BABBLERS IN THE UK

I started bird watching in 1966, and was soon spending my school holidays travelling by train and bus to birding hotspots on the southern England coast. If someone had told me back then that in 50 years’ time I would be able to go birding in the UK and see five species of babbler, I would have thought they were smoking something. (It was, after all, the ‘swinging sixties’!)

 

Taxonomical developments

 

Half-a-century ago, babblers were exotic species of Africa and Southern Asia. They formed a widely diverse group of garrulous chatterers, living in habitats ranging from dry savannah to high mountain forest. So what has happened since the 1960s? We know climate change is a reality, but it hasn’t (yet) brought swathes of foreign birds to the UK’s shores.

 

Of course, what has changed is our understanding of how species are grouped together in families and how those families are related to one another. Recent DNA testing techniques have shown that falcons are more closely related to woodpeckers than sparrowhawks, that nightjars are near relatives of ducks and swans, and that what we thought of back in the 1960s as ‘warblers’ is a much more diverse group of species than we had imagined.

 

Perusing my 1966 edition of ‘A Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe’ (Peterson, Mountfort, Hollom), I find that back then all warblers were lumped together with flycatchers, thrushes and chats into a sprawling family named ‘Muscicapidae’. This family is still large and diverse today, but warblers and thrushes have long since been separated out. One genus within the 1966 Muscicapidae family was Sylvia. In 1966 there were 12 recognised species in this genus that were regularly present in Europe. Along with a few other species, they were referred to generically by Peterson et al. as ‘scrub warblers’.

 

One of the repositories of latest thinking on bird taxonomy is the IOC World Bird List, which can be found on the website of the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) here. In all that follows I am referring to version 10.1 of the IOC birdlist, published 25th January 2020: Gill F, D Donsker & P Rasmussen  (Eds). 2020. IOC World Bird List (v10.1). doi :  10.14344/IOC.ML.10.1.

 

Babblers

 

Of the 10,770 extant species in the IOC birdlist, 170 have the word ‘Babbler’ or a hyphenated version ‘-babbler’ as part of their English name. They range across 12 families, from Pomatostomidae – Australasian Babblers to the single species Bagobo Babbler, which is in the modern family Muscicapidae – Chats, Old World Flycatchers and most closely related to ‘shortwings’. The largest number (52) are in the aptly named family Timaliidae – Babblers, Scimitar Babblers, but others are in Pellorneidae – Fulvettas, Ground Babblers (44), Leiothrichidae – Laughingthrushes & Allies (32) and Sylviidae – Sylviid Babblers (8).

 

Sylviid Babblers

 

It is this last family, Sylviid Babblers, that most interests me here in the UK, because it contains species I am very familiar with. Eurasian Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat and Dartford Warbler are all members of this family, which studies have shown is more closely related to Laughingthrushes than to family Phylloscopidae – Leaf Warblers & Allies (e.g. Willow Warbler, Common Chiffchaff) and family Acrocephalidae – Reed Warblers & Allies (e.g. Sedge Warbler). Furthermore, these five species and 23 others are members of the genus Sylvia. Hence the name of the family: ‘Sylviid Babblers’. Besides bird species with an English name including ‘Babbler’, there are also within this family 10 species of ‘Fulvetta’ [confusingly, not part of the Fulvettas, Ground Babblers family!] and 21 species of ‘Parrotbill’. Also within Sylviidae is Wrentit, the only member of the family that is resident in the Americas.

 

UK babblers

 

So, we have five species of Sylviid Babbler that you can reasonably expect to see in the UK in one day at certain times of the year. It is likely that many UK-based readers will have at least one of them (Eurasian Blackcap) either in their garden or close by.

 

So, next time you are out birding in the UK or Europe and you hear a male Eurasian Blackcap going at full throttle, or see a Common Whitethroat performing its scratchy song-flight, bear in mind that these birds are more closely related to Fulvous Parrotbill of the Himalayas, or indeed Southern Pied Babbler of southern Africa and White-breasted Babbler of Java, than to that Eurasian Reed Warbler chattering away in the reedbed. And remember – they’re not singing, they’re babbling!

 

More information about these and other bird species can be found in the All the World’s Birds (ATWB) series of Kindle eBooks.

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Some details …

 

Each of the ATWB 2020 Companion Guides has a number of important features, including:

– A complete taxonomic listing of bird species

– An indication of where each bird family and species can be found in its native state

– Spotlighted species that have a restricted regional or worldwide range

 

However, perhaps the key feature of all eBooks in the Companion Guide series is the way you can quickly and simply access relevant, up to date online information about every featured bird species. If your reading device is connected to the internet, a single click will take you to a search results page for a species, from where you can continue to search for additional information to whatever level of detail you desire.

 

The ‘All the World’s Birds’ series of Companion Guides derives its taxonomy, English names and scientific names from The IOC World Bird List, an open access resource maintained by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC). The IOC bird list is hosted on a dedicated World Bird Names website, which provides access to the list in various different formats. The version of the IOC bird list used in the ‘All the World’s Birds 2020’ series of Companion Guides is Version 9.2, published June 22 2019.

