Birder's Guide

OCT 2016

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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9 October 2016 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy here are 234 extant bird families recognized by the eBird/ Clements checklist (2015, version 2015), which is the offi- cial taxonomy for world lists submitted to ABA's Listing Cen- tral. The other major taxonomic authority, the IOC World Bird List (version 5.1, 2015), lists 238 families (for differences, see Appendix 1 in the expanded online edition). While these totals may appear daunting, increasing numbers of birders are managing to see them all. In reality, save for the considerable time and money required, finding a single member of each family is mostly straightforward. In general, where family totals or family names are mentioned below, we use the eBird/Clements taxonomy unless otherwise stated. Family Feuds: How do world regions compare? In descending order, the number of bird families supported by con- tinental region are: Asia (125 Clements/124 IOC), Africa (122 Clem- ents/126 IOC), Australasia (110 Clements/112 IOC), North America (103 Clements/IOC), South America (93 Clements/94 IOC), Europe (73 Clements/74 IOC ), and Antarctica (7 Clements/IOC). Europe and Antarctica can be skipped entirely on this family listing mis- sion; they hold nothing unique. This is fiscally fortunate, given that they are expensive to visit! However, the relative importance of these regions shifts when we consider families that are endemic to each region. As a result, in order to target all the bird families on Earth, a minimum of five continents and 16 nations must be visited. Below, we outline what is, in our experience, the most efficient route to achieve this quest. Family Planning: Which countries do I need to visit, what must I target, and where? By visiting 16 of the countries listed here, you can see the full com- plement of world bird families. This assumes that dedicated searches are taken for some of the more difficult families like Trumpeters and Scrub-birds. We are not suggesting that the nations in this itiner- ary are the only, or the best possible, options for all the families. Hualien, Taiwan Keith Barnes Quito, Ecuador Sam Woods Left: n Broad-billed Tody - DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. Photo © Christopher Bainbridge Right, top to bottom: n Red-legged Seriema - SOUTH AMERICA. Photo © Bart van Dorp n Egyptian Plover - GHANA. Photo © Ken Behrens n Kokako - NEW ZEALAND. Photo © Matt Binns T

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