Birds of the World is a global fellowship, a team of thousands of scientists whose collective contributions have built – and continue to expand – the largest ornithological research database in the world. These contributions are harnessed by a distinguished international science team who collaborates within their respective regions and/or specialities to publish newly revised species accounts – all on a landmark taxonomy-based digital platform supported by professional and technical professionals.
Project and Software Team:
Per Alström is a Professor of Ornithology at Uppsala University (Department of Ecology and Genetics). Born in southwest Sweden, Per has been a keen birder since he was a child. He started travelling abroad in his teens, and altogether, has spent several years in the field in some 20 countries in Asia, as well as multiple trips to North America and parts of Africa. His previous appointments include the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Swedish Species Information Centre), and the Swedish Museum of Natural History. Per has been involved in descriptions of seven species and three subspecies of birds new to science. He is the author of >110 scientific papers ((mainly on taxonomy, systematics and various aspects of avian evolution) and >60 popular science articles (including many on difficult-to-identify bird species), and first author of two highly acclaimed books, A Field Guide to the Rare Birds of Britain and Europe (1991) and Pipits and Wagtails of Europe, Asia and North America (2003) and co-author of chapters in two volumes of Handbook of the Birds of the World (2004, 2006) and six chapters in The Largest Avian Radiation: The Evolution of Perching Birds, or the Order Passeriformes (Fjeldså et al. 2020). Per is currently cowriting, with Paul Donald, a handbook to the larks of the world. Finally, Per is advisor to the IOC World Bird List, a member of the recently founded Working Group on Avian Checklists and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the international ornithological journal Avian Research, as well as Fellow of The Explorers Club and The Linnean Society of London.
Shawn has expertise in systematics, taxonomy, and evolutionary biology. As co-author of Bird Families of the World, he has particular interest in higher level taxonomy and speciation. As part of his dissertation research at the University of Wyoming and postdoctoral research at the Lab of Ornithology, Shawn studied hybridization in sapsuckers, towhees, and orioles using genetic data, climate data, and behavior data to understand differences that can lead to the evolution of species. Shawn has been an avid birder since he was 8 years old and is excited to bring his knowledge, experience, and passion for birds and bird diversity to a new audience with Birds of the World project.
Peter started birding at a young age in his home country of Belgium. He soon birded all over Europe, and shared his bird knowledge by writing articles, co-authoring a book about the birds of Flanders and joining the Belgian Rarities Committee—all while completing his MSc in both Engineering sciences and Music. In the early 90s he moved to the Neotropics where he developed a special interest in bird sounds. He pioneered sharing bird song recordings by making multimedia productions and his MP3 collections were the reference for many Neotropical countries in the pre-internet days. Back in Belgium, he continues to focus on recording and studying bird sounds, and he has been especially prolific in analyzing bird vocalizations to support taxonomy and identification. Peter has written more than 1,000 voice accounts for Birds of the World, 400+ notes on the vocal distinctiveness of taxa, and several bird sound-related scientific papers. Peter’s entire bird sound collection – about 30,000+ recordings from about half the world’s bird species – are now all available at the Macaulay Library. He continues to provide expert voice accounts for Birds of the World.
Arnau Bonan is a biologist, birdwatcher and bird ringer from Barcelona. He has provided ornithological expertise on a freelance basis to a number of companies, public administration bodies and scientific institutions. With a particular interest in steppe birds, he has engaged in studies of such species and has been involved in producing the technical documents for the Recovery Plans for several steppe bird species in Catalonia. As a bird ringer, he has been responsible for a number of Constant Effort Sites and has taken part in several spring and autumn bird migration studies. He has worked at Lynx Edicions as an ornithological manager of the Internet Bird Collection, an editor of HBW Alive, responsible for adding multimedia links to the species accounts, and as an editor and project coordinator for the Lynx and BirdLife International Field Guides collection and other book projects.
