Migrant Landbird Study Group

Promoting collaborative research for migratory landbirds across flyways

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Joining and being involved with the MLSG is simple. Just sign up now and prepare and post your profile detailing who you are, what you work on and any specifics of getting involved in meetings, training and mentoring. You will then be part of the MLSG network: people can find you to collaborate and share knowledge, and of course, you can also do the same. There is no membership fee: maintaining your profile annually is the only criteria for active membership, which puts you on the list for early information and reduced rates at MLSG meetings and events.

The MLSG – Migratory Landbird Study Group – is a network to connect people working on migrant landbirds, whether pure research or their conservation, to facilitate both. Collaboration and communication make a difference – particularly when the solution to understanding and conserving migrants must involve all of us on the flyways working together.


Large Sahelian wetlands support important economical, agricultural and animal husbandry activities. They are home to a rich biodiversity, notably millions of migratory or resident waterbirds, some of them contributing to financial or food security of some local communities.

Climate change, hydrological and agricultural development and the intensive exploitation of natural resources are threats to these wetland ecosystems and therefore to their populations of waterbirds.

A major objective of the RESSOURCE Programme (”Strengthening expertise in Sub-Saharan Africa on birds and their rational use for communities and their environment”), is to improve knowledge on waterbird population in wetlands of Chad, Egypt, Mali, Senegal, Sudan during the dry season.

As part of this RESSOURCE program, the Technical Support Unit to the AEWA African Initiative conducted or coordinated waterbird surveys in Sahel with two objectives :

a) Design or evaluate protected areas in Chad and / or Sudan on the basis of aerial and / or terrestrial multi-annual counts of wintering waterbirds using quantitative methodologies for the definition and zoning of conservation areas. Land use of these ornithologically very poorly known areas is currently evolving very quickly under a double demographic and agricultural pressure. Designing protected areas as robustly as possible can only contribute to the conservation of the still little degraded ecosystems of these regions and to the credibility of local managers.

b) estimate the numbers of waterbirds for the species exploited by local communities on certain sites of the RESSOURCE program in order to compare them to hunting bags and thus to assess harvest sustainability using methodologies based on demographic invariants and Potential Biological Removal.

  • Niel & Lebreton 2005, Using demographic invariants to detect overharvested bird populations from incomplete data. Conservation Biology19(3), 826-835.
  • Madsen, J., Guillemain, M., Nagy, S., Defos du Rau, P., Mondain-Monval, J.-Y., Griffin, C., William, J.H., Bunnefeld, N., Czajkowski, A., Hearn, R., Grauer, A., Alhainen, M., Middleton, A., 2015. Toward sustainable management of huntable migratory waterbird in Europe.
  • Koneff et al. 2017, Evaluation of harvest and information needs for North American sea ducks. PloS one12(4)


We are looking for a motivated candidate to contribute to the RESOURCE Program by analyzing and modeling count data of waterbirds collected in Africa. He / she will be part of the Technical Support Unit for the African initiative of AEWA, a mixed team from the French Agency for Biodiversity / Tour du Valat, based at the Tour du Valat in the Camargue (Arles area).

Involved partners


  • Technical and/or scientific French and international partners, notably from the RESSOURCE program
  • AEWA Secretariat and countries involved in the RESSOURCE program
  • Wetlands International
  • Tour du Valat and OFB researchers in charge of population dynamics studies


Main tasks

Support the UST / AEWA for the analysis and publication of waterbird count data in Africa within the framework of the RESOURCE program, and in particular:

  • analyze in combination the aerial and terrestrial counts in Chad and Sudan in order to evaluate and design current or future protected areas,
  • analyze all of the aerial count data obtained by distance sampling for one or more sites with both count and harvest data in order to assess the sustainability of these harvests,
  • write two scientific articles on these themes,
  • if necessary, participate in the drafting of team reports intended for donors.

Required qualifications

Know how :

  • Ability to implement the most recent population dynamics models.
  • Ability to adapt to various interlocutors, and being able to work in a team, during physical meetings or at a distance.
  • Scientific curiosity so as to keep up to date and train in constantly evolving analysis techniques.
  • Ability to interact socially, listen and dialogue.
  • Intellectual rigor, practice of the ethical rules of the scientific community.

