Nº 53, November 2018

95% of the world’s bird species with photos on the IBC!

The Internet Bird Collection (IBC) is an important sister-project to HBW Alive and the source of many of the multimedia links that we include in the HBW Alive species accounts to enhance the comprehension of the already detailed texts, like for plumages, vocalizations and breeding displays and behaviours (see "Species with multimedia links" below). So, most of our HBW Alive subscribers probably know the IBC well and hopefully many are already contributors. But, for the few who haven’t fully discovered it yet, the IBC is the most globally comprehensive website of audiovisual recordings—videos, photos and sounds—of the birds of the world.

The IBC was founded in 2002 as an open-access, on-line audiovisual library with the goal of disseminating knowledge about the world's avifauna. Today it has become a world reference for ornithologists, birders and bird enthusiasts, especially when looking for photos and videos of birds. The current collection holds 130,763 videos, 270,888 photos and 20,494 sound recordings, which is thanks to the contributions of the over 4500 IBC contributors who are the heart of the project. Together the IBC keeps meeting new goals and striving for others.

For example, we are excited to say that over the last month the IBC reached the astonishing number of 10,425 species with photographs, which means that the site contains photos of 95% of the world’s bird species.
The record-breaking photo was of Hooded Tinamou Nothocercus nigrocapillus taken in Peru by Keith Blomerley—many thanks to Keith and to all of our contributors!

Hooded Tinamou
Of course, there are more goals to reach and we are eager to work towards them with our growing group of IBC contributors. For example, there are still species without photos on the IBC and places in the world where no contributor has set foot... Here you can find three lists that show species that lack videos, photos or sound recordings, so that we can fill in gaps and cover more species. We encourage IBC contributors to get out there and keep recording material and for others to join the IBC's efforts by becoming contributors.

Josep del Hoyo
Founder and contributor, IBC

News on HBW Alive
Updated Species from the 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.

Our most recent work has been on the families Fringillidae (Finches), Passerellidae (New World Sparrows) and Parulidae (New World Warblers).

At the same time, we are adding multimedia links to the completed "new species".

Here are six examples to browse:

White-throated Thrush
(Turdus assimilis)
Rufous-headed Parrotbill
Taiwan Thrush
Taiwan Thrush
(Turdus niveiceps)
Sichuan Leaf-warbler
White's Thrush
White's Thrush
(Zoothera aurea)
Kloss’s Leaf-warbler
(Psittiparus bakeri)
Sichuan Leaf-warbler
(Phylloscopus forresti)
Kloss’s Leaf-warbler
(Phylloscopus ogilviegranti)
As explained in the Editorial above, our team methodically links parts of the species account texts to multimedia resources, especially the IBC, that help bring the concepts to life. Some of our recent favourites include links to all species of the genera Cecropis, Chamaetylas, Cossypha and Melaenornis. Take a look!

Check out our favourite 5 species with recently incorporated multimedia links: Orange-breasted Laughingthrush (Garrulax annamensis), Swamp Flycatcher (Muscicapa aquatica), White-throated Robin (Irania gutturalis), Pale-headed Munia (Lonchura pallida) and Apurimac Brush-finch (Atlapetes forbesi).
Orange-breasted Laughingthrush
News on Birds
The world’s smallest flightless bird had its origin in South America

The smallest extant flightless bird, the Inaccessible Island Rail (Atlantisia rogersi), is confined to Inaccessible Island, Tristan da Cunha archipelago. The island is an extinct volcano fringed with sheer sea cliffs that indeed make it one of the most inaccessible inhabited islands in the world. New phylogenetic research has revealed that the species' closest relative is the Dot-winged Rail (Porzana spiloptera), in a well-supported clade that also contains the Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis). The authors suggest that both the Inaccessible Island and Dot-winged rails be included in the genus Laterallus. It is argued that, contrary to its suggested Old World origin, the Inaccessible Island Rail colonized Inaccessible Island from South America c. 1.5 million years ago. Rail taxonomy has traditionally been based on morphology, and convergent evolution has resulted in many cases of misclassification.

Bobolinks fly non-stop over the ocean

Geolocators placed on 17 Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) from a breeding population in Vermont, USA, revealed that 13 individuals made transoceanic flights of 1,098 to 3,536 km. Five of these flights were nonstop from North America to South America, which are remarkable distances for a passerine weighing about 30 grams.

