eBird codes

To: Martin Butterfield <>
Subject: eBird codes
From: "McGinness, Heather (L&W, Black Mountain)" <>
Date: Fri, 22 May 2020 05:32:55 +0000

Fantastic – thanks Martin and Ryu for replying so quickly. 


It’s interesting, the document you linked to isn’t accessible to me, it just takes me straight to the general help page.


But the coding information on the help page doesn’t mention these codes at all. Is it possible they’re not being used anymore?





Dr Heather McGinness

Senior Research Scientist

Land and Water  |  CSIRO |  02 62 46 4136 


From: Martin Butterfield <>
Sent: Friday, 22 May 2020 3:18 PM
To: McGinness, Heather (L&W, Black Mountain) <>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] eBird codes


I think the following, from the metadata for the eBird Basic Data set answers your question.  In summary they are codes which griup the wide range of eBird breeding codes together into probability of breeding at the site.


BREEDING BIRD ATLAS CATEGORY – Four categories used to describe a species' breeding

status based on the 'BREEDING BIRD ATLAS CODE' reported on the eBird checklist: C1 –

Observed; C2 – Possible; C3 – Probable; C4 – Confirmed. In most cases, these are the

default values corresponding with the breeding bird atlas code reported by the

observer. But in some cases reviewers of atlas data may reinterpret a breeding category,

and that reinterpretation is reported here. For instance, a tern species might be seen

carrying food (typically C4 – Confirmed), but since terns feed young away from the

nesting area it would be reinterpreted as a lower breeding category. For more

information on reinterpretation of breeding codes, see this document:



On Fri, 22 May 2020 at 14:38, McGinness, Heather (L&W, Black Mountain) <> wrote:

Hi all,


Does anyone know what the eBird codes ‘C1’ ‘C2’ ‘C3’ or ‘C4’ mean, under ‘reproductive condition’? 


They are not listed as standard codes on the eBird websites that I can see.


Is the number appended to the ‘C’ some sort of qualifier for observations of courtship or copulation?


They have turned up in a database of royal spoonbill records downloaded from the Atlas of Living Australia, in all states and territories, from multiple observers.


Thanks in advance,




Dr Heather McGinness

Senior Research Scientist

Land and Water  |  CSIRO 

m("","Heather.McGinness");" target="_blank">  |  02 62 46 4136  |  0428 124 689

GPO Box 1700 Canberra ACT 2601

Facebook: Waterbirds Australia

Twitter @AusWaterbirds


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