A bibliometric analysis of 44 years of research on birdwatching tourism research: An exploration for emerging insights

A bibliometric analysis of 44 years of research on birdwatching tourism research


  • Alireza Mohammadi Department of Environment Sciences and Engineering, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Jiroft, Iran
  • Amir Alambeigi Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, College of Agricultural Economics and Development, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran
  • Rochelle Steven Conservation Sciences, Harry Butler Institute, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA, 6150, Australia




Avitourism, Birdwatching, Bird conservation, Bibliometric, VOSviewer


   In recent years, birdwatching has become one of the fastest-growing forms of nature-based tourism and is often referred to as avitourism. Birdwatching has a relatively long history, but many research questions and avenues of inquiry remain unexamined. We quantitatively reviewed the literature on birdwatching using VOSviewer version 1.6.16 and the Bibliometrix package for R to assess the growth of the field over time. The results show that a total of 1371 publications have been published on the topic between 1878 and 2022. The annual growth in the number of publications was 2.59% and publications written through international collaboration constituted 20.02% of the total research output. Researchers and commentators in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada were the largest contributors. Our results showed that birdwatching, birding, and citizen science are the motor themes, which means they significantly contribute to the development of the field. Moreover, ecosystem services, cultural ecosystem services, and recreation are emerging themes that require further development. Future studies are expected to focus on fostering avitourism in developing nations through training and collaboration between local and international NGOs. Improvement of local livelihoods and grass-roots organization should be the focus of future efforts given the potential of avitourism as a source of income and incentive for wildlife conservation action.



Beaubien, E. G., & Hamann, A. (2011). Plant phenology networks of citizen scientists: recommendations from two decades of experience in Canada. International Journal of Biometeorology, 55, 833-841.

BirdLife International (2018). State of the world’s birds: taking the pulse of the planet. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife

Bonney, R., Cooper, C. B., Dickinson, J., Kelling, S., Phillips, T., Rosenberg, K. V., & Shirk, J. (2009). Citizen science: a developing tool for expanding science knowledge and scientific literacy. BioScience, 59(11), 977-984.

Bretas, V. P., & Alon, I. (2021). Franchising research on emerging markets: Bibliometric and content analyses. Journal of Business Research, 133, 51-65.

Callon, M., Courtial, J. P., & Laville, F. (1991). Co-word analysis as a tool for describing the network of interactions between basic and technological research: The case of polymer chemsitry. Scientometrics, 22, 155-205.

Chan, K. M., Guerry, A. D., Balvanera, P., Klain, S., Satterfield, T., Basurto, X., ... & Woodside, U. (2012). Where are cultural and social in ecosystem services? A framework for constructive engagement. BioScience, 62(8), 744-756.

Chen, S., Lu, Q., Bai, J., Deng, C., Wang, Y., & Zhao, Y. (2020). Global publications on stigma between 1998–2018: A bibliometric analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 274, 363-371.

Connell, J. (2009). Birdwatching, twitching and tourism: towards an Australian perspective. Australian Geographer, 40(2), 203-217.

Cordeiro, C. M. (2019). A corpus-based approach to understanding market access in fisheries and aquaculture international business research: A systematic literature review. Aquaculture and Fisheries, 4(6), 219-230.

de Camargo Barbosa, K. V., Develey, P. F., Ribeiro, M. C., & Jahn, A. E. (2021). The contribution of citizen science to research on migratory and urban birds in Brazil. Ornithology Research, 29, 1-11.

Dickinson, J. L., Shirk, J., Bonter, D., Bonney, R., Crain, R. L., Martin, J., ... & Purcell, K. (2012). The current state of citizen science as a tool for ecological research and public engagement. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 10(6), 291-297.

Donnelly, A., Crowe, O., Regan, E., Begley, S., & Caffarra, A. (2014). The role of citizen science in monitoring biodiversity in Ireland. International journal of biometeorology, 58, 1237-1249.

García-Lillo, F., Seva-Larrosa, P., & Sánchez-García, E. (2023). What is going on in entrepreneurship research? A bibliometric and SNA analysis. Journal of Business Research, 158, 113624.

Graves, R. A., Pearson, S. M., & Turner, M. G. (2019). Effects of bird community dynamics on the seasonal distribution of cultural ecosystem services. Ambio, 48, 280-292.

Greenwood, J. J. (2007). Citizens, science and bird conservation. Journal of Ornithology, 148(Suppl 1), 77-124.

Hou, D., Bi, X., Mao, Z., Fan, Y., Hu, X., & Li, X. (2019). Biomaterials research of China from 2013 to 2017 based on bibliometrics and visualization analysis. PeerJ, 7, e6859.

Hvenegaard, G. T. (2013). Last chance birding: twitching to see it fi rst or last. In Last Chance Tourism (pp. 89-106). Routledge.

Jiang, M., Huo, Y., Huang, K., & Li, M. (2019). Way forward for straw burning pollution research: a bibliometric analysis during 1972–2016. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 26(14), 13948-13962.

