HK002
Tai Po Kau, Shing Mun and Tai Mo Shan area


Year of compilation: 2003

Site description
Hong Kong locates in the transition zone between the Oriental and Palaearctic region. Hong Kong is part of the South China Mountains which extend from East Yunnan, through Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangxi, to Fujian and Zhejiang in China. The South China Mountains is an important bird region in its own because of its rich and specialized avifauna. The western part of the South China Mountains extends naturally onto the Southeast Chinese Mountains region that includes the hills and mountains of most of the south-east Asia. There, the vegetation is mostly subtropical hill evergreen forest. both areas have attracted substantial research and conservation interests because of its rich biodiversity. They are also relatively unknown because the general shortage of comprehensive and long-term monitoring. The South and Southeast Chinese Mountains also extends to the Sino-Himalayan region. The proposed IBA shares similar characteristics in terms of the bird species in this biome range. The forests in Hong Kong are also important sites for studying migrating bird species such as Passerines and Raptor. The proposed IBA locates in central New Territories of Hong Kong. It comprises a variety of habitats, including hill evergreen forest, secondary scrubland, wooded grassland, secondary grassland, etc. The names of the protected areas in the proposed IBA include (1) Tai Mo Shan Country Park, (2) Shing Mun Country Park, (A) Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve, (B) Ng Tung Chai Special Area, (C) Tai Mo Shan Montane Scrub Forest Special Area, (D) Shing Mun Fung Shui Woodland Special Area, (I) Ng Tung Chai Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), (II) Tai Mo Shan SSSI and (III) Tai Mo Shan Montane Scrub Forest SSSI. This area covers 3315 ha which comprises approximately 41.3% hill evergreen forest and 22.7% secondary scrubland and 32.5% secondary grassland and wooded grassland. The area is managed by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government for nature conservation, public education, scientific research and recreation purposes.Most of the forest areas in Hong Kong have regenerated after the Second World War in 1945. Part of the proposed IBA that is within the Country Park is managed by AFCD and so has high level of protection against development. The forest within this area has gradually matured and attracted forest bird species of this biome range. This includes cuckoo-shrikes, sunbirds, babblers, etc. New and re-colonization by forest species are apparent since long-term monitoring begins about 50 years ago. Before of the heavy bird trade in the region, colonization by released population of captive origin are also present. Most of them represent a re-introduction of the bird species that was probably present in the past. Hong Kong has a long history of collecting field record on bird species. The data submitted in this proposal are accurate and scientific. As a representative site of the South China Mountains, the proposed IBA will continue to be important for scientific research and long-term monitoring of the whole region.



Key biodiversity
Species of Conservation Concern Recorded in the proposed IBA- Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha (Location: Tai Po Kau, Hong Kong Protection: Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, Chapter 170 of the Laws of Hong Kong, China Red Data Book: Rare)- Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus (Location: Tai Po Kau, Hong Kong Protection: Wild Animals -Protection Ordinance, Chapter 170 of the Laws of Hong Kong, China Red Data Book: Rare)- Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis(Location: Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong Protection: Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, Chapter 170 of the Laws of Hong Kong, China Red Data Book: Vulnerable)- Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis (Location: Tai Mo Shan and Shing Mun, Hong Kong Protection: Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, Chapter 170 of the Laws of Hong Kong, China Red Data Book: Vulnerable)- Crested Serpent Eagle Spiornis cheela (Location: Tai Mo Shan and Tai Po Kau, Hong Kong Protection: Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, Chapter 170 of the Laws of Hong Kong, China Red Data Book: Vulnerable)(Source: Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the University of Hong Kong)Conservation action takenThe Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, Cap. 170, prohibits hunting or possession of protected animals (including all wild birds) in Hong Kong. The ordinance is enforced by AFCD. Publicity programmes have been carried out to promote public awareness of the need for the nature conservation (including the protection of wild birds). The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance requires proponents of designated projects to avoid causing environmental impact as far as practicable. If total avoidance is not practicable, the project proponents are required to mitigate the adverse impact to an acceptable level, or compensate for the impact caused.

