copyright: AGON Jacques

Conservation status of mixed colonies of Ardeids, African Openbill and African Cormorant at Ramsar sites in southern Benin

Benin, 2023

Despite actions to reduce pressures, important habitats for migratory birds are gradually disappearing along the East Atlantic Flyway. Fragmentation of habitats, modification of natural habitats, increasing urbanisation of coastal areas, overexploitation of resources, hunting and pollution are all anthropogenic activities that constitute threats and contribute to the decrease of bird populations.

In southern Benin, the Ardeidae, African Cormorant and African Openbill breed in mixed colonies, generally on mangrove islands. A study by Tchankpan and colleagues (2023) has mapped 9 mixed heronries on Ramsar sites 1017 and 1018. To assess the size and structure of these colonies a survey was conducted in 2023 with funding from the Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative. Around 1,975 breeding pairs of 12 different species have been counted, but results show considerable differences between colonies. Given the impact that human activities such as waterbird hunting have on these breeding colonies and the fact that only three colonies benefit from a protection status, Camille Tchankpan and his colleagues combined the bird survey with awareness raising campaigns in neighbouring villages, reflecting on the need to protect the natural heritage, emphasising the importance of preserving the heronries for biodiversity and ecosystem balance. They specifically sought to empower local people to monitor and protect the colonies, while introducing young people to bird identification and environmental education, so that they acquire in-depth knowledge of the bird species mentioned. Educational materials in form of a poster and a game were specifically designed for this purpose.

For more information, please read the project report.


Resource type
Project Report
Capacity Building
Communication and Awareness