Study of mangrove birds in the coastal lagoon in Benin


This mission is for those who like to observe birds! You participate in the development of an eco-development program in Benin focused on the bird fauna of wetlands. You will contribute to the establishment of birdwatching circuits, with a local NGO. You participate in the identification of waterbird species and their habitat in wetlands, as well as sensitization of the population of the region. No special skills are required to participate.

DUREE : 15 days minimum

DATES : all year

ACTIVITY : Full nature, wetland




INVOLVEMENT : 5 days a week, 8 hours per day

PUBLIC : any public over 18 years, individuals, eco-solidarity holidays, students,



Southern Benin has exceptional birdlife. Surveys made it possible to highlight sites rich in water birds around Togbin mangrove ecosystems. The area hosts a variety of native and migratory birds. Unfortunately the capture or trapping of some bird species by riparian fishermen is common. Just like the abundant collection of eggs in season, for consumption or sale purposes.

This site lends itself perfectly to an ecotourism enhancement, promoting both the protection of bird species and local economic development. Implementing a bird-based ecotourism site requires naturalistic monitoring and the contribution of local residents and local bird protection organizations.

Ecovolunteers participate in this project, which has already started for several years. They work with local guides who know the natural environment, improve ornithological tours for ecotourists and develop new ones. Among other things, they participate in the identification of new bird species and the identification of Afrotropical and migratory species in the area. They also help to improve the infrastructure of the circuits: tracing, time of visits, type of boat, type of observation tower and places on which ecotourists can go.

Location / Habitat

The Togbin reserve is located near the Atlantic on the fishing route, a few kilometers west of Cotonou. The site is part of the coastal plain with complex network of coastal ridges separated by swampy lowlands and lagoons.

The inhabitants are largely represented by Xwéda populations whose ancestors were fishermen. Today, they combine fishing and market gardening. They speak Fon and Pédah. The main activities are: fishing, salt exploitation reserved especially for women, breeding and agriculture (market gardening: tomato, pepper, leafy vegetables). Currently, the area has about 1115 inhabitants between Togbin and Vodountô (1992 census). The main ethnic groups are: fon, houédah and wla.

Togbin Reserve is home to water birds and aquatic mammals. The biological reserve, located between the village of Togbin and that of Adunko, covers an area of ​​approximately 15 km². In this portion of the Ramsar site (recognized wetland of international interest), located in the southwest of Benin, there are a series of fish and avian species of particular interest but which are still poorly known to tourists and wildlife organizations. Environmental Protection.

This region has a sub-equatorial climate with a succession of four seasons, rainfall varying between 850 mm and 1160 mm, a temperature of up to 27,9 ° C with an annual difference of 6 ° 8 C, varying relative humidity from 75 to 85% and average annual sunshine of 2000 h / yr.

For more information on local weather conditions


Ramsar sites in Benin are home to a rich and diverse avifauna. In the study sites there are about 168 species of birds that fall into 44 families. These sites serve as breeding grounds for many species. We meet large populations of herons, terns, weaver, kingfishers and ducks. The avifauna is composed of native and migratory birds (25% of Palearctic origin species, 13,69% of migratory species and 61,31% of species of African origin).

The area is covered with plant formations characteristic of mangroves à Rhizophora racemosa et Avicennia germinans. It is quite large and contains the largest stands of mangrove trees that still exist in Benin. In appearance very dense, there are however many degradation ranges inside. The degradation of these mangroves gives way to substitute formations such as: dalbergia ecastaphyllum et Drepanocarpus lunatus, Low meadow areas Paspalum vaginatum, Lawns to sesuvium portulacastrum et Philoxerus vermicularis, Coconuts and vegetables.

Many other species can be observed because the region is rich in biodiversity. Among them are the grivet monkey, the hippotame, the agouti, and the royal python.

Involvement ecovolunteer

You help local guides in their daily activities. Your main activities are the identification and counting of lake birds and peripheral sites. These will include:

  • Identify new species of birds with tourist value and make a fact sheet with photos;

  • Identify Afrotropical bird species and migratory species;

  • Provide technical advice on observatories to build and develop a vision of sustainable tourism around the birds;

  • Improve the existing database and participate in outreach and education work on the site of community organizations;

You will be working on this project about 5 hours a day.


The project accepts trainees' participation in an agreement signed between the school (or university) and the project. The trainee must participate for a minimum duration of 2 months. The subject of the internship should be related to the activity of the mission (see detailed list in the document to download).

Each internship application will be subject to a telephone interview with the project manager who will evaluate the feasibility of the project.

Applications must be made at least 6 months in advance and will be accepted on a case by case, depending on availability and the candidate's profile. Trainees benefit from reduced travel expenses (see above).

Internship applications must be made to Cybelle PlanèteWe will help you in your efforts.

Requirements and constraints

To participate in this mission :

You must be between 18 and 65 years with a good physical condition (you must walk several kilometers a day and move on a motorcycle).

You must be very autonomous.

This project requires work skills in wetlands with the possibility of using canoes or small boats.

Before you register :

  • It is important to read the detailed documentation to download
  • You will need to return the medical fitness form (attached to the detailed documentation) completed and signed by you and your attending physician.
  • You must send us a CV and a motivation letter (by email This e-mail address is protected against spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Language (s) used (s)


Conditions for minors

Minors are not accepted.


Each ecovolunteer performs at least one mission 15 days including 1 coaching day at the office, 12 days of field work, and 2 days off and travel.

  • 1 Day: Arrival and welcome at the airport by a member of the mission; rest.

