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Date: 2009-06-06
Kinmen is surrounded by the sea. Kinmen and surrounding islets are small in area and have a long history of human settlement. Thus, there is little in the way of larger wildlife. However, the park's proximity to mainland China makes it a way station for migratory birds. So, there is a good diversity of bird species. From survey data and a review of the literature, Kinmen National Park is home to at least 8 species of mammals, 283 species of birds, 13 species of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians, 45 species of butterflies, 32 species of mollusks and 6 species of crustaceans.

Inside the park, in addition to the Eurasian otter which is close to extinction, there is the horseshoe crab, an ancient species often called a “living fossil,” as well as the lancelet. Every fall and winter, the park becomes a habitat for wintering migratory birds. The large flocks of these migratory birds are truly a magnificent sight.


Although Kinmen is small in area and has undergone development, it is still rich in wildlife. Birds and butterflies are the most diverse forms of wildlife in Kinmen. Among mammals, the most distinctive species is the Eurasian otter. From wildlife censuses, the fauna is mostly similar to that of the Fujian coast. From the most recent estimates, there are 4 orders, 4 families, 6 genera and 8 species of mammals, 54 families and 283 species of birds, 1 order, 5 families, 6 genera and 9 species of reptiles, 3 orders, 8 families, 13 genera and 13 species of amphibians, 1 order, 7 families, 32 genera and 45 species of butterflies and 5 orders, 21 families, 28 genera and 32 species of mollusks.

Eurasian otter●    Eurasian otter

Otters in Kinmen are of Eurasian origin. They lead a nocturnal life, feed on fish and shrimps, and usually appear by waters where contamination and human disturbance are little and provisions abundant. The easiest way to trace otters is through feces. It usually has an unpleasant piscine smell along with yellowish or dark slime, consisting of large numbers of aquatic remnants including fish scales, fishbone and shrimp skin. Since they are the utmost consumers on the top of water ecosystem, they would become most jeopardized once a water area is polluted. In other words, their distribution indicates the quality of surrounding water resource.

●    Chilasa clytia clytia Linnaeus
This is one of the most representative butterflies of Kinmen. This species is distributed along the coast of mainland China and Hong Kong, but not in Taiwan. Four to ten months is required to become a mature adult. Larvae feed on the leaves of a native tree, Litsea glutinosa. Early-stage larvae are black and white. Mature larvae are brighter in color.


Birds are the richest and most characteristic form of wildlife in Kinmen National Park. Currently, in the Kinmen area more than 280 species of birds have been recorded in high density. Among them, some 86% are migratory. From fall to spring each year, large numbers of migratory birds fly here from areas to the north to forage or transit. There is a large variety of species. Inside Kinmen National Park, Lake Ci, the Jinsha Reservoir and Lake Lingshui are good places to see large flocks of ducks, geese, great cormorants, gulls, sandpipers and snipes Kinmens bird life is markedly different from that of Taiwan. Seven species never recorded in Taiwan, including the magpie robin, lesser pied kingfisher and blue-tailed bee eater, are common in Kinmen. In addition, bird species that are rare in Taiwan, such as the hoopoe, collared crow, magpie, falcated teal, white-throated kingfisher and black stork, are quite widespread around Kinmen.
Bird migration is an important environmental indicator. Unique animals, including birds, butterflies, otters and horseshoe crabs, are natural treasures. Their habitats and environment need to be protected and appreciated. Cherish natural resources so that they can be passed on to and enjoyed by future generations.

Hoopoe●    Hoopoe

The hoopoe builds its nests on rocks and forages in grasslands. The hoopoe is widely distributed in Kinmen and in mainland China. This bird has been found depicted in Egyptian wall murals dating back 3,000 years. It has a beautiful feather crest on top of its head. When threatened, it opens this crest, raises its head and puffs out its chest.

Common Cormorant●    Common Cormorant

The great cormorant is called the Santa Claus of Kinmen. These birds don’t wear a red suit or have a long white beard, but from October they start to flock here to winter, and adorn the island’s buildings in snow-white guano.

●    Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Blue-tailed Bee-eaterFrom the end of March, the skies above Kinmen fill with brightly-colored blue-tailed bee eaters. This species is one of the major summer migratory bird species. Their long, downward curving beak is used to dig holes in the slopes of embankments, here they build their nests. They feed on insects and butterflies. While on Kinmen, they teach their young how to fly and hunt for food. From October, they begin to leave Kinmen preferring to winter in the South Pacific.

sandpipers●    Snipes and Sandpipers

The sandpipers, ringed plover and ruddy turnstone, etc., move easily in large group. Foraging, flying and resting are all done together. It makes one wonder how these birds are able arrange themselves so that they don’t run into each other in mid-flight.

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 July 2009 09:09
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