Contest Rules


Official Rules

Updated 10 October, 2016


The following rules establish the standards and practices under which all Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour team members are expected to participate. All participants should familiarize themselves with Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour Official Rules and comply with them fully in order to achieve a fair competition and acceptable results. Failure to do so will lead to team penalties or disqualification.


  1.    Tour Principles:

1-a:   The Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour is the first of its kind. Its primary purpose is to celebrate and protect Honduras’ bird diversity. We expect healthy competition but emphasize an enjoyable and rich experience for all. We encourage the sharing of sighting information and through that, the enabling of all teams to enjoy the maximum number of sightings for the duration of this tour.

1-b:  The Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour is also a rally for conservation. All teams are competing to raise prizes and awareness for conservation.


2.  Prizes:

First Prize:

1. $10,000 for the Honduras conservation project of team’s choice.  $10,000 for the international conservation project of team leader’s choice.  If desired, both parts may go to one, or separate Honduran conservation projects.  A $1,000 Rockjumper Tours voucher will be awarded to each 1st place team member.

Second Prize (Lodge at Pico Bonito Award):

2. $10,000 for the Honduras conservation project of team’s choice. A $500 Pico Bonito Lodge voucher for each 2nd place team member.

Third Prize (Zeiss Conservation Award):

3. $5,000 for the Honduras conservation project of team’s choice and two pair of binoculars for that project.  A $300 Pico Bonito Lodge voucher for each 3rd place team member.

Fourth Prize (Holbrook Travel Conservation Award):

4.  Holbrook Travel Conservation Prize:  3-night birding package at Selva Verde Lodge, Costa Rica for each team member.

Fifth Prize:

5.  Rio Santiago Nature Resort Conservation Prize:  $300 certificate equal to three nights stay for each team member.

Additional Eagle Optics Conservation Prize:

10 pair of Eagle Optics binoculars for local Honduran guides. (10 eligible recipients are being chosen by an essay contest administered by the Honduran Ornithological Society).


  1.    Team Rules:

3-a:   Teams must consist of at least five and no more than ten (plus tour leader and guide), pre-registered members.

3-b:  Each team must register a team name on sign-up, and teams are 1st come, 1st served.

3-c: All teams must agree to have their leaders’ details pre-publicized on the Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour website.

3-d:  All team members DO NOT need to remain together for the entire period. Team members may leave and re-join the team at any time under the following stipulations:

  • Teams must be comprised of at least 8 team members (plus tour leader and guide) in the field at all times.
  • Each team’s leader must see a bird in order for it to count.
  • Any team members leaving the team for reasons of health or fatigue may rejoin the team during the period without penalizing the team. None of the species they observed while on leave can count towards the team’s final totals.

3-e: Any number of non-birding participants may also join the teams (media, friends etc.) but these participants may not assist the team in any way with the location or identification of birds.


  1. Counting Species:

4-a:  All teams will be issued with official HBCT race check lists and these are to be used throughout the event.

4-b: Each species logged must be either seen or heard and must be conclusively identified by at least 6 of the team members as well as the team leader while in the field.

4-c:  In the event of any tie, the team with the most birds heard will be the deciding factor.   Birds heard and not seen must be heard conclusively by at least 6 of the team members as well as the team leader.

4-d: When in the field, participating team members must stay within ‘hearing distance’ of each other at all times. Hearing distance is unamplified shouting range.

4-e:  Teams are entitled to add species which are not listed on the HBCT checklist.  Any such species will be deemed “write in” species, and will be validated by judges if they are accompanied with “convincing” and adequate documentation (written or photographic or audio).   There should be sufficient space at the end of the HBCT checklist for write-in species.

4-f:  Teams are encouraged to report details of any “write-in” species and any other extraordinary sightings publicly during the race. (For example, Facebook, eBird Mobile app., email, text, etc.)

4-g:  Team checklists (including detailed accounts of all “write in” species) must be submitted BY THE TEAM’S GUIDE to the Judging panel before 9 pm each evening.

4-h: To minimize disturbance to nesting or roosting birds, teams that know the location of such species can only count the observation if all team members observe the bird together and for no longer than five minutes.

4-i: The flushing of birds from nest sites or cavities in order to get an identifiable look is not allowed and will lead to disqualification. 

4-j:    The ethical and responsible use of all playback is permitted throughout the race.  We ask that this be used at a minimum.

4-k:    The use of Cell phones, tablets and GPS devices is allowed.

4-l:   Please practice common sense and respect for birds and nature.   The primary interest of all teams involved is the welfare of the birds and adding another species or two to the list is not worth disturbing the birds or their habitat.


  1.    Timing:

5-a:   The competition portion of this tour begins on November 5, 6:00 AM,  and ends exactly November 12, 12:00 PM, Honduras time. Official, daily birding hours are from 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM, and 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM.

5-b:  To qualify, all teams must check in with the Race Organizers at one pre-designated hour during the day. This is required to enable your team’s progress to be broadcast online via social media, in real time.

5-c:  At each check-in, teams will be expected to share details of their sightings and their locations. Timings for mandatory check-in are 9:00 PM.


  1.    Geographic Area: 

6-a:   Only birds seen within the defined “playing field” can be counted. Details of the playing field itinerary can be found on the HBCT website.


  1.    Travel:

7-a:  Teams may use only vehicles hired for the race and labeled with official tour logos.

7-b:  All teams must abide with Honduras’ driving laws.

7-c:  Tour drivers will be provided and may not affect or alter the route or strategy of the team; their job is strictly to drive!


  1.    Judges:

8-a:   The Judging Panel consists of the following members of the Honduras Ornithology Association. The judging team includes the official country reviewers for the eBird database:

  • Oliver Komar
  • Mayron Mejía
  • John van Dort

8-b: Judges will determine which species reports are acceptable; they will require documentation (written, photographic, or audio) for reports of especially rare or unexpected species.

8-c: The decision of the Judging Panel will be final in all matters.

8-d: All category awards will be announced during the HBCT closing Ceremony, on November 12, 2016.

*These rules are preliminary and may be amended before the actual start of the HBCT event.



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