FW: HBW/Birdlife International Illustrated Checklist adopted by UN Conve

To: "" <>
Subject: FW: HBW/Birdlife International Illustrated Checklist adopted by UN Convention
From: "Innes, Angus" <>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2014 08:50:21 +0000
From: <>
To: <>
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.

Angus Innes.

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