Figure 1: 50% core areas and 95% overall home ranges of nine little egrets in the Inner Deep Bay, Hong Kong, using Brownian bridge movement model [component]

Many natural wetlands have been converted to human-influenced wetlands. In some instances, human-influenced wetlands could provide complementary habitats for waterbirds, compensating for the loss of natural wetlands. Inner Deep Bay in Hong Kong is composed of both natural and human-influenced wetlands and is under immense development pressure. From an ecology perspective, we need to understand if different wetland types play the same ecological role. To achieve this, we tracked nine little
more » ... s (Egretta garzetta) using GPS loggers for 14 months to study their spatial ecology, home range, movement and habitat use. We found that over 88% of the home range of all individuals comprised of wetlands (commercial fishponds, mangrove, gei wai, channel, and intertidal mudflat). Among these wetland types, nearly all (seven of nine) individuals preferred commercial fishponds over other habitats in all seasons. Little egrets exhibited seasonal movement and habitat use among seasons, with largest home range, greatest movement, and most frequent visits to commercial fishponds in winter compared to spring and autumn. Our results highlight the significant role of commercial fishponds, providing a feeding ground for little egrets. However, other wetland types cannot be ignored, as they were also used considerably. These findings underscore the importance of maintaining a diversity of wetland types as alternative foraging and breeding habitats. How to cite this article Pang C-, Sung Y-H, Chung Y-, Ying H-, Fong HHN, Yu Y-. 2020. Spatial ecology of little egret (Egretta garzetta) in Hong Kong uncovers preference for commercial fishponds. PeerJ 8:e9893 Walker SW. 2014. lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using Eigen and S4. R Package Version 1.1-7. Available at http:// package=lme4 (accessed on 12 March 2017). Green MC. 2018. Space use and movements of adult reddish egrets (Egretta rufescens) during winter. Waterbirds 41:1-15 Maccarone AD, Brzorad JN. 2005. Foraging microhabitat selection by wading birds in a tidal estuary, with implications for conservation. Waterbirds 28:383-391 DOI 10.1675/1524-4695(2005)028[0383:FMSBWB]2.0.CO;2. Márquez-Ferrando R, Figuerola J, Hooijmeijer JCEW, Piersma T. 2014. Recently created man-made habitats in Doñana provide alternative wintering space for the threatened Continental European black-tailed godwit population. Biological Conservation 171:127-135
doi:10.7717/peerj.9893/fig-1 fatcat:nsljiakn75b7ddrpbr6iyf5jla