first meeting of the Steering Group of the relaunched
Slender-billed Curlew Working Group (SbCWG) took place
at the UN Premises in Bonn on 11 February 2009 in the
framework of the Convention on Migratory Species’
(CMS) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the critically
The meeting was attended by representatives and experts
from the RSPB, BirdLife International, WIWO (The Netherlands),
Wetlands International, FACE (also representing CIC),
Instituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale
(Italy), and the CMS and AEWA Secretariats.
The purpose of this meeting was to plan
further action to find and conserve the Slender-billed Curlew
(Numenius tenuirostris), a critically endangered
species protected under both AEWA and CMS and for which
no confirmed records have been reported in nearly a decade.
During the meeting, the Steering Group
focused on discussing and agreeing on the Working Group’s
work plan until 2012. The focus of this work plan is the
organisation of an extensive field search for the species
within its known range. During 2009-2010, the first comprehensive
survey of the potential non-breeding range of the Slender-billed
Curlew will take place. Coverage will include the Mediterranean,
where most of the past records originate, the Black Sea,
Caspian Sea and, as appropriate, further east.
The active involvement of skilful birdwatchers
will be essential, with those from countries where they
are numerous, such as in north-west Europe, traveling to
swell the ranks of local ornithologists in countries further
south and east. The Wetlands International's International
Waterbird Census (IWC) will provide the main framework for
The ultimate goal of the international
search effort is to discover birds in the wild, capture
and fit them with satellite transmitters, hoping that they
will reveal their elusive migration route and breeding grounds.
With such increased knowledge, it will be much more feasible
to put targeted conservation action in place.
In the next few months, the SbCWG will
prepare the extensive international search effort and will
provide birdwatchers with materials to assist with identification
of the Slender-billed Curlew, including an MP3 file of the
call, a gallery of images including video footage and photographs
of museum skins and a special Identification Guide/ Tool
Kit for the species. An English version of the toolkit has
already been prepared and can be downloaded from the central
SbC website www.slenderbilledcurlew.net
or a hard copy could be ordered from the AEWA Secretariat.
Other language versions are under preparation and will be
Hopes of finding and preserving the Slender-billed
Curlew remain, but the success of the reinvigorated action
highly depends on the active participation and support of
donors, organisations and individual birders. Your involvement
is highly welcome and helpful! For enquiries please contact
the chair of the Slender-billed Curlew Working Group Ms.
Nicola Crockford (firstname.lastname@example.org).