HBW Alive Newsletter
Nº50, August 2018

7000 species with multimedia links!

Since the beginning of the HBW Alive project we have been adding multimedia links in the family texts and species accounts with the goal of enhancing the user’s experience and comprehension of the information. For example, thanks to photos and videos the plumage differences between different sexes, ages or subspecies can be easily studied. Videos allow us to enjoy and better understand bird behaviours, like feeding techniques and displays, as well as habitats where they live, etc… And finally, thanks to videos and mainly sound recordings, the bird calls and songs can be heard while reading their description.
The links themselves come from open-access sources all over the internet, especially from our own Internet Bird Collection (IBC); multimedia from IBC links is conveniently displayed directly in the text without opening a new window, which allows an easier read of the species account.
Last month we hit the mark of 7000 species with multimedia links! “Lucky species number 7000” was Chestnut-backed Laughingthrush (Garrulax nuchalis).
Here are some highlights:
The species with the highest number of links is the Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) with a total of 52 multimedia links across all of the sections.
The species with the most links in the “Descriptive notes” section is the Great Tit (Parus major) with 30 links. Given that it is a very common species with forty-three subspecies, the great number of photos and videos linked in this section showing different subspecies and morphological characteristics is very helpful.
For the “Voice” section, the Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) is the species with the most audiovisual links (eight), some of them being to amazing videos of males displaying!
The Wedge-tailed Shearwater (Ardenna pacifica) is the species with the greatest number of links in the “Habitat” section, with seven links to photos and videos that show its habitat includes more than just the open sea.
One of the most recorded species is the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), and the great amount of material of this species fishing and with prey explains the high number (14) of links in the “Food and feeding” section!
The Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua), a species with a lot of multimedia material from breeding colonies, is the species with the most links—17—in the “Breeding” section.
The migratory species Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) has the highest total of links in the “Movements section”; eleven links to photos and videos from North America, Europe and even Japan.
And the Critically Endangered California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus), with nine links, is the species with the most links in the “Status and conservation” section, many of which highlight the captive breeding and release efforts that are being made to improve the species’ conservation.
As we said in a previous newsletter, if you are particularly interested in any specific families, genera and/or species and you would like to see more multimedia links incorporated in their pages, please tell us—we take requests ;).
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.

Last month we completed all “new species” (resulting from splits) of Sturnidae (Starlings) completed.

At the same time, we are adding multimedia links to the completed “new species”, with the families Timaliidae (Scimitar-babblers and allies), Pellorneidae (Ground Babblers) and Leiotrichidae (Laughingthrushes and allies) and Sturnidae (Starlings) under way.

Here are four examples to browse:
Sumatran Mesia
Sumatran Mesia
(Leiothrix laurinae)
Black-capped Babbler
Black-capped Babbler
(Pellorneum nigrocapitatum)
Brown-crowned Scimitar-babbler
(Pomatorhinus phayrei)
Grey-hooded Babbler
(Cyanoderma bicolor)
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 genera Polyplectron and Microhierax. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!
Brown Firefinch
Check out these “Top 5” species with recently incorporated multimedia links: Blue-headed Coucal (Centropus monachus), Torrent Tyrannulet (Serpophaga cinerea), Grey Laughingthrush (Garrulax maesi), Brown Firefinch (Lagonosticta nitidula) and Band-tailed Sierra-finch (Corydospiza alaudina).
HBW Alive Features

“New taxa” box in the species accounts

The New species and subspecies page of HBW Alive presents those bird species and subspecies of which we are aware that have been described since the publication of the final volume of the Handbook of the Birds of the World in June 2013. The validity of all these new taxa is presently under review within the framework of the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, to which all HBW Alive treatments of taxonomy and classification are linked.

In order to have this important information available for consultation in the relevant species accounts, now for every species with a newly described subspecies, there is a box in the species account called “New taxa”. Here users will find the new subspecies scientific name and English common name, the list of authors of the paper describing the new taxa and the country where it was described; photos are included when available. There is also a direct link to the “New species and subspecies” page for convenience.
News on Birds
New Taxa

Southern Dark Newtonia

The authors performed a modern systematics approach combining genomic, morphometric, and ecological niche data to analyse the evolutionary history of the genus Newtonia (Vangidae). Their integrative analysis uncovered hidden species-level diversity within N. amphichroa, with two deeply divergent and morphologically distinct lineages isolated in different regions of humid forest. They describe the southern lineage as a new species.

The southern clade of N. amphichroa showed to be enough distinct to warrant recognition as a new species, Newtonia lavarambo. While species delimitation using genomic data alone is problematic, the northern and southern N. amphichroa lineages were also morphologically distinct.

Read more about this new taxa here.

Western Square-tailed Drongo

The authors describe a new species of drongo in the Square-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus ludwigii) complex using a combination of biometric and genetic data. The new species differs from previously described taxa in the Square-tailed Drongo complex by possessing a significantly heavier bill and via substantial genetic divergence (6.7%) from its sister-species D. sharpei.

The new species, Dicrurus occidentalis, is distributed across the gallery forests of coastal Guinea, extending to the Niger and Benue Rivers of Nigeria. The authors suspect that this taxon was overlooked by previous avian systematists because they either lacked comparative material from western Africa or because the key diagnostic morphological character (bill characteristics) was not measured.

They offer an updated taxonomy of the Square-tailed Drongo species complex.
Internet Bird Collection
IBC's Video of the Month
Rain Quail
A Rain Quail Coturnix coromandelica calling.
Recorded in Jhanjrola, Gurgaon District, Haryana, India, on 19 July 2018.
IBC's Photo of the Month
Golden Masked-owl
A Golden Masked-owl Tyto aurantia perched.
Taken in Walindi Plantation Resort, Kimbe Bay, New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago,
on 17 June 2018.
IBC's Sound Recording of the Month
Fanti Saw-wing
A Fanti Saw-wing Psalidoprocne obscura singing.
Recorded in Bijilo Forest Park, Bijilo, Western Division, Gambia, on 18 June 2018.
New Publications
Lynx and BirdLife International Field Guides
Hot off the press!
Birds of Thailand

Birds of Thailand

By Uthai Treesucon and Wich'yanan Limparungpattanakij

Series: Lynx and BirdLife International Field Guides

This new field guide will help you identify all 1049 species to have been recorded in the country to date, including the 20 species endemic or near-endemic to Thailand.
Browse some sample pages
  • Taxonomy follows the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.
  • Detailed texts covering status, habitat and behaviour, age, sex and geographical variation, voice, and confusion species.
  • Almost 2200 illustrations covering all species and distinctive subspecies, birds in flight, males and females, juveniles and non-breeding plumages, where appropriate.
  • QR code for each species, linking to the Internet Bird Collection gallery of photos, videos and sounds.
  • More than 1025 full-colour range maps for all species other than vagrants.
  • Well-marked subspecies groups receive full accounts, and the distributions of subspecies breeding in the region are clearly mapped.
  • Local species name and local conservation status included.

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