Conclusions of the Workshop

IX Spoonbill Workshop

AEWA Eurasian Spoonbill International Expert Group (ESIEG)

Djerba, Tunisia

14 – 18 November 2018




  1. 24 participants from 10 countries attended the workshop. Tunisia hosts important numbers of wintering spoonbills along the more than 40 Ramsar sites. Organizing the ESIEG workshop in Tunisia was a long-standing wish of former coordinators to strengthen the network in North Africa. We acknowledge the great organization by l’Association des Amis des Oiseaux/Birdlife Tunisia (AAO) and Tour du Valat that allowed the success of the workshop.
  2. ESIEG regrets the lack of means that prevents the participation of more representatives, especially from Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. Financial support of sponsors (Euronatur, Cotusal, and CMB2) allowed the venue of representatives from Hungary, Croatia, Tunisia, Senegal, and Morocco.
  3. ESIEG expresses its disappointment to AEWA regarding the ESIEG proposal to split Central Europe and South East European flyways. The proposal was written by the experts on the species and submitted in 2017 accordingly to the AEWA procedure. Nevertheless, it has been not submitted to the technical committee for evaluation and was rejected. ESIEG feels that its expertise was undermined.
  4. The AEWA Action Plan for the spoonbill was evaluated 10 years after its implementation. An evaluation of achievements was performed. Realistic objectives on each flyway were proposed for the next three years.
  5. A database on mortality cases reported for spoonbill including poisoning, illegal killing and, collisions will be implemented in order to identify main threats to the species.


  1. East Atlantic flyway
    1. While the East Atlantic population is increasing on many sites (including establishment of a new colony in UK), monitoring and participation of representatives of the flyway are challenged by the decrease of interest (and funds) in Eurasian spoonbill in most policy agendas.
    2. The lack of information gathered prevented estimation of the Atlantic flyway population size.
    3. A new colour-ringing project was launched in Morocco
  2. Central European flyway
    1. The Central European population seems stable, or with a moderate decline. Monitoring of wintering birds in Tunisia showed decreasing unexplained trend. It is plan to analyse the trend of Central European flyway using available breeding data of the Carpathian Basin population, Czech and Italian populations and compare it with wintering population trend.
    2. A comparative analysis on the survival of East Atlantic and Central European flyway should be initiated. Differences in survival may help in understanding why Central European population is not increasing.
  1. South East European flyway
    1. No representative of this flyway was present, preventing update of the knowledge on this region.
    2. We encourage and support colour-marking and tracking studies in the SE European flyway including Greece and Danube delta, using available funds.
    3. A project using GPS tracker will be submitted to delineate limits of SE European flyway.
  1. P. l. archeri
    1. A representative from Sudan allowed focusing on the status of the Archeri subpopulation in this region and planning actions for its better monitoring.
  2. P. l. balsaci
    1. There was, unfortunately, no representative of Mauritania to discuss the present status of this subspecies, and any update from the last workshop was impossible.
    2. There is a need to encourage local people to count the nests in all colonies to estimate population size. A lack of funding prevents monitoring the annual breeding success of the Banc d’ Arguin colonies and resighting marked birds on the colonies to perform survival analysis.
    3. The total number of spoonbills in the Banc d’Arguin during the non-breeding season has been more or less stable over the past 10 years, but distinguishing P. l. balsaci from P. l. leucorodia is difficult.


  1. Thanks to l’Association des Amis des Oiseaux, the workshop benefited from large media coverage with regional radio and national television reports.
  2. It has been decided to increase the number of contributors to increase the visibility of the group on the ESIEG Facebook page.
  3. A diffusion list was created to facilitate internal communication among ESIEG members.
  4. A logo of the group will be created.


  1. In order to improve the visibility of ESIEG and implementation of the Action Plan two groups were formed: the communication group included Petra de Goeij, Hichem Azafzaf and Francisco Hortas, and the fundraising group included Jocelyn Champagnon, Mohamed Ali Dakhli and Petra de Goeij.
  2. Juan Navedo, current chair of ESIEG announced its resignation. ESIEG suggested Jelena Kralj from the Institute of Ornithology of Croatia, as the new coordinator of the group and Jocelyn Champagnon, current coordinator, to become the chair of the group. We deeply acknowledge Juan Navedo for his leadership of the ESIEG over the last years.


