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About the WABDaB


Checklist and names used
Finding information on a species or area
Data entry
Quality control

Personal statistics available to individual users
Data use; sensitive species
Privacy statement and contacting the database manager and designer/webmaster

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill in the WABDaB logo courtesy of Nik Borrow. 


Welcome to the West African Bird DataBase, WABDaB, a not-for-profit effort that aims to further the knowledge about, and conservation of, birds in West Africa.  At this moment the WABDaB accepts records and images of birds from Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso. 

The WABDaB consists of observations of bird species with the relevant date, geographic place name and decimal coordinates.   Submission of data on species numbers, and on breeding evidence, is especially encouraged.  Information on ALL species from ANY part of the three countries concerned is welcome.  Even about very common species little is often known, and distributions can change with time under the influence of e.g. natural processes, changes in land use and climate change.

The site is bilingual
, click on the flag on the right at any time to switch from English to French or the reverse.

Checklist and names used

Next to the language flag on the right you can select your country of interest or the entire West African region, that is to say the whole of the three countries presently included.   A checklist of species currently recognised for the selected country or for the entire region can be found via the ‘checklist’ option in the menu on the left.  The WABDaB emlpoys the names and taxonomy used in Borrow & Demey's field guide 'Birds of Western Africa' (2nd edition, 2014), which happily also contains the French names.  Only for a few species synonyms are also allowed. 

Note that in the Checklist on this site there are a number of pairs and threesomes of species that were split relatively recently and of which two or all three taxa occur in West Africa:: Milvus migrans/parasitus/aegyptius, Circaetus gallicus/beaudouini/pectoralis, Aquila heliaca/adalberti, Otus scops/senegalensis, Bubo africanus/cinerascens, Cecropsis daurica/domicella, Ptyonoprogne fuligula/obsoleta, Anthus richardi/cinnamomeus, Anthus similis/nyassae, Saxicola torquatus/rubicola, Oenanthe pleschanka/cypriaca, Acrocephalus scirpaceus/baeticatus, Iduna pallida/opaca, Eremomela pusilla/canescens, Phylloscopus collybita/ibericus, Sylvia cantillans/subalpina, Ficedula hypoleuca (incl. speculigera), Zosterops senegalensis/stenocricotus, Lanius isabellinus/ phoenicuroides, Prionops caniceps/rufiventris, Dicrurus adsimilis/modestus.  Listing the unseparated species allows for inclusion of records for which it is not clear which of the two or three taxa is involved.  As a consequence the number of entries in the checklist concerned must be reduced by the number of pairs or threesomes involved to arrive at the number of recognised species. 

Finding information on a species or area

You can look for information on a particular species via the 'Species', ‘Distribution maps’ and ‘Observations’ links.  Type in at least four letters of the name of the species, upper case or lower case, that doesn’t matter.  A drop-down list with relevant species will appear from which you can select your species of interest.  If you are not sure of the name used, e.g. Yellow-billed Egret or Intermediate Egret, type in the first four letters of the second part of the name, in this case Egret.  You will quickly see that the name used in the WABDaB is Intermediate Egret.
     The 'Species' link gives access to an overall distribution map, to all the records and to all the imagesfor the species concerned.  The observations can be sorted by clicking once or twice on the heading of the column of interest.  For example, dates of first arrival and latest departure of migratory birds can easily be checked by clicking on the heading of the Date column.
     Under ‘Distribution maps’maps of presence and breeding are given for the whole year and for the periods Dec-Feb, Mar-May, Jun-Aug and Sep-Nov. 
     A link to ‘Observations’brings up the details of all the individual observations of the species concerned.  Click on the ‘i’ symbol at the end of a record to get additional information, including a (zoomable) map showing where that observation was made. 

You can look for information on a particular site or area via the ‘Locations’ link.  Again, type in at least four letters of the name of the location of interest and then select from the drop-down list that will appear.  Submit, and click once on the location marker that will have popped up.  The number of observations and the number of species observed at that site will appear, with links to more detailed information.  Note that the links to more detailed information open a new tab in your browser.  Go back to the old tab to continue checking out the localities of interest.
Alternatively, you can click on the link to ‘Browse all locations on a map’.  This link doesn’t always work first time: don’t let that  discourage you, just try again.  A Google Earth map will appear.  It is quickest if you first drag the area of interest to the center of the map before zooming in.  Zoom in to level 9 to have the markers of existing locations appear (this can take a little bit of time).  The colour code for the markers is explained at the bottom, just out of standard view.  Red means >100 observations for that locality.  Again, click on the marker for information on species observed and individual records under a new tab in your browser.

For information on observations and species from a particular half-degree block, click on the block map at right on the start page.  An enlarged map will appear, in which you can click on the block of interest.

