BirdLife South Africa (BLSA), based in Johannesburg, South Africa, is one of the largest, most active, non-governmental conservation organisations in South Africa.

BLSA is the South African Partner of BirdLife International, which operates through partners in various countries and territories worldwide. The BirdLife Partnership is the world’s largest conservation partnership and the internationally-acclaimed authority on the status of birds, their habitats, and the issues affecting their survival. BLSA has special links with the BirdLife partners in Africa, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in the UK.

BLSA is looking for a qualified and knowledgeable Flyway & Migrants Project Manager to support BirdLife’s East Atlantic Flyway Initiative (EAFI) Coordination Group with the implementation of its conservation and species monitoring projects along the East Atlantic Flyway in Africa.  The ideal candidate would have a strong background in the natural sciences, display good administrative and leadership skills, be a team player, have the ability to work independently, be strategic and innovative, and a passionate conservationist. Liaising with partners is a key part of the role so good communication skills are essential.

Each year many millions of shorebirds migrate from northern breeding grounds in Eurasia to wintering areas in western and southern Africa. These birds rely on a chain of high-quality coastal and inland sites to feed and rest. Many shorebird populations along this flyway are in strong decline. The BirdLife partnership undertakes to monitor birds and sites, identify conservation priorities and increase capacity for conservation along the East Atlantic Flyway in Africa. The Flyway & Migrants Project Manager will manage a project dedicated to support regional and global conservation initiatives aligned with the BirdLife International EAFI and the RSPB’s Flyway & Migrants Programme.

The Flyway & Migrants Project Manager will be required to maintain strong relationships with the BirdLife Africa Secretariat, BirdLife partners in Africa, and with the RSPB. The Project Manager will assist the BirdLife EAFI Coordination Group with the development and implementation of the EAFI strategy. With a focus on southern Africa, the Project Manager will assist with the identification of threats to the priority bird species and sites, the implementation of East Atlantic Flyway species action plans, the delineation of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and identification of area-based safeguarding mechanisms including Other Effective area-based Conservation Mechanisms (OECMs). S/he will also engage in the design and implementation of priority migratory wader and landbird species monitoring projects and fundraising for priority projects primarily in the southern part of the East Atlantic Flyway. The Flyway & Migrants Project Manager will commit to BLSA’s vision and mission (available at https://www.birdlife.org.za/who-we-are/about/), and be willing to work collaboratively with other organisations, both regional and international, to further the bird conservation cause.

Primary Responsibilities

The primary responsibilities of the Flyway & Migrants Project Manager will include, but not be limited to:

  • Implementing a BLSA EAFI Project Strategy (with short-/immediate-, medium- and long-term objectives).
  • Supporting BirdLife’s EAFI Coordination Group with the implementation and revision of the BirdLife EAFI project strategy.
  • Developing, reviewing, implementing and ensuring successful execution of EAFI projects, strategies and priorities.
  • Supporting the RSPB in its objectives to prioritise key sites (KBAs) and countries along the East Atlantic Flyway, including species and site threat identification, site safeguarding (OECMs) and associated species research and monitoring.
  • Unlocking and catalysing interest in KBAs in southern Africa, and subsequent identification, delineation, protection and monitoring of these sites.
  • Assisting the EAFI Coordination Group with fundraising for the implementation of priority EAFI projects.
  • Nurturing key relationships with existing donors, BirdLife Partners and other key stakeholders in the region (such as the SADC Secretariat).
  • Increase the awareness of the importance of migratory birds through promotion of World Migratory Bird Day and other key events.
  • Liaising with and maintaining key partnerships with the RSPB, the BirdLife Africa Secretariat, BirdLife partners, relevant African government departments, non-government organisations, academic institutions and other strategic role players.
  • Working collaboratively across BLSA’s conservation programmes.
Inherent Requirements

Inherent requirements for the position are:

  • MSc degree in natural sciences (or an applicable post-graduate qualification)
  • Managerial experience in a similar environment, with proven experience in stakeholder engagement and management, financial administration, data management and all other related duties and responsibilities.
  • Proven ability to liaise and collaborate with donors, funders, government officials, and other key stakeholders on a regional level.
  • Knowledge of African countries’ environmental legislation and relevant international multi-lateral environmental agreements.
  • Knowledge of key IUCN knowledge products about protected and conserved areas, KBAs and OECMs.
  • Proven ability and experience in the design, implementation, coordination and management of complex conservation projects, cutting across science and implementation.
  • A proven track record in successful fundraising, identifying donor prospects, donor cultivation and grant writing.
  • Code 8 driver’s licence.
  • Extensive knowledge of Africa’s birds and the main threats to these species and their habitats.
  • Proven scientific and analytical skills.
  • Proven knowledge about spatial prioritisation, protected areas, particularly privately protected areas, and conservation areas.
  • GIS proficiency.
  • Ability to develop policy briefs and position papers.
  • Track record of working collaboratively with diverse groups.
  • Diplomacy and conflict resolution skills.
  • Superior communication skills with proficiency in English (written, spoken and graphical means). French and/or Portuguese will be an added advantage.
  • Ability to multi-task, problem solve, prioritise and delegate effectively.
  • Scientific publication record.
  • Skilful use of the Microsoft Office suite.
  • Willingness to travel both locally and internationally.

The successful candidate will report to BLSA’s Regional Conservation Programme Manager.

The position is ideally based at BLSA’s Head office (Isdell House, 17 Hume Road, Dunkeld West) in Johannesburg, but other locations will be considered.

The nature of the position requires the incumbent to sometimes work afterhours and over weekends and, at times, may involve extensive travel.


Salary:  BLSA offers a salary which is commensurate with the position and responsibilities. The salary information is available on request.  For any further enquiries, please feel free to contact the BirdLife South Africa HR Manager, Dr Isabel Human at isabel.human@birdlife.org.za

Fringe benefits:  BLSA provides comprehensive group life insurance.


Interview:  Successful applicants will be required to attend interviews in Johannesburg or via Zoom.

The selection process may involve a task to verify skills and competencies. 


Applicants are to submit:

  • A detailed curriculum vitae with three contactable referees.
  • Copies of qualifications (please provide the SAQA accreditation in the case of foreign qualifications).
  • A list of publications and other achievements.
  • A copy of the applicant’s identity document.
  • A covering letter. 

Please note:

  • All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.  BLSA subscribes to and apply the principles of the Protection of Personal Information Act.
  • Communication will be limited to shortlisted candidates only.  Should you not be contacted within six weeks of the closing date for applications, you may assume that your application was unsuccessful.
  • BLSA reserves the right not to make an appointment.
  • BLSA subscribes to and applies the principles prescribed by the Employment Equity Act.  Preference will be given to candidates from designated groups, in accordance with the principles of the aforementioned act and the employee profile of the specific programme. 

Assumption of duties:  As soon as possible

Closing date: 17 April 2023

To apply please e-mail your CV and motivation to Dr Isabel Human, BLSA’s HR Manager at isabel.human@birdlife.org.za with the subject title Flyway & Migrants Project Manager.

For further information, contact Dr Simeon Bezeng Bezeng, Regional Conservation Programme Manager, BirdLife South Africa, at simmy.bezeng@birdlife.org.za