South-east Chinese mountains

Country/Territory China (mainland); Vietnam
Area 610,000 km2
Altitude 300 - 1900 m
Priority urgent
Habitat loss severe
Knowledge incomplete

General characteristics

This EBA includes the hills and mountains of most of south-east China, in southern Anhui, southern Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, northern Guangdong and eastern Guizhou provinces, and Guangxi autonomous region (and possibly adjacent northern Vietnam). The natural vegetation here is subtropical broadleaf forest, with some coniferous and mixed forest in the mountains, and a zone of tropical lowland rain forest in the south. However, the human population density of this region has been high for the past several hundred years (Institute of Geography et al. 1994), and much of the natural forest cover had been cleared well before ornithological recording began. The bird species of the region which are treated here as having restricted ranges are thus those which are considered to have occupied areas of 50,000 km2 or less throughout the period for which data exist, although the original ranges of some of them are likely to have been larger than this threshold; all are forest birds. As virtually all level lowland forest in this part of China has been cleared, the EBA is represented on the map by all the land above 300 m, although only a small percentage of this area actually supports natural forest.

In Guizhou, Guangdong and Guangxi, this EBA overlaps with the eastern part of the Chinese subtropical forests (EBA 140). The birds of that EBA are also associated with subtropical broadleaf forest, but the available informatiupon on that region is not good enough to determine whether the birds of the two EBAs are separated ecologically, or occur together in the same habitats.

Restricted-range species

The restricted-range species vary in their habitat requirements and distributions, and some recent major extensions in their known ranges suggest that much remains to be learned (see e.g. He Fen-qi and Lu Tai-chun 1991, Zheng Guang-mei and Zhang Zheng-wang 1993). Gorsachius magnificus is known historically (in this EBA) from Anhui, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangxi, but the only recent records are from Guangxi (Zhou Fang >in litt. 1993); a record from northern Vietnam (Vo Quy 1983) suggests that the boundary of the EBA should perhaps be extended to include part of that country. Tragopan caboti and Arborophila gingica apparently have a more southerly distribution than the other species, in southern Zhejiang, Fujian, southern Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi and south-east Hunan, and range to higher altitudes (see Li Xiao-liu et al. 1990, Young et al. 1991, Ding Chang-qing and Zheng Guang-mei 1993). Syrmaticus ellioti breeds between 500 and 1,000 m (Ding Ping and Zhuge Yang 1990), and is the only species recorded from eastern Guizhou at the western extreme of the EBA (He Fen-qi and Lu Tai-chun 1991). Rhinomyias brunneata occurs in lowland forest, and is the only species recorded from southern Jiangsu.

Species IUCN Red List category
Collared Partridge (Arborophila gingica) NT
Cabot's Tragopan (Tragopan caboti) VU
Elliot's Pheasant (Syrmaticus ellioti) NT
White-eared Night-heron (Oroanassa magnifica) EN
(Cyornis brunneatus) NR

Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
Country IBA Name IBA Book Code
China (mainland) Babao Shan Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Badagongshan Nature Reserve CN434
China (mainland) Baiyun Forest Park CN404
China (mainland) Bamian Shan Nature Reserve CN448
China (mainland) Chebaling Nature Reserve CN492
China (mainland) Chengjia Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Daiyun Shan Nature Reserve CN413
China (mainland) Damingshan CN479
China (mainland) Daping Shan Nature Reserve CN477
China (mainland) Dashahe Nature Reserve CN279
China (mainland) Dawei Shan Nature Reserve (Hunan) CN439
China (mainland) Dayao Shan Nature Reserve CN475
China (mainland) Dupangling Nature Reserve CN445
China (mainland) Fanjing Shan Nature Reserve CN282
China (mainland) Fengyang Shan - Baishanzu Nature Reserve CN405
China (mainland) Fodingshan Forest CN284
China (mainland) Guanshan Nature Reserve CN418
China (mainland) Guniujiang Nature Reserve CN362
China (mainland) Gupo Shan CN470
China (mainland) Gutian Shan Nature Reserve CN401
China (mainland) Guxiu Nature Reserve CN474
China (mainland) Haiyangshan Nature Reserve CN468
China (mainland) Houhe Nature Reserve CN349
China (mainland) Huangsang Nature Reserve CN440
China (mainland) Huashui Shan CN493
China (mainland) Huashuichong Nature Reserve CN471
China (mainland) Huping Shan Nature Reserve CN433
China (mainland) Jiangkou Xiang-Mashi Zhen CN491
China (mainland) Jiaqiaoling Nature Reserve CN472
China (mainland) Jinggang Shan Nature Reserve CN430
China (mainland) Jiugong Shan Nature Reserve CN353
China (mainland) Jiulianshan Nature Reserve CN432
China (mainland) Jiulingshan Nature Reserve CN419
China (mainland) Jiulong Shan Nature Reserve (Zhejiang) CN403
China (mainland) Jiuwan Shan Nature Reserve CN462
China (mainland) Jiuyi Shan Nature Reserve CN446
China (mainland) Kuocang Shan Nature Reserve CN393
China (mainland) Lagou Nature Reserve CN473
China (mainland) Leigong Shan Nature Reserve CN288
China (mainland) Longhushan CN481
China (mainland) Longqi Shan Nature Reserve CN412
China (mainland) Mangshan Nature Reserve CN447
China (mainland) Mao'er Shan Nature Reserve CN465
China (mainland) Maozi Feng CN490
China (mainland) Matoushan Nature Reserve CN429
China (mainland) Mayanghe Nature Reserve CN280
China (mainland) Meihua Shan Nature Reserve CN415
China (mainland) Mount Huang Shan CN363
China (mainland) Nankun Shan Nature Reserve CN495
China (mainland) Nanling mountains CN489
China (mainland) Nanling mountains CN489
China (mainland) Nanyue Nature Reserve CN443
China (mainland) Niumulin Nature Reserve CN414
China (mainland) Pingnan Dapeng CN476
China (mainland) Qiandao Hu Reservoir CN380
China (mainland) Qingliangfeng Nature Reserve (Anhui) CN364
China (mainland) Qingliangfeng Nature Reserve (Zhejiang) CN378
China (mainland) Sansuo Nature Reserve CN467
China (mainland) Shennongjia Nature Reserve CN348
China (mainland) Shiyang Forest Park CN406
China (mainland) Shuiwu CN389
China (mainland) Sijian Shan Nature Reserve CN463
China (mainland) Suichuan CN431
China (mainland) Taoyuandong Nature Reserve CN449
China (mainland) Tianmen Shan Nature Reserve CN435
China (mainland) Tianmu Shan CN379
China (mainland) Tianping Shan CN466
China (mainland) Wanmulin Nature Reserve CN409
China (mainland) Wugang Yunshan Nature Reserve CN441
China (mainland) Wulingyuan CN437
China (mainland) Wuyanling Nature Reserve CN407
China (mainland) Wuyi Shan Nature Reserve (Fujian) CN408
China (mainland) Wuyi Shan Nature Reserve (Jiangxi) CN428
China (mainland) Xianhu Reservoir CN478
China (mainland) Xiaoxi Nature Reserve CN436
China (mainland) Xunle Nature Reserve CN461
China (mainland) Yindian Shan and Xiling Shan ranges CN469
China (mainland) Yuanbao Shan - Gunbei Laoshan CN464
China (mainland) Yueliangshan Forest CN289
China (mainland) Ziyun Wanfeng Shan Nature Reserve CN442
Vietnam Ban Thi - Xuan Lac VN029

Threat and conservation

This EBA is in one of the most densely populated regions in the world, and most of the natural forest has been cleared or modified as a result of the demands for agricultural land and timber. Rapid forest lost has taken place in most provinces in the EBA in the past fifty years, for example in Fujian, where timber reserves declined by 50% between 1949 and 1980 (Smil 1984). All five of the restricted-range species are listed as threatened, mainly as a result of this continuing loss and fragmentation of their habitat, but Tragopan caboti and Syrmaticus ellioti are also hunted for food (McGowan and Garson 1995). More widespread threatened forest species which breed in this EBA are Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha and Short-tailed Parrotbill Paradoxornis davidianus (both classified as Vulnerable). The threatened Yellow Bunting Emberiza sulphurata, which breeds in the Central Honshu montane forests (Secondary Area s090), is a non-breeding visitor to south-east China.

There are at least 40 protected areas within this EBA, most of which apparently have some suitable habitat for the restricted-range birds (Li Wenhua and Zhao Xian-jing 1989, IUCN 1992d). However, these reserves tend to be relatively small and isolated, and it is not clear how many of them contain large enough areas of suitable forest to support viable populations of these birds. The large Wuyi Shan Nature Reserve (565 km2) in Fujian is likely to be especially important for their long-term survival.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: South-east Chinese mountains. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/eba/factsheet/144 on 09/12/2023.