As part of our commitment to data quality, accessibility, and ease of use, we strive to use an integrated taxonomy across eBird, Macaulay Library, Birds of the World, Merlin and other Cornell Lab of Ornithology projects. Our 2023 update includes 3 newly-described species, 124 species gained because of splits, and 16 species lost through lumps, resulting in a net gain of 111 species and a new total of 11,017 species recognized worldwide.

We have now completed the process of updating records in eBird. This includes your My eBird lists, range maps, bar charts, region and hotspot lists; data entry should be behaving normally, but you may notice unexpected species appearing on eBird Alerts as eBirders continue to learn the new taxonomy (this issue will diminish with time). If you see unfamiliar bird names in the list, please refer to the story below to understand the change and why it happened. If you still see records appearing in unexpected ways please write to us.

Fire-throated Flowerpecker Dicaeum luzoniense © Robert Hutchinson / Macaulay Library

Fire-breasted Flowerpecker is one of many species with splits from Southeast Asia this year, with three of eBird’s existing subspecies groups being divided out from the widespread form, representing three new range restricted species—Sumatran Flowerpecker (of Sumatra), Cambodian Flowerpecker (of Cambodia and e. Thailand), and Fire-throated Flowerpecker (of the Philippines, shown here).

 

2023 eBird Taxonomic Update

This year’s update is v2023 of the eBird/Clements Checklist. The eBird/Clements Checklist is an integrated global taxonomy for the birds of the world, including all species and subspecies, as well as additional taxa useful to field birders to report in eBird. The list of species available in eBird is the eBird Taxonomy (v2023) and includes all species, subspecies groups (which we call identifiable sub-specific forms or ISSF), hybrids, intergrades, spuhs (e.g., scoter sp.), slashes (e.g., Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher), domestics, and forms. The Clements Checklist includes only species and subspecies, along with subspecies groups which are further identified as monotypic (consisting of one subspecies) or polytypic (consisting of more than one subspecies). Read more about the eBird Taxonomy.

The Clements Checklist provides two update pages (overview and 2023 updates & corrections) and also provides all three files (eBird/Clements, Clements, and eBird) for download, each as either an Excel spreadsheet or comma-delimited (csv) format.

The Clements Checklist 2023 updates & corrections provides details (including references) for all species splits and lumps, new species descriptions, revisions to subspecies groups (ISSFs) or subspecies, and other changes relevant to the Clements Checklist. We refer anyone wishing to learn more about these splits to that page.

A list of all the taxonomic changes is below. This year’s changes incorporates the latest supplement to the AOS-NACC checklist, the 64th supplement as well as many changes adopted by AOS-SACC as revisions to the South American Checklist through through 28 Sep 2023.

The below summary is largely in sync with the above Clements update; references are not listed in full, but are included in the Clements update. Since this is a long article, here is a short index:

INTRODUCTION

When the taxonomy is updated in eBird, many of the changes are fairly simple to implement. When a common name changes, a scientific name changes, or when the taxonomic sequence is revised, those changes roll through and appear in eBird output fairly quickly. Staying on top of name changes is a challenge, and consulting Avibase is one of the best ways to keep track. Just type any bird name in Avibase and Avibase will show you the history of that name, and—if it differs from eBird—it will show what the eBird equivalent is for that name. Try it with “Louisiana Heron”, for example.

When species are ‘lumped’ (e.g., two taxonomic entities that used to be considered separate species, but are now one), eBird usually retains the former species as an identifiable group. In these cases, your records may shift to the lumped form and your totals may (or may not) drop by one. The actual entity that you observed and reported has not changed in any way other than being changed from species to subspecies. For example, this year, those who have birded in North America will notice that your previous reports of Cordilleran Flycatcher Empidonax occidentalis and Pacific-slope Flycatcher Empidonax difficilis, have changed to Western Flycatcher but note that each will still carry the subspecies group (formerly species) expressed as Western Flycatcher (Cordilleran) Empidonax difficilis [occidentalis Group] and Western Flycatcher (Pacific-slope) Empidonax difficilis [difficilis Group].

When splits occur, the process is more complicated. In most cases, we have had subspecies options available for reporting in anticipation of the split. All records reported to a subspecies group level update automatically to the new species. When a bird is reported at the broader species level (without a subspecies listed on your entry), and then that species is split, we update the records in eBird to one of the “child” species whenever possible. We try to be very conservative with this. When two species do not overlap in range (i.e., they are allopatric) we go ahead and make the change. When the species do overlap (i.e., are sympatric), and do not have clear seasonal or habitat differences, we usually do not make the change. This results in your records being left as the more conservative “slash” option. An example this year is Cattle Egret. Birds from Africa, Europe, and the Americas refer to Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis while those from South and Southeast Asia and Australasia pertain to Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus. In certain locations, such as the Middle East, Indian Ocean, or central Pacific Ocean, it will not be safe to assume a likely species based on geography, so your records will remain as Western/Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis/coromandus.

If you want to review your records of Western Cattle Egret or of Eastern Cattle Egret, there are a couple ways to do this through the My eBird tools. The easiest is to go to My eBird, click on your Life List number, and then use the search option at the top to find Western Cattle Egret or Eastern Cattle Egret. You can then review the records in full. Importantly, in 2023 we added the ability to also view all your records of hybrids, slash, and spuh taxa. Reviewing slash taxa is especially useful during eBird Taxonomy Updates, and to find your Western/Eastern Cattle Egret records please go to My eBird > Life List and then expand the “Detailed Stats” option and then select “Additional Taxa”. The search at the top of the page is a species-level search, so sorting taxonomically and searching on the page (perhaps using a browser search) will help you find any Western/Eastern Cattle Egrets. Click “View all” to see all your records. Note that we do provide direct links to relevant slashes from this year’s splits and the direct link for the Cattle Egret slash is this: https://ebird.org/lifelist?r=world&time=life&spp=categr.

There are some other ways to find your records too. If you know the checklist it is on, you can find the list in “Manage My Checklists” and edit it as needed. If you can find your checklist on the range map then you can just click on the marker for your list and open it from there. Another option to review your records is to go to My eBird and then click “Download My Data” from the right side. This downloads your entire eBird database as a CSV file that can be opened in Excel or a similar spreadsheet program. From there, you should easily be able to sort by name or search for any species or taxon you are looking for to find your records. Then you can scroll to the correct date or just replace the Submission ID in the URL for a checklist view.

Finally, there are some significant changes to taxonomic sequence this year, mostly involving Charadriiformes (shorebirds, gulls, terns, jaegers, alcids) and Pycnonotidae (bulbuls). This may be a bit disorienting if you have memorized the sequence of species, but please be aware that Quick Entry makes it very easy to find and enter any species during data entry. Did you know that typing “37 weca” in eBird mobile will quickly add 37 Western Capercaillies to whatever total you have already entered? (Learn how!). Also, learning to search for a species within your browser may be helpful too, since this works to quickly jump to a species in any species list (e.g., bar chart, Location Explorer) on eBird.

GLOBAL CHECKLIST ALIGNMENT

There are three or more major world taxonomies, including BirdLife International Checklist, the IOC World Bird List, and eBird/Clements Checklist. Importantly, this revision continues the collaborative process of aligning global bird checklists, with the goal of a single consensus taxonomy. The Working Group Avian Checklists (WGAC) involves representatives from eBird/Clements, BirdLife International, the IOC World Bird List, Avibase, AOS-NACC, AOS-SACC, and other global experts in taxonomy, nomenclature, and classification. This is an ongoing effort, with about 85% of the world’s bird species assessed so far. It will take at least another year (maybe two) for eBird to fully incorporate these changes but we are committed to improving the clarity, efficiency, and accuracy of bird taxonomy through support for this team effort.

LANGUAGES

We provide bird names in eBird for some 58 languages (e.g., Arabic, Bulgarian, Thai, etc.), as well as 40 additional regional versions of some languages (total 98). For example, Pluvialis squatorola is known as Black-bellied Plover in our taxonomy, but known by its winter dress in some areas such as the United Kingdom, where it’s called Grey Plover. You can access name preferences under “Preferences” from most eBird pages, which is also where you can set the names to show as common names or scientific names. One option is English (IOC), which gives a full translation of species names into the IOC World Bird List (v13.2) nomenclature. Note that these names are exact taxonomic matches, so they reflect as slashes when a species is split by IOC and not by eBird; similarly, species split by eBird will appear as subspecies groups for IOC. Our Bird Names in eBird article explains more about regional common name preferences.

Plumed Egret Ardea plumifera © David Southall / Macaulay Library

The widespread Intermediate Egret is divided into three species: Yellow-billed Egret of Africa, Plumed Egret of Australasia (shown here), and Medium Egret (of South, Southeast, and East Asia). All are distinctive in breeding condition (Medium Egret is the most distinctive, with a black bill and yellow lores), but they may not be reliably identified in non-breeding condition (as shown). Ranges of Medium and Plumed Egrets meet in Indonesia and n. Australia and Yellow-billed and Medium could overlap in Arabia; we hope careful study will reveal some useful field marks on non-breeding plumaged birds in the coming years. Medium Egret does tend to have more black on the bill tip as compared to other taxa, but this trait may have some overlap.


SPECIES SPLITS

The species below were split in eBird. To see a map of the new species, click “map”. To see your personal lists in My eBird, just make sure you are logged in and click “My Records”. If you have seen the species but don’t have any records shown, then please enter your sightings! Full details for all below accounts can be seen at the Clements Updates & Corrections page. We encourage all birders to carefully review the below splits and check your personal records and to update them if you think we made an error.

Starting this year we are documenting more explicitly the logic rules we have used to make bulk changes that assign records to a given species (later, the normal review process may help to correct or refine records, especially those with photos). These are highlighted in red-orange text: Regional Record Change Logic. In almost all cases (except very obvious errors by users and/or reviewers) we have retained the original identification by the observer. If the observer specified a subspecies, which later was split to become a species, that identification is retained. If the observer did not specify a subspecies, then we have tended to convert the record to the expected species if and only if the alternative species is impossible or extremely remote. However, since the probability of bird occurrence across space and time has infinite shades of gray, we need to make judgment calls. As an example, all east Asian records of Common House-Martin (Delichon urbicum, sensu lato) should pertain to the expected taxon, Siberian House-Martin (Delichon lagopodum) and we are not aware of any photos that pertain to Western House-Martin (Delichon urbicum, sensu stricto). But Western House-Martin has been documented once from Thailand (we still assume Thai records pertain to D. lagopodum). But in Mongolia both species are known to breed in the center of the country, so we treat that as an overlap zone and retain all records as a slash unless the observer identified them to the more specific taxon. 

Below are the splits for this update:


Chirruping Nightjar Caprimulgus griseatus and Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis are split from Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis. Vocal differences have recently been highlighted for griseatus, the monticolus Group, and the affinis Group, but the differences between griseatus and the taxa under Savanna Nightjar are more striking. Vocal differences in nightjars are extremely important for defining species limits and in this case they warranted a split. These taxa don’t overlap in range, so identification should not be a major issue.

  • Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis [map] [media] [my records]
    • Savanna Nightjar (Northern) Caprimulgus affinis [monticolus Group] [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in South and Southeast Asia
    • Savanna Nightjar (Sunda) Caprimulgus affinis [affinis Group] [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Indonesia: Greater and Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi
  • Chirruping Nightjar Caprimulgus griseatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Philippines

Lesser Sand-Plover Charadrius mongolus is split into Tibetan Sand-Plover Anarhynchus atrifrons and Siberian Sand-Plover Anarhynchus mongolus. These two species definitely needed to be split when it was revealed that Tibetan Sand-Plover is more closely related to Greater Sand-Plover Anarhynchus leschenaultii. The two species are quite easy to identify in breeding plumage, even when the head feathers are in intermediate stages of molt: Siberian has a bold headlight of white on the forehead, right over the bill, usually divided by a dark line; Tibetan has an all-dark frontal area. The two species are very difficult to identify in non-breeding plumage and covered in depth in a BirdingASIA article by eBird reviewer and supporter David Bakewell; a good summary of the split and the identification features in winter is on this blog addressing it from a Singaporean perspective. Interestingly, these segregate almost completely by range, with few sites known to harbor both species. Siberian moves north and south along the immediate Pacific coast, being common in e Russia, the Korean Peninsula, Japan, Taiwan, e. China, Philippines, and Australia; Tibetan predominates in Thailand and the Malay Peninsula, south to Singapore and at least w. Indonesia. While vagrant Siberians are known from western Europe, North America, and South America, the species has yet to be recorded in Thailand (although the vast wintering flock of Tibetan can be hard to check in non-breeding plumage, which they wear for most of their time there). We still have much to learn and we look forward to carefully documented records appearing in eBird from new places!

