The latest comprehensive survey of Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor has revealed a decrease in the number of wintering birds, with 2,041 individuals counted compared to 2,065 in 2008. Coordinated by the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (BirdLife in Hong Kong) and supported by Wild Bird Society of Japan (BirdLife in Japan), Chinese wild Bird Federation (BirdLife in Taiwan), and the Indochina Programme Office, plus input from Chinese and Korean birdwatchers. This census is one of the best examples of single-species population monitoring in Asia.
In the late 1980s, only a few hundred birds were recorded at two sites in southern Taiwan and Hong Kong, and all were under threat. As recently as 1999, Black-faced Spoonbill was classified by BirdLife on behalf of the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered. At the BirdLife World Conference in Rosenheim, Germany in 1994, BirdLife Partners agreed on the first International Action Plan for the species, coordinated by the Chinese Wild Bird Federation (BirdLife in Taiwan). Implementation workshops were then held in Beijing (1996) and Tokyo (1997). These resulted in a systematic winter census, satellite tracking of migrating individuals, coordination of colour ringing (banding), an increased public awareness of the species and the discovery of new breeding sites in China and Russia and rediscovery in the Philippines The satellite tracking revealed for the first time that the demilitarised zone on the Korean peninsula is the species’s main breeding area.