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BIRDING QUALIFICATIONS

The FGASA Birding Specialist Qualifications consist of two categories:

  • Local Bird Guide
  • Regional Bird Guide
  • SKS (Birding) Qualification

LOCAL BIRD GUIDE

At this level the guide:

  • Is operating as a nature site guide specialising in bird guiding as a Local bird guide.
  • May be operating as a competent bird guide in a number of different sites. A Site usually refers to a particular Game or Nature reserve, National Park, Botanical Garden, Bird Sanctuary, etc.
  • Has attained a FGASA nature guiding qualification (Either Local, Level 1, 2 or 3).
  • Has been declared competent against the FGASA birding practical assessment.
  • Has a valid, up-to-date recognised First Aid certificate.

HOW DO I GET A FGASA LOCAL BIRD GUIDE QUALIFICATION?

Once you have attained any one of the following nature guiding qualifications or higher:

  • FGASA Local or Level 1 nature guide qualification
  • or a Full Tracking qualification (including create a guided experience for customers - if this unit standard is not included in the tracking qualification then it will have to be included in the birding practical assessment).
You will then be eligible to apply to be practically assessed for the FGASA Local Bird Guiding Qualification in a birding area of your choice.

The practical assessment for the Local bird guide qualification is carried out by a registered FGASA birding assessor in a guiding area of your choice. You will need to take the assessor on a guided birding experience in a limited geographical area (with or without paying clients), preferably with clients.

The practical Assessment will be explained to you in detail by your assessor in the pre-assessment brief. The assessor will make sure that you know what you will be assessed on so that you may prepare yourself for this assessment. (Refer to the FGASA Bird Guiding Learner workbook for details.) Payment for your practical assessment is made directly to the assessor and does not come via the FGASA office.

There is no Slide and Sound assessment and no theory examination for the Local bird guide qualification.

Once you have been declared competent for the Local bird guide practical assessment you will have attained the FGASA Local Bird Guide Qualification for the specific site in which you have been assessed competent to guide in.


WHAT LEARNING MATERIALS DO I NEED FOR THE LOCAL BIRD GUIDE QUALIFICATION?

The following learning materials are compulsory:
Any one of the following bird books:


 

 

  • Newman’s Birds of South Africa – Sappi
  • Sasol Birds of SA – Sasol
  • Roberts Field Guide to Birds of Southern Africa
     
Recommended reading to improve your knowledge:

 

 

 

 

  • Birds The inside story – R&H Loon
  • Beat about the Bush (Birds) – Trevor Carnaby
 

 

 

 

 


   

 

 


REGIONAL BIRD GUIDE

At this level the guide:
 

  • Is operating as a nature bird guide in certain biomes / regions and not the whole country.
  • Is assessed within different vegetation areas or biomes. A Regional bird guide at this level may be operating as a competent bird guide in a number of different sites, areas or biomes. (Refer to the list of areas below in the slide and sound assessments).
  • Has attained a FGASA nature guiding qualification (Either Local, Level 1, 2 or 3).
  • Has been declared competent against the FGASA birding slide and sound assessment and the bird guiding skills practical assessment.
  • Has a valid, up-to-date recognised First Aid certificate.

HOW DO I GET A FGASA REGIONAL BIRDING QUALIFICATION?

Once you have attained any one of the following nature guiding qualifications or higher:

  • FGASA Local or Level 1 nature guide qualification and you will then be eligible to apply to be practically assessed for the FGASA Regional Bird Guide Certificate by means of:
  • The Regional Bird Guide Workbook
  • A slide and sound assessment
  • A bird guiding skills practical assessment.
IMPORTANT: You will only be eligible for the bird guiding skills practical assessment once you have been declared competent for the Birding Slide and Sound assessment.

There is no theory examination for the Regional bird guide Certificate but there is a compulsory workbook. 

The practical assessment for the Regional Bird Guide Certificate is carried out by a registered FGASA birding assessor in a guiding area of your choice. You will need to take the assessor on a guided birding experience in a birding area of your choice (with or without paying clients), preferably with clients.

The practical assessment will be explained to you in detail by your assessor in the pre-assessment brief. The assessor will make sure that you know what you will be assessed on so you may prepare yourself for this assessment. (Refer to the FGASA Bird Guiding workbook for details.) Payment for your practical assessment is made directly to the assessor and does not come via the FGASA office.

You can choose which vegetation areas / biomes you want to be assessed for. The Slide and Sound assessment will assess all the areas that you want to be assessed for, however the Practical birding skills assessment will take place in one area only in order to assess bird guiding skills.

Once you have been declared competent for the birding Slide and Sound assessment and the Birding skills practical assessment you will have attained the FGASA Regional Bird Guide Certificate for the specific area/Biome in which you have been assessed competent to guide in. The Regional Bird Guiding Certificate will reflect which areas the guide has been assessed competent to guide in. For example: Regional Bird Guide - Savanna. If the guide is assessed as competent for all the areas (biomes) and has been assessed competent for the Core Slide and Sound assessment s/he will be deemed a National Bird Guide.

This qualification will require the following:

  • The guide will be assessed by means of the birding Slide and Sound assessment.
  • The guide will be assessed by means of a Birding Skills Practical assessment.
  • The Regional Bird Guide workbook
  • There is no theory examination for this qualification.

SLIDE AND SOUND ASSESSMENT

Slide and Sound assessment: These assessments can only be done at prescribed venues and are not carried out at any of the FGASA National exam sittings. You will need to apply to the FGASA office in order to be assessed against the Slide and Sound assessment. You will need to provide proof of payment for the slide and sound assessment to the FGASA office. These assessments can be carried out by a number of birding assessors or at the FGASA office.

The Slide assessment (visual identification)
This assessment consists of one compulsory section and then a choice of one or more biome/vegetation areas.

There is one compulsory section:

 

 

 

 
  • Open book assessment - 35 slides of more difficult plumages (females, immature, eclipse, vagrants)
A choice of a minimum of one Biome / vegetation area must be answered.

 

 

 

 
  • Savanna Biome: 80 species
  • Montane Grassland: 25 species
  • Karoo: 15 species
  • Arid habitat: 20 species
  • Marine: 20 species
  • Forest: 30 species
  • Fynbos: 15 species
  • Special regions: Eastern Cape: Biome Thicket, Namibia: 20 species (+Core +Arid), Botswana: 20 species (+Core +Savanna), Zimbabwe: 30 species (+Core +Savanna +Forest), Mozambique: 30 species (+Core +Savanna +Forest)
In each of the Biomes/Vegetation areas there will be a minimum of 5 species under-wing pattern slides, 5 species of immature bird slides and 5 slides of bird nests that require identification.

If, as a birding specialist you want to be a recognised as a National Bird Guide you will have to have been declared competent for all the Biomes (excluding the neighbouring countries) and also have been declared competent for the 80 slides from the Species Core list (Birds that may be seen over the whole country). The slides will include a minimum of 10 species of immature birds and the wing patterns of at least 5 species.

The Sound assessment (Bird call identification)
This assessment consists of a choice of one or more biome/vegetation areas.
A choice of a minimum of one Biome / vegetation area must be answered.

 

 

 

 
  • Savanna Biome: 80 calls
  • Montane Grassland: 25 calls
  • Karoo: 15 calls
  • Arid habitat: 20 calls
  • Marine: No sound test
  • Forest: 40 calls
  • Fynbos: 15 calls
  • Special regions: Namibia: 20 calls (+Core +Arid), Botswana: 20 calls (+Core +Savanna), Zimbabwe: 30 calls (+Core +Savanna +Forest), Mozambique: 30 calls (+Core +Savanna +Forest)
If as a birding specialist you want to be a recognised as a National Bird Guide you will have to have been declared competent for all the Biomes (excluding the neighbouring countries) and also have been declared competent for the 80 calls from the Species Core list (Birds that may be seen over the whole country).

     





 


BIRD LISTS

The bird species you are required to know for all areas in the country and the neighbouring countries can be found in the FGASA Regional Bird Guide Learner Support Pack. These lists will inform you of what species you need to know for the particular areas in terms of sight and sound identification. Ensure that you obtain the Core bird list as this will indicate which birds found nationally you would need to know for both the slide and sound assessments.

These bird lists can be emailed to you or you can obtain a copy of the lists from the FGASA office.


WHAT LEARNING MATERIALS DO I NEED FOR THE SPECIALIST BIRD GUIDE QUALIFICATION?

The following learning materials are compulsory:

  1. FGASA Regional Bird Guide workbook
  2. Beat about the Bush (Birds) – Trevor Carnaby
Any one of the following bird books:

  • Newman‟s Birds of South Africa – Sappi
  • Sasol Birds of SA – Sasol.
  • Roberts Field Guide to Birds of Southern Africa
Recommended reading to improve your knowledge:

  • The Roberts multimedia is also a good reference for bird calls
  • Birds The inside story – R&H Loon

 


SKS (BIRDING) QUALIFICATIONS

At this level the guide:
  • Is operating as a professional nature guide specialising in Birding.
  • Has attained a FGASA nature guiding Level 3 qualification.
  • Has been declared competent against the birding theoretical assessment.
  • Has been declared competent against the birding sound and slide identification assessment.
  • Has been declared competent against the bird guiding skills practical assessment.
  • Has a valid, up-to-date recognised First Aid certificate.
This qualification will require the following:
  • The guide must first have attained the FGASA Level 3 qualification.
  • The guide will be assessed by means of the SKS(Birding) Theory examination.
  • The guide will be assessed by means of the birding Slide and Sound assessment.
  • The guide will be assessed by means of a Birding Skills Practical assessment.
The SKS Birding qualification (and certificate) will reflect which areas the guide has been assessed competent to guide in. For example: “SKS-Birding: Savanna”. If the guide is assessed as competent for all the areas (biomes) s/he will be deemed an SKS–Birding National Guide. 

