BARC Checklist v2013July is released

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: BARC Checklist v2013July is released
From: David James <>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 21:57:02 -0700 (PDT)
BARC Checklist v2013July is released
Greetings birders,
A new version of the BARC Australian Checklist v2013July is
now available on the BARC website as a downloadable Microsoft Excel spreadsheet
(BARC_Australian_Checklist_v2013July.xls). The BARC Website is at:
Like previous versions, this checklist is intended to follow
the IOC World Bird Names checklist to the letter, in terms of species taxonomy,
scientific and English names, spelling and sequence. As with previous versions,
subspecies are not included. There are no intended deviations from the IOC list
(other than abbreviating it to species and Australia) and there are no novel
taxonomic opinions expressed by BARC in that regard.
This upgrade includes changes to the IOC up to 1 July 2013 (Gill,
F & D Donsker 2013; IOC World Bird List v 3.4; 
It also includes some corrections
to spelling and species sequence from the previous BARC Checklist (v2.0). 
If you download the spreadsheet you will find two
worksheets. One worksheet is the full v2013July. The second worksheet is an
upgrade tool for those who are already using the BARC Checklist (v2.0) and
would prefer to modify their personalised lists rather than start with a blank
checklist again. It contains a set of instructions for converting the old BARC
Checklist v2.0 to this new v2013July. Upgrading involves inserting 7 new
species, replacing 6 rows due to changes or corrections, changed scientific
names and sequence to 18 species of honeyeater and removal of the supplementary
list. The upgrade worksheet will also allow users to identify the changes that
have been made in v2013July.
Summary of changes:
One new species has been split by the IOC (Lesser Sooty Owl).
Six species new for Australia have been accepted by BARC since
v2.0 (Eurasian Wigeon, Purple Heron, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Japanese Sparrowhawk,
Lesser Black-backed Gull and Mugimaki Flycatcher).
The genus Lichenostomus has been split into seven genera, affecting 18 species. 
Only the generic names
and the sequence of species change. 
One species (Crested Bellbird).is moved to a new (uncertain)
There are name changes or spelling corrections for four
species (Watercock, Greater Sooty Owl, Northern Boobook and Nullarbor
The sequence of Middendorff's and Pallas’s Grasshopper
Warbler is reversed.  
The Supplementary List has been disbanded. It has proven
impossible to be consistent about which species deserve inclusion, and there
seems to be little point in maintaining a list for consolation purposes. Thus
all unverified species have been deleted. Extinct native species and extirpated
introduced species have been returned to the main list, but are still listed at
the end rather than in taxonomic sequence. 
These changes bring the total Australian list to 918
confirmed species, 20 of which are extinct or extirpated. 
There are several other changes to BARC lists and the BARC
website coinciding with this new version of the checklist.
The former “Index of decisions and case summaries” html page
is now an Excel spreadsheet and downloadable. It has been updated to follow the
taxonomy of the checklist v2013July. It now includes all cases starting from
case 1 in 1975. The spreadsheet format allows searching (using the Excel ‘Find”
function) sorting and filtering by species, case, date, state, etc. There are
hyperlinks to most but not all cases. Many early case summaries are not
available electronically. Note that the case summaries have not been altered
and still follow whatever taxonomy was used when the case was in progress. 
The BARC Review list has been updated to match the IOC
taxonomy. It is also in an Excel spreadsheet and downloadable.  
A new list has been prepared, the “Unsubstantiated Species
List”. It contains species which might be added to Australian list in the
future, but which BARC has so far not reviewed. To qualify for inclusion there
needs to be some evidence such as published and unambiguous photos, reports of
a museum specimen, a submission that BARC is reviewing, etc. 
The intention is that the BARC Australian Checklist will be
updated every 6 months (in Approximately January and July). The other three
lists will all be updated at the same time. The versions of each will be
identified by year and month as follows: [list]_v2013July.xls, 
Why BARC Follows the
With the recent release of Birdlife Australia’s Australian
Checklist, it is worth recording why BARC uses the IOC sequence. 
As noted by Tony Palliser recently, BARC has been following
the IOC checklist to some extent since 2006. Prior to that BARC had followed
Christidis & Boles (1994) for species already recorded in Australia and
Sibley & Monroe (1993) for species that might be new to Australia. By 2006
both these lists were out of date and Dr Walter Boles (from the former
Taxonomic Advisory Committee of Birds Australia) recommended that BARC follow
the then new IOC list instead. Soon after that Christidis & Boles (2008)
was published, so BARC followed that for species already recorded in Australia
and the IOC for potential new species. However, Christidis & Boles (2008)
became dated much faster than its predecessor, not least of all due to
increased birding close to Asia and frequent reports of Asian species not 
in Australian texts. 
By 2011 C&B (2008) was well out of date and it was
inconvenient for BARC to follow two checklists that sometimes clashed.
Therefore BARC decided to prepare an Australian list based on a world-wide list.
We did not automatically choose the IOC list as the base list, but considered a
number of criteria. We wanted a base list that covered the whole world, was
widely used, was dynamic and frequently updated, was publicly available for
free (non-commercial), had transparent decision making processes, and provided
potential for some input from Australia. The Clements and Howard & Moore
(etc) checklists are produced for commercial purposes and therefore potentially
unsuitable for BARC to copy. The Birdlife International checklist is, like the
IOC checklist, downloadable from the internet, and it ran a close second.
However, the taxonomic decisions in that checklist are made by staff at
Birdlife International in the UK and there seems to be no process for outside
input. It is an aim of BARC that there should be some Australian input into our
country’s checklist and we hope to contribute to the IOC checklist process in
some manner in the future.
The IOC World Bird List site contains more information about
the open processes, dynamic revisions and cooperative approach of the IOC
checklist system.
The BARC Australian Checklist v1 was first released in
November 2011 and this current version is the 3rdupdate.
Good birding to you all, 
David James

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