HBW Alive Newsletter
Nº15, September 2015

The updating process for the “new species” from the HBW-BL Illustrated Checklist is completed!

A little over a year ago, in August, 2014, the HBW Alive Editorial team faced an important challenge: BirdLife International and Lynx Edicions had just published together HBW and Birdlife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World Volume 1: Non-passerines (del Hoyo & Collar 2014), with a large number of taxonomical modifications which had to be incorporated into HBW Alive. In the more than twenty years it took to complete the monumental Handbook of the Birds of the World (1992-2013), there had been a scientific revolution in terms of our conception of the evolution of birds, as much in the understanding of the precise relationships between orders and families as in the delimitation of the advances in the process of speciation among sister taxa. Suffice it to say that the HBW-BL Illustrated Checklist includes 2,126 bibliographical references, most from recent years, so the necessary changes were very numerous.

For HBW Alive, the task of adapting the contents to the new taxonomic sequence was, thanks to information technology, simple and rapid. However the changes arising from the recognition or not of new species was to prove a far greater task. 462 new species appeared almost overnight, the result of splits, whose internet texts only contained the fields corresponding to taxonomy and distribution, with no information about biology, ecology or conservation status, and which lacked links to photos, videos or sound recordings. Moreover the texts of the “old” species, which before included those now recognized as different, had to be modified accordingly. By the same token particular attention had to be paid to the 30 cases in which the HBW-BL Illustrated Checklist suggested lumping forms that were previously considered distinct species.

When modifying the texts of the two or more species resulting from a particular split, there were sometimes considerable difficulties attributing to certain taxa the information in the original text relating to details like, for example, diet, nest construction or the migration calendar, which effectively obliged the editors to carry out new investigative work. Even the assignment of the bibliography to one or another species sometimes required a considerable amount of work. Given the relatively small size of the editorial team – it is to be hoped that an increase in subscriptions will permit us to increase this in the future – we had no choice but to dedicate all our efforts to the new task, leaving aside for the moment, with some exceptions, the routine updating of the species accounts of the rest of the species.

We are pleased finally to be able to announce to our readers that the process has been successfully completed and that all the species in HBW Alive now have their own complete, individual texts. We are very grateful to the various editors, and especially to Guy Kirwan, for their efforts, which have permitted this to be achieved within a reasonable time frame. Within a year, the publication of the HBW-BL Illustrated Checklist volume devoted to the passerines will raise another mountain of work before us. By then, though, we hope to have advanced substantially the updating of the texts of many other species.

Eduardo de Juana
Editor, HBW Alive
News on Birds
Ornithological News
Chinese Crested Tern
The 2015 breeding season has been a record-breaker for the Chinese Crested Tern (Thalasseus bernsteini) and the first year since rediscovery that it has nested successfully on all three known breeding islands. It is hoped that continued progress will soon see the global population increase to at least 100 individuals, double the number thought to exist when the protection programme for this species was started in 2010.
Lava Gull
Other highlighted news:
  • A recent study of Lava Gulls (Larus fuliginosus) nesting on Genovesa Island, Galapagos archipelago, has found that they obtain significant amounts of prey, chiefly fish and squid, by taking advantage of items dropped by other seabirds in response to harassment by Magnificent Frigatebirds (Fregata magnificens).
  • A recent migration study using light-level geolocators suggest that Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) breeding pairs remain together during migration and in winter.

HBW-BL Illustrated Checklist adopted by the European Union

The European Union has adopted the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World (Volume 1) as the standard reference for bird taxonomy and nomenclature for non-passerine species. The HBW-BL Illustrated Checklist will be used for the updated EU bird list (see the announcement in the European Comission website). As well as the Birds Directive, this list will also be used for the implementation of the Directive on the protection of the environment through criminal law and the Directive on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage.
With this last resolution the HBW-BL Illustrated Checklist increases  its influence as the taxonomy and nomenclature followed by most European countries.
In November 2014 the HBW-BL Illustrated Checklist was adopted by the United Nations Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) as the standard reference for bird taxonomy and nomenclature for non-passerine species.
This taxonomy was also adopted by BirdLife International and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), including The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

First Country Reports

White-necked Petrel
White-necked Petrel (Pterodroma cervicalis), one photographed on 2nd March 2014 about 14 km off the coast near San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, is the first record for Mexico and North America.

Report photo by Peter J. Dunn.

