HBW Alive Newsletter
Nº39, September 2017

New improvements in My Birding

Like mechanics tinkering with a car engine to make it run better and faster, the ITs at HBW Alive have been looking under the hood and tuning up My Birding (HBW Alive’s bird-sighting recording system). Check out these four improvements that will make you want to take My Birding for a spin: Mega Targets are those species of highest priority for you to see, following your own personal criteria. The species you mark as Mega Targets are computed and highlighted in the Global stats and Targets stats pages, helping you to better define countries with the most interesting species for you. More information about this new tool is detailed in the “Get the Most Out of My Birding” section below.

With the new Want List in the Printable Checklist, now you will get a more precise list of your target species in the selected territory (those species you have not seen anywhere), based on your sightings data in My Birding. See this news for more information about this interesting feature.

A new map on the Birdlist page will help you get a “global” view of your bird travels, by showing the locations of your georeferenced birdlists. This may be a good incentive for specifying the locations of your birdlists (by placing a marker on the map when you enter a new birdlist) and perhaps even going back to add this if lacking in any of the birdlists you already have created.

And, finally, the Species Maintenance tool is functional again. This tool is the best way to detect any possible errors or discrepancies and to increase the accuracy and consistency of your stored data. Learn more about it in the My Birding Manual chapter “My Birding species maintenance”.
Julien Reulos
Webmaster, HBW Alive
News on HBW Alive
New Species from the Checklist Updated

New Split Species from the Illustrated Checklist Updated

We continue our efforts on updating the passerine splits derived from Volume 2 of the Illustrated Checklist, both the original “mother” species and the resulting “daughter” species.

Last month we completed all “new species” (resulting from splits) of the families Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls) and Acrocephalidae (Reed-warblers) and we started on Locustellidae (Grasshopper-warblers and Grassbirds).

We are also adding multimedia links to the completed “new species”, with Tyrannidae (Tyrant-flycatchers) and Maluridae (Fairy-wrens) finished and Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters) under way.

Here are six examples to browse:
Southern Streaked Flycatcher
Southern Streaked Flycatcher
(Myiodynastes solitarius)
Bahia Wagtail-tyrant
Bahia Wagtail-tyrant
(Stigmatura bahiae)
Little Vermilion Flycatcher
Little Vermilion Flycatcher
(Pyrocephalus nanus)
Eastern Ornate Flycatcher
Eastern Ornate Flycatcher
(Myiotriccus phoenicurus)
Thick-billed Grasswren
Thick-billed Grasswren
(Amytornis modestus)
White-quilled Honeyeater
White-quilled Honeyeater
(Entomyzon albipennis)
Recently Updated Species
Highlighted Owl species with full texts updated:
Northern Long-eared Owl
Northern Long-eared Owl
(Asio otus)
Flammulated Owl
Flammulated Owl
(Psiloscops flammeolus)
Eastern Screech-owl
Eastern Screech-owl
(Megascops asio)
Tropical Screech-owl
Tropical Screech-owl
(Megascops choliba)
Species with Multimedia Links
The HBW Alive team adds multimedia links to the species accounts to enrich the comprehension of the already detailed texts. Some of our recent favourites include links to all species of genera Megapodius and Campethera. Check them out!
Genus Megapodius
Saxaul Sparrow
Here are our picks for the “Top 5” species with recently incorporated multimedia links: Bahama Mockingbird (Mimus gundlachii), Bearded Scrub-robin (Tychaedon quadrivirgata), Ultramarine Flycatcher (Ficedula superciliaris), Saxaul Sparrow (Passer ammodendri) and Tibetan Bunting (Emberiza koslowi).
Get the Most Out of My Birding

Mega Targets


My Birding is a bird-sighting recording system for Supporting members where, once you have introduced your birdlists, you can easily identify the species that you have not seen: your target species. But, within one’s target species, most birders are especially interested in some particular bird families and/or charismatic species, which may influence their future birding trips.

