IBC News

IBC Transition

20 Mar 2019 - 10:34 -- Ferran Gil

We are pleased to announce that the Internet Bird Collection and the Macaulay Library and eBird at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology are joining forces. The IBC is full of tremendous contributors and resources that will soon find a new home with the Macaulay Library—a multimedia archive of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and insects. This new collaboration will leverage the long-term archival capabilities of the 90-year-old Macaulay Library (ML) and the powerful online tools for birders developed by eBird. The contributions by the IBC community have been critical, and the ML staff greatly values the opportunity to engage with IBC contributors during this time of transition to ensure that their hard work and efforts around media can be put to their best potential use. Learn more and take part in the transition by visiting the Macaulay Library’s website.

Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) bathing in iron-rich mountain springs

3 May 2018 - 12:49 -- Arnau Bonan

The Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) obtains the typical rusty colour of its neck and underparts by staining these parts with water rich in iron oxides.

In these videos recorded in the Pyrenees you can see juvenile Bearded Vultures bathing in iron-rich water springs to acquire their characteristic ferruginous colour.

And in these videos you can see Bearded Vultures of different ages using the spring to drink and/or bathe.

This practice had been previously recorded by trap cameras, but to our knowledge the current videos seem to be the first taken by a videographer.

Many thanks to the Buseu Project for their hospitality and the facilities for recording these exceptional behaviours, and for the great work they are doing!

Enjoy more Bearded Vultures videos!

9000 species with videos on the IBC!

27 Nov 2017 - 13:05 -- Arnau Bonan

We are proud to announce that the IBC has videos of 9000 bird species. Specifically, there are 119,500 videos of 9000 species of birds of the world, many showing rich behavioural information, which is an invaluable collection that hasn't been assembled anywhere else before. This new IBC record is especially remarkable considering that the number of people taking bird videos is much less than those dedicated to bird photography. The record-breaking video was of Snow Mountain Tiger-parrot Psittacella lorentzi by Herve Jacob, who is uploading some tremendous videos of his last trip to New Guinea – thanks, Herve!

We extend our sincere gratitude to everyone that has joined and contributed to the IBC over all the years, helping us to achieve this and many other goals.

But, of course, there are more records to be broken. There are still species without videos on the IBC and places in the world where no contributor has set foot... Here you can find three lists that show species that lack videos, photos or sound recordings, so that we can fill in more gaps and cover more species. So, we encourage you to get out there and keep filming!

Video of the 9000th species: Snow Mountain Tiger-parrot Psittacella lorentzi by Herve Jacob.

“Want List” of species

14 Jun 2017 - 13:01 -- Ferran Gil

From time to time, contributors ask us for lists of species lacking different materials on the IBC, so that they can try to fill in some gaps in our coverage, which we think is great! To make this easier, we’ve created automatic lists of species lacking materials for each country or territory, which you can access by clicking the link "Want list of species" in the "Statistics" box of any country.

For our “globetrotting” contributors, checking country by country to find the species for which they have materials would be a slow task. So, we’ve also created a “Global” Want list page, which you can find under the header menu Explore --> Want list or via this direct link: hbw.com/ibc/want-list

If you or anyone you know have materials of any of the listed species, please share them with the wider ornithological community through the IBC collection.

To see what species have been most recently covered, check out the Latest new species page, available under the header menu What's New --> Species.

Lists of families and species you've recorded

14 Dec 2016 - 15:43 -- Ferran Gil

One thing that contributors have always wanted is to be able to generate a list of the species they've recorded. We activated this when we launched the current IBC site, back in July 2016, but now we’ve improved the species list page and also created another page at the family level, which breaks down a contributor’s recordings by bird family, species and type of material, all clickable and easy to follow.

To view and interact with these lists, navigate to any contributor's page and click on:
View a list of all the families with records
View a list of all the species with records

Better thumbnails for videos

9 Sep 2016 - 14:07 -- Ferran Gil

In the former version of the IBC, a thumbnail image from an uploaded video was automatically taken at 1/3 of the video’s duration. So, for a 30-second video, the system took a static image at the 10-second mark, “hoping” that the bird was visible there. Now, videos get an automatic thumbnail taken in the same way, but the system generates 5 images instead of just one, so you can choose the best one when uploading the video, or you can edit already uploaded videos to choose a better thumbnail.