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LOCKDOWN BIRDING

During the first 50 days of the coronavirus lockdown in the UK, birders, along with most of the rest of the population, were restricted to staying at home and venturing out just once a day for exercise. That exercise had to be taken within walking or cycling distance from home.

I am fortunate enough to live within easy walking distance of the beach on the UK south coast. Between my home and the shoreline is a large house and grounds now owned by the local council. Part of the grounds is managed as a nature reserve. During lockdown, I walked through the grounds almost every day, turning east or west as the whim took me. Here is a summary of what I found, including a few surprises.

 

Where shall I go today?

 

Although I have been living in my current home for nearly three years, I had only given the nearby nature reserve the most cursory attention, casually spotting birds as my wife and I walked through, or occasionally venturing to the grounds of the large house to ‘stretch my legs’. Under normal circumstances, there are too many other tempting birding destinations within easy reach! What the lockdown effectively did was reduce my options to two: do I turn left (east) and go down a path to explore the eastern undercliff and the beach? Or do I turn right (west) through the nature reserve and descend to the beach that way?

 

The nature reserve

 

The woodland to the west of the large house was originally a common, then part of an enclosed estate, then more recently a radar and communications research facility. When the council acquired the land and designated it as a nature reserve, it was heavily infested with invasive and non-native species, such as rhododendron and holm oak. Fortunately, at ground-level at least, that has long been cleared away to leave a largely deciduous wood of mixed native and non-native trees. The wood is partially dissected by a narrow stream, dammed to form a small pond.

 

Resident birds include Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Moorhen, Tawny Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow; Coal, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits; Goldcrest, Wren, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch. These are augmented in summer by Chiffchaff and Blackcap, when Swallows also regularly swoop overhead, and in winter by one or two Firecrests. From the cliff top you can look out across a broad bay. From here, during lockdown, I would regularly see Great Crested Grebe, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Sandwich Tern, Cormorant and Gannet, plus the occasional passing Oystercatcher.

 

The beach

 

The beach below the nature reserve is not as interesting bird-wise as the stretch to the east of the large house. Here the shrubs on the undercliff are home to Stonechats and House Sparrows, as well as Jackdaws and some of the commoner birds of the nature reserve. Several winters ago these bushes also served as a temporary home for an overwintering Lesser Whitethroat. Turnstones are regular on the beach here throughout the year, and in winter, the groynes attract some Purple Sandpipers, which I re-connected with at the start of lockdown.

 

New birds

 

Since my previous birding in this area had been somewhat sporadic, it is not surprising that I was able to add some new species to my ‘patch list’ during lockdown. These included pairs of Sparrowhawk and Bullfinch in the nature reserve wood, and a Wheatear on a groyne along the eastern beach on 22nd April. Three Whimbrel that flew past the beach that same day, and a single Common Sandpiper on 6th May, were also ‘site ticks’.

 

Lockdown birding magic moments

 

On 22nd April, while I was on the eastern beach, 26 Mediterranean Gull headed east, many just over my head. This was special, but two other moments really stand out for me:

 

The Sparrowhawks I found at the nature reserve are resident in the area and I have often seen them circling in thermals or flying past from my garden. Then, early on Sunday morning, 26th April, the splendid male of the pair took off from a groyne on the eastern beach and flew right past me at knee-level! Definitely an LBMM for me!

 

Two days later, on 28th April, I found two Firecrests feeding together in the reserve. I had previously seen a singleton near the large house, but could these two birds actually be a pair? And could they be looking to breed in the wood? Unfortunately, I am no longer able to hear the high-pitched calls of this species, so have not been able to re-locate them. However, I shall definitely be looking out for these birds during the coming months and seeing whether I can spot any fledglings!

 

……………………………………………………………………………………..

 

The lockdown experience gave me the opportunity to thoroughly explore the ‘patch on my doorstep’. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the falls of migrants I was hoping for – the good weather probably meant they flew straight ‘over the top’ – and the sea-watching proved disappointing (again, no favourable weather conditions). Nevertheless, I mostly enjoyed my ‘daily hour of exercise’ and found a few more species to add to my site list, along with experiencing some good moments to treasure.

 

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NAME THAT BIRD! (Part 4)

The International Ornithological Congress (IOC) established its world bird list to resolve a widespread problem amongst ornithologists worldwide: there were many examples of different bird species having the same English name. Now in its tenth year, the birdlist, which is hosted on the IOC’s World Bird Names website, is currently at Version 10.1.

Since its inception, the birdlist has gradually expanded its role to become a database of consensus about bird species taxonomy. After having posted three times on different aspects of English names in the IOC database, I have decided to turn my attention now to scientific names.

All the posts in this series will be light-hearted and casual, appearing from time-to-time amid my more regular news items. This is the fourth such post (the first three were published in January this year, and in May and October 2019).

 

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In v10.1 of the IOC birdlist there are 10770 extant bird species grouped into 249 families. Within a family there may be one or more further levels of grouped species, the lowest of which is genus (plural genera). The scientific name for a bird species is in two parts: the genus name (e.g. Halcyon) and the species epithet (e.g. senegaloides). Thus bird species 379/3030 Mangrove Kingfisher has the scientific name Halcyon senegaloides.

