eBird names for Indian species

eBird-names-collageIf you have ever been confused by the names that eBird uses for Indian birds, have been frustrated at not being able to find the species you want, or would like to see how eBird names correspond to other major bird naming systems, then this article is for you!

[You can skip ahead to a listing of common naming confusions, and can download an excel file with names of Indian species.]

The eBird taxonomy and naming system

The eBird taxonomy follows the Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World and in fact, eBird and Clements are tightly integrated. The taxonomy is updated annually, in August, to reflect changes that have occurred in the previous year. These include the addition of newly-discovered species, renaming of English or scientific names because of better taxonomic understanding, additions resulting from subspecies or subspecies groups being ‘elevated‘ to species status, and so on.

Species splits and naming

In the last case (subspecies elevated to species status; ie a ‘split’ in the original species), the changes are often confusing for us birders, because the English names often change as well. For example, when the Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) was split, the Indian subspecies became known as the Indian Golden Oriole (Oriolus kundoo). Similarly, a split in the Great Tit (Parus major) resulted in the various Indian subspecies being collectively called Cinereous Tit (Parus cinereus).

Then there are species that are split within India: eg Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus) has been split into Plaintive (C. merulinus) and Grey-bellied (C. passerinus), with Grey-bellied being restricted to central and southern India. Similarly House Swift (Apus affinis) has been split into Little Swift (Apus affinis) and House Swift (Apus nipalensis), with A. nipalensis being restricted to the Himalayas. These changes cause a lot of confusion, with birders trying to report ‘Plaintive Cuckoo’ and ‘House Swift’ from southern India, where the species with these names now do not occur!

eBird/Clements English names for Indian birds

For the majority of species, the English names used in the eBird/Clements taxonomy are identical or at least similar to the English names that we in India are used to. Bar-headed Goose, Little Grebe, Spotted Owlet, Blyth’s Reed-Warbler, and Baya Weaver are the same names in both cases. But there are some species for which the names differ. For example Common Kingfisher and Small Blue Kingfisher are the same species (Alcedo atthis), but many of us are more used to the latter name; similarly with Spot-breasted Fantail and White-spotted Fantail (both Rhipidura albogularis). And, of course, for recent splits, we may still be accustomed to the name given for the overarching species (eg Great Tit) because that is what is written in most current field guides.

For these situations, the eBird/Clements names are unfamiliar, and need translation. Fortunately, eBird has a feature for alternative English names to be displayed. We have implemented such a set of names for India. If you go to your eBird account preferences and adjust the settings to display names as ‘English (India)‘, you will see English names customized for Indian birders based on what names are most familiar to us.

For example, we noticed that many birders were unaware that the ‘Great’ Tits they were seeing are now called Cinereous Tit; so while the eBird/Clements standard name is Cinereous Tit, the ‘English (India)’ name has been set to ‘Cinereous Tit (Great Tit)’, so that when you search for Great Tit, you will find this species. (Be sure to look for the scientific name Parus cinereus, to doublecheck that you are reporting the correct species.) Similarly, birders in the peninsula have been reporting House Swift, when actually, following the split, the southern species is Little Swift, and the Himalayan species is House Swift. To make the distinction clearer, the ‘English (India)’ names are ‘Little Swift (Indian House Swift)’ and ‘House Swift (Nepal House Swift)’ respectively. In doing this, we are not attempting to invent new English names for birds, but rather to just provide guidance for birders trying to report their sightings.

Common taxonomic and naming confusions

Below is a list of common taxonomic confusions based on changes over the past few years. All English names here are given as specified by the ‘English (India)’ setting in eBird. The listing of species is not in taxonomic order, but rather in roughly decreasing order of common-ness.

Splits resulting in single (mainland) Indian species

  • Great Tit Parus major is now split into European Great Tit Parus major (outside India) and Cinereous Tit (Great Tit) Parus cinereus.

  • Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus is now split into Eurasian Golden Oriole (O. oriolus; outside India) and Indian Golden Oriole (O. kundoo).

  • Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata is now split into many species of which only Common/Stejneger’s Stonechat (Siberian/Stejneger’s Stonechat) Saxicola maurus occurs in India.

  • Eurasian Thick-knee (Eurasian Stone-curlew) Burhinus oedicnemus is now split into Eurasian Stone-curlew (B. oedicnemus; outside India) and Indian Stone-curlew (B. indicus).

  • Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris is now split into Eurasian/Brown Treecreeper (C. familiaris; outside India) and Hodgson’s Treecreeper (C. hodgsoni; W Himalayas)

  • Barn Owl Tyto alba is now split into Barn Owl (T. alba; widespread in India) and Andaman Masked-Owl (T. deroepstorffi; Andamans).

  • Green Imperial-Pigeon Ducula aenea now split into Green Imperial-Pigeon (D. aenea; mainland) and Nicobar Imperial-Pigeon (D. nicobarica; Nicobars).

  • Hill Swallow Hirundo tahitica is now split into Hill Swallow (House Swallow) (H. domicola; W. Ghats) and Pacific Swallow (H. tahitica; SE Asia, Andamans).

Splits resulting in multiple Indian species

  • House Swift Apus affinis, is now split into House Swift (Nepal House Swift) (A. nipalensis; Himalayas) and Little Swift (Indian House Swift) (A. affinis; India S of the Himalayas); ranges abut and may overlap in some places.

  • Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus is now split into Plaintive Cuckoo (C. merulinus; NE India) and Grey-bellied Cuckoo (C. passerinus; rest of the country).

  • Black Bulbul Hypsipetes leucocephalus is now split into Square-tailed Bulbul (H. ganeesa; W. Ghats) and Himalayan Black Bulbul (H. leucocephalus; Himalayas and NE India).

  • Plain Flowerpecker Dicaeum concolor now split into Nilgiri Flowerpecker (D. concolor; W. Ghats), Plain Flowerpecker (D. minullum; NE India) and Andaman Flowerpecker (D. virescens).

  • Black-headed Munia Lonchura malacca now split into Tricolored Munia (L. malacca; S, C and W India) and Chestnut Munia (L. atricapilla; N, E and NE India)

  • White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis is now split into White-throated Fantail (R. albicollis; N, E & NE India) and Spot-breasted Fantail (White-spotted Fantail) (R. albogularis; C and S India). These two species have a hybridization zone in Odisha.

  • Yellow-cheeked Tit Parus xanthogenys is now split into Black-lored Tit (P. xanthogenys; Himalayas), Indian Tit (Indian Black-lored Tit) (P. aplonotus; peninsular and S India) and Yellow-cheeked Tit (P. spilonotus; NE India).

  • Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch Sitta castanea is now split into Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch (S. cinnamoventris; Himalayas and NE India) and Indian Nuthatch (S. castanea; India S of the Himalayas); range may overlap along the Shivaliks.

  • Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus now split into Orange Minivet (P. flammeus; W. Ghats) and Scarlet Minivet (P. speciosus; N, C and NE India).

  • Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa now split into Common Hill Myna (G. religiosa; C & NE India) and Southern Hill Myna (G. indica; W. Ghats).

  • Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnus malabaricus is now split into Chestnut-tailed Starling (Sturnia malabarica; most of India) and Malabar Starling (S. blythii; W. Ghats).

  • Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis gularis is now split into Large Woodshrike (T. gularis; parts of N, E and NE India) and Malabar Woodshrike (T. sylvicola; W. Ghats).

  • Changeable Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus is now split into Crested Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus; peninsular India) and Changeable Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus limnaeetus; N and NE India). Note change in genus name.

  • Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus is now split into Black-capped Bulbul (P. melanicterus; Sri Lanka), Black-crested Bulbul (P. flaviventris; N, C and NE India) and Flame-throated Bulbul (Ruby-throated Bulbul) (P. gularis; W. Ghats).

  • Grey Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus is now split into Grey Nightjar (C. jotaka; N & E India) and Jungle Nightjar (C. indicus; S. India).

  • Pompadour Green Pigeon Treron pompadora now split into Sri Lanka Green-Pigeon (T. pompadora; Sri Lanka), Grey-fronted Green-Pigeon (T. affinis; W and E Ghats), Ashy-headed Green-Pigeon (T. phayrei; part of N and NE India) and Andaman Green-Pigeon (T. chloropterus; Andamans and Nicobars).

  • Crimson-throated Barbet Megalaima rubricapilla now split into Crimson-fronted Barbet (Psilopogon rubricapillus; Sri Lanka) and Malabar Barbet (Crimson-throated Barbet) (Psilopogon malabaricus; W. Ghats). Note change in scientific name of these and all Indian Megalaima barbets to Psilopogon.

  • Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus is now split into Isabelline Shrike (L. isabellinus; wintering in N & NW India) and Red-tailed Shrike (L. phoenicuroides; autumn migrant in W India).

  • Asian Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris is now split into Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo (S. dicruroides; widespread across India) and Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo (S. lugubris; NE India), although note that the distribution of these taxa is very poorly known.

  • Mountain Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus nipalensis is now split into Mountain Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus nipalensis; N, C and NE India) and Legge’s Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus kelaarti; W Ghats). Note change in genus name.

  • Dark-throated ThrushTurdus ruficollis now split into Red-throated Thrush (T. ruficollis; wintering in Himalayas) and Black-throated Thrush (T. atrogularis; wintering in N and C India).

  • Rufous-headed Parrotbill Paradoxornis ruficeps now split into White-breasted Parrotbill (Psittiparus ruficeps; N of Brahmaputra) and Rufous-headed Parrotbill (Psittiparus bakeri; S of Brahmaputra). Note change in genus name of this and other Paradoxornis.

  • Brown-throated Treecreeper Certhia discolor is now split into Sikkim Treecreeper (Brown-throated Treecreeper) (C. discolor; E Himalayas) and Hume’s Treecreeper (C. manipurensis; S of Brahmaputra).

Full India bird list (excluding rarities)

For your reference, we have collated the names of 1,160 species known to occur in India into an excel file. For each of these species, the eBird default name, the ‘English (India)’ name, the eBird scientific name, and a link to the species map on eBird is given. Also, for each species, the English and scientific names under two other taxonomies is given: the International Ornithological Committee, and BirdLife International. Note that ‘rarities’ are excluded from this list; these are defined as species that are represented by 10 or fewer records from India. Therefore, please do not use this as a comprehensive list of all species recorded in India! Many thanks to Praveen J, R Jayapal, and Aasheesh Pittie for compiling the master list based on which this file was generated.

[Download the India bird list]

Note: another valuable resource for viewing bird lists from various parts of the world, under a taxonomic system of your choice is Avibase.

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Mysore city bird atlas — a pioneering effort!

TurtleDove-BritishAtlas-250

Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) breeding distribution, from the 2008-2011 British Bird Atlas.

When assessing the status and distribution of birds across a given region (eg, a city, district or even an entire country), one very useful approach is to construct a bird atlas. In such an atlas, relevant information (eg species occurrence and abundance, and number of species) is collected in the field, and this information is often represented as a map onto which a regular grid has been overlaid (as shown to the right).

An atlas may use existing information on bird sightings, then overlay a grid, and look at which species were found in which grid cell. This is an excellent start, but one drawback is that grid cells may vary in their coverage, and so one doesn’t know whether regions with a small species list actually contain few species or whether less effort spent birding resulted in fewer species being seen. (Two previous atlases from India are of this nature, see note at bottom.)

But with advance planning, one can lay a grid and fix a birding protocol, and ensure that subsequently all grid cells are visited with equal frequency, and birds looked for in the same way.

To our knowledge there is no such planned and systematic atlas of birds for any region of this country… until now!

GreenBee-eater-MysoreAtlas-250

Green Bee-eater occurrence in Feb and June 2014, from the Mysore City Bird Atlas.

Mysore Nature, a group of enthusiastic birders and naturalists, has embarked on a path-breaking project to document the distribution and abundance of birds in and immediately around Mysore city. So far, they have conducted two repetitions of the atlas survey, in Feb and June 2014.

You can see some of the results of their efforts at this page, which describes how the atlas surveys were carried out, and provides interactive maps to explore some of the findings. This is still a work in progress, but Mysore birders have made a tremendous start. Please join us in congratulating them!

Note: Two previous bird atlases from India are the pathbreaking Atlas of the Birds of Delhi and Haryana (2006) by Bill Harvey, Nikhil Devasar and Bikram Grewal; and those included in A Birder’s Handbook to Manipal (2013) by Ramit Singal.

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September eBirders of the month

challenge-logoThe eBirding challenge for September was somewhat unusual. Instead of there being a fixed target of lists or hours of birding, the task for each of us was to upload as many complete lists icon_tooltip as possible during the month. So, how did we do?

September saw a large jump in the number of effort-based, complete lists, of at least 15 min duration. In all, 2,864 such lists were uploaded to eBird from India during the month, almost double the number for the previous month, and higher than any other month in the eBird database excepting Feb 2014 (when the GBBC and associated events created a massive spike — 3,451 such lists).

