This page provides links to resources compiled by the project, Climate Change Impacts on the Conservation of Birds in Asia, which can be used to map and model the distributions of species in the Eastern Himalaya, Lower Mekong and other regions of Asia.

Ornithological literature

Threatened birds of Asia: the Birdlife International Red Data Book – Published by the BirdLife International Asia Partnership in 2001, this book includes comprehensive information on more than 300 globally threatened bird species in Asia. There are distribution maps for 308 species, pinpointing every locality where they had been recorded. Spreadsheets of the point locality records that were used to plot the maps can be downloaded from the Threatened birds of Asia website.

OWL - Ornithological Worldwide Literature is a compilation of citations and abstracts from the worldwide scientific literature that relate to the science of ornithology.  A major attraction is its coverage of the ‘grey’ literature, which are not abstracted by commercial databases such as Zoological Record or the Science Citation Index.

SORA - The Searchable Ornithological Research Archive project is an open access electronic journal archive which provides access to an extensive ornithological literature of international scope.

CORE – COnnecting REpositories is a search engine allowing academics, students and the general public to navigate papers held in the UK’s open-access repositories.

BHL – The Biodiversity Heritage Library is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections. BHL also serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopaedia of Life (EOL).

AVIS  - The Avian Information System of India is an internet-based resource devoted to Indian Birds, which aims to disseminate comprehensive information on the biology of Indian Birds, encourage their observation to study their natural history and ecology, gather population and distributional data in a centralised database, and spread awareness about their conservation.

JBNHS – The Journal of Bombay Natural History Society has been published by BNHS since 1886. It includes numerous papers on the distribution of birds in the Indian Subcontinent. A DVD containing the first 100 volumes of the journal is available from BNHS.

Forktail, OBC Bulletin and BirdingAsia – The journal and bulletin of the Oriental Bird Club (OBC) include numerous papers on the distribution of birds in eastern Asia, and are a rich source of recent point locality records.

Atlas of the distribution of Palearctic birds – Since 1960, the Atlas of the distribution of Palearctic birds project has published 20 issues that map the ranges of a total of 226 species. The aim of this atlas project is to delimit distributional boundaries of Palearctic bird species as accurately as possible.

Indian Birds – provides a platform to birdwatchers for publishing notes and observations primarily on the birds of South Asia.

Kukila – the journal of Indonesian ornithology, publishes new information on the biology (e.g. ecology or behaviour) or status of particular bird species, or on the avifauna of a poorly-known region of Indonesia. Around the Archipelago presents recent Indonesian records of bird species that are poorly known or rarely observed, as well as breeding records and records of recapture or recovery of birds banded or re-trapped in Indonesia.

Newsletter for birdwatchers – is a popular publication amongst the birdwatchers of India and abroad, that publishes articles on observations of individual species and the avifauna of particular sites.

Asia Journals Online – is a portal to scholarly journals published in Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Biodiversity databases

GBIF – The Global Biodiversity Information Facility was established by governments and other participants to promote and facilitate the mobilization, access, discovery and use of information about the occurrence of organisms over time and across the planet. It encourages free and open access to biodiversity data, via the GBIF Data Portal, including the collecting locality data from large numbers of museum specimens.

Avibase – is an extensive database information system about all birds of the world, containing over five million records about 10,000 species and 22,000 subspecies of birds, including distribution information.

EOL – The Encyclopaedia of Life aims to provide global access to knowledge about the many life-forms on Earth, from books, journals, databases, websites, specimen collections, and in the minds of people everywhere.

BirdLife Data Zone – BirdLife International is the IUCN Red List authority for birds, and information about the conservation status of threatened bird species worldwide can be obtained from the BirdLife Data Zone. Distribution maps of all 10,000+ bird species in the world can be downloaded from here.

IUCN Red List – The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species. Information about the conservation status of threatened species worldwide can be obtained from the Red List website.

IBC – The Internet Bird Collection includes large numbers of bird videos, photographs and sound recordings worldwide.

Oriental Bird Images – this database has been created by the Oriental Bird Club (OBC) to bring together photographs of as many bird species from the Oriental Region as possible. Detailed locality information is available for many of the bird photographs.

ENVIS Centre on Avian Ecology – Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is the Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre on Avian Ecology on behalf of the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Back issues of the journal Buceros and several bird databases can be downloaded from the ENVIS Centre on Avian Ecology website.

