Monitoring Birds at African Biosphere Reserves


Project Title:  African Biosphere Reserves as Pilot Sites for Monitoring and Conservation of Migratory birds (AfriBiRds) 

Introduction:  Every year Afro-Palearctic migratory birds travel thousands of kilometers between African wintering and European breeding grounds. The birds have to stand bad weather, strong winds and cross large, harsh ecosystems such as the Sahara desert or the Mediterranean Sea. In recent decades, there have been severe declines in migratory landbirds’ populations.

The degradation of habitats at critical stop-over sites, hunting and trade of birds, risks of collision with man-made structures and disease are threatening the birds along their flyways. The AfriBiRds project will join forces with UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves as well as the BirdLife Partnership Network for birds’ conservation in African biosphere reserves.

Overall goal: The project aims to develop and implement a pilot scheme for long-term monitoring of bird populations, including Palaearctic migrants, in African biosphere reserves as a template for application in other biosphere reserves and the wider landscape.


Specific objectives:

  1. To review and evaluate existing bird monitoring schemes and activities in Africa with special focus on African biosphere reserves
  2. To select and adapt a long-term scheme for the monitoring of common birds with a special focus on Palaearctic migrant species that is feasible for African biosphere reserves and scalable to the wider landscape
  3. To implement this scheme in at least two African biosphere reserves as pilot sites
  4. To create awareness on the importance of the conservation of common African birds including Palaearctic migrants, promote the monitoring scheme at the pilot sites, amongst African biosphere reserves and key stakeholders in the countries of the pilot sites and to make project results available to enable the extension and replication of the scheme to other sites and countries.

Implementation: AfriBiRds, is a collaboration between BirdLife and Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU, BirdLife Partner in Germany).

Project Partners: NABU and BirdLife International have joined to implement the AfriBiRds project to support African biosphere reserves in establishing an effective long-term monitoring and raise the awareness on birds’ conservation.

Project implementation closely cooperates with the following partners: AfriMAB, UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), African Bird Club, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), A.P Leventis Research Institute (APLORI), Altenburg & Wymenga ecological consultants (A&W), Institute of Avian Research (IFV), Percy Fitzpatrick Institute, Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative (WSFI), Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK).

Our national project implementing partners are: SOS-Forêts and Nigerian Conservation Foundation in Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria respectively. 

Countries and Sites: Based on a rigorous process which sought information from 90 Biosphere Reserves in 33 countries (No. of Reserves as at 2016), two sites were selected for piloting birds monitoring: Comoé (in Cote d’Ivoire) and Omo (in Nigeria) Biosphere Reserves.  

Project Duration: December 2016 to August 2019

Donor: The project is supported by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) with funds of the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).

Contacts and More Information:


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