05/01/2016
Share 

Astonishing world birding 'big year' record set at end of 2015

0a5e3134-8ade-434c-afd3-e024eb8a3eda
Noah Strycker made full use of his stack of field guides during his year-long trip, along with many local nature and birding guides. Photo: Bob Keefer.
Noah Strycker made full use of his stack of field guides during his year-long trip, along with many local nature and birding guides. Photo: Bob Keefer.
American birder and author Noah Strycker has set a new world year list record of 6,042 species, after he logged Silver-breasted Broadbill in India on New Year's Eve.

During 2015, his 'big year' has involved starting in Antarctica with his first species, Cape Petrel, and beating the previous world record of 4,341 species, held by Alan Davies and Ruth Miller, on 16 September with Sri Lankan Frogmouth. During the year he visited 41 countries on all seven continents, constantly travelling rather than returning home, and flying on 70 days. He broke the 5,000 species barrier in The Philippines on 26 October with Flame-crowned Flowerpecker. In all, Noah has now seen about 60 per cent of all the bird species on Earth.

He has now posted details of his last day on his blog, relating how an evening's 'owling' in the forest at Soraipong, Tinsukia, India, gave him his final bird of the year, Oriental Bay Owl – a species already ticked for the big year in Borneo the previous October. He had already logged his 6,042nd species earlier that evening: Silver-breasted Broadbill. On all but three days, he registered a new species for his list.

Using the Clements checklist taxonomy, he has seen representatives of 224 out of the world's 234 avian families, and has posted his entire list in taxonomic order online. He intends to put up a comparative International Ornithological Congress list (as used by Birdwatch) soon, along with a 'heard only' sublist. It is likely that a few species may be added as a few species are split in future.

Noah is writing up his 2015 birding exploits in book form, to be published soon. Despite Noah's astonishing total, Dutch birder Arjan Dwarshuis is already travelling using a similar itinerary, aiming to break the record in 2016 and raise money for BirdLife International's Preventing Extinctions Programme.
Content continues after advertisements