  • Siberian Sand-Plover Anarhynchus mongolus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: E Siberia and Russian Far East to Kamchatka to Chukotsk Peninsula; winters Taiwan to Australia (but yet unrecorded in Thailand)
  • Tibetan Sand-Plover Anarhynchus atrifrons [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Pamirs to w China (w Xinjiang), Himalayas and Tibet to s Mongolia; winters to Africa, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra to Greater Sundas

Many records will remain undetermined, since the range boundaries in winter and migration are still being worked out. Many vagrant records, especially in western Asia and Europe could pertain to either species so using a slash whenever you are uncertain will be important.

Field identification from Greater Sand-Plover Anarhynchus leschenaultii remains a major challenge. Our former slash (Greater/Lesser Sand-Plover) now appears as sand-plover sp. and we encourage its use when identification is uncertain.

  • sand-plover sp. Anarhynchus atrifrons/mongolus/leschenaultii [map] [media] [my records]

Regional Record Change Logic: Records from countries along the immediate Pacific coast are presumed to pertain to Siberian Sand-Plover, including far eastern Russia, North and South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the east coast of China south to Fujian, the Philippines, the Moluccas in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and islands in the Pacific. Tibetan Sand-Plover is presumed for all records from w. Indonesia (Sumatra, Java), Singapore, peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, and through South Asia (e.g., India), the Middle East, Indian Ocean islands, and the west coast of Africa south to South Africa.

For the moment, records in the following regions have been unchanged by eBird Central (although some may be refined in the coming weeks with feedback from local experts): Mongolia, most of China (except Xizang and Qinhai = Tibetan and the coast from Fujian north = Siberian); note that coastal records from Guangdong south likely involve Siberian primarily, Macao and Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Borneo, Sulawesi, Lesser Sundas, Cocos and Keeling Islands.

Vagrancy is well known in these species, and Siberian has occurred and could occur across the planet (e.g., Peru and Colombia have records). North American (and South American) records are presumed to pertain to Siberian Sand-Plover, but all documentation should be checked to confirm this. In Europe, we have not made any assumptions, since both species are known and possible: observers should carefully check any documentation, consult with regional Records Committees, and try to refine these identifications whenever possible.

Identification of shorebirds is one of the toughest skills to learn in birding since there are many similar look-alikes. With the split of Lesser Sand-Plover into Siberian Sand-Plover and Tibetan Sand-Plover we have a new and monumental challenge, although most areas get either one or the other commonly so the zones of overlap are quite limited. But both are potential vagrants out of range and do overlap in a strip from central Indonesia through Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and central China. While breeding-plumaged birds are usually straightforward, juveniles and birds in winter plumage (shown here) are incredibly similar. On Tibetan, look for the clean flanks (vs. dusky wash and barring on the flanks in Siberian) and notice its proportionately longer and slimmer bill.

 


Australian Tern Gelochelidon macrotarsa is split from Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica. Gull-billed Tern is a very widespread bird, occurring on all six major ice-free continents and is very consistent in its appearance throughout that wide range, so the fact that the resident Gelochelidon in Australia are notably long-legged, have thick bills with extra curve to the culmen (upper ridge of the bill), are paler backed, and have a larger dark eye smudge in winter plumage indicate that a very similar, but different, species is involved there. This creates a fun (?) new identification challenge for birders in Australia, where the smaller, shorter-legged Gull-billed Terns occur as rare visitors, and in Indonesia, where some Australian Terns may mix with Gull-billeds. We look forward to learning more about the movement and patterns of occurrence for these two species as birders tune into them more closely. This article discusses some of the differences to focus on.

  • Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread; rare to very rare visitor to Australia
  • Australian Tern Gelochelidon macrotarsa [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Australia; rare to Lesser Sundas and exceptional vagrant n to Philippines

These two species are very difficult to identify, especially without excellent and close looks, so this slash option will remain important for many individuals. Be sure to check your own data, since some records may remain in eBird as a slash (but you should update them to the species level if you are certain of the species involved).

Regional Record Change Logic: The only areas of potential overlap are Australasia, since Gull-billed Tern is a rare to casual non-breeding season visitor in Australia and Australian Tern occurs in non-breeding season in central Indonesia (e.g., Lesser Sundas, Moluccas) and has occurred as a vagrant to the Philippines. We have not yet assigned records in New Zealand, Cocos and Keeling Islands, Timor Leste, and the Lesser Sundas and Moluccas of Indonesia. In Australia, we preliminarily assigned all records to Australian Tern but we are reassessing records from North Australia and West Australia. We encourage observers to identify such birds carefully from photos (or filed notes) to help clarify the status of each taxon there.


Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora is split into Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea sanfordi and Southern Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora. This split within the “Great Albatrosses” has been observed for a long time by some other major taxonomies (e.g., IOC), regional taxonomies (e.g., in New Zealand), as well as field guides and seabird books. We encourage careful reporting, since these can be difficult to identify!

  • Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea sanfordi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Chatham Islands and New Zealand; ranges circumpolar s oceans
  • Southern Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Campbell and Auckland islands; ranges circumpolar s oceans

These two species are very difficult to identify, especially without excellent and close looks, so this slash option will remain important for many individuals. Be sure to check your own data, since some records may remain in eBird as a slash (but you should update them to the species level if you are certain of the species involved).

  • Northern/Southern Royal Albatross Diomedea sanfordi/epomophora [map] [media] [my records]

Regional Record Change Logic: These taxa overlap extensively; no changes have been made to observer-reported taxa.


Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans is split into four species: Amsterdam Albatross Diomedea amsterdamensis, Antipodean Albatross Diomedea antipodensis, Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena, and Snowy Albatross Diomedea exulans. As with the Royal Albatross split, these divisions have been recognized in many quarters (but note the retention of gibsoni as a subspecies of antipodensis). Again, please report cautiously!

  • Snowy Albatross Diomedea exulans [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Southern oceans in South Georgia area
  • Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Breeds Tristan da Cunha group (Gough, Inaccessible, and, formerly, Tristan da Cunha), South Atlantic; ranges at sea at least in South Atlantic and southwestern Indian Oceans
  • Antipodean Albatross Diomedea antipodensis [map] [media] [my records]
    • Antipodean Albatross (New Zealand) Diomedea antipodensis antipodensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Breeds Antipodes Islands and (small numbers) Campbell Island (New Zealand); ranges at sea at least to Tasman Sea east across southern Pacific Ocean
    • Antipodean Albatross (Gibson’s) Diomedea antipodensis gibsoni [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Breeds Auckland Islands (New Zealand); ranges at sea at least from Tasman Sea to mid Pacific Ocean
  • Amsterdam Albatross Diomedea amsterdamensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Breeds Amsterdam I. (French subantarctic islands)

We provide these slashes for taxa likely to overlap:

  • Snowy/Tristan Albatross Diomedea exulans/dabbenena 
  • Snowy/Tristan/Antipodean Albatross Diomedea exulans/dabbenena/antipodensis 
  • Snowy/Amsterdam Albatross Diomedea exulans/amsterdamensis 

and remember, large albatross sp. Diomedea sp. is always there to cover a great albatross in the Royal or Wandering complex that can’t be further narrowed down.

Regional Record Change Logic: These taxa overlap extensively; no changes have been made to observer-reported taxa.


Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos is split into Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche carteri and Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos. To identify adults, focus on the gray head of Atlantic and whitish head of Indian; note that the shape of the yellow “nose” stripe, darker and more extensive black in lores of Atlantic, and bill structure differ as well. Identifying immatures and subadults is still a challenge. Thus far, North Atlantic records have all pertained to the expected Atlantic species. We look forward to learning more from your careful eBird reports!

  • Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Tristan da Cunha and Gough islands.; ranges southern oceans
  • Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche carteri [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Breeds on s Indian Ocean islands; ranges southern oceans

These two species are very difficult to identify, especially without excellent and close looks, so this slash option will remain important for many individuals. Be sure to check your own data, since some records may remain in eBird as a slash (but you should update them to the species level if you are certain of the species involved).

  • Atlantic/Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross Thalassarche chlororhynchos/carteri [map] [media] [my records]

Regional Record Change Logic: Records from the South Atlantic (north of South Africa) are presumed to pertain to Atlantic, while those from the Indian Ocean (away from South Africa) are presumed to pertain to Indian. South Africa is treated as an area of overlap and no changes have been made to observer-reported taxa.


Jamaican Petrel Pterodroma caribbaea and Black-capped Petrel Pterodroma hasitata are split from Black-capped Petrel Pterodroma hasitata. Jamaican Petrel is an overdue split, but unfortunately is believed extinct and unlikely to be refound; it was markedly different from Black-capped in that its plumage was entirely dark. The two forms of Black-capped Petrel remain and there is still an open question about whether those represent different species themselves, given that they breed and forage in different areas (we badly need audio of the calls of both forms, but White-faced breeding areas are not well known).


Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis is split into Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus and Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis. Eastern Cattle Egret looks strikingly different from Western Cattle Egret in breeding plumage, when it looks like its entire upperparts were dipped in butterscotch sauce. Western Cattle Egret by comparison, looks like it just ended up with a small amount of the same sauce on its crest and breast feathers. The overall look is strikingly different and makes these instantly recognizable. In non-breeding plumage, however, structure may be the only hope of correct identification: Western Cattle Egret is short-necked and short-legged, recalling a night-heron or a Butorides heron (Green or Striated Heron), while Eastern Cattle Egret looks comparatively long-necked and long-legged and more like a slightly short-billed version of an “Intermediate” Egret (i.e., Medium, Plumed, or Yellow-billed Egret). In fact, one vagrant Eastern Cattle Egret was misidentified and originally published as Hawaii’s first Ardea intermedia.

Western Cattle Egret occurs widely in Africa and Europe, and is the bird that has colonized the New World. Eastern Cattle Egret is common from South Asia through East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Either taxon could occur at islands in the central Pacific (although Western Cattle Egret has populated Hawaii and the Galapagos) or Indian Ocean; vagrant Eastern Cattle Egrets are known from the Aleutian Islands, Midway and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and the Seychelles, while either Western or Eastern Cattle Egrets can occur in parts of Arabia, Iran, and the “stans”. Any records in those regions should be identified with care.

  • Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East
  • Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: South and Southeast Asia and Australasia

These two species are very difficult to identify in non-breeding plumage, especially without excellent and close looks, so this slash option will remain important for many individuals. Be sure to check your own data, since some records may remain in eBird as a slash (but you should update them to the species level if you are certain of the species involved).

Regional Record Change Logic: These two taxa segregate surprisingly well by range. From Pakistan and Afghanistan east are Eastern, while all records from Arabia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas have been converted to Western. The one exception pertains to records from Midway and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands; Western predominates there but Eastern is known as a vagrant so records are being checked first.


Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia is split into Plumed Egret Ardea plumifera, Yellow-billed Egret Ardea brachyrhyncha, and Medium Egret Ardea intermedia. This widespread species complex is similar in size and structure, with size and proportions intermediate between two other egrets that are yell0w-billed in immature and winter plumages: Great Egret Ardea alba and Western/Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis/coromandus. However, they are all strikingly different in breeding condition, with the Asian birds breaking up moderate similarities between African and Australasian birds. Medium Egrets (in Asia) show an all black bill and yellowish lores (recalling Snowy Egret from the Americas or nigripes Little Egret from Australia, but with a thicker and blunter bill) (photo). Yellow-billed Egrets (in Africa) have orange bills with greenish lores that become vibrant red orange (with a paler orange tip) with lime green lores in high condition (photo). Plumed Egrets (in Australia) closely resemble the breeding condition of Yellow-billed Egret, with subtle differences in loral color (photo); fortunately these two taxa are the most distant and unlikely to overlap. These breeding condition differences, and the sharp changeover between taxa, was enough to justify a split that BirdLife International put in place several years ago.

Potential overlap between these species is fairly limited, but identification can be a major challenge in those areas, since field marks in non-breeding plumages are not well understood–some birds may be unidentifiable.

