News Global Big Day sets new world record


Cornell Lab of Ornithology has revealed that its third annual Global Big Day, which took place on 13 May, has eclipsed all previous records.

Almost 19,000 observers from 150 countries contributed to Global Big Day 2017, making it the world's biggest-ever co-ordinated international bird survey — and representing a significant increase on the 16,000 that took part in 2016. Correspondingly, the total number of bird species seen worldwide also increased, with a record 6,568 logged (6,284 in 2016). These figures continue to grow; you can follow live updates and submit your own records via the Global Big Day website.

Global Big Day is a self-proclaimed celebration of the world's birds. By bringing people together from across the globe, it showcases the top birds from each region and also helps to bring awareness to birding and conservation, both regionally and globally. Friendly competition continued to evolve in South America, with four countries topping the 1,000-mark for a single-day tally: Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. In previous years, Brazil and Peru have vied for the number one spot but, in 2017, there was a new champion — Colombia.

With 1,486 species in a single day, the organisation and passion of Global Big Day Colombia has proven exemplary to organisers and contributors worldwide. Birders in the country submitted almost 2,500 complete checklists, tallying close to 15 per cent of the world's bird species — from a single country, in one day! Peru (1,338 species) was not far behind, with Ecuador and Brazil logging 1,259 and 1,079 respectively. In total, South America reached 2,797 species, demonstrating the continent's extraordinary avian diversity.

Speckled Tanager
Speckled Tanager was one of almost 1,500 species recorded in Colombia on the day (Photo: Steve Turner)

eBird is based in the United States and, unsurprisingly, the highest number of contributions came there. A total of 30,400 checklists is a notable increase on 2016's 29,000, and 711 species were recorded in the US as part of a total of 1,573 for North America. The biggest single-party total in the region came from Colorado, where the team of Mike McCloy, Matthew Daw and Andy Bankert garnered 214 species. A particularly significant effort came from Paul Sherwood, who contributed the most complete checklists during Global Big Day for the US: 78.

Closer to home, 37 European countries took part in the event, with Iberia and Turkey topping the species tallies — Spain (281 species) was first, followed by Turkey (249) and Portugal (213). A Norfolk Big Day by Rob Martin saw him score an amazing 151 species — almost the number of birds that were recorded across the entirety of Italy.

Great Bustard
Spain topped the European charts with 281 species, this including the charismatic Great Bustard (Photo: Stephen Daly)

India's total of 613 species significantly surpassed 2016's tally of 452. Australia's 487 was just one short of last year's total, although there is still time for this to increase as more records are submitted.

You can view the results and explore the data in full at ebird.org/ebird/globalbigday

The information in this article was believed correct at the time of writing. BirdGuides accepts no responsibility for errors, or for any consequences of acting on information in the article. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily shared by BirdGuides Ltd.

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