 

The distinction of having the longest scientific name goes to 511/5014 Crowned Slaty Flycatcher, which has the scientific name Griseotyrannus aurantioatrocristatus (36 characters, including the space). At the other extreme, there are 12 species with a scientific name only 9 characters long. These include 323/2371 Cinnabar Boobook Ninox ios and 463/3846 Scarlet Macaw Ara macao. The other 10 have a genus name and epithet that are both 4 characters in length, including 319/219F Western Barn Owl Tyto alba and 323/2386 Long-eared Owl Asio otus. The remaining 8 have the following scientific names: Mitu mitu, Apus apus, Crex crex, Grus grus, Alle alle, Sula sula, Bubo bubo and Pica pica. These are, respectively: 052/0298 Alagoas Curassow, 351/260Y Common Swift, 201/1255 Corn Crake, 209/1339 Common Crane, 295/168F Little Auk, 142/0844 Red-footed Booby, 323/227F Eurasian Eagle-Owl and 684/6238 Eurasian Magpie. It is interesting to note how many of these are regularly present in Western Europe.

 

In v10.1 of the IOC birdlist there are 2283 genera, of which 4 have a three-letter name: Aix, Ara, Eos and Nok, comprising respectively 2 species of Duck, 8 species of Macaw, 6 species of Lory and 1 species of Bulbul: 764/6640 Bare-faced Bulbul Nok hualon, which is found in n, c Laos. The longest genus name at 18 characters is Sylviorthorhynchus. This is a genus with only one species: 483/4119 Des Murs’s Wiretail Sylviorthorhynchus desmurii, a member of Family: Furnariidae – Ovenbirds resident in c, s Chile and sw Argentina.

 

The species with the longest scientific name compared to its English name is 548/5327 Tui Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae, a species of Honeyeater endemic to New Zealand and nearby islands. This species’ scientific name at 29 characters is 9-and-two-thirds as long as its English name!

 

Looked at the other way round, 379/3078 North Solomons Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx meeki, endemic to n, ec Solomon Islands (including North Solomons), has an English name at 31 characters which is more than three times as long as its scientific name.

 

More information about these and other bird species can be found in the All the World’s Birds (ATWB) series of Kindle eBooks.

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Some details …

 

Each of the ATWB 2020 Companion Guides has a number of important features, including:

– A complete taxonomic listing of bird species

– An indication of where each bird family and species can be found in its native state

– Spotlighted species that have a restricted regional or worldwide range

 

However, perhaps the key feature of all eBooks in the Companion Guide series is the way you can quickly and simply access relevant, up to date online information about every featured bird species. If your reading device is connected to the internet, a single click will take you to a search results page for a species, from where you can continue to search for additional information to whatever level of detail you desire.

 

The ‘All the World’s Birds’ series of Companion Guides derives its taxonomy, English names and scientific names from The IOC World Bird List, an open access resource maintained by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC). The IOC bird list is hosted on a dedicated World Bird Names website, which provides access to the list in various different formats. The version of the IOC bird list used in the ‘All the World’s Birds 2020’ series of Companion Guides is Version 9.2, published June 22 2019.

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SAFE BIRDING DURING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

If you’re lucky enough to live in a part of the world where you are still being encouraged to go outside to take exercise, here are some tips for birding safely. Please note that I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical qualifications. I have simply taken the advice given out by the UK government and applied it to birding. Many of the points below may seem obvious, but one or two might help you to keep even safer and, just as importantly, keep those around you safe.

  • Before you leave your house to go birding WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY. Make sure your hands start off clean and then keep them clean. Why? Because when we use binoculars, we are constantly raising our hands to our face. My view is that it is better to know that your hands are clean, rather than wear gloves, which might become contaminated.
  • Obviously, it goes without saying really .. don’t share binoculars or telescopes!
  • If possible, go birding alone, and engage in social distancing while you are out. If birding with someone who is not a member of your household, travel separately to the birding site and bird ‘side-by-side’ at least a metre, preferably two metres apart. The same applies if you meet another birder while out. When discussing a sighting, talk to the bird, not to each other. Avoid large groups and sitting in hides.
  • Use a spare hat or scarf to open and close gates, then keep those items away from your face and hands. If possible, carry some sanitising liquid with you. Being antibacterial, the liquid won’t kill a virus, but it will help you to cleanse your hands if you inadvertently touch something that might be contaminated. Use the liquid to cleanse your hands before making the return journey home.
  • If you find an unusual bird, think twice before reporting it in the usual way. Am I likely to be the cause of a major twitch? Is there enough open space and a wide enough viewpoint for local birders to share this bird in a safe way?
  • Finally, think twice before travelling to see a reported unusual bird. If there are mass gatherings of birders, governments will move to suppress them. These are difficult and unusual times. Your annual or lifetime birdlist is not the most important thing to be worried about right now.

Keep safe!

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IOC BIRD LIST V10.1 RELEASED

On January 25 2020 the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) released the latest version of its world bird list (V10.1):

Gill, F & D Donsker (Eds). 2020. IOC World Bird List (v 10.1). doi :  10.14344/IOC.ML.10.1.

 

The IOC bird list is hosted on a dedicated World Bird Names website, which provides access to the list in various different formats. The list is updated twice a year, in January and June.

