2020/09/05 06:00:00

Post Virtual African Bird Fair viewing

BirdLife South Africa’s first ever Virtual African Bird Fair has come and gone. It was a tremendous success; in fact, way beyond our expectations! As it was fairly unchartered waters for a conservation NGO, we have learnt a lot and the next Virtual African Bird Fair will be even bigger and better. We would not have managed to pull the Bird Fair off without the superb assistance of Participate Technologies and the hard work of our team, especially Julie Bayley, Andrew de Blocq, Melissa Howes-Whitecross and Tanya Caldwell. We are immensely grateful to our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, auction item donors and, of course, to the many people who attended the Bird Fair. The good news is that, with the success of the Bird Fair, we generated some funding for BirdLife South Africa and its important conservation work.

It is still possible to at view the talks and visit the exhibition booths at https://eventmobi.com/birdlife/ until 31 December.

Peter Harrison’s incredible talk on albatrosses is no longer available for viewing, but we are going to consider, following discussion with Peter, showing his presentation again in 2021 (perhaps as a teaser for what to expect during our January 2022 Flock to Marion voyage).

As Julie Bayley is on maternity leave, please contact Andrew de Blocq at andrew.deblocq@birdlife.org.za or Shireen Gould at membership@birdlife.org.za if you have any Bird Fair enquiries.


BirdLife South Africa has for about 15 years held physical Bird Fairs, initially at the Johannesburg Zoo and latterly at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden. These have been very popular and they have been an important activity on the calendar of Gauteng birders. Due to Covid-19, we have decided to have a virtual event in 2020.  And, of course, because it will be virtual, we will now be able to have a truly African event. We have already secured the support of many South African organisations and a growing number who work across the continent.

We are using an amazing platform which will allow a range of people to present both pre-recorded and live talks. There will also be discussions, interviews, demonstrations and even a quiz. We will also have many exhibitors, from bird tour operators and bird clubs to optic companies and bird feeder manufacturers.

Our successful weekly Conservation Conversation webinars, which have seen up to 1000 people watching live and as many watching the subsequent recording on YouTube, show that we have the ability to reach a large audience. We expect, especially as The Virtual African Bird Fair is being marketed globally to potentially have several thousand people join us during the day.


Speaker Highlights

Peter Harrison, M.B.E. has led birding expeditions all over the globe and has written and/or illustrated over a dozen bird books, including the renowned Seabirds: An Identification Guide. In early 2021, Peter will be launching a completely new identification guide with all new text and plates. Peter has devoted himself to conservation of birds, and was rewarded with the Conservation Gold Medal Award by the RSPB. His actions were also recognized by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who granted him his title of Member of the British Empire. He has also been awarded the Linnaean Society’s Eisenmann Award for Excellence in Ornithology.

Peter will be familiar to those who joined us on Flock at Sea in 2017, and will once again be regaling us with tales of albatrosses as our keynote speaker at the Virtual African Bird Fair in 2020.

Graeme Arnott is one of southern Africa’s best bird artists. Though he grew up in Zimbabwe, Graeme now resides in Kenton-on-Sea in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, and is a full-time artist. He most recently illustrated the majority of the passerines for the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa 7th edition. Graeme has donated of his paintings to BirdLife South Africa which will be one of the items on the silent auction during the Fair, the proceeds of which will go to supporting BirdLife South Africa’s important work. He will also be exhibiting other artwork for sale with one-third of the proceeds being donated, and will be part of an intimate interview with Tim Cockcroft from his studio at home as part of our session on Bird Art.

Exhibitors Information

Please download the information documents pertaining to the Exhibitor Packages on offer for this year’s Virtual African Bird Fair. The entire African Bird Fair will be showcased on an innovative online platform and is not to be missed. The primary role of the virtual booth will be to showcase your company and drive visitors to your booth.

How it works is that we have created an online (web-based) platform, similar to a standard website, to showcase both presenters and speakers, as well as exhibitors such as yourself. This entails you purchasing a virtual booth (the equivalent of what you would purchase to attend our physical Bird Fair) which becomes your online profile. The different categories provide you with different elements to suit how you want to showcase your entity.

With the success of our weekly webinars attracting more than 1000 people per episode, we believe we have set the scene for our Virtual Fair and the expected number of people to visit the online show and exhibitors is far beyond this. Throughout the day, we will be directing and encouraging people to peruse the virtual booths and exploring the different exhibitors. We hope we can support you and your members by providing you access to this audience! So don’t delay, choose your package now and apply!

Contact Information

For exhibitors and virtual platform Information, please contact Julie Bayley:

For speakers and schedule information, please contact Andrew de Blocq:

For sponsorship information, please contact Tanya Caldwell: