Splits, lumps, taxonomies, check-lists, whatever.

To: Wedderburn Birding <>
Subject: Splits, lumps, taxonomies, check-lists, whatever.
From: Dave Torr <>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2013 10:48:26 +1100

I guess it comes down to what you mean by an "official" list - as you say
the Aus birding community seems to use 3 different lists at the moment -
those who stick with C&B, those who use IOC (which is my preference for the
reasons you state - and note it is also used by BARC so if you find any
rarities you will need to use IOC!) and those who use Clements. Whilst I
guess eventually those in the first group will migrate to one of the other
two, it seems likely that there will always be a difference between the IOC
camp and the Clements camp.

So what is an "official" list anyway? Is it used by a Government department
- and if so is there agreement amongst all levels of government? Or is it
promulgated by a birding organisation - we have one large organisation
(BirdLife - and of course BirdLife International have their own list as
well so that could well come into the equation!) but quite a lot of medium
sized ones who may well have their own equally valid views on what is to be

On 6 January 2013 10:31, Wedderburn Birding

> Hi Birding-Aus,
> The discussion on splits etc. is all fascinating but I think that the
> bigger
> question is the species list. At this stage we don't have an up-to-date
> species list for Australia and the IOC listing seems to have been adopted
> by
> default, although there are some who are adopting Clements, such as
> Eremaea.
> This creates a lot of confusion and depending on which taxonomy you are
> using will influence which birds are of interest, as per Nikolas's example
> of the Albatross.
> Personally I would like to see an official listing adopted for Australia
> and
> one that is updated on a regular basis. I have used the IOC list for the
> past 4 years as (a) it is updated at least 4 times per year, (b) is current
> and consistent for all birds, given the duplicate use of common bird names,
> (c) uses English names which are consistent with most of the Asian, African
> & European field guides, and (d) gives me the most bird species seen for my
> world list.
> Observing and recording the subspecies is also important however if one is
> using a field guide which doesn't have the subspecies or a data base which
> only lists the full species, then one is not going to look for the
> subspecies. It's only in recent years that I have started to look for
> subspecies, which is useful when these are upgraded into full species, and
> that has largely been as a result of using the IOC data base which lists
> all
> the subspecies and their distributions. The recent iPhone apps and some of
> the better field guides include the subspecies and these days I try and
> identify the subspecies when I can, even when travelling to new parts of
> the
> world, such as South American or central Africa.
> My first priority is to identify the species and if there is time or there
> is an obvious plumage difference, then to identify the subspecies.  This is
> of course contingent on having a decent field guide and/or iPhone app which
> provides details on the subspecies plumage and distribution.
> Regards,
> Bruce Wedderburn
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