  • 2 Day: Presentation of the project and activities, and the work schedule. Coaching, preparation and appropriation of land tools.

  • Day 3 to 14: Fieldwork on the search site with small daily walks in the surrounding villages coupled with the drafting of safety data sheets on the sites studied

  • 15 Day: Rest, preparation and travel back


You are housed in a cottage, in a single room with ordinary toilet or dry toilet.

The catering will be done in the restaurants not far from the lodging or the village of lodging. Vegetarians are welcome.


The project can accommodate up to 4 volunteers at a time. 


Registrations are possible from July 2021.

The ecovolunteers choose their dates of participation, subject to acceptance by the host team. Volunteers are welcomed at any time of the year.


Due to the pandemic, Cybelle Planète has set up specific conditions for participation. Please consult our conditions of participation before signing up for a mission.

See information related to Covid-19

Travel Information

You organize your trip to the airport in Cotonou (Benin). On arrival a project member will meet you at the airport and escort you to the site or in the hotel (depending on your arrival time), there is no additional cost involved for the night of hotel.

The village accommodation is located 20 km from Cotonou airport.


Your eco-volunteering mission involves your voluntary participation in the project as well as your biodiversity donation. For each mission, the amount of the Biodiversity Donation is calculated according to the needs of the project and the time you will spend there. 70% of your donation is donated to the hosting project, it will largely be used to cover its material and personnel needs for its sustainability, and also to cover the hosting costs of eco-volunteers. learn more about Don Biodiversity

The costs of the ecovolunteers' missions consist of : your biodiversity donation and your membership in the mission, and non-tax deductible costs (ex: insurance, additional heating costs, over-classification of your accommodation - if offered)

Compensation for the impact of your trip

Cybelle planet pledges to reduceimpact of long-haul flights on the environment. In order to offset greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of your trip, Cybelle Planète has set up specific measures :

  • We no longer accept entries of less than two weeks involving long-haul travel.
  • Flat-rate contribution of 200 € to a territorial and carbon compensation fund for missions of less than 3 weeks.

We consider that a stay of at least 3 weeks, during which you have a positive action for local biodiversity (ex: eco-volunteering mission), and where you adopt a responsible mode of travel, partially offsets your emissions at the regional level. 

Amount of Don Biodiversity

  • 2 weeks of participation: 1200 €
  • 3 weeks of participation: 1260 €
  • Each additional week: 260 €


  • 1 month minimum: 579 € per month

tax deduction : For individuals, participation entitles you to a tax deduction of 66%. So a donation of 1200 € will only cost you 408 €.

For companies, the participation of your employees entitles you to a tax deduction of 60%. So a donation of 1200 € will only cost you 480 €.

Annual fee

Cybelle Planète is a French law association 1901, ecovolunteer stays are reserved for members who are members of their annual subscription of 50 €. This membership automatically gives you access to insurance (including liability, repatriation, medical expenses). Membership in Cybelle Planète is subject to a tax receipt. Learn more about memberships

Your budget

The hosting project supports:

  • accommodation, food and water,
  • supervision by members of the project,
  • your transfer from the airport A / R,

You remain at your expense:

  • your trip to Benin,
  • expenses incurred (drinks, restaurant, ....) that remain at your expense,
  • your complementary travel insurance (mandatory), including a Cancellation, Air / Train Delay, Baggage, Interruption of Stay.

Travel arrangements

You must organize your own trip to the project: transport, visa, vaccinations if necessary, ....

You will find on our website information concerning visas.

Cybelle Planet can arrange for you to book your airline ticketsThis service is optional.

Conditions of participation

The general conditions of participation in eco-volunteering mission from Cybelle Planet are available online.

Commitment ecovolunteer

Before committing yourself as a Volunteer, you must have read and accepted the charter of ecovolunteers.


In addition to the insurance included in your membership, you must take out cancellation insurance, loss or damage to luggage, and flight delay. Cybelle Planète will offer you insurance during your pre-registration or you can subscribe one by yourself. A certificate of insurance will be required before departure. To learn more about insurance

ethical commitments Cybelle Planète

The Cybelle Planet associationcommitted to the ecovolunteering charter. We have always chosen sharing, equity and solidarity for all our actions.

Tax deduction

Participation in our eco-volunteering mission is reserved for our "support" members.

Ecovolunteers pay Cybelle Planète a Biodiversity Donation in addition to their commitment in the field. 

Only the Biodiversity Gift and membership entitles you to a tax deduction (For companies or persons subject to corporation tax or income tax in France).

Medical fitness form

Your registration can not be validated unless we have received your medical fitness form completed and signed by you and your attending physician.

In order to avoid possible difficulties, we ask you to describe to us, as honestly as possible, your physical and emotional state.
Regardless of the medical situation, all projects are designed to accept as many participants as possible. For this reason, they remain attentive and are very understanding of the various health problems a candidate may have. All solutions are considered to enable the candidate to participate in the project, regardless of his or her state of health, and to the extent possible.
The consequences of misleading and / or omitted medical declarations can be very restrictive for the entire team involved in the mission, and in some cases dangerous (missions on the high seas, in very isolated sites, etc.). So, Any false declaration, omission or false information may be sanctioned by the immediate and definitive exclusion of the participant At its own expense and upon the exclusive and unilateral decision of the project. 

Download the form for a francophone mission

Download the form for an English speaking mission


An ECOVOLONTAIRE T-shirt is offered for any registration to an ecovolunteer mission.

Note that no resumption or exchange is possible, we invite you to consult the description and the size guide .

Testimonials for this mission ecovolunteers