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Birding in the 21st Century.

News and Features

Rockin’ Robins

Rose Robin (M); The Royal National Park, NSW.

Most people think of robins and immediately recall the familiar European Robin (Erithacus rubecula), ubiquitous in gardens, Christmas cards and fairy-tales alike. North Americans are proud to have ‘their own’ robin species, the larger American Robin (Turdus migratorius). Australians, too, can proudly assert their own “robin redbreasts”, but few realise that the uniting factor behind all of these species (the red breast) is entirely superficial. Nor do many realise that Australia’s robin fauna extends far beyond red-breasted species.

Australian robins, in fact, belong to their own family, generically called Australasian robins (Petroicidae). Read more

Taxonomy Update for 2016

Lesser Violetear from Costa Rica. This species is somewhat smaller, has more emerald green feathering, and typically lacks the blue chin and blue central breast of Mexican Violetear, although some (like this bird) can show hints of blue in those areas. Photo Brian Sullivan/Macaulay Library.

The eBird taxonomy update is essentially COMPLETE. All major changes have occurred, and we have a small number of minor changes yet to make. This may affect the lists of a very small number of users as we implement these over the next few days. We do this update once each year, taking into account the past 12 months of recent taxonomic knowledge on splits, lumps, name changes, and changes in the sequence of the species lists. As of this point, all eBird data will be reflecting the new taxonomy. This includes your My eBird lists, range maps, bar charts, region and hotspot lists, and data entry. eBird Mobile should also be updated to the new taxonomy. If you see unfamiliar bird names in the list, please refer to the story below to understand the change and why it happened. In addition, we list a number of new options for data entry (hybrids, spuhs, slashes, etc.), all of which are listed below.

Taxonomy update for 2016 – Australia

Western Whistler by Geoffrey Groom/Macaulay Library

The annual eBird taxonomy update IS NOW UNDERWAY. Work is still going in the background to update existing checklists, update maps etc., but the revised taxonomy should already appear as you enter new checklists. It is worth having a look at which Australian species are being treated differently with the 2016 update.

Every year, the eBird/Clements taxonomy is updated. This year, for Australian eBirders, there are several changes to be aware of. Read more…

Taxonomy update coming—9 August

Grey-faced Petrel has been split from Great-winged Petrel. This Grey-faced Petrel photo off Tasmania taken by Paul Brooks/Macaulay Library

The annual eBird taxonomy update will begin this Tuesday, 9 August. The process will continue for at least a couple of days (until Wednesday, 10 Aug or Thursday, 11 Aug). We do this once a year to reflect the most recent changes in avian taxonomy: splits, lumps, name changes, and changes in the sequence of the species lists. You may notice some unusual behaviour with your lists and other tools (see below), but this is nothing to worry about. The 2016 splits and lumps will be published very soon on this page. We will summarise these changes in an eBird story once the taxonomy update is complete. A more thorough discussion of this year’s changes can be found at the Clements Checklist, where the 2016 updates have been posted. Read more…

August eBirder of the Month Challenge

Chestnut Teal, Wynn Vale, SA, Maury Swoveland.  ML 28819721, CL S29052622

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, is a photography and recording contest! Don’t worry, you don’t need a fancy camera or microphone to win. Minimum entry requirements are an appreciation for birds, your optics of choice, and anything that takes a picture or makes a recording: phone, camera, voice recorder—whatever works! The next time you’re in the field, take a few seconds to immortalize some of the birds you’re encountering through image or sound, and add those media to your checklists. Read more

eBird Australia 2016 Annual Challenges Update #2

Rock Parrot,  Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, WA. ML 28222521, CL S29433487, Luke Seitz

Here’s the second Annual Challenge update – covering lists submitted between 1 January and 31 May 2016. If you have submitted eligible lists to eBird, you don’t need to do anything extra to be considered a participant–we’ve automatically included your lists in the tallies. Read more…

A New Name

Laughing Kookaburra, Oxley Creek Common, QLD. ML 30270781, CL S30219053. Mat Gilfedder

The Australian eBird portal name has been changed to eBird Australia, by decision of the eBird Australia Steering Committee. The previous name, Eremaea eBird, was selected to maintain continuity with Eremaea Birds, the popular global bird listing web site which ran from 2003 until it merged with eBird in February 2014. However the committee felt that the time had come to select a new name since the word Eremaea, besides being somewhat difficult to spell and pronounce, did not indicate the geographical scope of our portal. The obvious alternative, eBird Australia, clearly identifies the portal’s scope and is consistent with portal names for many other countries. Read more

Hotspot Update for Nathan Road Wetlands Reserve, QLD

Brolga, Nathan Roads Wetland Reserve, QLD. Stephen Murray  CL S26829890

After our Focus on a Hotspot report for the Nathan Road Wetlands Reserve in November 2015, interest in this site became intense. Frequent (almost daily) lists by local, interstate and even international birders were submitted for this Hotspot in the remainder of 2015. List submittal in 2016 also started well, and in January the Hotspot received a huge data boost with 47 lists entered – an amazing effort by all reporters.

As a result, the overall species list has increased since November 2015 by another 19 species and now stands at 186! Read on

Help capture sights and sounds with your smartphone

Superb Lyrebird, Rhododendron Park, Mount Pleasant, NSW, AU 24/04/16 CL S29156844
, Brian Deans

This year, with the new eBird/Macaulay Library media upload tool, birders have the opportunity to document the sights and sounds of birds in a way that has never before been possible. This exciting tool offers birders the ability to upload up to 10 pieces of rich media (photos or audio recordings) for each species observation in an eBird checklist. So, when you’re out in the field, we encourage you to capture as many images and recordings as you can, and then upload them to your eBird checklists when you get back home. Explore recordings of birds submitted by eBirders in Australia and all over the world using “Search Photos and Sounds” on the Explore Data page. Read more

June eBirder of the Month Challenge

Spotted Pardalote carrying nesting material. Breeding code: CN Confirmed.

This month’s eBirder of the month challenge, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, is aimed at improving our knowledge of breeding birds across the world. In Australia we are lucky to see signs of breeding at different times of the year, while in the Northern Hemisphere, June is a crucial time in the annual cycle of many birds, as they build nests, hatch chicks, and hopefully fledge young – perpetuating the existence of their species. The eBirder of the month will be drawn from eBirders who submit at least 20 complete checklists containing at least one breeding code during June. These checklists must be entered by the last day of the month in order to qualify for the drawing. Winners will be notified by the 10th of the following month.