 

The details of the changes in the v10.1 release can be found by clicking on the Updates tab on the IOC website. Here is a summary of the major amendments:

 

New to science

Myzomela Honeyeaters  +1 species  Alor Myzomela

Dicaeum Flowerpeckers  +1 species  Spectacled Flowerpecker

 

Splits

Lophornis Hummingbirds (Coquettes)  +1 species

Numenius Whimbrels  +1 species

Thalasseus Terns  +1 species

Glaucidium and Strix Owls  +2 species

Microptilotis Honeyeaters  +1 species

Prinia Prinias  +3

Phylloscopus Leaf Warblers  +2

Oenanthe Wheatears  +1

 

Lumps

Lophura Pheasants  -1  [Hoogerwerf’s Pheasant]

 

Deletions

Stachyridopsis Babblers  -1  [Deignan’s Babbler]

 

Revision and resequencing of families

The Pternistis genus in Family: Phasianidae – Pheasants & Allies has been revised and resequenced.

Within Order Charadriiformes, single species Family: Dromadidae – Crab-plover has been resequenced to precede Family: Glareolidae – Coursers, Pratincoles.

The Honeyeaters family Meliphagidae has been revised and resequenced.

The Oriolus genus in Family: Oriolidae – Figbirds, Orioles, Turnagra has been revised and resequenced.

The Poecile genus in Family: Paridae – Tits, Chickadees has been revised and resequenced.

 

In the IOC bird list there are now 10770 extant species (net +12) ascribed to 249 families.

 

The changes include:

a) the splitting of Whimbrel into:

274/1530    Eurasian Whimbrel    Numenius phaeopus

274/153E    Hudsonian Whimbrel    Numenius hudsonicus
                  (Americas)

 

b) the splitting of:

286/164T    West African Crested Tern
                  Thalasseus albididorsalis    (w coast of Africa)

from:

286/1648    Royal Tern    Thalasseus maximus    (coasts of Americas)

 

c) the splitting of:

323/229T    Maghreb Owl    Strix mauritanica    (nw Africa)

from:

323/229Y    Tawny Owl    Strix aluco

 

d) the splitting of Black-eared Wheatear into:

907/835F    Western Black-eared Wheatear    Oenanthe hispanica
                  (breeds nw Africa, sw, western sc Europe)

907/835T    Eastern Black-eared Wheatear    Oenanthe melanoleuca
                  (breeds eastern sc, se Europe, se WP)

 

All the v10.1 changes will be reflected in the 2021 editions of the ATWB Companion Guides. These editions will be released commencing August 2020, after publication of the next version (v10.2) of the IOC bird list.

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Some details …

 

Each of the ATWB 2020 Companion Guides has a number of important features, including:

– A complete taxonomic listing of bird species

– An indication of where each bird family and species can be found in its native state

– Spotlighted species that have a restricted regional or worldwide range

 

However, perhaps the key feature of all eBooks in the Companion Guide series is the way you can quickly and simply access relevant, up to date online information about every featured bird species. If your reading device is connected to the internet, a single click will take you to a search results page for a species, from where you can continue to search for additional information to whatever level of detail you desire.

 

The ‘All the World’s Birds’ series of Companion Guides derives its taxonomy, English names and scientific names from The IOC World Bird List, an open access resource maintained by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC). The IOC bird list is hosted on a dedicated World Bird Names website, which provides access to the list in various different formats. The version of the IOC bird list used in the ‘All the World’s Birds 2020’ series of Companion Guides is Version 9.2, published June 22 2019.

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KEEP IN TOUCH

Sign up to this blog to be informed about releases of new titles in the All the World’s Birds Companion Guide series, and of developments in the IOC bird list.

NAME THAT BIRD! (Part 3)

The International Ornithological Congress (IOC) established its world bird list to resolve a widespread problem amongst ornithologists worldwide: there were many examples of different bird species having the same English name. Now in its tenth year, the birdlist, which is hosted on the IOC’s World Bird Names website, is currently at Version 9.2 and is shortly to be up-issued to Version 10.1.

Since its inception, the birdlist has gradually expanded its role to become a database of consensus about bird species taxonomy. However, I thought it would be appropriate to write a series of blog posts about the English names in the database, to recognise the IOC’s contribution to this particular aspect of ornithology.

The posts will be light-hearted and casual, appearing from time-to-time amid my more regular news items. This is the third such post (the first two were published in May and October last year).

 

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In v9.2 of the IOC birdlist there are 10758 extant bird species. 150 of those have a single-word English name.

1940 other species have an English name that has a unique primary epithet. This is the first part of the English name that describes the species in a way that distinguishes it from other, similar species.

Many of these unique primary epithets are derived from the names of people, such as Dunn’s Lark, Ansorge’s Greenbul and Goldman’s Warbler. There are no other species in the IOC birdlist that have an English name derived from Messrs Dunn, Ansorge and Goldman.

Other unique primary epithets are geographical in nature. For example, Assam Laughingthrush is the only bird species named after the state of Assam in north-east India. Guadeloupe Woodpecker is endemic to the French overseas region of Guadeloupe in the eastern Caribbean and is the only species to have this primary epithet as part of its English name. Just one species, Java Sparrow, has the primary epithet ‘Java’, named after the island in south-west Indonesia (although there are 23 other species with English names beginning with ‘Javan’, such as Javan Cuckooshrike and Javan Sunbird).

