Mya-Rose Craig: Birdgirl

19-year-old Dr Mya-Rose Craig (UK) loves birdwatching. It’s been her passion since she was a tiny toddler. 👧🦜️

Mya-Rose has travelled to all seven continents in the hopes of spotting rare birds, but in 2020, she journeyed to the Arctic for a different reason: to draw the world's attention to the climate crisis.

Early bird 🐤

There are more than 10,000 species of bird around the world. Trying to find them all would take one person a lifetime. 

Luckily, Mya – also known as Birdgirl –  started birdwatching early and hasn't stopped since. 👧

Mya-Rose’s parents took her on her first birdwatching outing when she was just nine days old. She's been on an epic journey of bird discovery ever since! 🐦🐧🐥

I came up with the name Birdgirl when I was eight… I was going birding in Ecuador and needed an email address. It just stuck after that!

- Mya-Rose Craig

mya-rose-craig-africa-south-africa-june-2006With her dad, Chris, and big sister, Ayesha, on a birding trip in South Africa
Mya-Rose-Craig-Brown-Bluff-Antarctica-in-dec-2015Can you spot the penguins?

Birdgirl takes off

  • Age 3: Mya-Rose was keeping a record of the birds she had observed in the wild. 📖
  • Age 11: She began the Birdgirl blog. It was a place for Mya to share her latest sightings and photos from the field, as well as discuss environmental issues. 💻
  • Age 13: Mya saw and recorded her 5,000th bird species, while trekking through the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. 🦅

It takes some people their whole life to achieve that!

I had been trying to see [a harpy eagle] since I was eight years old and so was over the moon to see one, sitting in a huge tree just above me. They are the tallest eagle in the world, live off monkeys, and could have swept me away!

- Mya-Rose Craig

On her first visit to the Antarctic, she became the youngest person to birdwatch on every continent, aged 13 years 234 days

Here are some of the birds Mya saw on her first birding adventures on each of the seven continents:

1. Europe (Somerset, UK) - European robin & Great tit

2. Africa (Cape Town, South Africa) - Cape bulbul & rufous-breasted sparrowhawk

3. Asia (Bangladesh) - Bronze-winged jacana & Asian openbill stork 

4. South America (Ecuador) - Andean condor & Foothill screech owl

5. North America (Georgia, USA) - Pileated woodpecker & Carolina chickadee

6. Oceania (Queensland, Australia)- Wedge-tailed shearwater & Fairy prion

7. Antarctica (Brown Bluff, Antarctic Peninsula) - Emperor penguin (largest species of penguin)

Mya's fave birds

Mya-Rose has seen thousands of birds, but the record-breaking birds stand out the most to her: “When I was eight years old, I saw a sword-billed hummingbird in Ecuador, which has a bill longer than its body!” 

With its beak reaching up to 10.2 cm (4 in) long, this is the longest beak relative to body size in the animal kingdom.

However, Mya's absolute favourite bird is the Southern cassowary (pictured left)

My favourite bird is the southern cassowary from Australia [and south-east Asia]. They are around 6 ft [1.8 m] tall, look like a dinosaur and can kill with one kick!

- Mya-Rose Craig


Wannabe birdwatchers: just do it! 👀

Even though she has seen thousands of birds, Mya has no plans of stopping until she reaches her goal. Just like Pokémon, she’s gotta see ‘em all! (she can’t catch them, that wouldn’t be very nice.)

She wants to visit Papua New Guinea to see the birds of paradise soon. 🦚️🦜️

Mya-Rose’s advice to anyone who also wants to watch birds is: “Just have a go.” 

You don’t need any special equipment, just look into the sky and see what’s there. Going out with a friend or family is safer and more fun too.

- Mya-Rose Craig


Mya-Rose Craig staging the most northerly climate protest

Arctic Protest ❄️

Mya-Rose’s love of nature has made her determined to do all she can to protect it.

Her environmental activism has led her to the ends of the Earth, quite literally, and also to another incredible record.

In September 2020, she embarked on a voyage to the Arctic  to draw attention to the rapid melting of sea-ice. 🌊

She was dropped off on one of the many fragments of floating ice in the Arctic Ocean that once would have been part of a huge, solid ice-sheet. 🧊🧊

Mya-Rose staged the most northerly climate protest, waving her banner at a latitude of 82.4° N. 🙋‍♀️

As I stepped out on to the ice floe, I was really excited but also water was flowing fast under the ice and I could hear [it] cracking as it melted. I was sitting on the ice for several hours and so felt pretty cold [by the end].

- Mya-Rose Craig

"I am really proud to be listed in the Guinness World Records book. It’s such an honour and hugely important to have my trip to the Arctic highlighted, so that more people hear about the important issues behind it…"

The idea of spotting all the world’s birds might seem crazy, but if anyone can do it, Birdgirl can.

Dr Mya-Rose Craig appears in Guinness World Records 2022 as part of our Hall of Fame.

Find out more about GWR 2022