Revisions to HBW/BirdLife non-passerine and passerine taxonomy – background and guidelines

  • Following the publication of the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World Volume 1, HBW and BirdLife have now set up a process whereby anyone can contribute information or informed opinion on the taxonomic status of the non-passerine forms itemized and the evidence presented, as part of an ongoing process of update and review. The 2014 BirdLife taxonomic checklist can be downloaded here, while detailed taxonomic notes (including details of scores for all non-passerine taxa assessed against the Tobias et al. criteria) are published in the Illustrated Checklist and are also available to non-subscribers on the open-access pages of HBW Alive.
  • We envisage two main types of comment on the non-passerine taxonomy published in 2014: proposals to consider splitting or lumping of taxa which were not scored against the Tobias criteria in the Illustrated Checklist, and, for those species which were scored in the Checklist (whether this resulted in a split, a lump, or no change), proposing new information which may lead to revisions of these scores. Video and audio recordings, records of presence in key areas, and descriptions of key features, behaviour and ecology, are among the variety of ways fieldworkers, ornithologists and birdwatchers can supply new evidence to help resolve ongoing taxonomic challenges and uncertainties
  • To contribute information to aid in future taxonomic revisions for non-passerines, please go to the relevant species or family page on the HBW Alive website and add your comment in the ‘Public comments’ section, leaving your full name and a contact email address.  All comments will be taken into consideration, but please not that it will not be possible for BirdLife or Lynx to give online feedback to comments received or to provide individual responses to all contributors. We intend to feed through taxonomic revisions on an annual basis from 2017 onwards (we will be focussed on passerine taxonomy for vol. 2 in 2016), based on the input received. Where taxonomic changes are to be adopted, note that there will necessarily be some lag time before revised taxa can be assessed against the and published on the BirdLife and IUCN Red List websites and in future updates to HBW Alive.
  • In addition, we will shortly be setting up a taxonomic forum to request inputs on a subset of the proposed revisions to passerines for Volume 2 of the Checklist. This will be hosted here on the taxonomy pages of the BirdLife Globally Threatened Bird Forums. The species under discussion here will not be a complete list of all those being considered for Volume 2, but rather a subset where specific information is needed to enable a decision to be made.
  • Discussions on the 2016 Red List status of newly-defined passerine species will also follow on the Globally Threatened Bird Forums in the coming months.
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