Data entry

Data entry is into the WABDaB is quite straightforward, or so we like to think.  Please tell us if it is not!  If you already have your records entered in e.g. Excel, please get in touch with the WABDaB manager.  Any data you enter in the WABDaB you can subsequently export in an Excel file for your own further purposes.

You must first register as a user and set your personal password via the menu for ‘Personal options‘ on the left of the WABDaB screen.  Once you have done that you can log in, after which all the entire menu under ‘Personal options’ becomes availbale to you.  To submit observations, select the option with that name in the menu.  The following information is then required from you.

- Select a date from the drop-down calendar or type the date in as yyyy-mm-dd.

- Select or define a locality by typing in at least the first four letters and then choosing from the drop-down list.  If the locality of interest is not on the drop-down list, or you are not sure, click on ‘Define new Location / Choose existing Location on a map’.  The Google Earth map doesn’t always appear first time, if it doesn’t just try again.  Again, it is quickest if you first drag the area of interest to the center of the map before zooming in.  Zoom in to level 9 to have the markers of existing locations appear (this can take a little bit of time). 

If you are quite sure your Locality is new, and you have its coordinates, you can also type or copy name and coordinates in the fields at the top of the map.  Coordinates must be decimal: full degrees followed a decimal point and at least two decimals.  For converting hexagesimal coordinates to decimal coordinates, you can use the conversion file accessible via the Documentation menu.

Adding a location name is strongly encouraged for information and checking purposes, but not mandatory: there are some very large areas in Niger with very few named geographic features and a locality name like ‘Aïr’ or ‘Ténéré’ has limited usefulness.  Note as well that a particular location name may be associated with only one set of coordinates (latitude and longtitude), and that similarly a set of coordinates may be linked to only one locality (or none).

There is a fine balance between using an existing location (information becomes less fragmented) and creating a new one (relevant locality information does not get lost).  Use your own judgement or ask the website manager or webmaster.  More detailed locality information can also be copied into the Remarks field of the relevant observation, e.g. ‘present at base of cliffs’.

Although greater precision is preferred, it is possible to enter information collected on a half-degree block basis, e.g. when driving.  A half-degree block is a block or square with sides half a degree in latitude and half a degree in longitude.  All half-degree blocks start with 'block'.  They are named after the relevant 1:200.000 map sheet, which covers a full-degree block, + NO, NE, SE, SO for the relevant half-degree block (French for north-west, north-east, south-east, south-west).  This is followed in parentheses by a town or feature in the half-degree block in question.  E.g. "block Niamey NE (Baleyara)". 
     Ten map sheets at the boundary of Niger cover more than one degree and thus (part of) five or six half-degree blocks.  The two centre blocks are then referred to as CE (centre east) and CO (centre west).  As an example, the Gotheye map covers 1.5x1 degrees and includes block Gotheye CE (Torodi) and block Gotheye CO (Bolsi).  See also the index of all the 1:200.000 sheets
     Only the half-degree blocks that cover W do not follow this convention.  They are called 'Parc international du W, block Tapoa', 'Parc international du W, parti est, block Boumba' and 'Parc international du W, point sud, block Point Triple'.  This is done because of the importance of showing that particular data are from Parc international du W.  All location names in the Parc therefore start with 'Parc international du W'.

For half-degreeblocks coordinates must be the centre point of the block, ending in .25 or .75 for both latitude and longitude.  For "block Niamey NE (Baleyara)" centre coordinates are thus 13.75 N and 2.75 E.  A block name and its centre point coordinates should only be used for observations with no detailed coordinates.  In the case of "block Niamey NE (Baleyara)", it can be used for observations made between 13.50 and 14.00 N and 2.50 and 3.00 E.

It is also possible to enter observations made along a section of road.  That section of road should only be in one block.  There are then two options:

* take the coordinates of the midpoint of the section of road in that block, give it the name 'A-B road, block Y ZZ' and attach the observations to that
* attach the observations to the relevant half-degree block name and centre point, with the possiblity of adding in the Remarks field 'A-B road'.

- Enter the information for the observations from the date and locality selected.  For the species type in at least four letters of the first or second part of its name and select from the drop-down menu that appears.

Add the number of individuals observed, if noted.  This can be a single number (preferred) or a range or another expression, preferably brief.  Additional information can be entered in the Remarks field.

Under Breeding select ‘Yes’ only if you have seen nest material being carried, a nest being built, eggs, young in the nest or young clearly quite recently fledged.  If there are indications, but no proof, that breeding is taking place locally, select '?'.  For a number of species siting on a nest or carrying food is no proof of breeding.  For others it is proof of breeding for that locality but not for that month.  Add details in the Remarks field of any evidence that you think proves, or may prove, breeding.

