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central america

Map of the Central Americaes

Description: Central America is a tropical isthmus covering 592,000 sq km with 6,603 km of coastline. Connecting North America to South America, the region has down its length a string of volcanic mountain ranges. The highland waterbodies, and especially the lowland lakes, estuaries, coastlines and islands, along with the region's waters in the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, host numerous resident and migratory waterbirds. Central America is considered part of North America in the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan.

Geographic Extent: The Central America planning region is defined by the seven nations of Central America and adjacent ocean areas.

Political Units: Nations of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

Plans, Implementation and Resources

National Waterbird Reports. Summaries of the state of knowledge relevant to waterbird conservation in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America (e.g., species occurrence, status, habitats and protected areas, threats, conservation projects, legislation) are available thanks to a multi-year Neotropical Waterbird Conservation project coordinated by BirdLife International on behalf of the Waterbird Conservation Council and with funding from the U.S. Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act and numerous partners.

Some key findings from the synthesis of Central American national reports (still in preparation):
Note: in this context, waterbirds has a broad definition, including seabirds, coastal waterbirds, wading birds, marshbirds, waterfowl (ducks, geese and swans) and shorebirds.

214 species of waterbird have been recorded in Central America,
including 80 breeding species, 54 wintering species, 25 migrants,
54 vagrants, and 1 extinct species.

The estimated number of individual birds ranges from 2.65 to 13.1 Million,
including 1.4 to 9.1 Million breeding species and
1.25 to 4.0 Million wintering species.

Population Trends in Central American nations

Project Contact details:

Cristina Morales
Species Programme Manager
Guyra Paraguay (BirdLife in Paraguay)

Dr Rob Clay
Conservation Manager
Americas Division
BirdLife International

Additional Contacts for the Waterbird Conservation for the Americas initiative in Central America (members of the Waterbird Conservation Council):

Rosa  Montañez
El Centro Regional Ramsar para la Capacitación e Investigación sobre Humedales en el Hemisferio Occidental (CREHO)
Ciudad de Panamá, PANAMA

Rosabel  Miró Rodriquez
Panama Audubon Society
Balboa, Ancon, PANAMA

Ghisselle Alvarado Quesada
National Museum of Costa Rica




Last Updated January 10, 2008
U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) is supporting the Waterbird Conservation for the Americas Home Page as part of its contribution to North American Waterbird Conservation Plan (NAWCP). It is being served by the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Information provided in this site does not necessarily have the endorsement of the USGS.