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The Environmental Awareness Group of Antigua & Barbuda

Raising awareness & promoting sustainable use of natural resources

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Funded by the Conservation Leadership Programme

The West Indian Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna arborea) is a Caribbean Endemic bird that has been listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a vulnerable species.  This extremely elegant bird is beautiful to look at but generally very shy and secretive.  The ducks can be found in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Jamaica, Guadeloupe and Antigua & Barbuda in wetland and coastal habitats.  Threats faced by the ducks are: sport-hunting, poaching of their eggs by humans, predation of eggs and chicks by Alien Invasive Species (rats and mongooses) and fragmentation/loss of habitat.

Whistling-ducks have been observed for some time on mainland Antigua by local birder Joseph (Junior) Prosper.  However, the offshore islands off the northeastern coast of Antigua, considered a Key Biodiversity Area and Important Bird Area, are also key habitat for the ducks.  Through funding from the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP), a group of local conservationists is currently working on a Whistling-duck project which will add to the ultimate goal of improving the survival success of West Indian Whistling-ducks.  The group consists of Natalya Lawrence, Andrea Otto, Victor Joseph, Tahambay Smith, and Sean Lee, and will be mentored by Junior Prosper (local educator and bird enthusiast), and Dr. Lisa Sorenson (Executive Director of BirdsCaribbean ).

The CLP-funded project, slated to be completed by mid-2015 has as its major objectives:

1. Conducting offshore-island surveys on the distribution of the West Indian Whistling-Duck as a guide for future conservation in the area.

2. Tackling the threat of invasive species that affect the West Indian Whistling-Duck and its habitat.

3. Improving Offshore-island visitor attitude, promoting behaviours that will help conserve the ducks and their habitats (e.g. cooperation to avoid spread of rats, not disturbing nesting sites).

4. Designing a West Indian Whistling-Duck monitoring programme for the offshore islands with potential for expansion to the mainland.

Please keep checking the website and our Facebook page for updates on the CLP-funded West Indian Whistling-duck project!

In case you were wondering what all the fuss is about birds……please see presentation on last year’s regional celebration theme about “Why Birds Matter!”

West-Indian Whistling Duck Project

WI Whistling Duck - Andrea Otto

WI Whistling Ducks - Lisa Sorenson

WI Whistling Ducks -  Andrea Otto

WI Whistling Duck - Andrea Otto

WI Whistling Ducks - Nick Hollands

WI Whistling Ducks -  Andrea Otto

WI Whistling Ducks -  Toby Ross