Status of migratory wader populations in Africa and western Eurasia in the 1990s – Word from compilers


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2 January 06

David A. Stroud, Nick C. Davidson, Rodney West, Derek A. Scott, Lieuwe Haanstra, Ole Thorup, B. Ganter, Simon Delaney


Public Files

In its role as a global wader expert network for Wetlands International, the International wader Study Group undertakes the compilation and interpretation of wader population estimates (although the responsibility for data collation from the IWC resides with Wetlands International. WSG also acts as the wader Specialist Group for IUCN-The World Conservation Union’s Species Survival Commission.

For some years, the WSG has been involved in re-evaluating population sizes and trends of all species of migratory waders in Africa and Western Eurasia. To this end, technical workshops were held in Belgium in 1996 and in Hungary in 1998 associated with the Group’s annual conference.

The final results (which assessed 131 populations of 55 species) were incorporated into Wetlands International’s third edition of Waterbird Population Estimates – a publication that in November 2002 was launched at and endorsed by the eighth Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention in Spain. Ramsar CoP8 urged governments and others to use these population data and derived 1% thresholds for the identification of sites of international importance. A fourth edition of WPE is due to be presented to Ramsar CoP9 in 2005.

The results were also included in the global; review of wader population status undertaken at WSG’s 2003 annual Conference in Spain, the results of which were summarised in the Cadiz Conclusions .

For the East Atlantic Flyway, this review updates the assessment made by Cor Smit and Theunis Piersma in the 1980s and which was published in 1989. For other flyway systems in Africa and Western Eurasia, there have been no prior systematic population reviews.

The review is initially published on this web-site as volume 15 of WSG’s occasional series International Wader Studies. We hope to raise the necessary funds to be able to print and distribute the review as a conventional publication, but WSG currently has no funding to permit this.

The report is long (259 pp) and detailed. For those in need of summary tabulated data of the current status of wader populations (and comparisons with previous assessments), we suggest this is best provided by Annex 2.

Thanks to all contributors!

The success of this review has only been possible thanks to the generous contributions of data, information and time of many, many counters, national co-ordinators and species experts who have provided inputs. Our enormous thanks go to all of those who have contributed, listed in the Acknowledgements section.

Data and information used in the review

We also are making available our working summary Excel spreadsheets which contain data, metadata and information drawn from the 2002. These data are being made available in this form to stimulate further analyses. Any use should please cite the main publication. For further information on these summary data (including information on the coding conventions used), please see the full review.

We would be grateful to be informed of the results of any further analyses using these data (see below).

Non-migrant waders in African and Western Eurasia

In preparation for the 2003 Cadiz WSG Conference, complimentary analyses were undertaken on the status of non-migrant waders in Africa and Western Eurasia (species that were not included in the above review). A summary spreadsheet with relevant information Can be found here:
Spreadsheet (version: May 2004) summarising data and information on non-migrant wader populations in Africa and Western Eurasia1 (57 KB)

Wader data from Waterbird Population Estimates 3

As an element of WSG’s recent Memorandum of Co-operation with Wetlands International2, we also making available a summary spreadsheet holding data and information on waders used in Waterbird Population Estimates 33.

Spreadsheet (version: May 2004) summarising data and information on wader taxa used in Waterbird Population Estimates 34 (2.2 MB)

WSG intends progressively to develop this spreadsheet as a web-based summary of data and information on waders and their population status. Updated versions will be made available here in due course.

Important request for feedback!

Finally, any such review becomes out of date as soon as it is published as new data continually becomes available. We welcome feedback any aspects of this publication which should be sent to either David Stroud ( or Nick Davidson ( We intend regularly to update the appraisals published here and would particularly appreciate being informed of relevant new data, information or publications. We can then ensure that future reviews fully include all relevant information.

We intend to formally review the status of that are in rapid change (decline or increase) for inclusion in the fourth edition of Waterbird Population Estimates, due for submission to Ramsar CoP9 in November 2005. We would particularly grateful for recent data and information on the status of those populations small and/or rapidly declining populations listed in Table 11 of the review, the status of which we suggest should be re-assessed as a matter of priority.

We especially draw researchers’ attention to a number of biogeographical populations (listed in the Discussion section of the report – Table 16) where there are issues of particular uncertainty. Further studies and reviews of existing data and information regarding these populations are urgently needed and would be of high conservation utility.