The most fascinating unique primary epithets are those that refer to a physical characteristic of the bird species.

Surprisingly, only one bird species is thought to be notable because of its grey legs – the Grey-legged Tinamou of north-western South America. And only one species is described as being both red and yellow – the Red-and-yellow Barbet of eastern Africa. Here are a few more colour-based uniques:

Blood-colored, Red-stained and Red-cockaded – all Woodpeckers; Vinaceous-breasted and Red-spectacled Amazon parrots; Red-vested Myzomela – a species of Honeyeater; Cream-eyed, Cream-striped and Cream-vented Bulbul; Cream-browed, Cream-throated, Ashy-bellied, Pearl-bellied, Black-ringed and Yellow-ringed – all White-eyes.

Unique primary epithets that refer to a bird’s appearance include Small-headed Elaenia, Crow-billed and Hair-crested Drongo, Spike-heeled and Short-clawed Lark, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Hairy-crested (not Hair-crested) Antbird and Hairy-backed Bulbul.

Some unique primary epithets refer to a bird’s behaviour, as in Terrestrial Bulbul, Ant-eating Chat and Rock-loving Cisticola, while others describe their song – Chirruping and Chiming Wedgebills, for example, and Monotonous Lark (not very complimentary!).

But species don’t need to be exotic or restricted to a small range to have a unique primary epithet. There is just one Long-eared bird species and one Short-eared species – yes, those Owls that are familiar to many of us!

So how many bird species in your lifetime list, I wonder, have a unique primary epithet?

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Some details …

 

Each of the ATWB 2020 Companion Guides has a number of important features, including:

– A complete taxonomic listing of bird species

– An indication of where each bird family and species can be found in its native state

– Spotlighted species that have a restricted regional or worldwide range

 

However, perhaps the key feature of all eBooks in the Companion Guide series is the way you can quickly and simply access relevant, up to date online information about every featured bird species. If your reading device is connected to the internet, a single click will take you to a search results page for a species, from where you can continue to search for additional information to whatever level of detail you desire.

 

The ‘All the World’s Birds’ series of Companion Guides derives its taxonomy, English names and scientific names from The IOC World Bird List, an open access resource maintained by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC). The IOC bird list is hosted on a dedicated World Bird Names website, which provides access to the list in various different formats. The version of the IOC bird list used in the ‘All the World’s Birds 2020’ series of Companion Guides is Version 9.2, published June 22 2019.

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KEEP IN TOUCH

Sign up to this blog to be informed about releases of new titles in the All the World’s Birds Companion Guide series, and of developments in the IOC bird list.

10 NEW INTERACTIVE CHECKLISTS

This month (November 2019) ten new Interactive Checklists have been published in the ‘All the World’s Birds’ series of Companion Guides, bringing the total number of ATWB titles that are complete and available for download to 42. (This number has doubled since October 2018.)

 

One of the major challenges facing birders when visiting an unfamiliar part of the world is working out which species they have a chance of connecting with during their visit. Traditional regional field guides, of course, are indispensable, but they have a number of shortcomings:

  • they are published and updated infrequently, meaning they cannot provide the latest information about species, regional distribution etc
  • they are generally inclusive, meaning they describe every bird species that has been recorded in the region, leaving the reader to sift through the vagrants, casuals and irruptive species that visiting birders are a lot less likely to encounter

To save birdwatchers the trouble of trawling through online information to supplement the details in their regional field guides, the All the World’s Birds (ATWB) Companion Guides series of Interactive Checklists is here to help. Over time, this series of eBooks will provide a library of up to date listings for areas of the world that are popular with birders. Already there are 17 Interactive Checklists to choose from covering areas of Indian Subcontinent and Wallacea, and now South-east Asia and North-west South America.

All of the ATWB 2020 series of Interactive Checklists embrace the latest taxonomy, including the recent major re-sequencing of Non-Passerine families.

 

To see all the currently available titles in the ‘All the World’s Birds’ Interactive Checklist series, search in the Books section of your local Amazon site for ATWBICOr, click here to see all ATWBIC titles on Amazon USor here to see all ATWBIC titles on Amazon UK.

 

The ten new eBooks in the ATWB INTERACTIVE CHECKLIST series are:

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist
NON-PENINSULAR MYANMAR

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist
ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist
PENINSULAR MALAYSIA

Click here to see the above three titles on Amazon US; or here to see them on Amazon UK. [You may need to click again if Amazon interprets your search incorrectly.]

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist
WESTERN LOWLAND ECUADOR

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist
ANDEAN ECUADOR

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist
AMAZONIAN ECUADOR

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist
WESTERN LOWLAND PERU

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist
ANDEAN PERU

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist
AMAZONIAN PERU

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist
GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS

Click here to see the above seven titles on Amazon US; or here to see them on Amazon UK. [You may need to click again if Amazon interprets your search incorrectly.]