Grasshopper Buzzard
Other interesting First Country Reports include Amur Falcon (Falco amurensis) in the Faeroes archipelago; Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica) in Ireland; Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops) in Sumba, Lesser Sundas; Grasshopper Buzzard (Butastur rufipennis) in Zimbabwe; Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope) in Cuba; Cape Verde Shearwater (Calonectris edwardsii) in Guadeloupe; and Spot-fronted Swift (Cypseloides cherriei) in Panama.
Report photo by Brendan Ryan.
Read more   News on Birds   |   First Country Reports
IBC's Video of the Month
Biddulph's Ground-jay

Biddulph's Ground-jay

(Podoces biddulphi)

A Biddulph's Ground-jay (Podoces biddulphi) foraging on the ground.
Recorded in Luntai, Tarim Basin, Xinjiang, China (Northern), on 24 June 2014.
© Neil Robertson
IBC's Photo of the Month


(Falco rusticolus)

Breathtaking flight acrobatics of a pair of young Gyrfalcons (Falco rusticolus).
Taken in Berlevag, Finnmark County, Norway, on 2 August 2015.
© Tomas Grim
IBC's Sound Recording of the Month
Southern Cassowary

Southern Cassowary

(Casuarius casuarius)

A Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) male growling in response to the peeping of the chick.
Recorded in Cassowary House, Kuranda, Queensland, Australia, on 30 August 2015
© Phil Gregory
News on HBW Alive
New Species from the Checklist Updated
Madagascar Hoopoe
Over the last month we finished the updating process for all of the “new species” (resulting from splits) from the families Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes) Laridae (Gulls, Terns, Skimmers) and Upupidae (Hoopoes). As explained in the Editorial, finally all the “new species” have been updated and now we will continue adding multimedia links in their species accounts.
View the list of the most recently updated new species from the Checklist.
Species with Multimedia Links
Northern Surucua Trogon
Currently more than 290 of the “new species” (resulting from splits) have multimedia links incorporated in their species accounts. See what we mean, for example, in the accounts of  Glittering Starfrontlet (Coeligena orina), Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis), Northern Surucua Trogon (Trogon aurantius) or Malay Blue-banded Kingfisher (Alcedo peninsulae).
We have added links to the accounts of the 4 Podoces species. Explore them!
Podoces species
Raggiana Bird-of-paradise
Here are some highlights of species with recently incorporated links: Little Sunangel (Heliangelus micraster), Red-crowned Barbet (Psilopogon rafflesii), White-capped Water-redstart (Chaimarrornis leucocephalus) and Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana).
HBW Alive Features

Regions & Countries

Regions & Countries provides very useful information about species distribution and vagrancy. In the sidebar to the right of each species account you will find the Regions & Countries box.
The countries where each species is regular, vagrant or introduced are listed, grouped by Zoogeographical zones. So if you are interested in knowing the countries where Sooty Falcon (Falco concolor) is regular, vagrant or introduced, just check the Regions & Countries box of that species!
For endemic species, like the Taiwan Yuhina (Yuhina brunneiceps), it is also mentioned that the species is endemic to the country where it lives.
Those species that have been introduced in some countries, like the Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), have also detailed information about where can be found.
And for those species with a wide distribution like the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), which is regular in the Afrotropical, Australasia, Nearctic, Neotropical, Oriental and Palearctic zones and vagrant in Antarctic and Subantarctic, the list is really long....check it!
Get the Most Out of My Birding


After coming back from holidays, you want to introduce all your bird sightings to My Birding. What to do first?

If you want to have all your birdlists of that holidays joined in one new trip, you can do it in two ways: first create the Trip and then make all the birdlists, or first create all the new birdlists with all the bird sightings and later group them in a new Trip.

Let’s see how to do it creating first the new Trip…In the Header Menu place the cursor on “My Birding” and click on “My Trips”. Now click on “Add a trip”, just to the right of “My Trips”, and a new window will be opened.
Now, just write the name of the Trip and if you want you can add a description. Then, choose the day the trip began and finished and “Save” it. A new page will be loaded and now you can choose “Add a new birdlist to this trip” or “Regroup birdlists into this trip”. By clicking on the former you can create all new birdlists with all the bird sightings of your holidays and they will be grouped in the Trip that you already created.
If you decided to create all the birdlists first and you want to group them in the new Trip, first create a new Trip and then click on “Regroup birdlists into this trip”. A new page will be loaded and all your birdlists will be displayed. Now select the birdlists you want to group together selecting each related checkbox in the first column of the table and then click on “Assign a trip”. If there are too many birdlists and you can't see the desired ones, use the filters above to reduce the number of results. For example, if you want to select the birdlists of your trip to Poland, type "Poland" in the Country/Territory filter and only the Birdlist from Poland will be shown.
Now you have to type the name of the trip, and click on “Next.”
 When the process is completed you will see all the selected birdlists with the trip that you grouped in the column trip! By clicking the trip name (Poland 1999 in the image below)
The Trip page will open and you will see its description, the day it began and finished, and the statistics of the trip. Now you have all the birdlists of your holidays grouped in one trip: Congratulations!
New Publications
The Lanner falcon

The Lanner falcon
By Giovanni Leonardi

This monograph is not simply review of Lanner falcon biology from the many studies that have been published. It is also an attempt to create a new overview of the species that can hopefully serve as a starting point for future research.With this book, at last, everything that is known about the Lanner falcon has been assembled in one place.
50.00€    .BUY NOW 
Copyright © 2015 Lynx Edicions, All rights reserved.