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Department of Zoology



Growing up in a rural town in the deltaic plains of Bangladesh, I watched the natural environment vanishing in front of my eyes to meet the demands of a growing population and natural disasters. Responding to the growing need for conservation and my passion for wildlife, I have been working in research, conservation and behavioral ecology of globally threatened species in Asia for the past 12 years, focusing on threatened coastal and riverine birds. An undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and MPhil degree from the University of Cambridge have complimented my career, helping me to further understand the complex conservation problems that migratory birds face and to find science-based solutions through rigorous research.


I am a conservation biologist with interests in the ecology and conservation of threatened species in Asia, and in applied issues of understanding and mitigating the impact of ecological changes on biodiversity, especially in a densely populated country like Bangladesh. The intertidal mudflats of Asia are key habitats, supporting more than 50 million migratory birds, including 33 globally threatened species. My work is primarily focused on migratory shorebirds of the East Asian–Australasian Flyway, and developing tools for managing coastal habitats and identifying mitigation measures in response to climate change. My PhD will focus on understanding the habitat requirements of these shorebirds in the coastal areas of Bangladesh and the multiple factors driving their population decline such as intense human pressure and climate change. My work aims to identify the most effective long-term conservation measures for these species, ecosystems and the communities that depend on them.


Key publications: 


Chowdhury, S. U., Foysal, M. & Green R. E. (2022). Accelerating decline of an important wintering population of the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea at Sonadia Island, Bangladesh. Journal of Ornithology, 164 (4). doi:

Chowdhury, S. U., Foysal, M. & Khan, N. (2021). Using community-based interviews to determine population size, distribution and nest site characteristics of Pallas's fish eagle in north-east Bangladesh. Oryx, 1-9. doi:

Roy, S., Hossain, M.S., Badhon, M.K., Chowdhury, S.U., Sumaiya, N., Depellegrin, D. (2022). Development and analysis of a geospatial database for maritime spatial planning in Bangladesh. Journal of Environmental Management, 317, 115495. doi:

Chowdhury, S. U., Yong, D. L., Round, P. D., Mahood, S.,Tizard, R. & Eames, J. E. (2020). The status and distribution of the Masked Finfoot —Asia’s next avian extinction? Forktail 36, 16-24. 

Chowdhury, S. U. (2020). Birds of the Bangladesh Sundarbans: status, threats and conservation recommendations. Forktail, 36, 35–46.

Chowdhury, S., Alam, S., Chowdhury, S. U., Rokonuzzaman, M., Shahriar, S. A., Shome, A. R., & Fuller, R. A. (2021). Butterflies are weakly protected in a mega-populated country, Bangladesh. Global Ecology and Conservation 26: e01484. doi:

Chowdhury, S. U., Foysal, M., Diyan, M. A. A., & Ahmed, S. (2018). Discovery of an important wintering site of the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea in the Meghna Estuary, Bangladesh. Bird Conservation International 28(2), 251-262. doi:

Yong, D. L., Jain, A., Chowdhury, S. U., Denstedt, E., Khammavong, K., Milavong, ... & Vorsak, B. (2022). The specter of empty countrysides and wetlands—Impact of hunting take on birds in Indo-Burma. Conservation Science and Practice. e212668. doi:

Yong, D.L., Heim, W., Chowdhury, S.U., Choi, C.Y., Ktitorov, P., Kulikova, O., Kondratyev, A., Round, P.D., Allen, D., Trainor, C.R. & Gibson, L. 2021. The state of migratory landbirds in the East Asian Flyway: Distributions, threats, and conservation needs. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9: 613172. doi:

Green, R., Syroechkovskiy, E. E., Anderson, G. Q., Chang, Q., Chowdhury, S. U., Clark, J. A., ... & Clark, N. A. (2021). New estimates of the size and trend of the world population of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper using three independent statistical models. Wader Study 128(1):22–35. doi: 10.18194/ws.00218.

Chowdhury, S., Alam, S., Chowdhury, S. U., Rokonuzzaman, M., Shahriar, S. A., Shome, A. R., & Fuller, R. A. (2021). Butterflies are weakly protected in a mega-populated country, Bangladesh. Global Ecology and Conservation, e01484.

Bradfer-Lawrence, T., Beresford, A. E., Anderson, G. Q., Aung, P. P., Chang, Q., Chowdhury, S. U., Clark, N.A., Gerasimov, Y.N., Green, R.E., Hilton, G.M., Hughes, B., Lappo, E.G., Li, J., Syroechkovskiy, E.E., Tomkovich, P.S., Zockler, C. & Buchanan, G.M. (2020). Modelling the potential non-breeding distribution of Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea. Bird Conservation International, 1-16. 

Gallo-Cajiao, E., Morrison, T. H., Woodworth, B. K., Lees, A. C., Naves, L. C., Yong, D. L., Choi, C.Y., Mundkur, T., Bird, J., Jain, A., Klokov, K., Syroechkovskiy, E., Chowdhury, S.U., Fu, V., Watson, J.E.M., Fuller, R.A. (2020). Extent and potential impact of hunting on migratory shorebirds in the Asia-Pacific. Biological Conservation, 246: 108582.

Chowdhury, S. U., Neumann-Denzau, G., & Muzaffar, S. B. (2017). Nesting Ecology and Habitat Preference of the Masked Finfoot (Heliopais personatus) in Sundarbans, Bangladesh. Waterbirds 40(4), 410-416.

Chowdhury, SU. (2011). Survey and conservation of the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Bangladesh. Ibis 154 (1): 210-211.

Miron, M. K. & Chowdhury, S. U. (2019). Breeding density and habitat selection of the Grey-headed fish-eagle in Noakhali District, Bangladesh. Journal of Raptor Research 53(2), 134–141. doi:

Peng, H. B., Anderson, G. Q., Chang, Q., Choi, C. Y., Chowdhury, S. U., Clark, N. A. & Liu, W. (2017). The intertidal wetlands of southern Jiangsu Province, China–globally important for Spoon-billed Sandpipers and other threatened waterbirds, but facing multiple serious threats. Bird Conservation International 27(3), 305-322.

Zöckler, C., Beresford, A. E., Bunting, G., Chowdhury, S. U., et al. (2017). The winter distribution of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaeusBird Conservation International 26 (4): 476-489.


Research supervision: 

Professor Andrew Balmford and Professor Rhys Green