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Asian Waterbird Census

December 2019


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AWC 2020

IWC annual report

AWC 2019

AWC coordinators update

CAF/EAAF conference

India coordinators meeting
AWC wetland and waterbird assessment

AWC Malaysia 2019

AWC Philippines 2019

Announcement of the AWC 2020

2020 is a special year for biodiversity as it marks the end of the landmark Aichi 2020 Biodiversity Targets, that governments around the world had agreed several years ago. It also marks the year of several important global and regional meetings for biodiversity and climate change. As you will all be aware, despite these targets and actions, we are losing birds and it is being widely recognised that we are entering a major global climate emergency.

The Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) and the rest of the International Waterbird Census by annually monitoring waterbirds and wetlands helps us all to feel the pulse of our environment and to raise awareness of the urgency need for on the ground action for conservation of waterbirds and their wetland habitats.
2019 counts in Malaysia, photo by Mr. Abbott Chong.
The information helps to promote the designation and management of internationally important sites such as nationally protected areas, Ramsar Sites, Western/Central Asian Site Network for Siberian Cranes and Other Waterbirds, East Asian – Australasian Flyway Network Sites and Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs). As well this helps in identifying and protecting new sites of importance for waterbirds. The result of the census and information are also used to promote national waterbird and wetland conservation and international cooperation along the Central Asian Flyway and East Asian – Australasian Flyway.

We invite your active participation to make this special year count for waterbird and wetland conservation on the ground!

The recommended dates for the AWC are 4 – 19 January 2020, covering two weeks and three weekends, when we should encourage you to count waterbirds. These dates are for guidance only and counts from any date in January, December or February are very welcome.

This year, we continue to invite data submissions in an updated AWC Count & Wetland Assessment Entry Form 2020 in Excel format, in countries where customised forms are not being used. In India, where we collaborate with Bird Count India, counts may be submitted through eBird and with submission of the AWC India Count and Wetland Assessment Form 2020 (Google Form). This is in addition to the regular option of submitting all information through a single AWC India Count and Wetland Assessment Entry Form (Excel format) or AWC India Wetland Assessment 2019 (Word format). We encourage you all to submit waterbird counts, wetland assessment form and a count boundary file for each site.

All guidance information about the AWC 2020 and the forms may be downloaded here

Kindly use social media to publicise about the census. Do include the hashtags #WaterbirdsCount and #AsianWaterbirdCensus to promote your work
We trust your information helps you to raise local awareness about the importance of conserving wetlands and their waterbirds while contributing to the world’s longest running biodiversity monitoring programme.

Taej Mundkur and Tom Langendoen
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Latest IWC 5 year report

The draft version of the annual IWC 5 year report is now available on Draft summaries of the total number of birds counted per country and the total number for each species are provided, although users can change the report by using the provided filters or moving fields into columns or rows.

IWC Coordinators are still reviewing and adding counts,so the final version of the report will be available in mid January 2020. This report reflects the efforts of the global IWC network in recent years, and we are grateful to all the coordinators, their teams and network of counters for collecting and collating this important information.
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Review of AWC 2019

The AWC 2019 has been actively conducted in all countries and reports are being uploaded by coordinators. We welcome the first counts from Laos after a long gap.

We are very pleased that several AWC Coordinators have now become proficient in directly uploading their annual counts to the IWC Portal. This allows for rapid synthesis in our five year summary report. This page provides an update of the last six months.

We have collated a brief analysis of the information generated through the AWC Count and Wetland Assessment submissions in 2019. This reiterates the importance of collecting information on the status of wetlands, threats and potential threats as well threats to waterbirds. We are encouraged that several coordinators are working with their networks to collect this important information in a standardised way during the AWC 2020 so that it allows you to gather critical information on state of your waterbirds and wetlands and to be able to support local conservation action

The outcomes of the AWC 2019 census and local conservation issues has been widely reported in local and national press and social media; some of which are visible through the IWC Facebook Page.  It is wonderful to see how the AWC network is actively working to promote generation of news on these issues
This year we have uploaded simple boundary maps of AWC count areas on the IWC Portal that have been submitted by all of you in the AWC network. This allows you to visualise existing sites and to visit these sites and report on the birds you see this year as well. Do take a moment to check out your sites and make a special effort to provide this vital boundary information to your coordinator if it is not uploaded yet. See below of AWC sites on the west coast of South Korea.