Indian National Wildlife Database – The National Wildlife Database (NWD) of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) provides information on the conservation status of animal species, biogeographic regions, administrative units, habitat types and the network of protected areas in India, and also provides extensive bibliographic support for wildlife research.

Birdwatcher reports

The trip reports prepared by travelling birdwatchers are a source of recent point locality records of birds. The following websites include links to many birdwatcher reports covering Asia and other regions of the world.



Travelling birder



Birds of India

Birds Indonesia


Conservation regions

EBAs – BirdLife International identified Endemic Bird Areas worldwide by analysing the distributions of restricted-range bird species (defined as restricted to an area of <50,000 km2). Information about EBAs and the restricted-range species they support can be downloaded from here.

Ecoregions – The WWF Conservation Science Program has identified 825 terrestrial ecoregions, 426 freshwater ecoregions and (in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy) 229 coast and shelf marine ecoregions.  An ecoregion is defined as a large area of land or water that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities that (a) share a large majority of their species and ecological dynamics; (b) share similar environmental conditions, and (c) interact ecologically in ways that are critical for their long-term persistence.

Biodiversity Hotspots – Conservation International has identified 34 biodiversity hotspots, each holding at least 1,500 endemic plant species, and having lost at least 70% of its original habitat extent. Between them, the hotspots hold at least 150,000 plant species as endemics, 50% of the world’s total. The total number of terrestrial vertebrates endemic to the hotspots is 11,980, representing 42% of all terrestrial vertebrate species.

IBAs – BirdLife’s Important Bird Areas Programme aims to identify, monitor and protect a global network of the most important sites for the conservation of the world’s birds and other biodiversity. BirdLife Partners take responsibility for the IBA Programme nationally, with the BirdLife Secretariat taking the lead on international aspects and in non-Partner countries. Information on IBAs worldwide can be found in the BirdLife Data Zone.

Collation and management of species data

WorldBirds – is designed to collect data for the conservation of birds worldwide, and has been developed by the RSPB, Audubon and BirdLife International. It aims to establish a network of Internet systems that provides a platform for the collection, storage and retrieval of bird observations worldwide, with each country having its own system linked to the map portal at Guidelines on how to enter data into WorldBirds are available here [DOWNLOAD DataEntryInstructions.doc]

The national WorldBirds systems available in the Asia region (as defined by BirdLife) are:












Sri Lanka



Gazetteers, maps and GIS data

GoogleEarth – The maps and satellite images available in GoogleEarth are a valuable resource for species mapping. The geographical coordinates of localities can be entered onto the command line, which enables you to zoom into their locations on the map and check that the coordinates are correct. Locality names can be entered onto the command line, to find their locations and geographical coordinates; GoogleEarth includes numerous small locations that are not listed in gazetteers. Ornithological papers often include maps of the locations where birds were recorded; we found precise coordinates for many of these locations by scanning the maps and overlaying them onto GoogleEarth.

USBGN – The U.S. Board on Geographic Names website is an important source of geographical coordinates for localities worldwide. It can be searched here or here.

Threatened birds of Asia – Published by the BirdLife International Asia Partnership in 2001, this book includes distribution maps for 308 species, pinpointing every locality where they had been recorded. A gazetteer of the bird localities in each Asian country and territory can be downloaded from the Threatened birds of Asia website.

Falling Rain Global Gazetteer - A gazetteer of place names for all countries in the world.

Gazetteers of the World and Beyond - An alphabetical list of gazetteers of the world, including links to gazetteers which are available on the internet.

BirdLife EarthView - An easy-to-use resource to help understand and make best use of information available on-line relating to satellite imagery, aerial photographs, applications and resources. The website aims to direct users to on-line tools, data and information that are already available that may be of use in day-to-day work. [Mark to check if we can include this on the website]

ESRI Online Datasets - A source of free maps for use in ArcGIS, including a range of global basemaps.

NOAA Coastline Extractor - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GIS maps of world coastlines and lakes.

CGIAR-CSI GIS maps - The Consortium for Spatial Information (CSI) of the Consultative Group International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) website provides a range of digital maps, including of elevation and climate.

USGS-EROS Global Elevation Data - The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) have collaborated on the development of a global elevation model named the Global Multi-resolution Terrain Elevation Data 2010 (GMTED2010) that is now the elevation dataset of choice for global and continental scale applications.

