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Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes, Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea and Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis: new for Cambodia

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nomadic behaviour may have led the species to spread from
Laos and move to Menglun, only about 50 km from the Laos
border. The species has been recorded as far north as Bolikhamsy
province in Laos, which is further north than it has been recorded
in Vietnam or Cambodia (S. Mahood in litt. 2014). Pin-tailed
Parrotfinches occur in bamboo, open forest and secondary forest
edges up to 1,500 m, which is plentiful in Xishuangbanna due
to high rates of forest fragmentation and degradation. They also
tend to use agricultural habitats where they can become pests
(Evans et al. 1992).
References
Evans, S. M., Fletcher, F. J. C., Loader, P. J. & Rooksby, F. G. (1992) Habitat
exploitation by landbirds in the changing Western Samoan
environment. Bird Conserv. Internatn. 2: 123–129.
Plates 1 & 2. Female and male Pin-tailed Parrotfinch Erythrura prasina observed in secondary rainforest at Xishuangbanna Tropical
Botanical Garden, Menglun, Yunnan province, China, 4 January 2014.
G. U. BOJIAN
LI QIANG
Payne, R. B. (2010) Family Estrildidae (waxbills). Pp.234–377 in J. del Hoyo,
A. Elliott & D. A. Christie, eds. Handbook of the birds of the world, 15.
Barcelona: Lynx Edicions.
Rachakonda SREEKAR, Salindra K. DAYANANDA,
Jiang-Bo ZHAO, Bojian GU, Ximin WANG
& Eben GOODALE
Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Yunnan, China
Corresponding author: Salindra K. Dayananda
Email: kasunkent@gmail.com
Qiang LI
The Wild Bird Society of Friends of Nature, Beijing, China
Introduction
We report three new species for Cambodia, the Vulnerable
Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes, Critically Endangered Spoon-
billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea and Lesser Crested Tern
Thalasseus bengalensis. These species were recorded during a
survey of Koh Kapik Ramsar Site between 24 January and
2 February 2014 and documented by photographs (Plates 1–
4). The site is 18 km south of Koh Kong city, on the north-east
coast of the Gulf of Thailand. The sightings were at a high-
tide wader roost on the western shore of Koh Kapik island
(11.328°N 102.988°E). On a falling tide, taking advantage of
the expanding mudflats the birds spread out over about
6 km, but even at low tide most birds remained on the western
shore. During the survey 21 species of waders were
recorded including the Endangered Nordmann’s Greenshank
Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes, Spoon-billed
Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea and Lesser Crested
Tern Thalasseus bengalensis: new for Cambodia
PAUL H. NIELSEN, PAUL EVERINGHAM, SENGLIM SUY & SIMON P. MAHOOD
Tringa guttifer—a daily maximum of 18, with a site-wide
estimate of 30 individuals—and the Near Threatened Asian
Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus and Great Knot Calidris
tenuirostris.
Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes
A few unidentified egrets were seen daily but were wary when
approached, and photographs were taken for later
identification. We strongly suspected in the field that some
were Chinese Egret and endeavoured to obtain photographs
of all individuals. Examination of photographs, and
consultation with Nial Moores and Colin Poole, led to the
identification of at least three Chinese Egrets (Plate 1) based
on overall structure, bill shape and pattern, lore colour and
the presence of incipient nuchal plumes.
BirdingASIA 22 (2014) 117
BirdingAsia22b.p65 2/12/2015, 12:15 PM117
Goes (2013) predicted that wintering Chinese Egret would
be found in Cambodia based on sightings of four egrets,
possibly this species, on the Cambodian coast in November
2008 (Timmins & Sechrest 2010). The species occurs annually
in Vietnam and Thailand in small numbers (Robson 2008).
Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea
On the afternoon of 24 January 2014, a single Spoon-billed
Sandpiper was found in an area of shallow pools left by a falling
tide. Our attention was drawn to the bird’s feeding behaviour,
as it reached out ahead, vigorously exploring the water with
its bill. Its movements were rapid and erratic. The laterally
flattened spoon-shaped bill made it easy to identify (Plate 2).
