What do the species plates illustrate?

The colour plates illustrating all of the birds of the world are one of the most important assets of the HBW series. You can now explore them in many more ways, including generating fieldguide-style plates for any country in the world.

The plates in HBW Alive show figures for all of the bird species of the world, but how many figures do we have? Currently 21,782! A total of 20,919 figures come from the Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, which covers all of the bird species of the world with at least one figure, specifically 8,290 figures of non-passerines and 12,629 of passerines. For those species with sexual dimorphism there are figures for the males and the females. For polytypic species with relevant plumage differences between subspecies, at least two subspecies are illustrated, and for many species several subspecies are illustrated, as you can see in the Horned Lark.

As you may know, in the Illustrated Checklist there are subspecies groups, and all of the subspecies groups are represented by at least one figure, as you can see in the Western Yellow Wagtail.

And for some families, in addition to the full figures, there are also illustrations of the head, as in the case of the Pelicans, Albatrosses and Flamingos.

Most passerines species are shown resting and the majority of non-passerine families are also illustrated at rest, like Scolopacidae, Falconidae, Accipitridae, Spheniscidae and Phasianidae. But some families are illustrated flying, as is the case for many seabirds, like Diomedeidae, Procellariidae and Hydrobatidae, and other families like Apodidae. Over the last few years, we have published various field guides and all of the new illustrations prepared for them are also included in HBW Alive. For the field guides, we prepared new figures of immatures for several bird families like Ardeidae, Laridae and Accipitridae.

To complement the adult breeding plumages of Scolopacidae and Charadriidae, new figures of non-breeding plumages have been done, both flying and resting.

And new figures of flying birds have been included to complement the resting ones for several families like Ardeidae, Scolopacidae, Charadriidae, Laridae, Accipitridae and Falconidae.

But, how many new figures have been uploaded from each field guide? From our guide "Birds of New Guinea, including Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville" more than 300 new figures were uplaoded; you can read more about them here.

And more than 350 new illustrations of non-passerines, as well as almost 100 illustrations with improvements of non-passerines from "Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago; Greater Sundas and Wallacea" have been incorporated into HBW Alive; you can read more about them here.

There are also 50 brand new illustrations from the "Field Guide to the Birds of Machu Picchu and the Cusco Region, Peru" as well as 11 illustrations with small improvements. You can find more information about those figures here.

And this is just the beginning! Right now we are working on more field guides and soon over 300 new figures for our forthcoming field guide to the Birds of Thailand will be incorporated into HBW Alive. Additional figures will be uploaded over the next months from other field guides that we are preparing, so keep an eye on the plates for new treasures to enjoy!