GOFC-GOLD Global land-cover - A global land-cover map based upon 2005 fine resolution satellite data.

NASA Landsat - this program offers the longest continuous global record of the Earth’s surface. Landsat satellite images can be downloaded from this website.

CHGIS - The China Historical Geographic Information System website includes links to many current and historical maps and gazetteers of China.

China Dimensions Data Collection - this collection has been compiled by the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), and includes links to many environmental and socioeconomic datasets for China.

Historical maps of India - Includes links to many historical maps of India, which can be used to search for the locality names used in the historical ornithological literature.

Digital South Asia Library - Links to the Imperial Gazetteer of India and other historical maps of South Asia, which can be used to search for the locality names used in the historical ornithological literature.

Species modelling methodologies and software

Species’ distribution modelling for conservation educators and practitioners - A training module in species distribution modelling by Richard G. Pearson of the American Museum of Natural History. - A global programme which aims to encourage the sharing of high quality information about climate science, modelling and the interpretation of climate change modelling experiments. It will do this by offering two short online courses and supporting an online community of knowledge sharing in regional climate prediction.

Maxent - A site where software based on the maximum-entropy approach for species habitat modelling can be downloaded.  This software takes as input a set of layers or environmental variables (such as elevation, precipitation, etc.), as well as a set of geo-referenced occurrence locations, and produces a model of the range of the given species.

R Project - R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics which provides a wide variety of statistical (linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification, clustering, …) and graphical techniques. Useful R packages include: dismo, which was compiled specifically for species distribution modelling; gbm, which implements boosted regression trees (often used in Species Distribution Models); and mgcv, which implements generalised additive models and has useful functions for cross-validation.

WinBUGS - The BUGS (Bayesian inference Using Gibbs Sampling) project is concerned with flexible software for the Bayesian analysis of complex statistical models using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods. This software can be used to fit advanced species distribution models.

Sources of climate data

ClimateWizard - The Nature Conservancy’s Climate Wizard enables technical and non-technical audiences to access leading climate change information and visualize the impacts anywhere on Earth. It can be used to view data on historic temperature and rainfall maps for anywhere in the world and state-of-the-art future predictions of temperature and rainfall, and to view and download climate change maps.

CRU datasets - Various observed and historical climatic data sets managed by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia. These include observed climatic normals and time series data in resolutions of 10-30 arc minutes.

Worldclim - is a set of global climate layers (climate grids) with a spatial resolution of a square kilometer, that include a number of climatic and bioclimatic variables interpolated to very fine spatial resolutions. They can be used for mapping and spatial modelling in a GIS or other computer programs.

IPCC Data Distribution Centre - Provides climate, socio-economic and environmental data, both from the past and also in scenarios projected into the future. Also has links to data on atmospheric gas concentrations, socio-economic and biodiversity data. The IPCC Data Distribution Centre maps provide useful visualisations of these datasets.

WCRP CMIP3 Multi-Model Data - A database of projected climate data for most Global Climate Models.

CERA - World Data Center for Climate (WDCC) multi-model data base, of projected climate data for most Global Climate Models.

NCAR Community Data Portal - The Community Data Portal (CDP) is a collection of earth science datasets from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and other participating organizations.

GeoSpatial Data Wiki - Online reference for identifying and locating geospatial data sets for ecological research.

CReSIS - Sea level rise maps from the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), University of Kansas. Similar data is available from DGESL: climateGEM, University of Arizona.

Scientific papers on climate change modelling

The following papers present the results of analyses of the impacts of climate change on the distribution of biodiversity by the partners in the Climate Change Impacts on the Conservation of Birds in Asia project, including Durham University, BirdLife International and Bombay Natural History Society.

Pearce-Higgins, Bradbury, Chamberlain, Drewitt, Langston & Willis (2011) Targeting research to underpin climate change adaptation for birds. Ibis, 152, 207-211.

Hole, Huntley, Arinaitwe, Butchart, Collingham, Fishpool, Pain & Willis (2011) Towards a management framework for key biodiversity networks in the face of climate change. Conservation Biology 25, 305-315.

Huntley, Barnard, Altwegg, Chambers, Coetzee, Gibson, Hockey, Hole, Midgley, Underhill & Willis (2010) Beyond bioclimatic envelopes: Dynamic species’ range and abundance modelling in the context of climatic change. Ecography, 33, 1-6.