There were no further sightings during the following nine
survey days.
In common with other countries on the Gulf of Thailand,
Cambodia evidently supports a very small population of
Spoon-billed Sandpiper; it is possible that the Cambodian
wintering population was formerly larger, before the global
population declined so dramatically.
Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis
A small tern roost comprising Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia,
Greater Crested Tern T. bergii and Lesser Crested Terns was
recorded daily. Up to four Little Terns Sternula albifrons were also
present on most days. The highest day count for Lesser Crested
Tern was 28 on 26 January, compared to peak numbers of 10
Greater Crested Tern and 23 Caspian Tern. Lesser Crested Terns
were identified in the field from Greater Crested Tern by their
smaller, finer, brighter orange bills, paler upperparts and more
extensive, bushier black crests (Plates 3 & 4).
Plate 1. Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes, Koh Kapik Ramsar
Site, Cambodia, 26 January 2014.
Plate 2. Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea, Koh Kapik
Ramsar Site, Cambodia, 24 January 2014. Plate 3. Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis, Koh Kapik
Ramsar Site, Cambodia, 1 February 2014.
Plate 4. Lesser Crested Tern, Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia and Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii, Koh Kapik Ramsar Site,
Cambodia, 25 January 2014.
SENGLIM SUYSENGLIM SUY
SENGLIM SUY
SENGLIM SUY
118 Country firsts
BirdingAsia22b.p65 2/12/2015, 12:15 PM118
This is not the first published record of Lesser Crested Tern
in Cambodia. Edwards (1999) recorded five individuals at this
same site on 28 January 1996, noting that these were ‘…the first
record for Cambodia and Indo-China’. No documentary evidence
was provided, and Goes (2013) did not include the species in
his checklist because he thought it ‘unlikely to occur’. In contrast,
Robson (2011) lists the species as a scarce to uncommon non-
breeding visitor in Cambodia and other countries bordering the
Gulf of Thailand.
Discussion
Cambodia’s coastal wetlands have been less extensively
surveyed than similar habitats in neighbouring countries. Koh
Kapik, arguably Cambodia’s most important coastal wetland site,
was surveyed for one day, 28 January 1996 (Edwards 1999) and
subsequently on an ad hoc basis by PE. This explains why the
Cambodian non-breeding populations of these three relatively
scarce or difficult to identify species may have been overlooked.
Throughout the survey, in the inshore areas of the bay east
of Koh Kapik there were over 100 large sand-extraction vessels
either moving or moored. Offshore, larger ships were being
loaded with sand for export. The degree of disturbance was
visually obvious in water turbidity. We are hoping that the
discovery of these birds along with the additional threatened
species (Nielsen et al. in prep.) brings attention to this Ramsar
Site and the need to protect what is perhaps the biggest and
most varied wader roost in Cambodia.
Acknowledgements
Thanks to Sayam Chowdhury for facilitating the survey.
Financial support was provided by the RSPB. We thank Nial
Moores and Colin Poole for their help and Omaliss Keo for his
support and encouragement.
References
Edwards, P. J. (1999) Recent waterbird surveys in Cambodia. Forktail 15:
29–42.
Goes, F. (2013) The birds of Cambodia: an annotated checklist. Phnom Penh:
Fauna and Flora International Cambodia Program & Royal University
of Phnom Penh.
Robson, C. R. (2008) A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. London:
New Holland.
Timmins, R. J. & Sechrest, W. (2010) A rapid biological survey to assess the
conservation significance of the coastal lowlands of southwest
Cambodia. San Francisco: Global Wildlife Conservation.
