condition of the cages was crowded, dark and dirty. Since cages were usually put at the back of the shops, stacked on top of each other, with as many as 12-14 cages per stack, there was usually not enough light (Fig. 3.1). There were no perches inside the cage. Birds can only stand on the floor of the cage with very little room for them to move around. For birds kept in these cages where accurate counts were difficult, the number was estimated according to cage size, size of the species and the degree of crowdedness. Besides, for cages 63

that were very difficult to look into, birds were grouped as “prayer bird” for record (they included the four most commonly released species). Due to the limited space of the shops, all birds or cages stored in the shops could be visually recorded. Birds “for release” and “probably for release” were identified and recorded. Birds were regarded as “for release” if: (1) there were promotion signs indicating this; (2) they were recommended verbally by sellers for release; (3) they had previously been seen to be released and were uncommon as cage birds; (4) they were kept in the same cage with species sold for release; (5) or ten or more of them were kept in a large cage and they were uncommon as cage birds. Birds were regarded as “probably for release” if: (1) they had previously been seen to be released but were also common as cage birds; (2) five to nine were kept in a cage and they were uncommon as cage birds; (3) or ten or more of them were kept in a cage in similar conditions to those sold for release but they were not uncommon as cage birds. Experience and common sense were used to classify cases that did not fit into these categories. Data was recorded with a digital recorder to make the recordings less obvious. Photographs were taken for species that could not be identified on site for later identification. Although many of the species traded were wild caught, most parrots and some other species were captive-bred in origin. I was told by the parrot sellers that all of the parrots sold were captive-bred as they carry less disease, were tamer and easier to raise and thus, better pets. Closed metal rings were observed on the legs of the parrots. Almost all Peach-faced Lovebirds and Fischer’s Lovebirds were captive-bred and housed together in the same box or cage. They were grouped together and called “Lovebirds” in the survey. Other indications of captive-bred species included: (1) the presence of colour mutations that do not 64

occur naturally in the wild, e.g. white-coloured mutants of the Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora, blue-coloured mutants of the Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulates and the Bengalese Finch Lonchura striata var. domestica; (2) the origins of the species, e.g. the Diamond Dove Geopelia cuneata, Zebra Finch Taeniopygia guttata and some other finches are endemic to Australia where export of wild birds for trade purposes has been restricted since 1960 (The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage 2006) resulting in the development of captive-breeding of native species in marketable numbers (Cutler 1990); (3) the popularity and aviculture history of the species; e.g. Gouldian Finch Chloebia gouldiae (Beissinger 2001; Gelis 2003) and Long-tailed Finch Poephila acuticauda (Beissinger 2001); (4) and the presence of leg rings indicating the origin of the birds, e.g. Rock Pigeon Columba livia. The real purpose of the market visits was masked by my intention of buying birds for release. As a result, bird sellers often recommend me potential species for release and rapport was built up between the sellers and me. The survey usually took about an hour or more due to the huge amount of birds being surveyed. Despite the long period of time I stayed for each survey and the fact that most of the sellers recognized me as a “constant visitor”, I was not particularly suspicious because it is often visited by many tourists and bird-keeping enthusiasts. Identification and scientific nomenclature used in all surveys follows: Clement et al. (1993) for all Estrildidae and Fringilliidae not found in China; Juniper and Parr (1998) for all Psittacidae; McKinnon and Phillipps (2000) for primary identification and Grimmett et al. (2000) for additional information for all birds (except Psittacidae) in China; Robson (2000) for birds (except Psittacidae, Estrildidae and Fringilliidae) in southeast Asia (except China); 65

Ridgely and Greenfield (2001) for birds (except Psittacidae, Estrildidae and Fringilliidae) in Ecuador; Sinclair and Ryan (2003) for birds (except Psittacidae, Estrildidae and Fringilliidae) in south Africa and Simpson (1996) for birds (except Psittacidae, Estrildidae and Fringilliidae) in Australia.

3.2.1.2 Prices, sizes and the minimum displacements to Hong Kong from the natural distribution of birds for release

The closest possible origin of birds for release to Hong Kong was obtained from the distributions shown in del Hoyo et al. (1997), MacKinnon and Phillipps (2000), Carey et al. (2001), del Hoyo et al. (2004), and del Hoyo et al. (2005). The latest publication was followed where conflicts arose. Based on this information, the minimum displacements of birds sold for release in Hong Kong were measured from a 1:5,700,000 map of China. Minimum distances between the southernmost borders of the wild distribution of the bird species and the northernmost borders of Hong Kong were measured from the map. For species that came from the Guangdong Province, which is adjacent to Hong Kong, the displacement was set as the distance from the provincial capital – Guangzhou. I was told by the bird sellers that some of the birds were imported from there. Sizes of birds followed del Hoyo et al. (1997), Juniper and Parr (1998), MacKinnon and Phillipps (2000), and Viney et al. (2005). The latest publication was followed where conflicts arose. When a range of sizes was given the mean size was used for calculation. Prices of birds were obtained from the Bird Garden survey as described above. The prices given were not limited to those for release. Therefore, the price range of some species might be large (e.g. HK$4-380 for Japanese White-eyes), 66

with the lower end usually for those for release and the higher end usually for those sold as pets. When more than one price was given the median price was used for calculation. Exceptionally high prices were discarded for calculation if they were obviously referring to those sold as pets. Since the data above did not pass the normality test, the non-parametric Spearman Rank Correlation was used to analyze the relationship (if any) between the prices and sizes, and the prices and minimum displacements from the wild distribution to Hong Kong in summer and winter of birds for release. The data was analyzed with SigmaStat 3.0. Relationships between these factors were presented graphically in scatter plots produced with SigmaPlot 9.0.

3.2.2

Other bird shops in Hong Kong

Samples of other bird shops outside the Bird Garden were also surveyed to estimate species and numbers of birds sold in Hong Kong, the representativeness of the trade data obtained from the Bird Garden survey, and the number of shops selling birds for release. A license, granted by the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, is required for anyone who carries out business as an animal trader under the Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Animal traders) Regulation. The license is valid for one year and should be renewed on a yearly basis. Information on bird traders and importers for the year 2005 was obtained from the AFCD. Name of licensee, name of shop and address were included in the data. A total of 70 names and addresses of animal traders were included in the database, of which 11 were non-bird pet shops and eight did not clearly indicate the type of animals sold or even the shop name. Twenty-five out of the 51 67

remaining bird shops were located in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden (although the survey mentioned above recorded 35 bird shops instead). Therefore, there are only 26 bird shops remaining outside the Bird Garden according to the animal trader database. Although it is claimed to be the most updated database, five bird shops listed in it were already closed down and one operating bird shop was not listed in it. For bird importers, two shops in the list were closed down. Of the remaining 20 bird importers, all except one were also registered as animal traders. This suggests that most bird sellers imported birds directly from exporting countries instead of having some wholesalers importing birds from other countries and then distributing them to the retailers. Seen in this light, this database should be considered only as a starting point. The revised list should have 20 bird importers instead of 22 and 22 bird shops outside the Bird Garden instead of 26. Ten bird shops were sampled throughout the years 2005 and 2006. Sampling of these shops was based on their distribution in Hong Kong, with a few of each from the Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and New Territories.

3.2.3

Bird markets in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, China

One visit was made to the Liuhua Bird Market (on 28 August, 2006) in Yuexiu District, Guangzhou, and the Dongmen Market (on 5 July, 2006) in Dongmen District, Shenzhen, to compare species composition and quantity of birds sold for release, in southern Guangdong and Hong Kong. The Liuhua Bird Market is the main cage bird market in Guangzhou with 17 shops selling birds. The Dongmen Market is the main wildlife market in Shenzhen selling mammals, 68

chelonians, waterfowl, snakes and some cage birds. These bird markets in Guangzhou were very different from the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden in Hong Kong in that there were not many visitors. Since I was often the only visitor, my presence was particularly obvious. It was very suspicious of me to look around and stay for long at each store. Moreover, a few sellers did not allow me to go inside the shops to look at the birds. This made the recording very difficult. Therefore, I recorded bird species present in the markets and only counted those for release. The total number of birds present in the market was estimated by rough counting. Prices of birds were asked if possible. The wildlife section of the Dongmen Market is situated inside a wet market. It is very crowded and there are many people shopping around. Carrying out market survey is not particularly obvious there. All cage birds and birds for release were recorded and counted. Prices of birds were asked if possible.

3.3 Results

3.3.1

The Yuen Po Street Bird Garden

A total of 266,428 birds were recorded during the Bird Garden survey from October 2004 to September 2005. Among the birds on sale, 212,294 birds (80%) were apparently for sale for release, comprising 198,302 birds classified as for release and 13,992 birds classified as probably for release (Table 3.1). There were altogether 181 species from 26 families, among which 41 species from 14 families were for release. Species that could not be identified to the species level and captive-bred species not occurring naturally in the wild (e.g. Bengalese finch Lonchura striata var. domestica) are not included in the species counts but 69

included in the bird counts. An average of 12,110 birds from 88 species was available in the Bird Garden per visit, with 9,650 birds from 20 species for release. Some form of advertisement promoting the sale of birds for release was observed in every bird shop visits. Prices and species of birds for release, and contact information (usually a telephone number) were provided in the advertisement. Transportation would be provided for large orders (usually 500 birds or more). On some occasions, such advertisements were posted but there were no birds for release observed in the shop, suggesting that birds were probably sold for release without passing through the Bird Garden. Sixty-six species recorded in the survey are listed in the CITES Appendices, with three species (the Red-browed Amazon Amazona rhodocorytha, Goffin’s Cockatoo Cacatua goffini, and Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea) in Appendix I and 63 species in Appendix II. All the three species from Appendix I and 57 species from Appendix II, however, were parrots. None of these parrots were known to be for sale for release. Among the remaining seven species from Appendix II, the Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris, Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea, Omei Shan Liocichla Liocichla omeiensis and Java Sparrow were for release. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, one species is critically endangered (the Yellow-crested Cockatoo), four are endangered (the Yellow-headed Amazon Amazona oratrix, Red-browed Amazon, Chattering Lory Lorius garrulous, and Gouldian Finch), six are vulnerable and seven are near threatened. Among the threatened species, the Omei Shan Liocichla and Java Sparrow, both are vulnerable, were for release. In terms of geographical distribution, 51,559 birds from 117 species, representing 19% of all the birds and 61% of all the species, are exotic to Hong 70

Kong according to Leven and Corlett (2004) and Carey et al. (2001). Out of all the species for release, 22,922 birds (11%) from 23 species (55%) are exotic to Hong Kong. According to Carey et al. (2001), 59 species belong to the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society’s Category A, two species to Category B, three species to Category C, five species to Category D, 30 species to Category E and two species to Category F. These categories are defined as: “A – Species that have been recorded in an apparently wild state in Hong Kong. B – Species that are considered to have probably occurred in Hong Kong in a wild state, but for which the possibility of escape or release from captivity cannot be satisfactorily excluded. C – Southeast China breeding species, the established or formerly established Hong Kong population of which is considered to be derived from captive stock, but which probably occurred in Hong Kong prior to anthropogenic habitat changes. D – Extralimital species which, although originally introduced to Hong Kong by man, maintain or did maintain a regular feral breeding stock without necessary resource to further introduce. E – Species for which all published Hong Kong records are considered likely to relate to birds that have escaped or have been released from captivity. F – Species for which all published Hong Kong records must be regarded as doubtful because of the possibility of mistaken identification.” The 64 species from Categories A to C are considered as native to Hong Kong. The 35 species from Categories D and E are exotic to Hong Kong but have been 71

recorded in the wild. Among these 35 species, five species (Category D) are regarded as breeding exotics in Hong Kong. Despite the huge amount and large variety of birds traded in the Bird Garden, 74% (196,448) of all the birds recorded were from four taxa: the prayer bird, Munias, Japanese White-eye, and Eurasian Tree Sparrow. They were among the five most abundant species in the trade (Table 3.2) and they, except for the Eurasian Tree Sparrow, appeared in the Bird Garden year round (Table 3.3). Among these 74%, 95% were for release. Apart from the Yellow-fronted Canary Serinus mozambicus, Cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus and Hwamei Garrulax canorus, all of the 10 most abundant species were for release. The Scaly-breasted Munia and White-rumped Munia are the “official birds for release”. They are so commonly released that they are widely known as “Guan Yin Birds”, with “Guan Yin” meaning the Goddess of Mercy. She is one of the Chinese deities most commonly seen in alters and Chinese temples. These two species were always kept together in the same cage as they were regarded as one species, with one being the male and the other being the female, by bird sellers. They were grouped together and called “Munias” in the survey. The munias, Japanese White-eyes and Eurasian Tree Sparrows were very abundant in the Bird Garden and they were the commonest species for release. These four species were often regarded as “Fang Sheng Bird”, with “fang sheng” in Chinese meaning release, by bird sellers and releasers. Of all the species traded in the Bird Garden, most parrots (especially the Peach-faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis, Fischer’s Lovebird A. fischeri, Budgerigar and Cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus), almost all Estrildidae (including Gouldian Finch, Java Sparrow, Long-tailed Finch, Zebra Finch, Star Finch Neochmia ruficauda, and Diamond Firetail Stagonopleura guttata), some 72

Serinus species, the Rock Pigeon and Diamond Dove Geopelia cuneata were captive-bred. Bengalese Finch Lonchura striata var. domestica, some canaries and parrots were artificially captive-bred mutants that do not occur naturally in the wild. The pattern of availability of birds for sale in the bird market is affected by both the restocking from suppliers and the sales. Since information on these two factors is difficult to obtain, it is inappropriate to over-interpret the seasonality or pattern of availability of individual bird species. However, the period of the availability of some species reflects the possible areas of the bird-capturing sites. The Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina was available mainly in March and April 2005 (Fig. 3.2), when it was migrating northward along the eastern coast to its breeding site in Siberia and Japan (MacKinnon & Phillipps 2000). As it is a spring migrant in Hong Kong, usually appearing from March to May with a peak in April (Carey et al. 2001), the birds in the Bird Garden was probably caught in South China when it was migrating. The Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana was present mainly in winter (December 2004-January 2005) and spring (April-May 2005; Fig. 3.3). This bird breeds in the northeast China, migrates south through the eastern half of China to its wintering ground in Indochina, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, the Greater Sundas and the Philippines (MacKinnon & Phillipps 2000; Carey et al. 2001). As there is no record of this species being imported from outside China and it is scarce to uncommon in late February-April and scarce in September-November in Hong Kong (Carey et al. 2001), it was probably captured in South China during migration. The Mongolian Lark Melanocorypha mongolica, present in the Bird Garden year round (Fig. 3.4), is a resident in central and northern China with Gansu being the closest province to Hong Kong (MacKinnon & Phillipps 2000). The Yellow-billed Grosbeak 73

Euphona migratoria breeds in eastern Russia, Inner Mongolia, northeastern and central China, migrates southward along the eastern coastal area and winters in southern China (Carey et al. 2001). It was available in the Bird Garden almost year round (Fig. 3.5). Bird capture might occur as far north as Inner Mongolia in summer, and as far south as Guangdong in winter. The Bearded Parrotbill Panurus biarmicus was available from autumn to early winter (October 2004 to December 2004; Fig. 3.6). During this period, it migrates from its breeding site in northern China southward to Hebei (MacKinnon & Phillipps 2000). The White-cheeked Starling Sturnus cineraceus appeared in the Bird Garden only in July (Fig. 3.7), when it was breeding in the north and northeast of China, with Shaanxi being the closest to Hong Kong (MacKinnon & Phillipps 2000). It is a common but localized winter visitor in Hong Kong but is completely absent in summer (Carey et al. 2001). It is interesting to note that this bird was absent in the Bird Garden when it was nearby in the southern China. These availability patterns reflect that bird trapping for the Hong Kong market was not only limited to South China, but also occurred as far as the northern and northwestern China.

