August is always an exciting time of year for eBird—when we update all eBird records with the latest scientific advances in bird taxonomy. New information on species limits can result in increases (splits) or decreases (lumps) in your list totals. Whenever possible, we change your records for you to match the expected species when a split occurs—this is one of the main services we provide at eBird. Expect 2018’s update in the second or third week of August.
This year’s update will have some important changes. Many birders may notice that some big portions of the checklist sequence will be changing: this reflects new genetic information on the evolution of bird orders and families. About 31 species will be split (resulting in an increase of 36 species), six will be lumped, and five new species will be recognized, bringing the global species total to 10585. Other changes include revisions to some scientific and common names, and some additions of some new taxa for data entry (e.g., new hybrids etc.).
In the weeks leading up to the taxonomic update, some of your records may change. You may see some of your species records become subspecies groups for a little while before changing back to species. Please do not edit these records if possible. Most people are likely to notice this at least with Mallard Anas platyrhynchos being shown as a subspecies group called Mallard (Northern) Anas playtyrhynchos platyrhynchos/conabschas before changing back to Mallard Anas platyrhynchos when our taxonomy update goes through. None of this will affect your life list, but if you have also seen Mexican Duck Anas diazi, this taxonomic update will give you a new lifer!