BARC Checklist

To: "'Dave Torr'" <>, "'Robert Inglis'" <>
Subject: BARC Checklist
From: "Tony Palliser" <>
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2013 18:57:08 +1000
Hi Bob,


I agree with Dave taxonomy is changing rapidly right now and there is no
"official' list.   For the moment I personally think it best to stay with
the IOC for the reasons already given, but the time may come one day when
BARC will have to change (that doesn't mean I will need to personally).  The
BirdLife list too is and will be changing constantly so none of them are (or
should be) that stable.   For example I heard only yesterday that Western
Ground Parrot is about to  be lumped again by Birdlife International. 


For the moment it is a matter of choice and particular needs. If you look
closely at the BirdLife list you will see (to the right) that they have
purposely compared their new list with IOC and Clements so that one can
readily make the choice.  It would be a tough ask to have all websites move
across to one standard list.  Eremaea for example may choose to stay with
Clements.  Certainly before the BirdLife Australia list was released BA had
no issues with BARC operations or which list we used and for the moment the
relationship is still intact and amicable in this regard.   


Certainly, if you have a strong interest in Australian birds then you could
simply make use of the BirdLife Australia list just released and I would
certainly recommend it for conservation use in Australia.  But, as already
pointed out most birders that I know are either using IOC or Clements and it
will likely remain that way for them.  Best approach when it comes to
labelling your images would be to stick with one that you like.


At the end of  the day we all just need to enjoy our wildlife. 


Kindest regards,




PS Who was it that said I accept all splits and reject all lumps LOL?



From: Dave Torr  
Sent: Wednesday, 3 July 2013 5:24 PM
To: Robert Inglis
Cc: Tony Palliser; Birding-Aus
Subject: BARC Checklist


A few points Bob (not grammar or spelling!):


1.      I don't know what an "official" list would be. There are no laws in
this area! I guess one that government adopts would be closest, but with our
multitude of governments what chance they would all agree?
2.      Whilst BirdLife Australia may as you say endorse the BirdLife
International taxonomy (I have not checked) as far as I know the list it has
produced is not 100% compliant. And furthermore it seems that BARC will
stick with IOC.....
3.      I guess we have lived for some years with "international" birders
using IOC or Clements or whatever and finding Australia a little strange to
have its own taxonomy in C&B. (But I guess we may not be unique in that
respect). Now it seems we have just replaced one Aussie taxonomy by



On 3 July 2013 16:51, Robert Inglis <> wrote:

Tony, thank you for your considered and comprehensible response to my
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

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

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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