Geoff began birding in his teen years in the U.K. Soon after he graduated from Bristol University he participated in two ground-breaking studies of migration at Beidaihe in northeast China, which established it as a popular destination for the growing band of birders interested in Asian birds. He then travelled around China and ended up in Hong Kong in February 1987, where he has resided since. It was here that he developed a special interest in bird vocalizations, and he has travelled throughout much of east Asia, in particular China, with parabolic microphone in-hand. He has contributed and analyzed bird vocalizations to support a number of taxonomic and identification papers. He is a former editor of the Hong Kong Bird Report, an author of The Avifauna of Hong Kong and served on the Records Committee of the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society for thirty years, much of that time as Chairman. Prior to working as a freelance ornithologist, he was director of an ecological consultancy in Hong Kong for twenty years. He now divides his time between Hong Kong and Bali, which provides a basis for recording and studying the birds of Indonesia.
Caught by birds at the age of 12 at a ringing station in northeast Spain, José Luis has been ringing, birding and researching on birds non-stop from 1981. He has been involved first in behavioural ecology research and after that in taxonomy, in groups as finches, warblers, swallows and owls, publishing over 90 papers in academic journals and birding magazines. For almost 20 years he was documentalist and editor at the Handbook of Birds of the World (HBW) and HBW Alive. He got a key role on the landmarking Handbook of Western Palearctic Birds as assistant editor in vols 1-2 (Passerines), and co-authored a monograph on Iberian Chiffchaff. Member of the taxonomic committee of BirdLife Spain. He also runs his own birding company, Icaro Birding Experience.
Born an entomologist and trained as an ornithologist, Harold aspires to be an ever-curious student of natural history. In 1999 he sold everything except for his butterfly net and binoculars and moved to Ecuador to develop the Yanayacu Biological Station & Center for Creative Studies, at 2000 m on the east slope of the Andes. During the 15 years he lived there he spent his time exploring, dreaming, and learning, sharing his knowledge of the area through more than 250 research papers on the natural history of birds and butterflies. After moving to Arizona to start a family, with the help of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he recently finished a book treating the antpittas and gnateaters, his two favorite groups of birds. He now lives in Arizona with his wife and three children.
Chuenchom Hansasuta received a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Chulalongkorn University. During her long and distinguished career in dentistry, she studied and practiced in places such as Thammasat University (Thailand), State University of New York at Buffalo (USA), and University of Connecticut Health Center (USA) and retired in 2020. Chuenchom always had an intense curiosity for birds that over time, evolved into an acute interest in plumages. She has long been active in education and volunteering, becoming chairwoman of The Flyway Foundation and actively engaging and educating the public in the study of birds and their plumages (see her Facebook page called Thai Bird Plumage Guide https://www.facebook.com/ThaiBirdPlumageGuide/). Chuenchom will be focusing on plumages and molts of birds in southeast Asia.
Alvaro Jaramillo, owner birding tour company Alvaro’s Adventures, was born in Chile but began birding in Toronto, where he lived as a youth. He was trained in ecology and evolution with a particular interest in bird behavior. Research forays and backpacking trips introduced Alvaro to the riches of the Neotropics, where he has traveled extensively. He is the author of the Birds of Chile, an authoritative yet portable field guide to Chile’s birds. Alvaro writes the Identify Yourself column in Bird Watcher’s Digest magazine. Alvaro wrote part of the sparrow chapter for the Handbook of Birds of the World, and the new ABA Field Guide Birds of California. He was recently granted the Eisenmann Medal by the Linnaean Society of New York, it is awarded occasionally for excellence in ornithology and encouragement of the amateur. He organizes and leads international birding tours, as well as a full schedule of pelagic trips in central California. Alvaro lives with his family in Half Moon Bay, California.
