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Western Paleartic and West-Asian Waterbird Census

The Western Paleartic and West Asian Waterbird Cencus is the waterbird monitoring programme for Europe, West Asia and North Africa. A total of 20 to 25 million waterbirds are counted each season by thousands of volunteers, working through national organisations. Wetlands International produces International overview reports. See the publication section for this.


Action Description:

Counts have taken place every year since 1967. About 50 countries participate each year and many countries produce their own national reports.
A network of national coordinators organises their own surveys at the national level, and many countries publish the results of their censuses in more detail than the periodic international overviews compiled by Wetlands International.

There are 13,468 sites in the Western Palearctic and Southwest Asia dataset where at least one waterbird count has been conducted since 1967. Some sites have only been counted on a few occasions in the 30 years for which data are held. In 1996, a total of 47 countries reported counts in the Western Palearctic and Southwest Asia. Outputs of the survey include yearly coverages in the different countries and regional trend analyses. 


A key aspect of the census is its long-term, standardised approach. Counts made in the same way at the same sites every season provide a basis for large-scale long-term population trend analyses. In the Western Palearctic and Southwest Asia, the emphasis is on counts of waterbirds in the non-breeding season.


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