The selection of subspecies taxa for any world list is not a trivial matter. Although the Peters Checklist has been the primary source for many subsequent subspecies lists, it has been nearly twenty-five years since the last volume of the Peters Checklist was published and many of the earlier volumes in that seminal work date back to the first half of the last century. As such, we felt that we could not use it as our primary source. Since that time, a wealth of newly published family monographs and regional handbooks contain species accounts that cover the subspecies of a significant number of the world’s birds. These have been invaluable resources for the compilation of this list. The Handbook of the Birds of the World, Lynx Ediciones, now completed has carefully selected its own list of the world’s subspecies and its more recent volumes have been especially useful as sources of information. However, we chose to use the comprehensive and well-annotated third edition of Howard & Moore (2003) edited by Edward Dickinson and its corrigenda as the baseline for this list. Where it was necessary to deviate from the treatments in that work and to incorporate material that had come to light subsequent to its publication, we gleaned information primarily from appropriate journal articles and from those sources referred to above.This list should be regarded as a dynamic one that will be subject to ongoing revisions as new taxa are described, others dismissed, taxa inadvertently excluded are added and other new taxonomic information becomes available. Surely, like other lists, this one contains many currently recognized but questionable subspecies that represent doubtfully discrete phenotypic types within a cline of forms. In contrast, many geographically isolated subspecies will, in time, be regarded to be full, allopatric species. Recent advances in molecular phylogeny have shown that many traditionally recognized subspecies do not correlate with the well-defined clades identified by genetic studies. Lastly, many valid subspecies will be recognized or discovered in the years ahead. We expect that this list will be revised regularly as new information becomes available.
The nomenclature used and the authors cited for this list are substantially aligned with that of Alan Peterson as published on his Zoonomen website . This aspect of the project could not have been completed without his enthusiastic cooperation and full collaboration. While some of these determinations may vary from other treatments, they all are thoroughly substantiated. We urge interested colleagues to check the Zoological Citation Notes on the Zoonomen site for any clarifications.
Our goal is to provide a truly current list of subspecies to facilitate tracking the population compositions that accompany ongoing taxonomic revisions and nomenclature at the species level. Doing so expands the IOC World List to over 30,000 taxa that will require careful stewardship.We welcome your participation.
The expansion of the IOC World Bird List incorporates the feedback we have received from many of our users regarding errors and inconsistencies of the spelling and content of the subspecies taxa, and authors and dates of publication. Special acknowledgement must be given to Colin Jones for the many dedicated hours he has spent collaborating with us in this regard. Thanks to all of you for your continued interest and invaluable contributions.
David Donsker April 25, 2012