3.3.2

Prices, sizes and the minimum displacements to Hong Kong

from the natural distribution of birds for release

The price and the size of birds sold for release was significantly positively correlated, with rs=0.555 (Fig. 3.8). Prices were concentrated below HK$100, with only five species (the Black-throated Laughingthrush Garrulax sinensis, Grey-sided Laughingthrush G. caerulatus, Red-winged Laughingthrush G. formosus, Rock Pigeon Columba livia, and Black-collared Starling Sturnus nigricollis) more expensive than this (Table 3.4). They were all at least 24 cm 74

long. The Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyana (38 cm) was the obvious outlier, being exceptionally cheap for its size. The prices and the minimum displacement of birds sold for release from the natural distribution to Hong Kong in both summer and winter were significantly positively correlated, with rs=0.401 and rs=0.421 respectively (Figs. 3.9 and 3.10). The summer and winter plots are very similar with only five migratory species having different minimum displacements in the two season. Two species were only present in the summer plot and one species was only present in the winter plot because they were only recorded in the respective season in the Bird Garden. A majority of the species (20 for summer and 23 for winter) were from the Guangdong Province, while 13 species for summer and 11 species for winter were from provinces that were further away (Table 3.4). The European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis (3,181 km from Hong Kong) was the obvious outlier, being exceptionally cheap for the long distance from Hong Kong.

3.3.3

Other bird shops in Hong Kong

Among the 10 birds shops surveyed outside the Bird Garden (45% of the bird shops outside the Bird Garden), seven had birds for release available for sale, while the remaining three dealt with parrots only (Table 3.5). For these seven shops selling birds for release, five had birds for release inside the shop for sale, while the other two did not but had evidence showing that birds for release were available (i.e. had empty flat bamboo cages inside the shop – returned by releasers after release, or signs promoting the sales of these birds). This suggested that they might not keep large stocks of birds for release in the shop compared with those in the Bird Garden. Therefore, the number of birds for 75

release recorded from these “other bird shops” was almost certainly an underestimation of the number traded. As the data was only a snap-shot representation of birds sold in the shops, the figure is only compared with the average number of birds available in the Bird Garden. A total of 2,768 birds from 71 species and 14 families were counted in these bird shops, with 1,456 birds from seven species for release (Table 3.6). They represented 23% of the average number of birds available and 15% of the average number of birds available for release in the Bird Garden respectively. Only two bird species recorded in these shops (the Japanese Thrush Turdus cardis and White-crested Laughingthrush Garrulax leucolophus) were not encountered in the Bird Garden. The three most abundant species for sale in these shops were the munias, Japanese White-eyes and Budgerigars. All of them were among the ten most abundant species for sale in the Bird Garden (Table 3.2).

3.3.4

Bird markets in Guangzhou and Shenzhen

3.3.4.1 Liuhua Bird Market

At least 4,698 birds from 61 species 23 families were recorded in the Liuhua Bird Market (Table 3.7). Among these birds, 2,472 birds from 12 species were for sale for release. Six species (the Green Peafowl Pavo muticus, Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto, Great Barbet Megalaima virens, Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus, Greater-necklaced Laughingthrush Garrulax pectoralis, and Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis) were not recorded in any bird shops or markets in Hong Kong or Shenzhen. All the species available for 76

release were also for sale for release in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden in Hong Kong. A Green peafowl was on sale in the Liuhua Bird Market and is listed as vulnerable in the 2006 IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. It is also listed in the CITES Appendix I and Category I of the list of Animals under State’s Special Protection (ASSP). The prices of Munias, Eurasian Tree Sparrows, and Japanese White-eyes were for those bought in large quantities – 100 birds per cage as a unit (Table 3.7). The same case applied to other species on sale for release – discounts were usually provided if birds were bought in large quantities. One seller mentioned that there were fewer people buying birds for release recently and the munias and Eurasian Tree Sparrows on sale in her shop were for pets instead at ¥5 RMB each. Nevertheless, other sellers did not have such comment when asked and the munias and Eurasian Tree Sparrows for sale in other shops were for release. A small notice was posted by the Liuhua Lake Park, in which the bird market is located, at the entrance of the bird market, stating that only birds permitted for sale by the national law can be sold in the market, i.e. the Cockatiel, Budgerigar, Fischer’s Lovebird, Peach-faced Lovebird, White-rumped Munia, Black-throated Finch Poephlia cincta, Gouldian Finch, Orange-cheeked Waxbill Estrilda melpoda, Red Avadavat Amandava amandava, Java Sparrow, Chestnut-eared Finch Taeniopygia castanotis, and Yellow-fronted Canary. It also prohibited the sales of birds listed in ASSP and in the Animals under Province’s Special Protection (APSP). A warning posted next to the permitted-bird-list by the Provincial Ministry of Forestry, dated November 2005, pointed out that there had been a prosecution for the sale of birds listed under ASSP or APSP in this market recently.

77

3.3.4.2 Dongmen Market

A total of 620 non-food birds from four species were recorded in the Dongmen Market (Table 3.8). Apart from the 10 Budgerigars, all the others were for sale for release. All species recorded in this market also appeared in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden in Hong Kong. The wildlife section of the Dongmen Market mainly sold wild animals and food birds. Only two shops were recorded selling cage birds or birds for release in the survey. The Spotted doves Streptopelia chinensis were recommended by the seller for release as they flew well at this time of year (compared with the Eurasian Tree Sparrows which were too young to fly well). According to the sellers, the number of birds bought by releasers varies, ranging from around twenty to a few thousand. They also said that birds could be delivered the next day upon order.

78

Table 3.1 Species recorded from the bimonthly Yuen Po Street Bird Garden survey from October 2004 to September 2005. Species highlighted are sold for release; species underlined are probably sold for release. “IUCN” refers to the 2006 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List of Threatened Species1; “CITES” refers to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora2; “Exotics” refers to birds that are not native to Hong Kong (with “y” indicating exotic)3; “Category” refers to the status of birds in Hong Kong categorized by Carey et al. (2001)4. “Total” is the total number of each species recorded in one year. “For release” is the total number of each species sold for release. “Probably for release” is the total number of each species probably sold for release. Families follow Birdlife International (BirdLife International 2006b). Common Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

Species Name

For release

Probably for release

Family Columbidae Emerald Dove

Chalcophaps indica

Diamond Dove

Y

Columba livia

Rock Pigeon 5

Geopelia cuneata

5

A

3

D

367

296

292

292 196

Y

Spotted Dove

Streptopelia chinensis

A

196

Oriental Turtle Dove

Streptopelia orientalis

A

8

Red-collared Dove

Streptopelia tranquebarica

A

20

E

6,358

20

Family Psittacidae Lovebirds (Peach-faced Lovebird 5

Agapornis roseicollis &

Y

5

& Fischer’s Lovebird)

A. fischeri

Blue-fronted Amazon

Amazona aestiva

II

Y

422

White-fronted Amazon

Amazona albifrons

II

Y

67

Orange-winged Amazon

Amazona amazonica

II

Y

3

Cont.

79

4,395

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

For release

Probably for release

Yellow-naped Amazon

Amazona auropalliata

II

Y

1

Yellow-cheeked Amazon

Amazona autumnalis

II

Y

4

Mealy Amazon

Amazona farinosa

II

Y

Yellow-crowned Amazon

Amazona ochrocephala

II

Y

55

Yellow-headed Amazon

Amazona oratrix

EN

II

Y

13

Red-browed Amazon

Amazona rhodocorytha

EN

I

Y

2

Yellow-faced Amazon

Amazona xanthops

NT

II

Y

5

Blue-and-yellow Macaw

Ara ararauna

II

Y

35

Yellow-collared Macaw

Ara auricollis

II

Y

3

Green-winged Macaw

Ara chloropterus

II

Y

4

Red-shouldered Macaw

Ara nobilis

II

Y

45

Severe Macaw

Ara severa

II

Y

35

Peach-fronted Conure

Aratinga aurea

II

Y

7

Gold-capped Conure

Aratinga auricapilla

II

Y

15

Petz's Conure

Aratinga canicularis

II

Y

25

Jandaya Conure

Aratinga jandaya

II

Y

139

Brown-throated Conure

Aratinga pertinax

II

Y

39

Sun Conure

Aratinga solstitialis

II

Y

106

VU

Cont.

80

E

13

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

For release

Probably for release

Barred Parakeet

Bolborhynchus lineola

II

Y

White Cockatoo

Cacatua alba

II

Y

Ducorps's Cockatoo

Cacatua ducorpsii

II

Y

34

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Cacatua galerita

II

Y

105

Goffin's Cockatoo

Cacatua goffini

I

Y

1

Little Corella

Cacatua sanguinea

II

Y

10

Yellow-crested Cockatoo

Cacatua sulphurea

I

Y

E

90

Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus roratus

II

Y

D

40

Galah

Eolophus roseicapillus

II

Y

Red Lory

Eos bornea

II

Y

E

56

Chattering Lory

Lorius garrulus

II

Y

E

31

Black-capped Lory

Lorius lory

II

Y

Budgerigar

Melopsittacus undulatus

Monk Parakeet

Myiopsitta monachus

Cockatiel

Nymphicus hollandicus

White-bellied Parrot

Pionites leucogaster

II

Y

17

Black-headed Parrot

Pionites melanocephala

II

Y

23

Dusky Parrot

Pionus fuscus

II

Y

10

VU

NT

CR

EN

Y II

1 E

56

69 E

Y Y

Cont.

81

44

6,127 57

E

4,205

133

5,677

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

For release

Probably for release

Scaly-headed Parrot

Pionus maximiliani

II

Y

18

Blue-headed Parrot

Pionus menstruus

II

Y

37

White-crowned Parrot

Pionus senilis

II

Y

17

Eastern Rosella

Platycercus eximius

II

Y

67

Brown-headed Parrot

Poicephalus cryptoxanthus

II

Y

66

Jardine's Parrot

Poicephalus gulielmi

II

Y

12

Brown-necked Parrot

Poicephalus robustus

II

Y

18

Rueppell's Parrot

Poicephalus rueppellii

II

Y

10

Red-bellied Parrot

Poicephalus rufiventris

II

Y

26

Senegal Parrot

Poicephalus senegalus

II

Y

102

Superb Parrot

Polytelis swainsonii

II

Y

19

Derbyan Parakeet

Psittacula derbiana

II

Y

305

Alexandrine Parakeet

Psittacula eupatria

II

Y

Grey-headed Parakeet

Psittacula finschii

II

Y

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Psittacula krameri

II

Y

African Grey Parrot

Psittacus erithacus

II

Y

288

Red-capped Parrot

Purpureicephalus spurius

II

Y

34

White-eared Conure

Pyrrhura leucotis

II

Y

54

VU

Cont.

82

E

40 1

D

13

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

For release

Probably for release

Painted Conure

Pyrrhura picta

II

Y

18

Blue-naped Parrot

Tanygnathus lucionensis

II

Y

19

Great-billed Parrot

Tanygnathus megalorhynchos

II

Y

18

Olive-headed Lorikeet

Trichoglossus euteles

II

Y

14

Rainbow Lorikeet

Trichoglossus haematodus

II

Y

NT

E

42

Family Ramphastidae Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

Ramphastos swainsonii

Y

12

Family Alaudidae Eurasian Skylark5

Alauda arvensis5

A

447

85

Oriental Skylark

Alauda gulgula

A

1,285

11

Skylark Spp.

Alauda species

Mongolian Lark

Melanocorypha mongolica

10 Y

1,721

Family Motacillidae White Wagtail

Motacilla alba

A

Cont. 83

144

1,387

17

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

For release

Probably for release

Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

A

27

Yellow Wagtail

Motacilla flava

A

72

20

Family Chloropseidae Lesser Green Leafbird

Chloropsis cyanopogon

Orange-bellied Leafbird

Chloropsis hardwickii

Greater Green Leafbird

Chloropsis sonnerati

NT

Y

13 A

Y

144 15

Family Pycnonotidae Chestnut Bulbul

Hemixos castanonotus

A

22

15

Sooty-headed Bulbul

Pycnonotus aurigaster

A

21

8

Red-whiskered Bulbul8

Pycnonotus jocosus8

Y

A

870

758

Black-crested Bulbul

Pycnonotus melanicterus

Y

Light-vented Bulbul

Pycnonotus sinensis

Collared Finchbill

Spizixos semitorques

Y

Cont.

84

37 A

1,314

1,031

E

1

1

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

For release

Probably for release

Family Campephagidae Swinhoe's Minivet

Pericrocotus cantonensis

A

9

Ashy Minivet

Pericrocotus divaricatus

A

16

Scarlet Minivet

Pericrocotus flammeus

A

98

Lanius schach

A

1

E

117

Family Laniidae Long-tailed Shrike

Family Muscicapidae White-rumped Shama

Copsychus malabaricus

Y

Oriental Magpie Robin

Copsychus saularis

A

1,108

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

Cyanoptila cyanomelana

A

453

Hill Blue Flycatcher

Cyornis banyumas

E

360

Hainan Blue Flycatcher

Cyornis hainanus

A

717

Blue-throated Flycatcher

Cyornis rubeculoides

B

5

Verditer Flycatcher

Eumyias thalassina

A

59

Mugimaki Flycatcher

Ficedula mugimaki

A

2

Y

Cont. 85

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

For release

Probably for release

Narcissus Flycatcher

Ficedula narcissina

A

Ultramarine Flycatcher

Ficedula superciliaris

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher

Ficedula zanthopygia

A

43

Siberian Rubythroat

Luscinia calliope

A

868

Siberian Blue Robin

Luscinia cyane

A

17

Rufous-headed Robin

Luscinia ruficeps

Bluethroat

Luscinia svecica

A

372

White-throated Rock Thrush

Monticola gularis

A

37

Flycatcher species

Muscicapidae species

Fujian Niltava

Niltava davidi

Small Niltava

Niltava macgrigoriae

Rufous-bellied Niltava

Niltava sundara

Vivid Niltava

Niltava vivida

Daurian Redstart

Y

VU

30 5

Y

1

113 A

1

E

104

F

13

E

6

Phoenicurus auroreus

A

11

Plumbeous Redstart

Rhyacornis fuliginosus

A

13

Pied Bushchat

Saxicola caprata

E

149

Grey Bushchat

Saxicola ferrea

A

54

Common Stonechat

Saxicola torquata

A

7

Y

Y

Y

Cont.

86

11

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

For release

Probably for release

Family Rhipiduridae White-throated Fantail

Rhipidura albicollis

Y

E

1

Terpsiphone paradisi

A

4

Blue Whistling Thrush

Myophonus caeruleus

A

2

Orange-headed Thrush

Zoothera citrina

A

12

Chestnut-capped Thrush

Zoothera interpres

Y

Grey-cheeked Fulvetta

Alcippe morrisonia

Y

Grey-sided Laughingthrush

Garrulax caerulatus

Y

Hwamei

Garrulax canorus

Black-throated Laughingthrush

Garrulax chinensis

Family Monarchidae Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Family Turdidae

70

Family Timaliidae

II Y

Cont.

87

E

72 23

A

2,412

C

22

20

20

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

Species Name

For release

Probably for release

Red-winged Laughingthrush

Garrulax formosus

Silver-eared Mesia

Leiothrix argentauris

Red-billed Leiothrix

5

5

Leiothrix lutea

VU

Y

E

31

20

II

Y

D

280

43

II

Y

C

7,147

6249

II

Y

50

50

Y

258

250

Omei Shan Liocichla

Liocichla omeiensis

Bearded Parrotbill

Panurus biarmicus

Striated Yuhina

Yuhina castaniceps

Black-chinned Yuhina

Yuhina nigrimenta

Y

White-collared Yuhina

Yuhina diademata

Y

A

12 87

E

1

Phylloscopus coronatus

A

41

Oriolus chinensis

A

16

Family Sylviidae Eastern Crowned Warbler

Family Oriolidae Black-naped Oriole

Family Corvidae Green Magpie species

Cissa species

2

Cont. 88

77

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

For release

Probably for release

E

234

225

Garrulus glandarius

A

29

12

Pica pica

A

28

28

D

168

43

55

A

832

611

92

Azure-winged Magpie

Cyanopica cyana

Eurasian Jay Black-billed Magpie

Y

Family Sturnidae Common Myna

Acridotheres tristis

Crested Myna

Acridotheres cristatellus

Hill Myna

Gracula religiosa

White-cheeked Starling

Sturnus cineraceus

Black-collared Starling

Sturnus nigricollis

Rose-coloured Starling

Y

II

1,745 A

50

E

175

Sturnus roseus

A

2

Red-billed Starling

Sturnus sericeus

A

75

30

White-shouldered Starling5

Sturnus sinensis5

A

637

632

White-vented Myna

Acridotheres cinereus

E

29

A

95

Y

Y

Family Paridae Yellow-bellied Tit

Pardaliparus venustulus

Cont.

89

50 121

35

9

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

Species Name

For release

Probably for release

Great Tit

Parus major

A

2

Yellow-cheeked Tit

Parus spilonotus

C

31

A

23

E

58

Zosterops japonicus5

A

30,344

18,526

1,051

Passer rutilans

A

1,435

703

88

E

47

15

21

A

12,628

12,572

47

E

93

Y

Family Nectariniidae Fork-tailed Sunbird

Aethopyga christinae

Mrs Gould's Sunbird

Aethopyga gouldiae

Y

Family Zosteropidae Japanese White Eye5

Family Passeridae Russet Sparrow

Passer domesticus

House Sparrow Eurasian Tree Sparrow

5

Passer montanus

Y

5

Family Viduidae Pin-tailed Whydah

Vidua macroura

Y

Cont. 90

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

For release

Probably for release

Eastern Paradise-whydah

Vidua paradisaea

Whydah species

Vidua species

Y

F

93 30

Family Fringilliidae European Goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis

Yellow-billed Grosbeak

Y

E

65

Eophona migratoria

A

693

Brambling

Fringilla montifringilla

A

14

Collared Grosbeak

Mycerobas affinis

Y

1

Grosbeak Canary

Serinus donaldsoni

Y

18

Yellow-fronted Canary

Serinus mozambicus

Y

Canary species

Serinus species

E

12,794 562

Family Emberizidae Yellow-breasted Bunting

Emberiza aureola

Yellow-throated Bunting

NT

A

33

Emberiza elegans

B

2

Little Bunting

Emberiza pusilla

A

7

Black-faced Bunting

Emberiza spodocephala

A

6

Cont.

91

30 575

50

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

Species Name

For release

Probably for release

Family Estrildidae Red Avadavat

Amandava amandava

Gouldian Finch

Chloebia gouldiae

Common Waxbill Black-tailed Waxbill Munias (Scaly-breasted Munia & White-rumped Munia) Star Finch

5

EN

E

793

Y

940

Estrilda astrild

Y

3

Estrilda perreini

Y

1

Lonchura punctulata &

A

L. striata5 Neochmia ruficauda

5

Y

5

NT VU

Y Y

Padda oryzivora

Long-tailed Finch

Poephila acuticauda

Y

185

Green-winged Pytilia

Pytilia melba

Y

6

Diamond Firetail

Stagonopleura guttata

Y

82

Zebra Finch

Taeniopygia guttata

Y

686

Cordon-bleu

Uraeginthus angolensis

Y

1

Cont.

92

70,721

338

Java Sparrow

NT

II

70,726

E

2,164

2,024

Table 3.1 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

IUCN1 CITES2 Exotic3 Category4 Total

For release

Probably for release

Others Bengalese Finch6

Lonchura striata var. domestica6

230

6

Captive-bred Canary

1,587

6

31

Captive-bred Parrot Prayer Bird5, 7 1

82,750

105

82,750

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Categories according to The IUCN Species Survival Commission (2006): CR – Critically endangered; EN – Endangered; VU – Vulnerable; NT – Near threatened.

2

CITES Appendices according to CITES Secretariat (2006b): I – Species included in Appendix I are threatened with extinction, trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances; II - Species included in Appendix II are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.

3

Exotic status followed Leven and Corlett (2004) and Carey et al. (2001). When conflict arises, unless otherwise stated, follows the latest source.

4

Categories of birds in Hong Kong according to Carey et al. (2001): A – Species that have been recorded in an apparently wild state in Hong Kong. B – Species that are considered to have probably occurred in Hong Kong in a wild state, but for which the possibility of escape or release from captivity cannot be satisfactorily excluded. C – Southeast China breeding species, the established or formerly established Hong Kong population of which is considered to be derived from captive stock, but which probably occurred in Hong Kong prior to anthropogenic habitat changes. D – Extralimital species which, although originally introduced to Hong Kong by man, maintain or did maintain a regular feral breeding stock without necessary resource to further introduce.

93

E – Species for which all published Hong Kong records are considered likely to relate to birds that have escaped or have been released from captivity. F – Species for which all published Hong Kong records must be regarded as doubtful because of the possibility of mistaken identification. 5

Species sighted/reported being released.

6

Artificially captive bred hybrid “species” that do not occur naturally in the wild.

7

A portion of Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Japanese White-eye, Scaly-breasted Munia and White-rumped Munia were grouped as “prayer bird” because they were put in closely packed large flat bamboo cages which were very difficult to be looked into.

8

Carey et al. (2001) listed this species in category A; however, Leven and Corlett (2004) considered it as a species that has become established in Hong Kong through human agency.

94

Table 3.2 The 10 most abundant species/groups of birds in the Bird Garden survey from October 2004 to September 2005. “Total” is the total number of each species recorded in one year; “For release” is the sum of the total number of each species “sold for release” and “probably sold for release”. Common Name

Species Name

Prayer bird1

Total

For Release

82,750

82,750

70,726

70,721

19,577

Munias (Scaly-breasted &

Lonchura punctulata &

White-rumped Munia)

L. striata

Japanese White-eye

Zosterops japonicus

30,344

Yellow-fronted Canary

Serinus mozambicus

12,794

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus

12,628

12,619

Red-billed Leiothrix

Leiothrix lutea

7,147

6,326

Lovebirds (Peach-faced &

Agapornis roseicollis &

6,358

4,395

Fischer's Lovebird)

A. fischeri

Budgerigar

Melopsittacus undulatus

6,127

5,810

Cockatiel

Nymphicus hollandicus

4,205

Hwamei

Garrulax canorus

2,412

1

A portion of Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Japanese White-eye, Scaly-breasted Munia and White-rumped Munia were grouped as “prayer bird” because they were put in closely packed large flat bamboo cages which were very difficult to look into.

95

Table 3.3 List of species appearing in all the Bird Garden survey from October 2004 to September 2005. “Total” and “For release” refer to Table 3.2; “For release frequency” is the frequency of each species appearing in the surveys out of 22 visits. Common Name

Species Name

Total

For Release For Release Frequency

Prayer bird1

82750

82750

22

70726

70721

22

19577

22

Munias (Scaly-breasted &

Lonchura punctulata &

White-rumped Munia)

L. striata

Japanese White-eye

Zosterops japonicus

30344

Yellow-fronted Canary

Serinus mozambicus

12794

Red-billed Leiothrix

Leiothrix lutea

7147

6326

22

Lovebirds (Peach-faced

Agapornis roseicollis &

6358

4395

22

& Fischer's Lovebird)

A. fischeri

Budgerigar

Melopsittacus undulatus

6127

5810

22

Cockatiel

Nymphicus hollandicus

4205

Hwamei

Garrulax canorus

2412

Java Sparrow

Padda oryzivora

2164

2024

22

Hill Myna

Gracula religiosa

1745

Mongolian Lark

Melanocorypha mongolica

1721

1404

19

Captive-bred Canary

1587

Russet Sparrow

Passer rutilans

1435

791

20

Light-vented Bulbul

Pycnonotus sinensis

1314

1031

20

Oriental Magpie Robin

Copsychus saularis

1108

Gouldian Finch

Chloebia gouldiae

940

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Pycnonotus jocosus

870

758

20

Siberian Rubythroat

Luscinia calliope

868

Crested Myna

Acridotheres cristatellus

832

703

19

Rock Pigeon

Columba livia

367

311

21

Star Finch

Neochmia ruficauda

338

Pied Bushchat

Saxicola caprata

149

White Wagtail

Motacilla alba

144

Yellow-crested Cockatoo

Cacatua sulphurea

1

90

A portion of Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Japanese White-eye, Scaly-breasted Munia and White-rumped

Munia were grouped as “prayer bird” because they were put in closely packed large flat bamboo cages which were very difficult to be looked into.

96

Table 3.4 Prices, sizes and minimum displacements from the natural distribution to Hong Kong in summer and winter of birds sold for release. Common Name

Winter Summer Size3

Species Name

(km)

(cm)

(km)

Price (HK$)

Rock Pigeon

Columba livia

-

-

32

150

Diamond Dove

Geopelia cuneata

-

-

19-24

35

Spotted Dove

Streptopelia chinensis

108

108

30

?

Lovebirds (Peach-faced &

Agapornis roseicollis &

-

-

15

80

Fischer's Lovebird)

A. fischeri

Budgerigar

Melopsittacus undulatus

-

-

18-20

10-75

Eurasian Skylark1

Alauda arvensis

108

2094

16-19

?

Mongolian Lark

Melanocorypha mongolica

1709

1709

19

20-78

108

x

17-20

?

Grey Wagtail

1

Motacilla cinerea

1

Chestnut Bulbul

Hemixos castanonotus

108

108

21

20-35

Sooty-headed Bulbul

Pycnonotus aurigaster

108

108

19-21

20-25

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Pycnonotus jocosus

108

108 18-20.5

10-25

Light-vented Bulbul

Pycnonotus sinensis

108

108

19

18-80

Collared Finchbill

Spizixos semitorques

108

108

21-23

20-35

Grey-sided Laughingthrush

Garrulax caerulatus

1670

1670

24

150

Black-throated

Garrulax chinensis

108

108

27

150

Red-winged Laughingthrush Garrulax formosus

934

934

28

150

Silver-eared Mesia

Leiothrix argentauris

583

583

18

100

Red-billed Leiothrix

Leiothrix lutea

108

108

15

10-60

Omei Shan Liocichla

Liocichla omeiensis

1172

1172

17

?

