The Global BirdFair (formerly known as the British Birdwatching Fair) is the oldest bird festival in the world, celebrating all things avian.
The fair was originally held at Rutland Water Nature Reserve but it has now relocated to the Rutland Showground on the outskirts of the town of Oakham in the UK Midlands. But Global BirdFair is not the only birding event to be enjoyed. There are a number of other bird festivals to be found around the world, all supporting important conservation projects.
Here, in alphabetical order by region and country, are some of the best-known international birdwatching events.
African Birding Expo, Uganda
Photo credit: Matthew Mat, Livingstone African Safaris – Goliath Heron
Showcasing Africa as a first class destination for birdwatchers. The festival features expert naturalist speakers, stands offering craft product sellers, conservation organisations, tourist accommodation and guided tours. Activities include birding trips, workshops in advanced birding and photography, photography clinic, competition and an African birding business forum.
More information at: africanbirdingexpo.com/
Next date: 9-11 December 2022
Want to travel to see Uganda’s wildlife?
The local specialist tour operators on Blue Sky Wildlife offer set departure or bespoke organised trips to Uganda. Enquire direct or book through Blue Sky Wildlife for the best deals.
Kakadu Bird Week
The Bird Week is held to coincide with the mass migration of Magpie Geese, which flock to billabongs, such as Yellow Water (Ngurrungurrudjba), to feed. Visitors during the week are treated to specialist lectures, cultural events and birdwatching tours, including three Yellow Water Cruises sunset voyages led by birding specialists from the Northern Territories.
More information at: https://parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu/do/events/birdweek/
Next date: September 30 to October 7, 2022
Want to travel to see Australia’s wildlife?
The local specialist tour operators on Blue Sky Wildlife offer set departure or bespoke organised trips to Australia. Enquire direct or book through Blue Sky Wildlife for the best deals.
Belize Birding Festival
Photo Credit: Flickr – Michael Klotz – Groove-billed Ani
After the success of its inaugural event in 2018, the second Belize Birding Festival took place in San Ignacio, southwest of Belize City. The birding festival featured exhibitions, panel discussions, talks, booths, workshops and birdwatching walks highlighting the 587 bird species to be found in the country. At present, no date has been announced for a Festival in 2022.
More information at: www.belizebirdingfestival.com
Next date: TBC
Photo credit: Manakin Nature Tours, Colombia, Crowned Woodnymph Hummingbird
Feria Internacional de Aves de Colombia
With the highest avian diversity in the world, Colombia celebrates its wildlife each year with the Colombia Birdfair, which promotes the conservation of the country’s ecosystems and encourages birdwatching, academic, social and cultural activities. The fair takes place in Cali in western Colombia, known as the ‘city of birds’.
More information at: colombiabirdfair.com
Next date: February 2023
Want to travel to see Colombia’s wildlife?
The local specialist tour operators on Blue Sky Wildlife offer set departure or bespoke organised trips to Colombia. Enquire direct or book through Blue Sky Wildlife for the best deals.
Photo credit: Babita Tours, India, Green Bee-eaters
Indian Birding Fair
The Indian Birding Fair is held annually on the shores of Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Each year, the fair focusses on a different species or habitat or conservation issue. Apart from talks and stands there are birding trails to follow, the lake reserve to explore and lots of information about Indian bird species and conservation projects, including not only birds and habitats but also tigers.
Next date: January 2023
Want to travel to see India’s wildlife?
The local specialist tour operators on Blue Sky Wildlife offer set departure or bespoke organised trips to India. Enquire direct or book through Blue Sky Wildlife for the best deals.
Chilika Bird Festival
Photo Credit: Mangesh Desai, Go Wild – graylag goose
Held in Chilika province in north eastern India, at Mangalajodi, the largest brackish water lake in Asia. Chilika lies on the Central Asian Flyway and is a major stopover for migratory birds from the Arctic and Sub-Arctic on their migration along the east coast of the continent. Habitats include mudflats, reed-beds and open water of varying depths and salinity. The Festival includes guided walks, photography sessions and workshops.
More information here
Next date: January 2023
Photo Credit: Flickr – Flavio – Take a walk at Agamon (little lake) HaHula
Eilat Birds Festival
Hosted by Birdlife Israel, the Eilat Birds Festival brings together birders from the world over for an unforgettable week of birds, migration and nature during the peak of spring migration. The Festival is based in Eilat and takes in all the major sites and key species of southern Israel. Besides the Eilat area, the festival package includes excursions further afield to Nizzana and the Negev as well as a tour to the Dead Sea region.