In Australia, Plumed Egret is expected but Medium Egret has been convincingly documented from northern Queensland and Perth; this article delves into the subtle nuances of identification of these birds by structure and illustrates just how difficult this identification can be. In Indonesia, the relative distribution of the two taxa is poorly known; in the western portion of Indonesia Medium Egret predominates while in the Eastern portion, Plumed Egret is more expected. Records from Central Indonesia could pertain to either. In certain areas of the Middle East, both Yellow-billed and Medium Egret are possible; Saudi Arabia for example has records close to areas of Yellow-billed Egret occurrence across the Red Sea, but the appearance of most birds to date better matches Medium Egret. Hopefully area birders will learn more, especially if they can photograph birds entering breeding condition.

In areas of uncertainty, please use the slashes we have set up:

Note that the name Medium Egret is somewhat tentative; we are open to other ideas (but continuing to use Intermediate Egret is not a viable option, given its long use for the widespread taxon).

Regional Record Change Logic: In Saudi Arabia and Timor-Leste and parts of Indonesia (Lesser Sundas and Moluccas) we retain observer-reported taxa, as we continue to research which taxa occur there and in what ratios.


Eurasian Goshawk Accipiter gentilis and American Goshawk Accipiter atricapillus are split from Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis. Consistent plumage and vocal differences, and genetic data that indicate that these two species are not each other’s closest relatives, have led to this split which is now widely adopted (including by AOS-NACC). While immature plumages are strikingly different between the Eurasian and American birds, looking at the adult soft parts and plumage helps make clear why these should in fact be treated as separate species: Eurasian birds tend to have wide-awake yellowish eyes while they are an angry red in American and the barring in adults is rather broad (much like a Eurasian Sparrowhawk) in Eurasian birds and very very finely vermiculated in American birds.

  • Eurasian Goshawk Accipiter gentilis [map] [media] [my records]
    • RANGE: Widely in Eurasia
  • American Goshawk Accipiter atricapillus [map] [media] [my records]
    • RANGE: Widely in Canada, the US, and nw Mexico

American Goshawk has been documented a couple times in Europe and Eurasian Goshawk is known from one specimen in Labrador and a few records in the Aleutian Islands of Western Alaska, so this split adds a species to both the Western Palearctic and North American lists. Almost all birds are safely identified by range, but for birds seen in the Aleutians or other spots in between the regular ranges, where vagrants from either side are possible, we do have a slash, just in case.

A couple related taxa are changing subtly as well:

  • Cooper’s Hawk x American Goshawk (hybrid) Accipiter cooperii x atricapillus [map] [media] [my records]
  • Cooper’s Hawk/American Goshawk Accipiter cooperii/atricapillus [map] [media] [my records]
American and Eurasian Goshawks don’t overlap in range, usually, but both are strong fliers and vagrants have occurred on the wrong continent, so astute birders should be ready for them. Immatures are extremely similar, but adults can be so strikingly different that it might be hard to see why they were lumped for so long: compare the fine vermiculations of American vs. the heavy dark breast barring of Eurasian as well as the striking differences in eye color (deep red in American and orange or yellowish-orange in Eurasian).

Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus is split into four species: Northern Black-throated Trogon Trogon tenellus, Choco Black-throated Trogon Trogon cupreicauda, Atlantic Black-throated Trogon Trogon chrysochloros, and Amazonian Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus. This is yet another in a series of recent splits of trogons in the Americas (Violaceous, White-tailed, and Black-tailed Trogon being three other recent splits). These taxa all differ in vocalizations and differ subtly in plumage. There is no overlap in range, however, so your personal records should all fall out neatly into the new species. Note that the Alagoas and Southern subspecies groups are another potential split, but are less well-differentiated than the others and for now are treated as conspecific.

  • Northern Black-throated Trogon Trogon tenellus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: mostly Middle America, from tropical se Honduras to extreme nw Colombia
  • Choco Black-throated Trogon Trogon cupreicauda [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Tropical w Colombia and w Ecuador
  • Amazonian Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widely in Amazonia, including areas e of the Andes in Colombia and Ecuador, the entirety of the range in Venezuela, Guianas, and Peru,
        and all of the range in Brasil except the Atlantic Forest of the Southeast
  • Atlantic Black-throated Trogon Trogon chrysochloros [map] [media] [my records]
    • Atlantic Black-throated Trogon (Alagoas) Trogon chrysochloros muriciensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Alagoas, Brazil (Murici forest)
    • Atlantic Black-throated Trogon (Southern) Trogon chrysochloros chrysochloros [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S Brazil to Paraguay and ne Argentina

African Pied Hornbill Lophoceros fasciatus is split into West African Pied Hornbill Lophoceros semifasciatus and Congo Pied Hornbill Lophoceros fasciatus. Differences are subtle, but West African is consistently different from Congo in white tail feather tips (vs. all white outer tail feathers), black vs. reddish bill bill tip, and a longer blackish bar restricted to the lower mandible. Given these fairly subtle differences, it is helpful that their ranges don’t really overlap!

  • West African Pied Hornbill Lophoceros semifasciatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Senegambia to just east of Niger River
  • Congo Pied Hornbill Lophoceros fasciatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Nigeria (east of Niger River) to Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda

There are small areas of potential overlap, so a slash is available in cases where the species is uncertain.

  • West African/Congo Pied Hornbill Lophoceros semifasciatus/fasciatus [map] [media] [my records]

White-crested Hornbill Horizocerus albocristatus is split into Eastern Long-tailed Hornbill Horizocerus cassini and Western Long-tailed Hornbill Horizocerus albocristatus. These two striking, bushy-crested hornbill species are quite similar but differ in cheek color: whitish in Western and dark in Eastern. They also are fully separated by range, so never really present an identification issue and cannot possibly be confused with any other hornbill. Wow!

  • Western Long-tailed Hornbill Horizocerus albocristatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Humid forests of Guinea to Ghana
  • Eastern Long-tailed Hornbill Horizocerus cassini [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Nigeria through Congo basin to w Uganda and n Angola

There are small areas of potential overlap, so a slash is available in cases where the species is uncertain.

  • Western/Eastern Long-tailed Hornbill Horizocerus albocristatus/cassini [map] [media] [my records]

Black Dwarf Hornbill Horizocerus hartlaubi is split into Eastern Dwarf Hornbill Horizocerus granti and Western Dwarf Hornbill Horizocerus hartlaubi. The differences between these two are subtle but consistent: white-spotted wings and reddish ridge to the upper mandible in Eastern and unmarked dark wings and a dark ridge to the mandible in Western. Again, like the hornbills above, range will be your best field mark to focus on.

  • Western Dwarf Hornbill Horizocerus hartlaubi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sierra Leone to northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (west of the Congo River)
  • Eastern Dwarf Hornbill Horizocerus granti [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Congo Basin of Central African Republic to Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda

There are small areas of potential overlap, so a slash is available in cases where the species is uncertain.


Black-eared Barbet Psilopogon duvaucelii is split from Blue-eared Barbet Psilopogon cyanotis. The two species are almost identical in voice but have striking differences in face pattern and a narrow contact zone. A third member of the complex, Yellow-eared Barbet Psilopogon australis (formerly Little Barbet), is restricted to Java and Bali and has been split for multiple years but illustrates how species limits turn over in this species.

  • Blue-eared Barbet Psilopogon cyanotis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in Southeast Asia south down Malay Peninsula to southern Thailand
  • Black-eared Barbet Psilopogon duvaucelii [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: southern Thai-Malay Peninsula (from southern Thailand southward), Sumatra (and adjacent islands), Bangka Island, and Borneo

There is an overlap (and hybrid!) zone in southern Thailand and northern Malaysia: please use the hybrid option for birds with intermediate characteristics (e.g., a mix of blue and black on the ear coverts) and use the slash for birds heard only (the songs and calls are not safely identified) or seen poorly.

  • Blue-eared/Black-eared Barbet Psilopogon cyanotis/duvaucelii [map] [media] [my records]
  • Blue-eared x Black-eared Barbet (hybrid) Psilopogon cyanotis x duvaucelii [map] [media] [my records]

Regional Record Change Logic: While most records are readily assigned, the species do come in contact, can hybridize, and some records cannot be assigned based on probability from the area of contact. Almost all records from Thailand pertain to Blue-eared and almost all of those from Malaysia pertain to Black-eared, but there are a couple exceptions. It seems that only Blue-eared occurs in Perlis, Malaysia and only Black-eared occurs in Thailands three southeasternmost provinces: Yala, Pattani, and
Narathiwat. This leaves records from Songkhla, Thailand, as among the most difficult: westerly ones are clearly Blue-eared and eastern ones are Black-eared, but those in the center of the province (e.g., Khao Nam Khang NP area) are retained as the observer originally reported them (so those not identified to subspecies are now a slash). Be very cautious reporting in this area, since hybrids occur and use the slash liberally for birds not identified carefully by sight. The same applies in a swath of central Kedah, Malaysia and on Gunung Raya, since we are unsure which species occurs in those areas. We invite feedback on areas in this region so that records can be assigned safely to one species or another.


Crimson-breasted Woodpecker Dryobates cathpharius is split into Necklaced Woodpecker Dryobates pernyii and Crimson-naped Woodpecker Dryobates cathpharius. Superficially similar, these two differ consistently in plumage, with Crimson-naped being washed with faint yellowish below (vs. white and black plumage) and lacks the eponymous bold black necklace of Necklaced Woodpecker.

  • Crimson-naped Woodpecker Dryobates cathpharius [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: E Himalayas (Nepal to n Assam), SE Tibet, to adjacent n Myanmar
  • Necklaced Woodpecker Dryobates pernyii [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: N Myanmar to Thailand, Laos, n Vietnam and s China (nw Yunnan, Sichuan and Xinjiang north to Gansu and central Hubei)

There are small areas of potential overlap, so a slash is available in cases where the species is uncertain.

  • Crimson-naped/Necklaced Woodpecker Dryobates cathpharius/pernyii [map] [media] [my records]

Malabar Flameback Chrysocolaptes socialis is split from Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus. These species are allopatric (fully segregated by range) and have minor differences in plumage (e.g., back color) but have fairly striking vocal differences that help support their recognition at the species level. Malabar Flameback is restricted to southwestern India while Greater occurs throughout the remainder of the range in South and Southeast Asia.

  • Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes guttacristatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in Southeast Asia
  • Malabar Flameback Chrysocolaptes socialis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Western Ghats and coastal w India

Zebra Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis is split from Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristisThese two species differ subtly– Zebra has blacker underparts, a white vs. buffy rump, a more evenly barred face, and richer red moustachial stripe. Zebra is endemic to Java, and Buff-rumped does not occur there, so this adds an endemic for Java and for Indonesia and simplifies the field identification.

  • Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes grammithorax [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S Myanmar and pen. Thailand to Sumatra, Borneo and adj. islands
  • Zebra Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Java

Fine-banded Woodpecker Campethera taeniolaema is split from Tullberg’s Woodpecker Campethera tullbergi. These two species are similar but widely separated in range, so confusion in the field is impossible if your GPS and eBird Mobile apps are working correctly–just make sure to review which species occurs in the area where you are birding! Tullberg’s differs from Fine-banded in subtleties of head pattern, underparts pattern, presence of red flecking on lesser coverts, black vs. maroon lores in the female, and its longer bill

  • Tullberg’s Woodpecker Campethera tullbergi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Mountains of se Nigeria and w Cameroon; Bioko I.
  • Fine-banded Woodpecker Campethera taeniolaema [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE:E Democratic Republic of the Congo to Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, n and w Tanzania and w and c Kenya

Citron-crested Cockatoo Cacatua citrinocristata is split from Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea. Citron-crested is endemic to Sumba while Yellow-crested is widespread throughout much of the rest of the species’s range in Sulawesi, islands in the Flores Sea, and Lesser Sundas. It differs primarily in its orangey crest, but also in its longer tail and in the bill color of juveniles. Like most parrots in the region, it is imperiled by the illegal bird trade, is Critically Endangered, and sightings are protected by eBird’s Sensitive Species procedures.

  • Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sulawesi, islands in the Flores Sea, and Lesser Sundas
  • Citron-crested Cockatoo Cacatua citrinocristata [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sumba

Comoro Black Parrot Coracopsis sibilans is split from Lesser Vasa Parrot Coracopsis nigra. Lesser Vasa Parrot is widespread in Madagascar, but Comoro Black Parrot is restricted to the Comoro Islands. It is smaller than Lesser Vasa and has some subtle plumage differences and adds to a growing list of Comoro archipelago endemics.

