International Waterbird Census

About the International Waterbird Census

The International Waterbird Census (IWC) is a global monitoring programme consisting of an annual synchronised count of all waterbird species. The counts are organised during the non-breeding season when many species congregate in wetlands. It is a parallel programme to the North American Christmas Bird Count organised by Audubon and complements both species or family specific monitoring and breeding season surveys, such as those coordinated by the European Bird Census Council or the North American Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. Collectively these monitoring efforts track the health of waterbird populations and guide conservation and policy decisions. The latest waterbird population size and trend assessments can be found on the Waterbird Populations Portal.

The IWC is coordinated internationally by Wetlands International and nationally or regionally by local partners. There are currently five regional IWCs, three of which are coordinated by regional offices of Wetlands International: the Asian Waterbird Census, African-Eurasian Waterbird Census and Neotropical Waterbird Census/Censo Neotropical de Aves Acuáticas. The Caribbean Waterbird Census is coordinated by Birds Caribbean and the Central American Waterbird Census is coordinated by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.

Information on requesting IWC data for research is available under the Information services menu, as are the latest IWC analyses and summaries. For more information, please contact If you would like to support the census, please consider donating through the Waterbird Fund.