eBird Preferences – species names, Top 100, and more

By deweidemann June 25, 2014

On the top left of most eBird Caribbean pages is a little link that you may not have noticed labelled Preferences. This is where you can customize how species names appear in eBird Caribbean – whether you want common names, scientific names, or both. The default English names follow the Clements Checklist, but you can change the common names (6 versions of English, 9 versions of Spanish, French, Icelandic, Turkish, and Chinese to name a few) as well. You can subscribe to our eBird Newsletter, allow checklist comments to be public, and decide whether or not to participate in the Top 100. This short article discusses these options in eBird Caribbean Preferences and how they can be set to better customize your eBird Caribbean experience.

You can find eBird Preferences at the top of almost any page in eBird Caribbean when you are logged in.


Public Name Display: When you submit data, your name is associated with records that are publicly displayed and available for download. This gives you the option to choose how you would like the public to see your name. If you choose the public option but the name displayed is incorrect, click the provided link to your profile where you can edit your personal information.

Checklist Comments Visibility other Privacy Settings: eBird Caribbean has two types of comments: species comments and checklist comments. Species comments are displayed beside each species name in checklists. These are always shown publicly, since they often contain important bird info. Checklist Comments are entered on Step 2 of the Checklist Entry process when you enter Date and Effort information. These comments can be set to be shown publically (which we recommend) or can be private, if you sometimes use this for personal notes that you don’t want to be made public. Other privagy settings allow you to hide your checklists from eBird Caribbean’s Recent Visits and eBird Alerts features (click the examples for more information). Note that these settings apply to all checklists you submit.

About the Top100: The eBird Top100 has been available for about five years and has been extremely popular as a way to compare list totals and to recognize those that contribute the greatest volume of checklists. We are really pleased at the excitement it has helped to generate and the high quality scientific data that has resulted. But we also realize that some eBirders are not motivated by the Top100 and some even prefer not to have their names and totals listed there. It is now possible to opt out of the Top100 under eBird Preferences. Participation in the eBird Top100 is not required and you can opt out at any time.

It is important to realize that the eBird Top100 (along with the Yard and Patch lists) is intended to be a tool for individuals. By this we mean that only single parties should opt in (single parties can be a birding couple, family, or even a small group provided that you always bird together). Group accounts that involve a different mix of individuals or aggregated data from multiple observers birding independently, should opt out of the eBird Top100.

Most group accounts are being used for historical data entry projects that are working hard to get historical data entered in to eBird. These legacy data are really valuable and often include records from multiple observers. Do be sure to check out our story on how to set up group accounts. Other group accounts allow bird clubs and specialized surveys to track aggregate records by a group. This is usually done by the checklist sharing process.

However, it is important to say that individual submissions are always better than group submissions. Ensuring data quality for group accounts is much more difficult, and following up for more detail is often impossible unless eBird Caribbean has a direct link between the observer and the bird record. Whenever possible, please try to enter records yourself or encourage others to submit personal records.

Species Name Display: This allows you to control how bird names are displayed. You can choose scientific name, common name, or both common and scientific name. Common names can be specified as you choose. Only English and French have all bird names of the world. Most other languages are regional in focus, and we have versions of Spanish common names for Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, and Spain; versions of Portuguese for Brasil and Portugal; as well as Chinese, Finnish, Haitian and French Haitain, Icelandic, Indonesian, and Turkish. We also have different regional English common names for Australia, India, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates (and nearby areas in the Middle East). The “English (American)” option uses the exact names that appear in the Clements Checklist. We are constantly loading new names and revisions, and if you are willing to help provide common names for another country, please contact us.

Checklist Sharing Notifications: eBird Caribbean checklist sharing works best when an eBird username is used. After birding together with friends, make sure to get their eBird usernames for checklist sharing, so that one of you is responsible for entering and sharing each checklist. Using email addresses works too, but has two limitations: 1) if the email is not opened and the link not clicked, the checklist will be lost; 2) the checklist will go to the account you log into when you click the link and it is possible to log into the wrong account if you are using a computer that has multiple eBird users. Always use the username (login name) when possible. We recommend you set your preference to receive email notification of checklist shares; if you uncheck this box, you’ll still get checklist share notifications in your My eBird pages but not your email. Note also that anyone you set as a “friend” in My eBird Contacts will have their checklists automatically accepted into your account. See our Checklist Sharing article in the Help Center for more info.

Note that checklist sharing in eBird Caribbean refers to copying a checklist to a friend’s account and should only be used if that friend was birding with you at the time. If you just want to let someone know what you saw, you can always copy and send the checklist link from the top of the page:


eBird Updates Newsletter: Here you can get a link to sign up for eBird updates, the eBird newsletter. We highly recommend that everyone sign up. We try to include the most exciting recent news from eBird and always have some nice pictures to go along with it!