Comoro Black Parrot overlaps on the Comoro Islands with Greater Vasa Parrot, and Lesser Vasa Parrot co-occurs with that species on Madagascar, so we have slashes in place for each scenario.


Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus is split into four species: Moluccan Eclectus Eclectus roratus, Sumba Eclectus Eclectus cornelia, Tanimbar Eclectus Eclectus riedeli, and Papuan Eclectus Eclectus polychloros. This genus, formerly restricted to a single extant species, is recognized as a more diverse assemblage of four species, each with distinctive plumage. The change from Eclectus Parrot to five species of Eclectus (the fifth being the extinct Oceanic Eclectus Eclectus infectus) recognizes the distinctive features of this genus and helps reduce the huge number of birds named Something-or-other Parrot in the world.

  • Moluccan Eclectus Eclectus roratus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: N, central, and S Moluccas
  • Sumba Eclectus Eclectus cornelia [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sumba
  • Tanimbar Eclectus Eclectus riedeli [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Tanimbar
  • Papuan Eclectus Eclectus polychloros [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Papua New Guinea, Aru, Biak, Solomon Islands, and extreme n. Queensland, Australia

Especially when escapees are involved away from native range, it may be useful to have the genus-level spuh option:


Simeulue Parrot Psittinus abbotti is split from Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus. A highly range-restricted taxon, from islands known for their endemism off the west coast of Sumatra, is split from the widespread Blue-rumped Parrot. Congratulations to anyone who gains a species from having seen this remote and obscure bird!

  • Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S Thailand to s Myanmar, Malay Pen., Sumatra and Borneo
  • Simeulue Parrot Psittinus abbotti [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Simeulue and Siumat islands (off w coast of Sumatra)

Blue-backed Parrot Tanygnathus everetti is split from Azure-rumped Parrot Tanygnathus sumatranus. As is the case with many taxa, the birds in the Philippines are being shown to be different from those in Indonesia, so this split is not overall too surprising, despite the fairly subtle differences.

The slash may only be needed for escapees out of range, but is there just in case:

  • Blue-backed/Azure-rumped Parrot Tanygnathus everetti/sumatranus [map] [media] [my records]

Macquarie Parakeet Cyanoramphus erythrotis is split from Red-crowned Parakeet Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae. Macquarie Parakeet is extinct so this split won’t be relevant to any birdwatchers that are not ghosts (Happy Halloween!). For those reading this closely, we actually expect to re-lump this species in 2024…

  • Red-crowned Parakeet Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: New Zealand, Kermadec, and Chatham Islands
  • Macquarie Parakeet Cyanoramphus erythrotis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Formerly Macquarie I. Extinct

Orange-breasted Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii is split into Dusky-cheeked Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta melanogenia, Blue-fronted Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii, and Black-fronted Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta nigrifrons. These three fig-parrots are distinctive in plumage and can be found in different parts of the island of New Guinea: Blue-fronted in the far west, Black-fronted in the north, and Dusky-cheeked in the south (and on the Aru Islands of Indonesia). Good luck getting a look at their distinctive features as they screech and streak overhead though!

  • Dusky-cheeked Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta melanogenia [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S and SE Papua New Guinea and the Aru Islands
  • Blue-fronted Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: W New Guinea (Salawati I. and w Vogelkop Peninsula)
  • Black-fronted Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta nigrifrons [map] [media] [my records]
    • Black-fronted Fig-Parrot (Black-fronted) Cyclopsitta nigrifrons nigrifrons [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: N New Guinea
    • Black-fronted Fig-Parrot (Creamy-breasted) Cyclopsitta nigrifrons amabilis/ramuensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: NE New Guinea (Ramu River district and Huon Peninsula to Milne Bay)

When the species is uncertain, we recommend using the general, genus-level option:


Papuan Lorikeet Charmosyna papou is split into Stella’s Lorikeet Charmosyna stellae and West Papuan Lorikeet Charmosyna papou. Superficially similar, West Papuan Lorikeet has a different face pattern and some slashes of yellow at the wing bend and undertail.

  • West Papuan Lorikeet Charmosyna papou [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: W New Guinea (montane forests of Vogelkop Peninsula)
  • Stella’s Lorikeet Charmosyna stellae [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in New Guinea, except the far west

Biak Lorikeet Trichoglossus rosenbergii is split from Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus. A few years ago the Rainbow Lorikeet complex was divided into a number of species, but eBird retained Biak Lorikeet as a subspecies of Coconut Lorikeet. This year we further split that form, restricted to the endemic-rich Biak Island off the north side of New Guinea.

  • Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in Indonesia, New Guinea, New Caledonia
  • Biak Lorikeet Trichoglossus rosenbergii [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Biak Island

Black-billed Hanging-Parrot Loriculus bonapartei is split from Philippine Hanging-Parrot Loriculus philippensis. The name says it all: look for the black bill on the new species with a very restricted range. Other details of its head pattern, including the distinctive yellow nape, signal that this is quite a different bird, despite some variation throughout the range of the Philippine species.

  • Philippine Hanging-Parrot Loriculus philippensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: widespread in Philippines
  • Black-billed Hanging-Parrot Loriculus bonapartei [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sulu Archipelago (Bongao, Jolo and Tawitawi)

Timneh Parrot Psittacus timneh is split from Gray Parrot Psittacus erithacus. These two taxa have been quite confusing to sort out taxonomically. There has been genetic evidence that they are quite distinct, but some have considered them almost inseparable in the field. However, newer information shows clear differences, including a pale (not black) bill on Timneh and much darker body plumage. Part of the confusion seems to have been the birds on Principe, which possibly have involved both taxa; some mystery remains there, but modern records on Principe are clearly allied with erithacus.

  • Timneh Parrot Psittacus timneh [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S Guinea to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali and w Ivory Coast
  • Gray Parrot Psittacus erithacus [map] [media] [my records]
    • Gray Parrot (Gray) Psittacus erithacus erithacus [map] [media] [my records] 
      • RANGE: Ivory Coast to Kenya, Tanzania, Príncipe, São Tomé and Bioko
    • Gray Parrot (Principe) Psittacus erithacus princeps [map] [media] [my records] 
      • RANGE: Príncipe I. (Gulf of Guinea)

While Gray Parrot is the abundant cagebird and likely escapee, any exotic record that shows characters of Timneh Parrot should be entered as the slash option. This slash also may be useful on Principe, where mysteries remain about the current status of Gray Parrot (Principe) Psittacus erithacus princeps, especially in light of apparent escapee records of Gray Parrot there.


Cordilleran Parakeet Psittacara wagleri is split from Scarlet-fronted Parakeet Psittacara frontatus. These two species differ in orbital ring color and differ subtly in the color and extent of the red forehead. They are widely separated in range so identification is straightforward in the native range.

  • Scarlet-fronted Parakeet Psittacara wagleri [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: N Colombia to n Venezuela
  • Cordilleran Parakeet Psittacara frontatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S Ecuador to central and s central Peru (Marañón Valley south to Ayacucho)

These two species do not overlap in native range, but could potentially occur as escapees outside the native range, where they would need to be identified with care. We retain a slash to help with any uncertain records under such circumstances.

  • Scarlet-fronted/Cordilleran Parakeet Psittacara wagleri/frontatus [map] [media] [my records]

Gray-lored Broadbill Serilophus rubropygius is split from Silver-breasted Broadbill Serilophus lunatus. These two are found to be much more different than previously thought, with obvious differences in loral color (gray vs. orangeish), wingtip shape (driven by Silver-breasted’s white-tipped flat-ended feather with a small point vs. rounded, barely white-tipped feathers). Other differences in head pattern and overall color give each a distinctive look.

  • Silver-breasted Broadbill Serilophus lunatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in SE Asia
  • Gray-lored Broadbill Serilophus rubropygius [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: NE India, Bhutan and e Bangladesh to ne Myanmar

We retain a slash for poorly-seen birds near areas of overlap:

  • Silver-breasted/Gray-lored Broadbill Serilophus lunatus/rubropygius [map] [media] [my records]

North Papuan Pitta Erythropitta habenichti and South Papuan Pitta Erythropitta macklotii are split from Papuan Pitta Erythropitta macklotii. The mega-split of Red-bellied Pitta into 16 species several years ago is mostly tacking back with this update to recognize fewer species, (see “Lumps” below), but these two are deemed worthy of an additional split.

  • North Papuan Pitta Erythropitta habenichti [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: N New Guinea (Weyland Mts. to Astrolabe Bay)
  • South Papuan Pitta Erythropitta macklotii [map] [media] [my records]
    • South Papuan Pitta (D’Entrecasteaux) Erythropitta macklotii finschii [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago (Fergusson and Goodenough Islands
    • South Papuan Pitta (Western) Erythropitta macklotii [macklotii Group] [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Aru Islands, Raja Ampat Islands, w and s New Guinea, with some breeding ne Cape York Peninsula, Australia and wintering in New Guinea

Nicobar Hooded Pitta Pitta abbotti, Minahasa Hooded Pitta Pitta forsteni, Eastern Hooded Pitta Pitta novaeguineae, Biak Hooded Pitta Pitta rosenbergii, and Western Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida are split from Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida. If you’ve seen one pitta we are sure you will agree: the world needs more pittas! In addition to this one split above, the revision of this complex brings more pitta joy to the world. Vocal differences and plumage differences have supported genetics for this round of splits. Note that the cucullata subspecies of Western Hooded Pitta is migratory and has even reached Australia, so should be considered as one that could overlap with one of the resident forms.

  • Nicobar Hooded Pitta Pitta abbotti [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Great and Little Nicobar islands
  • Western Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida [map] [media] [my records]
    • Western Hooded Pitta (Chestnut-crowned) Pitta sordida cucullata [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: breeds Himalayan foothills of northern India east to southern China (Yunnan), northern Myanmar and Indochina, south to Bangladesh, Thailand, and northwestern peninsular Malaysia; winters to southern peninsula Malaysia, Sumatra, and Java
    • Western Hooded Pitta (Sangihe) Pitta sordida sanghirana [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sangihe I. (ne of Sulawesi)
    • Western Hooded Pitta (Sunda) Pitta sordida mulleri/bangkana [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and western Sulu Islands
    • Western Hooded Pitta (Philippine) Pitta sordida sordida/palawanensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Philippines
  • Minahasa Hooded Pitta Pitta forsteni [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: northern Sulawesi (Minahasa Peninsula)
  • Eastern Hooded Pitta Pitta novaeguineae [map] [media] [my records]
    • Eastern Hooded Pitta (Numfor) Pitta novaeguineae mefoorana [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Numfor I. (off nw New Guinea)
    • Eastern Hooded Pitta (Papuan) Pitta novaeguineae novaeguineae/goodfellowi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE:W Papuan islands, New Guinea and Karkar I., Aru Islands
  • Biak Hooded Pitta Pitta rosenbergii [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Biak I. (off nw New Guinea)

Northern White-fringed Antwren Formicivora intermedia and Southern White-fringed Antwren Formicivora grisea are split from White-fringed Antwren Formicivora grisea. These two look similar but have strong vocal differences.

  • Northern White-fringed Antwren Formicivora intermedia [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Pearl Islands (Bay of Panama), NW Colombia to S Venezuela s of R. Orinoco (Bolívar and extreme n Amazonas), Tobago
  • Southern White-fringed Antwren Formicivora grisea [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Extreme e Colombia and s Venezuela (w Amazonas), Guyana, coastal Suriname, French Guiana, n and e Brazil

A slash is available for uncertain records:

  • Northern/Southern White-fringed Antwren Formicivora intermedia/grisea [map] [media] [my records]

Atuen Antpitta Grallaria atuensis and Boyaca Antpitta Grallaria alticola are split from Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis. Following the recent mega-split of the Rufous Antpitta complex, the vocal differences evident in widely separated populations of Tawny Antpitta also warranted a split. In this case, the more widespread and familiar antpitta retains the name Tawny Antpitta, so please report your birds with caution and learn the new names if you have the good fortune to do some birding in the range of Atuen or Boyaca Antpitta.

