The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS)

Welcome to the WeBS homepage. The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. The principal aims of WeBS are to identify population sizes, determine trends in numbers and distribution, and identify important sites for waterbirds. These pages contain information on how to get involved in the survey, the methodology, and how to access data and results. If you have any problems, please contact us.

WeBS report: Waterbirds in the UK 2015/16

The 35th BTO/JNCC/RSPB WeBS annual report Waterbirds in the UK 2015/16 provides an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in waterbirds in the UK and beyond. The latest report features the results of the 2015/16 Non-Estuarine Waterbird Survey (NEWS III) as well as the latest trends and data from WeBS. Search the WeBS Report Online interface to find the latest information on status of the UK’s waterbirds and the wetlands and coastal areas used by them. View the latest report providing a summary of the results and other waterbird related stories below or as a PDF with previous reports here.

Next WeBS Core Count date: 11 June 2017

By June, the breeding season is in full swing with many birds on nests or even with young, but please remember not to count these young birds on your monthly counts until they are 2/3 grown. Some coastal sites may still see large congregations of non-breeding waders such as Bar-tailed Godwits or Sanderling that have remained in this country. Although generally a quiet month for rarities around waterbodies, occasional vagrants such as Squacco Herons, Caspian Terns and Collared Pratincoles may turn up. Stay safe and enjoy your WeBS Count! Stay safe and enjoy your WeBS Count!

50 Years of International Waterbird Counts

International Waterbird Census 50th Anniversary

2016 was the 50th anniversary of the International Waterbirds Census (IWC). Given the importance of UK wetlands to international waterbird populations, the January counts from WeBS (and historically National Wildfowl Counts/ Birds of Estuaries Enquiry) have been an important component of this worldwide monitoring programme from the start.

Map of IWC sites in 1967 and 2015

Map of IWC counts in 1967 compared with the number of IWC sites in 2015

WeBS supports IWC in Sierra Leone

The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative coordinates activities to improve integrated monitoring along the East Atlantic Flyway as part of the International Waterbird Census, particularly in western Africa where waterbirds tend to be poorly monitored. In January 2014, important sites on the coast of Sierra Leone were counted by a small team of volunteers from the UK and colleagues at the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL). As well as collecting important information on numbers of birds at sites in Sierra Leone, the two-week trip included training of CSSL staff in waterbird monitoring methods and engagement with local communities. In 2016 WeBS continued supporting capacity for waterbird monitoring in Sierra Leone by contributing towards local costs of IWC counts.