Australian Subspecies

To: Noel Luff <>
Subject: Australian Subspecies
From: Glenn Ehmke <>
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 2015 04:56:17 +0000
Hi Noel,

We list all subspecies, but not the intergrades as they are not “taxonomic” 
units per say, but we have a list of all hybrid zones and all are mapped (from 
the work of Schodde and Mason and more recent world). The Birdata system will 
use these layers and do the subspecies classification in the background in most 
cases, but it will offer users choice of specifying a subspecies If they want 
to, where >1 subspecies occurs - but only the subspecies which co-occur in the 
exact location will be offered as choices and this will always be optional and 

Probably far more detail that you want… but FYI there are 553 combinations of 
terrestrial subspecies intragrades in Australia currently the vast majority of 
which are “2-way” zones, but can be up to 5-way (Varied Sitella in central Qld).

Of course actual subspecies hybrids can probably be identified?, but I suspect 
very rarely so, and are a level probably well beyond the interest of anyone in 
the field?


On 5 Oct 2015, at 3:36 pm, Noel Luff 
<<>> wrote:

This all very well having a name for each sub-species. I was wondering how the 
list handles intergrades between the sub-species, presumably one refers to the 
species name only.

On Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 1:54 PM, Glenn Ehmke 
<<>> wrote:
Hi James,

Great to hear discussion around subspecies on Birding-Aus!

BirdLife Australia offers a comprehensive list of all Australian subspecies 
through the Working List of Australian Birds (WALB). This list is build on 
decades of research by many taxonomists and conservation researchers. It 
includes taxonomic notes as well as conservation classifications for all 
species and subspecies. The current version is available below - although an 
update of this (with quite a lot of changes to subspecies and species arising 
from recent research and recent additions to the Australian list from the 
rarities committee) will be out before years end. There is also a short section 
on subspecies on the below webpage. Classifications for IOC, C&B and Clements 
are also included if your that way inclined.<>

We have recently implemented proper vernacular names for all subspecies (a 
peer-reviewed paper is currently in review outlining this process), extending 
the critical work of the English Names Committee who have worked tirelessly for 
30 years to provide our birds with the sensible identities that have been so 
important to all conservation efforts.

We will also be offering functionality for birders to record subspecies detail 
in the new version of Birdata (which will be released within the next 6 months) 
as many people have called for this for quite a long time. This is an important 
as we have often lacked critical information on threatened subspecies in 
particular in the past and of course BirdLife Australia’s position is that all 
subspecies are equal to species in terms of conservation value.

The Birdata system will usually attribute subspecies detail based on survey 
coordinates automatically and will only offer manual subspecies selections 
where subspecies co-occur to keep the data entry burden low.



Hi all,

Regarding subspecies, does anyone have (or known of) a list or some detail
info the different subspecies across the country? I began copying and
picking out all the information from the IOC document including all the
birds of the world and then thought there must be an easier way!

Thought I better get on and start that subspecies list for future ticks (or
lumps I guess)

All the best,

James Mustafa

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