Taxonomic Changes

pages Rolf A. de By

The intention of these pages is to provide an overview of as many as possible changes to bird taxonomy published since 1993.  This date was chosen such that the changes collected here naturally augment the Sibley & Monroe list available through my pages.  I cannot possibly claim completeness for this set of changes included here, and only with the help of others may hope to expect to stay fairly up-to-date.  Unfortunately, I have no instant access to a good ornithological library.

The present collection contains the bibliographic details as well as some anecdotes concerning over 70 new species, many more splits and, in the future, generic name changes, a few species name changes as well as proposals for merges.  But not all of it is complete, and I am happy to receive missing information.

Included are several sets of pages:

  • new species; recently described bird species
  • splits; recent proposals to grant full species status to forms previously considered subspecies
  • lumps; recent proposals to demote species to subspecies level (or less)
  • genus name changes; recent proposals to change the scientific genus name for species
  • species name changes; recent proposals to change the second part in a species' binomial
  • taxonomic sequence changes; but these so often coincide with proposed changes of another character that I chose to not explicitly list them.  They are, however, accounted for in all the presentations.

The Index entries on the right with hyperlinks are now available, those without are forthcoming.

It seems logical to provide an updated world list of bird names as derived from the original Sibley & Monroe list indicated above by committing the changes that can be found here.  That list can be found via the link on the right..   It is called, tongue-in-cheek, The Up-to-date World List of Birds.


Finally, one more point needs to be made.  Throughout the world, national taxonomy committees are working hard to define consistent bird species lists for their country or the wider area to which their country belongs.  Obviously, their publications are an important source for the information presented here, as they indicate the experts' interpretation of the literature.  Unfortunately, the aggregate of these (supra-)nationally consistent lists will not be a consistent list itself, and I do feel that a world list should be consistent.  It is for this reason that I had to be judge in certain cases.  More background is presented in the pages on splits.

Rolf A. de By

bolspin.jpg (10469 bytes)
Bolivian Spinetail
Cranioleuca henricae, a species described from Bolivia in 1997.
Photo Jon Hornbuckle.


Sibley & Monroe 1993 list
New species
Genus changes
Recent fossil records

Lumps (forthcoming)
Genus name changes (forthcoming)
Species name changes (forthcoming)

The Up-to-date World List of Birds
(January 2003 version)

Illustrations in image and audio are presented here and there.  I am indebted to the originators for allowing me to use their material.  Sound samples are provided as mpeg layer-3 files in a .wav coat.   These give the best quality against the lowest data volume at present.  Original sound materials were of higher quality than here presented!
Many browsers will automatically play these files correctly.  If your browser does not, you can still save the file and use a player like Windows Media Player.  Otherwise, follow these instructions:

Having problems with listening to sounds on this site?  And you are on a Windows box?   Then download the plug-in below, and execute once-only to extend your sound capabilities.  You may have to re-start your browser.

Download Extra Sound Plug-In


A not necessarily complete list of recent changes carried out, only indicating the highlights.