The Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI) is a project designed to improve the status and secure the long-term sustainability of declining Arctic breeding migratory bird populations.

Through conservation of a shared natural and cultural resource, AMBI will have a positive impact on societies for whom migratory birds are a source of livelihood and spiritual inspiration.

The 2013 Arctic Biodiversity Assessment found that Many Arctic migratory species are threatened by overharvest and habitat alteration outside the Arctic, especially birds along the East Asian flyway. AMBI provides implementation of Recommendation #8 of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment to ‘reduce stressors on migratory species range-wide, including habitat degradation and overharvesting on wintering and staging areas and along flyways and other migration routes’.

AMBI organizes activities across four flyways:




AMBI has brought together experts from across the globe to develop workplans for each of the above flyways that address priority conservation needs of AMBI priority species in each respective geography. Actions proposed by AMBI are designed to bring added value to ongoing conservation workplans are intended to stand alone, there are several crosscutting themes that are relevant for experts identified four cross-cutting actions that need to be implemented in all flyways:

  1. Increase data sharing and standardization along and across flyways
  2. Assess cumulative effects on Arctic-breeding migratory bird populations including climate change, pollution, shipping, fishing, infrastructure development, habitat loss, and harvest 
  3. Support conservation actions for Arctic-breeding migratory birds in non-Arctic countries through coordinated cooperative efforts with embassies and other diplomatic efforts, 
  4. Support the sharing of experiences and expertise between wetlands that support Arctic breeding migratory bird populations


AMBI summary 


AMBI's objectives, actions and work is detailed in the AMBI 2019-2023 Work Plan. As a CAFF project, AMBI takes guidance and direction from the CAFF Management Board and feeds into Arctic Council structures, processes and reporting procedures.

AMBI is guided by a Steering Group comprised of interested Arctic states and key project partner organizations. The Steering Group is responsible for overall AMBI direction and implementation.

Each flyway is represented by a Flyway Committee containing Arctic and non-Arctic country representatives, project partners and others. Flyway Committee members were consulted in the development of their respective workplans. 

AMBI implementation is navigated by a series of Flyway Coordinators and an overall AMBI coordinator. This structure is the basis for the implementation, fundraising and continued follow up of this workplan. Flyway coordinators provide regular reporting, feedback and coordination amongst multiple project partners, the CAFF Board and Arctic Council on AMBI implementation.

AMBI continues to expand its membership amongst interested partners and welcomes continued cooperation amongst all parties, in particular with Permanent Participants of the Arctic Council.

Priority species in the 2019-2023 work plan

Bar-tailed Godwit: USFWS/Flickr Creative Commons 2.0
Bar-tailed godwit 
Dunlin: shellgame/Flickr Creative Commons 2.0
Great knot: ken/Flickr Creative Commons 2.0
Great knot
Red knot: Morten Ekker
Red knot
Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Photo: Chris Miller
Spoon-billed sandpiper
Lesser White-fronted goose: Morten Ekker
Lesser white-fronted goose

Curlew sandpiper
Semipalmated sandpiper: Lisa Pirie/Environment Canada
Semipalmated sandpiper
Common eider. Photo: Micha Klootwijk/
Common Eider
Snowy owl: Berndt Vorwald/
Snowy owl
Ivory gull. Photo: Todd Boland/
Ivory Gull
Thick-billed Murre: Morten Ekker
Thick-billed murre
Emperor Goose. Photo Kristine Sowl, USFWS
Emperor goose
Pacific Brant Goose. Photo: USFWS
Brant goose
Long-tailed duck: Morten Ekker
Long-tailed duck
Velvet Scoter Photo: Asa Berndtsson
Velvet scoter 
Photo: Manomet
Red phalarope
Red necked phalarope. Photo: USFWS
Red-necked phalarope 
Buff breasted sandpiper. Photo: Shiloh Schulte, USFWS
Buff-breasted sandpiper


Our Shared Heritage: Arctic Breeding Birds in the Yellow Sea


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