Birding Big Day 2017


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BirdLife South Africa's 33rd Birding Big Day (BBD) will take place on Saturday 25 November 2017. During Birding Big Day 2016 more than a thousand birders recorded 654 species, a record, and also raised some valuable funds for bird conservation. During the 2017 event we hope to break this record and have even more birders out enjoying nature.

Below is the information one needs to participate. Please read the instructions carefully.

Corporate Sponsor

Birding Ecotours agreed to become the corporate sponsor for Birding Big Day 2017! They will donate R30 for each species seen on the day. BirdLife South Africa would like to thank them for their support. All funding raised will be used to support bird conservation. For more information about Birding Ecotours see They currently are currently running a competition where you can win a pair of Swarovski binoculars worth over R30,000 (at the current exchange rate).

BBD Plain


Participants can participate in one of two categories:

Open Category

The rules for the Open Category are:

  • The maximum area that can be visited is an area within a radius of 50 km.
  • Record all the bird species seen or heard during a 24-hour period from midnight on Friday 24 November to midnight on Saturday 25 November 2017.
  • Teams can consist of a maximum of four members.
  • Only free-flying birds may be recorded (i.e. no caged birds).
  • The majority of the team members have to agree on a call or sighting.
  • Teams are requested to limit the use of call playbacks to attract birds to an absolute minimum (preferably avoiding using it at all). This is especially true when birding in a nature reserve or national park.

Community Category

The rules for this category are:

  • This category caters for large groups, such as bird clubs, who want to enjoy the day birding together. There is no limit to the number of team members.
  • A team leader must be selected who will be the main contact person.
  • The maximum area that can be visited is an area within a radius of 50 km.
  • Record all the bird species seen or heard during a 24-hour period from midnight on Friday 24 November to midnight on Saturday 25 November 2017.
  • Only free-flying birds may be recorded (i.e. no caged birds).

Fund Raising Competition

Although Birding Big Day is all about birds, it is also about raising funds for bird conservation. Funds raised will be shared between BirdLasser, and the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas and Terrestrial Bird Conservation Programmes.
For the first time we have added a Fund Raising Competition with the following rules:

  • Teams can source sponsorships before, during and after the event.
  • See below information about a prize for the team who raises the most funding.
  • Teams can raise sponsorship for example by asking people or companies to pay a certain amount per species seen or a fixed amount independent of the number of species seen.
  • The winning team will be the team whom have raised on average per member the most money (total money raised / number of members).
  • BirdLife South Africa can provide any company or individual who donates more than R500 with a Section 18A Tax Certificate. In order to do so BirdLife South Africa needs the complete details of each donor including full names, addresses and donated amounts per donor. The certificate will be issued only after the donation is paid into the BirdLife South Africa bank account.

Here are a number of forms which might be of value:

 Using BirdLasserBirdLasser2017b

If your team will be using the BirdLasser mobile app to record your sightings on the day, please supply us with the following information. This will ensure that your day’s sightings get displayed on the BirdLasser Birding Big Day event page ( in real-time and you don’t have to manually submit your sightings data after the event:

  • The name and email address (the address used to register on BirdLasser) of the person in the team who will log the sightings on BirdLasser.
  • Team name which will appear on the BirdLasser events page.
  • Names of team members.

During the day, the challenge page will automatically update as teams record their sightings, thus adding to the excitement of the day. Progress will be reported in social and other media. For more information about BirdLasser, visit or email

Registration for Birding Big Day

Registration is now closed

You need to register for Birding Big Day before the event by completing the online form. There is no entry fee, but a minimum donation of R300 is required to qualify for a BirdLife South Africa Birding Big Day 2017 cloth badge. Please note that only 4 cloth badges will be produced per team of four members. For teams with more than four members an additional R45 will be added per team member.




If BirdLasser was used, each team needs to verify its species list on their phone and the website within 48 hours of the event. The species list at 24:00 27 November will be considered as final. To resolve any issues please email

If you are not using BirdLasser, please email your results to before 4 December 2017 using this checklist.


Prize for most funding raised by a team. 

The team who raises the most funding on average per member will win the following prize! 

Two nights for four guests on a walking trail at Pafuri Trails Camp including accommodation, all meals and walks each day. This prize is sponsored by RETURNAfrica.

Promo Collage

 Please note the following:

• The winning team's contribution will be based on the amount paid into the BirdLife South Africa bank account by 15 December 2017.
• This prize excludes park entry fees, conservation levy, beverages, gratuities, travel costs and curio shop purchases.
• The prize is valid from the draw date for 12 months. It is subject to availability and may only be redeemed for the 2018 trail season.
• The Kruger National Park is considered a moderate malaria area and the winner needs to get advice from his or her doctor on prophylactics.
• The camp is unfenced.
• The drive is approximately 6 hours from Johannesburg to the Pafuri Gate and an additional 1 hour in the park.
• The prize is for four adults only.
• The prize is for two trails tents; no additional rooms are included.
• The prize is not transferable for cash.
• The prize is not transferable to another person.
• The prize does not include travel to and from Pafuri Trails camp.


Lucky Draw Prizes

A number of lucky draw prizes are available this year!

The Birder's Guide to Africa (two copies)

Cover Image     Page 206 7

THE BIRDER’S GUIDE TO AFRICA presents the first comprehensive and detailed summary of bird watching in the African region, covering all mainland territories and associated islands. An overview of birding in the region is given in the Introduction, highlighting key destinations for different kinds of travellers. This is followed by Country Accounts in which details on travel and birding are provided for each territory, including a comprehensive list of important bird taxa to be targeted on a visit. In the Family Accounts, each family recorded from the region is briefly described, and illustrated with spectacular photographs. Finally, the Species Accounts detail information on ease of seeing, distribution, status, habitat, subspecies, taxonomic issues and best places to see, for all species. Any serious world lister or keen African eco traveller will find an abundance of information of relevance to their interest. 

Available from from late August. Retail price R 450. Special for orders placed before the end of September, R 400.


Memories of a Birdwatcher (Peter Streyn)

      Birdwatcher promo FB post 20                  



Struik Nature kindly donated four copes of the recenly published Memories of a Birdwatcher by Peter Steyn

For more infomation about this book see                                     


Garden Birds in Southern Africa (Duncan Butchard)

Garden Birds SA CoverRES 

Struik Nature kindly donated four copies of the recently launched Garden Birds in Southern Africa by Duncan Butchard.       

For more information about this book see:                                                 


In addition to the prize mentioned above, Return Africa also has a BBD Promotion: The Pafuri Collection is offering special rates to guests staying at Pafuri Camp and Baobab Hill Bush House for BirdLife’s Big Birding Day 2017. A percentage of each night sold will go towards BirdLife South Africa’s conservation projects. Pafuri, located in the northern most region of the Kruger National Park, is known as a birding hotspot. Guests will have access to specialist bird guides for their Birding Big Day activities.

To book contact RETURNAfrica and make sure to use the code “BBD17” for the special offer to apply. I 011 646 1391.


Payment for badges and funds raised should be sent to BirdLife South Africa after the event; thus enabling your team to raise funds during the event. See banking details below. Please use the payment reference ‘BBD’ followed by your team name and send deposit slip or proof of payment via email to This is important to ensure you are put on the list to receive your badges, incorrectly referenced payments might not be allocated to your team.

Latest date for payments for BBD badges is 15 December 2017.

Bank account details
Account Name: BirdLife South Africa
Bank: First National Bank
Branch: Randburg
Branch code: 254005
Account number: 62067506281

More information

If anything is unclear or you need more information, please contact