Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012 [note that this has been moved back by about two months].
White-eared Night-heron Gorsachius magnificus is an enigmatic resident of tropical and subtropical forests, often with associated aquatic habitats, in southern China and northern Vietnam. It is listed as Endangered under criterion C2a(i) on the basis that its population numbers fewer than 1,000 mature individuals, with the largest subpopulation numbering fewer than 250 individuals, and is thought to be in decline owing to hunting and forest clearance for timber and agricultural expansion, as well as damming of some sites for flow regulation.
Extensive survey effort has recently resulted in many records from new locations, leading to a considerable extension of its known range and suggesting that the species has been under-recorded and may in fact breed over a wider area of southern China and northern Indochina (He Fen-qi et al. 2007a,b, Pilgrim et al. 2009). There are now thought to be 11 relatively separate sub-populations (He Fen-qi et al. 2007b). It has also been noted that the species is capable of surviving and breeding in rather degraded habitats (He Fen-qi et al. 2007a). Although the population is still suspected to be in rapid decline owing to on-going threats, the increase in its known range raises the question of whether the current population estimate of 250-999 mature individuals should be revised upwards.
Further information on this species is requested, with particular emphasis on population estimates and sub-population structure, and comments are also invited on the suspicion of a rapid population decline.
He F. Q., Fellowes, J. R., Chan, B. P. L., Lau, M. W. N., Lin J. S. and Lee K. S. (2007a) An update on the distribution of the ‘Endangered’ White-eared Night Heron Gorsachius magnificus in China. Bird Conserv. Int. 17: 93-101.
He F. Q., Zhou F., Yang X. J., Yang L., Deng X. J., Hu H. X., Lin J. S., Jiang H. D., Lin Z., Li L., Zhu K. M., Anderson, B., Zhang H. H. and Dong J. T. (2007b) Study on the status of distribution and subpopulation of the White-eared Night Heron (Gorsachius magnificus). Acta Zootaxonomica Sinica 32: 802-813.
Pilgrim, J. D., Walsh, D. F., Tran T. T., Nguyen D. T., Eames, J. C. and Le M. H. (2009) The Endangered White-eared Night Heron Gorsachius magnificus in Vietnam: status, distribution, ecology and threats. Forktail 25: 143-147.
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