Tatu Rivermouth Wildlife Refuge

Country/territory: Taiwan, China

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

Area: 2,668 ha

Site description (baseline)
Extent of this site: the northern border is the north shore levee of the Tatu River south to the boundary between Shianshi Village and Lugang Township; the eastern border is the Shengang levee, Shihgu section of the seawall, Ehliao north levee, and the Yupu west levee; the western border extends out 3 km from the levee into the Taiwan Strait. This IBA was once the largest among Taiwan’s coastal wetlands in terms of species and number of birds, being listed by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as one of the 12 largest wetlands in Asia. From outside to inside of the wetland are marine areas, 4-km wide intertidal zone, rivers, sand flats, mud beaches, newly formed land, agricultural land, and fish cultivation ponds. The intertidal zone and mud beaches support abundant benthic organisms, creating important feeding resources for birds. Together with the area’s extensive flats, this was once an important stopover site for migrating birds. However, after the Taichung thermoelectric plant was built on the north shore, with construction of a levee and the use of water circulation, the coastal environments were seriously affected. This caused the Tatu Estuary to slant to the south by 18°, and the upstream mud and sand moving towards the south covered the nutritious sand flats, killing the benthic organisms. Thus migrating birds had no way of feeding here and moved on further south to roost.

Key biodiversity
IBA A1 criterion species: Saunder’s Gull (SG), Black-faced Spoonbill (BFS) Year 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 2000 No. of SG 50 86 70 25 37 385 316 182 300 208 113 No. of BFS - - - - - - 6 5 2 4 1 • At this site, 235 species in 43 families have been recorded. • Rare and endangered species include: Chinese Egret, Eastern Marsh Harrier, Painted Snipe, Eastern Collared Pratincole, Little Tern, Osprey, and Oriental Ibis. Other protected species include Gray-faced Buzzard Eagle, Grey Frog Hawk, and Brown Shrike.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Tatu Rivermouth Wildlife Refuge. Downloaded from on 08/06/2023.