During 2019, countries in the ASEAN region involved in the ASEAN Flyway Network Project have been using guidance and forms modified from the AWC to report on surveys being undertaken at several important sites, including coastal and inland existing and potential EAAF Network Sites. The surveys and capacity building efforts should contribute to identifying sites that should be monitored in future years. A second planning meeting was organised in Kuching, Malaysia in May.
We acknowledge Wetlands International and the Ministry of the Environment Japan in providing core resources to support regional coordination of the census.
See for more information
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Updates in AWC National/regional Coordination

Mr Doug Watkins, who has been part of the core AWC team for many years, and has been Chair of the EAAFP Waterbird Monitoring Task Force has recently taken charge as the Chief Executive of the EAAF Partnership Secretariat. We look forward to working closely with Doug, the Secretariat and its Beijing-based Science Unit headed by Dr Zeng Qing, in strengthening monitoring of EAAFP Network sites and other important waterbird sites across the flyway.

In Sri Lanka, Mr Deepal Warakagoda has taken responsibility for the coordination of the AWC on behalf of the Ceylon Bird Club. Deepal has worked with Mr Udaya Sirivardana, who has been the backbone of coordination of the AWC over the last decade.

In Malaysia, Mr Ng Wai Pak has taken responsibility for the coordination of the AWC on behalf of the Malaysian Nature Society. Wai Pak works with Dr Yeap Chin Aik who has actively promoted the AWC in the last years and focuses on hornbill conservation.

We have learnt that Dr Dan Weller leaves BirdLife Australia at the end of the year and we wish him well in his new endeavours. Dan has been submitting counts collected as part of the Migratory Shorebirds Program (Shorebirds 2020) that he managed. We expect to learn of his replacement in the coming year.

We thank all AWC Coordinators, present and past for all their excellent voluntary contributions that ensure the success of the AWC. The full list of coordinators is available here.
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Central Asian and East Asian-Australasian Flyways Conference, India

The “International Conference on Wetlands and Migratory Waterbirds of the Asian Flyways” was organised between 18-22 November, 2019, in Lonavala, India, by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), jointly with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and BirdLife International. The Conference included several presentations on waterbirds and wetlands in India, Central Asian and East Asian – Australasian Flyways, and has highlighted the importance of strengthening waterbirds monitoring to support conservation action.
A special session on Plenary and Waterbird Monitoring was organised jointly by Wetlands International and BNHS on 21 November. It included three presentations, following an introduction on Why and how to Monitor Waterbirds and Wetlands and importance of up-to-date waterbird population estimates and trends for wetland management by Dr Taej Mundkur. The first, a case study of five years of successful Asian Waterbird Census monitoring of the waterbirds and wetlands of Porbandar, Gujarat (2015 to 2019) by Mr Dhaval Vargiya (of RK University, Gujarat) documented new information collected on the status of species and wetlands and the Pink Flamingo Celebration that is gaining great local interest, awareness and support for conservation. Dr Ashwin Viswanathan (of the Nature Conservation Foundation, India) presented information on the latest population trends of waterbird species in India based on an assessment of eBird and other data, to be published shortly as the State of India’s Birds 2020. This first comprehensive assessment of the health of India’s wild birds will show how a large number of many species are declining. Finally Waterbird monitoring – use and importance for African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement presented on behalf of Mr Sergey Dereliev of AEWA Secretariat, outlined the critical importance of regular coordinated monitoring of waterbirds across the region and of regular assessments of their trends to advise on the implementation of the agreement.

