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Asian Waterbird Census

December 2020


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AWC 2021 Dates

Latest update on the AWC

AWC 2016-2020 report

Updates of AWC Coordinators
Chinese version of the IWC website

Meetings moved online

New publications and reports

Upcoming events
AWC 2021 dates

The recommended dates for the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) are 2 - 17 January 2021, covering two weeks and three weekends. These dates are for guidance only and counts from any date in December 2020 or January and February 2021 are very welcome. Guidance documents and data collection forms can be found here and contact information for your AWC coordinator can be found here
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Latest update on the Asian Waterbird Census

As the year of 2020 draws to a close, we take a quick stock of the year and share plans for the coming year.  

Despite the COVID restrictions, a lot of great work has taken place to advance monitoring, awareness raising and conservation of waterbirds and wetlands in the region. 

Since the publication of the last update in the July 2020 newsletter, coordinators have made a special effort to provide updates and many gaps have been filled.  

It is encouraging to hear about plans being made for the AWC 2021 in many countries and regions. With the ongoing and unfolding coronavirus situation, it is important to take whatever additional precautions are necessary. Please be sure to follow the guidance of your national or local officials, the safety of counters and those they come into contact with are of the upmost importance. 

If you’re not a bird counter but want to support the census, consider becoming a supporter of the Waterbird Fund. This fund aims to support monitoring of waterbirds and their wetlands around the world. The AWC as part of the global IWC is a highly cost effective counting effort as many of the counts are completed by volunteers. That means a little support can go a very long way to ensuring wetlands around the world are counted. 

Number of wetland visits reported during the AWC 2016-2020

(as of 15 Dec 2020)
X indicates counts have been provided and are in processing.
Country/region 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Australia 38 55      
Bangladesh 63 92 72 87 75
Bhutan 17     23  
British Indian Ocean Territories   3      
Brunei 14 13 14 11 10
Cambodia 11 14 6 7 9
- China mainland 17 19      
- Taiwan   55 51 X X
- Hong Kong SAR 2 2 2 2 2
Democratic People's Republic of Korea         34
India 569 266 106 666 517
Indonesia 75 134 92 125  
Japan 224 298 290 268 282
Laos       6  
Malaysia 24 26 43 34 69
Mongolia 1 1      
Myanmar 1 4 23 15 20
Nepal 50 52 53 66  
New Zealand     22 X  
Pakistan 12 19 16 22  
Palau 1   11    
Papua New Guinea          
Philippines 140 198 257 227 231
Republic of Korea 200 200 200 200 200
Russian Federation (AWC)          
Singapore 9 8 8 8  
Sri Lanka 51 42      
Thailand 84 46 43 44  
Timor-Leste 2 13   10  
Vietnam 3 2   X  
Grand Total 1608 1562 1309 1821 1449

We are pleased to receive the first information from Democratic People's Republic of Korea in many years, with counts from 34 sites.
Our thanks as ever to the national coordinators and their networks for their continuing efforts and support for this important monitoring programme. We greatly appreciate the many funders and supporters who ensure that the annual counts are implemented at the local and national level in all countries and regions. Our special thanks also to the Ministry of the Environment of Japan and Wetlands International members for supporting international coordination of the census this year.

We wish you, your families and friends all a safe and happy 2021 - and a successful AWC 2021 too. 

Dr Taej Mundkur, AWC Regional Coordinator & 
Tom Langendoen, AWC Database Manager 

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AWC 2016-2020 draft report 

The draft regional summaries of national count totals and species count totals from the AWC between 2016-2020 are now online. By default, the table shows counts from January only and is also set to show numbers for waterbirds only. You can adjust these settings with the filters on the left and on the top of the table. 

If you spot mistakes in the data or have missing data to include do let us know on 

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Updates of AWC Coordinators

Dr BM Parasharya our AWC Coordinator of Gujarat state in western India for many decades, sadly passed away in October due to COVID-19 complications. An obituary to him is in the latest issue of Flamingo (pp 85-86) and is free to download here

Late Dr BM Parasharya (AWC Coordinator for Gujarat state, India) pictured with his pet interest, researching flamingos. Taken in Gulf of Khambhat Jan 2017, by Dr Darshana Rathod
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Chinese version of IWC website

Much of the IWC Portal is now available in Chinese thanks to efforts of our volunteer Ms Sirui Ye.  
Thanks to Sirui Ye for translating the IWC portal into Chinese
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Meetings moved online

With much of the world in lockdown and travel severely restricted, many major meetings moved online in 2020. Here are a few highlights:
  • The 1st East Asian-Australasian Flyway Shorebird Science Meeting successfully took place as an online virtual meeting from 3 to 5 November 2020 with many interesting presentations including from the AWC network and Coordinators. Participants joined live online discussions, workshops, 5 keynote talks and 80 presentations across 18 sessions that addressed a wide range of topics on shorebird monitoring, research and conservation. Almost 100 experts and students showcased their activities within the EAAF flyway and beyond. The meeting co-hosted by National Institute of Ecology (NIE) from the Republic of Korea, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Board in Singapore, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna’s International Secretariat (CAFF), and the University of Queensland. You can find the report here.
  • A webinar on migratory waterbirds in Bahasa Indonesia DISKUSI BURUNG MIGRASI INDONESIA SERI 3: Status Perlindungan Burung Bermigrasi di Indonesia was organised by Yayasan Lahan Bahasa and Indonesian Ornithologist' Union (IdOU) on 7 October 2020.  The Key Note Speaker was The Director General of Conservation of Natural Resources and Ecosystem, Ministry of Environment and Forestry with presentations by the AWC national coordinators and others. More here
  • AWC meetings have been held in many countries, including India, the Philippines and Malaysia. These national meetings provide updates and feedback to the counting networks and have helped with planning for the 2021 counts. Our sincere thanks to the coordinators and count networks for their continuing efforts for the AWC in these exceptional circumstances.  
  • 2020 Yellow & Bohai Sea Coastal Wetlands Symposium – Yancheng organised its fourth annual symposium as a live and online event. Dr Taej Mundkur presented on the importance of coordinated waterbird monitoring and the AWC. Here is a link to a video recording of the symposium and photo gallery.
Dr Taej Mundkur presentation at the Yellow & Bohai Sea Coastal Wetlands Symposium
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New publications and reports
  • The latest newsletter for the East Asian - Australasian Flyway Partnership was recently issued, see here
  • The China Coastal Waterbird Census Report 2012-2019 has been published, a major report for one of the most important waterbird areas in the East Asian - Australasian Flyway.
  • BirdLife International have just published the Dec 2020 global checklist with an update of the Global IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Following extensive consultation and several assessments of a number of species worldwide, there have been many changes to the Red List. For the waterbirds of the Asia Pacific, six species are doing better while two have been uplisted. While this may be good news, we should recognise that the Asia-Pacific is home to a number of waterbird species for which there is very poor information on population size estimates or population trends. Plans are underway to initiate consultation to produce the first EAAF Conservation Status Review in 2021 to get a better understanding of the current status of many species and identify knowledge gaps. The work is being led by Wetlands International with the EAAFP Secretariat. To contribute to this, do contact
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Upcoming events
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