Wetlands - The Places

Notable Wetlands Worldwide.

Wetlands are found on every continent except Antarctica. Wetland species are widely distributed in all the main regions (North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia) of the world:-

• South America 35%
• North America 24%
• Europe 15%
• Africa 14%
• Australasia 12%

New World Region.

South America.

215 species including Rails (35), Herons (19), Ducks (17), Plovers (12), Sandpipers (12), Ibis (11) and Geese (7). Notable absences are Moorhens and Loons. Important places are Amazon River Basin in the northern part of South America and the Pantanal, which extends over Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.

North America.

149 species including Ducks (20), Sandpipers (17), Plovers (11), Geese (7), Grebes (7), Heron (6).

  • Arizona.

Sweetwater Wetlands in South-East Arizona, an artificial wetland area situated at latitude 32.3 degrees north. Some notable species are:-

Mexican Mallard, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Ruddy Duck, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon, Gadwall.
Black-necked Grebe. Common Moorhen, American Coot. American Avocet. Black-necked Stilt, Black-winged Stilt. Great Egret, Cattle Egret. Blue, Great-blue and Green-backed Heron. Killdeer. Long-billed Dowitcher. Spotted Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper. Wilson’s Snipe, Sora Crake.

  • Texas.

Open water areas such as the Rio Grande, tributaries and ponds. South Padre Island. Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge. Notable species include:-

Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Blue-winged Teal. Least Grebe. American Coot. American Avocet. Black-necked Stilt. Great-blue Heron. American White Ibis. Roseate Spoonbill. Lesser Yellowlegs. Long-billed Curlew. Short-billed Dowitcher. Least Sandpiper. Stilt Sandpiper. Whimbrel. Willet.
Sora and Clapper Rail.

  • Trinidad / Tobago and Costa Rica.

Notable sightings were the Scarlet Ibis in Trinidad and Jabiru, Wood Stork, Limpkin and various Heron species including Tiger Herons in Costa Rica.

Old World Region.


Somerset Levels - UK

The Somerset Levels are in central Somerset, South West England, running south from the Mendip Hills to the Blackdown Hills. They occupy an area of about 160,000 acres (650 sq.km).

Robert D took this photograph of Glastonbury Tor & Decoy Lake during a bird group "weekend" in February 2012. If you click on WGBG then click on Trip Reports you can find the report about the birds which were seen.


Vaccares, Camargue, France.

Rhone delta – 930 sq km. – It is situated at latitude 43.5 degrees north and consists of freshwater lakes, shallow brackish lagoons, saline lagoons, salt pans and reed marshes. Much of it is submerged in winter but it re-emerges in spring.

Mallard, Pochard. Little Grebe, Red-crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe. Grey and Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron. Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret. Great Cormorant, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill. Greater Flamingo. Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot. Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet. Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Eurasian Dotterel. Ringed, Little-ringed and Kentish Plover. Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Common Snipe.
Common and Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank. Common, Green and Wood Sand pipers. Curlew Sandpiper. Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Temminck’s Stint, Dunlin. Common Kingfisher, White-throated Dipper.

Geese were absent; they prefer more northern latitudes. Swans, other Ducks and Teal absent.

Hortobagy, Hungary.

“Wet puszta” – resembles Asian rather than European wetlands. It consists of sedges, reeds and open water and is situated at latitude 53 degrees north.


Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Barnacle Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Garganey, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Northern Shoveler, Common Shelduck, Northern Pintail. Little Grebe, Great-crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe. Grey, Purple, Squacco and Black-crowned Night Heron. Little and Great Bittern. Great and Little Egret. Great Cormorant, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill. Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt. Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing. Ringed, Little-ringed and Kentish Plover. Eurasian Curlew, Ruff, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe. Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot. Common and Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank. Common and Green Sandpipers, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit.

Africa - Rift Valley Lakes in Kenya.

Lake Naivasha is a fresh water lake about 50 miles north-west of Nairobi. It lies at an altitude of 1890 metres. Lake Nakuru is an alkaline lake about 90 miles north-west of Nairobi at an altitude of 1759 metres. Excellent for Flamingos! A tremendous spectacle.


Both these lakes are just below the equator – to the north of the equator we have Lake Baringo which is a vast (80 square miles) fresh water lake at an altitude of about 1000 metres. It lies about 175 miles north-north west of Nairobi.

The lake attracts many water-birds including:-

African Darter, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Goliath, Purple, Green-backed and Black-crowned Herons, Great and Long-tailed Cormorants, African Spoonbill, White-faced and Fulvus Whistling Ducks, Glossy Ibis and Garganey. The mud flats have Three-banded, Spur-winged and Kittlitz’s Plovers, Common Green and Wood Sandpipers. Greater Painted Snipe can be found in the reed-beds.

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