Paul H. NIELSEN
Email: birderhowie@gmail.com
Paul EVERINGHAM
Email: byroncanoe@hotmail.com
Senglim SUY
Email: suysenglim@yahoo.com
Simon P. MAHOOD
Wildlife Conservation Society Cambodia Program
PO Box 1620, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Email: smahood@wcs.org
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei: first record
for Bangladesh
SAYAM U. CHOWDHURY, YANN MUZIKA & MD FOYSAL
The Slender-billed Gull Larus genei has a wide distribution,
breeding in isolated locations from north-west Africa and
south and east Iberia, through the Mediterranean, Black Sea,
Asian Minor and the Middle East to east Kazakhstan,
Afghanistan, Pakistan and north-west India. It winters in the
Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, along the coast of the
Arabian Peninsula, south to the Horn of Africa, the west and
south-east coasts of India, Sri Lanka and Gulf of Thailand, with
sporadic inland records from Indian Punjab to south-east
Nepal, north Myanmar and Bhutan (Burger & Gochfeld 1996,
Rasmussen & Anderton 2012). Li & Mundkur (2004) reported
Slender-billed Gull in Bangladesh; however in the absence of
a published description, the record was treated as unproven
and the species was added to the list of hypothetical and
unconfirmed birds (Siddiqui et al. 2008).
On 15 January 2014 during the monthly waterbird survey
by the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation
Group, we found a first-winter Slender-billed Gull on Sonadia
Island, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The bird was identified as
first-winter Slender-billed Gull based on the shape and colour
of the bill (orange-yellow with no black on the tip), orange-
yellow legs, elongated face and long neck, pale eyes, faint ear-
spot and white on outer primaries (see Plates 1 & 2). On 16
January, as we carefully scrutinised all the gulls we saw, an
adult Slender-billed Gull was found on another part of the
island. The non-breeding adult showed a faint grey ear-spot,
long, reddish-black bill, gleaming white head and pinkish tinge
on the underparts (see Plate 3). Both Slender-billed Gulls
appeared to be much smaller than adjacent Brown-headed
Gulls Larus brunnicephalus. The nearest record of Slender-billed
Gull that we could trace was on Oriental Bird Images
(www.orientalbirdimages.org), a bird photographed on 19
February 2012 at Frazerganj Beach, West Bengal, India.
(Editors’ Note: Possibly the first record for West Bengal).
Acknowledgements
We thank Philip D. Round, Paul Thompson and Enam Ul Haque
for their comments on identification.
BirdingASIA 22 (2014) 119
BirdingAsia22b.p65 2/12/2015, 12:15 PM119
... We did not detect Spoon-billed Sandpiper during our four surveys even though the species was recorded at the Koh Kapik Ramsar Site in 2014 (Nielsen et al., 2014). Our survey recorded 20 shorebird species with approximately 1,247 migratory shorebirds counted. ...
Recent waterbird surveys in Cambodia
  • P J Edwards
Edwards, P. J. (1999) Recent waterbird surveys in Cambodia. Forktail 15: 29-42.
The birds of Cambodia: an annotated checklist. Phnom Penh: Fauna and Flora International Cambodia Program &
  • F Goes
Goes, F. (2013) The birds of Cambodia: an annotated checklist. Phnom Penh: Fauna and Flora International Cambodia Program & Royal University of Phnom Penh.
A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia
  • C R Robson
Robson, C. R. (2008) A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. London: New Holland.
A rapid biological survey to assess the conservation significance of the coastal lowlands of southwest Cambodia
  • R J Timmins
  • W Sechrest
Timmins, R. J. & Sechrest, W. (2010) A rapid biological survey to assess the conservation significance of the coastal lowlands of southwest Cambodia. San Francisco: Global Wildlife Conservation.
Email: birderhowie@gmail.com Paul EVERINGHAM Email: byroncanoe@hotmail.com Senglim SUY Email: suysenglim@yahoo.com Simon P. MAHOOD Wildlife Conservation Society Cambodia Program PO Box 1620
  • H Paul
  • Nielsen
Paul H. NIELSEN Email: birderhowie@gmail.com Paul EVERINGHAM Email: byroncanoe@hotmail.com Senglim SUY Email: suysenglim@yahoo.com Simon P. MAHOOD Wildlife Conservation Society Cambodia Program PO Box 1620, Phnom Penh, Cambodia Email: smahood@wcs.org