2nd Meeting of the AEWA White-winged Flufftail International Working Group

Bonn/Addis Ababa, 24 August 2015 – At the kind invitation of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority, the second meeting of the AEWA White-Winged Flufftail International Working Group (IWG) took place in Addis Ababa from 10-12 August. The meeting was locally organized by the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (BirdLife Partner in Ethiopia) and convened by the coordinator of the IWG Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson of BirdLife South Africa. Funding was provided by the AEWA Secretariat through a grant offered by the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB).  

Meeting participants of the 2nd White-winged Flufftail International Working Group © EWCA

The White-winged Flufftail (Sarothrura ayresi) categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List is included in the Annexes of AEWA. It is estimated that there are perhaps only some 250 birds left, making it the second rarest AEWA species. It is only known to occur in Ethiopia and South Africa and large gaps in knowledge remain; for example, it is not known whether birds migrate between the two countries. The main threat to the species is the destruction of its wetland habitat – mining, pollution from industrial activities, sewage, agricultural run-off and litter in South Africa and overgrazing and grass-cutting in Ethiopia.

The main objectives of the meeting were to:

  • Review and adopt the Terms of Reference for the IWG;
  • Draw an implementation plan for the period 2015-2018 on the basis of the International Single Species Action Plan for the species;
  • Agree on IWG reporting practices and budgetary issues.

“This was an important meeting that helped bringing more coordinated and structured approach to the implementation of the International Species Action Plan between the two countries where the White-winged Flufftail occurs. The implementation plan for the period until the end of 2018 that was drawn up at the event provides a clear guidance on the exact steps that each country will need to undertake, the responsible institutions and the timeframes and deadlines for their delivery. If implemented with the same commitment that was demonstrated at the meeting, this will be a definite success story” said Sergey Dereliev, AEWA’s Technical Officer, who was at the meeting.

Logo of the White-winged Flufftail International Working Group

The IWG workshop was attended by 15 participants from governments and conservation and research organizations of the two principal Range States as well as BirdLife International in an observer capacity. AEWA Species International Working Groups are made up of representatives appointed by governments as well as national experts and invited observer organizations.

As reported  in February this year, the White-winged Flufftail was the focus of a project supported by the AEWA Small Grants Fund (SGF) which was carried out by the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (EWNHS), in the Berga wetland. The wetland is an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) and site of critical importance for waterbirds - located in Ethiopia’s central highlands.

Proceeds of the second World Migratory Bird Day Benefit Concert held in Bonn in May 2014 were donated to a project aiming at securing the species’ survival. 

Last updated on 27 August 2015

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Sarothrura ayresi
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