  • Boyaca Antpitta Grallaria alticola [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: E Andes of Colombia
  • Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Central Andes of Colombia, Ecuador and extreme n Peru
  • Atuen Antpitta Grallaria atuensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Andes of n Peru (s Amazonas and e La Libertad)

Xingu Scythebill Campylorhamphus multostriatus and Tapajos Scythebill Campylorhamphus probatus are split from Curve-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus procurvoides. Major rivers in Amazonia define a lot of important bird distributions, often separating species with similar plumage that have obvious differences in vocalizations. That is the case here as well, so be sure to compare songs from the different species below to understand these splits more deeply. And if you take a boat down the Xingu River, be sure to keep separate checklists for each side of the river so your scythebills (and other birds!) all end up in the right species!

  • Curve-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus procurvoides [map] [media] [my records]
    • Curve-billed Scythebill (Zimmer’s) Campylorhamphus procurvoides sanus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: nw Amazonia, from Venezuela and Brazil (west of the Branco and Negro rivers) w to Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru n of the Amazon
    • Curve-billed Scythebill (Curve-billed) Campylorhamphus procurvoides procurvoides [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: e Venezuela to the Guianas and n Brazil (east of the Branco and Negro rivers)
    • Curve-billed Scythebill (Tupana) Campylorhamphus procurvoides gyldenstolpei [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: sw Amazonian Brazil, w of the Madeira River; possibly also in e Peru (s of the Amazon)
  • Tapajos Scythebill Campylorhamphus probatus [map] [media] [my records]
    • Tapajos Scythebill (Rondonia) Campylorhamphus probatus probatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S-cent. Amazonian Brazil (Rio Madeira to Rio Tapajós)
    • Tapajos Scythebill (Tapajos) Campylorhamphus probatus cardosoi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: e Amazonian Brazil, between the Tapajós and Xingu rivers
  • Xingu Scythebill Campylorhamphus multostriatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: eastern Amazonian Brazil between the Xingu and Tocantins rivers

Pacific Hornero Furnarius cinnamomeus and Caribbean Hornero Furnarius longirostris are split from Pale-legged Hornero Furnarius leucopus. While all three have different vocalizations, they also differ in coloration. Pacific Hornero is strikingly pale (whitish on breast especially) compared to the others and has a striking whitish eye, while the other two are dark-eyed. Caribbean Hornero is most distinctive for its contrasting grayish crown and Pale-legged has the boldest supercilium. These taxa don’t overlap now, but as deforestation along major roads in the Andes, one has to wonder if Pacific and Pale-legged Horneros might come in contact in northern Peru.

  • Pacific Hornero Furnarius cinnamomeus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: W Ecuador and nw Peru
  • Caribbean Hornero Furnarius longirostris [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Arid coastal n Colombia and nw Venezuela, N Colombia (Magdalena Valley) and w Venezuela (s Zulia)
  • Pale-legged Hornero Furnarius leucopus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in the Guianas and Amazonia, s to Bolivia

Ochre-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus and Fawn-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus cervinigularis are split from Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus. This split may be unfamiliar to many people, since it has not previously been recognized by major taxonomies or most field guides and since “Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner” is a widespread and familiar Neotropical “species”. To keep them straight, just remember they are arranged alphabetically from north to south: Fawn-throated is north of Ochre-throated. Fawn-throated Foliage-gleaner has a rapid descending chattering song (listen here) while Ochre-throated, the southern taxon, has some slower and somewhat whiny descending notes; listen here. These two strikingly different vocal differences hold between the many subspecies and align with genetic differences, which have shown that Fawn-throated is more closely related to Chiriqui Foliage-gleaner Automolus extertus (of e. Costa Rica and w Panama) than it is to Ochre-throated. This basically requires the split. Further splits could be possible in this complex, but this revision helps to understand this widespread group of birds much better.

  • Fawn-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus cervinigularis [map] [media] [my records]
    • Fawn-throated Foliage-gleaner (Mexican) Automolus cervinigularis cervinigularis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: southeastern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras
    • Fawn-throated Foliage-gleaner (hypophaeus) Automolus cervinigularis hypophaeus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Caribbean slope of e Nicaragua to nw Panama
  • Ochre-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus [map] [media] [my records]
    • Ochre-throated Foliage-gleaner (pallidigularis) Automolus ochrolaemus pallidigularis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: E Panama to Colombia and nw Ecuador
    • Ochre-throated Foliage-gleaner (turdinus) Automolus ochrolaemus turdinus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Tropical n and w Amazon basin
    • Ochre-throated Foliage-gleaner (ochrolaemus) Automolus ochrolaemus ochrolaemus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Tropical e Peru to n Bolivia and w Brazil
    • Ochre-throated Foliage-gleaner (auricularis) Automolus ochrolaemus auricularis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: NE Bolivia (Rio Beni) and w Brazil (Rio Purús to Rio Tapajós)

Since the relative distributions are not yet well-known using these species limits, we retain a slash option to help with any records that are uncertain.

  • Fawn-throated/Ochre-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus cervinigularis/ochrolaemus [map] [media] [my records]

Regional Record Change Logic: Some uncertainty remains as to how and where these taxa change over in central Panama, so we are adopting a conservative stance for now and assign those records to a slash pending more vocal evidence for which species occurs where.


Eastern Woodhaunter Automolus subulatus and Western Woodhaunter Automolus virgatus are split from Striped Woodhaunter Automolus subulatus. These two taxa have long been known to have striking vocal differences and other taxonomies ave split them previously.

  • Western Woodhaunter Automolus virgatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Caribbean lowlands of e Nicaragua, lowlands of Costa Rica and Panama to w Colombia and w Ecuador
  • Eastern Woodhaunter Automolus subulatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Tropical se Colombia and s Venezuela to n Bolivia and w Amazonian Brazil

Plain Thornbird Phacellodomus inornatus is split from Rufous-fronted Thornbird Phacellodomus rufifrons. As with other Furnariid (ovenbird) splits above, vocal differences are critically important. Calls of Plain are higher and faster (Colombia examples) while those of Rufous-fronted are lower and slower (Peru examples). The two populations are highly disjunct (see range maps below) and have moderate plumage differences.

  • Plain Thornbird Phacellodomus inornatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Llanos of ne Colombia and Venezuela to s Venezuela (n Bolívar)
  • Rufous-fronted Thornbird Phacellodomus rufifrons [map] [media] [my records]
    • Rufous-fronted Thornbird (Rufous-winged) Phacellodomus rufifrons specularis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: ne Brazil (n Tocantins and s Maranhão e to Pernambuco and Alagoas)
    • Rufous-fronted Thornbird (Rufous-fronted) Phacellodomus rufifrons [rufifrons Group] [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: e Bolivia and sw Brazil (Mato Grosso) to n Paraguay, and to nw Argentina and e Brasil (Piauí, Bahia and Minas Gerais); isolated population in NW Peru (Río Marañón Valley) and adjacent s Ecuador

Araguaia Spinetail Synallaxis simoni is split from White-lored Spinetail Synallaxis albilora. These taxa are well-separated and distinctive in vocalizations and plumage and have been recognized at the species level by other taxonomies for some time.

  • White-lored Spinetail Synallaxis albilora [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: E Bolivia (e Santa Cruz) to interior sw Brazil and n Paraguay
  • Araguaia Spinetail Synallaxis simoni [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Pantanal of w Brazil (Araguaia Valley)

Note that with this split our former name for an undescribed spinetail in the genus Araguaia River Spinetail (undescribed form) Certhiaxis [undescribed form] is getting a new name: Tocantins Spinetail (undescribed form). Since the Synallaxis has long been known as the Araguaia Spinetail, these two names felt too similar to retain. Hopefully the Certhiaxis will get formally described someday soon so we can do away with constantly-changing tentative names for that bird!


Brazilian Laniisoma Laniisoma elegans and Andean Laniisoma Laniisoma buckleyi are split from Shrike-like Cotinga Laniisoma elegans. These two species are widely separated by range, differ vocally, and subtly in plumage with Andean birds being brighter yellow below with fewer markings. One of the more elusive and desired species in both regions, with this split we also align around the English name Laniisoma (meaning “shrike-bodied”) for both members of the genus…which makes the genus easy to remember! Structurally like a Cotinga, and also sometimes known as Elegant Mourner, we know know this is in Tityridae and allied with tityras and becards. This is a unique and cool pair of birds that deserves unique and cool names!

  • Andean Laniisoma Laniisoma buckleyi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Locally from tropical ne Colombia to nw Venezuela, E slope of Andes of e Ecuador and e Peru, and tropical nw Bolivia (La Paz)
  • Brazilian Laniisoma Laniisoma elegans [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Tropical se Brazil (Espírito Santo to e Paraná)

Cryptic Becard Pachyramphus salvini is split from Black-and-white Becard Pachyramphus albogriseus. The odd name Cryptic Becard refers to the vexing history of this bird. Recent genetics had shown that a well-differentiated form was buried in the taxon that we knew as Black-and-white Becard, but the exact populations involved and the correct nomenclature for them took some work to suss out. The full story can be followed in an initial, unsuccessful proposal for AOS-SACC from February 2021 which was thankfully followed up by publication by Musher et al. 2023 and a follow-up proposal to AOS-SACC in January 2023. This case illustrates the mysteries that remain in the tropics to be worked out by careful attention to specimens, vocalizations, and genetics and highlight the diligent work by taxonomists that lay the backbone for the eBird Enterprise. The photos and sounds that the eBird community are helping to organize are increasingly critical to these taxonomic revisions, as can be seen by the Macaulay Library recordings that were a key feature of Musher et al. 2023. Thank you!

  • Black-and-white Becard Pachyramphus albogriseus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Costa Rica to w Panama (Chiriquí and Veraguas) and Subtropical E Andes of n Colombia (Boyacá) and Santa Marta Mts., and n Venezuela
  • Cryptic Becard Pachyramphus salvini [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: still not well-known; W slope of Andes of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, and Río Marañón drainage; also east slope of Andes from Ecuador to central Peru, perhaps only seasonally

We are just learning the distributions of these new species, and specimens reveal that there is some overlap, we encourage use of the slash option in any areas where more than one species is known or could possibly occur. There may be seasonality to the movements that bring them into contact, so we hope careful eBirding, with supportive photos and sound recordings, can help clarify the patterns that have flown under the radar for so long. Please use this slash liberally!

  • Black-and-white/Cryptic Becard Pachyramphus albogriseus/salvini [map] [media] [my records]

Regional Record Change Logic: There is no evidence of Black-and-white occurring in the range of Cryptic Becard, so Pacific Slope records from Nariño, Ecuador, and Peru (south to Lambayeque) have all been converted to Cryptic. But since Cryptic seems to regularly occur on the east slope of the mountains (a most unusual pattern of occurrence) we are leaving all records in the region as a slash, including all of the east slope of Peru and Ecuador. In Colombia, records from the Western and Central Andes are presumed to pertain to Cryptic while those from the eastern Andes from Meta and Cundinamarca (near Bogotá northwards) are presumed to pertain to Black-and-white. East Slope records from southern Colombia are retained as a slash (as with in Ecuador), including some records from Cauca, Putumayo, Huila, and Caqueta. Much remains to be learned here; try for recordings whenever possible and use playback (responsibily, of course) to try to elicit songs that can confirm species ID whenever possible.


Atlantic Royal Flycatcher Onychorhynchus swainsoni and Tropical Royal Flycatcher Onychorhynchus coronatus are split from Royal Flycatcher Onychorhynchus coronatus. Royal Flycatcher has always been one of the most striking Neotropical species: a dull, awkward and disproportionate brown tweetybird on a branch one minute and a gaudy show-off the next. With this year’s update, we now have double the pleasure for this amazing species: an Atlantic Forest species from south-coastal Brasil is split off. While some have advocated for up to four species of Royal Flycatcher, by splitting the three groups of Tropical (e.g., past versions of the IOC World Bird List), we’ll be content with this one for now!

