//jQuery-UI tabbed pages

Waterbird Population Boundaries

Consultation on population boundaries



Information on the world’s waterbird populations, with estimates, trends and 1% values is available on the Waterbird Population Estimates portal. This information is used as the definitive source by Ramsar Convention, African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement, East Asian - Australasian Flyway Partnership, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network and for many other conservation purposes.

Wetlands International is developing boundary maps for biogeographic populations of all waterbird species to be included in the new global Waterbird Population Portal (WPP), scheduled for launch in late 2020. For information on the WPP, see here.

Boundary maps are available for 1,833 of the 2,348 of waterbird populations recognised in the portal. The boundary maps include those finalised for the African Eurasian region in the Critical Site Network Tool and draft maps prepared by Wetlands International, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (UK), Manomet, Inc. and our other partners. For a description of biogeographic populations and their delineation adopted by the WPP, see here.

A list of the waterbird populations recorded in the portal database is available here. This follows the 2019 BirdLife/HBW taxonomy. Additional information on the range and status of these populations is also provided, including whether a digital boundary currently exists for a population. Maps for the missing populations will be uploaded as they are generated. If you can provide boundaries for any of the missing populations, kindly email us. All contributors will be listed in the new Portal.

How to contribute to the review?

Contributors are invited to review the existing boundaries and to provide missing boundaries. Please note the following:

  • Boundaries should cover all areas where a population regularly occurs. Vagrancy should not be included.
  • Boundaries should be defined with appropriate evidence. This includes confirmed observations and records of movements e.g. from surveys, colour marking, metal band/ring movements, telemetry studies or stable isotope studies.
There are 4 methods to provide corrected or new boundaries:
  1. Annotate a map image
    1. Make a screenshot from the website of the boundary map for one or more populations of a single species and insert it into a PowerPoint slide. For new population boundaries, make a print screen of a blank map (a base map) covering the range of the population.
    2. Draw the new boundary line directly on the map image. In PowerPoint, use Insert > Shape > Curve.
  2. Print and scan a map
    1. Print an image of the boundary map or base map for one or more populations of a single species
    2. Draw the new boundary on the printed map.
    3. Scan or photograph the map.
  3. Edit the kml
    1. Click on the boundary for one or more populations of a single species you wish to provide feedback and then click the download link to obtain a .kml file.
    2. Edit the kml using either GIS software (e.g. Google Earth, QGIS) or the online service geojson.io.
  4. Provide a clear description of changes proposed
    1. 1. Indicate if a boundary should be expanded or contracted to a clear geographic landmark or coordinate. This is only appropriate for very simple modifications, for new boundaries a map is always required.

Modified and new boundaries can be submitted to wpe@wetlands.org. All proposals for boundaries must be provided with references and supporting evidence.

Important Note

Kindly note that these draft boundary maps are solely developed and shared for the purpose of expert consultation. They should not be used in this form as definite boundaries for the concerned species and their populations.

Many thanks for your input


Taej Mundkur, Wetlands International

Species Search

Please use the input box below to select the species for which you want to display or download the population flyway boundary. This input box will suggest and autocomplete the scientific species names for which we have a boundary once you start typing. After clicking the Show button the boundary is displayed on the map you can click the boundary to access the download link.

Additional Data Sources


This consultation process is set to involve a number of experts, Specialist Group members and others from around the world. We greatly appreciate your kind input. The final version of the website will include a full list of contributors.