For videos uploaded in the old system, you will be see a button next to “Edit” called "Regenerate thumbnails". Clicking it will trigger the extraction of 5 images and you will be able to pick the best one. New videos don't have this "Regenerate thumbnails" option because they are already generated, you just need to go to "Edit" to pick a different one. We encourage all contributors to review their favourite videos to make sure the current thumbnail is satisfactory and, if not, to change it.

This is just another small way in which we hope to improve the IBC experience for everyone!

Better control of your materials and localities

25 Jul 2016 - 10:35 -- Ferran Gil

The new IBC site has lots of improvements based on input from users and contributors. For example, now most of the lists of materials have filters to search for specific bird families and/or contributors, sorting options, etc.

In every locality page—from large countries to small parks—there are individual lists for the Videos, Photos and Sound recordings taken there. Further down the page, below these three blocks of materials, there is a box called "Recent contributors for XXX" which shows up to 25 contributors with material for this locality, in order from newest to oldest contributions.

There is also a link to "View a complete list of all contributors", which takes you to a full list of contributors who have uploaded materials from this locality (or localities inside the current one) with three columns for the total numbers of videos, photos and sounds.

If you're interested in exploring the materials of a particular contributor, just click on any of the totals and you will get a new page with the videos, photos or sound recordings by that contributor. This is a great way to discover materials from other contributors or consult and share your own. Like many IBC pages, you can share the exact page that shows your photos from that birding trip you enjoyed so much!

Welcome to the new IBC!

29 Jun 2016 - 10:19 -- Ferran Gil

We are proud to unveil the new and improved IBC website, which is, and will remain, free-access and open to everyone! We hope that you will be happy with the improvements, which you will quickly see for yourself, although here we’ve included a summary of the top benefits and some examples to explore.

But this is only the beginning! With the new IBC now in place, we can concentrate on strengthening and adding to this solid base, always listening to the IBC community and what users are looking for in an ornithological multimedia library. Together we have come a long way and together we will take the project even further! Many thanks for your support and participation.


Top benefits of the new IBC

? In the global search bar, at the top of the site, you can search by species, family or locality name.
  • Example: If you are planning a trip to Oulanka National Park, in Finland, just type “Oulanka” and you’ll quickly find all of the material from that locality.
? On the Explore media page, you can use various filters and sorting options to explore all of the multimedia material on the IBC. You can tailor your results by type of material (photo, videos or sound recording) by families, species and contributors, and even specifying words in the media description.
  • Example: If you want to see photos of Albatrosses displaying, you can get just what you’re looking for in a few clicks.

? In the new species account, there is a world map shaded to show all of the countries with material of that species. Also, you get free access to the full taxonomy and distribution texts of the species on HBW Alive, and there are links to view and filter the photos, videos and sound recordings of the species.
? In the new family account, all of the species are listed with a small illustration from HBW Alive and the number of videos, photos and sound recordings available for each.
  • Example: If you want to see photos of different sandpiper species, just type Scolopacidae in the global search bar and in the resulting family page you’ll see a list of all of the waders. Just click on any species to go to its account!
? You can also enjoy IBC photos with a gallery view or as a slideshow!
  • Example: Enjoy the impressive plumages of Wilson's Bird-of-paradise (Cicinnurus respublica) in its photo gallery!
  • Example: The Helmet Vanga (Euryceros prevostii) slideshow is really spectacular!
? There is now more information available in the new personal Contributor’s Page! You can quickly see the number of countries with material, top localities, latest localities and a world map with all the countries from which the user has material shaded in green. Now it’s possible to perform searches of a specific contributor’s material, choosing if you want to see photos, videos or sounds, filtering by date, words in the title, locality and captive or wild material, and sorting by post date, date taken, taxonomic order, species name or rating. You can also view a list of all the species with records by that contributor, or peruse all of the contributor’s photos in a slideshow or as a photo gallery.
  • Example: You can view the species list of a contributor, which includes all of the species for which he/she has material and number of photos, videos and sound recordings of each; click on any species or material total to explore further.

