China Programme

Spoon billed sandpiper chick. Photo: John O'Sullivan, RSPB

Launched in April 2005, the BirdLife China Programme is a collaboration beteween BirdLife International and the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society. The programme has helped establish more than 20 birdwatching societies in cities and provinces on the Chinese mainland, and has trained hundreds of citizen conservationist to take part in bird surveys, the identification and management of Important Bird Areas, and the conservation of threatened species. 

China has an incredibly diverse and rich biodiversity, but rapid economic development is placing increasing pressure on the country’s environment. Studies by BirdLife International and Chinese ornithologists have found 87 globally threatened bird species in China, and identified 512 Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas.

BirdLife’s China Programmeprogramme aims to:

  • support the emergence of a network of civil society organisations with an interest in, and concern for, China’s birds and the environment,
  • support the development of birdwatching and bird conservation in mainland China, with the participation of the Chinese public, 
  • raise awareness of the importance of birds and key areas for conservation,
  • build capacity in species and site conservation, education and organisational management,
  • promote development of bird monitoring and site-conservation activities.

The China Programme now plays a leading role in promoting bird watching and conservation in China. The number of birdwatching societies has more than doubled, from ten to 20-plus and growing. At least 23 emerging or established Chinese bird watching societies have taken part in activities organised by the Programme, including training workshops in waterbird and forest bird survey techniques, environmental education and Important Bird Areas (IBAs).

Since 2008, the Programme has started projects focusing on threatened species conservation under the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme, Species include: Blue-crowned Laughingthrush, Chinese Crested Tern, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Rufous-backed Bunting

The programme aims to build up capacity of bird watching organisations in a variety of skills such as survey techniques, site conservation activities, fundraising, education and organisational management. More information.

Through workshops, the publication of practical handbooks (Methods for Bird Surveys and Bird Conservation Project Management), environmental education (Educating for BirdLife), promotional leaflets and posters, the website and a discussion forum, the Programme is raising awareness of the importance of China’s birds and key areas for conservation. A bi-monthly newsletter, China Bird Watch provides news of the bird watching societies and bird information. 

To raise public awareness and interest in birdwatching and bird conservation, the birdwatching societies in China joined BirdLife's World Bird Festival in 2006 & 2007. The China Bird Festival was held in Beijing, Liaoning, Henan, Jiangsu, Wuhan, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Wuhan, Luzhou, Mianyang and Kunming, involving at least 45,000 citizens.

The Programme supported the organisation of the China Coastal Waterbird Census, which started in September 2005 with the aim of understanding the distribution, migration and seasonal changes of waterbirds along the eastern coast of mainland China through monthly surveys. At present, waterbirds are counted at 13 coastal intertidal wetlands every month, in Liaoning, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Fujian, Guangdong and Hong Kong. Most of the sites are Important Bird Areas (IBAs).

Publications:

Directory of Important Bird Areas in China (Mainland): Key Sites for Conservation

Bird Conservation Project Management - a practical handbook

Methods for Bird Surveys - a practical handbook

Educating for BirdLife (Simplified Chinese version)


Programme news