Overwinter population estimates of British waterbirds

Published on 08 July 2011 in Main articles

Little Egret, by Richard Chandler

Andrew J. Musgrove, Graham E. Austin, Richard D. Hearn, Chas A. Holt, David A. Stroud and Simon R. Wotton

Abstract In total, over 12.5 million waterbirds occur in Britain in the winter. Estimates of the numbers of non-breeding waterbirds visiting Britain are important for the birds’ conservation, both for status assessments and for the identification and designation of nationally and internationally important sites. This paper collates data from a wide range of sources, principally for the period 2004/05 to 2008/09, and produces estimates for 92 different species or populations, some using novel analytical methods developed by the authors. For 15 species or populations, formal estimates of wintering numbers are presented for the first time. The estimates demonstrate  that species such as Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, Gadwall Anas strepera and, especially, Little Egret Egretta garzetta have increased substantially in the last decade, while others, such as Greenland White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons flavirostris, Dunlin Calidris alpina and Common Pochard Aythya ferina, have declined markedly.

Order your back issue, or subscribe today