HBW Alive Newsletter
Nº44, February 2018

Species Plates

The Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) is the first work ever to illustrate and deal in detail with all the living species of birds in the world. Achieving this goal has resulted in a total of 20,617 figures published throughout the 17-volume series. All of these figures are available on HBW Alive.
In addition to this already unmatchable collection, we have incorporated more than 1100 new figures from the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, Volume 1 (Non-passerines) and Volume 2 (Passerines), as well as our recent field guides: Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago; Greater Sundas and Wallacea, Birds of New Guinea, including Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville and the Field Guide to the Birds of Machu Picchu and the Cusco Region, Peru. Thus, the collection has grown to a whopping 21,779 figures in HBW Alive and we aren’t stopping there. Many more illustrations will be included as they are prepared for additional projects, so make sure you check back regularly!
You can easily access all of the figures through the “Species plates” page, where you can create customized plates with filters for Orders, Families, Genera and Common Names. With the Geographic filter tool you can go a step further and choose to see the species only present in a particular country or combination of countries. So, for example, with a few clicks it is simple to create a plate of all the hummingbird species present in Bolivia!
Another helpful tool in the Species plates is the “Scaled” option, which you can use to compare figures that interest you. When viewing the scaled figures side-by-side, it is easy to realize why Little Owl (Athene noctua) is scared of Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) and to appreciate the size differences between Great (Dendrocopos major), Middle (Leiopicus medius) and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers (Dryobates minor)!
Arnau Bonan
Editor, HBW Alive
News on HBW Alive
Updated Species from the Checklist

Updated Species from the Illustrated Checklist

Our efforts continue with updating the passerine splits derived from Volume 2 of the Illustrated Checklist, both the original “mother” species and the resulting “daughter” species.
Over the last month we have completed all “new species” (resulting from splits) of the families Alaudidae (Larks), Passeridae (Old World Sparrows, Emberizidae (Old World Buntings). We also continue adding multimedia links to the completed “new species”, with families Paramythiidae (Painted Berrypeckers and Hylocitreidae (Hylocitreas) finished and the family Alaudidae (Larks) under way.

Here are four examples to browse:
Arabian Sunbird
Arabian Sunbird
(Cinnyris hellmayri)
Western Crested Berrypecker
Western Crested Berrypecker
(Paramythia olivacea)
Masked Bunting
Masked Bunting
(Emberiza personata)
Grey-throated Bunting
Grey-throated Bunting
(Emberiza goslingi)
Species with Multimedia Links
We are always busy adding multimedia links to the accounts to enhance the comprehension of the already detailed texts. Some of our recent favourites include links to all species of the genus Melanerpes. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!
Genera Melanerpes
White-backed Swallow
Check out these “Top 5” species with recently incorporated multimedia links: Black-hooded Antshrike (Thamnophilus bridgesi), White-backed Swallow (Cheramoeca leucosterna), Malay Laughingthrush (Trochalopteron peninsulae), Cuban Grassquit (Phonipara canora) and Red-backed Sierra-finch (Ephippiospingus dorsalis).
News on Birds
Ornithological News

Atlantic Lesser Frigatebird: a species on the verge of extinction?

Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) comprises two subspecies found in the Indo-Pacific, and a third, trinitatis, breeding on the Atlantic island of Trindade, 1100 km off the coast of Brazil. Fewer than 20 breeding pairs were found on a small islet alongside Trindade in 1975/76, with just six birds recorded over 60 days of surveys in 2013. The decline of trinitatis may have been caused by a combination of factors, from direct consumption of eggs and overfishing, to the effects of introduced mammals. Feral pigs, goats and cats have been extirpated, but house mice remain abundant and are likely to prevent recolonisation of the main island.

Hunting raptors start fires deliberately

The regular attendance of raptors at grass and scrub fires is well known. The birds hunt potential prey animals displaced by the flames. However, proof is now available from Australia that some individual Black Kites (Milvus migrans), Whistling Kites (Haliastur sphenurus) and Brown Falcons (Falco berigora) deliberately spread fire by carrying burning twigs and dropping them elsewhere to start new blazes. They seem to do this largely when an existing fire is being extinguished, seemingly in order to keep it going. The use of fire as a tool has previously been thought to be unique to human beings, but it may well have first been used by raptors.
Internet Bird Collection
IBC's Video of the Month
Sumatran Woodpecker
A male Sumatran Woodpecker Picus dedemi.
Recorded in the Aceh Region, Sumatra, Indonesia, on 6 December 2017.
IBC's Photo of the Month
Rufous Fishing-owl
Adult Rufous Fishing-owl Scotopelia ussheri perched.

Taken in the Tiwai Island Game Sanctuary, Gola Forest Reserve, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone, on 27 January 2018.
IBC's Sound Recording of the Month
Legge's Hawk-eagle
A Legge's Hawk-eagle Nisaetus nipalensis kelaarti calling.
Recorded in Thattekad Bird Sanctuary, Ernakulam District, Kerala, India, on 7 December 2017.
New Publications
Birds of Southern Africa

Birds of Southern Africa - MP3 Sound Collection

By Peter Boesman

Birds New to Science documents more than half a century of remarkable discoveries, covering around 300 species. Each account includes the story of discovery, a brief description of the bird (many with accompanying photographs), and details of what is known about its biology, range and conservation status.
24.95€     LEARN MORE 
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