The Asian Waterbird Census 2021 to be held on January 2-18, 2021

The annual Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) will be held on January 2-18, 2021. Wetlands International co-ordinates the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC). The AWC runs parallel to other international census of waterbirds in Africa, Europe and Neotropics under the umbrella of the International Waterbird Census (IWC).

Asian Waterbird Census Overview

Six Major Objectives

  1. providing the basis for estimates of waterbird populations;
  2. monitoring changes in waterbird numbers and distribution by regular, standardised counts of representative wetlands;
  3. improving knowledge of little-known waterbird species and wetland sites;
  4. identifying and monitoring (networks of) sites that are important for waterbirds in general and, more specifically, identifying and monitoring sites that qualify as Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands;
  5. providing information on the conservation status of waterbird species, for use by international agreements;
  6. increasing awareness of the importance of waterbirds and their wetland habitats at local, national and international levels.

The AWC also aims to build and strengthen national networks of enthusiastic volunteers and facilitate their training.

Dates & Duration

The AWC is an annual event and takes place once a year, during the second and third weeks
of January. The census was initiated in 1987 in the Indian subcontinent, and has grown
rapidly to cover 26 countries of South Asia, East Asia, South East Asia, Pacific, as well as
Russia Far East.


The census is primarily carried out by volunteers from all walks of life: university and school
staff and students, nature club members, amateur and professional ornithologists,
government and non-governmental agencies related to forestry, wildlife or wetland
conservation and others.

Wetland Sites

Sites covered during the census include all types of natural and man-made wetlands,
including, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, freshwater swamps, mangroves, mudflats, coral
reefs, rice fields and sewage farms, etc. site data is entered onto standardised site forms.

Waterbird Species

Waterbirds counted during the census include all types of waterbirds regularly encountered
at wetlands, including, grebes, cormorants, pelicans, herons, egrets, storks, ibises,
spoonbills, flamingoes, ducks, geese, swans, cranes, rails, jacanas, shorebirds gulls, terns.
In addition, raptors, kingfishers and other wetland-dependent birds are covered. Count data
is entered onto standardised count forms.

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