*eBird Redpoll Update*

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
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*eBird Redpoll Update*

Postby RussCannings » Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:50 am

Hi all,

After much discussion back and forth, it has been decided that all flammea (i.e. "Common") redpolls entered into eBird (including historical records) will be converted to the cabaret (i.e. Lesser) Redpoll. Therefore by the end of the next two weeks, virtually all redpolls on the NZ ebird database will show up as Lesser and all regional checklists will show the Lesser option only. The only exception might be when an observer has carefully identified a bird to the flammea taxa and provides evidence (e.g. Photographs/DNA/field notes, etc.)--this will be treated on a case-by-case basis.

Reasons for this change:
1) Lesser Redpoll appears to be the predominant taxa occurring in NZ based on phenotypic appearance
2) While small number of genetic sampling studies suggest some flammea (Common) genes out there in the population, this is likely fairly minimal
3) Most eBird users are not aware of the complexities of redpoll identification or the complicated history of redpolls in NZ which makes having two available options quite confusing/annoying for most.
4) The conservative option of "redpoll sp." was considered, however it made more sense to use a full species designation since this is unquestionably a well established member of NZ's breeding avifauna (Think Mallard)
5) This is a non-native introduction so let's not get too ruffled about this right?

It is unfortunate that this will contradict what virtually all NZ fieldguides put forward, but hopefully most field observers will rightly assume that the only redpoll taxa available on the list must be the same one mentioned in the guide (Splits happen all the time right?)

If you have any questions about the history of redpoll studies in NZ, search up the many informative threads elsewhere on this site or in the OSNZ publication archives. If you want to find out more about redpoll taxonomy worldwide there is plenty of material out there to Google.

If you have any questions/comments related to this change on eBird NZ--please feel free to post on this thread.


Russ Cannings
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Re: *eBird Redpoll Update*

Postby andrewcrossland » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:40 pm

Good decision!
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Re: *eBird Redpoll Update*

Postby BruceW » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:26 pm

Hi Russ,

Thanks for clarifying the situation with regards to reporting of Redpolls on eBird. I am planning a three week trip to NZ for later this year and it's only when I started to receive "needs alerts" for Lesser Redpoll that I started to research it and came across the various discussions on BirdingNZ.

The eBird records however still reflect many Common Redpoll records throughout NZ, probably many more records than Lesser Redpoll. I have never received any notification from eBird that the Common Redpoll sightings need to be changed to Lesser Redpoll, so unless you are a local birder how would you know about the changes? Presumably you can't change individual eBird lists unless there has been agreement from eBird USA?

Bruce Wedderburn
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Re: *eBird Redpoll Update*

Postby Grahame » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:36 am

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Re: *eBird Redpoll Update*

Postby RussCannings » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:01 pm

Thanks Bruce,

This is something that Cornell (ebird HQ) is supposed to be sorting out automatically behind he scenes. Clearly still a lot to sort out but I'll aim to follow that up. All personal records should be automatically converted.


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