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.

WeBS report: Waterbirds in the UK 2014/15

Search the WeBS Report Online interface to find the latest information on status of the UK’s waterbirds and the wetlands used by them. Together with a colour report providing a summary of the results and other waterbird related stories, the 34th BTO/JNCC/RSPB WeBS annual report Waterbirds in the UK 2014/15 provides an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in waterbirds in the UK and beyond. Please note that as of 27th June 2016, Table 2 (Principal Sites) has had a minor revision to incorporate some supplementary data that affects species maxima at a small number of sites. Please contact the WeBS team if you require further information or  download a pdf of the page (PDF, 414.5 KB) to print for your paper report.

Next WeBS Core Count date: 21 August 2016

August is often peak month for wader passage and any WeBS site with a muddy edge may see passage birds such as Ruff, Greenshank, or Common, Green or even Wood Sandpipers dropping in. Many duck species will now be in eclipse plumage and so will be a bit more of a test for WeBS Counters to identify though the majority of young birds will now be of an age and size when they can be counted in your counts.  With so much wader passage occurring in August, it is also a key time for rare birds to turn up with American vagrants such as Pectoral, White-rumped and Baird's Sandpipers all annual visitors or maybe an even rarer visitor such as a Western or Stilt Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher or even Britain's first Willet could make an appearance.  Stay safe and enjoy your WeBS Count!

50 Years of International Waterbird Counts

International Waterbird Census 50th Anniversary

This year is 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.

If you are a WeBS counter and use social media, you can help celebrate by tweeting about your counts using the hashtags #waterbirdscount or #iwc50 or posting on our Facebook page. If you are not currently taking part in WeBS, you can still get involved immediately by surveying a stretch of coastline for the 2015/16 Non-estuarine Waterbird Survey (NEWS) or reporting sex ratios of Pochard via BirdTrack. Or why not take the plunge and make this the year you join WeBS?

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 is continuing supporting capacity for waterbird monitoring in Sierra Leone by contributing towards local costs of IWC counts.