2017 Prague, Czech Republic

Key Info

Conference Dates
15/09/17 — 18/09/17

The conference is organised by the members of Czech Wader Study Group and by the staff of the University of Life Sciences in Prague.

If you need anything, don’t hesitate to contact main organisers via

Early wader conference fee €60 for registrations made before June 30.


The venue is located in the campus of the University of Life Sciences in Prague (N 50.130249, E 14.373349). The place is on the North-Eastern edge of Czech capital, but it offers very calm and friendly environment for the conference. Moreover, there is a perfect traffic reachability to the airport, city center, or the Prague ZOO.

Campus itself facilitate several pubs, large accommodation capacities and everything what conference needs including modern auditoriums and sufficient space for social life of the IWSG community. In the case of sunny autumn days, the place is good for walks and relaxing in the parks of the campus too.


Fly to the Vaclav Havel Airport Prague. From the Airport, use public transport. Way to the venue takes about 45 minutes and it costs approximately 1.3 EUR (tickets is possible to buy in the automatic machines at the bus stops, or via sms – depicted at the bus station). Easiest way is usage of the bus line number 119 to the Nádraží Veleslavín station. Then change to the underground and continue to the Dejvická station (direction to Depo Hostivař). Alternatively you can use bus number 119 only to Divoká Šárka station and then use tram number 20 or 26 going down to Dejvická station with first glimpse of Prague and surrounding. At Dejvická station change to the bus again, and use bus line number 107 or 147 going to the Zemědělská Univerzita station. Campus begins just beside this stop and conference signs will start from this point. Alternatively you can use taxi.

Grasslands of Prague airport represent the last breeding place of Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) in the whole Czech Republic. You can see this breeding ground as well as konference venue during your landing.

Maps of these transfers will be provided with the pre-conference information during the summer.






Trains and buses

To travel from many European countries, you can also use a train or international buses (e.g. Regiojet – this is very cheap option Both alternatives do take not more than 45 minutes of additional traveling through Prague.

By train, you will arrive probably to the Prague main station “Praha hlavní nádraží”. From this place you should use an underground (line “C” or “red line”) to move one station to the Muzeum station, where you have to change to the green line (or line “A”) and continue to the Dejvická station. There you will take the bus number 107 or 147, and continue right into the “Zemědělská univerzita” station, the conference venue.

By bus, you will most probably arrive to the Florenc station (in case of another final stop, please contact us, and we will help you with appropriate way to the conference venue). From the Florenc use the yellow line (line “B”) of the underground to the “Můstek” station, or red line (line “C”) to the “Muzeum” station, and then switched to the green line (line “A”), and continue to the “Dejvická” station. Then take bus line 107 or 147 to the “Zemědělská univerzita” station, the conference venue.

You can also arrive by car, there is a possibility of parking directly in the campus.

The cheaper alternative of accommodation, hopefully sufficient for most of delegates will take place in student’s dormitories, placed directly in the university campus. All rooms are two-beds, whereas toilets and showers are mostly shared by two neighboring rooms (but see specification in the registration form).
More luxury, but also more expensive alternative is hotel “Galaxie” (, placed no more than 200 meters from the campus. For those, who would like to enjoy the stay in the Prague for longer period, there exists possibility to use these accommodation capacities also for some other nights after the conference. If you are interested in this option, try to book conference and accommodation as soon as possible, please!

Click here for the .pdf of the conference programme!


Workshop on the conservation of Northern Lapwing

Conference of the International Wader Study Group in Prague, 15 Sept. 2017


Lapwing populations like those of other waders breeding on wet grasslands are declining throughout Europe. In contrast to other “meadow birds” Northern Lapwings frequently breed on arable land in many European regions. Lapwings are often used as flagship species for the biodiversity on farmland.

There have been many approaches to halt the decline of Lapwings and there are local success stories. The aim of the workshop is to exchange experience in Lapwing protection and to think about measures to improve Lapwing population on a larger scale. The first part of the workshop will consist of a review of relevant features of the population ecology of Lapwings. In the second part we will focus on conservation of Northern Lapwings both within reserves and in the wider countryside. We invite people to present their experiences as short talks and posters. The third part of the workshop will be a discussion on which measures can realistically be implemented in the next future. The workshop hopefully will be the first step towards something like a “Handbook of Lapwing Protection” (working title) where the practical (and political) experiences in protection of Northern Lapwings will be compiled.