 

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Some details …

 

Each ATWB Companion Guide deals with the birds to be found in a particular PART of the IOC bird list; a WORLD REGION or sub-region; or an area of the world popular with birders (e.g. North-east India).  All have a number of important features, including:

– A complete taxonomic listing of bird species

– An indication of where in each region each bird family and species can be found in its native state

– Spotlighted species that have a restricted regional or worldwide range

 

However, perhaps the key feature of all eBooks in the Companion Guide series is the way you can quickly and simply access relevant, up to date online information about every featured bird species. If your reading device is connected to the internet, a single click will take you to a search results page for a species, from where you can continue to search for additional information to whatever level of detail you desire.

 

The ‘All the World’s Birds’ series of Companion Guides derives its taxonomy, English names and scientific names from The IOC World Bird List, an open access resource maintained by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC). The IOC bird list is hosted on a dedicated World Bird Names website, which provides access to the list in various different formats. The version of the IOC bird list used in the ‘All the World’s Birds 2020’ series of Companion Guides is Version 9.2, published June 22 2019.

 

To see all the currently available titles in the ‘All the World’s Birds’ series, search in the Books section of your local Amazon site for ATWBOr, click here to see all ATWB titles on Amazon USor here to see all ATWB titles on Amazon UK.

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KEEP IN TOUCH

Sign up to this blog to be informed about releases of new titles in the All the World’s Birds Companion Guide series, and of developments in the IOC bird list.

NAME THAT BIRD! (Part 2)

The International Ornithological Congress (IOC) established its world bird list to resolve a widespread problem amongst ornithologists worldwide: there were many examples of different bird species having the same English name. Now in its ninth year, the birdlist, which is hosted on the IOC’s World Bird Names website, is currently at Version 9.2.

Since its inception, the birdlist has gradually expanded its role to become a database of consensus about bird species taxonomy. However, I thought it would be appropriate to write a series of blog posts about the English names in the database, to recognise the IOC’s contribution to this particular aspect of ornithology.

The posts will be light-hearted and casual, appearing from time-to-time amid my more regular news items. This is the second such post (the first was published on 31st May this year).

 

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In v9.2 of the IOC bird list there are 10758 extant bird species.

150 species have an English name that consists of just one word. The shortest names are just 3 letters in length:

005/0076  Emu  Dromaius novaehollandiae of Australia

454/3691  Kea  Nestor notabilis, a New Zealand Parrot of southern New Zealand

and two Honeyeaters:

548/5327  Tui  Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae of New Zealand mainland, Kermadec, Chatham, Auckland islands

548/543Y  Mao   Gymnomyza aubryana of the Samoan islands

 

There are eight species with a single word name of 4 letters:

042/0119    Nene    Branta sandvicensis    (Hawaii)

042/0224    Smew    Mergellus albellus    (Western Palearctic, Asia)

201/127F    Sora    Porzana carolina    (Americas)

274/1571    Ruff    Calidris pugnax    (worldwide)

185/1180    Kagu    Rhynochetos jubatus    (New Caledonia)

684/6262    Rook    Corvus frugilegus    (Western Palearctic, Asia)

900/8012    Omao    Myadestes obscurus    (Hawaii)

900/903F    Iiwi    Drepanis coccinea    (Hawaii)

 

The bird species with the longest single-word English name is:

339/2466    Chuck-will’s-widow   Antrostomus carolinensis, a Nightjar of the Americas.

 

8822 species have an English name consisting of two words, and there are 1729 species with three words in their English name.

This leaves just 57 species having a four-word English name (none has more than four words).

 

The bird species with the longest English name (35 characters, including spaces) is:

925/8520    Prigogine’s Double-collared Sunbird   Cinnyris prigoginei,

a local endemic found only in south-east Democratic Republic of the Congo. Note that this name has three words (one of which is hyphenated).

 

The longest two-word English name comes in at 33 characters (including the blank space):

616/5571    Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher    Bias musicus,

which is a member of the Vangas & Allies family resident in western, central and eastern Africa.

 

There are 7 species with three-word English names of 33 characters (none has 34 characters).

27 species have English names of 32 characters.

32 species have English names of 31 characters. The longest four-word names appear in this list:

379/3078    North Solomons Dwarf Kingfisher   Ceyx meeki

700/631F    King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise   Pteridophora alberti

804/6979    Northern Marquesan Reed Warbler   Acrocephalus percernis

804/697Y    Southern Marquesan Reed Warbler   Acrocephalus mendanae

 

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Some details …

 

Each of the ATWB 2020 Companion Guides has a number of important features, including:

– A complete taxonomic listing of bird species

– An indication of where each bird family and species can be found in its native state

– Spotlighted species that have a restricted regional or worldwide range

 

However, perhaps the key feature of all eBooks in the Companion Guide series is the way you can quickly and simply access relevant, up to date online information about every featured bird species. If your reading device is connected to the internet, a single click will take you to a search results page for a species, from where you can continue to search for additional information to whatever level of detail you desire.

 

The ‘All the World’s Birds’ series of Companion Guides derives its taxonomy, English names and scientific names from The IOC World Bird List, an open access resource maintained by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC). The IOC bird list is hosted on a dedicated World Bird Names website, which provides access to the list in various different formats. The version of the IOC bird list used in the ‘All the World’s Birds 2020’ series of Companion Guides is Version 9.2, published June 22 2019.