Video highlights Grande Terre, New Caledonia Part 2

17 Jun 2016 - 10:19 -- Pieter de Groot...

This is Pieter de Groot Boersma's last news feed from his big trip! He travelled extensively from August 2014 to August 2015, covering a whopping 47,000 km by car alone, excluding the travels made by bus throughout New Zealand in November 2014. He hopes that people have enjoyed his videos, which he started uploading to the IBC in September 2015 until June 2016, never missing a day! The news feeds grew over the months, from just a line per species to extensive background information per species. We at the IBC hope other contributors will follow his example when uploading exciting material in the future! Many thanks, Pieter!

Parc Le Grandes Fougeres, an UNESCO park, which, translated in English, is called "the park of the large ferns", covers more than 4500 hectares of rainforest between 400 m and 700 m of altitude, and protects many endemic life forms. These include 500 plant species, of which 70% are endemic to New Caledonia. At the gate, there used to be prime habitat for the endemic New Caledonian Thicketbird. A few years ago they cleared the area of vegetation to make room for picnic and parking spots, basically driving this elusive species away from that location. Already a difficult bird to pin down, this made finding this species even more difficult. Although I could have spent many hours looking for this species, at the end of my big year I also wanted to enjoy snorkelling at the exquisite reefs surrounding the island, hence this is the only missed species of my trip to New Caledonia:

  • Kagu, endemic to Grande Terre, New Caledonia. This truly iconic species is thought to be the sole survivor of the clade Rhynochetidae. Another (larger) species, found as subfossil remains on New Caledonia, has been called the Lowland Kagu (Rhynochetos orarius). The extinct adzebills from New Zealand (Aptornis) and the extant Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) are thought to be the closest relatives of the clade. The Kagu, although still having quite large wings, is flightless. This feature, as with so many already extinct ground birds, is one of the main reasons for its previous decline. Although still rare over much of its range and being considered Endangered, this species has grown in numbers during the last decade or two. The main reasons for this increase is attributed to the control of feral dogs. It is now thought to number between 1000 and 1500 birds. Its elaborate display is famously known; its incredible calls and impressive crest leave a big impression on any lucky observer (see Josep del Hoyo's video). Its habitat consists of rainforests from sea-level up to an altitude of 1400 m, where it forages for invertebrates in family groups. Here you can see a foraging bird, and a close-up of the head (filmed at Parc de la Riviére Bleue).
  • New Caledonian Parakeet, endemic to Grande Terre, New Caledonia. A recent split from the Red-fronted Parakeet complex (see location Ulva Island, New Zealand). It is a localised and uncommon-to-rare species of several types of forests, including humid rainforests, scrub and stands of Casuarina. Larger than its former conspecific Red-fronted Parakeet, it spends its time from the ground to the high canopy, although possibly less so on the ground as the Red-fronted Parakeet.
  • New Caledonian Myzomela, endemic to Grande Terre and the small island of Ile des Pins, New Caledonia. A fairly common species of forests, savannas and scrub. Mostly found as lone birds or as in pairs, often joining mixed species flocks.
  • Southern Shrikebill, only found in Vanuatu and New Caledonia. A fairly common species of wet rainforests, from sea-level up to 1100 m. It forages for invertebrates in thick tangles of vegetation, from the lower storey to the sub-canopy. It spends most of its time in mixed species flocks, where it can be quite unobtrusive. Its calls and the ruffling of the dead leaves are the best indications of its presence.
  • Fan-tailed Warbler, only found on Rennell (S Solomon Islands), Vanuatu and New Caledonia. A common bird of forest edges and secondary growth, where its sweet song resonates through the trees.

