The 2022 eBird/Clements taxonomy update

BOW Team October 25, 2022
Inti TanagerHeliothraupis oneilli

Once per year, eBird updates all bird records in the database to reflect the latest ‘splits’, ‘lumps’, additions of new species, changes to scientific names, taxonomic sequence, and more. As well, our Birds of the World editorial team furiously produces, splits, and lumps species accounts to reflect the latest nomenclature.

The full 2022 eBird Taxonomy Update began 25 October.  This process is expected to take up to a week. As the changes began to roll out, you may see some species names appear in unexpected ways and may notice fluctuations in your eBird life list numbers. You may also see side effects in Birds of the World species accounts as maps, media and illustrations attempt to sync with accounts. This is expected behavior and should subside soon.

Overall, a net gain of 82 species brings the global species total to 10,906. Among the notable changes are the recognition of five new species, including New Caledonian Storm-Petrel, two new birds from the Meratus Mountains of Borneo (Meratus Blue Flycatcher and Meratus White-eye), and the long-awaited description of the charismatic, unique, and enigmatic Inti Tanager (pictured above). There are also many changes to scientific names and taxonomic ordering of species based on their evolutionary relationships. (Full list of taxonomic changes coming soon).

Additional details will be posted here and on the eBird news page. Stay tuned for more information about the 2022 Taxonomy Update, including a post on the eBird homepage summarizing all of the changes on the day of the update. And register now to join the Birds of the World team on 10 November for a webinar discussion of this year’s process.

Importantly, this revision begins 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 50% of the world’s bird species assessed so far. It will take several years for eBird and Birds of the World 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. Stay tuned!

Once again, keep checking the eBird website for updates and links to the “mega post” where all the changes will be documented!