IMPORTANT: You will only be eligible for the bird guiding skills practical assessment once you have been declared competent for the Birding theory examination and the birding Slide and Sound Assessment.

Application and payment:
Theory examination: You will need to send your exam application form and proof of payment for the SKS(Birding) theory examination to the FGASA office. Remember that examination applications close 1 month before the set national examination sitting.

Slide and Sound assessment: These assessments can only be done at prescribed venues and are not carried out at any of the FGASA National exam sittings. You will need to apply to the FGASA office in order to be assessed against the Slide and Sound assessment. You will need to provide proof of payment for the slide and sound assessment to the FGASA office. These assessments can be carried out by a number of birding assessors or at the FGASA office.

The practical assessment for the SKS(Birding) qualification is carried out by a registered FGASA birding assessor in a guiding area of your choice. You will need to take the assessor on a guided birding experience in a birding area or your choice (with or without paying clients), preferably with clients.

The practical Assessment will be explained to you in detail by your assessor in the pre-assessment brief. The assessor will make sure that you know what you will be assessed on so you can prepare yourself for this assessment. (Refer to the FGASA Bird Guiding Learner Support Pack for details.) Payment for your practical assessment is made directly to the assessor and does not come via the FGASA office.

You can choose which vegetation areas / biomes you want to be assessed for. The Slide and Sound assessment will assess all the areas that you want to be assessed for, however the Practical birding skills assessment will take place in one area only in order to assess bird guiding skills.

Once you have been declared competent for the birding theory examination and the Slide and Sound assessment and the Birding skills practical assessment, you will have attained the FGASA SKS(Birding) Qualification for the specific area/Biome in which you have been assessed competent to guide in.


WHAT LEARNING MATERIALS DO I NEED FOR THE SKS(BIRDING) QUALIFICATION?

The following learning materials are compulsory:
1. FGASA Regional Bird Guiding workbook
2. Beat about the Bush (Birds) – Trevor Carnaby

Any one of the following bird books:
  • Newman‟s Birds of South Africa – Sappi
  • Sasol Birds of SA – Sasol.
  • Roberts Field Guide to Birds of Southern Africa
Recommended reading to improve your knowledge:
  • The Roberts multimedia - good reference for bird calls
  • Roberts Birds of Southern Africa
  • Birds -The inside story – R&H Loon

SLIDE AND SOUND ASSESSMENT

The Slide assessment (visual identification)
This assessment consists of two compulsory sections and then a choice of one or more biome/vegetation areas.
The two compulsory sections:

 

 

 

 

  • 80 slides from the Species Core list (Birds that may be seen over the whole country). The slides will include a minimum of 10 species of immature birds and the wing patterns of at least 5 species.
  • Open book assessment - 35 slides of more difficult plumages (females, immature, eclipse, vagrants)
A choice of a minimum of one Biome / vegetation area must be answered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Savanna Biome: 80 species
  • Montane Grassland: 25 species
  • Karoo: 15 species
  • Arid habitat: 20 species
  • Marine: 20 species
  • Forest: 30 species
  • Fynbos: 15 species
  • Special regions: ( Namibia: 20 calls (+Core +Arid) / Botswana: 20 calls (+Core +Savanna) Zimbabwe: 30 calls (+Core +Savanna +Forest) /Mozambique: 30 calls (+Core +Savanna +Forest)
In each of the Biomes/Vegetation areas there will be a minimum of 5 species under-wing pattern slides, 5 species of immature bird slides and 5 slides of bird nests that require identification.

The Sound assessment (Bird call identification)
This assessment consists of one compulsory section and then a choice of one or more biome/vegetation areas.
The compulsory section: 80 calls from the Species Core list (Birds that may be seen over the whole country) A choice of a minimum of one Biome / vegetation area must be answered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Savanna Biome: 80 calls
  • Montane Grassland: 25 calls
  • Karoo: 15 calls
  • Arid habitat: 20 calls
  • Special regions: ( Namibia: 20 calls (+Core +Arid) / Botswana: 20 calls (+Core +Savanna) Zimbabwe: 30 calls (+Core +Savanna +Forest)/Mozambique: 30 calls (+Core +Savanna +Forest)
 

 
 

 

 


KNOWLEDGE ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE

It is assumed that the candidate being assessed for the FGASA SKS-Birding qualification would already have a FGASA Level 3 nature guiding qualification. Thus it is assumed that the candidate will have a sound knowledge of at least the following topics: astronomy, navigation and orientation, climatology, geology, grasses, trees, arthropods, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, ecology and animal behaviour.
 



PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANYTHING TO THE FGASA OFFICE USING THE POSTAL SYSTEM.  The Gauteng region is striking and we will NOT receive anything you send to us via the post offices.  Please rather make use of postnet.  The FGASA postnet is Fontainebleau.  This is a safer alternative, even for future posting.







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