Parc Riviére Bleue, translated as "the park of the blue river", is a protected area that lies in between old and still-active mining operations. Mining has destroyed much of the surrounding habitat, but the creation of two more protected areas in the area enhanced the importance of these combined 22,400-hectares-large parks. It protects the core area of the Critically Endangered Crow Honeyeater:

  • Crow Honeyeater, endemic to a restricted range on Grande Terre, New Caledonia. A unique species, being the only one of its genus, this species is largely unknown. Indeed, in HBW, and the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World the bird is depicted having a yellow cere/wattle around its eye, but this can be seen in the video as red. Critically Endangered, it seems clear that the species is undergoing a very alarming population decline. Probably found over much of Grande Terre before human colonisation, this species has recently been recorded only once in the north of the Island (Mt. Panié) in 2011. Predation by feral mammals, mostly by rats, along with habitat destruction, seems to be the most important factor in its decline, although this is yet to be confirmed by scientific research. The rangers at Parc Rivière Bleue, its stronghold, told me that they build their nests in trees, but in a very exposed manner. In addition, they tend to leave the nest unattended for long periods of time, giving rats easy access to their contents. No action plan to save the species has been devised yet, and, in order to do so, more information is needed on their general behaviour. The rangers, most of them French-born, told me no funds are available for the necessary study. As a result, the future of this species seems bleak. Estimates of its total numbers were given in the year 2000 as 1000-3000 birds. These estimates were very probably greatly over-estimated. Pairs occupy humid rainforest at an altitude of 100-850 m. There, pairs occupy territories of 1 km2. Recent estimates are that there are less than 250 birds surviving. Again, this is a provisional estimate until more is known about the species, which will hopefully happen before it's too late. This sound clip, which I also uploaded to the IBC, is the only one I can find on the web.
  • New Caledonian Cuckoo-shrike, endemic to Grande Terre and the small island of Ile des Pins, New Caledonia. A fairly common bird of forests and scrub, mostly above 600 m (but sometimes down to 200 m). It mostly lives in pairs. It spend most of its time in the sub-canopy and the canopy, where it often perches in the open.
  • Yellow-bellied Fly-robin, endemic to Grande Terre and the small island of Ile des Pins, New Caledonia. A common bird, which prefers the lower storeys and the undergrowth of wet and shady parts of rainforests. However, locally it can also be found in both dry and open forest. Where found, this little gem can be very confiding.

Nouméa, the capital of New Caledonia, has a feel of a mixed European and Pacific lifestyle:

  • Coconut Lorikeet, a recent split from the Rainbow Parakeet species complex. The Coconut Lorikeet is common on New Caledonia in open forests, but it can even be abundant in suburban areas. Its range stretches from New Caledonia in the south through the strain of islands of the W Pacific and New Guinea to the Moluccas in E Indonesia.
  • Fairy Tern, a Vulnerable species which can be found in four disjunct subspecies, one in SW Australia, one in SE Australia, one in New Zealand (Critically Endangered, only around 30 birds left) and one in New Caledonia. Here is an adult and a view of some chicks and adults in a breeding colony on one of the offshore islands near Nouméa (good for snorkelling!).

Endemic or near-endemic species seen in New Caledonia, but not filmed: Large Lifou White-eye, White-rumped Swiftlet, Pacific Imperial Pigeon, Barred Honeyeater and Red-throated Parrot-finch.

And all of a sudden, that completes Pieter de Groot Boersma's big year! He has shared it with us through daily uploads from the 17th of September 2015 to 17th June 12016. We strongly encourage others to follow his example! Thanks again, Pieter!

Video highlights Grande Terre, New Caledonia, part 1

16 Jun 2016 - 14:56 -- Pieter de Groot...

Pieter de Groot Boersma's grand end to its big trip involved its trip to New Caledonia, a much anticipated visit. Here part two of this journey, part 1 of his visit to Grande Terre.

Grande Terre, New Caledonia's main island. This island is approximately 350 km long and, along most of its length, 30-50 km wide. This island, and some of its satelites, is the only Pacific Island (or nearly so?) which is essentially a mountain rising from the sea. It belongs to the former continent Zealandia (before part of Gondwana) which now mostly lies underwater. Therefore, many ancient lineages still occur on the island, most famously being the endemic flora.