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KEEP IN TOUCH

Sign up to this blog to be informed about releases of new titles in the All the World’s Birds Companion Guide series, and of developments in the IOC bird list.

ALL THE WORLD’S BIRDS 2020 TITLES

I am pleased to announce that all 30 titles in the 2019 editions of the ‘All the World’s Birds’ series of Companion Guides have been updated to 2020 editions and are available to be downloaded to Kindle reading devices.

In addition, two new titles have been introduced – PART ELEVEN of the PART-BY-PART Series and the third volume of the Focus On … NORTH-WEST SOUTH AMERICA titles.

The ‘All the World’s Birds’ series of Companion Guides derives its taxonomy, English names and scientific names from The IOC World Bird List, an open access resource maintained by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC). The IOC bird list is hosted on a dedicated World Bird Names website, which provides access to the list in various different formats. The version of the IOC bird list used in the ‘All the World’s Birds 2020’ series of Companion Guides is Version 9.2, published June 22 2019. This includes a major revision to the sequencing of Non-Passerine Orders, which is reflected in the contents of the ATWB 2020 titles.

To view the new sequence of Non-Passerine families click here: http://bit.ly/NonPns.

To see all the currently available titles in the ‘All the World’s Birds’ series, search in the Books section of your local Amazon site for ATWBOr, click here to see all ATWB titles on Amazon USor here to see all ATWB titles on Amazon UK.

[Note: There is currently a technical problem with the search engine on Amazon.co.uk. One title – see below – does not appear in search results on this UK platform.]

The following eBooks are now available:

PART-BY-PART companion guides (search Books for ATWBPP):

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – PART ONE
OSTRICHES to HUMMINGBIRDS

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – PART TWO
TURACOS to FLAMINGOS

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – PART THREE
BUTTONQUAIL to HOATZIN

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – PART FOUR
NEW WORLD VULTURES to BEE-EATERS

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – PART FIVE
JACAMARS to OLD WORLD PARROTS

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – PART SIX
NEW ZEALAND WRENS to TYRANT FLYCATCHERS, CALYPTURA

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – PART SEVEN
COTINGAS to WHISTLERS & ALLIES

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – PART ELEVEN
DIPPERS to FINCHES, EUPHONIAS   NEW!

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – PART TWELVE
LONGSPURS, SNOW BUNTINGS to TANAGERS & ALLIES

 

WORLD REGION guides (search Books for ATWBWR):

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – OCEANS

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – WESTERN PALEARCTIC

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – SOUTH AMERICA/MIDDLE AMERICA
VOLUME 1: NON-PASSERINES

[Technical problem: to find the above title on Amazon.co.uk click on this link: http://bit.ly/ATWB20wr3uk]

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – SOUTH AMERICA/MIDDLE AMERICA
VOLUME 2: SUBOSCINE PASSERINES

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – SOUTH AMERICA/MIDDLE AMERICA
VOLUME 3: OSCINE PASSERINES

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – AUSTRALASIA
VOLUME 1: NON-PASSERINES

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide – AUSTRALASIA
VOLUME 2: PASSERINES

 

FOCUS ON guides (search Books for ATWBFO):

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide  Focus on INDIAN SUBCONTINENT
VOLUME 1: NON-PASSERINES

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide  Focus on INDIAN SUBCONTINENT
VOLUME 2: PASSERINES

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide  Focus on SOUTH-EAST ASIA
VOLUME 1: NON-PASSERINES

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide  Focus on SOUTH-EAST ASIA
VOLUME 2: PASSERINES

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide  Focus on NORTH-WEST SOUTH AMERICA
VOLUME 1: NON-PASSERINES

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide  Focus on NORTH-WEST SOUTH AMERICA
VOLUME 2: SUBOSCINE PASSERINES

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide  Focus on NORTH-WEST SOUTH AMERICA
VOLUME 3: OSCINE PASSERINES   NEW!

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide  Focus on WALLACEA
VOLUME 1: NON-PASSERINES

All the World’s Birds 2020: A Companion Guide  Focus on WALLACEA
VOLUME 2: PASSERINES

 

INTERACTIVE CHECKLISTS (search Books for ATWBIC):

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist   SRI LANKA

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist   SOUTH-WEST INDIA

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist   NORTH CENTRAL INDIA

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist   NORTH-EAST INDIA

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist   SULAWESI

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist   MOLUCCAS

All the World’s Birds 2020: Interactive Checklist   NUSA TENGGARA

 

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Some details …

 

Each of the ATWB Companion Guides has a number of important features, including:

– A complete taxonomic listing of bird species

– An indication of where each bird family and species can be found in its native state

– Spotlighted species that have a restricted regional or worldwide range

 

However, perhaps the key feature of all eBooks in the Companion Guide series is the way you can quickly and simply access relevant, up to date online information about every featured bird species. If your reading device is connected to the internet, a single click will take you to a search results page for a species, from where you can continue to search for additional information to whatever level of detail you desire.

 

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THINK YOU KNOW YOUR BIRDS?