Kutzner, D. (2019). Environmental change, resilience, and adaptation in nature-based tourism: Conceptualizing the social-ecological resilience of birdwatching tour operations. Journal of Sustainable Tourism.

Liu, T., Ma, L., Cheng, L., Hou, Y., & Wen, Y. (2021). Is ecological birdwatching tourism a more effective way to transform the value of ecosystem services?—a case study of birdwatching destinations in Mingxi County, China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(23), 12424.

Matute, J., & Linsen, L. (2022). Evaluating Data‐type Heterogeneity in Interactive Visual Analyses with Parallel Axes. In Computer Graphics Forum (Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 335-349).

Michel, N. L., Whelan, C. J., & Verutes, G. M. (2020). Ecosystem services provided by Neotropical birds. The Condor, 122(3), duaa022.

Neff, M., & Corley, E. (2009). 35 years and 160,000 articles: A bibliometric exploration of the evolution of ecology. Scientometrics, 80(3), 657-682.

Picone, F., Buonocore, E., Chemello, R., Russo, G. F., & Franzese, P. P. (2021). Exploring the development of scientific research on Marine Protected Areas: From conservation to global ocean sustainability. Ecological Informatics, 61, 101200.

Pintassilgo, P., Pinto, P., Costa, A., Matias, A., & Guimarães, M. H. (2021). Environmental attitudes and behaviour of birdwatchers: a missing link. Tourism Recreation Research, 1-20.

Poudel, J., Munn, I. A., & Henderson, J. E. (2017). Economic contributions of wildlife watching recreation expenditures (2006 & 2011) across the US south: An input-output analysis. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 17, 93-99.

Puhakka, L., Salo, M., & Sääksjärvi, I. E. (2011). Bird diversity, birdwatching tourism and conservation in Peru: a geographic analysis. PLoS One, 6(11), e26786.

Riehmann, P., Hanfler, M., & Froehlich, B. (2005, October). Interactive sankey diagrams. In IEEE Symposium on Information Visualization, 2005. INFOVIS 2005. (pp. 233-240). IEEE.

Roig, J. L. (2008). El turismo ornitológico en el marco del postfordismo, una aproximación teórico-conceptual. Cuadernos de turismo, (21), 85-111.

Saggiomo, L., Esattore, B., & Picone, F. (2020). What are we talking about? Sika deer (Cervus nippon): A bibliometric network analysis. Ecological Informatics, 60, 101146.

Schmeller, D. S., HENRY, P. Y., Julliard, R., Gruber, B., Clobert, J., Dziock, F., ... & Henle, K. (2009). Advantages of volunteer‐based biodiversity monitoring in Europe. Conservation biology, 23(2), 307-316.

Şekercioğlu, Ç. H. (2002). Impacts of birdwatching on human and avian communities. Environmental conservation, 29(3), 282-289.

Şekercioğlu, Ç. H. (2003). Conservation through commodification. Birding, 35(4), 394-402.

Steven, R., & Castley, J. G. (2013). Tourism as a threat to critically endangered and endangered birds: global patterns and trends in conservation hotspots. Biodiversity and Conservation, 22(4), 1063-1082.

Steven, R., Castley, J. G., & Buckley, R. (2013). Tourism revenue as a conservation tool for threatened birds in protected areas. PloS one, 8(5), e62598.

Steven, R., Morrison, C., & Castley, J. G. (2015). Birdwatching and avitourism: a global review of research into its participant markets, distribution and impacts, highlighting future research priorities to inform sustainable avitourism management. Journal of sustainable tourism, 23(8-9), 1257-1276.

Su, K., Zhang, H., Lin, L., Hou, Y., & Wen, Y. (2022). Bibliometric analysis of human–wildlife conflict: From conflict to coexistence. Ecological Informatics, 68, 101531.

Van Eck, N. J., & Waltman, L. (2020). VOSviewer manual: Manual for VOSviewer version 1.6. 15. Leiden: Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) of Leiden University.

Van Eck, N., & Waltman, L. (2010). Software survey: VOSviewer, a computer program for bibliometric mapping. scientometrics, 84(2), 523-538.

Verrall, B., & Pickering, C. M. (2020). Alpine vegetation in the context of climate change: A global review of past research and future directions. Science of the Total Environment, 748, 141344.

Wolcott, I., Ingwersen, D., Weston, M. A., & Tzaros, C. (2008). Sustainability of a long-term volunteer-based bird monitoring program: recruitment, retention and attrition. Australian Journal on Volunteering, 13(1), 48-53.

Xiao, Z., Qin, Y., Xu, Z., Antucheviciene, J., & Zavadskas, E. K. (2022). The journal Buildings: A bibliometric analysis (2011–2021). Buildings, 12(1), 37.

Yang, L., & Cao, K. (2022). Cultural Ecosystem Services Research Progress and Future Prospects: A Review. Sustainability, 14(19), 11845.




How to Cite

Mohammadi, A., Alambeigi, A. ., & Steven, R. . (2023). A bibliometric analysis of 44 years of research on birdwatching tourism research: An exploration for emerging insights: A bibliometric analysis of 44 years of research on birdwatching tourism research. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 8(1), 213–232. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10201991