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.).
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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
- WikiProject Poultry
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Feel free to request assistance with references at the reference request desk and any bird-related assistance on the talk page.
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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 and some groups are known only by their scientific name.
Ornithology publications usually capitalise the vernacular name of a species to differentiate it from more general terms. Following discussions, it has been decided that capitals will be used on Wikipedia only for parts of the name that are proper names, consistent with practice in more general-audience publications.
In publications that capitalise, the phrase "in Australia there are many Common Starlings" clearly indicates a large number of Sturnus vulgaris, while the phrase "in Australia there are many common starlings" could indicate several different types of starling being common. Clearer formulation must be used in a non-capitalising publication like Wikipedia: e.g., "in Australia the common starling is numerous", vs. "in Australia many types of starling are common". Add binomial names in round brackets (parentheses) to reduce any ambiguity if necessary.
The topic of capitals has been discussed numerous times and discussions may be found in the archives. (Examples: 10-1, 7-1, 7-2, 2-1, 2-2, 2–3). And in 2014, a request for comments settled that lower case will be used, as consistent with other taxa.
The International Ornithological Congress (IOC), which has tried to standardize the English-language vernacular names of birds, uses capitalized names. In the vast majority of Wikipedia articles the IOC names are used, in lower case except where parts of the name refer to a proper noun (e.g. New Zealand scaup). Wikipedia article titles may diverge from the IOC list when the most common name in reliable sources is different from the IOC name.
When creating a new article for a species, make sure the title is correctly capitalised and create a redirect from the capitalised IOC name. For example, name the article Bald eagle (and write "bald eagle" in the text) but create a redirect to it from Bald Eagle. See the table at right for more examples.
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 common name of a particular species is not capitalised, except where proper names appear (e.g. common blackbird, metallic starling, emu, ostrich, New Zealand scaup).
- The name of a group of species is not capitalised (e.g. birds, thrush family, kingfishers, turtle doves, marsh harriers).
- Alternative common 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.
- The placements in families and genera as well as the boundaries of the species are themselves not always unambiguous or without debate. Although the IOC list is usually up-to-date, new species, and large scale phylogenetic studies may sometimes suggest alternate placements (both binomial combinations as well as higher level classification). These alternate positions are best included with citations with the taxonomic history, older combinations and rationale explained with citations in 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.
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