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request advice about a life list (1 Viewer)

Earnest lad

Well-known member
Dear colleagues
I want to do my life list .
I hear about various world lists of birds - various authorities etc.
Please can i ask: which checklist is the one most birds would use nowadays please?


Well-known member
IOC (currently v8.1 I think?) is I believe generally regarded as the most 'advanced' in terms of taking account of current taxonomic thinking with respect to splitting and lumping. I understand BOU now uses IOC so it probably makes sense in UK now to go with IOC.

However, eBird uses Clements taxonomy, which also has a lot of adherents, especially in North America.

When I came back to birding I consolidated all my old lists in Scythebill under IOC, which gave me quite a few 'armchair ticks' due to splits ;)

Earnest lad

Well-known member
Dear Sir
Thanks for the helpful information.
I think I will try the IOC then. Please do you know where I can download the spreadsheet?
Also, I have never heard of Scythebill. I am downloading it now. Is it any good please.
Best wishes


Well-known member
Scythebill is excellent. Adam, the owner, is very active in adding new features and updating the taxonomy as it changes.

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
Download Scythebill here


Once you put in all your info, you can easily switch between IOC list and Clements for a comparison.

It's an incredible programme, when you search, you can even use e.g LLBG and it will take you to Lesser Black-backed GUll or any other with the same abbreviation, very clever.

Make sure you include any races of species that you've seen and if there are any splits, the next time Scythebill updates, if there are splits in your list, it automatically incoporates them for you.



Well-known member
I'd second what Andy says about Scythebill and sub-species - the programme defaults to showing just species in your lists, but if you click the dropdown box above the list to 'Show: subspecies' it will list all those you have entered at subspecific level.

If you don't allocate your records to subspecies and they are subsequently split, when you update the IOC version it will prompt you to allocate your sightings to one split species or another. This can be problematic, if (as I did at the latest update) you have to decide whether you saw an Assam Laughingthrush 35 years ago. I hadn't, but needed to check distribution to be sure which side of the split to allocate my records.

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