The aim of this WikiProject is to set out broad suggestions about how we organize data articles about birds and related topics. In general, these are only suggestions, and you shouldn't feel obliged to follow them.
This WikiProject aims to help organise our rapidly growing collection of articles about birds. Included in its scope are articles for all known species, genera, families, and orders of birds (both extant and extinct), as well as articles relating to bird anatomy, physiology, evolution, behaviours, diseases and parasites. Also included are articles relating to the study (ornithology) and the keeping (aviculture) of birds, articles on ornithological organisations, biographies of notable ornithologists and their works, and lists of birds found in various human-defined areas (i.e. countries, states/provinces, counties, etc.).
- Related projects
This WikiProject is an offshoot of WikiProject Tree of Life.
- WikiProject Biology
- WikiProject Tree of Life
- WikiProject Animals
- (WikiProject Amphibians and Reptiles, and then
- WikiProject Dinosaurs, if you're a cladist)
- WikiProject Birds
- Domestic pigeon task force
Related projects include:
We currently have five Featured Topics, 257 Featured Pictures, 122 Featured Articles, 22 Featured Lists, two Featured Sounds and 84 Good Articles. Here's the list.
The following users are available to offer assistance with improving articles towards Good Article and Featured Article standard. Casliber (including maps now) · Jimfbleak (not graphics or maps) · MeegsC · Sabine's Sunbird . Shyamal (SVG illustrations) · SP-KP Journals and other reference material can be requested at reference request desk.
These articles are currently under consideration for upgrading
Former FA or GA content includes
The list of spoken articles concerning WikiProject Birds is found here.
Guidelines for layout of bird articles
Bird names and article titles
In general, use the formal common name for article titles.
Sometimes exceptions need to be made; some individual creatures (usually newly discovered ones) do not yet have a formal common name. Some distinct groups are known only by their scientific name. Artamidae, for example, is a much better title than Woodswallows, butcherbirds, currawongs and the Australian Magpie.
The common name of a species is always capitalised to differentiate it from more general terms. The names of biological species are treated as proper nouns. The phrase "in Australia there are many Common Starlings" indicates a large number of Sturnus vulgaris. In contrast, the phrase "in Australia there are many common starlings" indicates several different types of starling. This topic has been discussed often before and discussions may be found in the archives. (Examples: 10-1, 7-1, 7-2, 2-1, 2-2, 2–3). There is also a global committee set up as part of the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) which has tried to standardize the English names of birds.
When creating a new article for a species, make sure the title is correctly capitalised and always create a redirect from the uncapitalised form. For example, name the article Bald Eagle but create a redirect to it from bald eagle. See the table at right for more examples. Creating the redirect is not optional.
Note that the convention for capitalisation of names applies primarily to articles about birds, not to articles on taxa other than birds, or to the encyclopaedia as a whole. Contributors to other areas of the encyclopedia (botany, politics, music, sport, and so on) cannot be expected to know or conform to the conventions of ornithology. Someone writing on a sports team called the "Christchurch King Penguins" may refer to "king penguins" without worrying about species capitalisation rules. And if they make an in-text link to king penguin, it should be redirected to King Penguin. It is the responsibility of the writer on King Penguins, not the writer on sports, to make the redirect.
Per this discussion, the consensus style to write the combination of common name plus scientific name in the lead is bolded common name followed by unbolded italicised scientific name in parentheses:
- The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a passerine bird....
Summary of naming guidelines – common names
- The name of a particular species is always capitalised; Common Blackbird, Metallic Starling, Emu, Ostrich, Western Marsh Harrier.
- The word immediately following a hyphen in a species name is usually not capitalised; Red-winged Blackbird, Black-backed Butcherbird. Exceptions include cases where the two sides of the hyphen refer to bird families and the species belongs to the group after the hyphen. Thus "White-throated Quail-Dove" being a dove rather than a quail has the "Dove" with capitals. The formatting of names such as "Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike" where the bird is neither a cuckoo nor a shrike are somewhat disputed. The IOC leans towards avoiding hyphens and using options such as "Cuckooshrike" or "Cuckoo Shrike" while other groups prefer the older system of hyphens in these cases.
- The name of a group of species is not capitalised; birds, thrush family, kingfishers, turtle doves, marsh harriers.
- Alternative names should be mentioned where appropriate; with bold type in the opening line of the article if they are in wide use, elsewhere in the article (with or without the bold type) if they are less-used. This is usually a matter for individual judgement.
Summary of naming guidelines – scientific names
- Orders, families and other taxa above genus level are written with an initial capital and in roman (not italic) text: birds belong to the class Aves; ducks are members of the family Anatidae and the order Anseriformes.
- The names of genera are always italicised and capitalised: Turdus, Falco, Anas.
- Species epithets are never capitalised, always italicised, and always preceded by either the genus name or a one-letter abbreviation of it: Alcedo pusilla or A. pusilla, Cisticola juncidis or C. juncidis. The abbreviation is used only when it is unambiguous in the context of the article.
It is recommended for the sake of consistency that regional lists are named as List of birds of _REGION_ rather than List of _REGION_ADJECTIVE_ birds.
Most of the bird species articles have a common structure which include various combinations of the following:
- Taxonomy and systematics (including subspecies, relation to related species, history of naming, alternate names, and evolution)
- Description (often including details on immature plumage, moult, vocalisations, identification, and similar species)
- Distribution and habitat
- Behaviour and ecology
- Food and feeding
- Threats or Survival
- In culture or Relationship to humans
Additional sections may be included to cover aspects that are particularly interesting or well studied in that species.
In general, bird articles should have taxoboxes. This is something we have inherited from the Tree of Life WikiProject. There are many examples there to look at.
See Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life/taxobox usage for the full details on constructing a taxobox.
Taxoboxes on the bird pages vary quite a bit from one another and could perhaps be standardised more than they are right now. This may or may not be a good thing. Discussion of this is welcome.
There are several example bird taxoboxes, suitable for cut and paste insertion into entries:
A good way to show a bird's area of occurrence is to add a distribution map; see the above example on how. Species with tiny areas of occurrence should get larger maps which are displayed thumbnailed.
As for colors, the following are generally accepted as literature standard, for example by the Handbook of Birds of the World:
- Breeding visitor
- Non-breeding visitor
- Introduced range
For species that do not migrate, a single color can be used as in the example. At-sea range of birds like albatrosses is usually marked in darker or lighter blue. Small islands can be marked with a larger dot and/or shown magnified in inserts. Migration flyways are often indicated with arrows. Areas of irruptive occurrence- more regular and plentiful than casual vagrancy, such as in crossbill species – can be indicated by colored stippling.
It is good to use basic, web-safe colors. If using nonstandard coloration (e.g. Arctic Tern or Silvery Pigeon), it is important to annotate them. Former ranges of extinct birds can be indicated in dark grey (HBW standard) or red (many other), the former is probably preferable due to unambiguity.
The "HBW standard" colors have one major advantage: they can also, due to differences in brightness, be distinguished by almost all people with some sort of color blindness.