RAOU numbers

To: "Osborn, Paul PR" <>
Subject: RAOU numbers
From: Hugo Phillipps <>
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 1997 14:05:46 +1000 (EST)
Paul -

At 11:25 22/08/1997 +1000, you wrote:

>> There are other imponderables associated with the RAOU numbers

These are not really RAOU numbers any more, as we have nothing to do with
giving numbers to new species.  I believe this is now done by the ABBBS.
The reason for all the anomalies and imponderables is time - time in which
new species have appeared and taxonomic changes made.

The original numbering goes back to the old checklist, and the systematic
order used then, with native species numbered from 1 onwards.  Introduced
species (beginning with the Common Starling) were numbered backwards from
999.  Since then species have been split and lumped, necessitating (in order
to avoid ambiguity) the use of completely new numbers.  So there are
inevitable gaps in the system - and numbers no longer used as they belong to
currently unrecognised taxa.  Yes, it seems messy, but I do not know if
there is an alternative - except possibly to use letter codes, as is done

Cheers,  Hugo.

Hugo Phillipps,
Birds Australia Conservation & Liaison,
Australian Bird Research Centre,
415 Riversdale Road,
Hawthorn East, VIC 3123, Australia.
Tel: +61 3 9882 2622. Fax: +61 3 9882 2677.
Email: <>
Web Homepage:

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