Kaoping River

Country/territory: Taiwan, China

IBA criteria met: A1, A4i (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 2,381 ha

Site description (baseline)
Extent of this site: The Kaoping River, also called the Lower Tanshui River, or Tanshui River, runs from Chishan to the Linyuan Industrial Area where it empties into the sea. It forms the boundary between Kaohsiung and Pingdung Counties, and this is the origin of its name. The Kaoping River is 170.9 km long, and its source is Yushan at an elevation of 3,997 m. The watershed encompasses 3,256.85 km2, and flows through 24 administrative districts of Kaohsiung and Pingdung. The Kaoping River is the second largest river in Taiwan. Abundant ecological resources can be found along the river. Lofty peaks and ridges of the high mountains and precipitous stream valleys are the characteristics of the upstream section where high-mountain birds can be found at the stream banks. When the river reaches the middle section, the river valleys slowly broaden, forming several alluvial valleys which attract many mid-elevation birds that move about and feed. There are agricultural fields along much of the lower reaches to the estuary at the sea, and the banks are covered with dense growth of grasses which forms important shelter and habitats for many migrating birds as well as local resident species. Diversified wild birds can be observed at the estuary wetlands, tidally influenced flats, agricultural lands, and areas of flowing water. Various bird species come to visit this site with the changes in tides, in the climate, and in the seasons.

Key biodiversity
IBA Al criterion species: Black-faced Spoonbill with a maximum of 5 birds (Aug. 1994). IBA A4i criterion species: Great Cormorant with a maximum of 1,200 birds (Jan. 2000). • At the estuary, a total of 141 species has been recorded including the rare Black Stork, Tufted Duck, and White-fronted Goose. • Several investigations of different scopes have been carried out on terrestrial birds along the Kaoping River: from the estuary upstream for 8 km, 125 species in 38 families have been recorded; in the section of river containing the Linyuanwan, Kaoping and Liling Bridges, 109 species were recorded; and from mid to upstream sections at Chongdashu Village to the estuary, 142 species were recorded in 39 families.

Non-bird biodiversity: • Ecological investigations in the Kaoping River watershed have revealed 31 endemic freshwater fish in 26 genera and 12 families. • Numerous crab species of abundant quantity can be observed, including the commonly seen fiddler crabs Uca arcuata, U. lactea, and U. borealis, as well as other species like Helice formosensis, and many of the rare U. dussumieri and U. perplexa.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Kaoping River. Downloaded from on 04/06/2023.