Network & Database
Blue tit on a tree branch, getting ready to fly

SPI-Birds Network & Database, or the Studies of Populations of Individuals – Birds, is a grassroots initiative connecting those working on populations of individually-marked breeding birds. On this website, you can learn more about our work, search for studies of birds across the world, and request data for these studies.


Who are we?

SPI-Birds Network is a network of those who study and collect data on individually-marked breeding birds. SPI-Birds Network offers expert advice on:

  • how to start with studying and monitoring a new population  (e.g., we can advice on the best approach to field set-up and data management).
  • joining existing projects within the Network, or starting new projects based on the data hosted in the Database. We especially encourage students and young researchers to get in touch.

SPI-Birds Database is a data hub of data on individually-marked birds, which can be requested by anyone within or outside the Network:

  • registers studies of populations of individually-marked breeding birds and the people involved in these studies.
  • hosts breeding and individual data from over 200 breeding populations of individually-marked birds, in the original data format (i.e., as stored by each researcher or research group) and in the SPI-Birds standard data format (see here).
  • acts as a central contact point for accessing the data.
  • conducts quality checks on the data to correct for any mistakes in the datasets, and to warn users about potential issues when using the data.

Why do we do this?

  1. Archive data to prevent data loss.
  2. Make it easier for users to identify studies that might be of interest for their project.
  3. Reduce the time involved in formatting data.
  4. Provide a community standard of data formatting and vocabulary that can be followed by anybody establishing a new field study.
  5. Increase the quality and integrity of data.

Become a member or use the data

Become a data-contributing member
Do you collect data on individually-marked breeding birds, and are you interested in contributing to our initiative? Join the SPI-Birds Network and Database as a contributing partner. We welcome both researchers and members of the general public who run a field study of individually-marked breeding birds. Please reach out to us via spibirds@nioo.knaw.nl or fill in the online metadata form.

Become a non-data-contributing member
Are you interested in the philosophy and future plans of SPI-Birds, but do you not coordinate an individual-based field study yourself? Join our SPI-Birds Network Google Group to regularly receive news and updates. Please reach out to us via spibirds@nioo.knaw.nl if you want to join this group.

Become a data user
Anyone can use the database to search for studies of interest, and to request the access to the data. Please go to 'Find a study' and explore.


The project is funded by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) grant to Dr. Antica Culina, NIOO-KNAW, Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics (NTNU, Trondheim), NLBIF, and CEFE CNRS (Montpellier).



The following documents form the core of the SPI-Birds Network and Database:

  1. The community-defined standard protocol for collecting individual-level bird data. The SPI-Birds developers create tailored pipelines to convert any data format (as stored with the data owner) into SPI-Birds' standard format. Appendices to the standard format are available here.
  2. The pipelines that convert data into the SPI-Birds' standard format are available through an R package our GitHub pipeline repository
  3. The standard data quality check procedure that is performed on each pipeline to ensure data integrity and quality.
  4. The Terms of Use and data access policy document informs data users on how to use and acknowledge the data hosted at SPI-Birds.
  5. The Data Licenses document describes licensing options for data hosted at SPI-Birds.

Older versions of these documents are available on our GitHub documentation repository.

Network structure

Network structure

The organizational structure of SPI-Birds includes two main components:

  • The advisory component includes the Advisory Council and the SPI-Birds Network Members.
  • The executive component consists of the Executive Board and four Teams: Coordinators, Developers, Technical Architecture, Outreach.
Network Members

Network members

Countries indicate the location of the study sites, not the location of the data contributor's institute.


  • Sabine Hille (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences)



  • Nathaniel T. Wheelwright, Patricia Jones (Bowdoin Scientific Station)


  • Sanja Barišić, Davor Ćiković, Vesna Tutiš, Jelena Kralj (Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Institute of Ornithology)


  • Peter Adamík, Miroslav Král (Palacky University)
  • Miloš Krist (Palacky University)


  • Raivo Mänd, Vallo Tilgar, Marko Mägi, Jaanis Lodjak (University of Tartu)
  • Agu Leivits (Estonian Environmental Board)


  • Tapio Eeva, Markus Ahola (University of Turku)
  • Markku Orell, Seppo Rytkonen, Emma Vatka (University of Oulu)




