sobrecoberta-Checklist-arbre-03.aiWith the publishing of HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1 (Non-passerines) some interesting changes have been made in taxonomy of Charadriiformes, adopting a scoring system developed by Tobias et al. (2010). Despite genetic studies didn’t support relevant subspecies to be elevated to species level (e.g. Rheindt FE et al. 2011; Barth JMI et al. 2013), the new scoring system recognises four new shorebird species.

New Zealand Plover Charadrius obscurus has been split into Northern Red-breasted Plover Charadrius aquilonius and Southern Red-breasted Plover Charadrius obscurus. Both species are monotypic.

Southern and Northern populations of New Zealand Dottere

Southern and northern populations of New Zealand Plover (Dottere) have been treated as independent units. Courtesy of Wikimedia and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris has been split into African Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris and Madagascar Three-banded Plover Charadrius bifrontatus. Both species are monotypic.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus has been split into Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus and White-faced Plover Charadrius dealbatus. Kentish Plover still remains polytypic, while White-faced Plover is monotypic.

The White-faced Plover Charadrius delbatus is an annual visitor to Lampakbia, Thailand. © Peter Ericsson

The White-faced Plover Charadrius (alexandrinus) delbatus is an annual visitor to Lampakbia, Thailand. © Peter Ericsson

Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles has been split into Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles and Black-shouldered Lapwing Vanellus novaehollandiae. Both species are monotypic.

There might be some more splits (like Whimbrel, Willet, Red Knot or Dunlin) in the future based on this scoring system. From the handbook point of view, the IOC checklist is still the official taxonomic reference. Since the colour plates are focusing on subspecies level, including most of the the above listed (sub)species.

Thanks for Peter Ericsson (Thailand) for providing his photo for this post.

On 20 November 2014 a great shorebird scientist, Allan Baker passed away, leaving his family and the shorebird science world behind. While I personally have never met him, his name was linked to the handbook as planned to be one of the contributors of special chapters.

His knowledge and visionary in shorebird science will greatly be missed. Please find the celebration of Allan Baker’s life published by the Royal Ontario Museum, where he was working.

The IOC taxonomic update v4.4 has just been published and while no shorebird splits or lumps were proposed, there are some changes on subspecies level.

The Northern Jacana, Long-billed Curlew and the Purple Sandpiper is now treated as monotypic. Also several subspecies of multiple species have been deleted.


African Wattled Lapwing
Subspecies Vanellus senegallus major has been deleted.
Northern Jacana
Subspecies Jacana spinosa gymnostoma, spinosa and violacea has been deleted. Species is treated as monotypic.
Least Seedsnipe
Thinocorus rumicivorus pallidus has been deleted.
Long-billed Curlew
Numenius americanus parvus and nominate subspecies has been deleted. Species is treated as monotypic.
Purple Sandpiper
Calidris maritima belcheri, littoralis. and nominate subspecies has been deleted. Species is treated as monotypic.
Collared Pratincole
Subspecies Glareola pratincola erlangeri and riparia has been deleted
Rock Pratincole
Subspecies Glareola nuchalis torrens has been deleted.

More information on the IOC website.


The Collared Pratincole is a Eurasian/African breeding wader with two subspecies. © Gyorgy Szimuly

It is a pleasure to introduce the artist of this project. Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok is an incredibly young and talented artist from one of most diverse corner of Thailand.

Ayuwat was born and raised in Chiang Mai and started birdwatching at the age of 11. At the same time, he also began to make sketches and notes of birds that he had observed. His subjects used to vary from dinosaurs, flowers to traditional Thai arts before began to take interest in drawing birds. With comments and suggestions from both friends and experienced wildlife artists in Thailand, he improved his skills effectively.

He travelled all around Thailand and other Asian countries for birds, mostly with his father and birders from Chiang Mai. He studied sustainable development in Japan and Germany from 2008–2014, and moved to Bangkok where he is working as a researcher. In the meantime he’s fulfilling his passion in bird illustration and birdwatching whenever he can. Currently, he’s also a member of the Thai Bird Records Committee as well as a committee member of the Lanna Bird and Nature Conservation Club.

Ayuwat joined the team past Summer and started working on the plates of the Volume 1 right away. His knowledge on Eurasian shorebirds definitely is a huge advantage, but forthcoming trips to new destinations will further increase his knowledge.


His personal photo reference collection is growing through his bird photography.


Ayuwat with the Northern Lapwing plate.


Chiang Mai is a perfect place to be born and to be raised. It’s incredible birdlife is touching every birdwatcher.

One of the biggest challenges of this exciting project is to map ‘where we are’ at the moment. I have extensively browsed the internet to find shorebird photographs of outstanding quality species by species in the last couple of months. I certainly missed a lot of websites, but this project phase is not over yet.

At the same time many excellent bird photographers showed interest in being a contributor. I have shared some more details about the photo collection, participance and species list to interested photographers.

Here is the iCloud document I have shared with the contacted photographers. Bird photographers are very welcome to read it and register interest via the attached Google form.

I’m thrilled to see that plenty of really excellent bird photographers offered great support for the project for nothing, but most of them can accept one of the payment options I offered.

In the next couple of months a website will be created featuring an image submission solution.


One of our contributors, Attila Seprényi’s excellent photo of a Bar-tailed Godwit clearly represents the style of photographs we are looking for. © Attila Seprényi

Publishing date set

Here are some details about the project. I set the publishing date for the Volume 1. According to the plans it will be published by July 2019. Publishing dates for the rest of the volumes will be announced later.

It is a great pleasure to have Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok in the team. Ayuwat is young and very talented wildlife artist, based in Thailand. More about Ayuwat will be posted later.


Both the morphology and the behaviour of the Magellanic Plover is unprecedented among shorebirds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Both the morphology and the behaviour of the Magellanic Plover is unprecedented among shorebirds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

In October last year proposal was addressed to the South American Classification Committee (SACC) to treat Pluvianellidae (Magellanic Plover) as a subfamily of Chionidae (Sheathbills). The Pluvianellidae is considered to be a monotypic family among shorebirds since it was elevated from Charadriidae. As a result of previous genetic studies it was then treated as the sister family of Chionidae.

The current proposal didn’t pass due to the lack of evidence. Both the uniqueness of the behaviour of Magellanic Plover (means also different from that of the Sheathbills) and the genetic data supports the family status of the Pluvianellidae being in close relation to Chionidae.

The Magellanic Plover is a stunning and in a way extraordinary member of the shorebirds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

The Magellanic Plover is a stunning and in a way extraordinary member of the shorebirds. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Just a short note

There might be no news about the project, but I’m happy to tell my followers that it is live and running in the background! I’m working hard to get it done! More detail is coming later.


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