Rare bird species found in Zhejiang by smart device

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated : Jun 27, 2023 L M S

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A pale-headed woodpecker is spotted in the Baishanzu National Park in Lishui. [Photo by Cheng Guolong/Tide News]

A rare bird called the pale-headed woodpecker, or Gecinulus grantia, has been spotted for the first time in East China's Zhejiang province – thanks to a smart device that can identify bird calls using artificial intelligence.

The device, which was set up by the Lishui Municipal Bureau of Ecology and Environment, captured a strange sound in the region administered by Lishui city recently. After analysis, the sound was confirmed to be that of the species, establishing an ornithological first for the province.

The pale-headed woodpecker is a small bird with a green body, brown wings and a pale head. The male has a red forehead. It lives mainly in southeastern and southwestern China and likes to stay in bamboo forests.

The bird was previously hard to find by ornithologists and birdwatchers. The discovery was made possible by the innovative biodiversity smart monitoring system, which uses AI to recognize bird species and monitor their populations.

The region with the richest biodiversity in the province, Lishui has cooperated with the Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. They've jointly developed the biodiversity smart monitoring system that can monitor various groups of living things, such as plants, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects, butterflies and aquatic organisms.

The system can constantly track the changes of biodiversity in target areas for extended periods. At present, 20 monitoring stations have been set up in Lishui and more than 400 devices have been deployed.