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Record number of black-faced spoonbills spotted in Taiwan

TAIPEI--A record high of 1,659 black-faced spoonbills have been documented in Taiwan this year, a 2.11-percent increase over the previous year, according to an annual census.

The census, part of a worldwide bird-count initiated by the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society and taken Jan. 18-19 this year, found 1,246 black-faced spoonbills in Southern Taiwan's Tainan and 215 in Central Taiwan's Chiayi, according to the Taipei-based Chinese Wild Bird Federation.

Tainan, where Taijiang National Park is located, is one of the most important global wintering sites for the endangered birds, it said.

Bird conservation experts, however, have discovered that the number of black-faced spoonbills in Tainan are reaching their upper limit and, as a result, are spreading to new habitats in neighboring Chiayi and Kaohsiung.

“We have found a slight expansion of the birds' habitats, which means that they might have been adapting to a changing environment along the west coast,” said federation official Hung Kuan-chieh.

The birds have also been spotted in Northern Taiwan's Hsinchu, Southern Taiwan's Pingtung and the outlying Kinmen County and Dongsha Islands — the first time the birds have been seen in these areas.

The global figures will likely be released after Hong Kong has compiled the data from participating countries of the census, including South Korea, China and Japan.

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