Birds Photographed in their Natural Habitat
There are around 9,000 to 10,000 known species of birds in the world and to-date I have only photographed a modest 400 species. However, taking sexual dimorphism, different subspecies (ssp), age, habitat and behaviour into account I have significantly more images of interest.
Choosing one of the many bird taxonomies and associated checklist to follow depends in part on the aims, location of the authority and personal requirements. There are three primary checklists for birds of the world: Clements, Howard & Moore and HBW Alive but there are others such as International Ornithological Committee (IOC) and Sibley & Monroe.
I decided to follow HBW Alive because:
(a) It offers online access to HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, published by Lynx Edicions;
(b) BirdLife International is The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Authority for birds;
(c) And I have full access to HBW Alive on an annual subscription basis and to ‘My Birding’ database allowing me to record sightings and birding trips.
Photo Album and Collections
My bird image names are consistent with common and scientific names given in the HBW Alive / Birdlife checklist. However, the arrangement of families, genera and species into higher level taxonomic groups is complicated with several completing classification systems. I’ve arranged my photo albums in six collections
The first three cover Passerines based on taxonomy:
(a) Passerida Oscines;
(b) Corvida and Basal Oscines;
(c) Suboscine Passerines.
The last three cover Non-passerine based on habitat:
(a) Non-passerine Landbirds;
(b) Non-passerine Waterbirds (including waders);
(c) Non-passerine Seabirds (including pelagic).
For each collection, a webpage introduces a group of albums providing hypertext links to second level webpages that display image galleries of related bird families. The galleries feature portraits of each species that I’ve photographed together with an additional gallery that highlights behavioural or environmental themes such as nesting, hunting, feeding, habitat, action or my favourite images.
Order Passeriformes (passerines) is the largest and most diverse bird group and depending on taxonomy followed has two or three suborders:
(1) Distributed worldwide Oscine passerines (Passeri) contain about 4000 species. Often but less accurately called songbirds, these birds have highly developed voice boxes. Under Sibley and Ahlquist (S&A) Taxonomy order Passeriformes splits into two parvorders:
(b) and Corvida.
However, more recent studies using the modern approach to avian taxonomy using DNA sequences and analytical approaches have shown it is more complex with changes proposed and less controversial ones some accepted. Where it helps the presentation of my photo album collections, I adopt some taxonomic changes to S&A Taxonomy using JBoyd’s Taxonomy in Flux Checklist for reference. My main changes include recognising the Basal Oscine split in Corvida parvorder, creation of new superfamilies and parvorders such as Meliphagida and moving bird families between them.
(2) Suboscine Passerines (Tyranni) contain about 1000 species; these have simple voice boxes with a pan-tropical distribution.
(3) Acanthisittidae family contains 6 known species of wren all endemic to New Zealand. S&A Taxonomy places these in Tyranni (Suboscines) while the modern approach places them in a third Passeriformes Basal Suborder, Acanthisitti. As I only have one image, I’ve followed S&A taxonomy including them in Suboscines.
Passerines or perching birds, so called because of their toe arrangement, three toes forward and one backward allowing them to grip a perch. They are vocal, small to medium size, brightly coloured birds that need to care for their chicks before they can fledge.
HBW Live lists 138 families, 1358 genera and 6592 species of passerine.
Non-passerines refer to the other 5000 or so, birds that placed in separate Avian orders.
Authorities disagree as to the number of species and their placement in families and orders. HBW Alive recognise 35 orders, 105 families, 988 genera and 4372 species of non-passerine. I find Taxonomy in Flux Checklist a useful reference when trying to understand taxonomic changes and proposals to order and family placement. This checklist currently lists 46 orders and 248 families, ten more orders but only 5 more families than HBW Alive.
The species list is reasonably constant, give or take a hundred or so, but their placement in families and orders is ever changing as is sub-species, common names and with the discovery of new species and subspecies.
- BirdLife International (2016). Nature conservation Partnership. [Online] Available from: //www.birdlife.org/ [Accessed 15th September 2018].
- Boyd, J (No date). Taxonomy in Flux Checklist. V3.08. [Online] Available from: http://jboyd.net/Taxo/List.html [Accessed 15th September 2018].
- Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW) Alive website allows subscription-based access to the [Online] Available from: //www.hbw.com/ibc [Accessed 15th September 2018].
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. [Online] Available from: http://www.iucnredlist.org/ [Accessed15th September 2018].
- Avibase – the world bird database (2016). Avibase is an extensive database information system about all birds of the world. [Online] Available from: //avibase.bsc-eoc.org/avibase.jsp?lang=EN&pg=home. [Accessed 21st April 2016].
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