Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- A3ce A3ce

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2017 Endangered A3ce
2016 Endangered C2a(ii)
2013 Endangered C2a(ii)
2012 Endangered C2a(ii)
2008 Endangered C2a(i)
2006 Endangered
2004 Endangered
2000 Endangered
1996 Critically Endangered
1994 Critically Endangered
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Land-mass type - continent
Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 169,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 2,780,000 medium
Number of locations 11-100 -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 2250 good observed 2017
Population trend Increasing poor observed -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 50-79 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations 1 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation 100 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 7.2 - - -

Population justification: The January 2017 census recorded a new high of 3,941 birds, thus the total number of mature individuals is estimated at c.2,250, as adults appear to account for around 57% of the total population (Yat-tung Yu in litt. 2017). The population has been inferred to have historically numbered c.10,300 individuals (Yeung et al. 2006), which fell to an estimated low of 288 individuals in 1988. Regular monitoring via the International Black-faced Spoonbill Census has indicated a recovery. 1,069 individuals were counted during the 2003 census, 2,065 individuals in 2008 and 3,272 individuals in 2015 (Yu et al. 2015) representing a steady increase on previous totals that may reflect genuine increases and result from successful conservation measures at a number of sites (Yu 2008, Chan et al. 2010). Some uncertainty remains over whether census increases represent increased survey effort, displacement of birds from unknown wintering sites or genuine population increases, thus on the basis of on-going habitat loss and degradation the overall population may decline in the near future.

Taiwan is still the largest wintering area for the species, where there were a total of 2,060 individuals (a marginal increase of 26 birds). The increase in the total global population was mainly a result of more records from mainland China, which had a 32% increase from 330 individuals in 2015 to 434 in 2016. Increases were also recorded in South Korea, Japan and Macau. Worryingly, however, the figure from Deep Bay (Hong Kong, and Shenzhen, China) decreased from 462 individuals in 2010 to 371 individuals this year, which represents a cumulative decrease of nearly 20% over the period (including 40 fewer individuals than 2015).

Trend justification: For some years annual censuses have indicated year-on-year increases in the surveyed population. It was initially unclear whether these represented genuine increases, displacement of birds from degraded and destroyed sites or simply an increase in observer effort. These annual census figures are now derived from a consistent methodology and scope, indicating that the increase in what is considered to be the vast majority of the global population is a genuine finding, and that there are not significant numbers elsewhere. Analysis of survey data from 42 sites between 1997-2014 found that the global population increased from 535 individuals in 1997 to 2,726 in 2014, an annual increase of 8.0% (Sung et al. 2017). Nevertheless, it is precautionarily suspected that very rapid population declines may take place over the next three generations, owing primarily to the predicted loss of habitat to industrial development, land reclamation, and pollution.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Brunei V Extant
Cambodia N Extant Yes
China (mainland) N Extant Yes Yes Yes
Hong Kong (China) N Extant Yes
Japan N Extant Yes
Macao (China) N Extant Yes
North Korea N Extant Yes
Philippines N Extant Yes
Russia N Extant Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
South Korea N Extant Yes
Taiwan, China N Extant Yes
Thailand N Extant Yes
Vietnam N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Vietnam Tram Chim
Vietnam Nghia Hung
Vietnam Tien Hai
Vietnam Thai Thuy
Vietnam Tien Lang
Vietnam An Hai
Vietnam Xuan Thuy
Vietnam Can Gio
Vietnam Ha Nam
Brunei Seria Coast
China (mainland) Longtan Reservoir
China (mainland) Yalu Jiang Estuary
China (mainland) Xingren Tuo Island
China (mainland) Yancheng Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Jiuduansha Nature Reserve
China (mainland) Wuyumen
China (mainland) Wenzhou Wan
China (mainland) Coast between Ao Jiang and Feiyun Jiang
China (mainland) Funing Wan
China (mainland) Min Jiang Estuary
China (mainland) Quanzhou Wan and Jin Jiang Estuary
China (mainland) Rong Jiang Estuary
China (mainland) Futian
China (mainland) Fangcheng
China (mainland) Shankou
China (mainland) Houshui Wan
China (mainland) Dongzhaigang
China (mainland) Beili Wan Sigeng
China (mainland) Yinggehai Salt Pans
Hong Kong (China) Inner Deep Bay and Shenzhen River catchment area
Japan Hakata bay
Japan Shirakawa estuary
Japan Hikawa estuary, Shiranui
Japan Manosegawa estuary
Japan Manko tidal flat
Japan Yone and Gushi tidal flats
North Korea Amrok River estuary
North Korea Chongchon River estuary (including Mundok Nature Reserve)
North Korea Onchon field
North Korea Dok-do island
North Korea Ummu-do island
North Korea Oksem, Dongsolbatsem, Sesolbatsem and Namsolbatsen islands
North Korea Batoggisem, Dansem and Zamori islands
North Korea Sogam-do, Daegam-do, Zung-do, Ae-do and Hyengzedo islands
North Korea Unryul Kumsanpo
North Korea Daedong Bay
North Korea Ongjin Bay
North Korea Kangryong field
North Korea Chongdan field
South Korea Yu-do islet
South Korea Tidal flat area of southern Ganghwa-do island
South Korea Mangyeong estuary
South Korea Dongjin estuary
South Korea Hado-ri
South Korea Seongsanpo-ho
Macao (China) Taipa-Coloane
Thailand Inner Gulf of Thailand
Thailand Na Muang Krabi
Thailand Ao Pattani
Taiwan, China Hsinchu City Coastal Area
Taiwan, China Kaomei Wetlands
Taiwan, China Tatu Rivermouth Wildlife Refuge
Taiwan, China Hanbao Wetlands
Taiwan, China Aogu Wetlands
Taiwan, China Budai Wetlands
Taiwan, China Beimen
Taiwan, China Chiku
Taiwan, China Sitsao Wildlife Refuge
Taiwan, China Kaoping River
Taiwan, China Litzechien
Taiwan, China Lanyang River Estuary
Taiwan, China Chu'an
Taiwan, China Kinmen National Park
China (mainland) Lianyungang saltworks
Russia (Asian) Lower Tumen river
South Korea Han-gang estuary
South Korea Yubu-do island
South Korea Gocheonam-ho lake
South Korea Baeksu tidal flat
South Korea Tidal flat area of Yeongjong-do island
South Korea Cheonsu Bay
South Korea Geumho-ho lake
China (mainland) Gongping Dahu Nature Reserve
Philippines Manila Bay
Taiwan, China Dapingding and Hsutsuo Harbor
China (mainland) Coastal wetlands of northern Chongming Dao island
China (mainland) Eastern tidal flat of Nanhui
China (mainland) Hangzhou Wan
China (mainland) Yueqing Wan
China (mainland) Zhuanghe Coast
Taiwan, China Qieding Wetland, Kaohsiung City
Thailand Bung Boraphet
Thailand Lower Central Basin
Thailand Nong Bong Kai
Taiwan, China Qieding Wetland, Kaohsiung City
China (mainland) Dongsha shoals
China (mainland) Tiaozini (Dongtai coast)
China (mainland) Dongling coast
China (mainland) Xinghua Bay
China (mainland) Haifeng wetlands

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands major breeding
Marine Intertidal Mud Flats and Salt Flats major non-breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Marine & freshwater aquaculture - Scale Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Past Impact
Species mortality
Human intrusions & disturbance Work & other activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 3
Species disturbance
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation
Residential & commercial development Commercial & industrial areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Platalea minor. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/03/2023.