More information at: www.birds.org.il/en/event/Eilat-Birds-Festival
Next date: 27 Match to 4 April 2022
Photo Credit: Flickr – C Watts – Canada Geese
There are many bird festivals of varying sizes being staged throughout the year across the USA and Canada. To find one near you visit www.allaboutbirds.org/news/birding-festivals/ or www.birdwatchersdigest.com/bwdsite/explore/festivals/festivals-2021.php
Events are listed chronologically on both sites with links to each of the individual bird festival websites.
Sagres Birdwatching Festival
Timed to coincide with the autumn migration, the Sagres Birdwatching Festival is a celebration of the area’s biodiversity and landscapes. This point of land in southwest Portugal is a migration hotspot and the festival offers field and boat trips, lectures and courses and activities of all sorts for adults and children.
More information at: www.birdwatchingsagres.com
Next date: TBC
Photo credit: Seo-EO, Great Skua
Want to travel to see Portugal’s wildlife?
The local specialist tour operators on Blue Sky Wildlife offer set departure or bespoke organised trips to Portugal. Enquire direct or book through Blue Sky Wildlife for the best deals.
Unlike many of the other birdfairs, the ObservaRia Birdwatching Fair in Estarreja, south of Porto in northern Portugal, is a biennial event. The fair offers a host of lectures, seminars and workshops, exhibitions and stands with well-known names from around the world contributing.
More information at: www.bioria.com
Next date: September 2022
Photo credit: Guyrapyta Birdwatching Uruguay, Chestnut Seedeater
Feria de Aves de Sudamerica
The Feria de Aves de Sudamerica takes place in a different South American country each year. It is a meeting place for lectures, forums, workshops and birding equipment suppliers, and an opportunity to see some of the magical bird species found on the continent. In 2022 the fair will be held at Cusco, Peru.
More information at: www.birdfair.net
Next date: 27-30 October 2022
Want to travel to see Peru’s wildlife?
The local specialist tour operators on Blue Sky Wildlife offer set departure or bespoke organised trips to Peru. Enquire direct or book through Blue Sky Wildlife for the best deals.
Photo credit: Al Henderson, Ebro Delta Birding, Greater Flamingo
Delta Birding Festival
Now in its seventh year, the Delta Birding Festival takes place in the Ebro Delta in Catalonia, northeastern Spain. The Delta de l’Ebre is the second largest wetland in the western Mediterranean, and a large part of it is a national park through which more than 300 bird species pass on migration.
Festival-goers are able to vote on which conservation projects will receive funds from the festival.
More information at: www.deltabirdingfestival.com
Next date: September 23, 24, 25, 2022
Want to travel to see Spain’s wildlife?
The local specialist tour operators on Blue Sky Wildlife offer set departure or bespoke organised trips to Spain. Enquire direct or book through Blue Sky Wildlife for the best deals.
Photo credit: Wild Doñana, Spanish Imperial Eagle
Three days of lectures, workshops, bird ringing, guided walks, photography and painting with more than 40 stands selling birdwatching equipment, books and clothing, all set in the beautiful natural park of Doñana in the far south of the country.
More information at: www.donanabirdfair.es
Next date: TBC
FIO – Extremadura
Feria International de Turismo Ornitológico (FIO), one of the most important bird fairs in Europe, attracting visitors and exhibitors from many different countries to this central Spain location. Appearing there are well-known and respected Spanish ornithologists, scientists, bird guides, photographers and artists. The free-to-enter event is a meeting point for nature tourism providers, manufacturers and distributors of photographic equipment and optics, conservation organisations and filmmakers.
Read more at: www.blueskywildlife.com/bird-festival-in-spain/
Next date: February 2023
Where the story first began… Global Birdfair has grown out of the world-renowned British Birdwatchers Fair post-pandemic. Now at a new venue but still organised by Birdfair founder, Tim Appleton MBE, and his team, the event is once again attracting exhibitors from not only the UK but all four corners of the planet. There are three days of lectures, workshops, and stands representing a wide range of countries showcasing wildlife tours, conservation projects, birdwatching equipment, books and clothing.
Held for the first time in 2022 at the Rutland Showground, Oakham, Rutland LE15 7TW, Global Birdfair is a not-for-profit event where the proceeds go to a bird conservation project that is helping to preserve and protect the world’s precious wildlife.
More information at: www.globalbirdfair.org
Next date: 17, 18, 19 July 2022
Updated on: 7 May 2022