One important factor contributing to this buzz of activity was the Kerala Onam Bird Count: 1,692 of the September lists were from Kerala — more than half!

In all, 266 birders uploaded 3,153 lists of all types in September, together accounting for 40,525 records.

As described in the announcement for the September challenge, here is a word cloud of all 113 September participants who uploaded at least 5 effort-based, complete lists of 15 min duration or longer. In this picture the font size of each name is proportional to the number of lists contributed. You can click on the picture to see a larger version.

sept-challenge-small

The individual who uploaded the highest number of lists was Ganeshwar S V, who contributed an amazing 160 eligible lists in September — wonderful work indeed! And although they are not depicted here because they operate a group account, with contributions by multiple birders, we must mention the superb efforts of The Nature Trust, who collectively uploaded 210 eligible lists — we salute their passion and their teamwork for birds!

As described in the earlier announcement, one of the 2,864 eligible lists from September was chosen using a computer-generated random number. The winning list was from 27 Sept, from Kumarakom in Kerala, which was contributed by

Dr George P J

who uploaded 51 lists during the month, and, in birding appreciation, receives a copy of Bird Sense: What it’s Like to be a Bird by Tim Birkhead. (You can read a review here, and there is a website devoted to the book too.)

As an aside, this same book was the gift for two earlier months, but we have been unable to reach the winners, Sudhakaran KK and Syamili Manoj. If you (the reader) knows either of them, please ask them to write to us at birdcountindia@gmail.com to arrange for the delivery of their gift.

Here is the full list of all 266 contributors from September 2014:

abha manohark, abhijith a.p.c, Abhijith R.S, Abhijith surendran, Abhinand C, Abhirami M Jayakumar, Abhirami-Niranjana C, Able Lawrence,  Aidan & Savio Fonseca, Aishwarya Varadharajan, AIswARya c, AJAYDAS C, Ajit A, AKHIL R NADH, Amal Dev.A.V, Amirtavarshini Devarajan, Amith Kumar, Anagha Bagade, Anamika Menon, anant pande, Andrew Johnson, Aneesh Sasidevan, Anil  Mahajan, Anish Aravind, Anish Mohan Thampi, Anjali J, Anjana Mohandas, ANJANA VIJAYAN, Anjitha Devarajan, ANJU  T JOSHY, anna p a, Anoop CR, Anoop King, anshuman sarkar, Anu Cherian, Arathy S Kumar, Arjun Guneratne, Arjun R, Arnav Anish, Arun Bhaskaran, Arun C.G, arun  lal, Arya Vinod, Ashutosh Singh, athira james, Avadhesh Malik, balakrishnan pakaravoor, Bala S., Bela Arora, Bhagyashree Ingle, Bhakti Salgaonkar, Bhalchandra Pujari, Biju PB, bineesha k, Bird Sonic, chandra shekhar, chithrabhanu pakaravoor, Chris Bowden, CLAREENA JOSE, david stanton, Deepak Sahu, Deepika R, Devi Ambika.S, Devika Sanghamithra, Devika V S, Devipriya K.S, dhanesh  a, Dilip Polpakkara, Divya Mudappa, Dr George P J, Dr. Utkarsh Betodkar, Eveny Luis, Facebook Birders, Fionna Prins, Ganeshwar  S V, Garima Bhatia, gayathri mukundan, Gnanaskandan Kesavabharathi, gopal prasad, Gopika NV, G Parameswaran, hari kumar, HARI MAVELIKARA, harsha nr, Henna. Hashim, Himansh Pahwa, HITHA  P  T, induchoodan sreedharan amalath, Jacob Thomas, Jafer  Palot, Jaichand Johnson, James Williams, jayakrishnan mannar, Jayant  Wadatkar, Jiju VS, jilna joy, Jinesh P S, Jishnu R, jismi m o, joby varghese, jolly kv, J.Thomas Cheruvallil, Jyothi Krishnan, Kaajal Dasgupta, Kartik  Pomal, Kerala Birder, Kim Peacock, kiran more, Krishnadas Mallya, Krishna Girish, krishna vinayan, Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi, Lloyd Fernandes, madhushri mudke, Manish  Chinchane, Manish  Kumar, Manju Sinha, Manoj K, Manoj Karingamadathil, MAYA T JOY, Mike Prince, Mohith Shenoy, Monica Kaushik, Mrinmayee Thakur, MUHAMMED NEZEEM V N, Muthu Narayanan, NADHA GAFOOR, Nameer PO, Nandini Sadanandan, Nandkishor Dudhe, Naveenlal P, Naveen  MR, Neeraj Amarnani, Neethu George Thoppan, Neha Waikar, Nikolaj Thomsen, nimitha damodaran, Nisha M, nithin mohan, Omkar Dharwadkar, omkar naik, Panchapakesan Jeganathan, Parvez Kaleem, Patrick Wheeler, Pavan Reddy, Prabhakar Manjunath, Prakash G, Prashant Kumar, Praveen es, Praveen J, Praveen Manivannan, Premchand Reghuvaran, Prem Prakash Garg, Pronoy Baidya, Pushpa C R, radhika renganadh, Raghurama Hegde, Rahul Matmari, RAINOLD LAZAR, Raja Simma Pandiyan, Rajasree Vasudevan , Rajesh  Kalra, rajesh nayak, Rajgopal Patil, Rajiv D’Silva, Rajkumar  K P, RAJU MENON, Raju  Sankaran, Raman Kumar, Ramit Singal, raphy kallettumkara, Raviprakash KB, reeja jose, Remya Mohan, Remya s, renju tr, RESHMA  BHAT, Reuben Johnson, Ribish Thomas, Richa Kolachena, Rohit Chakravarty, Ronit Dutta, Roshnath R, RUGMA RAJEEV, Sachin K Aravind, SACHIN KRISHNA M V, sahana m, Sana M Ali, Sandeep  Das, Sanjay  Karanth, Sanjay Thakur, santhosh kumar, sarayu ramakrishnan, Sashi Kumar, Sastha Prakash, Sathyan Meppayur, Scott Lin, SEDHULAKSHMI K UNNI, Shah Jahan, SHAHNAS K F, Shariq Khan, Shashank Birla, SHESHGIRI BAGDE, shibi moses, Shivaprakash Adavanne, Shivashankar Manjunatha, Shubhadeep  Mukherjee, shweta mukundan, Shwetha Bharathi, shyamkumar puravankara, Siddharth  Hardikar, Sidharth  R Prakash, Simon Tickle, Sivakumar AK, Sivaprasad R, Sivashankar Ramachandran, skanda sn, Sneha G Ajay, Soni Nambiar, Soumya Aon, Sreehari V S, sreenivasan pp, Srikanth Bhat, sruthimol g, Subramanian  Sankar, Subramniam Venkatramani, sudhakaran kk, Suhel Quader, Sumesh  b, Surya Bharanidhara, Susan Sridharan, SYAMILI MANOJ, Syed Muzamil, Taksh Sangwan, Taniya Mallick, Tanya Seshadri, teddy nirappaan, The Bhubaneswar Bird Walks TBBW, TheNatureTrust (GroupAccount), Thomas Job, Thorkild Michaelsen, TKS Thathachari, Troy Blodgett, ts prasanth, vaisakh george, veena babu, VEERBHADRA SINGH, Venkatesh Prasad, Vijayalakshmi Rao, Vijay kumar, vijesh vallikunnu, Vinayan PA, vineetha v.s, Vinoba Anand, VINOD KUMAR P.K., vin shutterbug, Viola Rodrigues, violet v.n, vishnudas ck, vishnu dattan, Vishnupriyan Kartha, Vismaya L, Vivek Puliyeri, Wahiba Humam, Yagnesh Desai, Yogesh Parashar.

Now on to the eBirding Challenge for October: 15 hr, 15 lists!

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Oct 2014 eBirding Challenge: 15 hr, 15 lists

challenge-logoAs the lists from September continue to come in, and we await the results of the September Challenge, it’s time to announce the eBirding Challenge for October 2014.

The October Challenge is similar to that from July this year, but with a higher target. Last July, the challenge was to upload at least 10 complete lists, together accounting for a total of at least 10 birding hours.

This month, the target is 15 complete lists, accounting for a total of at least 15 hours of birding. As before, each list should be an effort-based, complete list, of at least 15 min in durationicon_tooltip.

How can one strategize this? On average, half an hour every day would give 15 hours in total over the month. If each of us can budget two 15-min lists each day, we’d easily get to the target. Remember that these lists can be from anywhere — home, campus, garden, park, wetland, forest, and so on. Or if you can only squeeze in a single list each working day, perhaps you can make up over the weekend.