  1. Next ESIEG workshop will be organized in 2021 in the core of the Central European flyway in Croatia by the Croatian Society for Birds and Nature Protection.


Djerba island, Tunisia, 18th November 2018

AEWA - Eurasian Spoonbill International Expert Group




IX International Workshop Eurasian Spoonbill international Expert Group

IX International Workshop

Eurasian Spoonbill international Expert Group

Djerba Island, Tunisia, 14 to 18 November 2018


This workshop organized by the AEWA Eurasian Spoonbill International Expert Group (ESIEG) is open to network members and any participant with an interest in wetland conservation and waterbird populations. It will be of relevance to staff from a variety of nature conservation organizations, including scientists, statutory agencies, NGOs, as well as volunteers and students.


The workshop will provide a unique opportunity to exchange and strengthen connectivity between people involved in studying and managing wetlands for the conservation of Eurasian spoonbill and associated waterbird populations. The aim is to share information in a friendly atmosphere and build practical know-how about drivers of population regulation and ways to improve management effectiveness in habitat restoration.

In particular, the interest of the group is to strengthen the network with North African, Eastern Mediterranean and Asian countries. We expect the same success as the previous workshop when 35 researchers and managers from 17 countries attended the workshop in Tour du Valat, Southern France in 2015.


Preliminary program

Provisional agenda items for 9th workshop will focus on how to obtain more knowledge about the status of the subspecies archeri resident to Red sea and balsaci resident from Mauritania; evaluation of flyway delineations in East Europe and Asia; renewal or extension of the 2008 international action plan ; and sharing knowledge acquired from new GPS loggers deployed to spoonbills. The workshop will be divided into 4 sessions:

Session 1: Migratory connectivity
Eurasian spoonbills in Africa, Asia and Europe, networking and state of art of populations throughout the species’ distribution range at the migratory global level.
Session 2: Tracking spoonbills
Recent technological advances and colour marking studies are increasingly used allowing exploration of the drivers of variation in individual movement, migration and settlement decisions and their consequences at population level.
Session 3: Ecology and behaviour of spoonbills
What we know about ecological and evolutionary processes.
Session 4: Conserving wetlands and spoonbills, AEWA International Action Plan
Wetland management and restoration, communication, awareness raising and public support.

Abstracts for oral and poster presentations should be submitted online (left panel)


Plenary talk

Prof. Theunis Piersma, Dutch professor at the University of Groningen (, will present a plenary talk untitled:

“Underpinning the conservation of spoonbills and other migrating waterbirds: monitoring the weak links in ‘chains’ of wetland habitats”


Registration and fees

The registration deadline is now 15 August 2018.

The organization committee provides a unique package that includes registration fees, accommodation and food.

The registration fees for the Workshop includes:

  • admission to oral and poster sessions,
  • workshop material,
  • the official reception and coffee-breaks,
  • lunch (3 days),
  • a whole-day fieldtrip
  • the ‘Spoonbiller party’.

Note: if you do not take the package; breakfast, dinner and accommodation are not included in registration fees (please see below).

Package includes accommodation in a Hotel ( for the whole workshop (four nights), including food (breakfast and dinner).

The package costs 260€ per person for a shared room and 320€ per person for a single room. Students with official documents can benefit for a 35€ discount. Package should be booked through the website.

Payment should be adressed at the time of the registration (before 15 August) through bank transfer.

Association « Les Amis des Oiseaux » (AAO)
Name of bank: Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie (BIAT)
Address of bank: Agence LE FORUM, 2080 Ariana, Tunisie
Bank account number (IBAN): TN59 0810 6000 7620 0936 3157
Swift code: BIATTNTT

A copy of bank transfer should be adressed by email to the workshop technical secretary

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