The Lonavala Statement highlights three actions linked to the AWC namely:

1. Identify important stopover, breeding, and non-breeding sites across the flyway and strengthen the long-term monitoring programmes linked to the International/Asian Waterbird Census.
2. Update estimates of waterbird population size and trends to rationalize and support designation and management of Ramsar sites and other wetlands in the CAF.
3. Develop a Critical Site Network Tool for waterbird populations in the CAF, to be led by Wetlands International and BirdLife International as an open-access web portal to provide a strong basis for identifying ecological networks and emphasizing their connectivity aspects, while also providing insights into climate change vulnerability and informing conservation decision-making at site, national, and international levels.
Participants of the waterbird monitoring session.
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AWC India State Coordinators Meeting, Lonavala

The second meeting of AWC State Coordinators meeting at Lonavala, India, on 23-24 November 2019, brought together coordinators from 14 states and a representative from Bird Count India. The meeting was organised by Wetlands International South Asia, in collaboration with the Bombay Natural History Society and the Wetlands International Global Office.

The meeting reviewed progress to date and on identified actions required to improving data collection, analysis & management, including through closer ties with eBird in states where it is being used. Discussions also centred around opportunities to strengthen use of AWC results by closer cooperation with government state agencies, institutional, business and other stakeholders. This would also support implementation of national biodiversity action plan and local site-based wetland conservation action. Prioritisation of regular monitoring of local unprotected sites as well as Ramsar sites, Flyway network sites and others was agreed. Strengthening efforts to use the large network to serve as eyes and ears on the ground to act as an early warning to assess the status and threats to wetlands and threats to waterbirds was discussed. This builds on the AWC-eBird Wetland Assessment Forms being tested over the last years. The AWC decadal report (2006-2015) on waterbird counts for India was discussed and will be finalised with input of coordinators in advance of its official launch at the CMS COP in Feb 2020.

Coordinators felt they were energised to work with their volunteers network to strengthen monitoring from the AWC 2020 onwards.

A brief summary of the meeting is available here, a full report will be included in the near future.
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Analysis of the AWC 2019 Wetland and Waterbird Assessment Questionnaire
Through the annual Asian Waterbird Census, volunteers in many countries have been submitting information on the current threats and potential threats to wetlands and waterbirds. Many have been proactively using this data to raise awareness and publicise local issues such as pollution and destruction of wetlands to galvanise conservation action from authorities and communities. This vital information submitted by the network has indicated that these threats cover a wide range of actions and issues and these are increasingly rapidly over the last years. We recognised that the AWC standard waterbird count and site forms that were used for data collection have become outdated, having been developed in the late 1980s at a time when forms were printed and filled in by hand and collated. While we have been encouraging the use of more paperless forms of reporting, the questions on threats and uses of wetlands were largely kept consistent with the past. This was primarily for participants to continue to record information as they have done in the past. But we have been acutely aware that aware that it did not permit recording information in a standardised way that can be easily quantified at the local, national or international level and therefore could not effectively be used to support conservation action.
Based on a discussion with AWC National Coordinators in our Coordinators Meeting in Thailand in late 2018, we agreed that it would be valuable to optimise information being submitted by the volunteer network and enhance and support conservation efforts. This builds on the Wetland Assessment Form tested in India since the AWC 2016.

For the AWC 2019 we tested a new AWC Wetland Assessment Form to encourage collection of basic information on the state of wetlands and of ongoing and potential threats to wetlands and waterbirds. This information request was provided to the network in two ways - within an updated AWC Count Excel 2019 form and as a standalone questionnaire based on a Google Form. The Excel Form enables participants to enter both waterbird count information and assess wetlands. The AWC Wetland Assessment Form 2019 in Google Form is designed to enable volunteers to submit their observations on wetlands and to complement their existing nationally waterbird count forms or electronic submission (such as through eBird). The questionnaire has been designed to collect information on:
  1. Basic location and observer information
  2. Characteristics of the wetland
  3. Visit conditions at the site
  4. Uses of and (potential) threats to the wetland
  5. Direct (potential) threats to waterbirds, and
  6. Factors affecting the counts.
This brief analysis focuses on information reported on points 4, 5 and 6 during the AWC 2019. For now, this wetland assessment information is not part of the core information being collated and available through the IWC Online Portal. In consultation with coordinators, we will need to assess how best this can be collated and summarised. 