  • Gábor SeressAndrás Liker (University of Pannonia)
  • János Török, Gergely Hegyi, Balázs Rosivall (Eötvös Loránd University)


  • Camillo Cusimano, Bruno Massa, Daniela Campobello (Stazione Ornitologica)



  • Aya Goldshtein (Tel Aviv University)


  • Teru Yuta (Yamashina Institute for Ornithology)


  • Martins Briedis, Oskars Keišs (University of Latvia)


  • Clemens Küpper, Medardo Cruz-Lopez, Luke Eberhart-Hertel (Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence)


New Zealand



  • Mariusz Cichoń (Jagiellonian University)
  • Szymon Drobniak (Jagiellonian University)
  • Anna Dubiec, Tomasz Mazgajski (Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences)
  • Wojciech Kania (Polish Academy of Sciences)
  • Sonia Landowska (Ornithological Station)
  • Marta Szulkin (University of Warsaw)
  • Dariusz Wysocki (University of Szczecin)


  • Ana Cláudia Norte (University of Coimbra)


  • Alexandr Artemyev (Karelian Research Center)
  • Anvar Kerimov, Elena Ivankina, Andrey Bushuev, Tatyana Ilyina (Lomonosov Moscow State University)
  • Andrey Tolstoguzov (Karelian Research Centre)


  • Emilio Barba (University of Valencia)
  • Eduardo Belda (Universitat Politècnica de València)
  • Julli Broggi, Jordi Figuerola (Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC)
  • Alejandro Cantarero, Juan Moreno (National Museum of Natural Sciences Madrid)
  • Silvia Espín, Pablo Sánchez-Virosta, Mario León-Ortega, José Manuel Zamora-Marín , Antonio Zamora-López, Pedro Jiménez, Antonio J. García-Fernández (University of Murcia)
  • Judith Morales (National Museum of Natural Sciences Madrid)
  • Jaime PottiDavid CanalJesús Martínez-PadillaCarlos Camacho (Estación Biológica de Doñana-CSIC, Pyrenean Institute of Ecology-CSIC)
  • Juan Carlos Senar (Natural Sciences Museum Barcelona)



  • Can Bilgin, Pinar Kavak (Middle East Technical University)

United Kingdom

United States of America

  • Ian Nisbet (I. C. T. Nisbet & Company)
Find a study

Find a study

Search for studies of birds across the world.

To request data, please read our Terms of Use and send an email to spibirds@nioo.knaw.nl, including:

  1. a list of desired study sites and species,
  2. a description of the reasons for the data request
World map with all the study sites that are part of SPI-Birds.
Research & conferences


Newsletter March 2024

The new newsletter is out! In this newsletter we are excited to announce that we secured funding for developing SPI-Birds into a hub of FAIR and connected research outputs, and we are building a library of peer-reviewed code for formatting and analysing data – for which your input is crucial and much appreciated. In addition, the SPI-Birds team is growing and the next venue of the Hole-Nesting Birds Conference has been decided: Olomouc, Czechia (10-12 September 2025). Find the newsletter here: SPI-Birds Newsletter March 2024.

Newsletter April 2023

In the past period we have been working on a range of projects and developing ideas for the future of SPI-Birds. In the most recent newsletter we update you on: 1) the latest version of the standard data format, 2) the standardisation of metadata, and 3) past and ongoing grant applications. Find the newsletter here: SPI-Birds Newsletter April 2023.

SPI-Birds flyer

As part of the metadata standardisation procedure we have developed an online form that makes it easier for people interested in joining the SPI-Birds Network to contribute metadata and/or data of their field studies. To reach a new wave of researchers and bird enthusiasts, particularly from geographical areas and studying bird species that are currently underrepresented in the Network, we have created a promotion flyer.

Snippet of SPI-Birds promotion flyer that says "Join our growing community today!" and shows an illustration of two researchers and various visualisations of the data they have gathered while studying birds.



Do you have questions about SPI-Birds? Do you want to request data? Please contact us at spibirds@nioo.knaw.nl.

If you wish to request data, please include:
- a list of desired study sites and species
- a description of the purpose of the data request