Non-bird biodiversity: Tai Po KauAmphibians- Giant Spiny Frog Rana spinosa *(China Red Data Book: rare)Reptiles- Three-baned Box Terrapin Cuora trifasciata* (China Red Data Book: rare; IUCN: critically endangered)- Reeves' Terrapin Chinemys revesii *(China Red Data Book: Conservation dependent; IUCN:Endangered)- Big-headed terrapin Platysternon megacephalum *(China Red Data Book: endangered; IUCN: endangered)- Chinese Cobra Naja atra *(China Red Data Book: vulnerable)- Burmese Python Python molurus *(China Red Data Book: Critically Endangered)Freshwater fish- Predaceous chub Parazacco spilurus* (China Red Data Book: vulnerable) Mammals- Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta *(China Red Data Book: vulnerable; IUCN: near threatened)- Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla* (China Red Data Book: vulnerable; IUCN: near threatened)- Chinese Porcupine Hystrix brachyura *(China Red Data Book: vulnerable)DragonfliesMelligomphus moluami (Endemic Hongkong)Tai Mo ShanAmphibians- Giant Spiny Frog Rana spinosa *(China Red Data Book: rare)Reptiles- Big-headed terrapin Platysternon megacephalum *(China Red Data Book: endangered; IUCN: endangered)- Common Rat Snake Ptyas mucosus (China Red Data Book: endangered)- Many-banded Krait Bungarus multicinctus multicinctus (China Red Data Book: vulnerable)Freshwater fish- Predaceous chub Parazacco spilurus Mammals- Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta *(China Red Data Book: vulnerable; IUCN: near threatened)- Chinese Porcupine Hystrix brachyura *(China Red Data Book: vulnerable)Shing MunRetiles- Reeves' Terrapin Chinemys revesii* (China Red Data Book: conservation dependent; IUCN: endangered)- Big-headed terrapin Platysternon megacephalum *(China Red Data Book: endangered; IUCN: endangered)Freshwater fish- Predaceous chub Parazacco spilurus Mammals- Rhesus Macaque Macaca mulatta *(China Red Data Book: vulnerable; IUCN: near threatened)- Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla* (China Red Data Book: vulnerable; IUCN: near threatened)- Chinese Porcupine Hystrix brachyura *(China Red Data Book: vulnerable)Note: * Wild Animals Protection Ordinance, Chapter 170 of the Laws of Hong Kong(Source: Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the University of Hong Kong)



Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Undergrazing, irrigation, high fertilizer input, excessive use of chemicals, changes in crop species or cultivation, loss of habitats and overgrazing, encompassing drought, erosion, storms, hunting, egg collection etc, are listed as threats to this site.



Protected areas
1. Tai Po Kau Nature ReserveThe Special Area was designated in 1976 in recognition of its importance as a managed woodland and habitat for woodland birds. It is managed for nature conservation and nature education purposes. Management aims at minimizing disturbance to the habitat, whilst maintaining the integrity of the land as water gathering grounds. The area is a well-established plantation area and is now heavily wooded with more than 100 different species of trees. At least 166 species of birds have been recorded in this nature reserve, including Fairy Pitta, Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Large Grass Warbler and Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher.2. Tai Mo Shan Country ParkTai Mo Shan is the highest peak in Hong Kong, it is set amidst of the Country Parks. Forest plantations have been established in areas with an altitude below 550m in the southeastern part of the Country Park. Above 550m, shrubs and grasses dominate the landscape, which are ecological diverse with montane birds, butterflies and snakes.3. Shing Mun Country ParkThe Country Park lies in the central New Territories. The Shing Mun Reservoir, the large water storage lying below Tai Mo Shan, is the single most impressive feature of Shing Mun Country Park. Many woodland plantations are growing around the reservoir. At least 145 species of birds have been recorded, including the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher and Large Grass Warbler. 4. Ng Tung Chai Special Area Floristically this ravine is one of the richest places in Hong Kong with many rare species, including Dysoxylum hongkongense, Dendrobenthamia hongkongensis, Asplenium nidus, Cyathea spinulosa, Paris chinensis. This site is within the Tai Mo Shan Country Park (Site 2).5. Ng Tung Chai SSSINihil6. Tai Mo Shan Montane Scrub Forest Special Area and Tai Mo Shan Montane Scrub Forest SSSIThe area is rich floristically and many rare species are known to occur, including trees (e.g., Camellia granthamiana and Amentataxus argotaenis),ferns (e.g., Loxogramme lanceolata and Pteris insignis), Hymenophyllum, and over 30 species of orchids. This site is within the Tai Mo Shan Country Park (Site 2).7. Shing Mun Fung Shui Woodland Special Area and Shing Mun Fung Shui Woodland SSSIThe woodlands comprises the "Fung Shui Woodland" related to the village "Tai Wai Village" which was excavated in 1929 as part of the water catchment scheme in the area. This Woodland consists of an interesting dense, tall, natural collection of local hardwood trees and is one of the few intensively studied woodlands in Hong Kong.The woodland was protected by villagers in accordance with ancient traditions relating to the inter-actions of Wind (Fung) and Water (Shui) on the village, and is believed to be a remnant of the forest type which might have been expected to cover large areas of Hong Kong if a similar standard of protection had been applied over the whole territory. This site is within the Shing Mun Country Park (Site 3).8. Tai Mo Shan SSSIThe site is representative of a grassland habitat in Hong Kong and is the habitat for the breeding populations of exclusively montane birds, including Large Grass Warbler. The SSSI is within the Tai Mo Shan Country Park (Site 2).



Habitat and land use
Habitat of this site are hill evergreen forest (subtropical) 41.3%, secondary scrub (22.7%), wooded grassland (8.3%), secondary grassland (24.2%), river and streams (0.9%), artificial wetland (2%), inland cliffs and rocky slopes (0.4%), arable land (0.1%), small settlements, rural gardens (0.1%).Land use of this area are permanent agriculture, nature conservation, tourism/recreation, watershed management and small settlements.




Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tai Po Kau, Shing Mun and Tai Mo Shan area. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/05/2022.