Work experience :

  • A PhD in quantitative ecology or biology with a strong component in population dynamics and
  • Excellent command of the different methodologies and frequentist and bayesian models of wildlife monitoring, notably « distance sampling », « N-mixture » and « state-space » models.
  • proven ability of writing manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Working experience in scientific research up to the level of reporting and publishing, preferably in African wildlife management/conservation.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with internal and international experts networks.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English and ability to communicate internationally, good command of French an advantage.
  • Basic knowledge in database management (postgreSQL) an advantage.


Position details

The position is initially for 7 months, starting 1 june 2020, based in the Species Conservation Department of Tour du Valat. It is under supervision of both the project leader of the AEWA Technical Support Unit in Tour du Valat and the international waterbird monitoring team leader of the French Agency for Biodiversity.

This is an office position (no field work involved), but located in a remote natural area (full driving license recommended).

Typical gross monthly salary for this position is 2500€ - 2600€ commensurate with experience and qualifications.


How to apply ?

Please send an application before 01/05/2020 - à This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. including :

  • Cover letter ;
  • resume/curriculum vitae ;
  • Contact details for two professional references.
  • Two representative publications of your work in .pdf format

 Preselected candidates will be interviewed on site or online.



Jean-Yves MONDAIN-MONVAL/Pierre DEFOS DU RAU – migratory bird unit – French Agency for Biodiversity, by phone + or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jocelyn CHAMPAGNON, researcher, Tour du Valat by phone + or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



The Tour du Valat is a private foundation working for the research and conservation of Mediterranean wetlands. Founded in 1954 by Dr Luc Hoffmann and based in the Camargue, it is at the cutting edge of multidisciplinary fields of research, building bridges between science, management and public policies. The main objective for the Tour du Valat is to change the behavior and decisions made by governments and the wider society in the Mediterranean basin to achieve that wetlands are conserved and sustainably managed towards the future.

The Tour du Valat has internationally recognized scientific expertise, and provides practical responses to problems regarding the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources. The Tour du Valat’s projects are carried out in the Camargue and around the Mediterranean basin.

For further information:





Latest news

Following up on the successful MLSG symposia at EOU conferences since 2015, we are ready for another dose of inspiring community-building preceding EOU2022 in Giessen, Germany, on March 12th -13th. The aim of the MLSG is to promote collaborative research to help advance flyway-scale understanding of and conservation actions for migrant landbirds. We believe knowledge-sharing is essential to achieve this. Thus, during our symposium we will actively engage all attendants to partake in a dynamic program of presentations, workshops, and group discussions. We will focus on data sharing and collaboration, new tracking technologies and priorities for migrant landbird research and conservation.

Join us and register here:

In our 3th webinar, Kaan Özgencil (MLSG outreach & social media) talked about functional responses to habitat degradation in waterbirds. Kaan’s work is based at the METU in Ankara, Turkey, and includes the monitoring of breeding waterbirds and conservation aspects in wetlands. In Turkey, many wetland habitats are decreasing due to human induced degradation and climate change, e.g. in the Konya Closed Basin, where agriculture changes from wheat production to sugar beet cultivation, temperatures are rising, salinity is increasing, and lakes are drying earlier in the season. These factors caused a decline in species richness of 20 % and  functional richness of 65 % within 20 years.

blog webinar4 2


The webinar was opened by Sandra Goded, MLSG international networker. She is working in Africa assessing the population status of migratory species in different habitats within protected and non-protected areas. She also presented her efforts and success in empowering local people to the monitoring and conservation of birds in Ghana throughout the year.

 We are working on developing a broad network between scientists, citizen-scientists, stakeholders, economists and have a specific interest in integrating underrepresented African and European countries. By involving people from all across the flyways we aim to bridge the conservation continuum from local solutions to global solutions and to formulate species action plans. By offering workshops and symposia during ornithological conferences we started to share our knowledge with a broader audience. Now, in these contact free times, we still want to connect globally and so we have set up the opportunity to attend virtual lectures and discussions on current research. Perhaps, you would like some feedback on your own research or to promote a new project? Let us know and we can give you the opportunity to speak up!

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