In the Remarks field you can also enter other information of possible interest, e.g. type of observation (heard only, road kill etc.), behaviour, food, habitat use or persecution of birds.  We don’t want to put too heavy a burden on you, but when in doubt add extra information: we will always be grateful to you for that!

In the Source field, please enter the source if an observation was not made by you or you are entering it from the literature.  Otherwise leave this blank.  Your own name, as declared during registration, is automatically added to each observation you enter. 

 If you would like particular observations not to be made public, you can click the box 'Make observations private'.  Note that this will then apply to all the observations in the table that you then submit.  You may therefore want to submit private observations separately from non-private observations.  See also 'sensitive species' below.  

 After entering ten observations for that date and locality, or when you have no more observations to enter, click on ‘Submit’.

If your internet acces is limiting, you can also upload your observations in a comma-delimited CSV file.  You can only do this for a single locality per file and after selecting or defining that locality.  Click on ‘Submit observations through a CSV file’ for further instructions.

If you have observations ready for submission from multiple localities in a single Excel or CSV file,
  please get in touch with the WABDaB manager or webmaster: they will help you upload the files to the WABDaB.

- Data entered in the WABDaB are immediately included in any species maps or lists of observations called up.  The overview map of blocks with at least one observation is updated every 24 hours.

Quality control

After data have been entered they are checked by the WABDaB manager or webmaster.  It is possible that you will be asked to provide additional information on observations that concern

  • species with no or few previous observations in the country concerned
  • rarer species that are easily confused with more common species
  • possible range extensions

This is standard procedure and independent of the level of expertise of the person submitting the observation.

Personal statistics available to individual users

Once you are registered you will find in the menu on the left hand side the option 'My statistics'.  Included are

  • the number of observations you have submitted to WABDaB until that moment (with a link to the full details of all your observations)
  • the number of species included in your submitted observations; ideally this covers all species observed by you in Niger!  There is a link to the list of species you have observed, with a further link to the list of species you are still missing
  • the latest observations entered by you

Only the person entering data is credited with the observations involved.  If he or she indicates in the Source field that the observations are from a different source (colleague or literature), the species involved are not included in their personal statistics.

Observations are often made by more than one person.  The second or third etc. observer can claim co-observer status to make sure that their personal statistics include all the species observed by them in Niger.  Co-observer status can be registered by calling up the records of the species concerned via Resources, Observations.  Click on the information icon 'i' at the end of the observation concerned, and then on the link for registering co-observer status.

Data use; sensitive species

Information included in the WABDaB is in the public domain and copyrighted to the WABDaB, with the following exceptions and conditions of use.

  1. You can always export, and use freely, the observations entered by yourself.  When you export your observations the coordinates of the location of each observation will be included.
  2. Exported observations not entered by you will not have the coordinates included.
  3. For a limited number of species that are likely to suffer from persecution there are limitations on the provision of information based on the observations of others.  For Hooded Vulture, Egyptian vulture, White-headed Vulture, White-backed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Verraux's Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Lanner Falcon, Black-crowned Crane, Arabian Bustard, Denham's Bustard and Nubian Bustard, only an overall distribution map is shown, without indication of breeding and with only one size symbol, irrespective of the number of observations in a block.  Individual records, breeding maps and breeding records are only made available on special request and to trusted indivuals and organisations.  
  4. Any one using for any purpose information from the WABDaB undertakes to acknowledge "the West African Bird DataBase, www.WABDaB.org"
  5. Anyone writing a scientific or popular publication, based on data of which 10% or more is from a single WABDaB user, is expected to offer that user co-authorship via the WABDaB manager or webmaster.
  6. Anyone wishing to use data from the WABDaB for commercial purposes is requested to contact the WABDaB manager or webmaster so that an appropriate fee can be agreed to.  Any such fees will only be used to further the knowledge and conservation of birds and their habitats in the countries covered by the WABDaB.  Their receipt and use will be accounted for publicly.
  7. For the use of images from the WABDaB, permission must be granted by the copyright holder (via the manager or webmaster). 
  8. All information included in the WABDaB is correct as far as we can ascertain.  We can, however, not be held liable for any inaccuracies that may be present.

Privacy statement and contacting the database manager and designer/webmaster

No information about registered users will be passed on to third parties.  If someone approaches us with a request for one of the WABDaB users, that request will be forwarded to the user concerned for his or her decision on how to deal with the request.

Happy birding in Niger!

Joost Brouwer and Ulf Liedén

Joost Brouwer
manager WABDaB
Bennekom, The Netherlands
Ulf Lieden
designer, programmer and webmaster
Wiesbaden, Germany

Edited: 2015-08-13 [JBr]