News Release

Wader populations decline faster than ever

04 June 2009
Ruff (Photo © Flickr / Silvanin De Munck)

According to a new publication by Wetlands International, more than half the populations of waders in Europe, West Asia and Africa are declining at an accelerating rate.

Waders are a group of relatively small waterbirds including species like lapwings, plovers, godwits, curlews and sandpipers. Many of them undertake long distance migrations from their Arctic breeding grounds to wintering areas as far away as southern Africa. Some concentrate in huge numbers at just a few sites, making these wetlands critical for their survival.

The new 'Wader Atlas' is the first comprehensive overview of key site networks for waders in Europe, West Asia and Africa, and the publication highlights a need for better protection of the key wetlands along their flyways, especially in Africa and the Middle East.

The authors outline that whilst many European Union (EU) Member States have established a fairly comprehensive network of protected areas for waders, many of which are Important Bird Areas (IBAs) identified by the BirdLife Partnership, the protection and management of key sites is still far from adequate beyond the EU's borders.

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