2019 Submissions
A total of  367 wetland assessment forms were submitted to Wetlands International by 1 Dec 2019 and have been included in this analysis. Of these, 331 were unique entries and have been reviewed, with 36 entries being duplicates of sites or with incomplete information. Information was submitted from 6 countries, with over 75% from India.
Country No. of sites analysed
Bhutan 25
India 253
Indonesia 1
Lao PDR 8
Malaysia 4
Thailand 39
Timor-Leste 1
Total 331

The questionnaire requests information on the main uses of the site observed during the visit, as well as of threats and potential threats. Nearly 690 uses and threats were reported at 331 sites during 2019 (Fig 1).
Fig 1. Uses of and (potential) threats to wetlands reported during the AWC 2019
These activities could be separated into three main types: a) changes to the physical conditions of the sites (including partial (topping the list) or complete reclamation of the wetland, sometimes explicitly for construction of residential or commercial developments, or mining of soil and sand for construction purposes), “beautification” of the edges/surroundings of the wetland for human use, b) human use/exploitation of the wetland and its surrounding and its biodiversity (with agriculture and excessive tourism topping the list),  c) pollution of the wetlands, by sewage (in nearly 140 sites) or other sources, and their impacts on water quality. Three additional questions relating to agriculture, cattle grazing and fishing activities aimed to collect information on the intensity of these activities.
Agriculture around wetlands recorded during visits –  the questionnaire had three choices - None, Little effect, and Not Recorded. Agriculture was recorded at >60% of sites, which is expected across the landscape in most Asian countries, especially outside protected areas. In India, it was recorded at over 73% of sites, with several sites also reporting agriculture within dry areas of the wetland.
Presence/intensity of cattle in/around the wetland - presence of cattle was reported by one of four choices - None, Few (<10 cattle), Many (>10 cattle) and Not Recorded. Cattle were reported in 187 (>56%) sites of all 331 sites across the region; of these, 64.2% was reported as Few and 35.8% as Many. Of 253 submissions received from India, 169 sites (>66%) recorded cattle present; with 65.7% reported as Few and 34.3% as Many.
On the other hand, in Bhutan, Laos and Thailand, cattle were reported in 28%, 62.5% and 10% of sites respectively.
Presence of fishers/fishing activities recorded during visits  - intensity of fishing activity was reported by the number of fishers observed and nearly 50% sites across the region reported the activity. The questionnaire had four choices - None, Little (1-3 fishers), Much (>3 fishers) and Not Recorded. Of all 331 sites recording the activity; 46.6% was reported as Little and 22.6% as Much. 253 submissions received from India, 210 sites (>65%) recorded this activity taking place; with 50.8% reported as Little and 25.4% as Much.
Two questions covered the main direct threats to birds, by hunters/trappers and disturbance/predation by dogs. In addition, the activity relating to fishing, cattle grazing and agriculture, also provide some information on potential threats through disturbance or capture (through accidental or planned trapping in fishing nets) of the waterbirds.
Presence of hunters/hunting activities recorded during visits - as part of the annual waterbird counts, participants normally visit the wetlands for a short period of time (up to few hours) and unlike fishing activities in most locations, their chances of recording the presence of hunters or trappers or observing hunting or trapping activities may be slight. This may be particularly if these are illegal activities and may be conducted under the cover of darkness; unless the poachers or trappers are acting without fear of being caught. However, at nearly 60 sites (24.6%) there was a report of presence/recorded hunting or trapping activities across all countries (except from a single submission from Indonesia), indicating the likely pressure of taking of waterbirds at many sites across the region.
The number of hunters/trappers or the intensity of activity could be reported as None, Little (1-3 hunters/trappers) or Many (>3 hunters/trappers). Of all sites recording the activity; 14.2% was reported as Little and 3.9 % as Many (Fig. 5). In India, 253 submissions were received and of which 43 sites (17%) recorded this activity taking place; with
74.4% reported as Little and 25.6% as Much. In Thailand, 20.5% of sites reported low levels of hunting. Four of eight sites in Lao PDR and three of four sites in Malaysia and the one site recorded in Indonesia and Timor Leste reported some level of hunters/hunting. Such information on hunting/trapping reported through the AWC could serve as an early warning system for local authorities to identify wetlands where such activities are taking place and to allow them to follow up and reduce illegal take of birds.
Illegal capture of Indian Pond Heron in Bangladesh, photo by Ellis Miller.
Disturbance by domestic dogs
Over the last years, there have been reports of domestic dogs (sometimes called stray or feral) disturbing, chasing and killing birds during the AWC counts. To evaluate this issue further, the questionnaire had four choices - None, Few (1-3 dogs), Many (>3 dogs) and Not Recorded. Dogs were reported during 115 visits in almost half the number of sites (42%) in India, with far fewer in Bhutan (7 of 25 sites), and Laos (1 of 8 sites), with none recorded from the other countries. Of the sites in India where dogs were recorded, 79% were of few animals.
Domestic dog disturbing waterbirds (Photo by Ashok Mashru) and with hunted Little Grebe in jaws (Photo by Pranjal J. Saikia)
Further assessments would be required at sites where large numbers of dogs were reported and how to reduce their impact on of disturbing and killing birds. See article on Conservation India (

