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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 10:49   #1
JWN Andrewes
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World list taxonomies: which do you use and why?

After my first foreign trips for a few years I've recently been doing a bit of house keeping on my world list, and for the first time I've decided to be faithful to one taxonomy (IOC) rather than just ticking things on the basis of someone or other saying "oh, that's been split you know". After a plod through various web searches I chose IOC pretty much on the basis that you see it referred to a fair amount, and there is a readily downloadable excel spreadsheet to work from. I've suffered losses (eg House Wrens lumped), and other disappointments (eg my rare Restinga Antwren has become subsumed into the more widespread Serra Antwren), but then again there have been gains too, (eg Hepatic Tanager split into Hepatic & Red) and the overall total has been bumped by about half a dozen (on a list of around 2300, I haven't quite finished final quality control, it's taken bloody ages to double check back through notebooks etc to find out exactly what I've seen where).

Anyone else have any preferences or recommendations?


Last Lifer - (2312) Dusky Thrush.
Last UK - (453) Dusky Thrush.
Last Garden - (93) Garden Warbler.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 11:02   #2
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Clements / Cornell for me. It is relatively conservative (though still inconsistent in some areas) and the traditional list for world listers from the first inception of the Clements checklist. A lot of birders, perhaps influenced by what I will call "bird tour taxonomy" have migrated to IOC since (presumably) it gives them more ticks and is more responsive to the whims of the latest publication. Reversals ("jumping the gun") seem more common with IOC for obvious reasons.

cheers, alan
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 13:18   #3
JWN Andrewes
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Thanks Alan

Over time I'll probably draw up lists following a range of authorities. It'll be interesting to see how much they differ.


Last Lifer - (2312) Dusky Thrush.
Last UK - (453) Dusky Thrush.
Last Garden - (93) Garden Warbler.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 17:36   #4
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I follow the local regional authority when it comes to species delineation, AOU for sequencing (because it's the majority of my list), IOC for sequencing when AOU has no records, IOC for subspecies info, and Tax in Flux for keeping up on the logic of it all.
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2015, 22:31   #5
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I've just gone through a major overhaul of my (mostly Dickinson-based) "master list" by using the IOC website.

I've found that in Asia they tend to follow the rather badly supported Rasmussen splits and the BirdLife "Tobias" splits, while in the Americas they stick to the far more conservative SACC and NACC (unless the SACC says "let's wait till it's published"...). On the other hand, some obvious "bird tour" splits in Indonesia are not followed by the IOC either (e.g. Buru and Seram Bush-Warbler which I would split despite dipping the latter!)
In Africa, the splitting level is moderate: definitely below "Birds of Africa South of the Sahara" or "Birds of Indian Ocean Islands" levels.

I lost one taxon in the process.
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Old Wednesday 4th March 2015, 09:49   #6
André Weiss
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As I do the taxonomy for the Opus I have followed the changes in IOC and Clements in the last few years. Both lists are getting closer and there are less and less differences. Reversals occur in both lists (remember the newly described species in the last HBW book which got into the Clements lists for a year...) and both lists are somewhat inconsistent in some parts of the world.

Out of practical reasons I use IOC as the frequently update their list. Clements does it once a year which means more work then. I compared my life list with both lists and the difference is 0.8% (22 species out of 2711).

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Old Wednesday 4th March 2015, 14:47   #7
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For my lists that I submit to the ABA website, I use Clements, but for my own personal list I use IOC, as it's updated more often and I think it's more current than the rather conservative Clements list. I have 38 more species on my IOC list than on my Clements list.

Sometimes it's a pain to maintain two lists, but overall it's interesting to try to keep up with the changing taxonomy.

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Latest ABA Lifer (No. 656): Shiny Cowbird; Bethesda, MD; 12/3/17
Latest West Virginia Lifer (No. 268): Brant; Alpine Lake, WV; 10/28/17
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Old Thursday 5th March 2015, 02:40   #8
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I use Clements, mostly since that's the one the ABA uses with regard to world birds, but then again, I haven't yet done any birding outside the USA, so it remains to be seen how I'll handle international bird species once I've begun adding them to my lists. When that time comes, I'd imagine I'll at least compare my list based on Clements vs. IOC, just to see what is or isn't included and how much of a difference it makes on the overall total.
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Old Friday 22nd May 2015, 19:00   #9
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Clements / Cornell - Just overhauled my Life List to follow the latest version of this.

Bought the Hardcover version many years ago - but really didn't follow it too closely.
Decided that I needed to get organized as I'm planning a trip to Costa Rica and expect many additions. :-)

An on-line version of Clements is available as a free download from Cornell Lab - gotta love the price!
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Old Sunday 19th July 2015, 00:17   #10
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I use IOC on Avibase for my list, just because it was the first list I found when I got back into birds, and I like that it updates regularly.
2015 Yearlist: 117 (Lesser Redpoll 31/12)
2016 Yearlist: 148 (Wood Sandpiper 27/08)
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Old Monday 20th July 2015, 16:03   #11
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Predominantly IOC but applying various tweaks based upon other sources.
Last Lifer: Blue-faced Parrotfinch (#3580, Feb 18, '18)
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Old Monday 20th July 2015, 18:37   #12
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I base mine on the system that Opus uses.
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Old Thursday 20th August 2015, 03:59   #13
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Clements, simply for the ability to use eBird globally and not have listing headaches...
Most of my birding is in the neotropics though and they are conservative.
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