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Ebird - species blurbs (1 Viewer)

jurek

Well-known member
I recently browsed Ebird, and wonder where the short descriptions of bird species come from? They look like lifted from several apps, guidebooks or similar.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Cornell also has All about birds and Birds of the World so probably from one of those?

Niels
 

jurek

Well-known member
I don't think so. Some of these short texts are partially wrong or strange, like saying a Brambling is only a winter visitor, or a Mute Swan is not native (worldwide?). I was wondering where they come from.
 

etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
I don't think so. Some of these short texts are partially wrong or strange, like saying a Brambling is only a winter visitor, or a Mute Swan is not native (worldwide?). I was wondering where they come from.

Sounds pretty North America centric, so perhaps some Cornell texts that were not brought up to date.

The various apps and data summaries are all put together by volunteers on a shoestring budget. There is no big payoff here, so it is reasonable imho to expect a few rough edges.
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
I don't think so. Some of these short texts are partially wrong or strange, like saying a Brambling is only a winter visitor, or a Mute Swan is not native (worldwide?). I was wondering where they come from.

I just checked the description of Mute Swan, as of this date it says "Native to northern Europe and Asia, but introduced in many regions."
 
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jurek

Well-known member
It also says that Mute Swan is 'agressive towards native waterfowl', implying that it is not native.

However, there are texts for birds found only in South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and some African and Asian ones but not others. This suggests that multiple regional apps/guides were brought together.
 

jurek

Well-known member
I could actually help writing such blurbs, also for some birds not covered currently, e.g. some from Africa and Indonesia. However:
-Is anybody interested?
-Will they be used, or will be just deleted after some time (like in Wikipedia, where you put an effort, and then somebody just removes it)?
 

Muppit17

Well-known member
I could actually help writing such blurbs, also for some birds not covered currently, e.g. some from Africa and Indonesia. However:
-Is anybody interested?
-Will they be used, or will be just deleted after some time (like in Wikipedia, where you put an effort, and then somebody just removes it)?

The eBird descriptions are lifted directly from Merlin, the Cornell ID app.

There is no source given.

It is interesting that as far as I can see, the descriptions are different from the other Cornell reference 'Birds of the World'. In the case of Birds of the World most seem to be lifted from IBC that they took over from Lynx, however there are both authors and revision dates added to see where they came from.

It appears that these descriptions are being revised at the moment, and no doubt they will become standardised across the platforms with time.

According to their own definitions there are 1,917 authors in BoW and they are asking for contributions by contacting the Managing Editor, Brooke Keeney ([email protected]).

I haven't tried, so cant say what the process is - if you want to try I suggest emailing Brooke.
 

jurek

Well-known member
Thanks, I jokingly prepared some. But if they plan to update it and have 1900 authors, they don't need my help.

BLUE-WINGED GOOSE
Endemic to highlands of Ethiopia, on moorlands, marshes and grassland near water. Head and neck pale greyish turning whitish. Short black bill. Body brown with pale spots on flanks. Wing pattern is characteristic, with wing coverts blue above and white below, glossy green and black. Call is high whistling, often turning into squeals and yelps.

LAYSAN DUCK
Endangered duck from Hawaian islands. Survived only on Laysan Island, recently released on Midway and Kure atolls. Small, dark duck with large white eye patch and irregular white blotches on head of adults. Otherwise blackish-brown head and chestnut body mottled dark brown. Male has dark green bill, female brownish. Iridescent blue-green speculum. On Laysan it hides by day in grassy vegetation. Feeds mostly at dusk and night on water invertebrates, especially brine flies, and plants.

EURASIAN EAGLE-OWL
Worlds heaviest owl, identified by huge size, warm rusty-buff, streaked plumage, pointed ear tufts and orange eyes. Rare to uncommon in diverse habitats, usually avoiding human presence. Hunts diverse animals from mice to other owls. Nests preferably on rock face, when not available in tree nest, on ground or a building. Active at dusk and night. Call a short, sharp barking shout. Song the signature deep two-syllable hoot which given it name in many languages: Uhu, Búho or Bubo.

YELLOW-LEGGED GULL
Common in the Mediterranean and West Atlantic. Uncommon in north Europe. Similar in appearance and habits to other large gulls and often flocks together. Adults have yellow legs, strong, undercut yellow bill with large red spot, relatively dark grey back and large black wingtips. In winter head with only sparse streaks around eyes. Subspecies on Atlantic islands has darker grey back and dense head spots in winter resembling outline of a hood. Juveniles spotted brown, note whitish head, belly and uppertail, but dark brown underwing. Full identification requires further small details. Scavenger and fish eater, nests on islands or flat building roofs near water.

GROUND TIT
Small, characterful bird with upright posture, long curved bill and strong legs. Does not resemble other tits, and long thought to be a ground jay. Dull brown above, paler nape, white below, In flight paler rump and white outer tail. Mostly hops on ground in impressive bounds, digging for insects. Common in highland pastures and dry steppe, often visits habitations. Nests in burrows of rodents and pikas.

