Official recommendations from the FAO/OIE International Scientific Conference on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds in Rome Italy (May 2006) stated that there was a need for improved understanding of wild bird behavior and migratory routes, improved understanding of potential interactions between wildlife, livestock and humans, and that telemetry technology be incorporated into ornithological and epidemiological research. In accordance with these recommendations, a satellite telemetry survey was implemented in three African countries (Mali, Malawi and Nigeria) in order to improve our understanding of waterbird movements, in relation to the potential role that they may play in the transmission of avian diseases, such as avian influenza.
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or with the light JPG maps (easier to download)
Blue Marble picture
© Nasa/Visible Earth
Large numbers of waterbirds that breed in Europe and Asia over-winter in the African continent, in particular in the sub-Saharan region, including around 5 million ducks that gather in Western and Eastern Africa during the northern winter. In their over-wintering sites, they congregate and mix with a wide variety of Afro-tropical waterbirds. Waterbird movements within Africa are subject to many factors, and there are still many unanswered questions about what kinds of movements these birds make within Africa.
Understanding of bird migration is limited largely by our ability to track individual birds over extensive geographic areas. Until relatively recently, ornithologists could only rely on ringing (or banding) methods, with unfortunately a low recovery rate of these marked birds, and no capability to determine the bird’s journey between capture and recovery.
Although some ringing recoveries have provided important information about the migration pathways of some bird species in Africa, little is known about the chronology of migration, pattern of mobility in wintering or breeding sites, and the use of key staging-areas during migration. There is a particular knowledge gap in waterbird movement over the African continent, where there are only limited capture and ringing recoveries. Most published information is based on interpretation of population abundance fluctuations between major regional wetlands.
With the recent development of small satellite transmitter equipment, wild birds can now be satellite tracked over extensive geographic areas.
January 12th, 2010
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Google Earth kmz file.
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