Upland Goose
Upland Goose (Bar-breasted) Chloephaga picta

FAQ for Neotropical Birds users

This is an exciting time for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, our subscribers, and the worldwide ornithological community. Soon the entire world of birds - a dynamic collection of comprehensive, authoritative articles powered by a global network of scientists and media contributors - will be at your fingertips, accessible from anywhere in the world.

Neotropical Birds (NB) will undergo a major expansion and rebranding to become part of the new Birds of the World project. This dynamic platform is made possible by merging two of the Cornell Lab’s flagship publications (Birds of North America and Neotropical Birds) with content from the renowned Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW Alive) and Bird Families of the World, originally published by Lynx Edicions. Birds of the World will be supported with real-time data from eBird and multimedia from the renowned Macaulay Library and the Internet Bird Collection.

Built with scientists and amateur ornithologists in mind, Birds of the World will feature in-depth, comprehensive, and authoritative species accounts that will allow researchers, biologists, naturalists, and birders a deep dive into the remarkable life of birds.

How will Birds of the World be different from Neotropical Birds?

First of all, it will be MUCH bigger in scale, covering all the world’s species and families. But the enhancements go far beyond that! Species accounts will now be augmented with detailed information, illustrations, maps, and other materials from the acclaimed Handbook of the Birds of the World series, as well as Birds of North America. We think you will love the way our platform brings together the most definitive sources for content on birds and blends them with real-time distribution and abundance data, alongside an ever-evolving library of multimedia content. It is our aim to become the ultimate global resource for birds!

Why the change?

For the past 25 years, the Cornell Lab has invested heavily in leveraging the power of the internet and rapidly advancing technologies to share authoritative information about birds with the world’s scientists and with public audiences. In so doing, the Lab has developed revolutionary tools for birders such as eBird and Merlin, gathered and archived the world’s natural history media at the Macaulay Library, and served the professional ornithological community through digital publications such as Birds of North America and Neotropical Birds.  The opportunity to expand this model to cover ALL the birds of the world and offer it to our subscribers is a great privilege and fitting extension of the Lab’s mission. Biology doesn’t stop at international borders, and we are proud to offer the most authoritative compendium of everything that is known about a species, without geographic limits.

When will Birds of the World be launched?

The new Birds of the World platform will launch in early 2020. Until then, access to the existing Neotropical Birds will continue as normal.

How will I access Birds of the World?

Birds of the World will be unprecedented in scope and scale. It will be a paid subscription service, with options for both individual and institutional subscriptions.

As with Neotropical Birds, our goal is to make Birds of the World available to the widest possible audience while keeping it scholarly, comprehensive, and affordable! We offer two subscription tiers; monthly and yearly, to be able to offer our users more choices. We also offer subscription scholarships for qualified users. More information will be available at Birds of the World.

The Cornell Lab also provides open access global bird content through eBird and Merlin:

  • The Explore Species feature of eBird provides a field-guide style description, curated galleries, a range map, and a personalized summation of eBird’s observations and Macaulay Library’s top audio media for many species. See example: Red-billed Parrot.
  • The Merlin Bird ID App provides instant identification help for 3,000+ birds. Merlin offers packs for every country in Central America, as well as many countries in South America (and the rest of the world!), with more coverage being added continuously!

Are you a Neotropical Birds author, revisor, or regular contributor?

We are as committed as ever to serve the dedicated Neotropical Birds community and are pleased to offer free access to published NB contributors of both text and media. We will be reaching out to NB authors, revisors, and regular contributors regarding the transition to Birds of the World in the near future. If your contact information has changed since you were last in contact with NB staff please let us know the best way to reach you. We look forward to answering any questions you might have!

What taxonomy does Birds of the World use?

Birds of the World will be underpinned by the same eBird/Clements taxonomy system as Birds of North America. The 2019 eBird’s taxonomy update that rolled out in August 2019 focused on bringing Clements and BirdLife/HBW taxonomies into closer alignment. Moving forward, eBird/Clements and BirdLife/HBW will continue to align.

How can I help?

This project aims to engage a global community of partners and contributors to build the biggest, most accurate, and deeply informative ornithological resource ever assembled. After launch, there will be opportunities to volunteer, edit, donate, and contribute. Stay tuned! 

Any questions?

Please email us.