1

1698

x

17

80

Laughingthrush

1

Bearded Parrotbill

Panurus biarmicus

Azure-winged Magpie

Cyanopica cyana

708

708

38

63-68

Eurasian Jay

Garrulus glandarius

108

108

33

?

Black-billed Magpie

Pica pica

108

108

45

?

White-vented Myna

Acridotheres cinereus

724

724

26

40-60

Crested Myna

Acridotheres cristatellus

108

108

23-26

40-80

Acridotheres tristis

826

826

25-26

40-60

x

1115

20-23

35

Common Myna 1

1

White-cheeked Starling

Sturnus cineraceus

Black-collared Starling

Sturnus nigricollis

108

108

26-30

130

Red-billed Starling

Sturnus sericeus

108

108

21-24

35

Cont.

97

Table 3.4 Cont. Common Name

Winter Summer Size3

Species Name

(km)

(cm)

(km)

Price (HK$)

White-shouldered Starling

Sturnus sinensis

108

108

17-18

35

Japanese White-eye

Zosterops japonicus

108

108

11

4-380

House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

2513

2513

15

80

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus

108

108

15

4-5

Russet Sparrow

Passer rutilans

108

108

14 60-150

3181

3181

14.5

18

108

866

16-18

35-50

108

108

11

4-10

European Goldfinch Yellow-billed Grosbeak

Carduelis carduelis 1

Eophona migratoria

1

Munias (Spotted Munia &

Lonchura punctulata & L.

white-rumped Munia)

striata

Java Sparrow

Padda oryzivora

-

-

17

35-80

Bengalese Finch

Lonchura striata var.

-

-

11

?

108

108

13

4-10

domestica Prayer bird

2

“-” - Almost all of these species are captive-bred. Origin of captive bred species is unknown. “x” - Species not present in that season “?” - Prices unknown 1

Migratory species with different minimum displacements to Hong Kong in different seasons

2

A portion of Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Japanese White-eye, Scaly-breasted Munia and White-rumped Munia were grouped as “prayer bird” because they were put in closely packed large flat bamboo cages which were very difficult to be looked into.

3

Sources - del Hoyo et al. (1997), Juniper and Parr (1998), MacKinnon and Phillipps (2000), and

Viney et al. (2005).

98

Table 3.5 List of bird shops (other than the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden) surveyed in Hong Kong. Bird Shop

Total no.

Total no. of

Total no.

of birds

birds for release

of species

Leung Yau Bird Shop

649

440

17

Yam Lee Bird Shop

646

207

27

Ying Kee Bird Shop

560

530

10

Tin Yeung Bird Shop

243

200

5

Kau Kee Bird Shop

240

79

28

Kwan Kee Bird Shop Parrot Wood K2

2

3

1

206

16

99

19

53

11

Parrot Shop 1

3

21

10

Parrot Shop 2

3

51

17

1

Although no birds for release were recorded in this shop, 8 empty flat bamboo cages, which birds

for release were usually kept in, were observed inside the shop. 2

Although no birds for release were recorded in this shop, two notices, promoting the sales of “large

quantities of healthy birds for release” were posted outside the shop. A newspaper cutting about the religious release practice was also posted alongside. 3

All birds sold in these two shops were parrots.

99

Table 3.6 Species recorded from the survey of 10 bird shops outside the Bird Garden. Explanation of headings, highlighted and underlined words follows Table 3.1. Common Name

Species Name

Total

Sold for

Probably

release

for release

Family Columbidae Rock Pigeon

Columba livia

7

Diamond Dove

Geopelia cuneata

7

7

Family Psittacidae Lovebirds (Peach-faced

Agapornis roseicollis &

151

Lovebird & Fischer's Lovebird)

A. fischeri

Blue-fronted Amazon

Amazona aestiva

White-fronted Amazon

Amazona albifrons

3

Yellow-faced Amazon

Amazona xanthops

2

Blue-and-yellow Macaw

Ara ararauna

4

Green-winged Macaw

Ara chloropterus

2

Red-shouldered Macaw

Ara nobilis

9

Gold-capped Conure

Aratinga auricapilla

2

Jandaya Conure

Aratinga jandaya

1

Sun Conure

Aratinga solstitialis

6

White Cockatoo

Cacatua alba

6

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Cacatua galerita

7

Yellow-crested Cockatoo

Cacatua sulphurea

4

Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus roratus

Galah

Eolophus roseicapillus

1

Red Lory

Eos bornea

2

Black-capped Lory

Lorius lory

3

Budgerigar

Melopsittacus undulatus

Monk Parakeet

Myiopsitta monachus

Cockatiel

Nymphicus hollandicus

White-bellied Parrot

Pionites leucogaster

8

Black-headed Parrot

Pionites melanocephala

2

Scaly-headed Parrot

Pionus maximiliani

1

Blue-headed Parrot

Pionus menstruus

2

23

10

194 2 74

Cont.

100

Table 3.6 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

Total

Jardine's Parrot

Poicephalus gulielmi

8

Senegal Parrot

Poicephalus senegalus

8

Yellow-collared Macaw

Propyrrhura auricollis

4

African Grey Parrot

Psittacus erithacus

Painted Conure

Pyrrhura picta

3

Pyrrhura species

Pyrrhura species

1

Blue-naped Parrot

Tanygnathus lucionensis

3

Parrot specis

Sold for

Probably

release

for release

15

2

Family Alaudidae Eurasian Skylark

Alauda arvensis

5

Mongolian Lark

Melanocorypha

41

40

mongolica

Family Chloropseidae Orange-bellied Leafbird

Chloropsis hardwickii

4

Greater Green Leafbird

Chloropsis sonnerati

1

Pycnonotus jocosus

6

Pericrocotus flammeus

1

Pied Bushchat

Saxicola caprata

5

White-rumped Shama

Copsychus malabaricus

1

Oriental Magpie Robin

Copsychus saularis

4

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

Cyanoptila cyanomelana

1

Family Pycnonotidae Red-whiskered Bulbul

Family Campephagidae Scarlet Minivet

Family Muscicapidae

Cont.

101

Table 3.6 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

Total

Hill Blue Flycatcher

Cyornis banyumas

2

Hainan Blue Flycatcher

Cyornis hainanus

3

Verditer Flycatcher

Eumyias thalassina

2

Narscissors Flycatcher

Ficedula narcissina

1

Ultramarine Flycatcher

Ficedula superciliaris

1

Siberian Rubythroat

Luscinia calliope

2

Bluethroat

Luscinia svecica

1

Japanese Thrush1

Turdus cardis1

1

Orange-headed Thrush

Zoothera citrina

1

Sold for

Probably

release

for release

Family Turdidae

Family Timaliidae Hwamei White-crested Laughingthrush

Garrulax canorus 1

Garrulax leucolophus

39 1

1

Red-billed Leiothrix

Leiothrix lutea

68

Bearded Parrotbill

Panurus biarmicus

5

White-vented Myna

Acridotheres cinereus

4

Crested Myna

Acridotheres cristatellus

6

Myna species

Acridotheres species

1

Common Myna

Acridotheres tristis

3

Hill Myna

Gracula religiosa

26

Black-collared Starling

Sturnus nigricollis

9

Starling species

Sturnus species

1

10

Family Sturnidae

Family Zosteropidae Japanese White-eye

Zosterops japonicus

694

515

Cont.

102

Table 3.6 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

Total

Sold for

Probably

release

for release

Family Passeridae Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus

100

Serinus mozambicus

160

100

Family Fringillidae Yellow-fronted Canary

Family Estrildidae Gouldian Finch

Chloebia gouldiae

5

Munias (Scaly-breasted Munia

Lonchura punctulata

& White-rumped Munia)

& L. striata

Star Finch

Neochmia ruficauda

22

Java Sparrow

Padda oryzivora

62

Diamond Firetail

Stagonopleura guttata

Zebra Finch

Taeniopygia guttata

770

Finch species

770

14

3 49 21

Others Bengalese Finch2

10 2

Captive-bred Parrot

Captive-bred Canary

1 2

Catalina Macaw (Hybrid Species) 1

Species not appearing in the survey of Yuen Po Street Bird Garden.

2

Captive bred species not occurring naturally in the wild.

47 1

103

Table 3.7 List of species recorded in the Liuhua Bird Market, YueXiu District, Guangzhou, China. Highlighted and underlined species refer to Table 3.1. Common Name

Species Name

Total For release Probably for release

Price (¥ RMB)

Family Phasianidae Green Peafowl*

Pavo muticus*

Family Columbidae Rock Pigeon

Columba livia

Eurasian-collared Dove*

Streptopelia decaocto*

Family Psittacidae Lovebirds (Peach-faced

Agapornis roseicollis &

Lovebird

A. fischeri

33

10

135

135

& Fischer's Lovebird) Budgerigar

Melopsittacus undulatus

Cockatiel

Nymphicus hollandicus

Family Ramphastidae Great Barbet*

Megalaima virens*

Family Alaudidae Eurasian Skylark

Alauda arvensis

Mongolian Lark

Melanocorypha mongolica

67

32

30

Lark species

Family Motacillidae Yellow Wagtail

Motacilla flava

Family Chloropseidae Orange-bellied Leafbird

Chloropsis hardwickii

Cont.

104

Table 3.7 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

Total For release Probably for release

Price (¥ RMB)

Family Pycnonotidae Black Bulbul*

Hypsipetes leucocephalus*

Black-crested Bulbul

Pycnonotus melanicterus

Light-vented Bulbul

Pycnonotus sinensis

Family Campephagidae Scarlet Minivet

Pericrocotus flammeus

Family Muscicapidae White-rumped Shama

Copsychus malabaricus

Oriental Magpie Robin

Copsychus saularis

Blue-and-white Flycatcher

Cyanoptila cyanomelana

Hill Blue Flycatcher

Cyornis banyumas

Hainan Blue Flycatcher

Cyornis hainanus

Verditer Flycatcher

Eumyias thalassina

Mugimaki Flycatcher

Ficedula mugimaki

Narcissus Flycatcher

Ficedula narcissina

Ultramarine Flycatcher

Ficedula superciliaris

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher

Ficedula zanthopygia

Siberian Rubythroat

Luscinia calliope

Bluethroat

Luscinia svecica

White-throated Rock Thrush

Monticola gularis

Fujian Niltava

Niltava davidi

Small Niltava

Niltava macgrigoriae

Plumbeous Redstart

Rhyacornis fuliginosus

Flycatcher species

Family Turdidae Blue-whistling Thrush

Myophonus caeruleus

Thrush species

Turdus species

Cont.

105

Table 3.7 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

Total For release Probably for release

Orange-headed Thrush

Price (¥ RMB)

Zoothera citrina

Family Timaliidae Hwamei

Garrulax canorus

Black-throated

Garrulax chinensis

65

60

28

20

104

100

Laughingthrush Greater-necklaced

Garrulax pectoralis*

Laughingthrush* Silver-eared Mesia

Leiothrix argentauris

Red-billed Leiothrix

Leiothrix lutea

10

Family Oriolidae Black-naped Oriole

Oriolus chinensis

Family Corvidae Azure-winged Magpie

Cyanopica cyana

Black-billed Magpie

Pica pica

Family Sturnidae Crested Myna

Acridotheres cristatellus

Hill Myna

Gracula religiosa

Family Paridae Yellow-bellied Tit

Pardaliparus venustulus

Yellow-cheeked Tit

Parus spilonotus

Family Nectariniidae Mrs Gould's Sunbird

Aethopyga gouldiae

Cont.

106

Table 3.7 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

Total For release Probably for release

Price (¥ RMB)

Family Zosteropidae Japanese White-eye

Zosterops japonicus

206

15

300 per 100 birds

Family Sittidae Valvet-fronted Nuthatch*

Sitta frontalis*

Family Passeridae Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus

40

40

300 per 100 birds

Russet Sparrow

Passer rutilans

Family Fringillidae Grosbeak Canary

Serinus donaldsoni

Yellow-fronted Canary

Serinus mozambicus

Family Emberizidae Yellow-breasted Bunting

Emberiza aureola

Bunting species

Emberiza species

Family Estrildidae Gouldian Finch

Chloebia gouldiae

Munias (Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata & & White-rumped Munia)

L. striata

Java Sparrow

Padda oryzivora

Zebra Finch

Taeniopygia guttata

2740

1760

300 per 100 birds

106

100

Finch species Cont.

107

Table 3.7 Cont. Common Name

Species Name

Total For release Probably for release

Price (¥ RMB)

Others Bengalese Finch1 Captive Bred Canary1 Prayer Bird2

200

200

300 per 100 birds

* Species recorded in this market only. 1

Artificially captive bred hybrid “species” not occurring naturally in the wild.

2

A portion of Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Japanese White-eye, Scaly-breasted Munia and White-rumped Munia were grouped as “prayer bird” because they were put in closely packed large flat bamboo cages which were very difficult to be looked into.

108

Table 3.8 List of species recorded in the Dongmen wildlife market, Dongmen District, Shenzhen, China. Species highlighted were for sale for release. Common Name

Species Name

Spotted Dove

Streptopelia chinensis

Budgerigar

Melopsittacus undulatus

10

Japanese White-eye

Zosterops japonicus

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

Total 110

For release

Price (¥ RMB)

110

10

60

60

3.8

440

440

1.5

109

Fig. 3.1 Cages of birds for release put at the back of the shop, stacked on top of each other.

110

0 11-Sep-05

7-Aug-05 28-Aug-05

19-Jun-05 3-Jul-05

14-May-05 5-Jun-05

7-May-05

24-Apr-05

10-Apr-05

20-Mar-05 26-Mar-05

13-Feb-05 28-Feb-05

30-Jan-05

16-Jan-05

24-Dec-04

12-Dec-04

20-Nov-04

7-Nov-04

31-Oct-04

17-Oct-04

Number of birds 16

14

12

10

8

6

4

2

Dates

Fig. 3.2 Availability of the Narsiccus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina in the Yuen Po Street Bird

Garden from October 2004 to September 2005.