If you are interested in sharing your experiences and if you want to contribute to the workshop, please register to the conference and send an E-mail to Dominic Cimiotti and Vojtech Kubelka




Solar geolocation with open access tools

Friday, 15 September 2017

This full day workshop will teach you how to use several open source R packages that can derive location estimates from light-level geolocation data loggers. These packages, which include GeoLight, BAStag, TwGeos, SGAT and FLightR, will help you view and edit your data, generate quick maps of location estimates, and apply sophisticated Bayesian analyses that can employ movement models, landcover masks, and other data sources to estimate not only locations but also location error and movement schedules. This is the third time we have offered this workshop, and we hope to improve on what were already successful endeavors at American Ornithologists’s meetings in Oklahoma and Washington DC. As before, we will provide example data to attendees, but we also encourage attendees to bring their own data to the workshop. The workshop will make extensive use of the R programming environment, but we are prepared to work with R users at all levels of proficiency.

Instructors: Eldar Rakhimberdiev (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research) & Simeon Lisovski (Swiss Ornithological Institute).

We will be able to work with maximum 20 attendees, so register here as soon as possible if you would like to attend the workshop.

Workshop on the Eurasian Curlew: Improving knowledge on the biology of the species

Considering knowledge acquired during the workshop on the species during the IWSG meeting in Germany in 2013, this new workshop aim to assemble research results and researchers working with Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) and produce an assess on new knowledge on the biology of the species and especially on connections between wintering and breeding sites. There are now several groups across Europe using GPS loggers for studying survival in winter, migration patterns or breeding of the species. This recent and simultaneous set-up of tracking studies will generate detailed information on habitat requirements and survival strategies of Eurasian Curlews in the context of declining populations. But analyses of position data are limited without direct studies of habitat and resources in the field. Consequently, this workshop aims at linking every group working on the species between breeding, stopover and winter areas. The ultimate aim is to shed light on links between these three stages of the biological cycle of the species.

If you plan to attend and contribute to the workshop, please register to the conference and send an E-mail to Pierrick Bocher:

Program of the workshop


Presentations by the contributors (10 min per talk + 5 min questions)

Divided in three parts:

  • Breeding (manage by Natalie Meyer and Frédéric Robin)
  • Migration (manage by Pierrick Bocher and Philipp Schwemmer)
  • Wintering (manage by Phillip Schwemmer and Pierrick Bocher)


Possible extension time for presentations

Round table:

Overviews of the presentations of the morning and highlight on progresses brought since the last review in the European Action Plan.

Complementarities of the different studies carried on through Europe.

Connections between breeding sites and wintering sites: Assessment on the global migration route for the species. Particularly thanks to the developing use of GPS tag in different countries.

Gaps in knowledge on the biology of the species

Gaps in countries where the species is not studied or very few

How the results of the recent studies could contribute to a better conservation of the species in Europe?

Outcome of the workshop

To help to produce in the future a special issue or a book reviewing all the recent results on the species and in accordance with the AEWA Action Plan,

Dr. Martin Bulla

Shorebirdologist that loves Arctic and is passionate about behavioral rhythms, especially during parental care. His recent work – on incubation rhythms – brought together shorebird enthusiasts from across the Globe and in doing so celebrates an open and collaborative spirit of our ‘shorebird community’. Martin conducted this work and discovered Arctic during his PhD at Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (Seewiesen), where he is currently a guest scientist. But, he started with ornithology and shorebirds few years earlier, during his brief studies at Czech University of Life Sciences Prague. He is currently post doc there, as well as at NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, where he investigates endogenous rhythms of red knots.

Behavioral rhythms & parental cooperation in biparentally incubating shorebirds

Incubation of eggs by both parents prevails in almost 80% of non-passerine families and is the most common form of care in shorebirds. Such biparental incubation is a complex social behaviour, in which pair members potentially compromise their individual rhythms. Yet, the behavioural rhythms that emerge during biparental incubation and the underlying evolutionary and ecological factors that shape them remain poorly understood. Here, I will combine a within-species approach with a between-species approach and phylogenetically informed comparative analyses. First, using semipalmated sandpiper I will reveal within- and between-pair diversity in incubation-rhythm and will demonstrate that parents of this species partially compensate for the absence of their partner’s care. Second, I will use data from 15 biparentally incubating shorebird species to uncover, in 5 of those, the potential for switching from biparental to uniparental care. Third, I will rule out the energy as a key factor determining the length of incubation bouts of semipalmated sandpipers and also of other shorebirds. Finally, I will show unprecedented within- and between-species diversity in the incubation rhythms and demonstrate that these diverse rhythms relate strongly to phylogeny, predation risk, and daily environmental rhythms. I will then discuss questions that shall be addressed to further our understanding of biparental incubation rhythms.

Dr. Bart Kempenaers

Behavioural ecologist with a broad interest in all aspects of behaviour, but with a focus on mating behaviour and sexual selection. Ornithologist with a passion for shorebirds and the Arctic. Director of the Department Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and Professor in Behavioural Ecology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. Bart’s main research interests are about how sexual selection affects daily rhythms and sleep, and in understanding the link between
mating behavior, site fidelity and movement ecology.

