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.  If you have any problems, please contact us.


International Golden Plover survey: 11-12 October 2014

On 11-12 October 2014 (WeBS Count weekend) there will be a coordinated census of Eurasian Golden Plovers across Europe, repeating comparable surveys carried out in 2008 and 2003.  The majority of Golden Plovers are concentrated in northwest Europe in October making it the best time to assess the status of the population. As in 2008, the BTO will be collating all counts of Golden Plover (and Lapwing) within the framework of an International Wader Study Group project.

For the UK, Golden Plover numbers provided through standard WeBS Core Counts will represent the key source of data in combination with records provided through BirdTrack. So, if you use BirdTrack, remember to submit any counts of Golden Plover on 11-12 October away from your normal WeBS sites!  Submission of counts of Lapwings is encouraged too.


New WeBS report: Waterbirds in the UK 2012/13

Search the interactive online interface to find latest information on status of the UK’s waterbirds and the wetlands used by them.  [If you experience any difficulties loading the page, please press "F5" or "Refresh" your page on screen using the relevant button in the browser bar. Recommended browsers are Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer v.9 onwards].  With a new colour report providing a summary of the results and other waterbird related stories, the new style ‘WeBS annual report’ provides an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in waterbirds in the UK and beyond.

Browse Waterbirds in the UK 2012/13 online


This month's WeBS Core Count date: 12 October 2014

With winter just around the corner, the UK's wetlands are a mix of autumn migrants and winter visitors. Major estuaries are supporting large numbers of waders, many of which are south bound and will move on to wintering areas such as west Africa. Numbers of Sanderlings and Knots from Greenland, and Bar-tailed Godwits and Grey Plovers from Siberia, for example will be building up at the traditional estuarine roosts. The first arrivals of geese from the Arctic (such as Pink-footed Geese from Iceland and Dark-bellied Brent Geese from Siberia) have been taking place during the second half of September. Icelandic Greylag Geese and Whooper Swans will start to arrive in numbers soon. Golden Plover numbers will be building up in October too; hence this month's international survey.

The odd rarity will inevitably feature as autumn wader passage continues; if October sees depressions moving across the Atlantic, there are likely to be a scattering of Nearctic waders such as Buff-breasted Sandpipers and American Golden Plovers, particularly on western coasts. Enjoy your October WeBS Count!


WeBS helps in Sierra Leone

January 2014 saw a coordinated effort as part of the International Waterbird Census to count waterbirds at major wetlands along the length of the East Atlantic flyway that usually receive no coverage. This included expeditions to west Africa where waterbirds tend to be particularly poorly monitored. 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). Support for this expedition was provided by the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative and WeBS. 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. A full report will be published in due course.