New Users Introduction
Birding Site Guide
This is a new where to watch birds, free access website for birders. The site is designed to provide people with free, up-to-date, comprehensive information on birding sites worldwide (601 sites so far) in a site by site format not as a selection of trip reports. CONTRIBUTIONS BY EMAIL ARE WELCOME, SEND IN YOUR FAVOURITE BIRDING SITE!
- Up-to-date; as soon as new information is received it is placed on the website
- Fast, worldwide access. No more heavy books filling your luggage with lots of unneeded pages. Access BSG on arrival and use the printer friendly lay-out, (select black ink only facility) to print off only the pages required.
- FREE!!! and always will be
Advantages more reasons
The overwhelming advantage of BSG as an online resource is that it provides all the information on a site in one account; a unique cross-reference of information on location, access, other site information and species lists (and eventually maps). Consider how long gathering all this information would take using bird reports, site guide and field-guide books using pen and paper, ages, I know! BSG is instantaneous!
The second major advantage is that the site can be accessed in the country being visited, at the hotel or at an internet shop, anywhere with internet access. Site accounts can be accessed and printed as required, there is no need to buy and carry heavy books in your luggage that contain information on many other sites that you are not visiting on your trip.
The third major advantage is that the information will always be more up to date that any paper book (provided people do submit information!). Standard feature include:
Your guide to the best birding sites across the world Where the best sites are How to get there Where to stay What permits you need Best times to visit.
Extensive Site Details:
Grid references Altitude Topogaphy Habitats Flora and fauna Site lists Sought after species, found on the BENES lists Hints on finding species Latest news Easy print or copy format
New Users Introduction Please check out this introduction to site navigation, features & site account layout. Most of the site is very straight-forward, particularly if you are computer literate. However some points need a little explaining.
Finding a Site Account
There are 2 main ways you can do this, the first is through the search facility, which will produce a list of possibles. The other way is through the Regions and countries button.
Using Biogeographical Regions is more appropriate for biological organisms, but man-made concepts such as countries are obviously easy to understand. With this button you can find your target site using region and country.
Site Accounts Layout
The information given is self explanatory, the only point that may cause confusion are the 2 sets of dates given. The first is actually not a date but the best time to visit that site. The second, in brackets, is the date of the visit of the main author/s.
Because English names on this site directly follow Handbook of the Birds of the World (which Clements 5th edition-2005 is based on) as on Avibase (Clements), the scientific names can readily be found via the hyperlink. They are thus not reproduced on the site account pages but are for (nearly) all site lists. Species status is from Birdlife International not Avibase, the reason for this is because Birdlife International is more up to date than Avibase, since it is the determining body, and it has individual species accounts for all species.
Explanatory Notes on Species Lists
Since no one species list I came across seemed to adequately cover all the species I regarded as Sought After Species, namely all threatened, all endemics and all restricted range species for a given area, I decided to make my own list.
Threatened species lists do not cover commoner restricted range species, and similarly restricted range species lists do not cover more widespread threatened species. Neither list covers all endemics, and an endemics list does not cover either of the other 2 lists completely.
Endemic birds as most birders understand are birds that only occur in one country. This is useful for listing but in fact is not correct, endemic refers to biome. Some species of endemics that are rare none-breeders in other biomes or countries are usually still regarded as endemic for practical reasons.
When regarding species as country enedemics, certain points need to be remembered. Some species only occur in certain habitats of a limited area. Nevertheless this small area may straddle two or more countries borders (as with a mountain or lake) and the species may be found equally in all those countries. The species therefore is not a true country endemic but may occupy an area smaller than many true country endemics, and therefore be just as sought after by birders. Species with ranges smaller than 50,000km2 whether true endemics or not are what is meant by a restricted range species (Birdlife International). The problem is that species ranges are not defined by artificial human boundaries such as borders but by habitat and biome.
In order to identify the most important areas for such restricted range species, maps of ranges are draw and where 2 or more species are wholly confined to an area, that is where 2 or more restricted range species distributions overlap, then these areas are called Endemic Bird Areas or EBAs (Birdlife International). These species ranges may be in one block or fragmented blocks, so long as they do not cover more than 50,000km2 in total. Species with disjunct ranges therefore may fall in 2 different areas or even 2 different EBAs (as with some species found both in the Amazon and the Atlantic forest).
Biome Endemic and Near Endemic Species Lists
These lists include all threatened, near-threatened, restricted range and country endemics for a whole biome. They can be found on site accounts and under the country list.
Although endemics should be treated according to biome, they are often treated according to countries. It is obviously convenient to use the term country endemic, even if misleading this is because most birding trips focus on one country not an ecoregion. Country endemics are therefore recognized on birding site guide and are marked with an asterix * on the SAS list. If the list applies to more than one country then the endemics will be country coded.
Whether a species should be considered an endemic if it only occurs in one habitat or whether it breeds in only one habitat or place, is open to debate. For example Kirtland’s Warbler only breeds in one small area but winters in another country.
Since a species cannot exist without its breeding area, on this site an endemic is a species that breeds in only one ecoregion or area (country) but may or may not be found elsewhere when not breeding.
Near endemics will be marked if known! For example Cinnamon Tanager is easily found in Brazil, but also has been found in Argentina and Paraguay. White-winged Nightjar and Lesser Nothura may be very difficult in Brazil but are easier to find in Paraguay.
Species that have been extirpated from former ranges and now only occur in one country, will be marked? For example, Brazilian Merganser.
Coastal, maritime and marine species will occur on the relevant ocean SAS list. So for Atlantic Ocean-South America all the SAS species recorded from that coast will be listed with a compass points (N, E, S, W, c, all) column to give an indication of where they might be found.
Link and Hyperlinks
Perhaps the next thing about the site account you will notice is that there are no full site lists on the accounts. However if you go below the Species Notes paragraph there is a link to elsewhere on BSG containing the lists (some lists are still in preparation). BENES links are found both on the country list and on the relevant site accounts, these go to the relevant ecoregion list, these lists contain all species that are threatened, near-threatened, restricted range and endemics to that ecoregion (the country endemics are marked with an asterix*).
There is a general list of birding links under the Birding Links button. Under Worldwide Links: Travel Advice, Volunteering & Accommodation (and elsewhere) are links regarding travel information.
If you notice any errors or have any comments or suggestions with site accounts or on the web pages generally please let me know. I sincerely hope you find this web site useful. New features are already planned but will take time and money to implement. Trip reports are welcome but again extracting relevant info and putting it to each site will be time consuming so information will take longer to appear. I take this opportunity to thank everyone in advance for their help, comments and submissions and hope they continue to have many good birding times.