111

11-Sep-05

7-Aug-05 28-Aug-05

19-Jun-05 3-Jul-05

14-May-05 5-Jun-05

7-May-05

24-Apr-05

10-Apr-05

20-Mar-05 26-Mar-05

13-Feb-05 28-Feb-05

30-Jan-05

16-Jan-05

24-Dec-04

12-Dec-04

20-Nov-04

7-Nov-04

31-Oct-04

17-Oct-04

Number of birds 140

120

100

80

60

40

20

0

Dates

Fig. 3.3 Availability of the Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana in the Yuen Po

Street Bird Garden from October 2004 to September 2005.

112

11-Sep-05

7-Aug-05 28-Aug-05

19-Jun-05 3-Jul-05

14-May-05 5-Jun-05

7-May-05

24-Apr-05

10-Apr-05

20-Mar-05 26-Mar-05

13-Feb-05 28-Feb-05

30-Jan-05

16-Jan-05

24-Dec-04

12-Dec-04

20-Nov-04

7-Nov-04

31-Oct-04

17-Oct-04

Number of birds 250

200

150

100

50

0

Dates

Fig. 3.4 Availability of the Mongolian Lark Melanocorypha mongolica in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden from October 2004 to September 2005.

113

11-Sep-05

7-Aug-05 28-Aug-05

19-Jun-05 3-Jul-05

14-May-05 5-Jun-05

7-May-05

24-Apr-05

10-Apr-05

20-Mar-05 26-Mar-05

13-Feb-05 28-Feb-05

30-Jan-05

16-Jan-05

24-Dec-04

12-Dec-04

20-Nov-04

7-Nov-04

31-Oct-04

17-Oct-04

Number of birds 100

80

60

40

20

0

Dates

Fig. 3.5 Availability of the Yellow-billed Grosbeak Euphona migratoria in the Yuen Po Street

Bird Garden from October 2004 to September 2005.

114

11-Sep-05

7-Aug-05 28-Aug-05

19-Jun-05 3-Jul-05

14-May-05 5-Jun-05

7-May-05

24-Apr-05

10-Apr-05

20-Mar-05 26-Mar-05

13-Feb-05 28-Feb-05

30-Jan-05

16-Jan-05

24-Dec-04

12-Dec-04

20-Nov-04

7-Nov-04

31-Oct-04

17-Oct-04

Number of birds 100

80

60

40

20

0

Dates

Fig. 3.6 Availability of the Bearded Parrotbill Panurus biarmicus in the Yuen Po Street Bird

Garden from October 2004 to September 2005.

115

11-Sep-05

7-Aug-05 28-Aug-05

19-Jun-05 3-Jul-05

14-May-05 5-Jun-05

7-May-05

24-Apr-05

10-Apr-05

20-Mar-05 26-Mar-05

13-Feb-05 28-Feb-05

30-Jan-05

16-Jan-05

24-Dec-04

12-Dec-04

20-Nov-04

7-Nov-04

31-Oct-04

17-Oct-04

Number of birds 60

50

40

30

20

10

0

Dates

Fig. 3.7 Availability of the White-cheeked Starling Sturnus cineraceus in the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden from October 2004 to September 2005.

116

160 140

Price of birds (HK$)

120 100 80

Azure-winged Magpie

60 40 20 0 0

10

20

30

40

Size (cm)

Fig. 3.8 Relationship between the price and size of birds sold for release. There was a significant correlation between the two variables (rs=0.555, P 10

Sighted;

Java Sparrows

Released by 1 man and 2-3 women

Organization Summer 04 Indi

Park

1

form) & some other bigger birds

Oct-04

2

Pokfulam Country Park

Sighted; 3 empty bamboo cages, with bird food

Oct-04*

Bride's pool,

Diamond dove

1

Sighted; A sighting record of this species in the wild

Plover Cove Country Park Nov-04

Pokfulam Country Park Prayer birds3;

Sighted;

Lovebirds

A Lovebird was very weak and was given to a country park warden. The bird died afterwards.

Nov-042

Nam Sang Wai

Sighted; 30 empty bamboo cages, with used masks inside

Nov-04*

Tai Mo Shan Country Park

Azure-winged Magpie

5

Sighted; A flock of 5 was observed at the lower end of Tai Mo Shan; Showed difficulties in flying even under predatory pressure of 2 feral dogs; Did not show much intention to escape from the dogs

Cont.

140

Table 4.4 Cont. Date

Individual/

Release site

Species released

No each species

Remarks

Chung mei,

Munias,

Sighted;

Plover Cove Country

Japanese White-eye

50 dead Munias and Japanese White-eyes

Organization Dec-04

Park Dec-04

Indi

Pokfulam Country Park Red-billed Leiothrix

150 - 200

Sighted; 3-4 cages x 50 birds; A woman release birds there for a few months, 2-3 times a month

Dec-04*

Pokfulam Country Park Diamond Dove, Red-billed Leiothrix

1 Diamond Dove,

Sighted;

2 Red-billed

These two species were sighted together around the picnic area, on the

Leiothrix

ground, of the country park; The two Red-billed Leiothrix were hiding behind a rubbish bin

Jan-05

Indi

Tak Wah Park,

Japanese White-eye

30

Tsuen Wan Jan-05

Indi

Released by a woman of 40-50 years old Munias,

8 Munias,

Eurasian Tree Sparrow 5 Eurasian Tree

Jan-05

Sighted;

Munias

Sighted; A woman around 40 bought these birds from the Yuen Po Street Bird

Sparrows

Garden for release

100

Sighted; A seller from the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden delivered these birds to the releasers nearby; 2 small cages x 50 birds5

Cont.

141

Table 4.4 Cont. Date

Individual/

Release site

Species released

No each species

Remarks

Japanese White-eye

5

Sighted;

Organization Jan-05*

Indi

A man bought 5 Japanese White-eyes (the sold for release ones) from the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden Feb-05

Chung Mei,

Eurasian Tree Sparrow 30

Plover Cove Country

Sighted; 30 dead birds were found

Park Feb-05

Chung Mei, Plover Cove Country

White-rumped Munia

2

Sighted; 2 Dead birds found

Park Feb-05

2

Mount Davis

Sighted; 1 empty bamboo cage

Feb-052

Pokfulam Country Park

Sighted; 1 empty bamboo cage

Cont.

142

Table 4.4 Cont. Date

Individual/

Release site

Species released

No each species

Rotary Club Park, Tai

Eurasian Tree Sparrow 1000

Remarks

Organization Feb-05

Mo Shan Country Park

Sighted; Checked two days after the release, 20 very weak Eurasian Tree Sparrows hopping around at the Rotary Club Park, they cannot fly well and had severe feather damage; 10 dead birds were found; 200-300 dead birds were reported the day after release, c. 50 birds were taken by AFCD4 to check for Avian Influenza (with negative results); The weather was 170

Reported by newspaper (Wong 2005);

Organization Aug-05

Country Park

170 birds was found dead; Test with bird flu showed negative result; Rained heavily on the day of release;

Oct-05

Org

Nov-05

Family Walk,

50

Reported by a Catholic newsletter (Justice and Peace Commission of

Pat Sin Leng Country

the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese 2002);

Park

Organized by a Catholic Organization

Luhu Park, Guangzhou

Sparrows

a few hundred to

Reported by newspaper (Huang 2005);

>8000

A few hundreds to >8000 birds was found dead, about 30 birds were floating on a lake; test with bird flu showed negative result; people free the birds in the area every Friday and Saturday

Apr-06

Munias

50

Sighted; Told by seller at a bird shop that someone bought these birds for release

Jul-06

Org

Kam Tin

Munias

550

Reported by newspaper (Chan 2006); 3 big cages x 100 birds, 5 small cages x 50 birds; Released by villagers of Tai Kong Po Tsuen in Kam Tin, in celebration of the completion of a forecourt and a new road for the temple

* These birds were suspected of being released by religious followers. ? Unknown date 1

A captive bred hybrid form of Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora.

2

Did not witness the release process, only evidence of release was observed in these cases. 145

3

“Prayer bird” refers to Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata, White-rumped Munia L. striata, Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus, and/or Eurasian

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus. These were the most commonly released bird species. However, it was not possible to observe which species of the prayer birds were released in this case. 4

“AFCD” – Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

5

Big cage: 68 cm x 39 cm x 17 cm

Small cage: 41 cm x 21.2 cm x 13.5 cm

146

160 Release Do not release

140

No. of organizations

120 100 80

69

60 40 20 5

3

1

0 Buddhism

Taoism

Local religions

Buddhism-Taoism

Types of religion

Fig. 4.1 Proportion of different types of religions that release animals.

35

Number of individuals

30 25 20 15 10 5 0

Bird & Bird & Fish & Fish Chelonian

Bird & Bird Chelonian

Fish

Chelonian Others

Type(s) of animals released

Fig. 4.2 Type(s) of animals released by religious organizations. 147

18 16

No. of organizations

14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 500

No. of birds

Fig. 4.3 Number of birds released in one release event.

16 14

No. of organizations

12 10 8 6 4 2 0 1

2-4

5-7

8-10

>10

No. of releases per year

Fig. 4.4 Number of releases by religious organizations in one year.

148

20 18

Number of organizations

16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Temple

Country Hillside/ countryside/ Park forest

Park

Lantau Island

Others

Release sites

Fig. 4.5 Bird release sites reported.

20

No. of organizations

15

10

5

0 10 (the Japanese White-eye, White-rumped Munia, Scaly-breasted Munia, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Light-vented Bulbul, Red-whiskered Bulbul, and Crested Myna) were considered for across species analysis. The differences in the total scores of different species were compared. The non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis One Way ANOVA on Ranks was used to test the null hypothesis that there was no significant difference in the physical condition between the species. If a significant result was found, the pairwise Dunn’s test was used to determine which groups were significantly different. The mortalities of different species were compared with the Chi-square (with Yates Correction) to test the null hypothesis that there was no significant difference in mortality between the species. Although the expected mortality of two cells was less than five (Table 5.6), it is considered acceptable, with the degrees of freedom more than one, that 2.0). A total of 85 (17%) birds died after purchase among the 512 bought (Table 5.5). The range of mortalities for different batches of birds was 2-33%, with batch number 1 (33%), 2 (19%) and 5 (19%) having the highest mortality. There were significant differences in the number of deaths between the species (χ2=17.737, P=0.007; Table 5.6). The White-rumped Munia (24%) had the highest mortality, followed by the Scaly-breasted Munia (22%). There was an exceptionally large number of deaths for the White-rumped Munias from batch 1 (27) and the Japanese White-eyes from batch 2 (22). However, the significance could not be tested with the Chi-square test since there were >20% cells with the expected mortalities less than five. The granivores were in significantly better (i.e. lower score) condition than the non-granivores (Mann-Whitney Rank Sum Test: T=73643.5, P10 and >80% of the birds with non-zero scores for the body parts. No. of birds (percentage) Species Japanese White-eye White-rumped Munia Scaly-breasted Munia Eurasian Tree Sparrow Light-vented Bulbul Red-whiskered Bulbul Crested Myna Silver-eared Mesia White-cheeked Starling Rock Pigeon White-shouldered Starling Red-billed Starling Sooty-headed Bulbul Total * With non-zero total scores

Bird Total (n) 156 135 81 61 31 19 12 5 4 3 3 1 1 512

Wings 150 113 54 36 29 19 10 5 4 2 1 1 1 425

Tail

General body

(96) 150 (96) 134 (84) 125 (93) 57 (67) 79 (98) 15 (59) 57 (93) 14 (94) 31 (100) 26 (100) 19 (100) 19 3 (83) 12 (100) (100) 5 (100) 5 (100) 4 (100) 1 (67) 3 (100) 2 (33) 3 (100) 0 (100) 1 (100) 1 (100) 1 (100) 1 (83) 490 (96) 278

(86) (43) (19) (23) (84) (100) (25) (100) (25) (67) (0) (100) (100) (54)

Cloacal area Legs 17 (11) 69 (51) 20 (25) 36 (53) 7 (22) 0 (0) 3 (25) 0 (0) 2 (50) 0 (0) 1 (33) 1 (100) 0 (0) 156 (30)

0 (0) 9 (7) 8 (10) 6 (10) 2 (6) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 25 (5)

Bill 23 (15) 80 (60) 50 (62) 6 (10) 4 (13) 4 (21) 0 (0) 5 (100) 0 (0) 0 (0) 2 (67) 0 (0) 1 (100) 175 (34)

Eyes 0 1 1 1 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 8

(0) (1) (1) (2) (13) (0) (8) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (0) (2)

Signs of Sickness 5 (3) 6 (4) 0 (0) 6 (10) 3 (10) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 20 (4)

Any form of sickness/ damage* 155 134 81 59 31 19 12 5 4 3 3 1 1 508

(99) (99) (100) (97) (100) (100) (100) (100) (100) (100) (100) (100) (100) (99)

169

Table 5.3 Mean scores for different body parts of different species for release. Scores: 0 – no damage; 1 – slightly damaged; 2 – moderately damaged; 3 – severely damaged. Feeding guild: N – non-granivores (main diet); G – granivores (main diet). Highlighted are scores of two or higher for species with n>10. There is a significant difference between median total scores of granivores and non-granivores (Mann-Whitney Rank Sum Test: T=73643.5, P< 0.001). Species

Mean Scores Feeding Guild

Sample Size (n)

Wings Tail

General Body

Cloacal Area

Legs

Bill

Eyes

Total

No. of deaths

Red-whiskered Bulbul

N

19

2.2

2.9

2.0

0.0

0.0

0.4

0.0

7.5

1

Light-vented Bulbul

N

31

1.4

2.5

1.8

0.4

0.2

0.2

0.2

6.6

6

Japanese White-eye

N

156

1.6

2.5

1.5

0.1

0.0

0.2

0.0

6.0

24

Crested Myna

N

12

0.8

1.1

0.3

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.2

2.5

0

Sooty-headed Bulbul

N

1

3.0

3.0

1.0

0.0

0.0

3.0

0.0

10.0

1

Silver-eared Mesia

N

5

2.6

3.0

1.0

0.0

0.0

1.8

0.0

8.4

0

Red-billed Starling

N

1

2.0

2.0

1.0

2.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

7.0

0

White-shouldered Starling

N

3

0.3

3.0

0.0

0.3

0.0

1.3

0.0

5.0

0

White-cheeked Starling

N

4

1.3

1.3

0.3

0.5

0.0

0.0

0.0

3.3

0

White-rumped Munia

G

135

1.0

1.6

0.5

0.7

0.1

0.7

0.0

4.6

32

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

G

61

0.7

1.4

0.5

1.1

0.1

0.2

0.0

4.0

3

Scaly-breasted Munia

G

81

0.7

1.4

0.2

0.3

0.1

0.8

0.0

3.6

18

Rock Pigeon

G

3

1.0

2.0

1.7

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

4.7

0

170

Table 5.4 Kruskal-Wallis One Way ANOVA on Ranks to compare the total score of species sampled with n>10. There were significant differences between the species (H=111.926, P10 chickens were raised and had a constant supply of grains (chicken feed), with a large flock of wild Eurasian Tree Sparrows most of the time. It made one excursive trip across the agricultural area and the river channel into the village with other wild sparrows one day after release. This demonstrated its ability and willingness to travel across open spaces. It then moved back to the chicken house about two hours later and stayed there for four more days before being lost.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow ID 11 This bird was released in a rainy, windy and cool day (12-20℃). Its physical condition was good (Table 6.4). It had a range of 2.14 ha (Fig. 6.11) and was lost six hours after release.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow ID 12 This bird was released in a rainy, windy and cool day (12-20℃). It was cold on the day after release (9-13℃). It was in a good condition when released (Table 6.4). It had a range of 2.05 ha before the undamaged carcass was found on a vegetated slope about 197 m from the release site one day after release (Fig. 205

6.11).