  • Tropical Royal Flycatcher Onychorhynchus coronatus [map] [media] [my records]
    • Tropical Royal Flycatcher (Pacific) Onychorhynchus coronatus occidentalis [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE: W Ecuador (Esmeraldas) to extreme n Peru (Tumbes)
    • Tropical Royal Flycatcher (Northern) Onychorhynchus coronatus mexicanus/fraterculus [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE: Gulf lowlands of se Mexico (Veracruz) to NE Colombia to e Venezuela (w Zulia and w Barinas)
    • Tropical Royal Flycatcher (Amazonian) Onychorhynchus coronatus coronatus/castelnaui [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE: widely in Amazonia, from E Venezuela and SE Colombia to n Bolivia and w Brazil (Amazonas)
          E Venezuela to the Guianas and n Amazonian Brazil
  • Atlantic Royal Flycatcher Onychorhynchus swainsoni [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE: SE Brazil (Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Paraná)

Eastern Olivaceous Flatbill Rhynchocyclus olivaceus and Western Olivaceous Flatbill Rhynchocyclus aequinoctialis are split from Olivaceous Flatbill Rhynchocyclus olivaceus. These two are extremely similar in plumage but differ vocally, Importantly, recent genetics have shown deep splits that helped with the realignment of these taxa. There may be ore splits to come, one from the Guianan Shield of ne. South America is the next one to pay attention to.

  • Western Olivaceous Flatbill Rhynchocyclus aequinoctialis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: E Panama to central Venezuela and in nw. South America south to SW Amazonian Brazil s of the Amazon and w of the Madeira River, west into Amazonian Peru and Bolivia (this latter region occupied by the newly-described R. a. cryptus and overlapping with R. olivaceus)
  • Eastern Olivaceous Flatbill Rhynchocyclus olivaceus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: ne Peru, S Venezuela and the Guianas to south Amazonian Brazil between Purus and Tapajos rivers, and ne Peru; also se. Brazil from e Pará and Pernambuco to Rio de Janeiro

The slash will be needed since ranges are still being worked out and birders are just starting to be come aware of this split.

  • Western/Eastern Olivaceous Flatbill Rhynchocyclus aequinoctialis/olivaceus [map] [media] [my records]

Bacan Myzomela Myzomela batjanensis is split from Sulawesi Myzomela Myzomela chloroptera. Highly restricted in range even on a fairly small island, the Bacan Myzomela differs in its pale breast without red (Sulawesi Myzomela has extensive red on the underparts). An additional wrinkle in the region is an undescribed taxon on nearby Obi. It does not yet have an option in eBird, and probably represents another new species: enter these as myzomela sp. until we can add this in October 2024 (if you should be so lucky!)

  • Sulawesi Myzomela Myzomela chloroptera [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sulawesi, Salayar, Tanahjampea and Sula Islands
  • Bacan Myzomela Myzomela batjanensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Bacan

Long-billed Myzomela Myzomela longirostris is split from Red-collared Myzomela Myzomela rosenbergii. These two are similar but have some obvious differences in female plumage, with Long-billed having a striking reddish back even as a female. Long-billed has an extremely limited distribution so there won’t be much confusion after this split.

  • Red-collared Myzomela Myzomela rosenbergii [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in New Guinea mountains
  • Long-billed Myzomela Myzomela longirostris [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Goodenough I. (D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago), off e. New Guinea

Eastern Crested Berrypecker Paramythia montium and Western Crested Berrypecker Paramythia olivacea are split from Crested Berrypecker Paramythia montium. Paramythiidae had been a lonely family, with just two species–albeit striking ones: Tit Berrypecker (Oreocharis arfaki) and the striking Crested Berrypecker(s). With two species now the differences are subtle–look for the black nape on Western and brighter back, undertail, and overall plumage in Eastern. Fun to have 50% more species in the now-less-lonely family!

  • Western Crested Berrypecker Paramythia olivacea [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: central New Guinea (Weyland, Nassau and Jayawijaya Mts.)
  • Eastern Crested Berrypecker Paramythia montium [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Central Highlands and Mts. of se New Guinea and SE New Guinea (Mts. of Huon Peninsula)

The two may come in contact, so use the slash whenever unsure.

  • Western/Eastern Crested Berrypecker Paramythia olivacea/montium [map] [media] [my records]

Wetar Oriole Oriolus finschi is split from Timor Oriole Oriolus melanotis. Wetar is a bit north of Timor but that distance has been enough for these related orioles to diversify. Note that Wetar Oriole also occurs on Atauro (owned by Timor Leste) and the island of Timor is split between Timor Leste and Indonesia, so neither species ends up as a country endemic.

  • Timor Oriole Oriolus melanotis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Rote, Timor and Semau (e Lesser Sundas)
  • Wetar Oriole Oriolus finschi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Wetar and Atauro (e Lesser Sundas)

Ventriloquial Oriole Oriolus consobrinus is split from Dark-throated Oriole Oriolus xanthonotus. A recent in-depth study of vocalizations and genetics made the case for this split. Look for the denser underparts streaking of females and listen for it more “ventriloquial song usually having a three-note structure versus the fluty multisyllabic song of Dark-throated Oriole” (as stated by its Birds of the World account).

  • Dark-throated Oriole Oriolus xanthonotus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: widely in se. Asia, including s Myanmar and Thailand, the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, sw Borneo, the Mentawi Archipelago and adjacent islands off Sumatra
  • Ventriloquial Oriole Oriolus consobrinus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Borneo and adjacent islands and SW Philippines (Palawan and Culion)

The two are in contact in Borneo, so identifications will have to be made with extreme caution; next year we will need to add a slash option to cover records in areas of uncertainty (oops!).


Javan Oriole Oriolus cruentus is split from Black-and-crimson Oriole Oriolus cruentus. A very deep genetic divergence (9.4%) adds to more subtle plumage and vocal characteristics to demonstrate that these two are better treated as separate species. Javan Oriole is endemic to the island with perhaps the most aggressive bird trapping on the planet, and is already rather rare, so it is protected as a Sensitive Species.

  • Black-and-crimson Oriole Oriolus consanguineus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE:Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and mountains of n Borneo
  • Javan Oriole Oriolus cruentus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Java

Cockerell’s Fantail Rhipidura cockerelli is split into White-gorgeted Fantail Rhipidura coultasi and White-winged Fantail Rhipidura cockerelli. This is the fantail update, with no fewer than nine more new species to follow. This is an amazing group that has been great about dispersing around Southeast Asia and the southwestern Pacific and in the process has let evolution do its thing, diversifying into even more species than we previously appreciated.

  • White-winged Fantail Rhipidura cockerelli [map] [media] [my records]
    • White-winged Fantail (Dot-breasted) Rhipidura cockerelli lavellae [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE: Solomon Islands (Vellalavella and Ranongga)
    • White-winged Fantail (Black-breasted) Rhipidura cockerelli albina [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE: Solomon Islands (Kolombangara and Rendova)
    • White-winged Fantail (White-winged) Rhipidura cockerelli [cockerelli Group] [map] [media] [my records]
      • Rhipidura cockerelli septentrionalis – Solomon Islands (Buka, Bougainville and Shortland)
      • Rhipidura cockerelli interposita – Solomon Islands (Choiseul and Santa Isabel)
      • Rhipidura cockerelli floridana – Solomon Islands (Florida and Tulagi)
      • Rhipidura cockerelli cockerelli – Solomon Islands (Guadalcanal)
  • White-gorgeted Fantail Rhipidura coultasi [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE: Solomon Islands (Malaita)

Supertramp Fantail Rhipidura semicollaris is split from Arafura Fantail Rhipidura dryas. Arafura Fantail was split from Rufous Fantail a few years back and this is an additional split, recognizing further diversity in the complex. All fantails are supertramps, as discussed above, meaning they have a remarkable ability to disperse. But this one really deserves the name occurring widely among small islands in Indonesia. Arafura Fantail thus becomes the Australian member of the Rufous Fantail complex that is restricted to the Northern Territories and West Australia (look for Australian Rufous Fantail on the east coast from Queensland to South Australia, and as a migrant to southern New Guinea).

  • Supertramp Fantail Rhipidura semicollaris [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: widely in Indonesia, including islands of the Flores Sea, Lesser Sundas, Timor, Tanimbar Islands (Arafura Sea), Banda, Seram Laut, Tayandu Is. and Kai Is., and the Aru Islands
  • Arafura Fantail Rhipidura dryas [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Rhipidura dryas dryas in coastal n Australia (Kimberley to w Cape York Pen.) and
      • Rhipidura dryas streptophora in S New Guinea

Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufifrons is split into six species: Gilolo Fantail Rhipidura torrida, Louisiade Fantail Rhipidura louisiadensis, Australian Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufifrons, Santa Cruz Fantail Rhipidura melaenolaema, Micronesian Rufous Fantail Rhipidura versicolor, and Solomons Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufofronta. The second-largest split in this update involves six new species split from one. Most of these are concentrated in islands and archipelagos east of New Guinea, but Gilolo is an outlier on Halmahera, Bacan, and Obi in Indonesia and Australian Rufous Fantail is a very widespread and common species in eastern Australia. As with the above species, the dispersive abilities of fantails is on display here and contributes to their remarkable diversification.

  • Gilolo Fantail Rhipidura torrida [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: N Moluccas (Halmahera, Ternate, Bacan and Obi)
  • Australian Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufifrons [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: E Australia from Queensland (Cooktown to NSW border) to SE Australia (cent. Victoria); migrants move north in the austral winter, with some reaching s. New Guinea
  • Louisiade Fantail Rhipidura louisiadensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: D’Entrecasteaux and Louisiade archipelagos
  • Santa Cruz Fantail Rhipidura melaenolaema [map] [media] [my records]
    • Santa Cruz Fantail (Brown-fronted) Rhipidura melaenolaema agilis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Nendo (Santa Cruz Islands)
    • Santa Cruz Fantail (White-fronted) Rhipidura melaenolaema melaenolaema/utupuae [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Vanikoro and Utupua (Santa Cruz Islands)
  • Micronesian Rufous Fantail Rhipidura versicolor [map] [media] [my records]
    • Micronesian Rufous Fantail (Guam) Rhipidura versicolor uraniae [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: formerly Guam (Mariana Islands); extinct
    • Micronesian Rufous Fantail (Yap) Rhipidura versicolor versicolor [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Yap (Caroline Islands)
    • Micronesian Rufous Fantail (Marianas) Rhipidura versicolor saipanensis/mariae [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Mariana Islands (Saipan, Tinian, Agiguan, and Rota)
  • Solomons Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufofronta [map] [media] [my records]
    • Solomons Rufous Fantail (Dark-throated) Rhipidura rufofronta ugiensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Ugi (Solomon Islands)
    • Solomons Rufous Fantail (Brown-backed) Rhipidura rufofronta [rufofronta Group] [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Bougainville and Choiseul to Malaita (Solomon Islands)
    • Solomons Rufous Fantail (Rufous-backed) Rhipidura rufofronta russata/kuperi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Makira and Santa Anna (Solomon Islands)

Brown Fantail Rhipidura drownei is split into Bougainville Fantail Rhipidura drownei and Guadalcanal Fantail Rhipidura ocularis. Two Solomon Islands well-known for endemism contribute another fantail split for us.

  • Bougainville Fantail Rhipidura drownei [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Montane forests of Bougainville (Solomon Islands)
  • Guadalcanal Fantail Rhipidura ocularis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Montane forests of Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands)

Streaked Fantail Rhipidura verreauxi is split into New Caledonian Streaked Fantail Rhipidura verreauxi, Fiji Streaked Fantail Rhipidura layardi, and Vanuatu Streaked Fantail Rhipidura spilodera.

