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Hainan

Country/Territory China (mainland)
Area 13,000 km2
Altitude 600 - 1800m
Priority urgent
Habitat loss severe
Knowledge incomplete

General characteristics

The island of Hainan (which constitutes a Chinese province) lies some 20 km off the southern tip of the Chinese mainland. Its natural vegetation is tropical evergreen rain forest (Whitmore 1984), but the lowlands are now almost completely deforested. The restricted-range species are found in the remaining areas of forest in the mountains in the centre and south-west of the island, so an approximate boundary to the EBA has been defined using the 300 m contour.

Restricted-range species

The habitat requirements, altitudinal ranges and distributions of the restricted-range species are not well documented. All are forest birds, and mostly recorded from montane altitudes, but it is unclear whether any of them ever ranged into the lowlands in the past. There are recent records of three of these four species, including the recently described Phylloscopus hainanus (Olsson et al. 1993), from a small number of localities in the mountains (see Xu Long-hui et al. 1983, King and Liao Wei-ping 1989, McGowan et al. 1995), but Gorsachius magnificus appears not to have been recorded on Hainan since two were sighted during surveys in the 1960s (Zhou Fang in litt. 1993, Xu Weishu verbally 1996).

There are about 46 subspecies of bird endemic to Hainan (Cheng Tso-hsin 1987, Howard and Moore 1991), several of which may be better treated as full species (Olsson et al. 1993), for example the endemic subspecies of Grey Peacock-pheasant Polyplectron (bicalcaratum) katsumatae and Black-browed Barbet Megalaima (oorti) faber.


Species IUCN Category
Hainan Partridge (Arborophila ardens) VU
White-eared Night-heron (Oroanassa magnifica) EN
Hainan Leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus hainanus) VU
Yellow-billed Nuthatch (Sitta solangiae) NT

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
CN503 Nanweiling China (mainland)
CN504 Limushan China (mainland)
CN505 Yinggeling China (mainland)
CN506 Bawangling China (mainland)
CN508 Wuzhishan China (mainland)
CN509 Diaoluoshan China (mainland)
CN510 Jianfengling China (mainland)
CN512 Ganshiling China (mainland)

Threat and conservation

Forest loss is the major threat to the EBA. Zhou Guang-yi (1994) estimates that the area of natural tropical forest on Hainan has decreased from 16,920 km2 in 1943 to 3,000 km2 in 1994, mainly as a result of excessive timber extraction, the replacement of forest by rubber plantations, slash-and-burn agriculture and the unrestricted cutting of wood for fuel and other uses (see also Smil 1984, Collins et al. 1991). Much of the remaining forest is probably disturbed and not of full stature, so is not capable of supporting many of the specialized forest birds (W. Bleisch in litt. 1993). All four of the restricted-range bird species are threatened because of this continuing loss of their habitat, and Arborophila ardens also because of hunting (McGowan et al. 1995). More widespread threatened forest birds which occur on Hainan are Pale-capped Pigeon Columba punicea (classified as Vulnerable) and Blyth's Kingfisher Alcedo hercules (Vulnerable).

There are 28 protected areas on Hainan (IUCN 1992d), but it is unclear how many of these contain suitable habitat for the restricted-range birds. There are recent records of some of these species from Bawangling, Jianfengling and Wuzhishan Nature Reserves, which all include substantial areas of natural forest. Many of the other protected areas are small and isolated, and unlikely to support viable populations of any of the birds (W. V. Bleisch in litt. 1993).


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Hainan. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/10/2022.