International waterbird census news from Sembilang national park, south Sumatra, Indonesia

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A team of Wetlands International Indonesia and Ministry of Environment and Forestry Staff visited Sembilang National Park, South Sumatra, during the 3rd week of January 2016. It was part of the 50th International Waterbird Census #IWC50 event which is celebrated by birdwatchers all over the world during the month of January. In Indonesia, the event is organized by Wetlands International Indonesia in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and Yayasan Lahan Basah Indonesia – YLBI (Indonesian Wetlands Foundation).

Sembilang National Park has one of the best remaining intact mangrove areas of 87,000 ha within the overall 200,000 hectares park area. It is home to a high wetland biodiversity, including no less than 150 bird species. The park is also serves as the internationally importance non-breeding (northern wintering) habitat for hundreds of thousands of  migratory waterbirds as well as endangered and vulnerable resident waterbird species. Considering these importance roles, Sembilang National Park has been designated as a Ramsar Site and an East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership Network Site.

During our trips, several flocks of thousands of migratory shorebirds have been observed along the boat trip from Banyuasin delta to the park areas, mostly dominated by Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) and Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus). A large population of the  vulnerable Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea) and Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus) were also observed at the same mudflat areas of the park, along with thousands of gull (Laridae) and tern (Sternidae) species. In addition, we observed a breeding population of Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus), White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and Grey-headed Fish Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus). Photo and videos  identification is still underway to develop a more accurate species list of bird species observed during the census.

This survey has re-confirmed the international importance of Sembilang National Park for migratory as well as resident waterbirds. The information derived from this census is important for the management of the national park.

(Reported by Yus Rusila Noor and Ragil Satriyo Gumilang)

#IWC50 #WaterBirdsCount #AWCIndonesia