Large-scale breeding site sampling in polygynous shorebirds: towards a new migration paradigm?

Migration is typically defined as an animal moving long distances between a wintering site and a breeding site (spring) or vice versa (autumn). In socially monogamous species, individuals typically return to the same breeding and wintering site year after year and often use similar routes to get there. However, some socially polygynous or lekking shorebirds show patterns of movement that are hard to reconcile with the idea of fixed migratory routes, connecting confined areas where individuals breed, stop-over to replenish resources and winter. Based on data from the pectoral sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) and the ruff (Calidris pugnax), I will discuss the phenomenon of nomadic male movements during the breeding season. First, I will describe both the movements and the local tenure patterns of the different male morphs in the ruff (residents, satellites and faeders). Second, I will show data from two male pectoral sandpipers and from 11 ruffs from two breeding seasons to emphasize an amazing individual flexibility in movements, mimicking the diversity seen at the population scale. I will then discuss the consequences of these flexible movements for (a) our understanding of mechanisms of migration, (b) population structure and speciation and (c) population responses to environmental perturbations.

Dr. Theunis Piersma and Dr. Eldar Rakhimberdiev

Theunis Piersma. An animal ecologist at the University of Groningen and the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. As the Chair in Flyway Ecology, he tries to shape the best possible ecological research on migrant birds in wetland habitats. Within strong international collaborations, he focuses on individual animals, with deep consideration of their environmental context. He is the founder of the applied research consortium Global Flyway Network, and co-authored The Flexible Phenotype. A body-centred integration of ecology, physiology, and behaviour (OUP, 2011). In 2014 Theunis received the prestigious Spinoza Premium.

Eldar Rakhimberdiev. A postdoctoral researcher at the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (The Netherlands) and Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia). He works at the nexus between statistics, ecology and evolution trying to understand how populations of long distant migrants are adapting to the rapidly changing conditions along the flyways.

Pinning down an ever moving target: establishing when and where migrant shorebird populations are bottlenecked

Whether one is interested in the evolutionary ecology of migrating animals, trying to understand their habitat choice and the population consequences of such choices, or whether one is interested in helping conservation or recovery projects with solid ecological knowledge, trying to pin down when and where populations are limited is critical. In our talk we will try to review our attempts to establish when and where migrant shorebird populations are bottlenecked, building on the long-term demographic efforts on red knot and bar-tailed godwits around the world and the concurrent attempts to understand the ecological drivers of variations in survival and recruitment. We will also try to explain how the use of sequences of sites in the course of an annual cycle, given sufficient flexibility at the level of individuals or populations, may be an asset rather than a liability.

Dr. Tamas Szekely 

Professor of Biodiversity at University of Bath, UK. Tamas is an evolutionary biologist with long standing interest in behaviour, ecology and evolution of waders. He was visiting professor at various universities including Harvard, Sun Yat-sen, Groningen and Göttingen, and he held a Mercator Professorship at Bielefeld University. He won numerous awards including the Humboldt Award and the Wolfson Merit Award of The Royal Society. Tamas was a Fellow of the Advanced Institute in Berlin, and he is lifetime Honorary Professor of Debrecen University. He has extensive experience in sexual selection, mating system evolution, sex ratio theory and wetland conservation that lead to over 290 research papers and 4 books. He founded a conservation NGO in West Africa in 2010 and serving the NGO ever since as President.

Why study plovers?

Waders are charismatic, and studying their behaviour, ecology and evolution can be addictive. In this personal narrative I will explain why I decided to investigate plovers Charadrius spp, and how this curiosity lead to various projects and discoveries. In a series of field studies, experiments, mathematical models and phylogenetic analyses we are discovering novel aspects of behaviour, ecology and adaptation using plovers as model organisms. Thanks to numerous dedicated students and excellent collaborators, our works provide exciting insights into sex role evolution, speciation and social evolution. Importantly, our work established a team of enthusiastic wader biologists, trained a young generation of field biologists, built up interdisciplinary collaborations between research teams in four continents, and facilitated biodiversity conservation of shorebirds and their habitats.


Excursion 1

Rozkoš – beyond the pleasure

Rozkoš reservoar (in English Pleasure or Delight) is one of the largerst water bodies within the country situated near Jaroměř in East Bohemia, 1.5 hour drive from Prague and it is the best place for waders in the whole Czech Republic. You would be surprised how many species of waders you can meet far away from coasts. Thirty-nine species of waders have been recorded here including Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius), American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) or Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Calidris subruficollis). Red Knots (Calidris canutus), Ruddy Turnstones (Areanaria interpres) and Sanderlings (Calidris alba) – very rare in the middle of Europe are regularly met here and mid September is the best season!

