Mouvement, Abondance, Distribution

Etienne HENRY

IMG 3576 min

PhD candidate - Migratory landbirds conservation

I am a PhD candidate using tracking data to inform conservation of African-Eurasion migratory landbirds, storks and  raptors.
The persistent decline observed in migratory bird populations over recent decades highlights the urgent need to improve our scientific understanding of the drivers behind this trend. This comprehension is crucial to support international policies impacting the conservation of these birds across national, European, and inter-continental levels.
The project results from collaboration between the CEFE, the CIBIO and BirdLife International.

Project: Mobilising tracking data on African-Eurasian migratory birds to support conservation at the flyway scale.
Supervisors: Ana Rodrigues (CEFE - CNRS, Montpellier) & Inês Catry (CIBIO - University of Porto).
Project in collaboration with BirdLife International.

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CEFE UMR5175 - Campus du CNRS - 1919, route de Mende - 34293 Montpellier 5 - France
ORCID: 0009-0004-1802-0197


PhD outline:

The decline in African-Eurasian migrant populations1, may result from cumulative exposure to various spatially and temporally distinct threats2. Consequently, a decline observed in any given population may reflect stress factors from the breeding grounds (e.g. agricultural intensification3) or be indicative of threats faced by the birds in other regions and at a different time (e.g. hunting during migration4 or extreme climate conditions in the non-breeding grounds5).
Advances in tracking technologies allowed unprecedented insights on the annual cycle, connectivity patterns, and migratory strategies of many Afro-Palearctic migratory birds6. Combining tracking data from multiple populations and species can allows us to contrast individuals, species and populations in terms of their exposure to different threats.

This PhD project draws on a dataset covering the movements of thousands of individuals spanning 45 African-Eurasian migratory species. This dataset is the result of the collaboration of more than 172 contributors and the invaluable work of João Guilherme, who compiled and standardised all the different tracking data.

This PhD research project aims to address the 3 following questions:

  1. What are the drivers behind the decline of African-Eurasian migratory landbird populations?
  2. How are migration patterns along the African-Eurasian flyway predicted to change in response to ongoing threats (climate change, land-use change...)?
  3. And finally, drawing from the previous results, what are the priority actions for the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory landbirds along the flyway?


  1. Vickery, J.A., et al. 2023. The Conservation of Afro-Palaearctic Migrants: What We Are Learning and What We Need to Know? Ibis 165 (3): 717–38.

  2. Buchan, C. et al. 2022. Spatially Explicit Risk Mapping Reveals Direct Anthropogenic Impacts on Migratory Birds. Global Ecology and Biogeography 31 (9): 1707–25.

  3. Rigal, S., et al. 2023. Farmland Practices Are Driving Bird Population Decline across Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 120 (21): e2216573120.

  4. Brochet A.L., et al. Preliminary assessment of the scope and scale of illegal killing and taking of birds in the Mediterranean. Bird Conservation International. 2016;26(1):1-28. doi:10.1017/S0959270915000416

  5. Preston-Allen, R. G. G., et al. (2023). Geography, taxonomy, extinction risk and exposure of fully migratory birds to droughts and cyclones. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 111.

  6. Hewson C.M., et al.. Population decline is linked to migration route in the Common Cuckoo. Nat Commun. 2016 Jul 19;7:12296. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12296.

About me:

As an early bird researcher dedicated to preserving migratory landbirds, my research interests lies at the intersection of macroecology, conservation science, and movement patterns.

Previously, I have worked on citizen science, exploring its potential in enhancing knowledge-sharing networks. This facet holds special significance for me as I seek to balance my career between teaching and research.


  • 2023: Agrégation in Life and Earth sciences (national examination to become a qualified professor in France)
  • 2022: Master's degree in conservation sciences, National Museum of Natural History, France.               
          - 2nd year Master’s thesis: Modeling the probability of meeting IUCN Red List criteria to support reassessments
    Under the supervision of Victor Cazalis (iDiv, Germany), Moreno Di Marco & Luca Santini (Sapienza University)
          - 1st year Master thesis: Map the transfer of knowledge through citizen sciences: case study of amphibians on iNaturalist
            Under the supervision of Ana Rodrigues & Marie-Morgane Rouyer (CEFE, Montepellier)
  • 2020: Bachelor degree, École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France


  • Henry, E. G., Santini, L., Butchart, S. H. M., González-Suárez, M., Lucas, P. M., Benítez-López, A., Mancini, G., Jung, M., Cardoso, P., Zizka, A., Meyer, C., Akçakaya, H. R., Berryman, A. J., Cazalis, V., & Di Marco, M. (2024). Modelling the probability of meeting IUCN Red List criteria to support reassessments. Global Change Biology, 30, e17119.
  • Henry, E. G.,Rouyer MM,Rodrigues A.S.L.,(in prep), Mapping the global transfer of biodiversity knowledge through citizen sciences: case study of amphibians on iNaturalist.