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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19 October 2016 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy to find the marginally easier Noisy Scrub- bird near Albany. The final stop on this world tour of bird families is New Zealand, a country with low overall diversity but with extraordi- narily high levels of endemism, especially at the family level. The country list just tops 350 species, but that includes an amazing six endemic families: the curious Kiwis; New Zealand Parrots (a family with a fa- mous habit of indiscriminate vandalism to human property), Stitchbird, the chicka- dee-like Whiteheads, the caruncle-adorned Wattlebirds, and the New Zealand Wrens, sometimes described as the most primitive family of songbirds on Earth. These families are all frequently found on a standard bird tour itinerary, covering South Island, Stew- art Island, and Tiritiri Matangi Island. While on South Island, the easiest-going pelagic on the planet can be taken out of Kaikoura to add Albatrosses; Shearwaters & Petrels; and Storm-Petrels (Austral Storm Petrels on IOC). It is worth doing other pelagics out of Stewart Island or in the Hauraki Gulf, both of which are good outings to add Diving- Petrels to the list. Are there potential new families? A number of species regularly confound taxonomists—both traditional museum scientists and the new breed of DNA phy - logeneticists—and may represent potential new families that you should see "just in case" during your quest. Good examples include Swallow-tailed Cotinga in Bra - zil; Mottled Whistler, Wattled Ploughbill, Rufous-naped Whistler, Crested Pitohui, Crested Bellbird, Melampittas, and Blue- capped Ifrita in New Guinea; Crested Shrike-tit in Australia; Grauer's Warbler, Green Hylia, and Tit-Hylia in Africa; White-bellied Erpornis and Cinnamon Ibon in Asia; Green-tailed Warbler, White- winged Warbler, and Yellow-headed & Oriente Warblers in the Caribbean; and Bananaquit, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Wren - thrush, and Yellow-breasted Chat in Cen- tral America. Most of these may be found in the countries already suggested, except for Yellow-headed & Oriente Warblers (which would necessitate a visit to Cuba), Wrenthrush (which is confined to the highlands of Costa Rica and Panama), and Cinnamon Ibon (which requires a trip to the Philippines). We've spent many years thinking about this strategy. By using our advice, you should be able to concentrate on searching for and enjoying all the world's bird families rather than researching the best strategy by which to see them . The authors wish to thank Andrew Spencer, Ken Behrens, Charley Hesse, Rob Hutchinson, and Nick Athanas for providing advice regard- ing this article. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Editor's note: The 2016 Clements update, released shortly before publication of this article, recognizes some of the "potential new families" (e.g., Ploughbill, Shrike-tit, Ifrita, Melampittas, Mottled Berrybecker) mentioned toward the end of this article. For a detailed breakdown of families with- in each continental region, an entire list of bird families regularly available in each nation discussed, and a breakdown of the major family differences between the Clements and IOC taxonomies, check out the expanded web-only content at tinyurl. com/WoodsBarnes2016.

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