If you have a chance to travel, do take a look at where the birding gaps are, and try to bird in districts for which little information is available. These gaps are particularly large if one looks at seasonal availability of information. And, of course, please record any signs of breeding under Add Details–Breeding Code; and embed photo, audio and video files to make your lists richer and more memorable.

While out and about, please remember to faithfully record the time you spend looking for birds: the correct durations are important not only for the integrity of the Challenge, but also for the scientific utility of the information you upload.

Please upload all your October lists by 5 November so that we can announce the results on 6 November. All birders who reach this target will be named and recognized on this website. One of these names will be chosen at random to receive a small birding-related gift in appreciation.

Here are the general rules of our monthly challenges. You can keep track of fresh lists coming in from India at this page.

Important. if you are new to eBird, please read this description first, and do take a look at the Beginner’s Guide.

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Where are the birding gaps?

By Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi

Birders like me use eBird to maintain our sightings in a single place, to keep track of what we have seen where, and to prepare for our next birding outing by looking at the barcharts and range maps to look up what we can expect to see.

The larger purpose of eBird, of course, is to document the distribution and abundance of birds, and to investigate how this changes over the seasons and over the years. Doing so requires a large amount of information from all parts of the country. It relies on individual birders and birding groups going out birding frequently and uploading their bird lists. On the surface, we seem to be doing well in India. After all, over half a million bird records from India are now available on eBird, and the numbers are growing rapidly. Overall, 35,522 hours of birding effort in India are documented on eBird as of 9 September 2014.

These numbers sound impressive, but do they mean that we now have a good idea of distribution and abundance of Indian birds? Unfortunately, not, because all this birding effort is not spread uniformly across the country – some areas have relatively large amounts of information, and others virtually none.

About 40% of all districts in India do not have even a single effort-based list on eBird! (Effort-based lists are those that report duration and distance covered.) About 61% of districts have less than 10 hours of birding and about 87% of districts have less than 100 hours of birding reported on eBird. About 31% (10,962 hrs) of the total birding effort comes from just 10 districts in all of India! This means that the eBird database contains a woefully incomplete picture of the birds of the vast majority of districts.

To provide a quick look at how birding effort on eBird is distributed across the country, we have calculated, for each district, the total number of hours of birding represented on eBird (as of 9 Sept 2014), and have colour-coded this on the map below.

BirdingEffortGreenWithDistBoundary-490px

A quick glance at this map shows large gaps in information. UP and Bihar comprise a major gap which continues through Jharkhand, Orissa, Telangana and parts of Maharashtra. Parts of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Kashmir are just as empty. North-east India may be highly biodiverse, but except for a few sanctuaries most of the other districts do not have any information in eBird. Even states such as Gujarat and Rajasthan, with a fair number of resident and visiting birders, have districts with no effort-based lists: twelve in Rajasthan and five in Gujarat.

Before eBird data can be used at the scale of the country, these gaps have to be filled as best as possible — which is where all of us birders come in! If you know a birder in these districts please introduce eBird to them. They will be the pioneers for their districts in contributing bird information to the largest online database of Indian bird records!

If you are yourself travelling to some of these places for work or holiday, please don’t forget to upload your bird lists from the front yard of your hotel or from a dhaba stop. If you can visit a local park or a sanctuary that would be even better!

Attached is an excel file listing the birding effort represented in eBird for all districts of the country. Take a look and identify the gaps that you can fill. If you are planning a Big Bird Day event or a Bird Race, see if it is possible to organize it in one of these unrepresented districts. Birding in less-documented areas can be fun because you don’t know what surprises may be in store!

Another way to help fill these gaps is to dig through your birding notebooks to see if you have old bird lists from these areas. If you do, it would be great to upload them and help fill in the blanks!

Appendix: Top 10 districts in terms of birding hours represented on eBird
Congratulations to the top 10 districts! If you are a birder from here, don’t slow down. Do keep birding where you are, but also consider making a trip to a neighbouring district to help fill in the gaps.

State District Effort (hours)
Goa North Goa 1842.7
Kerala Idukki 1491.1
Karnataka Mysore 1336.2
Karnataka Bangalore 1295.7
Kerala Thrissur 1026.6
Rajasthan Bharatpur 1007
Kerala Alappuzha 763.3
Goa South Goa 758.2
Uttarakhand Nainital 734.8
Maharashtra Pune 706.8

 

And here is a complete list for all districts of the country.

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