Big Bird Race | WWF Hong Kong

	© WWF-Hong Kong

Big Bird Race

The Big Bird Race is WWF-Hong Kong’s longest-running fundraising event. Established in 1984, the funds raised directly contribute to the conservation and management of the Mai Po Nature Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.

2017 marks the 34th anniversary of the race. The race has grown and evolved over these three decades but has always generated great enthusiasm among bird-watchers, both local and, more recently, overseas. Aside from the pure enjoyment of the competition, participants also have the opportunity to sharpen their bird-watching skills and improve their knowledge of birds.

Event date:

4 February 2017 (Saturday)


6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (12-hour race)


Bird-watching teams may begin anywhere in Hong Kong. However, participants are required to return to the Mai Po Nature Reserve on or before 6:30 p.m.

 Opening Ceremony: 3 February 2017 (Friday)

Entire fund raised from the Race will be used to support our conservation and management work at Mai Po Nature Reserve. Check out the video below to know more about our works at Mai Po.

2017 Winning Teams



Most Birds Seen – Champion
The Professionals
Most Birds Seen – 1st Runner Up
HKUST Fire Bird 
Most Birds Seen – 2nd Runner Up
Bird of the Day
Jebsen Eagles
Mandarin Duck
Wetland Specialist
Taiwan Mikado Pheasant 
Dip of the Day
Yellow Wagtail
Overseas Cup
China – Swarovski Crazy Birdy
University Cup
HKUST Fire Bird  


34 Years of Success

In 1984, Bill Oddie and David Tomlinson wrote a book called The Big Bird Race, which told the tale of a bird-watching competition held to raise funds for wildlife charities. Inspired by the book, WWF organized Hong Kong’s first Big Bird Race to raise money for the Mai Po Nature Reserve and invited the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society to join the race. Since then, the race has grown into an annual fundraising event as well as a much-anticipated gathering for bird lovers, both from Hong Kong and across Asia.

The Big Bird Race in the year 2000, where 20 teams were invited to beat 1999’s champion, was the most dramatic and competitive of the 29 races so far. Over the years, many senior government officials have actively participated in the race, including Brian Wilson, Martin Roland and Dr Ko Wing-man.
One of the participating teams at the first Big Bird Race, held in 1984.
© WWF-Hong Kong

Raising funds for Mai Po

The Big Bird Race was a key event in the birth of the Mai Po Nature Reserve. In 1984, gei wai (shrimp ponds) in the Mai Po marshes – numbering 20 altogether – were operated by people licensed by the government. These licenses had no termination dates. Each year WWF-Hong Kong used funds raised by the Big Bird Race to buy one gei wai at a time from the existing operators. Through this process, WWF gradually gained control of an increasingly larger area of wetland and began to manage this area with conservation in mind. In the early 1990s, the government stepped in and bought out the remaining gei wai operators, turning the entire Mai Po area over to WWF-Hong Kong to manage. Today, annual fundraising efforts like the Big Bird Race continue to allow us to build bird-watching hides, manage the gei wai effectively and continue to work towards turning the whole of the Mai Po marshes into a world-class wetland reserve.
The Big Bird Race has been raising funds for the Mai Po Nature Reserve since 1984.
© Martin Harvey / WWF


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