During the excursion we will see that even in the inland country in specific habitat you can meet quite wide variety of shorebirds. We will visit Rozkoš reservoir and our observations will be highlighted with Meopta optic exhibition. Meopta is Czech optic brand acknowledged worldwide and producing the top-class binoculars and scopes for affordable prices. You will have an opportunity to try them in the field on your own! Lunch will be served in restaurant nearby and the during the way, we will see the agri-environmental scheme for Northern Lapwings (Vanellus vanellus) at arable land and we will stop at Milovice – old military area with Aurochs, Eurasian Bisons and wild horses.
If you want to enjoy the pleasure, don’t hesitate to join us!
The excursion bus will arrive back to the campus by 19.00.







Excursion 2

České Budějovice Basin

České Budějovice basin is placed in the Southern Bohemia, 1.5 hours drive from Prague. It hosts one of the most preserved rural landscapes in the Czech Republic, including wast pond systems! Although large areas of natural habitats, as wet meadows were during last decades degraded and fragmented, this piece of land still attracts many interesting bird species, as well as birdwatchers. It is a last regular breeding site of the Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) in whole Czech Republic. Apart from waders, this district hosts breeding Eurasian Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia), Little Egrets (Egretta gartetta), White-tailed Eagles (Halliaetus albicilla) , and in 2016 even the Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis).

During our excursion we will visit ponds and other habitats, selected by up to date presence of shorebird and/or waterbird species. You will hopefully see a lot of migrating shorebirds, ducks, and other bird species. Moreover, we would like to present you localities with implemented Agri-environmental scheme adjusted exactly for breeding of the Norther Lapwing at arable land, and other forms of the conservational management. Meopta exhibition will be here as well. We hope, that you will enjoy birds, as well as genius loci of this traditional rural piece of land!

The excursion bus will arrive back to the campus by 19.00.







Excursion 3

Prague Zoo

Prague Zoological Garden is situated near the center of the Czech capital, in a unique rugged landscape on the bank of the Vltava River. It opened in 1931 and during its existence of more than 85 years it has risen to become one of the most prestigious zoos in the world. Today it is the second most visited tourist destination in the Czech Republic, just after Prague Castle.

During our guided walk (1,5 h), we will see Elephant valley with sizable herd of Asian Elephants, we will visit pavilion of Gorillas or Przewalski wild horses’ corral. Prague Zoo is home for many endangered species, for example Chinese Giant Salamander or Gharial, one of the most endangered crocodiles in the world. There are large aviaries and we will meet waders as well for sure.


Excursion 4

Prague ‘s birds: unusual bird-watching experience

This half-day excursion will bring you to the bird-watching hot spots within Prague. Spotting (searching) birds sometimes hidden by the artists and architects on facades, in sculptures or on fresco’s will also allow you to see both popular and less popular sites of Prague. You will also hear stories and learn about the symbolism behind such Prague’s birds. You may come out of this trip with some lifers (new species) on your bird list. Same to any bird-watching trip, binoculars may prove handy, and rain-coat in case of rain too.









Excursion 5

Prague city

The half-day tour of Prague is a perfect way for those short on time to experience my city at its very best and get to see all the crucial aspects of Prague in one comprehensive yet leisurely tour. Providing the ultimate Prague experience is my intention and our rich program includes a relaxing river cruise and delicious lunch.

We will start on Wenceslas Square in the heart of the New Town and continue with a walking tour of the historical Old Town before joining our riverboat for a cruise of the river Vltava, during which you will be invited to relax over complimentary drinks and take in the sights from a different perspective.

Following a tour of the mysterious Jewish Ghetto, we continue to a famous 17th century restaurant where you will be treated to an excellent traditional Czech three course lunch with drinks. After lunch we join our classic tram to take in some of Prague’s key monuments and enjoy spectacular panoramic views over the city as we ride up through the picturesque Lesser Quarter before reaching the iconic Prague Castle. A fascinating tour of the castle environs is concluded with a short walk to the famous Charles Bridge, Marking the end of our fantastic and fascinating journey.

Of course, we would prefer if everybody could make it to the conference in person, but in case you are not able to come, you can still share your results for a small contribution by sending a .pdf of your poster to us, we will do the rest.

The option is only valid for members of the IWSG.

For conditions and more information, please contact the conference team (

Last year in Ireland we organised a silent auction for the first time. As it created a very fun atmosphere, we decided to try again this year. So, if you wish to donate something, be it a mug with a picture of a Whimbrel on it or a scope that’s been standing in a corner for a decade, please take it with you to Prague and we’ll make it a thing everybody wants to have.
The benefit of the auction will be used to fund the IWSG Small Projects Grants.

Links to talks will appear here after each session.