Our work on wetland biodiversity and waterbirds

The Wetlands International – Russia Programme includes many activities aimed at the conservation of a rich and globally significant diversity of habitats and species supported by Russian wetlands. These wetlands provide important breeding and staging areas for millions of waterbirds. The Russian Programme Office is involved in the waterbird monitoring in Russia and some neighboring countries.

Wings over Wetlands (WoW)

In 2007 the project Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) started as the largest initiative in the African-Eurasian region for the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their critical habitats. WOW is a joint effort between UNEP/GEF, Wetlands International, BirdLife International, UNEP/AEWA, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and a range of donors and local partners along the African-Eurasian Flyways.

Click here to read more on the work of the Wetlands International Russia Programme in the Wings over Wetlands project.

Photo G. Dzhamirzoyev 


International Waterbird Census (IWC)

The IWC is a long-term site-based monitoring scheme for waterbirds in the non-breeding season. The census is conducted annually in January in the Western Palearctic and Southwest Asia and includes counts of all waterbirds and collection of information on their wetland habitats. The Russia office coordinates IWC in Central Asia and the Caucasus.


The mid-winter surveys cover a number of important wetland areas, including shores of the Caspian, Azov and Black Seas, the floodplains of the Kuban, Syrdarya and Amudarya rivers, the Sevan and Issyk-Kul lakes, and other waterbodies. Headed by national coordinators, nearly 100 waterbird experts and volunteers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are involved in this activity.

According to the most complete census from 2003-2005, the totals of 2 to 3 million waterbirds were counted in the region, and altogether108 waterbird species were recorded. The collected data are integrated into central IWC database and used for estimation of populations of waterbird species, description of changes in their numbers and distribution, assessment of importance of individual sites and for the other conservation aims.

Photo: Eldar Rustamov