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The value of Birds

Ecological and Economic

Importance of birds to humanity
Why birds?
Ecological values
Education values
Economic values
Cultural values
Why worry about birds?
Birds add life sound and color to our lives.
Birds provide intangible aesthetic enjoyment
But intangible benefits usually dont mean
anything to a large section of the public i.e.
decision-makers, economists, farmers,
developers, agriculturists etc.
We need to look at birds from the perspective of
enhancing our lives or generating income.
Do birds really matter?
They keep farmers in business (pest bio-
They slow the spread of disease (scavenging)
They are pollinators of flowers (fruit
They provide us with timber from forests
(seed dispersal)
Ecological values of birds
Invaluable indicators
of biodiversity
Biological control of
pests i.e. rodents &
Seed dispersal and
Scavenging free
clean up service _
value to
Education value of birds
Provide excellent tools of
reaching the public on
environmental education
and conservation
Mainly because they are
found almost everywhere
including rural and urban
settings, in all types of
habitats and ecosystems.
Economic value of birds
We eat birds (good source of protein) _ The
chicken is a domesticated wild bird. A number
of bird species are hunted every year to fill the
Crop pests destroy some 25 % of gross
national produce in developing nations.
Birds save millions of tons of agricultural
produce every year by feeding on crop pests.
Economic value of birds
Avitourism is a growing section of nature
Bird-watching, a popular hobby around the
world, can present significant economic
opportunities for countries through
sustainable tourism.
Millions of birdwatchers go to distance places
to list birds spending millions of dollars.
Economic value of birds
In the USA alone,
birdwatchers are
estimated to spend over
$2.5 billion each year with
40 % of American birders
willing to travel to
discover new bird
watching opportunities
(Birdlife Int, 2015).
Economic value of birds
Generates millions in foreign
exchange world over creating
employment for thousands of
Ethiopia has some 862 bird
species of which 17 are endemic
(only found in the political
boundaries of Ethiopia).
A bird watcher would need to
travel great distances to see
these endemic species thus
promoting livelihoods, job
creation and generating much
needed income.
Economic value of birds
There is a direct link between
conservation of nature and nature
tourism because the tourism can
only be promoted if we conserve our
Avitourism has been used as a tool
for achieving conservation and
development outcomes in rural areas
of South Africa, Costa Rica, Mexico
Job creation and income generation
can be an excellent way of
appreciating the value of birds
Economic value of birds
Birding destinations in Ethiopia are mainly in
the rift valley, south and southeastern areas.
There are of course other sites that are more
remote but with similar potential in western
eastern Ethiopia.
The diversity of ecosystems in Ethiopia plays a
role in providing a rich avifauna.
Economic value of birds
Consequently, with proper organization
sustainable nature tourism can present a
favorable way of generating income and
protecting nature.
One of the areas is capacity building of
communities to handle tours.
In terms of avitourism it can mean training in
handling bird tours, customer relations,guiding
and bird identification amongst others.
In conclusion
Birds have been undervalued but a holistic
way of approaching their benefits can be
achieved by educating the public and youth in
Ethiopia has great potential in terms of its
avifaunal resources and this can be channeled
to generate income and promote sustainable
Thank you for listening!

Yilma Dellelegn
Ethiopian Wildlife & Natural History Society
Mobile:0911 400636
Picture credits
Title page Black-winged Lovebird _Yilma D Abebe
Page 1 _ Vitteline Masked Weaver _Yilma D. Abebe
Page 3_ Greater Flamingos _Yilma D. Abebe
Page 5 _ White backed Vultures feeding on carcass_ Yilma
D. Abebe
Page 6_ Ethiopian Bushcrow _ Paul Donald
Page 9_ White-tailed Swallow _ Paul Donald
Page 10_Subadult African Fish Eagle_ Yilma D. Abebe
Page 11_ Marabou Stork_Yilma D. Abebe
Page 15_Prince Ruspolis Turaco_ Steve Rooke