John D. Farrington. Notes on 2011-2012 sightings of Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) and other birds in the Dam Chu Wetland, Zaduo County, Qinghai, China. Zoological Research, 2014, 35(S1): 111-116. doi: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2014.s1.0111
Citation: John D. Farrington. Notes on 2011-2012 sightings of Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) and other birds in the Dam Chu Wetland, Zaduo County, Qinghai, China. Zoological Research, 2014, 35(S1): 111-116. doi: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2014.s1.0111

Notes on 2011-2012 sightings of Black-necked Cranes (Grus nigricollis) and other birds in the Dam Chu Wetland, Zaduo County, Qinghai, China

doi: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2014.s1.0111
Funds:  Funding for this work was provided by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Network
  • Received Date: 2014-08-10
  • Rev Recd Date: 2014-12-03
  • Publish Date: 2014-12-08
  • The vast Dam Chu Wetland (N32°54', E94°08') lies at an elevation of 4,700 m in Qinghai's Zaduo County. The wetland has maximum length and width of roughly 150 km and 60 km, respectively, and is comprised of thousands of permafrost-controlled ponds and pools set amidst Kobresia and Carex meadow ecosystems. The wetland is crossed by the upper Dam Chu River, the largest source of the Yangtze by volume. Due to its remote location, the Dam Chu Wetland is little studied, with an extensive literature review turning up no published crane records for the site. Three 2-3-day visits were made to the Dam Chu Wetland in July 2011, April 2012, and July 2012, during which three partial surveys of the eastern wetland were made resulting in Black-necked Crane counts of 4, 45, and 14 individuals, respectively. Notably, in July 2012 three crane pairs were observed, each with a pair of recently hatched chicks. Although cranes in the Dam Chu Wetland are widely scattered, the wetland appears to be an important Black-necked Crane site and breeding ground. The wetland is frozen from about early November to early May each year. However, with regional warming, the annual frozen period is expected to shorten, possibly resulting in more favorable conditions for cranes and increased crane numbers. Five mammal and 21 other bird species were also sighted in the wetland. The Dam Chu Wetland currently qualifies for Ramsar designation under Criterion 2 based on its Black-necked Crane population.
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