BARC Checklist

To: "Tony Palliser" <>
Subject: BARC Checklist
From: "Robert Inglis" <>
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2013 16:51:47 +1000
Tony, thank you for your considered and comprehensible response to my comment. I do have some more questions but, firstly, I would like to clarify my position on this business of a variety of taxonomies.

Contrary to what other people may think, I consider myself to be only a 'nominal' birdwatcher. I don't know precisely how many bird species I have seen (probably somewhere between 500 and 600); due to being a chronic and untreatable motion sickness sufferer I don't 'do' pelagic trips so I don't have any ambition to join the 600 or 700 clubs; I don't keep lists of the birds I have seen or where I have seen them; I don't remember where I first saw any species and I don't remember where I last saw most species - especially any species I haven't seen for more than a week; I don't keep lists of my sightings.

None of that should be interpreted as my thinking poorly of any one who does do any or all of those things.

My principal birding interest is in photographing birds and particularly those species which, from my personal observations, seem to cause birdwatchers some difficulties in identification or which appear to have been poorly studied. I don't know, off hand, how many species I have photographed but I can easily interrogate my software archives to see if I have photographed a particular species.

My main interest in taxonomy is involved with the labelling of my bird images. As many of my bird images are on, or destined to be on, my website I would like to be able to label them with the common name and species name. I would like those names to be ones which are considered by the majority of birders to be 'correct' or at least 'acceptable'. I know how annoying I find it when I see a common name or species name which I have never heard of before when the bird looks quite familiar.

I am not a taxonomist and I don't have any special or higher-level academic interest in any particular taxonomy and I don't particular want to know the reasons for the classification of any species. I am quite happy to accept the words of the professional taxonomists. For my own purposes I use C&B 2008 principally because that is the taxonomy which has been used, in the main, in the current Australian bird field guides and, therefore, would seem to be the taxonomy most bird watchers who are 'watching' Australian birds would be using. I also use C&B 2008 because, until very recently, it seemed to be the taxonomy which Birds Australia/Birdlife Australia was publically approving. At least, that is what appeared to be used on that entity's website. I am not, and don't wish to be, a member of Birdlife Australia but I do look to them to lead in this question of taxonomy for Australia's birds.

I know that many birdwatchers are becoming dissatisfied with C&B 2008 and are looking to other taxonomies for comfort and I won't go into their possible reasons for doing that. Suffice it to say that C&B 2008 is probably 'out dated' and needs to be either updated or replaced. It is not going to be updated so it should be replaced.

This brings me to my further comment and questions.

It would seem to me that Birdlife Australia, as it is a partner with Birdlife International, would naturally go with the Birdlife International Bird List taxonomy. However, Tony, from what you appear to be saying it seems that BA is happy to declare on it's website its preference for the Birdlife International taxonomy while happily approving the use by BARC of another taxonomy, albeit one which you say causes no conflict.

Tony, you say that Christidis & Boles recommended in 2006 that BA use the IOC taxonomy and yet BA then went ahead and commissioned C&B to produce their 2008 taxonomy for Australian birds. Additionally, BA is currently publically touting the Birdlife International taxonomy on its website. There seems to me to be some inconsistency there. I will take your word that the IOC taxonomy is the most commonly used internationally. However, it would seem to me that, because of the popularity of the Eremaea website, the Clements taxonomy just might be more commonly used in Australia. I will take your word that the IOC list is the most appropriate to use when dealing with new birds for Australia. The Birdlife International list cites data for Australian birds being provided by C & B by way of their 2008 taxonomy and extra information from Les Christidis separately. As for the IOC list being the most dynamic and up to date, it would seem to me that that is being considered a negative by some birdwatchers around the world due to the perceived regular backtracking of decisions. I don't know the the validity of those claims but they are out there.

My final statement is that I don't really care which taxonomy is being used but I would prefer to see one being chosen as the "official" taxonomy for the birds of Australia. Which ever one that is I will use it happily but I am currently being regularly confused by birdwatchers who seem to be using taxonomies modified to suit their own purposes. It would be wonderful if we all were singing from the same song book.

Oh.....and for those other respondents to my original comments ........I do know there will never be just the one taxonomy so I don't lose any sleep over that sad thought. In my opinion, the ones who need to check their stress levels are those birdwatchers who constantly scan the taxonomy updates for new 'splits' and 'lumps'. But if that's what makes you happy.................

Standing by for the spelling and grammar police to descend.

Bob Inglis
Sandstone Point

-----Original Message----- From: Tony Palliser
Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 11:38 PM
To: 'John Tongue' ; 'Robert Inglis'
Cc: 'Birding-Aus'
Subject: BARC Checklist

Well put John,  I agree it is a matter of taste and personal interests.  I
get the feeling there is a tendency towards the IOC or Clements for those
with international interests and those more interested in Australia and
conservation may wish to adopt the new Australian BirdLife list.  (I was
surprised to see that it did not match the International BirdLife list

Bob to answer your question as to why BARC is utilizing the IOC is quite
easy to answer:  (1) Christidis & Boles recommended that we follow it back
in 2006 (2)  It is the list most commonly used internationally along with
Clements (3)  It is the list more appropriate to use when dealing with new
birds for Australia  (4) It is the only international list that has advisors
listed from Australia (namely: Phil Gregory, Leo Joseph, Dick Schodde &
Murray Lord & Peter Higgins) (5) We had no argument from Birds Australia (as
it was then known) when we suggested this is what we were going to do back
in 2006 and (6) clearly it remains the most dynamic and up to date,
something we have all been longing for.

That said, from a BARC point of view I cannot think of any species right now
that would be impacted anyway? So again for the most part this is just
personal preference which list you would like to use.


On 02/07/2013, at 7:06 PM, Robert Inglis wrote:

Thank you David James.

(edit) I have been sitting here (as it were) becoming more and more agitated,
frantic, despairing, confused, annoyed, thinking of a large brandy as I have
been reading all these postings about the various taxonomies that various
birders are using for their own esoteric reasons while, at the same time,
wondering just what Birdlife Australia is thinking.


Bob Inglis
Sandstone Point


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