Try the ATWB BIRDQUIZ at http://bit.ly/ATWBbq.

 

KEEP IN TOUCH

Sign up to this blog to be informed about releases of new titles in the All the World’s Birds Companion Guide series, and of developments in the IOC bird list.

MAJOR SHAKE-UP OF NON-PASSERINES

On June 22 2019 the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) released the latest version of its world bird list (v 9.2):

Gill, F & D Donsker (Eds). 2019. IOC World Bird List (v 9.2). doi :  10.14344/IOC.ML.9.2.

The IOC bird list is hosted on a dedicated World Bird Names website, which provides access to the list in various different formats. The list is updated twice a year, in January and June.

The Non-Passerine Orders of bird families have been resequenced in release v 9.2 of the IOC birdlist. Here is an overview:

At the top of the list, the Paleognathae taxon of orders (Ostriches to Tinamous) remains unchanged.

At the foot of the Non-Passerines list, PICIFORMES to PSITTACIFORMES (Jacamars to Old World Parrots) remains unchanged, except for the inclusion of CARIAMIFORMES (Seriemas).

Between these two markers there has been a major upheaval, with APODIFORMES (for example), which includes Swifts and Hummingbirds, now considered to be evolved from a much older lineage, while ACCIPTRIFORMES (Vultures, Eagles, Buzzards etc.) and STRIGIFORMES (Owls) have been moved down the list as being more recently evolved Non-Passerine bird families.

One way to see the effect of these changes is to download one of the v 9.2 spreadsheets from the IOC website and set up a filter on the Rank column. Then remove the subspecies, species and genus rows from this filter to leave just taxons, orders and families.

OR … you can view a summary of the new sequence of Non-Passerine orders on the ATWB website by clicking here.

 

The details of other changes in the v 9.2 release can be found by clicking on the Updates tab on the IOC website. Here is a summary of the major amendments:

 

New to science

Oreotrochilus Hummingbirds  +1 species  Blue-throated Hillstar

Pycnonotus Bulbuls  +1 species  Cream-eyed Bulbul

 

Splits

Melanitta Ducks (Scoters)  +1 species

Cypsiurus Swifts  +1 species

Oreotrochilus Hummingbirds (Hillstars) +1 species

Gelochelidon Terns  +1 species

Coracias Rollers  +1 species

Xiphorhynchus Ovenbirds (Woodcreepers)  +1

Elaenia Tyrant Flycatchers (Elaenias)  +1

Pachycephala Whistlers +1 and Colluricincla Shrikethrushes  +6

Zosterops White-eyes  +2

Polioptila Gnatcatchers  +1

Turdus Thrushes  +2

Cyornis Blue Flycatchers  +2

Anthus Pipits  +1

 

Deletions

Schoutedenapus Swift  -1  [Schouteden’s Swift]

 

Lumps

Falco Falcons  -1  [Barbary Falcon]

Epinecrophylla Antwrens  -2  [Napo Stipple-throated Antwren, Yasuni Antwren]

 

Revision and resequencing of families

The Eurylaimidae family (Broadbills) has been revised, resequenced and split into three:

Family: Eurylaimidae – Typical Broadbills

Family: Philepittidae – Asities [e Madagascar]

Family: Calyptomenidae – African and Green Broadbills

The Australasian Robins family Petroicidae has been revised and resequenced.

Crested Shriketit, formerly ascribed to family Pachycephalidae (Whistlers & Allies) has been moved to a new monospecific family Falcunculidae.

The Incertae Sedis grouping of three unplaced African species has been resolved. One species [Grauer’s Warbler] has been ascribed to family Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers & Allies), with the remaining two species forming a new family Hyliidae (Hylias).

 

In the IOC bird list there are now 10758 extant species (net +20) ascribed to 249 families.

 

All these changes will be reflected in the 2020 editions of the ATWB Companion Guides. These editions will start to be released during August 2019.

To see all the currently available titles in the ‘All the World’s Birds’ series, search in the Books section of your local Amazon site for ATWBOr, click here to see all ATWB titles on Amazon USor here to see all ATWB titles on Amazon UK.

*********************************************************************************

Some details …

 

Each of the ATWB Companion Guides has a number of important features, including:

– A complete taxonomic listing of bird species

– An indication of where each bird family and species can be found in its native state

– Spotlighted species that have a restricted regional or worldwide range

 

However, perhaps the key feature of all eBooks in the Companion Guide series is the way you can quickly and simply access relevant, up to date online information about every featured bird species. If your reading device is connected to the internet, a single click will take you to a search results page for a species, from where you can continue to search for additional information to whatever level of detail you desire.

 

The ‘All the World’s Birds’ series of Companion Guides derives its taxonomy, English names and scientific names from The IOC World Bird List, an open access resource maintained by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC). The IOC bird list is hosted on a dedicated World Bird Names website, which provides access to the list in various different formats. The version of the IOC bird list used in the ‘All the World’s Birds 2019’ series of Companion Guides is Version 8.2, published June 27 2018.

***************************

 

KEEP IN TOUCH

Sign up to this blog to be informed about releases of new titles in the All the World’s Birds Companion Guide series, and of developments in the IOC bird list.

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