Volume 13 Issue 1
Mar.  2022
Turn off MathJax
Article Contents
Ying Ding, Lichuan Xiong, Fandi Ji, Junhui Lu, Xiaojia Zhu, Huateng Huang. 2022: Using citizen science data to improve regional bird species list: A case study in Shaanxi, China. Avian Research, 13(1): 100045. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100045
Citation: Ying Ding, Lichuan Xiong, Fandi Ji, Junhui Lu, Xiaojia Zhu, Huateng Huang. 2022: Using citizen science data to improve regional bird species list: A case study in Shaanxi, China. Avian Research, 13(1): 100045. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100045

Using citizen science data to improve regional bird species list: A case study in Shaanxi, China

doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100045
More Information
  • Corresponding author: E-mail address: zhuxj2018@snnu.edu.cn (X. Zhu); E-mail address: huanghuateng@snnu.edu.cn (H. Huang)
  • Received Date: 23 Jan 2022
  • Accepted Date: 18 Jun 2022
  • Rev Recd Date: 18 Jun 2022
  • Available Online: 11 Oct 2022
  • Publish Date: 26 Jun 2022
  • An accurate and updated regional bird species checklist is the foundation for biodiversity research and conservation. However, with ongoing climate and landscape changes, tracking the distributions of bird species is challenging, and expert-curated species lists are often limited regarding survey area and timeliness. Birdwatching in China is becoming increasingly popular, and observations recorded by citizen birders are quickly increasing as well. Assessing the value of these data for improving regional species lists and studying bird distribution needs a detailed and quantitative comparison of citizen science data and expert-curated data. We collected observation reports from the China Bird Report Center, the largest online open platform for sharing bird sightings in China. We focused on reports from 2016 to 2019 in Shaanxi Province. For expert-curated species lists, we used three sources: the latest bird field guide published by local ornithologists, the province list from Avibase, and a list generated from overlaying distribution range from BirdLife International with the outline of Shaanxi Province. In addition, we also compared the bird sighting coordinates with the species distribution maps from BirdLife International. Surprisingly, species checklists from different sources have considerable discrepancies, even among lists based on expert knowledge. Including birdwatching data, there are 616 bird species in total, but less than half of the species (294) appear in all checklists, and 17.2% of species are unique to one list. One hundred sixty-three species lack birdwatching records, but birdwatching identified 39 species new to the province. One hundred thirty-six bird species have sighting locations outside the distribution ranges from BirdLife International, suggesting that updates might be needed. The data also showed a clear trend of bird species shifting to higher latitudes than their traditional distributions. While being inadequate for generating a regional species checklist on its own, birdwatching data in China can be a valuable source for complementing expert knowledge. In particular, the coordinate information of bird sighting can help track species distribution shifts. On the other hand, comparing expert-curated lists to birdwatching data can generate a species list for targeted birdwatching and monitoring, which will improve the quality of the birdwatching data in the future.