Rote Leaf-warbler Phylloscopus rotiensis

A team of researchers use a combination of morphology, bioacoustics, and analysis of thousands of genome-wide markers to investigate and describe a new species of Phylloscopus Leaf-warbler from the island of Rote in the Lesser Sundas, Indonesia, where the species is endemic. They show that this new Rote Leaf-warbler is morphologically and genomically highly distinct from its congenerics, but do not find vocal differentiation between different island taxa. The new taxon is distinguished from all other Phylloscopus Leaf-warblers by its substantially longer bill (as scaled to body length), which in the field is reminiscent of the tailorbirds (Orthotomus). Beyond bill shape, it can be distinguished from other Indo-Papuan Leaf-warblers based on a range of differences in plumage colouration, and from most by the colour and pattern of the lower mandible.

They discuss the behaviour and ecology of this highly distinctive new species, and make recommendations about its conservation status. They believe this constitutes the first description of a novel bird species that is partly based on insights from massive amounts of genome-wide DNA markers.

Cochinchina Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps germaini

Between 2004 and 2012 evidence of a new population of Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps in SE Cambodia/Vietnam accumulated, but no museum specimens were known. Ashy Tailorbird currently consists of eight subspecies among which the closest geographical populations, O. r. cineraceus (SE Myanmar to the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Bangka and Belitung) and O. r. borneoensis (on Borneo), are allopatric. Subspecific identification of the Cambodian Ashy Tailorbird individuals was not possible because of the limited differences in plumage among subspecies. Inspection of the Orthotomus ruficeps specimens housed at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris) revealed five specimens of O. ruficeps collected by Louis Rodolphe Germain in ‘Cochinchina’ (corresponding to southern Vietnam) during the 19th century. J. Fuchs and D. Zuccon sequenced one mitochondrial locus, gathered biometric data from these specimens and compared them with other Orthotomus lineages. Their analysis reveals that the Ashy Tailord population in SE Cambodia and Vietnam is distinct from the two geographically closest subspecies, O. r. borneoensis (1·7%) and O. r. cineraceus (1·3%). The recently described Cambodian Tailorbird O. chaktomuk is nested within O. atrogularis in the mitochondrial gene tree, and the genetic divergence is much lower than initially described (0·4‒0·7% vs. 1·1‒1·4%). The SE Cambodia/Vietnam population of O. ruficeps is distinct from the other two subspecies in bill shape. This suggests that this population constitutes an independent evolutionary lineage that Fuchs & Zuccon have described as a new subspecies.

* The validity and rank of new taxa for treatment on HBW Alive is considered "under review" within the framework of the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.
Striped Cuckoo
A Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia exposing its alula and raising and lowering its crest as it forages.
Recorded in El Rodeo Forest Reserve, San José Province, Costa Rica,
on 6 October 2018.

Lesser Ground-robin
An adult Lesser Ground-robin Amalocichla incerta.

Recorded in the Arfak Mountains, Vogelkop Peninsula, West Papua (Indonesia), New Guinea,
on 15 October 2018.

© Carlos N.G. Bocos
See top-rated photos

Noronha vireo

A Noronha Vireo Vireo gracilirostris singing.
Recorded in Fernando de Noronha Island, Pernambuco State, Brazil, on 12 October 2018.
Birds of Vietnam
Birds of Vietnam
By Richard Craik & Lê Quý Minh

This book, the first comprehensive modern field guide dedicated to Vietnam’s rich and diverse avifauna, describes all 916 species in text, illustrations and distribution maps.

  • 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.
  • Over 1900 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 870 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.

Available in traditional hardcover version as well as in a new flexi-cover version perfect for use in the field.
Special Offer and Free shipping worldwide until November 30th!
Aves de Portugal
Aves de Portugal
By Helder Costa, Eduardo de Juana & Juan Varela

Second edition, revised and updated, of the most complete field guide for the identification of birds in Portugal.
Text in Portuguese. Names of birds in Portuguese, Spanish and English, plus scientific names.

  • Updated texts and updated taxonomy following the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.
  • 253 maps (100 of them new).
  • 800+ colour illustrations, many improved and others new.
  • 525 species, 49 more than in the first edition.
  • The Guide is given a new dimension with videos, photographs and sounds by means of QR codes linking each species to The Internet Bird Collection.
Lynx Edicions, Montseny, 8, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain