Subject: HBW/Birdlife International Illustrated Checklist adopted by UN
Date: Sat, 6 Dec 2014 08:13:03 +0000
Classification lists are a subject of endless fascination for quite a few
Birding Aus correspondents - mine waxes and wanes. International travel birding
lists and information probably attract even more space. Having those groups
particularly in mind, I thought the following may be of interest, as well as to
others who may share my inclination to use a credible hard copy list that will
not disappear on computer melt down.
It is reported that during the eleventh meeting of the Council of the
Conference of the parties to the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory
Species of Wild Animals (CMS) the HBW and Birdlife International Illustrated
Checklist of the Birds of the World, vol 1 - Non-passerines, published June
2014 by Lynx publications (Barcelona), was adopted as the Convention's standard
reference for bird taxonomy and nomenclature for non-passerines. The resolution
adopting the Checklist also requested the Council of the Convention to consider
adopting the second volume on Passerines for similar purposes when published in
A reviewer of the first volume, Alan Knox, in the venerable and prestigious UK
Birding magazine, "British Birds", (November 2014) wrote "Having a full
checklist of all the non-passerine species and subspecies together with
illustrations and maps in one remarkable volume, simply cannot be beaten."
For the record breakers and splitters, he comments elsewhere in the article
"While the authority of the text, the quality of the plates and revised
distribution mapping for every species are more than enough to establish this
as an exceptional volume, it is the authors approach to species-level taxonomy
that they believe is the most distinctive feature of the book.... In a massive
exercise , the authors have carried out a massive sweep using new criteria ,
adding a total of 462 species since HBW, about half of which were proposed by
other authors after the publication of the relevant volumes (of HBW). The
criteria used here were published by Tobias et al (Ibis 152:724-746) and they
are carefully explained in the introduction"
He does go on to qualify the "great service (done by the authors) in their
review of species" by instancing some species anomalies which he states "serves
to show that no known system can definitively identify which taxa deserve to be
treated as a species."
The checklist is currently on offer from the publishers for 145 euros - with an
offer of Vol 2 at the same price (to be paid on publication of Vol 2 in 2016)
if a commitment to purchase is made now. The general sale price appears to be
around 185 euros. As I understand it, it distils much of its key information
from the volumes of HBW.
I do not have the knowledge to engage in any debate on the science behind the
list adopted. I merely offer this information for the benefit of others who
find themselves in my position. Yes, I am getting one.
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