6.3.2

Mortality and physical condition

There was no significant difference in mortality between the bulbuls and the Eurasian Tree Sparrows (P=0.242; Table 6.5). Birds that died were in significantly worse condition than those that were lost (t=2.654, P=0.024; Table 6.6). Those that died (5.33) had almost three times the total score of the lost birds (1.83). There were no significant relationships between physical condition and minimum range size (rs=0.11, P>0.05; Fig. 6.7) or minimum range spans (r=-0.162, P=0.616; Fig. 6.8).

206

Table 6.1 Fate and range characteristics of the released birds. Days ID

Species

Range size Range span No. of

Fate survived/ tracked

(ha)

(m)

location fixes

1

Red-whiskered Bulbul

died

8.67*

>488*

19

3

Light-vented Bulbul

died

359*

35

11

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

lost

2.14*

>181*

10

12

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

died

0.05).

600

Range span (m)

500

400

300

200

100

0 0

2

4

6

8

10

Total score

Fig. 6.8 Relationship between the physical condition and the minimum range span of the released birds. There was no significant correlation between the two variables (r=-0.162, P>0.616)

210

Fig. 6.9 MCPs of the Red-whiskered Bulbuls. Polygons: red – ID 1; yellow - ID 2; blue – ID 6. Dots: yellow – release site of all birds and death site of ID 1; green – death site of ID 6. Map scale – 1:4500. 211

Fig. 6.10 MCPs of the Light-vented Bulbuls. Polygons: red - ID 3; yellow - ID 4; blue - ID 5; pink - ID7. Dots: green – release site; red – death site of ID 3; yellow – death site of ID 4; blue – death site of ID 5. Map scale – 1:3500. 212

Fig. 6.11 MCPs of the Eurasian Tree Sparrows. Polygons: yellow - ID 8; blue - ID 10; purple - ID 11; brown - ID 12. Dots: green – release site; brown – death place of ID 12. Map scale – 1:3500. 213

Fig. 6.12 Photos of the damaged carcass of the Light-vented Bulbul ID 3. Transmitters and colour-rings were still attached.

214

6.4 Discussion

About 70% (5 birds) of the released bulbuls died and the others were lost (2 birds), within one day of release. A total of 13 Light-vented Bulbuls and three Red-whiskered Bulbuls were radio-tracked by Weir (2004) in 2002-2003 in Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong. Compared with the released bulbuls in this study, no wild bulbuls were known to have died during the tracking period (J. S. Weir, personal communication), which lasted for about three weeks for each bird as determined by the battery life of the transmitter. The physical conditions of the birds that died were significantly worse than those that were lost. Birds in poor physical condition were more vulnerable and susceptible to harsh physical environment and predation. It was expected that birds with poor physical condition would also have smaller ranges. However there was no significant relationship between the physical condition and the minimum range size or the minimum range span of the released birds. This may simply reflect the early loss of healthy birds that flew out of range. Of the six birds that died after release, one was predated (ID 3), three died with undamaged carcasses (ID 1, 4 and 12) and two were regarded as dead without the carcasses being retrieved (ID 5 and 6). The predated Light-vented Bulbul ID 3 was probably killed and eaten by a predatory bird, probably a Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus or Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach, as they were often observed in the site. The Red-whiskered Bulbul ID 1 probably died of poor health and bad weather, while the seemingly healthy Eurasian Tree Sparrow ID 12 may have been killed by the harsh weather. The cause of death for the Light-vented Bulbul ID 4 was uncertain. Although the bodies of the 215

Light-vented Bulbul ID 5 and the Red-whiskered Bulbul ID 6 could not be retrieved, these two birds were probably moved under the houses by cats or dogs, although it was impossible to determine if they were predated or scavenged after death. In conclusion, while the final cause of death is unknown for most of the released birds, the known causes of deaths included predation and bad weather. Only a small sample from three species was radio-tracked, which could only provide a qualitative illustration of the fate of the released birds. The small sample size, plus the data being pooled for different species, also renders the accuracy of the statistical analysis. These should be taken into account when interpreting the results. An increase in sample size is desirable to improve the representativeness and accuracy of the study. A variety of bird species are sold for release or known to be released (see chapter 3) and the fate of other species would be of interest. However, due to technical limitation, birds that are too light in weight or too small in size are not suitable for transmitter attachment. Some others could not be released for tracking as they are exotic to Hong Kong (e.g. the Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyana and Mongolian Lark Melanocorypha mongolica) and/or originated from captive breeding (e.g. the Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulates and Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora). The released birds were mostly tracked in winter. It would be interesting to compare the fate between winter and summer. Casual observations at the Bird Garden showed that birds in summer were generally in a poorer condition, possibly because they were sub-adults or adults after breeding. The environmental stresses they would face after release differ between seasons. Stress from cold weather is a problem only in winter, while stresses from rain, typhoons and food availability are more prominent in summer. 216

The release site was a suitable habitat for all the three species. However, birds may be released anywhere by the religious followers regardless of the suitability of habitats (in most cases the releasers may not have the knowledge of this). For instance, the Eurasian Tree Sparrows, a species living in close association with man in towns, villages or agricultural areas, were released at 480 m above sea-level in the Tai Mo Shan Country Park in February 2005 (see chapter 4). In these cases, the mortality is expected to be higher. For those species which are from a very different climate and habitat from Hong Kong, including the Mongolian Lark Melanocorypha mongolica and Bearded Parrotbill Panurus biarmicus from the colder north (MacKinnon & Phillipps 2000) and the Diamond Dove Geopelia cuneata from the arid interior of Australia (Schleucher et al. 1991), they are very seldomly recorded by bird-watchers, suggesting a very high mortality.

217

Chapter 7 Overall discussion

7.1 The number and species of birds released in Hong Kong

From the discussion in Chapter 3, an estimate of 466,105-766,200 birds, excluding those bypassing the bird shops through advanced ordering, were for sale for release in Hong Kong. From Chapter 4, an estimate of 86,684 (50%) birds released by the sampled organizations were obtained through advanced orderings. Extrapolating this proportion from the 418,963-576,074 birds estimated to be released by religious organizations in Hong Kong, we get a total of 209,481-288,037 birds released by religious organizations but bypassing the bird shops. Since these birds released by the organizations contacted were ordered directly from suppliers, while many sold in shops are probably bought by individuals, the estimates from the market and telephone surveys are therefore partly additive. Adding the figures of 209,481-288,037 birds and 466,105-766,200 birds up, the total number of birds released by religious

followers

in

Hong

Kong

is,

therefore,

estimated

to

be

675,586-1,054,237. This figure seems very large. However, when compared with the study by Chen (1995) in Taiwan where the religious release of birds is relatively well studied, it is similar in terms of birds released per capita. Chen (1995) estimated a total of 128,000 birds being released in Taichung City in a year. With a population of one million for Taichung City (Taichung City Government 2006) and seven million for Hong Kong (HKSAR Government Information 218

Centre 2006a), the number of birds released per capita in Taichung City was 0.128, while that in Hong Kong is 0.097-0.151. Nevertheless, as the figure of 680,000-1,050,000 is based on estimation and extrapolation, it should be interpreted with caution. The species of birds for release include doves and pigeons, captive-bred parrots (lovebirds and Budgerigar), larks, wagtails, bulbuls, babblers, magpies, jays, mynas, starlings, white-eyes, sparrows, grosbeaks, finches, and munias. Most of these are Chinese species. The non-Chinese species – the Diamond Dove

Geopelia

cuneata,

lovebirds

Agapornis

species,

Budgerigar

Melopsittacus undulates, Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora, and Bengalese Finch Lonchura striata var. domestica, are all captive-bred (see Chapter 3 section 3.2.1.1) and many of them are probably imported from China.

7.2 The trade loophole

7.2.1

The official and survey figures

Although the Bird Garden survey was from October 2004 to September 2005, the data is compared with the official trade data for 2005 as there is not enough information to break down the official trade data into months. Since bird export is not controlled in Hong Kong, this creates a major problem with the trade statistics, i.e. that exports are not normally recorded. Even ignoring exports, however, the official import figure is still far short of the number and species for sale in Hong Kong obtained from the market surveys. Since it is difficult to estimate the turnover rate of the birds sold as pets, I will compare the official import data with the estimated number of birds 219

released by religious followers in Hong Kong - 680,000-1,050,000 birds, which is considered as representative since the birds sold for release comprise 80% of the birds sold in the Bird Garden. This figure is about 6-9 times that reported from the official trade data in 2005 (120,032). In terms of species diversity, 178 species were recorded in the Bird Garden, but only 71 were reported in the official figure. There were 35 species of birds sold for release that did not appear in the official trade figure (Table 7.1). The Spotted Doves Streptopelia chinensis, Budgerigars, Common Mynas Acridotheres tristis, and munias (Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata and White-rumped Munia L. striata) were reported to be officially imported into Hong Kong, but the numbers of imports were less than those recorded in the Bird Garden survey. Although it is not clear what species were involved in the 2,300 “other miscellaneous species” imported from China (see Chapter 2 Table 2.2), which might include some of the species listed in Table 7.1, it is not even able to cover the number of individuals of one species, i.e. the number of Japanese White-eyes Zosterops japonica (30,344) recorded for sale is 13 times more than the number of the “other miscellaneous species”. This shows that a large proportion of birds transported into Hong Kong are neither checked nor recorded. Among the species not recorded in the official trade data, the Hwamei Garrulax canorus, Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris, Red-billed Leiothrix Leiothrix lutea, Omei Shan Liocichla Liocichla omeiensis, Hill Myna Gracula religiosa and Java Sparrow are listed in CITES Appendix II. Since both China and Hong Kong are contracting parties of the CITES, export and import of the Appendix I and II species require permits. In Hong Kong, these are obtained from the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation 220

according to the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (PEAPO) and in mainland China from the provincial forestry department and the State Council of China according to the Terrestrial Wildlife Protection Implementation Act (TWPIA). However, there was no record of import from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, no export quota for China set out by the CITES (The CITES Secretariat 2006c) and no trade records between China and Hong Kong recorded by the CITES (The CITES Secretariat 2006e) of the above mentioned species. This is clearly breaching the PEAPO of Hong Kong and the TWPIA of China.

7.2.2

Birds coming into Hong Kong from China

From the above discussion, as many as 556,000-934,000 birds were transported into Hong Kong in 2005 without being checked or recorded, including some CITES listed species. All of these birds were either Chinese species or species likely to be captive-bred in China. Since China is directly linked to Hong Kong, with rich bird resources and cheap labour and material cost, it is the most likely source for the unreported birds. Some local reporters investigating the case reported that birds for release were supplied by a wholesale market at Feng Cun, Guangzhou and smuggled into Hong Kong by road and/or sea (Anon. 2007b; Au et al. 2007). The birds were mainly caught from Guangxi, Yunnan, Chengdu and Xichuan, and transported to the wholesale matket at Guangzhou for sale. Majority of the birds for release for sale in the Bird Garden showed some form of damage, injury and/or sickness in one or more body parts (see Chapter 5). This is in contrast with the claim that birds imported from China were only 221

supplied by two registered pet bird farms in Guangdong Province (Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) 2005a), which should be captive-bred and in good plumage and health condition in general. Conversely, the plumage damage observed is consistent with trapping with mist nets. Most of the birds for release, especially the munias, Eurasian Tree Sparrow and the Japanese White-eyes, are so common and readily caught at a low cost that it is in doubt if there is any incentive for the captive-breeding market of these species. Moreover, the majority of the birds sold for release have the wild-type phenotype, while captive-bred birds are often mutant forms, as with Java Sparrows and Budgerigars. The costs of importing birds into Hong Kong should include the expenses for the issuance of the health certificate, checking and maintaining bird health as required by the health certificate, the 14-day quarantine prior to export, carrying out tests for H5 and H7 avian influenza viruses, and transportation related expenditures such as petrol and labour. The commonest birds sold in the bird market – Munias, Japanese White-eyes, and Eurasian Tree Sparrows (all of which are birds for release) – are on sale at only about HK$4–5 each, which could not possibly cover the costs of meeting the import requirements. Therefore, these low-priced birds for release cannot have fulfilled the import requirements

set

out

by

the

PHO

and

the

“Permit

terms

for

importation/transshipment of pet birds” posted in the AFCD website. If the requirements had been properly followed, the birds sold for release in the bird market should be in a much better condition than observed.