  • Vanuatu Streaked Fantail Rhipidura spilodera [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Vanuatu and Banks Group
  • Fiji Streaked Fantail Rhipidura layardi [map] [media] [my records]
    • Fiji Streaked Fantail (Taveuni) Rhipidura layardi rufilateralis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Taveuni (Fiji)
    • Fiji Streaked Fantail (Fiji) Rhipidura layardi layardi/erythronota [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Fiji (Ovalau, Viti Levu, Yaqaga and Vanua Levu)
  • New Caledonian Streaked Fantail Rhipidura verreauxi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: New Caledonia, Lifou and Maré islands

Palawan Drongo Dicrurus palawanensis and Short-tailed Drongo Dicrurus striatus are split from Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus. Two splits from the Philippine archipelago subdivide the very widespread Hair-crested Drongo with this update. Drongo diversity in Asia is pretty amazing and each time species limits are refined it gives an opportunity to understand these birds a bit better. Here, two Philippine subspecies are split from the more widespread Hair-crested Drongo. See also below for the reassignment of the Mentawai subspecies below (formerly with Sumatran Drongo)

  • Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus [map] [media] [my records]
    • Hair-crested Drongo (Hair-crested) Dicrurus hottentottus hottentottus/brevirostris [map] [media] [my records]
    • Hair-crested Drongo (Javan) Dicrurus hottentottus jentincki/faberi [map] [media] [my records]
    • Hair-crested Drongo (White-eyed) Dicrurus hottentottus leucops/banggaiensis [map] [media] [my records]
    • Hair-crested Drongo (Mentawai) Dicrurus hottentottus viridinitens [map] [media] [my records]
    • Hair-crested Drongo (Bornean) Dicrurus hottentottus borneensis [map] [media] [my records]
    • Hair-crested Drongo (Obi) Dicrurus hottentottus guillemardi [map] [media] [my records]
    • Hair-crested Drongo (Sula) Dicrurus hottentottus pectoralis [map] [media] [my records]
    • Hair-crested Drongo (Sulu) Dicrurus hottentottus suluensis [map] [media] [my records]
  • Short-tailed Drongo Dicrurus striatus [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE:Philippines (Bohol, Leyte, Panaon, Samar, Calicoan, Basilan, Mindanao and Nipa)
  • Palawan Drongo Dicrurus palawanensis [map] [media] [my records]
    • Palawan Drongo (Palawan) Dicrurus palawanensis palawanensis [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE: southern Philippines (Palawan, Busuanga, Mapun, Culion, Balabac)
    • Palawan Drongo (Cuyo) Dicrurus palawanensis cuyensis [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE: Cuyo and Semirara

Paradise-crow Lycocorax pyrrhopterus is split into Obi Paradise-crow Lycocorax obiensis and Halmahera Paradise-crow Lycocorax pyrrhopterus. Not crows (Corvidae) but actually birds-of-paradise (Paradisaeidae), these are crow-like in their overall black plumage and most unlike the more striking members of the family. but this wasn’t always obvious, as Birds of the World writes “It was not until the early the mid-20th century that they generally and uncritically accepted to be birds of paradise. Early visitors to Wallacea thought they might be starlings!” Any plumage differences in all-black birds tend to be subtle, but these two have subtle plumage differences along with differences in size and vocalizations, which helped with this split.


Eastern Parotia Parotia helenae is split from Lawes’s Parotia Parotia lawesii. More birds-of-paradise? Yes please! And you can’t really appreicate these bhirds without watching the videos: here are some for Lawes’s and Eastern.

  • Lawes’s Parotia Parotia lawesii [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: W and s highlands of Papua New Guinea
  • Eastern Parotia Parotia helenae [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: N watershed of Papua New Guinea (Waria to Milne Bay)

And a slash is available for good measure to use anywhere where doubt exists:


Palawan Crow Corvus pusillus is split from Slender-billed Crow Corvus enca. The distinctive calls of Palawan Crow are obvious “as soon as you get off the plane” and this has been an overdue split for eBird. There may be more splits to come here and with other crows, so continue to pay attention to those black birds that all look the same but sound and act a bit differently. And get recordings!

  • Slender-billed Crow Corvus enca [map] [media] [my records]
    • Slender-billed Crow (Sierra Madre) Corvus enca samarensis/sierramadrensis [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE: Philippines
    • Slender-billed Crow (Sunda) Corvus enca enca/compilator
        • RANGE: s Thai-Malay Peninsula, Riau Archipelago, Sumatra and associated islands, and Borneo, Java, Bali and Mentawi Archipelago
    • Slender-billed Crow (Sulawesi) Corvus enca celebensis/mangoli [map] [media] [my records]
        • RANGE: Sulawesi
  • Palawan Crow Corvus pusillus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Palawan

Palm Crow Corvus palmarum is split into Cuban Palm-Crow Corvus minutus and Hispaniolan Palm-Crow Corvus palmarum. The two species are very similar, but differ subtly in vocalizations and certain displays. Each must be carefully identified since other crows–Cuban Crow Corvus nasicus on Cuba and White-necked Crow Corvus leucognaphalus on Hispaniola–occur on both islands. This adds two new endemic species for the Caribbean and one new endemic species for each island.


Thick-billed Berrypecker Melanocharis crassirostris is split from Spotted Berrypecker Melanocharis crassirostris. While males are quite similar, the underparts spotting is far more extensive in piperata and useful for identification. The two species don’t overlap, and are generally divided into east and west New Guinea.

  • Thick-billed Berrypecker Melanocharis crassirostris [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: New Guinea (Mts. of Vogelkop Peninsula and Central Highlands)
  • Spotted Berrypecker Melanocharis piperata [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: SE New Guinea

Ashy Robin Heteromyias albispecularis is split into Black-capped Robin Heteromyias armiti and Arfak Robin Heteromyias albispecularis. These two are actuaklly markedly different in plumage, but also are well-separated by range.

  • Black-capped Robin Heteromyias armiti [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: New Guinea (widespread except NW)
  • Arfak Robin Heteromyias albispecularis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: NW New Guinea (Tamrau and Arfak mountains)

Madagascar Martin Riparia cowani is split from Plain Martin Riparia paludicola. Plain Martin, sometimes known as Brown-throated Martin, is a nondescript and widespread swallow in Africa. Madagascar Martin is also nondescript, but distinctive in color, vocalizations, and genetics and is hereby split. Note also that a new, undescribed Riparia has been discovered in Ethiopia and is added as an option in eBird with this update: there are still discoveries to be made in subtle and nondescript little birds!


Common House-Martin Delichon urbicum is split into Siberian House-Martin Delichon lagopodum and Western House-Martin Delichon urbicum. This is a cool split, with the gold standard for species status being found and demonstrated in an area of contact in nc Asia: sympatric breeding without introgression (see paper). With a closer look, there are vocal differences, consistent differences in tail shape (much deeper fork in Western) and rump pattern (dark uppertail coverts in Western, all white uppertail coverts in Siberian, although the most distal ones can have dark smudges or dark centers with pale edges in first-cycle birds). These give some fun new taxa to parse out: both species have reached the Americas on different sides of the continent. Watch for vagrants especially in late fall, including Westerns in East and Southeast Asia, watch for Siberians in western Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and in North America keep your eyes peeled for any white-rumped swallows at all, and photograph them when you find them!

  • Western House-Martin Delichon urbicum [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Europe and w Asia east to central Mongolia; winters to Africa
  • Siberian House-Martin Delichon lagopodum [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: central Mongolia east to East Asia; winters to SE Asia

Some house-martins will defy identification, especially those high overhead. Use these liberally!

and, if you are really lucky, this hybrid is available

  • Barn Swallow x Western House-Martin (hybrid) Hirundo rustica x Delichon urbicum [map] [media] [my records]

Regional Record Change Logic: Although swallows are hyper-vagile and vagrants could turn up widely, most records separate out easily. It is only in Mongolia and southern Russia (where sympatric breeding was found, leading to the immediate and widespread adoption of this split) and in central China (where both could occur as migrants) that we aren’t able to easily assign records. Please take photos and document the birds carefully; until we understand the distributions better, records in this area will remain as a slash.

Western House-Martin Delichon urbicum © Sylvain Reyt / Macaulay Library

Siberian House-Martin Delichon lagopodum © Robert Hackel / Macaulay Library

Another new ID challenge will be house-martins. They overlap in breeding areas in central Mongolia and south-central Russia (near Lake Baikal) and can even occur together in the same colonies, but otherwise vagrancy is not well-known into the range of the other species…but maybe folks just haven’t been looking hard enough and in the right places. To pick out a Siberian House-Martin among Westerns, focus on the blunter, more squared-off tail and more extensive white rump patch. The pattern of the rump patch is diagnostic if seen well: Western always has an entirely dark row of the longest uppertail coverts (a band of black just above the start of the tail) while in Siberian this row of feather is white in adults and half white/half dark on immatures, since dark centered-feathers have extensive pale edging.

Sunda Bulbul Ixos virescens is split into Javan Bulbul Ixos virescens and Sumatran Bulbul Ixos sumatranus. Both are new island endemics for Indonesia.

  • Sumatran Bulbul Ixos sumatranus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Montane forests of w Sumatra
  • Javan Bulbul Ixos virescens [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Montane forests of Java

Banggai Golden-Bulbul Hypsipetes harterti is split from Sula Golden-Bulbul Hypsipetes longirostris. The endemic bird fauna of the Banggai Islands increases by one with this split. The golden bulbul complex was split into three back in 2012 and then a five-way split of Northern Golden-Bulbul (Alophoixus longirostris) in 2014 kicked it up to seven species; with this additional split we reach an eight-way split since 2011. A trip to see them all would be pretty amazing!

  • Banggai Golden-Bulbul Hypsipetes harterti [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Banggai Islands (Peleng, Banggai, Labobo and Banda)
  • Sula Golden-Bulbul Hypsipetes longirostris [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sula Islands (Taliabu, Mangole and Sanana)

Camiguin Bulbul Hypsipetes catarmanensis is split from Yellowish Bulbul Hypsipetes everetti. Camiguin Sur is a small island off a bigger island set among some medium-sized islands in an nation of islands, but it has a distinctive (well, somewhat darker) bulbul and one that has been long disrespected in eBird as a subspecies of Yellowish Bulbul. Welcome to eBird Hypsipetes catarmanensis–we see you (or we all hope to anyway)!

  • Yellowish Bulbul Hypsipetes everetti [map] [media] [my records]
    • Yellowish Bulbul (Sulu) Hypsipetes everetti haynaldi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sulu Arch. (Bongao, Jolo, Sibutu, Tawitawi and Sanga Sanga)
    • Yellowish Bulbul (Yellowish) Hypsipetes everetti everetti
      • RANGE: Philippines (Dinagat, Mindanao, Panaon, Biliran, Siargao, Samar, and Leyte)
  • Camiguin Bulbul Hypsipetes catarmanensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Camiguin Sur (s Philippines)

Pale-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus davisoni is split from Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni. The pale eye color makes for a striking difference, while the duller and less distinct yellow head and throat streaking marks a more subtle difference. The two apparently occur in sympatry without much or any hybridization, which tends to be the gold standard for species status. Pale-eyed is not well known compared to its cousin, so please do add observations, photos, and media if you’ve been to Myanmar and seen one!

  • Pale-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus davisoni [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S Myanmar (delta of the Irrawaddy River)
  • Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in SE Asia, from SE Myanmar to sw China (s Yunnan), s Indochina, and s Malay Peninsula

The two taxa may come in contact in Myanmar, and while they are readily distinguished with a good look, the slash may come in handy.

  • Pale-eyed/Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus davisoni/finlaysoni [map] [media] [my records]

Regional Record Change Logic: Within Myanmar, we have assumed that Streak-throated is involved for records from Tanintharyi (MM-05) and Shan (MM-17), as well as records from Kayin (MM-13) that are adjacent to the Thailand border. We have assumed records from sw. Mynamar from Bago (MM-02) and Manway (MM-04) west to pertain to Pale-eyed. The remaining records from Kayin (MM-13) and Mon (MM-15) are left as a slash, although observers have been encouraged to specify these records if they know which species was involved.


Pale-faced Bulbul Pycnonotus leucops is split from Flavescent Bulbul Pycnonotus flavescens. Yet again, the plumage differences of the Borneo subspecies prove significant and indicate Pale-faced Bulbul is its own new species.

  • Flavescent Bulbul Pycnonotus flavescens [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in SE Asia (not on Borneo)
  • Pale-faced Bulbul Pycnonotus leucops [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: N Borneo (Mt. Kinabalu to Mt. Mulu and Mt. Murud)

Eye-ringed Parrotbill Suthora ricketti (sometimes known as Yunnan Parrotbill) is split from Brown-winged Parrotbill Sinosuthora brunnea. These two are distinctive in plumage and recent papers have supported the split. The name Eye-ringed Parrotbill may be unfamiliar. This taxon is sometimes known as Yunnan Parrotbill, but that name is not particularly appropriate since both species occur in Yunnan and since ricketti is also not restricted to Yunnan. The face pattern, and especially the eye-ringed look, is distinctive compared to brunnea, and the IOC World Bird List is also adopting this new name.

