HBW Alive Newsletter
Nº47, May 2018

The updating process for the “new passerine species” from the Illustrated Checklist

The long-term task of updating HBW Alive to reflect the passerines taxonomy in the second volume of the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World was heavily engaged during the last month. All relevant “new species” (resulting from splits) and “mother species” in the following nine families were completed during April: Crows and Jays (Corvidae), Birds-of-paradise (Paradisaeidae), New Zealand Wattlebirds (Callaeidae), Berrypeckers and Longbills (Melanocharitidae), Satinbirds (Cnemophilidae), Australasian Robins (Petroicidae), Tits and Chickadees (Paridae), Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae) and Wrens (Troglodytidae).
In addition, significant further progress was made in this same work with respect to another three families, as follows: Leaf-warblers (Phylloscopidae), Nuthatches (Sittidae) and New World Blackbirds (Icteridae).
This process involves substantial checking and re-checking of the literature, not only the new papers and books published since the original “mother species” text was published in the relevant “paper” volume of HBW, but also much of the information cited in the original account. This enables the Bibliography for each species to be sharpened, so that it relates precisely to the populations concerned, and for various facets of the biology of these birds to be teased out. For example, a small-scale study of the breeding ecology of what was originally treated as a race might have made little impression on the text for the original species account, but assumes a degree of previously unimagined importance when that subspecies has been upgraded to species level as a result of work undertaken for the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, Volume 1 (Non-passerines) and Volume 2 (Passerines).
In addition, in many cases we have provided many new links in the literature cited, to PDFs stored in online repositories such as SORA, the Searchable Ornithological Research Archive, BHL, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the American Museum of Natural History Digital Repository, among others, so that readers and users of HBW Alive can more easily check this information for themselves. These invaluable archives for ornithologists were not even dreams when the HBW project started, but now form part and parcel of almost every day for researchers.
Nevertheless, many of the “split species”, especially in the tropics, are for now comparatively poorly known birds, as the accounts demonstrate. In addition to the need for more detailed research on them by academic ornithologists, amateur birdwatchers and users of HBW Alive can make a big contribution to our knowledge base, by contributing videos, photographs and sounds to online archives such as the Internet Bird Collection, Xeno-Canto  or the Macaulay Library, but also by taking notes on behaviour and ecology, and publishing these, either in local or regional journals, or simply as Ornithological Notes in HBW Alive.
Guy Kirwan
Editor, HBW Alive
News on HBW Alive
Updated Species from the Checklist

Updated Species from the Illustrated Checklist

As explained in the Editorial, we have been continuing our efforts with updating the passerine splits derived from Volume 2 of the Illustrated Checklist, both the original “mother” species and the resulting “daughter” species.

At the same time, we are adding multimedia links to the completed “new species”, with the families Monarchidae (Monarch-flycatchers), Laniidae (Shrikes), Melanocharitidae  (Berrypeckers and Longbills) and Troglodytidae (Wrens) completed and Corvidae (Crows and Jays) under way.
Tanimbar Monarch
Tanimbar Monarch
(Carterornis castus)
Oriental Paradise-flycatcher
Oriental Paradise-flycatcher
(Terpsiphone affinis)
Rufous-backed Wren
Rufous-backed Wren
(Campylorhynchus capistratus)
Pacific Wren
Pacific Wren
(Troglodytes pacificus)
Red-tailed Shrike
Red-tailed Shrike
(Lanius phoenicuroides)
Spotted Berrypecker
Spotted Berrypecker
(Rhamphocharis piperata)
Species with Multimedia Links
As always, we are constantly adding multimedia links to the species accounts to enhance the comprehension of the already detailed texts. Some of our recent favourites include links to all species of genera Oreotrochilus, Forpus, Dinopium and Tachycineta. Check them out!
Diamond Firetail
Here are our “Top 5” picks of species with recently incorporated multimedia links: Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis), Nelicourvi Weaver (Ploceus nelicourvi), African Silverbill (Euodice cantans), Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata) and Yellow-billed Cardinal (Paroaria capitata).
Get the Most Out of My Birding
Users of My Birding will know that Birdlists can be joined into Trips, and that each Trip has its own statistics, including the number of species recorded, number of First Sightings, number of sightings and much more.
Besides the total number of species recorded on the trip, the numbers of regular, vagrant and introduced species are also detailed.
Now, by placing the cursor over “vagrant” or “introduced” in the Trip totals box, a small pop-up appears and the vagrant or introduced species recorded are listed, with links to each species account.
The number of endemic species seen during the trip is also shown and when you hover over “endemic” a pop-up displays the names of the endemic species seen and links to their species accounts.
With this improvement it is easier to see the vagrant, introduced and endemic species recorded in each trip and to learn more about them!
Internet Bird Collection
IBC's Video of the Month
A Western Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus coryphaei excavating a nest.
Recorded in Big Babanki, Bamenda Highlands, Northwest Province, Cameroon, on 23 November 2016.

SPECIAL IBC NEWS: Bearded Vultures bathing in iron-rich springs

Last month Josep del Hoyo uploaded several videos to the IBC of Bearded Vultures Gypaetus barbatus drinking and bathing in iron-rich water springs to acquire their characteristic ferruginous colour. Click here to discover these amazing videos!
Bearded Vulture
Bearded Vulture
IBC's Photo of the Month
Fiery-throated Hummingbird
A Fiery-throated Hummingbird Panterpe insignis flying.
Taken in Cerro Las Vueltas Reserve, San José Province, Costa Rica, on 20 February 2018.
IBC's Sound Recording of the Month
A Balearic Warbler Sylvia balearica singing.
Recorded in Formentor Cape, Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain, on 8 March 2017.
New Publications


Handbook of the Mammals of the World

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The Ascent of Birds

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How Modern Science is Revealing their Story
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When and where did the ancestors of modern birds evolve? What enabled them to survive the meteoric impact that wiped out the dinosaurs? How did these early birds spread across the globe and give rise to the 10,600-plus species we recognise today ― from the largest ratites to the smallest hummingbirds? Based on the latest scientific discoveries and enriched by personal observations, The Ascent of Birds sets out to answer these fundamental questions.
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