Over the last few decades, bird
vocalizations have become an increasingly important element in taxonomic
decision making, as there is growing consensus that an integrative
approach is the best guarantee for a solid result. Current taxonomies
rely heavily on taxonomic papers, but only a minority of these include
detailed vocal analysis, typically whenever researchers have had some
field experience and/or their attention was drawn to vocal differences.
The HBW and Birdlife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, Volume 2: Passerines
is the first worldwide taxonomy that goes a step further by including
vocal properties at a fairly comprehensive scale for any group of taxa
where there is a presumption of significant taxonomic divergence.
To allow such massive use of voice information, we have analyzed—in a
period of some 20 months—over 800 cases of related species and/or
subspecies of Passerines, to determine to what extent these differed
During this work we amassed so many little pieces of new information,
that it would have been a pity not to share these with the
ornithological community. Therefore, we decided that for a selection of
some 400 cases we would create a separate “Ornithological Note”
on HBW Alive for each, focusing on those cases that revealed new
information and/or were important for the taxonomic decisions.
Read the full story for further explanations and highlights of some interesting Ornithological Notes for each geographic zone.
Editor, HBW Alive