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Northern Brazil

The Reentrâncias Maranhenses of Maranhão and estuaries contiguous with it in Pará, span approximately 800 km of Brazil’s coastline and harbor among the highest numbers of wintering shorebirds in South America.  Recent surveys provide evidence that populations of all of these species have declined in this region. The cause of these declines and the period(s) of the annual cycle during which impacts to populations are occurring is unknown. While the region is in relatively good ecological condition, there is particular concern that shrimp farming could expand into the region.

The majority of the continent’s wintering red knot, whimbrel, black bellied plover, ruddy turnstone, and willet reside in this area and significant proportions of short-billed dowitcher, sanderling and semipalmated sandpiper winter there as well. While we know that this coastline is occupied by large numbers of shorebirds, the distribution of each species within the region in relation to key roosting and feeding habitats is not known.  This information is essential for conservation planning so that critical habitat areas are delineated in order for conservation planners to be effective in efforts to minimize impacts to shorebird populations from future commercial and recreational development.

In partnership with Brazilian agency staff and scientists, our team focuses work on proactive conservation planning for the region to protect these important sites and the migratory shorebirds in the region.