Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Birds

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A barnstar for everyone here[edit]

Tireless Contributor Barnstar.gif The Tireless Contributors' Barnstar
For making Wikipedia's coverage of bird species so complete! This is extraordinary, astonishing, and simply wonderful! Well done all! Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:05, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
On behalf of all of us at the project, thanks for your kind words, Anna! MeegsC (talk) 00:56, 13 October 2016 (UTC)
Generally in the 99% for extant birds. Extinct "birds" is a different story.. Shyamal (talk) 04:30, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

Edit war[edit]

Couiros22 [contributions] has been systematically restoring individual country categories across many articles, despite this being against policy, and removing categories he/she doesn't like, specifically Category:Birds of Europe. He/she just keeps reverting and has broken WP:3RR at least Aleutian tern, probably others by now, and seems unwilling to discuss or stop this disruption. I'm too close to this to take admin action myself, and I'm reluctant to see any editor blocked, but there must become way of getting this editor to engage with other editors and not just attempt to impose his/her own views without consensus Jimfbleak (talk) 05:45, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

Also reported at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Edit warring Jimfbleak (talk) 06:07, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

@Jimfbleak: regardless of edit-warring, the version before Couiros22 started changing the categories is clearly incomplete, since it only has Category:Birds of Europe, whereas the species occurs in North America and Asia. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:26, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

Peter coxhead, quite likely. I recently went through all the British lists checking that they had the Europe category, and removing individual country cats. I didn't check for any other categories. One argument against individual country cats is, in fact, that they are always incomplete since editors add their pet categories rather than all relevant ones Jimfbleak (talk) 13:03, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

Hi, I have recently been updating geographical categories on many bird articles, mainly for the following reasons:

- Bird species are usually classified according to their geographical area by simply indicating the name of the continent(s) on which they are found (e.g. "Birds of Africa", "birds of North America" etc.) ; which can however be rather approximate and misleading and I think it would be wiser to include more refined geographical sub-categories in order to reflect the geographical area of repartition.

e.g. The stilt and the buff-headed sandpipers only occur in Alaska and Canada's far north; which is why I suggested to refine the classification data by replacing "Birds of North America" (very approximate and misleading, given it may suggest that the species occurs throughout the whole continent) by "Birds of Alaska" and "Birds of Canada" which would be much more precise and less misleading.

- Most academic bird list inventories generally indicate a bird's range of presence by only quoting the birds' breeding range (where they spend most of the year), the non-breeding range either mentioned separately or ignored (cf. IOC World Bird List). Likewise, I think only the breeding range should be taken into account on Wikipedia and that birds' wintering ranges could be categorized separately (e.g. "Wintering birds of Australia").

To elicit both examples, the Aleutian tern was up until now categorized as "Birds of North America" and "Birds of Europe" - yet according to every major ornithological reference, the species only occurs in northwestern coastal areas of the continent - and nearly none of them indicate its breeding presence in Europe throughout the year. Hence, wouldn't the terms "Birds of the Aleutian Islands" and "birds of Alaska" be a much more suitable and valid categorization?

At present, Jimfbleak seems unwilling to follow any further pragmatic discussion, deems that geographical subcategories (e.g. 'birds of Tibet', 'birds of Manchuria', 'birds of Alaska' etc.) as "unneeded" and has accused me of edit warring and having an « agenda »...

Therefore I would like to address and politely request other users' opinion regarding this problematic. --Couiros22 (talk) 10:36, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