Information on two factors, disturbance and bad weather that could affect completeness of waterbirds counts was gathered.
Disturbance during count - provides an indication of whether disturbance of the birds may have affected the counts, such as due to presence of fishers or hunters.  The questionnaire had four choices – Little effect, Moderate, Strong and Not Recorded. Only about a quarter of sites (27.5%) reported some
level of disturbance, varying between all sites in Malaysia, to 30% in India and 12% in Bhutan.  In India, 253 submissions were received; with 67.1% reported as having Little, 28.9% as Moderate and 3.9% as Strong Effect. Besides the presence of fisher or hunters, disturbance by tourists and walkers to the birds were recorded at several sites in India.
Effect of weather on counts - the questionnaire had three choices - None, Little effect, and Not Recorded. It appears that inclement weather (including rain, strong winds, etc.) had little effect on counts, having been recorded at only 6% of wetlands
  • Valuable information on current uses and threats to wetlands is being reported during the AWC 2019 through the updated AWC Count Excel 2019 form and AWC 2019 Wetland Assessment Google Form. Threats ranged from pollution and reclamation that affect the quality and condition of wetlands. Direct threats to waterbirds reported include illegal activities such as hunting of birds, disturbance/killing by domestic dogs and disturbance by human activities such as tourism.
  • New information generated can alert local conservation groups and authorities to ongoing threats and planned construction activities that may affect the wetlands and waterbirds and take early awareness raising and conservation actions.
  • Most submissions have been received from India where this form has been in use for the last few years. While there were fewer received from a few countries in Asia in 2019 where it was introduced for the first time, submissions were received from all sites in Bhutan and Laos.
  • The Questionnaire could be reviewed and improved in consultation with AWC Coordinators and the network to ensure that relevant information can be collected by participants. Through this assessment, it appears that the responses “None” and “Not recorded” in some questions may have been confusing and needed to be combined for the analysis. For the AWC 2020, these terms will be changed to “None observed” and “Information not submitted”.
  • Early feedback of annual wetland assessment responses to AWC coordinators should support more rapid responses to threats and potential threats to wetlands and waterbirds.
Many thanks to all the volunteers and coordinators who have submitted their wetland assessment forms and for providing feedback to improve the form. Many thanks to Ellis Miller, Ashok Mashru and Pranjal J. Saikia for their images.
Taej Mundkur and Tom Langendoen, Wetlands International
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Results of the Malaysian 2019 AWC

