Global Big Day 2018: a birding world record

Birds are incredible. Their power to inspire and amaze brings people together across every imaginable boundary. Global Big Day is the embodiment of this worldwide connectedness: a single day to celebrate birds in every place on Earth. On 5 May, Global Big Day, 28,000 people ventured outside in 170 countries, finding 6899 species: 2/3rds of the world’s bird species in one day. This is a new world record for birding and more birds seen by the Global Big Day team than any one person has ever seen in an entire year. Incredibly, more than 10% of species were reported by only one person, showing the impact that you have. This record belongs to every single person who took part. Thank you, and congratulations.

Importantly, this impossibly fun event also provides valuable information to help the birds we all care about. eBirders gathered more than 1.6 million bird sightings on 5 May, which are now freely available to researchers and conservationists. As a global birding team, together we can gather information on where, when, and how birds make us of the landscape and we can use that information to aid conservation and research that can help keep birds around. And the best part? We can all have fun doing it.

Explore all of Global Big Day’s birds here:


Asia – Malaysia

India continued their reign as #1 for species in Asia on Global Big Day, clocking in with 577 thanks to BirdCount India and the excellent Indian eBirding community. China’s total of 473 came from a fantastic 101 different eBirders, and bettered last year’s species total by 100! Malaysia followed closely behind, ranking at 3rd place within Asia region, 18th place globally, with a total of 454 species recorded.

This was made possible with the efforts put into by eBird Malaysia in publicizing and promoting this event. These reports are especially valuable—with many of the birds in this region threatened by cagebird trade and habitat loss, having a more complete picture of distribution in the region is very important. Malaysian birders are proud to showcase our rich avian diversity, and what could be a better opportunity other than joining the Global Big Day 2018 and putting Malaysia on the worldwide map of birding hotspots, for the attention of birdwatchers all over the globe! Cornell Lab of Ornithology initiated Global Big Day (GBD) since 2015. In 2017, 6,659 species were reported worldwide during GBD that was celebrated on 13th May. Malaysia recorded 380 species with 75 checklists submitted for GBD 2017 according to eBird website

Mr Vincent Wong, our member from Kuching, Sarawak shares his Global Big Day 2018 experience as below:-

Global Big Day 2018 was a date I have been looking forward to since the early announcement months ago.

I went to bed early and by first light, I was ready to count birds in my house back yard. But unfortunately, due to the extreme heat of that day, most bird activities had slowed down after an hour thus I stopped counting.

I did another short count at a different location for the evening even though it was still so hot. Though my contribution to this Global Event was modest, I had great satisfaction in being part of it to report my bird sighting to the world. And I do not have to travel far nor cost much to participate, to contribute to this world wide survey of our birds population which is the Barometer of our Environmental Health

Mr Vincent Wong’s morning checklist can be viewed HERE and his afternoon checklist can be viewed HERE . He was in 56th position out of 100 Top eBirders in the World by species at 9:18am (GMT +8) on 5th May 2018 when he submitted his morning checklist through eBird.

Other than Vincent Wong’s sightings, numerous other ebirders in Malaysia also pitched in for the event, with notable sightings like  Cinnamon-headed Pigeon pair (see Ang Teck Hin’s checklist HERE ), a Stork-billed Kingfisher preening (see David Bakewell’s checklist HERE ), Short-tailed Shearwaters off Kedah shore (see Neoh Hor Kee’s checklist HERE ),  the escapees that established in Lake Gardens of KL, the Hadada Ibis  ( see Yeo Yee Ling’s checklist HERE  ). And not to forget the Bornean endemics which was a great boost to the total GBD 2018 list of Malaysia , especially from Kinabalu National Park, a montane forest situated in Sabah of Borneo Island, for instance the Whitehead’s Trogons (See Timothy Forrester’s checklist HERE).

Cinnamon-headed Pigeon. Photo credit to Ang Teck Hin.

Stork-billed Kingfisher. Photo credit to Dave Bakewell.

Short-tailed Shearwater. Photo credit to Neoh Hor Kee.

Hadada Ibis. Photo credit to Yeo Yee Ling.

Whitehead’s Trogon. Photo credit to Timothy Forrester.

Kudos to all the Malaysian ebirders who submitted their checklist on Global Big Day 2018, including the top ebirder for GBD 2018, Mr. Andrew Siani, the regional reviewer for Sabah who topped everyone not only in Malaysia but also Asia region with a whopping 151 species! see Andrew’s checklist HERE. Ranked 2nd in Malaysia for GBD 2018 was Neoh Hor Kee who made a superb performance by submitting multiple checklists from Kedah and Penang State and accumulated a total of 143 species! Check out some of his list HERE and HERE.


And there you have it—another birding world record in the books! Never before have so many birders gone out in this many countries, found so many birds, and noted them all down in eBird for their fellow birders, researchers, and conservationists. The most exciting part is that it doesn’t end here. Global Big Day doesn’t have to be just one day a year—at eBird, every day is a big day. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should bird 24 hours a day and never sleep, just that eBirding gives you that same birding fun and community—every day of the year.

Birds connect us. eBird connects birders. We can’t wait to see what you continue to find—and share. Stay tuned for news about another ‘big day’ this October 6: mark the date and we’ll be in touch! Have fun, and we’ll see you out there.