  • loading
  • BirdLife International, 2018. Handbook of the birds of the world. Bird species distribution maps of the world. Version 2018.1. http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/requestdis.
    BirdLife International, 2020. IUCN red list for birds. http://www.birdlife.org. (Accessed 6 September 2020).
    Bivand, R., Pebesma, E.J., Gómez-Rubio, V., 2013. Applied Spatial Data Analysis with R, second ed. Springer, New York.
    Bivand, R., Keitt, T., Rowlingson, B., 2020. rgdal: bindings for the "Geospatial" data abstraction library. R package version 1.5-18. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=rgdal.
    Boswall, J., 1989. Ornithology in China: an update. Forktail 4, 51–61.
    Chandler, M., See, L., Copas, K., Bonde, A.M.Z., López, B.C., Danielsen, F., et al., 2017. Contribution of citizen science towards international biodiversity monitoring. Biol. Conserv. 213, 280–294. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.09.004
    Chen, S., Huang, Q., Fan, Z., Chen, C., Lu, Y., 2012. The update of Zhejiang bird checklist. Chin. Birds 3, 118–136. https://doi.org/10.5122/cbirds.2012.0017.
    Chen, Q., Wang, W., Long, D., Guo, J., Li, Y., Song, Y., et al., 2015. Avifauna and distribution of Hualong mountain national reserve. Sichuan J. Zool. 34, 290–299.
    Crall, A.W., Newman, G.J., Stohlgren, T.J., Holfelder, K.A., Graham, J., Waller, D.M., 2011. Assessing citizen science data quality: an invasive species case study. Conserv. Lett. 4, 433–442. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00196.x.
    Dai, S., Feng, D., Chan, K.K.Y., Gong, P., Xu, B., 2019. A spatialized digital database for all bird species in China. Sci. China Life Sci. 62, 661–667. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11427-018-9419-2.
    Downs, R.R., Ramapriyan, H.K., Peng, G., Wei, Y., 2021. Perspectives on citizen science data quality. Front. Clim. 3, 25. https://doi.org/10.3389/fclim.2021.615032.
    ESRI, 2011. ArcGIS Desktop: Release 10. Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, CA.
    Gardiner, M.M., Allee, L.L., Brown, P.M., Losey, J.E., Roy, H.E., Smyth, R.R., 2012. Lessons from lady beetles: accuracy of monitoring data from US and UK citizenscience programs. Front. Ecol. Environ. 10, 471–476. https://doi.org/10.1890/110185.
    Gilfedder, M., Robinson, C.J., Watson, J.E.M., Campbell, T.G., Sullivan, B.L., Possingham, H.P., 2019. Brokering trust in citizen science. Soc. Nat. Resour. 32, 292–302. https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2018.1518507.
    Hu, R., Gu, Y., Luo, M., Lu, Z., Wei, M., Zhong, J., 2020. Shifts in bird ranges and conservation priorities in China under climate change. PLoS One 15, e0240225. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0240225.
    Jetz, W., Wilcove, D.S., Dobson, A.P., 2007. Projected impacts of climate and land-use change on the global diversity of birds. PLoS Biol. 5, e157. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0050157.
    Kang, L., Chen, H., Guo, W., 2019. Bird diversity investigation of Qianweizhihui wetland park in Shaanxi. Shaanxi For. Sci. Technol. 47, 22–26, 38.
    Li, X., Liang, L., Gong, P., Liu, Y., Liang, F., 2013. Bird watching in China reveals bird distribution changes. Chin. Sci. Bull. 58, 649–656. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11434-012-5458-7.
    Ma, Z., Cheng, Y., Wang, J., Fu, X., 2013. The rapid development of birdwatching in mainland China: a new force for bird study and conservation. Bird. Conserv. Int. 23, 259–269. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959270912000378.
    MacKinnon, J.R., Phillipps, K., He, F., 2000. A Field Guide to the Birds of China (Chinese Version). Hunan Education Press, Changsha.
    Mischenko, A., Fox, A.D., Švažas, S., Sukhanova, O., Czajkowski, A., Kharitonov, S., et al., 2020. Recent changes in breeding abundance and distribution of the Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) in its eastern range. Avian Res. 11, 23. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40657-020-00209-6.
    Pebesma, E.J., Bivand, R.S., 2005. Classes and methods for spatial data in R. R News 5. https://cran.r-project.org/doc/Rnews/.
    R Core Team, 2019. R: a Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna.
    Requier, F., Andersson, G.K., Oddi, F.J., Garibaldi, L.A., 2020. Citizen science in developing countries: how to improve volunteer participation. Front. Ecol. Environ. 18, 101–108. https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.2150.
    Rudis, B., 2019. splashr: tools to work with the 'Splash' 'JavaScript' rendering and scraping service. R package version 0.6.0. https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=splashr.
    Si, X., Ding, P., 2011. History, status of monitoring land birds in Europe and America and countermeasures of China. Biodivers. Sci. 19, 303–310. doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.08314
    Walther, B.A., White, A., 2018. The emergence of birdwatching in China: history, demographics, activities, motivations, and environmental concerns of Chinese birdwatchers. Bird. Conserv. Int. 28, 337–349. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0959270917000557.
    Wang, N., 2018a. Study on Distribution Patterns and Influencing Factors of Chinese Endemic Birds in Shaanxi Province. Master's Thesis. Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an.
    Wang, S., 2018b. Analysis of the Spatial Distribution Risk of Wild Bird Avian Influenza on the Migration Route in Eastern China and Construction Network of Nature Reserve. Doctoral Thesis. Northeast Forestry University, Harbin.
    Yang, X., Wang, Y., Si, X., Feng, G., 2020. Species traits linked with range shifts of Chinese birds. Glob. Ecol. Conserv. 21, e00874. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00874.
    Yu, X., Li, J., 2016. An Illustrated Guide to Birds in Qinling Mountains. Northwest A & F University Press, Yangling.
    Zheng, G., 2017. In: A Checklist on the Classification and Distribution of the Birds of China, third ed. Science Press, Beijing.
    Zhou, Y., Chen, A., Ouyang, J.Q., Liu, Y., Zheng, A., Yang, Z., et al., 2020. Comparing community birdwatching and professional bird monitoring with implications for avian diversity research: a case study of Suzhou, China. Avian Res. 11, 19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40657-020-00205-w.
  • 加载中


    通讯作者: 陈斌, bchen63@163.com
    • 1. 

      沈阳化工大学材料科学与工程学院 沈阳 110142

    1. 本站搜索
    2. 百度学术搜索
    3. 万方数据库搜索
    4. CNKI搜索

    Figures(3)  / Tables(3)

    Article Metrics

    Article views (162) PDF downloads(6) Cited by()
    Proportional views


    DownLoad:  Full-Size Img  PowerPoint