USGS Western Ecological Research Center

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Movements of Wild Birds and Emerging Disease Risk from Hong Kong

Flying pintails --Photographer: K.K. Hui, FRPS
The identification of breeding ranges of various waterfowl species congregating on wintering grounds is critical in identifying points of potential spatial and temporal overlap of migratory flyways and thus potential sources of disease transmission.

Project Details

During winter, an international team from the United Nations-FAO, World Wildlife Fund Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong Department of Microbiology, the Asia Ecological Consultants Ltd, and the US Geological Survey (Western Ecological Research Center), deployed satellite transmitters to study the migration and disease ecology of Northern pintail and Eurasian wigeon at the Mai Po reserve, a designated Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. This site is also a major migratory bottleneck for wild birds, with implications for exchange of avian influenza between birds of various geographic origin. Information from this project will expand our knowledge of waterfowl movement patterns from southern wintering grounds within Asia and provide information on their health status.


The objectives of this research were to:

1) capture and mark Northern pintail and Eurasian wigeon to examine their migration routes and respective breeding grounds; and

2) sample ducks for avian influenza from a wintering site that attracts a huge diversity of waterfowl

FAO Contact For This Project 
    Scott Newman
    EMPRES Wildlife Unit
    Food & Agriculture Organization, United Nations
    Rome, Italy 00153

USGS Contact For This Project
John Takekawa - Emeritus
(707) 562-2000
San Francisco Bay Estuary Field Station
505 Azuar Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592
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