Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 2021


The number and species of waterbirds indicate the quality of habitats; thus, they are the key indicators of wetlands health. Wetlands provide feeding, resting, and foraging habitat for millions of wetlands dependent birds. The annual count of the waterbird population at their wintering wetlands is a cost-effective way to monitoring regional population trend, the key to determine the quality and identification of the wetlands of high importance. These data are crucial for the development of conservation strategies. In Asia, every January thousands of citizen scientists and volunteers engage on waterbird count covering wetlands habitats in their territories.

The first internationally coordinated waterbird count was organised in January 1967. Now in its 54th year, the International Waterbird Census has become a vital source of information for the conservation and management of wetlands and waterbirds around the world. This is the story of one of the world’s most important and valuable monitoring programmes. Since the last 34 years, many citizen scientists are counting the waterbird population in Nepal during mid-winter waterbird count as part of the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC). Every year over 300 citizen scientists/volunteers directly participate in this annual event. Himalayan Nature is the institutional host for this annual event in Nepal and has been providing support to the national coordinator of Nepal for the Wetlands International, Dr Hem Sagar Baral.

Objectives of AWC

  • Obtain information on the waterbirds' population on an annual basis at the wetlands in the region during the non-breeding period.
  • Annual monitoring of wetlands status and conditions
  • Increase interest of the citizens on the wetlands and waterbird conservation

AWC 2021 as you are well aware, for the annual AWC, we normally select the second and third weeks of January - so the official dates would be Sat 2 to Sun 18 of January 2021, which may make it easier for people who wish to start the census over the new year weekend. As always, other dates in January and February, as well as December 2020, would be included too.

To make this event successful, we request your valuable support and participation. Please contact our site-level coordinators to join the event at your suitable locations. 


Important Note on Covid-19 Pandemic

Safety is the first priority! Please be ensure you follow the safety guidelines provided by the government. Participants are requested to maintain social distancing (at least 2 meters from other participants) and must carry their personal hand sanitizer and wear a face mask to ensure the safety of the group. 

Precaution within the Protected Areas 

Inside the protected area, participants should be aware of the threats from wild animals. We request to take adequate precaution and follow the instruction of respective site coordinators.   

Please send group images to put it in the waterbird count site to

Please send your count records to the national coordinator (Email:
AWC Count Wetland Assessment Form, Guidance to Digitize AWC Count, and Guidance to Waterbird Monitoring Methodology can be downloaded from here.