[Tweeters] World Birds

Guttman, Burt GuttmanB at evergreen.edu
Wed Dec 1 14:47:20 PST 2004

Nancy, there's no definitive answer to your question. The number will always depend on who is doing the counting and the defining of "species." You might take a look at my reply to Ian Paulsen's question about the changes in taxonomy of gulls--or proposed changes according to one pair of authors. There will always be populations that are best called "semispecies," and some people will want to count them as full species while others will want to call them subspecies. The "official" lists will rise and fall for this and other reasons; the AOU, for instance, once lumped the Baltimore and Bullock's Orioles as "Northern Oriole," then changed its official mind and split them back again. The Black-crested Titmouse of the Texas area has been elevated to species status officially; will that last? Also, new species are sometimes discovered and old ones sometimes become extinct; we just had another report on Tweeters of one of the really rare Hawaiian species being in more serious trouble. A few years ago, the Sibley and Monroe tally was 9,881, but with a lot of insertions in the list for various reasons. I guess if I were forced to say a number to satisfy someone's curiosity, I'd say, "Around 9,000." Good enough.

Burt Guttman
The Evergreen State College
Olympia, WA 98505 guttmanb at evergreen.edu
Home: 7334 Holmes Island Road S. E., Olympia, 98503


From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu on behalf of Nancy
Sent: Wed 12/1/2004 6:36 AM
To: Tweets
Subject: [Tweeters] World Birds

Hi Tweeters,
I am wondering if any of you know how many species of birds there are currently recorded in the world? In the US?
Nancy Lander
Renton, WA.

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