|Avian Demography Unit
Department of Statistical Sciences
University of Cape Town
Projects of the Avian Demography Unit
CWAC - Coordinated Waterbirds Counts
Please note that this page is no longer maintained.
Photo R.A. Navarro, ADU
Greater Flamingos at sunrise, Strandfontein
The Coordinated Waterbird Counts (CWAC) was launched in 1992. The objective of CWAC is to monitor South Africa's waterbird populations and the conditions of the wetlands which are important for waterbirds. This is being done by means of a programme of regular mid-summer and mid-winter censuses at a large number of South African wetlands and estuaries, at regular six-monthly intervals. CWAC currently monitors over 400 wetlands around the country on a regular basis, and furthermore harbours waterbird data for close to 600 sites.
This project was initiated by the then Ramsar Working Group of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in part-fulfilment of South Africa's commitment to the Ramsar Convention. CWAC also contributes its data to the African Waterbird Census, a programme coordinated by Wetlands International and based at the African headquarters of Wetlands International in Senegal.
In February 1995 a CWAC workshop was held in Wakkerstroom in the province of Mpumalanga. On this occassion professional conservators from the conservation agencies and dedicated amateurs from the ranks of BirdLife South Africa came together to plan the future direction and expansion of the CWAC programme. One of the concrete products to emerge from this valuable collaboration is a list of priority wetlands which CWAC will aim to survey.
In 1999, the TOTAL CWAC Report was published. It provides a useful summary of all counts made between the start of the project and 1997. A summary of the main findings of this report was published in Bird Numbers. The report can be ordered from Horizon Book Services, via this website.
Comparisons of counts from different wetlands gives indications of
seasonal movements and the relative importance of sites for the conservation
of different species. Once the project expands to include
all of South Africa's major wetlands, the information for all sites
enable us to produce annual population indices to trace the fluctuations,
increases and declines of populations.
|Redbilled Teal||Photo: R.A. Navarro, ADU|