Keeping this in mind, we have added to HBW Alive the concept of Mega Targets: those species of highest priority for you to see, according to your own personal criteria. The species that you mark as Mega Targets will be computed and highlighted in your Global stats and Targets stats pages, helping you to better define countries with the most interesting species for you.
Find more information about the Mega Targets in this news.
 
News on Birds
Ornithological News

Do ground-cuckoos mimic peccaries?
 

The ground-cuckoos comprise four species in the genus Neomorphus that inhabit tropical forests in Central and South America. They usually forage on the ground, often following army-ant swarms or herds of peccaries (both Pecari tajacu and Tayassu pecari). Ground-cuckoos not only associate with peccaries, feeding on invertebrates that the latter unearth from the forest floor, but also sound like them, making a loud bill snapping that closely resembles the tooth clacking that these mammals use as a defence signal against predators. Recent analysis has shown that the acoustic characteristics of bill clacking in ground-cuckoos resemble the tooth clacking of peccaries much more than the bill rattle of the closely related Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) of North America. Peccaries are known to successfully ward off attacks by large predators, including jaguars (Panthera onca). Hence, mimicking their clacking could deceive predators either by triggering clacking from nearby peccaries or by making it appear to predators that peccaries are present when they are not. Moreover, ground-cuckoos and peccaries may benefit mutually from the use of similar signals to alert each other to the presence of predators, ground-cuckoos serving as sentinels and peccaries conferring protection.
 

Snow-free season is becoming longer in Alaska


Snow is melting earlier in the spring and arriving later in the autumn, according to a new study by CIRES and NOAA researchers. Atmospheric dynamics and sea ice conditions are behind this lengthening of the snow-free season, and the consequences are far reaching—including birds laying eggs sooner. The increase in length of the snow-free season was by about one week per decade from 1975 to 2016. From 1975 to 2016, the melting of the snow arrived nearly three days earlier every decade, and from 1979 to 2016, snow onset arrived later, by about 4.5 days every decade. On Cooper Island, where a colony of Black Guillemots (Cepphus grille) has been monitored since 1975, the authors of the study found that the timing of the seabirds' egg laying correlated with snowmelt, so earlier melt means earlier egg laying. The timing of snowmelt also influenced the timing of peak discharge from the local river systems and the start of the vegetative growing season, according to the researchers.
 
Read more   News on Birds   |   First Country Reports
Internet Bird Collection
IBC's Video of the Month
Wrybill
A large flock of Wrybills Anarhynchus frontalis arriving at a roost site.
Taken in Miranda, North Island, New Zealand, on 30 March 2017.
IBC's Photo of the Month
Vanuatu Kingfisher
Male Vanuatu Kingfisher Todiramphus farquhari perched on a branch.

Recorded in Pic Santo, Espiritu Santo Island, Sanma Province, Vanuatu, on 25 July 2017.
 
IBC's Sound Recording of the Month
Great Argus
A Great Argus Argusianus argus calling.

Recorded in Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley Conservation Area, Sabah, on 26 October 2001.
New Publications
The Birder's Guide to Africa

The Birder's Guide to Africa

By Michael Mills

The first comprehensive summary of bird watching in the African region, featuring:
  • Family Accounts for all 142 bird families recorded from the region, with photographs.
  • Species Accounts for all 2,792 bird species, including information on where to best see them.
38.00€     BUY NOW 
Poster

Bird Phylogeny Poster


A completely updated phylogenetic tree, incorporating the most recent molecular studies that have revolutionized our understanding of the relationships between and among the orders and families of the world’s birds.
 
Based on the classification presented in Bird Families of the World (Winkler, D.W. et al. 2015) and the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, Vols. 1 & 2 (del Hoyo, J. & Collar, N.J. 2014, 2016), with several updates.

 

Essential for understanding the current macrosystematics of the Class Aves!

 

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