63.8 million new observations increase eBird total to 275 million records

Map of eBird Observational Dataset 2015 update

Map of eBird Observational Dataset 2015 update from demo.gbif.org.

Volunteers who share observations through the eBird programme led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (CLO) added almost 64 million new records in 2015, bringing the total number of occurrences in the eBird Observational Dataset (EOD) to more than 275 million. The update also pushed the number of open-access species occurrence records available through GBIF.org past the 700 million mark for the first time.

Overall, the eBird dataset grew at a rate of 30.1 per cent in 2015. Although the bulk of the occurrences are still recorded in North America, an increasing proportion of the 2015 observations have come from birdwatchers elsewhere around the world. The countries of Asia accounted for a 110 per cent increase, while Europe (77%), Africa (58%), South America (55%) and Oceania (38%) all grew faster on a percentage basis than North America (27%).

Among GBIF participating countries, Portugal (168%) and India (154%) showed the largest annual percentage increases, rising to become, respectively, the 8th and 5th largest national segments in the EOD. The United States and Canada, meanwhile, added 43 million and 7 million records each, growth of 25 and 39 per cent, respectively. Other GBIF Participant countries whose eBird records increased by 60% or more in 2015 include Slovakia, Brazil, Benin, Slovenia, Denmark, Colombia, Philippines, Argentina, Kenya, Spain, Ghana and South Africa.

The Lab of Ornithology derives the CC0-licenced EOD from eBird's real-time, online checklist at the end of every year. Releasing this dataset into public domain freely enables its use and analysis across linguistic, political and geographic boundaries. Since the last update in November 2015, more than 11,000 user downloads from GBIF.org have included records from the EOD. In previous years, the collaborative U.S.-based project VertNet has prepared and hosted the dataset, but this year CLO simplified the process by directly exporting EOD records into a GBIF-compatible Darwin Core Archive format.

eBird volunteers include professional ornithologists, recreational birders and citizen scientists, who use the Internet and mobile apps to contribute their bird sightings to CLO's wide network of regional and thematic partners. This update includes observations dating from March 1810 to 31 December 2015.

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Top 10 countries by total number of eBird observations, 2015
Rank Location country Observations
1 United States 212,838,868
2 Canada 24,114,006
3 Australia 7,439,677
4 Mexico 3,183,387
5 India 2,537,562
6 Costa Rica 2,070,751
7 United Kingdom 1,959,808
8 Portugal 1,545,291
9 Ecuador 1,231,575
10 Brazil 1,060,571


Top 10 countries, islands or territories by percentage increase
in eBird records, 2014-2015 (> 10,000 total records)
Rank Country Percentage
1 Burkina Faso 1,068%
2 Turkey 703%
3 Isle of Man 530%
4 Taiwan 441%
5 Angola 303%
6 Portugal 168%
7 Rwanda 167%
8 Bulgaria 156%
9 India 154%
10 Croatia 140%