TN38 Keith Betton and the African Bird Club


An extended conversation with Keith Betton – former Head of corporate affairs at the Association of British Travel Agents, the youngest ever president of the London Natural History Society, former Council member of the RSPB, former chair of the Ornithological Society of the Middle East, current bird recorder for Hampshire, current council member of the BTO, and current Chair of The African Bird Club (ABC). On top of all that, is he also any good at persuading an impecunious podcaster to join the African Bird Club…?

With just over 1200 members the ABC provides information about Africa and supports conservation across the continent. To quote the Chair, the Club is “the place where birders come who love Africa” and through its website and magazines provides a huge resource of images, papers, checklists, and sound-recordings to anyone interested in Africa and its 2500+ species of birds.

Show Notes

Little Bee-eater, Kenya. Photo © Charlie Moores


How good at persuading an impecunious podcaster to part with his cash…? Oh, he’s pretty darn persuasive actually…


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About the author

Passionate about animal welfare and conservation, veggie and dairy-free, I live in the Wiltshire (UK) countryside. I co-founded Birders Against Wildlife Crime and Birds Korea. Trustee of the League against Cruel Sports On Twitter @charliemoores


  1. Keith Betton says:

    Charlie thanks for giving me the opportunity to discuss ABC and African conservation. It was good talking with you – and already today I have had emails from people in several parts of Africa who have listened to it. Also one person signed up and also sponsored another person having heard it – and hopefully more will do the same.

  2. Charlie says:

    Keith, it was a pleasure – my only regret is that I had to edit the podcast down to thirty minutes: I’m sure we could have chatted for hours and not run out of interesting material! And great news that someone (other than me that is!) has been persuaded to join ABC – I certainly gained a real insight into what the Club does and why it’s worth supporting, and hopefully other birders/conservationists etc will do so too.

  3. Hi Keith,
    What a wonderful page! I never knew that you have been in nature related organisations for so long. You are a great man!

    Long live ABC.


  4. A really excellent listen. Both informative and at the same time entertaining. Highlighting some of the huge problems facing people and wildlife both on the continent of Africa and farther north.
    As a birder who lives in the UK and who has visited both west and east Africa I was fascinated to hear about the various projects and aims of the ABC.
    One snippet really caught my attention -
    If you live in Berkshire you might think that some of YOUR garden birds disappear off to Africa for the winter but if you live in west Africa you might equally think YOUR birds disappear off to Europe for the summer.

    Imagine a spring without Swallows, Spotted Flycatchers, Willow Warblers or Cuckoos to name just a few. While they are with us we can help directly by providing suitable nesting sites etc etc but what can we do for them when they leave us in the autumn? Well we can continue to help by supporting the ABC and the people who welcome them home for the winter.

    I shall certainly be blowing the dust off my chequebook and renewing my membership of the African Bird Club. :-)
    Martin Goodey.

  5. Charlie Moores says:

    Herbert – thanks so much for commenting: Keith has indeed been in conservation longer (I suspect) than many listeners will have been alive! A great man for sure.

  6. Jim Lawrence says:

    Anyone who has ever enjoyed birding in Africa or intends making a future trip should listen to this great podcast and find out why they should become a member of the African Bird Club. I listened and became a supporting member right away. It also reminded me that my few amazing trips to Africa – Tunisia, Gambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya have just scratched the surface of this extraordinary continent. My enthusiasm to visit the many other wonderful countries has been renewed and I’m reminded that extraordinary conservation work is being done throughout the continent that needs all of our support.

  7. Charlie says:

    Jim, thanks – and a lovely example of one member of a global conservation organisation recognising another’s work if I may be so bold as to say so (which is of course just how conservation works these days ‘behind the scenes’).
    I’m really excited that this podcast has reached so many people all over the world (and has even got some of them to join the ABC as a result!).

  8. I would really love to be part of the Association.This quote actually makes meaning to all birdwatchers, “the place where birders come who love Africa” Africa is gifted by nature and i have visited some countries that are well known for birding,conservation is the only way to preserve nature at its best.Visit and see rare birds that you make your tour memorable.Keith thanks for the good work and i love the spirit.

  9. Let me know how i can be part of the Association,Keith waiting for your reply.

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