Approved Wildlife Guide Certificate

The Professional Bird/Wildlife Guide’s Certificate

The Andalucia Bird Society PBGC (Professional Bird Guides Certificate) is in response to the emergence of an increase in the number of professionals devoted to so-called “bird tourism” and whose main objective is none other than to try to regularize this group through an medium that provides a series of guarantees, both to prospective customers and respect for wildlife.

Recognized by ABS, PBGC certification is also intended to serve as a useful tool in the service of the professional bird guide to solve those problems arising from the practice of their work. Through our ABS/PBGC committee of three members, which is based on the experience provided by those members in the field of tourism for birdwatching, it is decided whether the future/prospective member meets all the qualities needed to be accepted for certification.

It is necessary for ABS PBGC to investigate, whether prospective members are trained to carry out their work as professional guides.

All members of the PBGC shall at all times abide by the scheme’s Code of Ethics and comply with the Objectives and Terms of the PBGC.

Important Note: Please be aware that ABS is providing the Approved Wildlife Guide list in good faith. Although we have made our judgements about the Guides included in the Approved Wildlife Guide list based on information and commitments provided in writing and verbally by those Guides and we have endeavoured in good faith to ensure that the Guides have been truthful ABS cannot be absolutly certain about their truthfulness or competance and therefore ABS cannot be held accountable for their actions or their conduct.

PBGC Code of Ethics

  • The guide should avoid causing inconvenience and potential threats to any species of animal and / or plant in the course of his/her work, as well as those activities arising from the practice of photography or filming, which will have to always comply with any corresponding permits and under the current legal framework.
  • The guide will not show or approach nests of birds, nor make public their locations, especially those species considered threatened or endangered, except in places where the observations are made at sites specifically built for the enjoyment of wildlife i.e. hides or observatories.
  • In case of any clear risks, to position clients and persons accompanying the guide far enough away to avoid any inconvenience to breeding colonies, roosts, areas of courtship and important feeding areas. It is always recommended to limit the use of so-called tape-lures of wildlife and of course prevent their use to attract endangered species considered vulnerable, even outside their breeding season.
  • Try to keep the persons accompanying the guide on public roads, footpaths or tracks, avoid travel on private roads and property without the authorization or permission of their owners.
  • Any professional guide in nature has a responsibility to put the welfare of the species of flora or fauna above that of his/her own or employer’s commercial interests.
  • The guide should be responsible for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all passengers involved in each outing. He must also accept responsibility for the behaviour of all participants whilst in the field. It is the responsibility of the guide to offer a model of proper behaviour, and always try to teach by word and example.
  • The guide must respect the interests, rights and knowledge of other observers, as well as those involved in other legitimate activities outdoors. 
  • You have the professional and moral obligation to inform the local authorities about possible inconvenience to animal or plant species and their habitats. It must be clear that any observer of nature has a number of commitments and responsibilities to the same. It is the guide’s obligation to reprimand those people (whether belonging to your group or not) that do not show respect for the natural environment.
  • The guide must be aware of their obligations and inform the group of any special circumstances applying to areas visited (for example, not to use decoys, not access particularly vulnerable areas, not collect samples without permission of flora or fauna, etc. ..)
  • It is recommended to limit the size of groups to minimize potential impacts to the natural environment, as well as not to interfere with the use and enjoyment of the same to others.
  • Any professional guide must act within the levels of his/her experience and avoid guiding in those areas for which he/she is not qualified. The guide should also take responsibility for drawing up lists of observations and make them known to the relevant organizations. .
  • As far as possible the guide should be publicly identified, first as a professional guide, and secondly as a member of the PBGC.
  • It is required that all members of the PBGC respect, defend and promote their partnership.

PBGC Objectives

  • Intention of uniting bird guides in a professional group, and that it should be helpful to the pursuit of their profession.
    Regulating the industry in such a way, that it promotes confidence in the ability of PBGC members to deliver professional guiding services.
  • Creating a brand or stamp of quality that distinguishes those guides participating in the PBGC.
  • Acceptance of a code of ethics by certificated guides, that promotes respect for the environment.
  • ABS PBGCis a certificate for approved professionals and a mark of quality.
  • Exchange of information and experiences of professional partners through new technologies.

PBGC Terms

Eligibility for certification by the society:

1. Requirements ethical
a. Subscribe to and recognize the code of ethics of the ABS PBGC.
b. At the outset commitment to the respect for nature and even coming to condemn the conduct of a colleague in attitude contrary to the principles of this partnership and the environment itself.

2. Occupational requirements
a. Experience proved or provable guiding groups or individuals.
b. Commitment to identify themselves as a PBGC guide partner (regardless of whom they may be working for) while active in or promoting their professional work.
c. Expert knowledge of wildlife, especially birds, in Spain.
d. Languages: High level of English and good level of Spanish.

3. A partnership with at least one non-profit society connected with the conservation of nature in Spain i.e. Andalucia Bird Society and/or SEO / Birdlife.

Guidelines for Good Practise of a Birding Guide

These characteristics are needed for a nature guide who specializes in bird watching:

1. Keeps the group to a maximum of 12 people per guide

2. Knows the audience (skill level and interests) and prepares a tour to meet the specific needs and interests of the group.
– asks questions to determine birding interests of group
– asks what specific species the tourists want to see3. Encourages the group to be quiet and to avoid bright colour clothes

4. Minimizes disruption of nesting activity and flocks
– stays away from nesting areas
– does not cause birds to fly

5. Prepares many different tour stop presentations in advance, and is able to speak without preparation about any birds or circumstances that occur during the tour
– can speak about common birds seen
– can contribute interesting information on migration
– knows endemic species
– can explain relationship of birds and habitat
– observes and points out bird behaviours
– can describe bird adaptations
– can describe reproduction patterns
– knows bird plumages including male/female and summer/winter differences

6. Is able to identify birds by sight and by song
– knows all birds by sight
– knows many birds by song

7. Knows where to find local birds

8. Pays special attention to rare and endemic species, but does not ignore common species

9. Assists all tourists in locating and identifying birds
– knows techniques to describe location of birds
– allows the group to identify the bird
– identifies the bird if the group can’t

10.Is able to use bird books quickly and correctly
– can quickly locate photos of birds in bird books
– can locate information about range, migration, plumage in the bird books