Editor of the Key to Scientific Names
James is a retired civil servant, with a background in finance and land registration. Since childhood he has been fascinated by the natural world, especially birds, and languages, and for many years worked on the Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names, published by Oxford University Press in 1991. In the intervening years a larger edition appeared (Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names 2010), and his obsession grew into an association with Lynx Edicions to create and edit the HBW Alive Key to Scientific Names In Ornithology (2014-2020), now fully incorporated into Birds of the World. He is an avid birdwatcher and has birdwatched on every continent (except Antarctica!) A former member of the British Ornithologists’ Union and committee member of the British Ornithologists’ Club, he has also led bird-watching holidays in Europe, but now tends to conduct ventures abroad at a more leisurely pace, concentrating instead on improving his collection of books and material relating to birds and the meanings of their names.
Born in El Salvador, Roselvy started her ornithological career in 2001 when a zoology professor introduced her to birds. She has a MSc in biology and has worked in El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica as a research assistant on bird monitoring studies. Roselvy is a North American Banding Council (NABC)-certified trainer for banding Passerines and near Passerines and has banded thousands of birds in El Salvador and Honduras. She is particularly interested in acoustic communication and in the effect of urbanization on territory size, acoustic communication, and survival of birds. She is now a researcher at the Zamorano Biodiversity Center in Honduras. Since 2011, she has compiled El Salvador bird sightings for the American Birding Association journal North American Birds and is an eBird reviewer for El Salvador.
Brooke grew up in the California Bay Area and spent her college years as a Curatorial Assistant in the Ornithology and Mammalogy collections of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at University of California Berkeley. Following college, she worked as a field biologist in Hawaii and California’s Channel Islands before getting a PhD in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology from University of California Riverside. She has worked within the larger umbrella of digital publishing since 2009. As Managing Editor, Brooke combines her background in educational resource design with her passion to make digital natural history engaging, authoritative, and accessible.
Associate Editor, former HBW Alive editor
Guy was born in northwest England and has been a birdwatcher for more than 40 years. Despite an honors degree in History and English literature, he has never worked in any other field but ornithology. Primarily an editor of monographs, field guides and other bird books, he worked on two volumes of The Handbook of the Birds of the World, between 2012 and 2019 he updated or wrote more than 3,300 accounts for HBW Alive, and in 2011 he was also heavily involved with producing some of the first texts for Neotropical Birds, all of them precursors to Birds of the World. He has conducted ornithological field research in Turkey, Yemen and Socotra, Brazil, and Cuba, and has published widely in the technical literature on birds. Following ten years living part-time in Brazil, he is again residing in Norwich, in eastern England, and is a Scientific Associate of the Bird Group, at the Natural History Museum, Tring, although he also maintains professional associations with the Field Museum of Natural History, in Chicago, and the Museu Nacional, in Rio de Janeiro.
“Jay” has been a wildlife enthusiast since a very young age in a rural town in Central Thailand. He is now based in Samut Prakan, a neighboring province of Bangkok. His MSc thesis focused on the ecology of avian mixed-species foraging flocks. As a member of the Thai Bird Records Committee, he is partially responsible for compiling sightings for the bulletin of the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand. He has been involved with various research projects on birds and leads birding tours throughout Thailand. Some of the recent books he co-authored include field guides Birds of Thailand and A Naturalist’s Guide to the Birds of Thailand, published by Lynx Edicions and John Beaufoy Publishing, respectively. He is also a reviewer for eBird in Thailand.
Dominic was sent on a birdwatching course in North Wales by his parents at the age of 12 and has been watching birds ever since. After spells in the music industry, office administration and journalism he founded the popular UK monthly magazine Birdwatch. During 27 years as editor he wrote hundreds of articles about birds and authored several books, including Birds of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East: an Annotated Checklist (Lynx Edicions). Dominic has visited all seven continents in search of birds, but has a special interest in the avifauna of the Western Palearctic. He has served on the council of the Ornithological Society of the Middle East, was a member of the Portuguese Rarities Committee for seven years, is a consultant and Associate Editor at BirdLife International, and in his spare time leads birdwatching holidays.
Steven received his B.A. from Bowdoin College in 1984 and his M.D. from the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine in 1989. He has authored three books and more than fifty peer-reviewed articles pertaining to ornithology, with a special interest in biogeography and status-and-distribution. Steven served as a regional editor for North American Birds (and its predecessors) from 1999 to 2009 and again from 2012 to 2015. He was a member of the Washington Bird Records Committee from 1999 to 2015 and is currently a member of the Colorado Bird Records Committee. Goals for the near future include investigating potential full-species status for several taxa endemic to Baja California Sur, including the Cape Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma hoskinsii), the San Lucan Vireo (Vireo cassinii lucasanus), and the San Lucan Robin (Turdus migratorius confinis).
Nárgila grew up in the Brazilian Cerrado. She first started studying birds as an undergrad student, before dabbling in agroecology as an MSc student and then started a PhD at the Goeldi Museum in Amazonia, studying the impacts of land use change on rainforest birds. After finishing her PhD, a subsequent post-doctoral fellowship in Brazil, and publishing numerous academic papers, she moved to Ithaca in the U.S. to join the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as an archivist for the Macaulay Library. Now living in the United Kingdom, she has led the writing for the Cornell Lab’s Merlin App in Brazil and Europe and has edited species accounts for the Lynx Edicions field guides for Colombia, West Indies and Cambodia.
A lifelong birder, Yoav grew up in Israel and has traveled the world extensively. He has been involved in bird conservation, research and monitoring since early career stages and has a PhD in conservation ecology. Yoav is science director for BirdLife Israel. Yoav is involved in the taxonomic committee of the Ornithological Society of the Middle East and Central Asia (OSME), and co-authored the recent publication Pocket Checklist of the Birds of OSME Region. Yoav is also leader of eBird Israel, and eBird reviewer for Israel and neighboring territories.
Peter grew up primarily in Hawaii and has worked as an ornithologist and marine biologist. In the late 1970s and early 1980s he partook in the Hawaii, Micronesia, and Samoa Forest Bird Surveys, during the 1980s-2000s he did research on birds and white sharks at the Farallon Islands off San Francisco, and he currently is a staff biologist at The Institute for Bird Populations in Point Reyes Station, California, where he specializes in bird molts and plumages. Peter is a Research Associate at the B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, and the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. He has authored or co-authored over 200 scientific papers and four books, including Identification Guide to North America Birds, Parts 1 and 2, widely used by bird banders, museum researchers, field biologists, and birders. Peter’s main focus for Birds of the World is the Appearance Section of each account.
Pam grew up birding in Oregon, received a Ph.D. at the University of Kansas, and then worked at the Smithsonian Institution before moving to Michigan, where she teaches biology (including ornithology) at Michigan State University. She co-authored Birds of South Asia: the Ripley Guide; co-authored the descriptions of 11 new Asian bird species; and was co-rediscoverer of the Forest Owlet. She has led study abroad programs to Uganda, Borneo, Indonesia, Antarctica, and Costa Rica, among others, and has submitted eBird lists for 68 countries. In 2008 she founded the global bird sounds site AVoCet. She is an Associate Editor for Zootaxa, Co-Managing Editor of the IOC World Bird List, has served on NACC for over 20 years and is now also involved in the IOU’s global bird taxonomy consolidation project, and is pleased to be involved in the Birds of the World project.
Paul’s research has emphasized stopover ecology, habitat selection, biogeography, and factors that influence abundance and distributional change in birds. He has conducted avian research in Belize, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and spent two years doing forest bird surveys in Cameroon. Before the Lab of Ornithology, he was an associate professor of wildlife ecology at Ohio State University (2001–2013), where among various projects he was director/lead author on the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Ohio. He became Science Editor of Birds of North America in 2015 and continues in that role for Birds of the World. He is excited about the opportunity to continue to share his expertise and passion for birds and digital natural history.
As a passionate birder, Fabrice fell in love with neotropical birds during a first trip to Peru in 1995. After many other trips to South America, looking for birds and studying wildlife in general, he settled in Chile from 2005 to 2015. During these years he was involved with the Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC), a non-governmental ornithologist organization, and helped the development of eBird, including co-authoring the first Chile’s Breeding Bird Atlas published in 2018. He is also co-author of a photo field guide on the birds of Chile and several papers about neotropical ornithology. Fabrice now lives in eastern France (Alsace) although he spends most of his time exploring remote locations in the Neotropics or leading international birding tours.
