Establishing bird population monitoring schemes in Africa

Monitoring bird populations is an essential step in their conservation. It allows identification of those species requiring attention and helps design and measure the success of appropriate conservation action.

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Overview

Often bird monitoring focuses on the rare and localised, but experience in the UK and elsewhere has shown the common and widespread can be under threat.
 
The Global Wild Bird Index (GWBI) project aims to develop a global Wild Bird Index (WBI) which measures population trends of a representative suite of birds to act as a barometer of the general health of the environment. In countries where national population monitoring schemes exist, the project will coordinate and facilitate the collation of species indices. 
 
Where there are no schemes at present, the project will provide tools and support to implement similar data collation and synthesis in a representative set of countries. The project will work closely with the web-based WorldBirds, to additionally support the collation of data in the form of species lists and bird surveys.
 
In collaboration with BirdLife International and the BirdLife Africa Partnership secretariat, the GWBI project is are currently supporting the development of new BPM schemes in three African countries: Uganda, Rwanda and Botswana.

Objectives

  • Successful, sustainable common bird monitoring schemes in several African countries, relying on volunteer observers.
  • Development of annual population trends for common and widespread birds at national and regional scales.
  • In the longer-term, development of a Pan-African Wild Bird Index.
  • The development of bird monitoring and research skills in African BirdLife partners and other conservation organisations.
 

Progress

Uganda

  • Collaborative partnerships identified between key organisations working towards scheme development (NatureUganda, National Biodiversity Databank, Makerere University Institute of Environment and Natural Resources and the Uganda Wildlife Authority).
  • Monitoring protocols established and survey forms produced.
  • Training workshop held in Entebbe in January 2009 for key volunteer surveyors.
  • First round of counts conducted Feb-Mar 2009 at 40 monitoring sites.
  • Repeat counts conducted July 2009 at each site, with seven new sites added.

Rwanda

  • Collaborative partnerships developed between key organisations working towards scheme development (ACNR, Dian Fossey Gorilla Foundation International/Karisoke Research Center, Wildlife Conservation Society, Projet Conservation de la Foret de Nyungwe and Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Parks (ORTPN)).
  • Monitoring protocols established and survey forms produced.
  • Training workshop held in Musanze and Volcanos National park in February 2009 for key volunteer surveyors.
  • First round of counts conducted July 2009 at 22 monitoring sites, both inside and outside protected areas.

Botswana

  • Random stratified site selection procedure completed to identify 105 key monitoring areas.
  • Monitoring protocols established.
  • Training workshops held in May & June 2009 for key volunteer surveyors.
  • First counts planned for November 2009.

Planned Work

As well as continuing to provide support to the schemes in Uganda, Rwanda and Botswana, the GWBI project is providing support and advice to facilitate the development of sustainable BPM schemes in the medium term in Nigeria (with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation) and Kenya (NatureKenya). 
 
Additionally, the project works closely with WorldBirds to promote web-based bird monitoring across Africa.

Results

No results as yet: a minimum of three years monitoring are needed for the production of sufficiently robust bird trends.

Partners

Project Partners

Partners (Uganda)

Partners (Rwanda)

Partners (Botswana)

Download

Authors: Senyatso, K., Sheehan, D., Eaton, M., & Butchart, S. (2008). PDF, 551Kb

Guidelines for the development of Bird Population Monitoring in Africa

Authors: RSPB & BirdLife International. PDF, 327Kb. 10 August 2009

Guidelines for the development of Bird Population Monitoring in Africa

Contacts

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Danae Sheehan

Migrants Programme Manager, RSPB

danae.sheehan@rspb.org.uk
Tagged with: Country: Botswana Country: International Country: Kenya Country: Nigeria Country: Rwanda Country: Uganda Project status: Ongoing Project types: Species protection