2019 eBird Annual Taxonomy Update - Australia

By Mat Gilfedder and Richard Alcorn August 8, 2019

Silvereye in Lord Howe Island (formerly Lord Howe White-eye) © Nige Hartley Macaulay Library | eBird

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 start to appear as you enter new checklists.  It is worth having a look at some of the Australian species are being treated differently with the latest 2019 update.



Just the one lump that affects Australia in 2019:

Lord Howe White-eye Zosterops tephropleurus is lumped with Silvereye Zosterops lateralis .



Southern Boobook is split into two:

  • Southern Boobook Ninox boobook (Mainland Australia, and parts of Wallacea to the north)
  • Morepork Ninox novaeseelandiae           (Tasmania and islands in Bass Strait, some birds migrate to Victoria in winter)

Rainbow Lorikeet is split into six species. Of relevance to Australia are Rainbow, Red-collared, and Coconut.  These are already dealt with well in field guides such as The Australian Bird Guide, which covers how to separate these 3 former subspecies in the field.

  • Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus moluccanus (Cape York southwards, introduced Perth etc.)
  • Red-collared Lorikeet Trichoglossus rubritorquis (Kimberley, Top End NT, west Gulf of Carpentaria)
  • Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus (north Torres Strait)


Western Fieldwren (formerly part of Rufous Fieldwren) © James Kennerley Macaulay Library | eBird

Western Fieldwren split from Rufous Fieldwren.

  • Western Fieldwren Calamanthus montanellus (sw WA, ~s of Geraldton, ~w of Point Culver)
  • Rufous Fieldwren Calamanthus campestris (~n of Geraldton, and ~e of Point Culver)

Norfolk Robin split from Pacific Robin (which was a previous split from Scarlet Robin!)

  • Norfolk Robin Petroica multicolor  (Norfolk Island)
  • Pacific Robin Petroica pusilla  (elsewhere)

There are also several splits in 2019 where a former New Guinea subspecies is elevated to full species.  In all these cases, the Australian side of the split has retained the name, so we haven’t outlined these in this story.



  • Red-collared x Rainbow Lorikeet (hybrid) Trichoglossus rubritorquis x moluccanus


  • Red-collared/Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus rubritorquis/moluccanus
  • Rufous/Western Fieldwren Calamanthus campestris/montanellus