For 2019, a total of 41 sites nationwide were surveyed during the AWC (Malaysia) with participations from AWC volunteers, local NGOs and government agencies. States covered included Penang, Johor, Selangor, Perak, Sabah and Sarawak where a total of 41,527 waterbirds were recorded from eight waterbird groups and 80 species. The surveys also captured 14 wetland-dependent non-waterbird species which were mainly raptors and/or kingfishers. Sejingkat Ashpond (Sarawak) recorded the highest waterbird count with 7,358 individuals followed by Kapar Power Station (Selangor) (7,106) and Buntal Bay (Sarawak) (5,969). These coastal mangrove/mudflat sites are Malaysia’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) which continue to provide safe haven for wintering/staging waterbirds (mostly shorebirds) to date. In terms of species diversity, Malim Nawar ex-mining lands (Perak) recorded the highest figure with 31 species followed by both Sejingkat Ashpond and Kuala Gula (24) and Bako Buntal Bay (23). The most dominant waterbird group was the shorebirds (or waders) with 28,724 individuals (40 species) followed by 5,932 herons and egrets (14 species) and 4,598 gulls and terns (eight species). Eurasian Curlew Numenius madagascariensis were the most abundant waterbird counted (5,705 individuals) followed by Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris (3,592), Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus (2,999), Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (2,905) and Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (2,073). The surveys also recorded six globally threatened species namely Milky Stork Mycteria cinerea (22 individuals), Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis (971), Nordmann’s Greenshank Tringa guttifer (14), Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris (3,592), Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes (46), Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus (106) and 11 near-threatened species i.e. Painted Stork M. leucocephala (94), Malaysian Plover C. peronii (1), Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (2,073), Bar-tailed Godwit L. lapponica (732), Eurasian Curlew (5,705), Grey-tailed Tattler T. brevipes (36), Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus (2), Red Knot C. canutus (1,161), Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster (1), Red-necked Stint C. ruficollis (755) and Curlew Sandpiper C. ferruginea (26). It is crucial to note that the Painted and Milky Storks that were recorded are likely to originate from free-flying individuals from Zoo Negara and have expanded their range and population numbers as well.

Important Note: We are still gathering some reports from counters and will update the final results and summary accordingly and share with all stakeholders again in due time. Thank you for your effort and support in making AWC (Malaysia) 2019 a success. 
Summary compiled by:
Woo Chee Yoong, Noor Syazanna bt Mohd Alias, Yeap Chin Aik & Sonny Wong
AWC Country Coordinator (Malaysia)
Malaysian Nature Society
Photo by Dave Bakewell
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2019 Asian Waterbird Census Philippines

The 2019 Asian Waterbird Census in the Philippines has recorded a total of 468,352 individual migratory waterbirds composed of 121 species. The waterbird species with the highest counts were Whiskered tern Chlidonias hybridus (58,428), Intermediate egret Egretta intermedia (58,012), Little egret Egretta garzetta (52,988), Black-headed gull Larus ridibundus (29,664), Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis (20,514), Tufted duck Aythya fuligula (16,923), Black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus (14,901), Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus (14,882), Pacific golden plover Pluvialis fulva (14,541), Common tern Sterna hirundo (12,770), Red-necked stint Calidris ruficollis (12,712) and Great White egret Ardea alba (10,692).
The threatened and near-threatened species of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway which were recorded in substantial numbers are the Great knot Calidris tenuirostris (6,615), Chinese egret Egretta eulophotes (394), Asiatic dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus (14,541), Far Eastern curlew Numenius madagascariensis (747), Black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa (4,773), Red knot Calidris canutus (514), and Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata (461). Other globally threatened species that were recorded were  Nordmann's Greenshank Tringa guttifer (7) and the Black-faced spoonbill Platalea minor (3).
A significant record for 2019 AWC is the presence of three individuals of the Critically Endangered Chinese crested terns Thallaseus bernsteini which was observed in Panabo, Davao for the second time since last year’s AWC. The species were first recorded in the Philippines in 1905.
The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Network Sites (FNS) in the Philippines, namely Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area (NOCWCA), Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary (OIWS), Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP), and Naujan Lake National Park (NLNP, continue to hold significant numbers and important species of migratory waterbirds.  A total of 32,502 waterbirds were recorded in NOCWCA with the highest count of Great knots (4,019) and Black-tailed godwits (4,620) in the country. The highest occurrence of Far eastern curlews (610) and Red knots (317) were recorded in OIWS while supporting a total of 25,428 waterbirds. 7,121 seabirds were recorded this year in TRNP including numerous observations of Black noddy Anous minutus worcestri (417), Brown noddy Anous stolidus (799), and Sooty tern Onychoprion fuscatus (3,810) which are known to breed in the park. The waterbird population  in  NLNP for 2019 was the lowest count in the Park with a total bird population count of 3,619. NLNP was known to be abundant with Tufted ducks in the previous years but only had 117 Tufted ducks during the 2019 AWC. This low count may be due to inclement weather during the AWC period. The total species for the whole country nevertheless remained comparable relative to previous years’ counts.
The most significant waterbird site remains Manila Bay, with five major congregation areas covered by the count (LPPCHEA, Sasmuan, Macabebe, Balanga Wetland Park, and Sta. Cruz-Masukol Coastal Wetland and Saltpans). A total of 133,000+ waterbirds was recorded in Manila Bay. At least seventeen species of waterbirds congregate in Manila Bay with more than 1% of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway waterbird population threshold (Black-headed gull 28.9%, Pacific golden plover 24.7%, Whiskered tern 20.8%, Intermediate egret 20.2%, Black-winged stilt 19.2%, Black-winged stilt 19.2%, Kentish plover 9.6%, Little egret 7.1%, Common redshank 3.8%, Little tern 3.1%, Purple heron 2.3%, Lesser sand plover 2.0%, Great egret 1.9%, Red-necked stint 1.6%, Marsh sandpiper  1.2%, Caspian tern 1%, and Common greenshank 1%). Manila Bay is also a staging site for three globally threatened waterbird species namely, Chinese egret, Far eastern curlew, and Great knot. Other sites that meet the criteria for internationally important sites are Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Lake Mainit, Lake Buluan Natural Biotic Area, Baras Bird Sanctuary, Malasi Tree Park, and Maris Dam.
In the 2019 Asian Waterbird Census, 287 sites were covered by over 300 counters nationwide. The counters were mostly DENR field personnel and staff joined by volunteers from Local Government Units (LGUs), Non-Government Organizations, and volunteers from the academe, bird clubs, and hobbyists.

Summary compiled by:
Anson M. Tagtag
AWC National Coordinator
Department of Environment and Natural Resources -Biodiversity Management Bureau
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The 19th conference of the Goose Specialist Group (GSG) will be held on 27-31 January 2020 in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. The Meeting is organised by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO), Dutch Centre for Avian Migration and Demography (Vogeltrekstation) and Sovon Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology (Sovon).

CMS 13th Conference of Parties
The 13th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals will be held in February. A side event on the tools to support waterbird conservation, including the new Waterbird Population Estimates Portal, Critical Site Network Tool and launch of the AWC India 10 year report is planned by Wetlands International with partners.
Birds Connect Our World is the theme of World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) May and October 2020.


Festival of Wings 2019

News about the Festival of Wings 2019 and AWC 2019 event, which was held in Malaysia is available here.

Taiwan New Year Bird Count Annual report
The 2019 Taiwan New Year Bird Count Annual report is available for download here.
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