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Neotropical Waterbird Census

The Neotropical Waterbird Census (NWC) programme is a counting scheme for monitoring waterbird numbers at wetland sites throughout South America. It is accomplished primarily through the participation of volunteers, which in each country are guided by a National Coordinator.

Action Description:

Outcomes of this cencus are data on waterbird numbers and distribution and increased local capacities for wetland conservation. The programme is increasing wetland conservation within local communities by engaging individuals in waterbird counts and impassioning them about wetlands and wetland-dependent species.

History of the NWC

The NWC has been carried out in February and July every year since 1991. The census nowadays covers all 14 countries in South America, including Trinidad & Tobago. Nine overview reports published between 1990 and 2008 summarise the results and provide feedback to volunteers.

The NWC was initiated in the southern cone of South America (Argentina, Chile and Uruguay) as a subprogram of the International Waterbird Census. Over time, its coverage was expanded to the north, with in 1991 Brazil and Paraguay beginning to participate in the program, followed by Colombia and Peru in 1992, and Bolivia and Ecuador in 1995. In 2006 the Census was also implemented in Venezuela and more recently, in 2008, Surinam, Guyana, French Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago also joined.

North American funding (Canadia Wildife Fund) has allowed a revival of the Neotropical Waterbird Census in 2004 following three years of reduced activity.

More than 750 volunteers from nine countries participated in the program between 1990 and 1995 (see Carp 1991, Blanco and Canevari 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, Blanco and Carbonell 2001). Every year, in February and July, about 450 volunteers participate in the NWC and monitor an average of 500 sites throughout the Neotropical region. Preliminary distribution maps and ten year population trend analyses are now available for some species in the southern cone of South America.



For further information on the NWC, please contact Wetlands International at the following Address


Wetlands International

Latin American & Caribbean Programe

25 de Mayo 758 10 I

1002 Buenos Aires

Tel: +54 11 4313 4543

Fax: +54 11 4312 0932

Action Partners:

Main donors are the Canadian Wildlife Service and USAID through the Avian Influenza Programme (GAINS) of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

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