7.3 Problems of the religious bird-release

222

7.3.1 Potential ecological impacts

The large scale religious release of birds in Hong Kong exerts pressures on the ecosystems of both the source (mainly China) and the recipient (Hong Kong). It is difficult to assess the impact of the removal of hundreds of thousands of birds for release from China, probably Guangdong Province for the Guangdong resident species. Although this is not likely to threaten the common species, such as the munias, Japanese White-eyes and Eurasian Tree Sparrows, removing tens of thousands of a single species from one place may alter the composition of the local bird community with unknown ecological consequences. Among the released species, the Omei Shan Liocichla (50 sold in the Bird Garden for release), Silver-eared Mesia (43) and the Red-billed Leiothrix (6,249) are listed in CITES Appendix II – “species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled” (The CITES Secretariat 2006a). The unregulated trade, especially the large number of the Red-billed Leiothrix, of these CITES Appendix II species, between CITES parties, is worrying. The Omei Shan Liocichla is endemic to high altitudes (1000-2400 m) of southern Sichuan and northeastern Yunnan (MacKinnon & Phillipps 2000). It is listed as Vulnerable under the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species due to the small and fragmented population as a result of habitat destruction (BirdLife International 2004 2006b). Although the number of birds sold for release is not large, it adds pressure to the already fragmented and threatened population. For the recipient, the addition of hundreds of thousands of birds to an area as small as Hong Kong must have an impact even if survival is low. Survivors of species that are already present in Hong Kong will compete with 223

conspecifics for space, food and nest sites. More seriously, non-native species may displace native species with similar niches. Of the exotic species for sale for release recorded in the Bird Garden survey, the Rock Pigeon Columba livia, Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus josocus, Red-billed Leiothrix, Common Myna, House Sparrow and the Java Sparrow have been reported to compete with native species in other places to which they have been introduced (Table 7.2). Although competition from exotic species may not directly cause extinction of native species, it may threaten them by reducing their numbers (Petren & Case 1996; Davis 2003). There are many factors affecting the introduction success of a non-indigenous species, among which the introduction effort is of primary importance (Duncan 1997; Green 1997; Blackburn & Cassey 2004; Cassey et al. 2004). The religious bird-release is more threatening compared with the escape or release of pet birds because large numbers of the same species are usually released together. Moreover, it is not a one-off process, the same species may be released continuously, by different or the same releasers, if they are available in the bird shops. Cassey et al. (2004), after reviewing more than 600 introduction events for birds, concluded that simply reducing the number of non-indigenous individuals released is the best way to reduce subsequent invasions. Another important factor affecting the introduction success is the environmental matching – the similarity in climate and physical environment between the natural habitat of the species and the introduced site (Sol et al. 2005). In other words, if the birds are released at similar latitudes or within the same biogeographical region as the original habtat, they are more likely to survive due to similar climatic and habitat condition (Cassey 2003). Since most of the birds for release recorded in the Bird Garden survey are from China, and 224

many from similar latitudes (e.g. the Collared Finchbill Spizixos semitorques, Grey-sided Laughingthrush Garrulax caerulatus, Red-winged Laughingthrush G. formosa, Common Myna Acridotheres tristis, White-vented Myna A. cinereus, and House Sparrow Passer domesticus; Table 7.2), the release of these birds in Hong Kong may have a higher chance of introduction success. A total of 18 species established in Hong Kong since 1860 through human agency are believed to be the result of bird releases (Leven & Corlett 2004). Although there is no way of confirming that these birds were released for religious reasons, six of these species were being sold for release during the Bird Garden survey. Moreover, as discussed above, the chance of successful establishment is far higher with religious releases than from the escape or release of a few individual pet birds. The Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyana, one of the species sold for release, was not considered to have a self-sustaining breeding population by Carey et al. (2001), but more than a hundred individuals are now present in the Deep Bay area (M. Leven, personal communication). It has been breeding successfully in Hong Kong and can now be considered as established. Since infectious diseases may easily spread in the packed and dirty environment where the birds for release are kept, there is a risk that diseases may be subsequently spread to the wild populations. Birds captured far from Hong Kong are more likely to carry exotic pathogens and/or parasites, which the native species have never encountered before. Birds sold for release were found to have skin trauma and and feather loss, possibly caused by infectious bacterial, yeast and fungal infections, mite infestation and/or bacterial skin diseases (see Chapter 5). Hemagglutinin-possessing-viruses other than the avian influenza viruses were also detected from these birds. The Rock Pigeon, 225

Red-billed Leiothrix and Common Myna have been reported to have spread diseases to animals and/or people in other countries to which they have been introduced (Table 7.2).

7.3.2 Potential public health impacts

The environment where the birds for release are kept is a potential greenhouse for “culturing” viruses and bacteria, some of which may be zoonotic (e.g. the avian influenza viruses and West Nile Virus), so the religious bird-release poses potential threats to public health (see chapter 5). Although birds for religious release do not come into prolonged close contact with people as in the case of pet birds, the process of the religious ceremony before release and the handling of the faeces-contaminated cages provide a potential route of disease transmission. There are often some sick birds that are too weak to fly out of the cage, and some of them are even dead. The releasers often take them out directly with bare hands, which is potentially dangerous. The government recommended that “sick birds must be isolated for observation or culled at once to stop the spread of disease” and “when handling bird carcasses, you should wear a surgical mask, disposable rubber gloves and a disposable apron. Sprinkle disinfectant powder over the carcasses or cover them with disposable absorbent paper soaked with a solution of one part of domestic bleach to four parts of water for 15 minutes before packing them in double plastic bags.” (HKSAR Government Information Centre 2006e). Weak or sick birds that cannot fly well after release, often stay near the release site where the possibility of contact with people is increased. Most of the interviewed religious organizations simply release the birds at the temple (see Chapter 4). 226

One even released birds from the balcony of the temple immediately next to a public road. This increases the exposure of the released birds to man. A total of 30 wild birds from 16 species were tested positive for the H5N1 influenza virus in 2006 and 2007 in Hong Kong (Table 7.3), with majority of which are residents or introduced residents of Hong Kong. In spite of the debated role of migratory birds in H5N1 virus transmission (Kilpatrick et al. 2006; Jourdain et al. 2007), only one infected species (the Common Kestral Falco tinnunculus) found was purely migratory in nature. These 16 species included three of the most commonly released species (the Scaly-breasted and White-rumped Munias and the Japanese White-eye), three other sold for release during the study period (the Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus, Common Magpie Pica pica and Silver-eared Mesia), and two sold as pets (the Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis and Chestnut Munia Lonchura atricapilla). Apart from these trade related species, the infected species also included four predators (the Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus, Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus, Common Kestral Falco tinnunculus and Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach) and three scavengers (the Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchus, House Crow Corvus torquatus and Blue Magpie Urocissa erythrorhyncha) which may be indirectly related to bird trade through consuming dead or dying birds. In terms of distribution of the infected wild birds, seven of the 15 cases (46%) in 2006 and 11 of the 14 (79%) in 2007 were concentrated within urban Kowloon (where the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden is located) (Figs. 7.1 and 7.2). Although there is no direct evidence, the fact that an overall 62% of the cases in both years were from urban Kowloon, only one migratory species among the infected birds and a large number of the species being directly or indirectly related to bird trade, is surely more than coincidence. The threat posed by the 227

bird trade and bird release, in view of public health, merits both further investigation and a precautionary ban on all releases.

7.3.3 Impacts on animal welfare

As the religious followers are primarily concerned with the number of birds but not their health conditions, bird dealers give less care and resources (in terms of space and food) to the birds for release. Many birds are kept in one cage (it is not uncommon to have a hundred 11-15 cm birds in a 60 x 39 x 17 cm cage), most often without perches; the food provided is unsuitable and of low quality; and the bottom of the cage is often covered with droppings (see Chapter 3 section 3.2.1.1 and Chapter 5 section 5.1). Ninety-nine percent of the birds for release being sampled for physical examination bought from the Bird Garden had some form of damage, injury and/or sickness in one or more body parts (see Chapter 5). Some had bleeding wounds, bill and wing dislodgement, and complete feather loss from the body. Mortality occurs in the process of capture, transport, waiting for purchase for release and after release. The results from the radio telemetry showed that some of them were easy prey to predators or were too weak to withstand adverse weather conditions (see Chapter 6). Such cruelty and wastage of lives would be prevented if they were peacefully left in the wild. Moreover, some of the birds species sold for release are very seldom recorded by bird watchers, e.g. the Mongolian Lark Melanocorypha mongolica, Diamond Dove Geopelia cuneata and Bearded Parrotbill Panurus biarmicus, suggesting a very high and rapid mortality. Of the species recorded for sale for release in the Bird Garden, the 228

Diamond Dove, lovebirds, Budgerigar, Java Sparrow, and Bengalese Finch were bred and raised in captivity and are not likely to survive after release. This is also of humane concern. It may seem bizarre that a religious practice intended to increase the welfare of birds should result in cruel treatment on such a massive scale, but individual releasers do not see the whole process and are thus able to believe that they are releasing birds from cruel confinement to a better life in nature. Many do not realize that they are the cause of the confinement and that few birds survive after release.

7.4 Recommendations

In view of the H5N1 avian influenza virus being continuously detected from wild birds in Hong Kong during January-March 2006 (Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) 2006d, e), and a confirmed human avian influenza case in Guangzhou, the Hong Kong Government had suspended the import of live poultry, day old chicks and pet birds from the Mainland for three weeks in March 2006 (HKSAR Government Information Centre 2006b). However, casual visits to the Bird Garden during the period suggested that the number and diversity of birds were not much affected. The Hong Kong Government also urged the public not to join bird release activities (HKSAR Government Information Centre 2006e, c) and posted a rather inconspicuous notice saying “Do not release cage-reared birds” at the entrance of Country Parks. We do not know the effectiveness of these mild measures, but the number and diversity of birds for sale for release at the Bird Garden appear unchanged. 229

In response to outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in various parts of the world, the European Union recently (from 1st July 2007) introduced a permanent ban on the import of birds caught in the wild (Anon. 2007a; Bird Life International 2007). Since all birds can carry H5N1 and other potential zoonotic infections from a public health point of view; and all birds presumably have a similar capacity for suffering from an animal welfare point of view, there should be a complete ban on the import of wild caught birds into Hong Kong. The border control should also be tightened to prevent smuggling or unchecked imports. This would increase the risk and cost of smuggling. Since birds imported from China were claimed to be captive-bred by registered pet bird farms, all captive-bred birds imported should be required to be fitted with closed rings that can only be fitted on chicks. Although cheating may be possible, it will be time-comsuming and expensive, which should eventually reduce demand. In addition, when releasers understand the significance of the rings, they may be less confident of the ability of such birds to survive in nature. On the release side, the problem should be dealt with by both legislation and education. Legislation on banning the release is recommended as all traded birds have the potential of getting H5N1. This should be accompanied with education as the long term and permanent solution. Since some releasers deny the mortality and the inhumane conditions involved in the release process, many of them release as a ritual but are not sure of the real purpose, and many are conscious of the problems of release, what is needed to dissuade them from releasing is the real picture of release (figures and photographs) and providing them with suggestions and alternatives. Alternative merit-gaining practices such as being vegetarian, donating money to conservation and animal welfare 230

groups, tree planting,

joining

conservation

programs,

and releasing

rehabilitated animals in collaboration with conservation and/or scientific bodies should be promoted. These can be advertised to the releasers and the public through seminars, newsletters, leaflets, and television public service advertisements.

231

Table 7.1 List of species sold for release recorded in the Yuen Po Street Market Survey but not reported in the official trade figures. Common name

Species name

Total

Diamond Dove

Geopelia cuneata

Lovebirds (Peach-faced

Agapornis roseicollis &

& Fischer's Lovebird)

A. fischeri

Eurasian Skylark

Alauda arvensis

Mongolian Lark

Melanocorypha mongolica

Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

27

Chestnut Bulbul

Hemixos castanonotus

22

Sooty-headed Bulbul

Pycnonotus aurigaster

21

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Pycnonotus jocosus

870

Light-vented Bulbul

Pycnonotus sinensis

1,314

Collared Finchbill

Spizixos semitorques

1

White-rumped Shama

Copsychus malabaricus

Grey-sided Laughingthrush

Garrulax caerulatus

23

Black-throated Laughingthrush

Garrulax chinensis

22

Red-winged Laughingthrush

Garrulax formosus

31

Silver-eared Mesia

Leiothrix argentauris

Red-billed Leiothrix

Leiothrix lutea

Omei Shan Liocichla

Liocichla omeiensis

50

Bearded Parrotbill

Panurus biarmicus

258

Azure-winged Magpie

Cyanopica cyana

234

Eurasian Jay

Garrulus glandarius

29

Black-billed Magpie

Pica pica

28

Crested Myna

Acridotheres cristatellus

White-cheeked Starling

Sturnus cineraceus

50

Black-collared Starling

Sturnus nigricollis

175

Red-billed Starling

Sturnus sericeus

75

White-shouldered Starling

Sturnus sinensis

637

White-vented Myna

Acridotheres cinereus

Japanese White Eye

Zosterops japonicus

Russet Sparrow

Passer rutilans

House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus

European Goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis

65

Yellow-billed Grosbeak

Eophona migratoria

693

Java Sparrow

Padda oryzivora

Bengalese Finch

Lonchura striata var. domestica

292 6,358

447 1,721

117

280 7,147

832

29 30,344 1,435 47 12,628

2,164 230 232

Table 7.2 Ecological characteristics of the exotic species sold for release. Species underlined are probably sold for release. Common Name

Species name

Size3 (cm)

Feeding 1, 3

Habitat

Natural

Introduced Distribution

reported2, 3

cliff/cul/

Western Palearctic east to

Widely introduced worldwide.

buil/dis/

human

Indian subcontinent and

British Isles, European Mainland, Asia, comp/

northeast China

Africa, Canada, Mexico, USA, West

crop/nui/

Indies, S. America, Australia, New

inter

type

G/I

3

Impact

Distribution

guild

1, 3

3

Family Columbidae Rock Pigeon

Columba livia

32

Zealand, Bermuda, Cape Verde Is, St. Helena I., S. Georgia I., Andaman and Nicobar Is., Comoro Is., Madagascar, Mascarene Is., Seychelles Is., Easter I., Galapagos Is., Hawaiian Is., Juan Fernandez I., Lord Howe I., Norfolk I., Polynesia. Diamond Dove

Geopelia cuneata

19-24

G

cul/for/

Arid interior of Australia

human/ light/ open Cont.