Willis, Hill, Thomas, Roy, Fox, Blakeley & Huntley (2009) Assisted colonisation in a changing climate: A test-study using two UK butterflies. Conservation Letters, 2, 45-51.

Willis, Thomas, Hill, Collingham, Telfer, Fox & Huntley (2009) Dynamic distribution modelling: predicting the present from the past. Ecography, 32, 5-12.

Doswald, Willis, Collingham, Pain, Green & Huntley (2009) Potential consequences of climate change on the migration of European Sylvia warblers. Journal of Biogeography, 36, 1194-1208.

Gregory, Willis, Jiguet, Pazderova, von Strein, Vorisek, Couvet, Huntley & Green (2009) An indicator of the impact of climate warming on European bird populations. PloS One, 4, e4678. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004678.

Hole, Willis, Pain, Collingham, Rahbek & Huntley (2009) Projected impacts of climate change on a continental-scale protected area network. Ecology Letters, 12, 420-431.

Willis, Collingham, Hilton, Rahbek & Huntley (2008) Assessing the impacts of future climate change on protected area networks: A method to simulate individual species responses. Environmental Management, 43, 836-845.

Green, Collingham, Willis, Gregory, Smith & Huntley (2008) Performance of climate envelope models in retrodicting recent changes in bird population sizes from observed climatic data. Biology Letters, 4,599-602.

Huntley, Collingham, Willis & Green (2008) Potential impacts of climatic change on European birds. PLoS One, 4, e4678. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001439.

Huntley, Collingham, Green, Hilton, Rahbek & Willis (2006) Potential impacts of climate change on geographical distributions of birds. Ibis, 148 (Suppl. 1), 8-28.

Menendez, Gonzalez-Megias, Hill, Brascher, Willis, Collingham, Fox, Roy & Thomas (2006) Species richness changes lag behind climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 273, 1465-1470.

Huntley, Green, Collingham, Hill, Willis, Bartlein, Cramer, Hagemeijer & Thomas (2004) The performance of models relating species geographical distributions to climate is independent of trophic level. Ecology Letters, 7, 417-426.

Hill, Thomas, Fox, Telfer, Willis, Asher & Huntley (2002) Responses of butterflies to twentieth century climate warming: implications for future ranges. Proceedings of the Royal Society Of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 269, 2163-2171.

Willis & Hulme (2002) Does temperature limit the invasion of Impatiens glandulifera and Heracleum mantegazzianum in the UK? Functional Ecology, 16, 530-539.

Warren, Hill, Thomas, Asher, Fox, Huntley, Roy, Telfer, Jeffcoate, Harding, Jeffcoate, Willis, Greatorex-Davies, Moss & Thomas (2001) Rapid responses of British butterflies to opposing forces of climate and habitat change. Nature, 414, 65-69 

Huntley, Green, Collingham & Willis (2008) A climatic atlas of European breeding birds. Lynx Edicions.

Willis, Hole & Huntley (2010) Climate change and conservation. Book chapter in: Trade-offs in conservation: Deciding what to save. Leader-Williams, Adams & Smith, eds. Conservation Science and Practice Series, Blackwell.

Overpeck, Whitlock, Huntley, Bartlein, Collingham, Grimm, Webb III, Williams, & Willis (2003). Terrestrial biosphere dynamics in the climate system: past and future. Chapter in: Palaeoclimate, global change and the future. Alverson, Bradley & Pedersen, eds. Springer-Verlag.

Thomas, Cameron, Green, Bakkenes, Beaumont, Collingham, Erasmus, de Siqueira, Grainger, Hannah, Hughes, Huntley, van Jaarsveld, Midgley, Miles, Ortega-Huerta, Peterson, Phillips and Williams (2004) Extinction risk from climate change. Nature, 427, 145-148.

Thomas, Williams, Cameron, Green, Bakkenes, Beaumont, Collingham, Erasmus, de Siqueira, Grainger,  Hannah, Hughes, Huntley, van Jaarsveld, Midgley, Miles, Ortega-Huerta, Peterson and Philipps (2004) Biodiversity conservation: uncertainty in predictions of extinction risk/Effects of changes in climate and land use/Climate change and extinction risk (reply). Nature, 430, 34.

Menon, Islam & Peterson (2009) Projected climate change effects on nuthatch distribution and diversity across Asia. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 57(2), 569-575.

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