Lists of the Birds of the World

© S. Rösner | pixeldiversity

Where to go for information on birds of the world

There are now several web-based lists of the birds of the world. Each has different strengths and emphases in information, ranging from taxonomy and distribution to scientific nomenclature, English names, sources of publication and the listing facility ebird. The IOU does not grant imprimatur or take a position in supporting any specific list. Users are urged to consult all to find out which answers their needs.

25 years ago, the IOC initiated the production of a list of English names for the birds of the world. Dr. Frank Gill coordinated the recommendations of six world region sub committees to complete the task. The result was published in 2006 in book form titled: Birds of the World: Recommended English names. The subsequent development of a web-based IOC World Bird List by Dr. Gill and his team (see below), although it draws on the English names published in 2006, is not under the Union's authority.

The Union is nevertheless concerned about conflicting taxonomies among the various global checklists today. Although such conflicts are important in generating research in systematics, they can be confusing for users outside that field, particularly in wildlife management. Accordingly, it is sponsoring a round table at the 27th IOCongress in Vancouver, chaired by Frank Gill and Les Christidis, towards unification that will consolidate a checklist that the IOU can support. In the interim, the Union is using the current web-based version of the IOC World Bird List for the bird names in its publications.

Links to the major lists (including some important historical documents) are provided below for our members' convenience.