Sitsao Wildlife Refuge

Country/territory: Taiwan, China

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 1,800 ha

Site description
Extent of this site: The northern border is the Tsengwen River; the southern border is the Yanshui River; the eastern border is the Tainan Science- based Industrial Park and Haidian Road; the western border is the coastline excluding the three communities of Luer, Sitsao, and Beiliao. This area includes the Sitsao Wildlife Refuge. Sitsao is situated northwest of Tainan City at a distance of about 10 km from the city center. The site can be reached by Provincial Highway 17. This area is consisted of tidal flats which rose after the Taichiang Inner Sea was blocked by silt, and for many years, it has been an important stop for passage migrants and winter visitors. In early times, extensive salt fields and aquaculture ponds were established here. Currently a portion of the salt fields and ponds has been designated as a wildlife refuge. In addition, there are also cultural and historical sites here such as an old wae field, the Sitsao Cannon Fort, the remnant of the Tax Bureau, and the Dachong Temple. Furthermore, it is the first place designated as a reserve, Black-winged Stilt Reserve, for the preservation of one species. According to the IUCN Asian Wetland Investigation Report, Sitsao is considered to be of international importance, and is one of the 12 largest wetlands in Taiwan. Sitsao Wetlands has been called one of Taiwan’s four biggest wetlands.

Key biodiversity
IBA A1 criterion species: Black-faced Spoonbill Year 1987 May 1995 Feb. 1996 Mar. 1997 Apr. 1998 Apr. 1999 Feb. 2000 Mar. 2001 Mar. No. of BFS 8 230 193 48 63 231 75 118 • In 1893 at Sitsao and even the area of Anping, “white birds” were recorded, it is suspected that the white birds were Black-faced Spoonbills. Afterwards, in 1987, birders in Tainan, working with the Council of Agriculture to carry out the East Asian Waterbird Banding Five-year Pioneer Plan, discovered 20 to 30 Black-faced Spoonbills feeding at Sitsao. They have continued to be seen annually. It is believed that they are from the Tsengwen River Estuary. IBA A4i criterion species: Black-winged Stilt • The breeding population of the Black-winged Stilt at this site is the largest Stilt group in Taiwan. Year 1992 Oct. 1994 Mar. 1995 Jan. 1996 Oct. 1997 Nov. 1998 Dec. 1999 Dec. 2000 Sept. No. of BWS 1450 80 226 150 675 100 40 120 • At this site, 171 species have been seen, among which are the protected species: Chinese Egret, Oriental White Stork, Black Stork, Black-faced Spoonbill, White Spoonbill, Oriental Ibis, Tundra Swan, Red-breasted Merganser, Baikal Teal, Besra Sparrow Hawk, Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle, Grey Frog Hawk, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Common Kestrel, Spotted Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt, Common Tern, Little Tern, Short-eared Owl, Black-billed Magpie, and Brown Shrike.

Non-bird biodiversity: • At Sikunshen there is a stand of dense mangroves, predominantly of mixed Four-petaled mangrove Rhizophora mucronata and Black Mangrove Avicennia marina. Under the ironwood Casuarina equisetifolia windbreak forests, there are about 2,000 plants of the mangrove Lumnitzera Lumnitcera racemosa, this being the largest stand of this species in Taiwan. There are currently four species of mangroves which survive at the mangrove reserve at Sitsao’s Dachong Temple. • There are ten species of the fiddler crabs recorded at the Yenshui River estuary.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sitsao Wildlife Refuge. Downloaded from on 07/02/2023.