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African Waterbird Census

Wetlands International produces the African Waterbird Cencus. The organisation is the only source of structured information about African waterbird populations.


Action Description:

Africa is a very important continent for waterbirds. Not only for the impressive list of populations of African waterbirds, but also for the millions of migratory waterbirds that depend on wetlands like the Inner Niger Delta in Mali and the Banc d'Argain on the coast of Mauretania. These wetlands are crucial for the survival of millions of waders or herons.

Wetlands like these are also very vulnerable. Lake Chad, a very important area for waterbirds, reduced considerable in size due to irrigation and possibly climate change. The Tana wetlands on the coast of Kenya are theatened by s

Policy makers and NGOs need information on bird populations and their migration patters to be able to identify crucial wetlands and to be able to take the right decisions. Wetlands International is providing this information with the African Waterbird Cencus.

Counts by thousands of volunteers havetaken place in January  and July every year since 1991 and several annual reports summarise results and provide feedback to observers. In sub-Sahara Africa, waterbird counts are conducted twice a year, centred around the key months of July and January. The survey regime started in 1991, and in 1999, there were about 685 sites recorded from 30 countries. Reports of species counts for each country are produced each year. Please note that North African countries (e.g. Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco) are grouped within the Western Palearctic.

The results of these annual counts are presented in regional and global pubications, providing an unique insight in the status of the African Waterbird Populations. This enables policy makers  to take action on threatened species.


Action Partners:

The African Waterbird Census is part of the global waterbird monitoring programme coordinated by Wetlands International.