TWELVE-WIRED BIRD-OF-PARADISE
Inhabits lowland swamp forest and regrowth, in canopy to mid-level. Uncommon. Male displays at dawn on vertical tree stump, extends a ruff and green throat fan and brushes female with wire-like modified flank feathers. Otherwise wary, can be seen crossing a river in undulating flight, wings producing hissing noise. Call a sharp bark, several sharp barks or series of loud squeals. Females and immatures often join mixed flocks. Have combination of chestnut upperside, black cap, barred underparts, thick curved bill. Characteristic red eyes, pink legs.
 
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etudiant

Registered User
Supporter
Thanks, I jokingly prepared some. But if they plan to update it and have 1900 authors, they don't need my help.

BLUE-WINGED GOOSE
Endemic to highlands of Ethiopia, on moorlands, marshes and grassland near water. Head and neck pale greyish turning whitish. Short black bill. Body brown with pale spots on flanks. Wing pattern is characteristic, with wing coverts blue above and white below, glossy green and black. Call is high whistling, often turning into squeals and yelps.

LAYSAN DUCK
Endangered duck from Hawaian islands. Survived only on Laysan Island, recently released on Midway and Kure atolls. Small, dark duck with large white eye patch and irregular white blotches on head of adults. Otherwise blackish-brown head and chestnut body mottled dark brown. Male has dark green bill, female brownish. Iridescent blue-green speculum. On Laysan it hides by day in grassy vegetation. Feeds mostly at dusk and night on water invertebrates, especially brine flies, and plants.

EURASIAN EAGLE-OWL
Worlds heaviest owl, identified by huge size, warm rusty-buff, streaked plumage, pointed ear tufts and orange eyes. Rare to uncommon in diverse habitats, usually avoiding human presence. Hunts diverse animals from mice to other owls. Nests preferably on rock face, when not available in tree nest, on ground or a building. Active at dusk and night. Call a short, sharp barking shout. Song the signature deep two-syllable hoot which given it name in many languages: Uhu, Búho or Bubo.

YELLOW-LEGGED GULL
Common in the Mediterranean and West Atlantic. Uncommon in north Europe. Similar in appearance and habits to other large gulls and often flocks together. Adults have yellow legs, strong, undercut yellow bill with large red spot, relatively dark grey back and large black wingtips. In winter head with only sparse streaks around eyes. Subspecies on Atlantic islands has darker grey back and dense head spots in winter resembling outline of a hood. Juveniles spotted brown, note whitish head, belly and uppertail, but dark brown underwing. Full identification requires further small details. Scavenger and fish eater, nests on islands or flat building roofs near water.

GROUND TIT
Small, characterful bird with upright posture, long curved bill and strong legs. Does not resemble other tits, and long thought to be a ground jay. Dull brown above, paler nape, white below, In flight paler rump and white outer tail. Mostly hops on ground in impressive bounds, digging for insects. Common in highland pastures and dry steppe, often visits habitations. Nests in burrows of rodents and pikas.

TWELVE-WIRED BIRD-OF-PARADISE
Inhabits lowland swamp forest and regrowth, in canopy to mid-level. Uncommon. Male displays at dawn on vertical tree stump, extends a ruff and green throat fan and brushes female with wire-like modified flank feathers. Otherwise wary, can be seen crossing a river in undulating flight, wings producing hissing noise. Call a sharp bark, several sharp barks or series of loud squeals. Females and immatures often join mixed flocks. Have combination of chestnut upperside, black cap, barred underparts, thick curved bill. Characteristic red eyes, pink legs.

So does that reduce the Blakiston Fish Owl to a subspecies of the Eurasian Eagle Owl?
 

Surreybirder

Ken Noble
Not strictly on the same subject (sorry!) but have others noticed that it is now much harder to get useful data out of eBird? I used to keep a list of all the birds I saw each month at my local nature reserve but it's almost impossible to get this info now.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
One way to get the data is to simply choose download my data. That option should still be available as far as I know.

What process did you use?

Niels
 

Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
Not strictly on the same subject (sorry!) but have others noticed that it is now much harder to get useful data out of eBird? I used to keep a list of all the birds I saw each month at my local nature reserve but it's almost impossible to get this info now.

Just make the site a 'patch' and you will have readily visible month, year and life lists available.

Steve
 

Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
Thanks, I jokingly prepared some. But if they plan to update it and have 1900 authors, they don't need my help.




YELLOW-LEGGED GULL
Common in the Mediterranean and West Atlantic. Uncommon in north Europe. Similar in appearance and habits to other large gulls and often flocks together. Adults have yellow legs, strong, undercut yellow bill with large red spot, relatively dark grey back and large black wingtips. In winter head with only sparse streaks around eyes. Subspecies on Atlantic islands has darker grey back and dense head spots in winter resembling outline of a hood. Juveniles spotted brown, note whitish head, belly and uppertail, but dark brown underwing. Full identification requires further small details. Scavenger and fish eater, nests on islands or flat building roofs near water.

I don't think you mean West Atlantic, do you?
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Not strictly on the same subject (sorry!) but have others noticed that it is now much harder to get useful data out of eBird? I used to keep a list of all the birds I saw each month at my local nature reserve but it's almost impossible to get this info now.

I've read that the recent massive database overhaul will enable more robust reporting / data access / data viewing options, among other things, so it sounds like something is in the works. One thing that eBird has demonstrated is that over time, it is ever robuster.
 

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