Farino, a small village in the mountains of SC Grande Terre. Its winding road up a mountain towards Parc Grandes Fougeres (see my next news feed) is world famous by visiting birders to see the following species:

  • Cloven-feathered Dove, endemic to Grande Terre and the small island of Ile des Pins, New Caledonia. A truly iconic species, which is locally common in (especially) humid forest up to 1000 m. altitude. Its feathered tarsi are a special feature of this species. However, its name points to the fact of an even more remarkable adaptation. Its wing feathers are cloven which allows for a distinctive whistling sound in flight. This sound and its calls are the best indications of its presence, as it normally is very unobtrusive in the forest canopy
  • New Caledonian Sparrowhawk (aka White-bellied Goshawk), endemic to Grande Terre, New Caledonia. A fairly common and small goshawk of forests. Mostly found in undisturbed patches, but also in degraded habitats. It mostly hunts from perches in the canopy, where it sits-and-waits for passing prey. It is thought that it primarily feeds on lizards, geckos, insects and small mammals, but I think it also takes birds. I've seen a foraging flock of passerines sounding the alarm when this bird flew through the trees. No other similar birds of prey occur on the island
  • New Caledonian Crow, endemic to Grande Terre, New Caledonia. Introduced on Maré and Lifou (Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia) where now extinct on the latter island. World famous due to its intelligence and the use of tools. It uses sticks as a hook to get to large grubs in trees. When a tool proves to be efficient, it even carries it around. Recent research unveiled very complex cognitive learning abilities with this species. It can even take eight steps to solve a problem! Here an incredible video of research by Auckland University, and here another one. It's an uncommon species of forests, and to a lesser extent, savannas. It lives in groups of up to five, and they are very inquisitive. Their calls are very unlike other species of crows
  • New Caledonian Whistler, endemic to Grande Terre and the small island of Ile des Pins, New Caledonia. Recently split from the Melanesian Whistler (see location Ouvéa). A reasonably common species, mostly in degraded areas and edges of wet forests in the lowlands, but also at higher altitudes
  • Green-backed White-eye, endemic to Grande Terre and the small island of Ile des Pins, New Caledonia. A very common species in both wet and dry forests, but less so above 1000 m. Also, mostly replaced (but not entirely) from suburban areas and scrub by the Silvereye
  • New Caledonian Imperial-Pigeon (aka Goliath Imperial-Pigeon), endemic to Grande Terre and the small island of Ile des Pins, New Caledonia. The largest arboreal pigeon in the world at a maximum length of 51 cm. Only the three Crowned-Pigeons of New Guinea surpass it in size. It's still reasonably common where it's not hunted. Obviously, due to its size, an expected threat. It will have a profound effect on several species of plants which are dependant on this Imperial-Pigeon for dispersal of their seeds. Due to hunting pressure it can be difficult to actually see this species, cautiously following up its call being the best strategy
  • Horned Parakeet, endemic to Grande Terre, New Caledonia. Recently split from the Ouvéa Parakeet (see location Ouvéa). Rather uncommon to rare and patchily distributed. Where found it prefers humid forest valleys in hilly terrain. It seems it is most often found on limestone soil. It is suspected that predation of adults and eggs/nestlings is a significant threat. This species is known to regularly breed on the ground, hence its vulnerability while nesting
  • Melanesian Flycatcher, only found on Rennell Island (S Solomon Islands), Vanuatu and New Caledonia (including the Royaly Islands). A common bird in the latter country, where it favours open forests and the edge of forests in the lowlands. Also found in mangroves and in mountains up to 1200 m. This species behaves like many related species. It can often be seen flycatching from trees, and its scaffolding calls are very distinctive
  • Rufous Whistler, near-endemic to Australia with the only other populations occuring on Grande Terre, New Caledonia. A common bird which nearly always outnumbers the New Caledonian Whistler in its forest habitat. Also found, equally common, on savanna woodlands and scrub, on all altitudes. Here a female and here a singing male
  • South Melanesian Cuckoo-shrike, only found in Vanuatu and New Caledonia (Grande Terre and the Loyalty Islands). A fairly common and large cuckoo-shrike encountered in many types of woodlands and savanna. It spends most of its time in the upper canopy, where it forages in groups of up to five, mostly flycatching for insects