As a lifelong birder who’s conducted field research on three continents, Tom has made great contributions to the understanding of avian evolution and taxonomy. Tom’s extensive field expertise in South America led him to co-author of Birds of Peru by Princeton Field Guides which, as he puts it, “only skimmed the surface of what we learned about South American birds.” Soon after, Tom became the founding editor of Neotropical Birds, which allowed a much broader discussion of the ecology and biology of this fascinating subset of birds. Tom now helps edit comprehensive species accounts of the biology for every species, worldwide. He also manages the taxonomy and nomenclature for all Lab projects, including Birds of the World and eBird.
Chris is a biologist who has worked on the conservation of Neotropical birds for more than 30 years, having been based for most of that time in Venezuela, where he is a Research Associate of the Phelps Ornithological Collection (COP) and the NGO Provita, a Founder Member of the Venezuelan Ornithologists’ Union, and Editor of Birds for the IUCN Red Data Book of Venezuelan Fauna. Formerly an editor of HBW Alive and the Lynx and BirdLife International Field Guides series, he has produced identification texts for several field guides and is a co-author (with Guy Kirwan) of Birds of the West Indies. He is a consultant on Latin American conservation for a number of international organizations, focusing primarily on biodiversity data management, conservation planning and assessments, training and shorebird conservation.
John started birding in his early teens in his native Netherlands, before spending most of his adult life in the Americas, with stints in the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He has resided in Honduras since 2011, where he works as a researcher with the Zamorano Biodiversity Center. Trained as a linguist with an MA in English Literature from Boston University, John has nevertheless worked with birds (and lately also bats) for most of his professional life. He’s banded 3,000+ landbirds in Central America, and since 2017 has been co-author of the Central American column in the American Birding Association journal North American Birds. John is an eBird reviewer for Honduras and Costa Rica and has been an admin for and active contributor to the eBird Central America portal since 2013.
Washington has a taste for everything in nature, from the small to the big and everything in between. His education background is in Environmental Science (BSc.) and Animal Ecology (MSc.). He has been part of many research projects and has led many birding trips or expeditions across the entire East Africa. He co-authored the Guidebook to the Birds of Dakatcha Woodland IBA. He wrote the first Checklists to the Birds of Eburu Forest; and the Birds of Kenyatta University. He previously served as the Manager for the Kenya Bird Map Project. He is a member of the Bird Committee of the East Africa Natural History Society, and chairs the National Bird of Kenya Sub-committee. He is a member of the East African Rarities Committee. He is a National Geographic Explorer, on his work with African Crowned Eagles. He is also a TED Speaker, and gave a TED Talk titled “For the love of birds” in 2017. Washington has also discovered a lizard species new to Science, which was named after his second name (Agama wachirai).
Project and Software Team:
Mike has more than two decades of software experience and enjoys applying technology to provide useful services to aid researchers, policy makers and birders. At the Lab, Mike designs software and computer infrastructure used to manage content related to the life histories of birds. His past work includes applications in public transit, computer security, and digital audio.
Lead Software Architect
Jeff joined the lab as a software engineer and GIS developer in 2001 following a career in industry. He grew up as an outdoorsman and conservationist and started serious birding at the age of nine. He has worked as an eBird developer since its inception and is now the lead software architect responsible for a number of the Lab’s projects. He developed the custom content management system used for Birds of North America and Neotropical Birds using his experience and interest in taxonomy and life histories and has lead the software development team that is producing the Birds of the World platform. He worked closely with Lynx to ensure a smooth and accurate migration of the life history content from HBW Alive into Birds of the World and is in charge of developing new features as the project expands.
Marketing Manager, Digital Publications
Laura manages the sales, promotions and communications of Birds of the World. She has a background in citizen science, digital marketing, and communications; after working as the Project Feederwatch lead she moved away and continued freelancing for environmental nonprofits and travel companies. Laura began travel writing in 2008 and had the pleasure of watching birds and meeting birders in a dozen countries. She soon created Nature Travel Network, a compendium of resources describing the world’s best birding travel hotspots. These days, Laura focuses most of her free time at home watching birds and “rewilding” her land back to nature. She enjoys bringing the authoritative content in Birds of the World to a growing network of scientists, birders, nonprofits, and academic libraries around the world.
Will has designed and developed of web sites and applications at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology since 2004, including Birds of North America, Neotropical Birds, and the JAGuar species account management system that powers them. Other projects include eBird.org, eBird Mobile, and Merlin Bird ID. A life-long outdoor enthusiast and late-comer to birding, Will is slowly working on his identification skills and chipping away at his life list.
Rachel began working for Birds of North America (BNA) in 2011, and has enjoyed watching it evolve into Birds of the World. Her past professional affiliations include The Field Museum of Natural History, Cornell University Press, Peace Corps, and various nonprofit organizations in Maine and New York. Rachel was first introduced to ornithology by her grandfather, who was a devoted birdwatcher on their family farm in upstate New York. She currently resides in Scotland, where she is pursuing a MBA at the University of Edinburgh.
Web Designer and Developer
Matt has a strong interest in content architecture and inclusive design, and has a special concentration in integrating media from the Macaulay Library across many Cornell Lab of Ornithology projects. He has a passion for bird behavior and science. His past work includes designing and creating interactive multimedia experiences with renowned artists.
Project Lead, Digital Publications
Brian came to the Cornell Lab in 2005 to put his lifelong passion for birds to work building eBird. After seeing eBird mature into a global bird monitoring database, he turned his attention to a new role: Digital Publications Lead for Information Science, where he now guides the Birds of the World project. Brian has conducted fieldwork on birds for more than 25 years, with a special interest in diurnal raptors and geographic variation. He has authored numerous papers for both popular and scientific literature and is a co-author of several bird identification books as well as a groundbreaking Raptor Id app for mobile devices. Brian also enjoys bird photography, sound recording, and videography. When not thinking about birds, Brian is busy trying to convince his daughter that they are cool! Brian is currently based in Monterey, California.
Heather has more than a decade of experience developing software applications, but it wasn’t until she started working at the Cornell Lab that she was able to combine her love of birds with her technical skills. Heather started birding on Florida’s Gulf Coast after being intrigued by the aggressive behavior of Least Terns during nesting season. She currently enjoys documenting and photographing birds around her New York City patch, Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Undergraduate Project Assistants:
Undergraduate Project Assistant
Qwahn is a Junior Biological Sciences major at Cornell University. His research interests include speciation and hybridization as well as biogeography of birds. He works on the Birds of the World project where he edits species accounts and manages references.
Undergraduate Project Assistant
Kelsie is a senior Biological Sciences major in the Cornell College of Arts and Sciences. Her undergraduate research in the Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program at the Lab of Ornithology is focused on hybridization, speciation, conservation genetics, and behavioral evolution. She hopes to pursue a PhD using genetic tools to understand the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance and global climate change on birds. As project assistant, she provides critical support to Birds of the World users and is excited to be part of the team!
Undergraduate Maps Assistant
Vicens is a Biological Sciences major (class of 2022) concentrating in biodiversity and systematics. He revises, updates, and creates maps for species accounts in collaboration with Birds of the World contributors and team members. He enjoys birding anywhere and everywhere, occasionally to the chagrin of his friends and family. When not contributing to Birds of the World, he can be found in the Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program where his research centers on hybridization and phylogenetics.
Undergraduate Media Assistant
Tammy first discovered an interest in birds while growing up in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, which was strengthened after a summer spent as an ornithology intern at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She enjoys writing and her research on conservation has previously been published by National History Day. As a current Cornell undergraduate, she is interested in studying information science as it applies to the environment and is excited to be at the Cornell Lab.