233

Table 7.2 Cont. Common Name

Species name

Size3 (cm)

Feeding 1, 3

guild

Habitat type

1, 3

Natural

Introduced 3

Distribution

Impact 3

Distribution

reported2, 3

Family Psittacidae Lovebirds (Peach-faced Agapornis roseicollis

15

F/G

Africa

& Fischer’s Lovebird) & A. fischeri Budgerigar

Melopsittacus

18-20

G

undulatus

cul/light/

Interior of Australia

Japan, USA, Canary Is. (?)

open/rip

Family Alaudidae Mongolian Lark

Melanocorypha mongolica

19

G/I

cliff/

Mongolia, neighbouring parts of

open/rip

Russia and northeast China

Cont.

234

Table 7.2 Cont. Common Name

Species name

Size3

Feeding 1, 3

(cm)

guild

Habitat type

1, 3

Natural

Introduced 3

Distribution

Impact 3

Distribution

reported2, 3

Family Pycnonotidae Red-whiskered Bulbul

Pycnonotus jocosus4

18-20.5 F/I/N

4

cul/for/

India, Nepal, Bangladesh, south Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Nicobar comp/crop/

human/

and southeast China, Indochina Is, Camoros Is., Mauritius, Madagascar, dis

light/wet

and Andaman Island

Mascarene Is., Seychelles Is., Hawaiian Is., Reunion, east Australia, Florida, E. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Malaysia, Brunei, Spain (?), Java (?), Sumatra (?), USA

Collared Finchbill

Spizixos semitorques

21-23 F/I

human/

Central, south and southeast

light

China, north Vietnam and

(montane)

Taiwan

for/light

Nepal, Assam, Burma, W.

Family Timaliidae Grey-sided Laughingthrush

Garrulax caerulatus

24

-

Hawaiian Is.

Yunnan

Cont.

235

Table 7.2 Cont. Common Name

Size3

Species name

(cm) Garrulax chinensis5

Black-throated

27

Feeding 1, 3

1, 3

Natural

Introduced 3

type

F/G/I

for/

South China (Yunnan, Guangxi, Hong Kong

human/

Hainan), Guangdong, Burma,

light

Thailand, Indochina

Distribution

Impact 3

guild

Laughingthrush5

Red-winged

Habitat

Distribution

Garrulax formosus

28

F/G/I

for/light

Yunnan, Sichuan and Giangxi

the Isle of Man

Leiothrix argentauris

18

F/I

for

Himalayas to southern China,

Hong Kong

reported2, 3

Laughingthrush Silver-eared Mesia

(montane)/ southeast Asia light Red-billed leiothrix

5

Leiothrix lutea

6

Omei Shan Liocichla

Bearded Parrotbill

5

15

6

Liocichla omeiensis

17

F/G/I

F/I

cul/for/

Southern and central China,

Hawaiian Is, Mascarene Is., Hong

dis/comp/

light

Himalayas, Assam, Burma, N.

Kong, Japan, France, Spain (?),

crop

Vietnam

Germany (?)

for

Endemic to south Sichuan and

(montane)

northeast Yunnan

Panurus biarmicus

17

G/I

wet

Palearctic

Cyanopica cyana7

38

O

human/

N. and E. China, Portugal

Family Corvidae Azure-winged Magpie

7

Hong Kong

open

Cont. 236

Table 7.2 Cont. Common Name

Species name

Size3

Feeding 1, 3

Habitat 1, 3

Natural

Introduced 3

Impact 3

reported2, 3

(cm)

guild

type

25-26

O

cul/

Afghanistan to SW. China, SE. Malaysia, Singapore, N. Thailand,

dis/

human/

Asia and Malay Peninsula

Indochina, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi

comp/

Arabia, Australia, New Zealand, S.

crop/

Distribution

Distribution

Family Sturnidae Common Myna

Acridotheres tristis

light/open

Africa, Botswana, USA, St. Helena Is., pre/ nui Seychelles Is., Reunion, Rodrigues, Madagascar, Maldive Is., Mascarene Is., Mauritius, Comoros Is., Malagasy, Chagos Archipelago, Ascension Is., Canary Is., Lakshadweep Is., Agalega Is., Andaman Is., Solomons, New Caledonia, Fiji Is., French Polynesia, West Samoa Is., Russia, Hawaiian Is. (?),Italy (?), Spain (?), Nicobar Is. (?), New Caledonia (?), Solomon Is. (?), Vanuatu (?) White-vented Myna

Acridotheres cinereus

26

I

cul/open

Northeast India, east and

Sumatra

southeast Asia Cont.

237

Table 7.2 Cont. Common Name

Species name

Size3 (cm)

Feeding 1, 3

Habitat

guild

type

G/I

1, 3

Natural

Introduced 3

Impact 3

reported2, 3

Distribution

Distribution

cul/

Holarctic and Oriental,

USA, Canada, West Indies, S. America, buil/

human/

extending to China in western

Cuba, Australia, New Zealand, S.

comp/

light/

Tibet, Xinjiang, Heilongjiang

Africa, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya,

crop/

open

and eastern Inner Mongolia

Mozambique, Senegal, Somali

nui/ dis

Family Passeridae House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

15

Republic, Tanzania, N. Sudan, Zanzibar, SW. Africa, Botswana, Rhodesia, Zambia, Amirantes, Mauritius, Reunion, Rodrigues, Azores Is., Ascension I., Bermuda, Canary Is., Cape Verde I., Falkland Is., Andaman Is., Chagos Archipelago, Christmas I., Camoros Is., Easter Is., Hawaiian Is., Juan Fernandez Is., Guatemala, New Caledonia, Norfolk I., Java (?), Chad (?), Niger (?), Somalia (?), Nicobar Is. (?), Seychelles Is. (?), Vanuatu (?) Cont.

238

Table 7.2 Cont. Common Name

Species name

Size3 (cm)

Feeding 1, 3

Habitat

Natural

Introduced Distribution

reported2, 3

cul/for/

Western Palearctic east to

Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda,

crop

light

northwest China in Xinjiang and Uruguay, Azores Is., Lord Howe I.,

type

G

3

Impact

Distribution

guild

1, 3

3

Family Fringillidae European Goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis

14.5

western Tibet

Macquarie I., Norfolk I., USA (?), Cape Verde Is. (?)

Family Estrildidae Java Sparrow

Padda oryzivora

17

G/I

Parts of Indochina, S. China, Taiwan,

comp/

human/

Japan, Sri Lanka, SE. Asia, Sri Lanka,

crop

light/

Lesser Sunda Is., Tanzania, Zanzibar

wet

and Pemba Is., Florida, West Indies,

cul/

Java and Bali

Hawaiian Is., Fiji Is., St. Helena Is., Christmas Is., Burma (?),Cocos (Keeling) Is. (?) Bengalese Finch8

Lonchura striata var.

11

G

domesticus “-” – information unknown to author 1

Abbreviations follow Table 3.x.

2

“crop” – crop damage; “dis” – disease to animal/human; “nui” - nuisance to public; “buil” – building/statue damage with droppings; “comp” competition with native species;

239

“pre” predation; “inter” interbreeding. 3

Sources - Zheng (1966), Long (1981), del Hoyo et al. (1997), Duncan (1997), Moulton and Sanderson (1997), Zhang et al. (1997), Juniper and Parr (1998), Leven (2000),

MacKinnon and Phillipps (2000), Carey et al. (2001), Hewston (2001), del Hoyo et al. (2004), Eguchi and Amano (2004), Leven and Corlett (2004), Chung (2005b), del Hoyo et al. (2005), Dudley (2005), Lever (2005), Viney et al. (2005). When conflict arises, unless otherwise stated, follows the latest source. 4

This species was considered as native to Hong Kong by Carey et al. (2001) but Leven and Corlett (2004) considered it as established through human agency. Leven (2000) listed this species as both fruigivorous and insectivorous; while del Hoyo et al. (2005) considered it as nectarivorous as well. This species may be out-competing the endemic Ixos nicobariensis in Nicobars Island (del Hoyo et al. 2005).

5

These two species are listed as both frugivorous and insectivorous by Leven (2000); while Zhang et al. (1997) considered them as granivorous as well.

6

Nest site information of this species was obtained from captive bred individuals (Hewston 2001).

7

More than a hundred individuals are present in the Deep Bay area and have been breeding successfully (M. Leven, personal communication). MacKinnon and Phillipps

listed this species as a frugivore, an insectivore and a scavenger; while Zhang et al. listed it as a predator and a granivore apart from being a frugivore and an insectivore. It is considered as an omnivore here due to its wide range of food choice. 8

This captive-bred variety not occur naturally in the wild. Nest site, habitat and natural distribution information is not available.

240

Table 7.3 H5N1-infected wild birds found in Hong Kong in 2006 and 2007. Common name

Species name

No. Status1 Location

Relation to bird trade

Crested Goshawk

Accipiter trivirgatus

1 R

urban

predator

Crested Myna

Acridotheres cristatellus

1 R

urban

sold for release

Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis

2 R

urban/rural sold as pets

Large-billed Crow

Corvus macrorhynchus

1 R

urban

scavenger

House Crow

Corvus torquatus

4 IR

urban

scavenger

Little Egret

Egretta garzetta

1 R,M

urban/rural none

Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

2 R,M

urban/rural predator

Common Kestral

Falco tinnunculus

1 M

urban

predator

Long-tailed Shrike

Lanius schach

1 R

urban

predator

Silver-eared Mesia

Leiothrix argentauris

2 IR

urban

sold for release

Chestnut Munia

Lonchura atricapilla

1 IR

urban

sold as pets

Scaly-breasted Munia

Lonchura punctulata

3 R

urban

sold for release

Munia species

Lonchura species

1 -

urban/rural -

White-rumped Munia

Lonchura striata

2 R

urban

Common Magpie

Pica pica

4 R

urban/rural sold for release

Urocissa erythrorhyncha

1 R

urban

Zosterops japonica

2 R, (?)M urban

Blue Magpie Japanese White-eye 1

2

sold for release

scavenger sold for release

Status followed Carey et al. (2001) and Leven and Corlett (2004). The latest publication was

followed where conflict arose. R – resident; IR – introduced resident; M – migrant. 2

Extent of migration to Hong Kong in winter is unclear.

241

Fig. 7.1 Location of the H5N1-infected wild birds found in Hong Kong in 2006. From Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (2006c). 1 – Oriental Magpie

242

Robin at Kam Shan Tsuen, Tai Po; 2 - Oriental Magpie Robin at Sheung Wo Hang Tsuen, Sha Tau Kok; 3 – Crested Myna at Muk Lun Street Playground, Wong Tai Sin; 4 – Chicken at Yuen Tuen Shan, Sha Tau Kok; 5 – Common Magpie at Yuen Tun Village, Tsing Lung Tau, Sham Tseng; 6 – Little Egret at Tuen Mun River, Tuen Mun; 7 – Chicken at Wu Tai Circuit, Tuen Mun; 8 – Japanese White-eye at Agyle Street, Mong Kok; 9 – Common Magpie at Yau Yat Tsuen, Sham Shui Po; 10 – Common Magpie at Flower Market Path, Mong Kok; 11 – Munia at Repulse Bay Road, Repulse Bay; 12 – White-backed Munia at Queen's Road East, Wanchai; 13 – Large-billed Crow at Magnolia Road, Yau Yat Tsuen, Sham Shui Po; 14 – House Crow at Lai On Estate, Cheung Sha Wan; 15 – House Crow at Tai Hang Tung Estate, Shek Kip Mei; 16 – Common Magpie at The Hong Kong Golf Club, Shouson Hill; 17 – Peregrine falcon at Grandeur Terrace, Tin Shui Wai.

243

Fig. 7.2 Location of the H5N1-infected wild birds found in Hong Kong in 2007. From Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (2007). 1 – Scaly-breasted Munia

244

at 29 Leighton Road, Wanchai; 2 – Crested Goshawk at near Shek Kip Mei Health Centre, Sham Shui Po; 3 – House Crow at Lai On Estate, Sham Shui Po; 4 – Japanese White-eye at Convair Drive, Kai Tak, Kowloon City; 5 – White-rumped Munia at 101-109 Boundary Street, Prince Edward; 6 – Peregrine Falcon at Chai Wan Kok Street, Tsuen Wan; 7 – House Crow at Yee Kok Court, Sham Shui Po; 8 – Blue Magpie at North Kowloon Magistracy, Tai Po Road, Sham Shui Po; 9 – Silver-eared Mesia at 101-109 Boundary Street, Prince Edward; 10 – Common Kestral at Shing Tin House, Pak Tin Estate, Sham Shui Po; 11 – Chestnut Munia at near St. Teresa’s Hospital, Prince Edward Road West, Kowloon City; 12 – Scaly-breasted Munia at the junction of Sing Woo Road and Wong Nai Chung Road, Happy Valley, Wanchai; 13 - Scaly-breasted Munia at Fu Yee House, Fu Cheong Estate, Sham Shui Po; 14 – Long-tailed Shrike at 12 Hung Lok Road, Harbourview Horizon, Hung Hom.

245

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