My birding experience and guiding credentials

 
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Like most international bird guides, I started birding at a young age. Beginning in my early teens, I birded all over the UK, first venturing abroad on a birding trip at age 16. Birding abroad was an incredibly exciting experience, and two days after my 19th birthday, I set out with friends on my first major birding trip, an epic eight-month overland adventure, driving from the UK through Iran and Afghanistan to India and Nepal.


This memorable trip cemented an unwavering passion for global birding and enduring friendships. Since then, I have lived in Asia for more than 20 years and in South America for another seven, and made use of every opportunity available to expand my global birding horizons.

(photo below: camping in Mekongga Mts, Sulawesi ©Frank Lambert)

 
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Birding became my profession, as well as a hobby, and in 1987 I obtained a PhD from the University of Aberdeen after a four-year study of fruit-eating birds and seed dispersal in Malaysian lowland rainforest. Later I studied birds in logged forests at Danum Valley conservation area in Borneo. Apart from birds, I also did research on mammals, tortoises and the phenology of fruiting fig trees.

Subsequently, I worked for IUCN in Thailand for two years, and then in Indonesia for five years, working for three years for BirdLife International on various conservation projects in Indonesia, as well as other projects in the the Asian region, before moving to Cusco, Peru.

I have carried out field surveys for conservation NGO’s in the Moluccas, West Papua, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia. In addition, I have undertaken voluntary conservation-related work in the Amazon and Marañón regions of Peru, Atlantic forests of Brazil, various private reserves of Colombia, Paraguay, as well as in East Timor and on Codfish Island (New Zealand), where I helped with the Kakapo conservation project.


(photo Kakapo ©Frank Lambert). 

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Being based in Asia for more than 18 years has enabled me to do birding trips to almost all of the countries of the Oriental Region. I have made frequent visits to key sites in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, China, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam and India, and I've also taken the opportunity to make several trips to West Papua, Australia, the Solomon Islands and New Zealand, not to mention traveling to the Ross Sea and Antarctic Peninsula and various Pacific and Indian Ocean islands.


(photo with Demoiselle Cranes, NW India ©Frank Lambert).

 

Although I first visited the Neotropics on an expedition to study St Vincent Parrots in 1982, it was not until 1987 that I first visited South America, spending four exciting months birding in Colombia and Ecuador. Since then I have birded regularly in South and Central America, and indeed, being based in Cusco from 2002-2009 gave me an incredible opportunity to explore most of Peru and much of the Neotropics, in particular Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Brazil, all of which I have visited a number of times.


During more than six years in Peru, I had the pleasure to spend more than a year in total in Manu National Park, including two long stints as a volunteer at the renowned but remote Cocha Cashu Biological Station, where I assisted with research on carnivorous mammals. I have also conducted survey work for threatened bird species in north Peru and in the Atlantic forests of southeast Brazil.

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Further north, I have made a number of visits to Mexico and the USA, as well as Costa Rica, most notably a four-month birding trip from Oaxaca (southern Mexico) to Alaska with Nigel Voaden in 2016.

Not wishing to miss out on African birds, I first ventured to that Continent in 1982-83 on another ambitious journey, this time starting in Egypt and traveling overland through the Sudan and Uganda to Kenya over a period of eight months. Subsequently, I have also explored countries such as Tanzania, Madagascar, South Africa, Namibia, Ethiopia, Cameroon and Sierra Leone, and intend to spend more time in Africa in the near future.

(photo: Near Arusha, Tanzania ©Pete Davison)

 
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I have written more than fifty papers on birds, and am the author of the Pica Press guide to Pittas, Broadbills and Asities (I am currently working on a second edition). I have found and described three new birds to science in Indonesia (Talaud Rail, Talaud Bush-hen and Sangihe Scops Owl), as well as Rufous Twistwing in the Amazon of Peru, and made numerous minor discoveries of significance, such as the rediscovery of Edward's Pheasant and Sooty Babbler in Vietnam.


(painting of Talaud Rail by Martin Woodcock)

 
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I also regularly review books on birds and wildlife, such as the recent excellent field guides to birds of Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Colombia, Argentina and Mongolia, and the impressive two-volume Handbook to Mammals of the World. To see some of my online reviews, please click on the link below.

 

In recent years I have become a passionate bird and wildlife sound recordist, and take every opportunity to make good quality recordings during my spare time.

(photo: sound recording White-tailed Ptarmigan in Colorado ©Nigel Voaden)

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