  • Eye-ringed Parrotbill Suthora ricketti [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S China (s Sichuan and n Yunnan)
  • Brown-winged Parrotbill Suthora brunnea [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S China (n Yunnan from Mekong Valley to Tali region and Tali region south to Tengyueh)

Black-crowned Babbler Sterrhoptilus nigrocapitatus is split into Calabarzon Babbler Sterrhoptilus affinis and Visayan Babbler Sterrhoptilus nigrocapitatus. The Philippines continue to reveal even more endemism from island group to island group and this taxonomic update has been good to those lucky enough to have visited most of the major Philippine Islands!

  • Calabarzon Babbler Sterrhoptilus affinis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Philippines (s Sierra Madre Mountains of s Luzon)
  • Visayan Babbler Sterrhoptilus nigrocapitatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE:N Philippines (Leyte and Samar) and Central Philippines (Bohol)

Morotai White-eye Zosterops dehaani is split from Cream-throated White-eye Zosterops atriceps. Cream-throated White-eye has been split before and this division further parses out the birds on Morotai as different. Another from this complex awaits formal description and should be reported separately in eBird: Obi White-eye. Zosterops are one of the most diverse genera on the planet and the fun ain’t over yet!

  • Morotai White-eye Zosterops dehaani [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Morotai
  • Cream-throated White-eye Zosterops atriceps [map] [media] [my records]
    • Cream-throated White-eye (Halmahera) Zosterops atriceps fuscifrons [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Halmahera
    • Cream-throated White-eye (Bacan) Zosterops atriceps atriceps [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Bacan

Bougainville White-eye Zosterops hamlini and Guadalcanal White-eye Zosterops oblitus are split from Gray-throated White-eye Zosterops rendovae. Note that Gray-throated White-eye is better known as Makira White-eye and will probably change to that next year. Each of these further reveals the single island endemism in the Solomons.

  • Bougainville White-eye Zosterops hamlini [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Solomon Is. (Bougainville)
  • Guadalcanal White-eye Zosterops oblitus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Solomon Is. (Guadalcanal)
  • Gray-throated White-eye Zosterops rendovae [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Solomon Is. (Makira)

Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratum is split into Malayan Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum nigrocapitatum, Bornean Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratoides, and Javan Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratum. Subtle plumage differences, vocal differences, and genetic differences break along familiar lines of endemism here.

  • Malayan Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum nigrocapitatum [map] [media] [my records]
      • Malay Peninsula and Sumatra
  • Bornean Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratoides [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Borneo
  • Javan Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratum [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Java

Tanzanian Illadopsis Illadopsis distans is split from Pale-breasted Illadopsis Illadopsis rufipennis. Illadopses (Illadopsises?) are secretive and dull, but fun birds of the undergrowth of African forests. Their subtle plumage accounts for these two, which are not especially closely related genetically, having been overlooked as conspecific for so long. But they were telling us all along: their voices are quite different! This and many other splits highlight the herculean efforts of recordists around the world who continue to contribute field recordings that aid our understanding of species limits, vocal variation, behavior, and much more. Keep it up!

  • Pale-breasted Illadopsis Illadopsis rufipennis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE:Sierra Leone to Ghana, S Nigeria to Angola, Kenya and nw Tanzania
  • Tanzanian Illadopsis Illadopsis distans [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S Kenya to ne Tanzania, E Tanzania (Pugu Hills), and Zanzibar I.

Siberian Nuthatch Sitta arctica is split from Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea. Genetics and plumage demonstrate the distinctiveness of Siberian Nuthatch, but this is one of the most poorly known birds with almost no media currently in Macaulay Library. Someone please: travel safely, dress warmly, and go get some more!

  • Siberian Nuthatch Sitta arctica [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: N-central Siberia to Anadyr River (e Russia)
  • Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea [map] [media] [my records]
    • Eurasian Nuthatch (Western) Sitta europaea [europaea Group] [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Western Europe e to sw Iran and Transcaspia
    • Eurasian Nuthatch (White-bellied) Sitta europaea [asiatica Group] [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: central and e Russia, including Sakhalin and Kamchatka
    • Eurasian Nuthatch (Buff-bellied) Sitta europaea [roseilia Group] [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: widespread in E Asia
    • Eurasian Nuthatch (Chinese) Sitta europaea sinensis/formosana [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: c and e China, Taiwan

Regional Record Change Logic: Although widespread and probably not rare, this is one of the most poorly-represented birds in eBird. eBird’s White-bellied group looks similar and we had long-standing filter errors in Kamchatka and Sakhalin, which suggested that Siberian occurred there (there is no evidence that it does). We only changed records in Sakha and Chukotsk.


Yellow-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum anthonyi is split from Flame-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum anthonyi. Flowerpeckers are excited and electric little bundles of activity and color and the world needs more. Here we trade one in for two new ones in the Philippines.

  • Yellow-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum anthonyi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: N Philippines (montane forests of Luzon)
  • Flame-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum kampalili [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S Philippines (montane forests of Mindanao)

Cambodian Flowerpecker Dicaeum cambodianum, Fire-throated Flowerpecker Dicaeum luzoniense, and Sumatran Flowerpecker Dicaeum beccarii are split from Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus. And here is an even better flowerpecker trade: give one, get four! The plumages of males are distinctive, but the ranges of these taxa don’t overlap, so field ID is no problem.

  • Fire-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum ignipectus [map] [media] [my records]
    • Fire-breasted Flowerpecker (Fire-breasted) Dicaeum ignipectus ignipectus/dolichorhynchum
      • RANGE: Widespread from the Himalayas to s China through SE Asia
    • Fire-breasted Flowerpecker (Taiwan) Dicaeum ignipectus formosum
      • RANGE: Taiwan
  • Cambodian Flowerpecker Dicaeum cambodianum [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Mts. of e Thailand (incl. Khao Yai NP) and Cambodia
  • Fire-throated Flowerpecker Dicaeum luzoniense [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Philippines
  • Sumatran Flowerpecker Dicaeum beccarii [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sumatra

Pink-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum keiense is split from Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum. The population on the Aru Islands is an interesting case as it may belong with Mistletoebird or represent its own species; this is under study and could change as soon as next year’s update. We badly need more photos and audio recordings, which could help solve this little mystery. Regardless, the strikingly different plumage of the Pink-breasted Flowerpecker merits recognition as a species distinct from Australia’s one, widespread flowerpecker (Red-capped is the other, but is a Papuan species that sneaks on to a couple Torres Strait islands and thus onto the Ozzie list).

  • Pink-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum keiense [map] [media] [my records]
    • Pink-breasted Flowerpecker (Pink-breasted) Dicaeum keiense keiense/fulgidum [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Southern Wallacea (Watubela, Tayandu and Kai islands) and Tanimbar Is. (Yamdena, Larat and Lutu)
    • Pink-breasted Flowerpecker (Aru) Dicaeum keiense ignicolle [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Aru Islands
  • Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: widespread in Australia

Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis is split into eight (!!) species, as follows: Ornate Sunbird Cinnyris ornatus, Tukangbesi Sunbird Cinnyris infrenatus, Sahul Sunbird Cinnyris frenatus, Palawan Sunbird Cinnyris aurora, South Moluccan Sunbird Cinnyris clementiae, Flores Sea Sunbird Cinnyris teysmanni, Mamberamo Sunbird Cinnyris idenburgi, and Garden Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis. This is the biggest split in this year’s update and highlights the importance of integrative taxonomy that assesses plumage, vocalizations, and genetics in conjunction with biogeography.

Ornate Sunbird is a widespread and common bird across SE Asia and is probably the most familiar representative, with an olive back, extensive iridescent bluish throat, and yellow belly. Garden Sunbird of the Philippines looks very similar, but differs in vocalizations and genetics support its uniqueness. Lying between these populations is Palawan Sunbird, which is similar but has a bold orangeish band below the throat that sets it apart. Farther east, Sahul Sunbird is also similar to Ornate and Garden, but brihgter and shows a narrow yellow moustachial stripe above the blue throat that is distinctive and is consistent across a fairly broad range. Back to the west, off s Sulawesi, the Tukangbesi Sunbird is similar to Ornate but has a very brownish (not olive back) and its uniqueness is also supported genetically. These sunbirds get really different from one another in eastern Indonesia, where Flores Sea Sunbird and South Moluccan Sunbird are both overall dark, including a blackish belly, but differ in back color with Flores Sea Sunbird having a brownish back and South Moluccan having a brighter olive-green back. Mamberamo Sunbird (sometimes known as Rand’s Sunbird) is extremely poorly known, occurring in swampy second growth in northern New Guinea; it has no photos yet in Macaulay Library and potentially no eBird records.

Finding all these species, including those on smaller remote islands and archipelagos, should keep any Southeast Asian-Indonesian bird lister busy for a decade or so. Get photos and audio and submit it with your eBird list!

  • Ornate Sunbird Cinnyris ornatus [map] [media] [my records]
    • Ornate Sunbird (Ornate) Cinnyris ornatus [ornatus Group] [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in SE Asia
    • Ornate Sunbird (Cream-bellied) Cinnyris ornatus rhizophorae [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: S China (s Yunnan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hainan) and n Vietnam
  • Tukangbesi Sunbird Cinnyris infrenatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Tukangbesi Is. (off Sulawesi)
  • Sahul Sunbird Cinnyris frenatus [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Sulawesi, Talaud, Salayar and adjacent smaller islands, Banggai Is. and Sula Is., N Moluccas, Aru and w Papuan is., New Guinea and ne Queensland, Bismarck Archipelago and Solomon Is.
  • Garden Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Philippines
  • Palawan Sunbird Cinnyris aurora [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Agutaya, Balabac, Busuanga, Cagayancillo, Culion, Cuyo, Palawan
  • South Moluccan Sunbird Cinnyris clementiae [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE:Buru I. (s Moluccas), S Moluccas (Seram, Ambon and adjacent islands), Kai Is. (Kai Kecil, Kai Besar, Ohimas and Add)
  • Flores Sea Sunbird Cinnyris teysmanni [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Tanahjampea, Kalao, Bonerate, Kalaotoa and Madu islands
  • Mamberamo Sunbird Cinnyris idenburgi [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Northwest New Guinea and Sepik Ramu
Despite their drastically different plumage, with this year’s update we regret to say that the four birds above are being lumped. JUST KIDDING! In actuality, they had been lumped up until this year, and are finally being split. This seems crazy in retrospect given how different these birds look, from the all dark Flores Sea Sunbird to the striking face pattern differences between Sahul and Ornate Sunbirds. This split is this year’s biggest single contribution, adding seven species to the global total and better reflecting the amazing centers of endemism in Wallacea.

Palawan Fairy-bluebird Irena tweeddalii is split from Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella. The new Palawan endemic fairy-bluebird is much richer turquoise-blue above vs. purplish blue and has shorter uppertail coverts, and these plumage differences are supported by significant genetic differentiation and apparent vocal differences. This split increases the size of the family Irenidae by 50%!

  • Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in Southeast Asia and in sw India
  • Palawan Fairy-bluebird Irena tweeddalii [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Palawan

Javan Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis and Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis moluccensis are split from Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis. The differences are subtle (less blue on wings and less yellow on head of Javan) but supported by genetic evidence–and Java often hosts endemic species. This one is unfortunately severely imperiled by the cagebird trade and is treated as a Sensitive Species in eBird.

  • Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis moluccensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in Southeast Asia
  • Javan Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Java (now very rare)

The two do not normally overlap in range, but the rampant illegal cagebird trade raises the possibility that either taxon might occur in the range of the other or that escapees may occur outside the range of either species and would thus need careful identification.


Azores Chaffinch Fringilla moreletti, Madeira Chaffinch Fringilla maderensis, Canary Islands Chaffinch Fringilla canariensis, and African Chaffinch Fringilla spodiogenys are split from Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs. A detailed and elegant paper (Recuerda et al. 2021) looked at the genetics and morphology across the Fringilla coelebs complex and determined that five species should be recognized. After review of the evidence, the WGAC committee agreed, granting three new endemics for Europe and adding to the small number of unique species for Madeira and the Azores. While the three island taxa are generally resident and unlikely to occur as vagrants, potential movements of African Chaffinch raise interesting questions: does it occur as a vagrant in Europe and if so, how frequently? Some immature male Common Chaffinches can be greenish on the back and can appear similar, so identification criteria are still being worked out. This should create some headaches–hopefully fun headaches–for eBird reviewers and Bird Records Committees in the coming years.

  • Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs [map] [media] [my records]
      • RANGE: Widespread in western Eurasia
  • Azores Chaffinch Fringilla moreletti [map] [media] [