  • Comment I'm only a very occasional "bird editor", and not a member of this WikiProject, but I think there is a general problem with classifying the geographical distribution of organisms, which needs some cross-WikiProject input. Clearly there's a special issue with birds, and perhaps there should be a separate set of subcategories "Category:Breeding birds of ..." However, the more general issue remains: political categories are simply not appropriate for classifying the distribution of organisms. As one example, we have many organisms put into "Category:Xs of the United States", yet this includes both Hawaii and Alaska, with very different biogeographies. At WP:WikiProject Plants, we attempted to enforce the internationally accepted World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions (WGSRPD), but this has simply ended up yet another set of categories since other editors insist on adding national categories where these differ from the WGSRPD (for what often seem to me to be nationalistic reasons). Perhaps WikiProject Birds can set an example? Peter coxhead (talk) 10:52, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
Couiros22, thank you for posting here, and starting a discussion. The point I was making on your talk page is that you can't just make up your own policy and remove or revert the edits of other good faith editors without a discussion. There is a debate to be had about the role and definition of categories, but it should be a debate, not just imposing your personal viewpoint through edit warring.
Peter coxhead, my preference is to have as few geographical categories as possible. For widespread species, such as short-eared owl you could have 100 or more categories. Having separate breeding and wintering (and presumably passage) categories just over-elaborates even more. Do you count spotted sandpiper as a European breeding bird— it's certainly bred in Europe? Black tern is a common passage bird in the UK but neither breeds nor winters. Couiros22, just counting breeding birds is anyway highly misleading. Pink-footed goose is the most numerous wildfowl species in the UK in winter, but doesn't breed here, so on your reckoning it's not a British bird. With good will, these problems can be brought to a consensus, thank you for opening a debate Jimfbleak (talk) 12:59, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
Jimfbleak I've spent a lot of time working on categorizing plant distributions, and a bit on spider distributions, so I hope you won't mind me commenting here. It seems to me that there are two principles that are important:
  • The basic unit should be a contiguous geographical area or a biogeographically sensible collection of contiguous geographical areas, ruling out many politically defined units, e.g., the United States, Ecuador (because this includes the very different mainland Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands) or the UK (because this includes Northern Island, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands but excludes the Republic of Ireland).
  • Categories should always be migrated upwards where possible, so any organism found in a large number of subunits of a larger unit should be categorized at the larger unit, e.g. an organism found in a large number of countries in Africa should be categorized as "of Africa", not "of Kenya", "of Tanzania", "of Nigeria", "of Mali", "of Ghana", etc.
Whether there should be separate categories for breeding distributions isn't for me to say, although I note that field guides usually take care to distinguish the breeding range from the overall range. Clearly it would be wrong to categorize bird distributions only by their breeding ranges. I'll leave the rest of the discussion to birders! Peter coxhead (talk) 14:04, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

Linking species to geographical areas serves at least two different purposes: indicating relatively precisely where the species may be found (when breeding, wintering, etc.), and creating convenient lists of species that are relevant for someone living in or visiting a larger region (such as country or continent). Both purposes are useful and valid, and I think the Wikipedia should ideally contain both kinds of information. My own interest in this comes from wanting to extract my own multilingual glossary of names of birds in Europe, or Western Europe, or perhaps just in the Iberian peninsula (in the languages that are relevant to me personally). The mapping from species to names is available in Wikidata, but I cannot find any non-manual way to select the species that occur in any such convenient region. (Sure, doing it manually wouldn't be such a big deal, but I just use this as an example for why this kind of information is useful.) Incidentally, it would be great if the raw information for all such lists could be moved to Wikidata and extracted back to the Wikipedia from there. Eihek (talk) 12:00, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

Gallirallus or Hypotaenidia?[edit]

While working on the Tahiti rail article, I noticed that, unlike with most other bird articles here, we don't follow Birdlife/IUCN on whether to use the generic names Gallirallus or Hypotaenidia (which is a redirect to the former here) for various species of rails. All the species are lumped in Gallirallus here. Is there any good reason for this, or should we follow Birdlife? FunkMonk (talk) 17:24, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

Difficult. According to BirdLife (BLI and HBW illustrated Checklist, 2014) and H&M Non-Passerines (2013), Hypotaenidia is distinct from Gallirallus (versus IOC which doesn't recognize Hypotaenidia). Winkler et al (Bird Families of the World, 2015) include 10 species in Hypotaenidia, including the Okinawa rail, the Tahiti rail, and the Dieffenbach's rail --Melly42 (talk)
Oh yeah, I forgot that Wikipedia follows IOC before the others. But do we know what studies their decisions are based on? Who has published the rival schemes? Because I think it needs to be noted specifically in the articles, now it is left extremely vague... FunkMonk (talk) 18:04, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
Seems to be an old case of lumping "The species philippensis, owstoni, wakensis, torquatus, and striatus have either been combined with Rallus or segregated as a separate genus Hypotaenidia. Peters (1934) recognized Hypotaenidia as a subgenus of Rallus although he placed striatus in the subgenus Rallus. I recently revived the use of Hypotaenidia (Olson, 1973) but as we shall see below, this name must ultimately give way to Gallirallus." (Olson, 1973) - and re-emphasised in 2011 by Olson and Rauzon - "Hypotaenidia was long subsumed in the nearly cosmopolitan genus Rallus, until its distinctiveness in plumage, particularly the strongly barred primaries (Frontispiece) and osteology (Olson 1973, Steadman 1987), were deemed sufficient to separate them. The flightless Weka (Gallirallus australis) of New Zealand clearly belonged with this group and the species were included under the older name Gallirallus (Olson 1973). Mayr (1949:4) considered Rallus wakensis to be among several ‘‘strikingly different’’ geographical representatives of the Buff-banded Rail (Rallus [Gallirallus] philippensis). Fuller (2001:127) stated that ‘‘Rallus wakensis seems to have only barely passed the point at which separate status as a species is appropriate.’’ However, Kirchman (2009), in a phylogeny based on mitochondrial DNA, found that Gallirallus wakensis, G. owstoni (Guam), and G. ripleyi (extinct Tonga), among others, were basal to G. philippensis." Olson 2011 doi:10.1676/11-029.1 Shyamal (talk) 04:11, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
And Kirchman 2012 doi:10.1525/auk.2011.11096 recommends "All previously recognized genera are either monotypic or non-monophyletic, and I advocate lumping nearly all species into a broadly defined Gallirallus sensu lato" - Also see Garcia-Ramirez, Gibb, Trewick 2014 for a larger overview of the Rallidae. Shyamal (talk) 04:22, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, hmmm, so seems there's not going to be any kind of consensus soon... FunkMonk (talk) 07:59, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
I think Hypotaenidia should be accepted when it is reinstate in recent literature --Melly42 (talk) 13:07, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
so there is no consensus on Wikipedia when it comes to taxonomy. The project has standardized on the IOC for English names, but nothing else.....I've been taking a conservative approach with tax, using the NACC of the AOU for North America, the SACC of the AOU for South America, and then Clements and the IOC (when they match) for anything else, otherwise I leave it as is. I'd look at H&M, but there is nothing on line, and books tend to outdate pretty quickly once they are published. I do use the IUCN occasionally (they are pretty good with pelagic birds), but a lot of their material is dated, and they don't let you know when they update. I notice a few of you reference published papers, but it's hard to know which ones get accepted, and which ones don't.........hope that helps.....Pvmoutside (talk) 01:52, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
Ok, so I think in case of the Tahiti rail, I'll just mention there are competing views on this issue... FunkMonk (talk) 08:55, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

Mangrove Swallow - Info[edit]

Anybody have anything to contribute to the Mangrove swallow article? There is really a lack of information on it, and it is kind of unorganized, even with my recent edition of some headers and such. Also, is there any really good example of a bird article that I could look at to possibly further organize and develop the page? It would be great if we could get that article out of the start state. Any help or contribution is appreciated. RileyBugz (talk) 15:17, 6 November 2016 (UTC)

You could model it on featured articles. Barn swallow seems to be the closest featured relation. FunkMonk (talk) 15:22, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
@FunkMonk:Thanks, but what should I put for the section related to where they nest, live and such. I don't want to call it "Habitat and Range", but I think I might have to. Any suggestions? RileyBugz (talk) 15:36, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
"Distribution" could also work. FunkMonk (talk) 15:40, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for helping! Please, tell me if you see anything out of order. Also, it would be great if somebody could add more sources. We only have a few of them so far. RileyBugz (talk) 15:59, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
We need sourcing for the mangrove swallow's diet. Please go to the Mangrove swallow to edit this. RileyBugz (talk) 16:23, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
I'm in Sri Lanka on a tour, so don't have time to contribute directly, but here's a source link: Foraging Behavior of Mangrove Swallows at Barro Colorado Island MeegsC (talk) 16:41, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
Thanks! Seems it will be useful for behaviors and such. RileyBugz (talk) 17:02, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
We need the wingspan of the mangrove swallow along with sources. It would also be nice to get some pictures of them, with their sex and whether they are an adult or juvenile. Thank you to everybody who has helped develop the article so far! RileyBugz (talk) 18:33, 6 November 2016 (UTC)
Have you checked here? References are listed too. MeegsC (talk) 10:07, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
@MeegsC: I have used and referenced that source, but still, thank you!RileyBugz (talk) 01:24, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
RileyBugz, I'll send the Turner stuff soon, ref will be <ref name="Turner">{{cite book |title=Swallows & Martins: An Identification Guide and Handbook |last1=Turner |first1=Angela K |last2=Rose|first2= Chris |location=Boston |publisher=Houghton Mifflin |year=1989 |isbn= 0-395-51174-7 }} p101–102</ref> Jimfbleak - talk to me? 13:32, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
Thanks! RileyBugz (talk) 22:16, 10 November 2016 (UTC)
I think that the mangrove swallow article is on the verge of becoming a C-Class article. I think if a few more people contribute and add sources, then we will be able to get this to a C-Class article. We are so close!RileyBugz (talk) 01:46, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
RileyBugz, I think you are doing a great job on improving this, some comments
  • The lead section should summarise the text and therefore normally doesn't need refs. I normally leave the lead until last to make sure it's an accurate summary.
  • You have a one-sentence distribution section; I think you should add the habitat stuff to that, also seasonal movements
  • "Call" is a very short section, if it can't be expanded, just lump it into "Description"
  • I'll add something on taxonomy in the near future, other than that, I think you probably have enough sources for C grade already
Jimfbleak - talk to me? 07:34, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

FA plea[edit]

We are beginning to have a problem with WP:FA in that the supply coming through WP:FAC isn't keeping up with WP:TFA. There's only so much one project can do, but if anyone who has done one before feels like another go, that would help. Similarly, an FA virgin might fancy a go. Between us we can help with sources, guidance and reviewing if anyone is motivated to take on the challenge Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:27, 24 November 2016 (UTC)