A successful waterbird capture and marking training programme has recently been completed at the extensive Dagona wetlands in northeast Nigeria.
WWT, in partnership with Wetlands International and the FAO, and working closely with staff from the A. P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI), undertook a three week training course in November 2009 on waterbird capture and marking methods, and disease surveillance techniques, at the Hadeija-Nguru wetlands near Dagona (part of the Chad Basin National Park), in northeast Nigeria. The course trained 31 participants from five mainly Chad Basin countries – Nigeria (23), Niger (2), Chad (2) and also Sudan (2) and Kenya (2). This was followed with further training for APLORI staff in February 2010.
The main method for the capture of waterbirds was cannon-netting. Four successful catches resulted in the capture of 93 White-faced Whistling-duck, 17 Garganey, 17 Pintail, 1 Knob-billed Duck, 38 Ruff and 3 Spur-winged Plover. Mist-netting and trapping provided a further 8 Spur-winged Plover as well as 12 Lesser Moorhen, 3 Wood Sandpiper and 1 Green-backed Heron. As well as providing excellent training opportunities to meet the course objectives, these birds also provided an opportunity to better understand ageing and sexing methods, particularly for White-faced Whistling-duck, and underpin the development of waterbird ringing in Africa, coordinated by AFRING.