Birding Site Guide


If I was a birder going to a biome once in a lifetime, I think I would want to know about all the uncommon, difficult or restricted range species I could possibly see there. I would want a list therefore that covered all restricted range species all threatened and near-threatened species and all endemics. 

BENES lists are the only list available which cover all restricted range species, all endemics and all threatened and near-threatened species for the whole area of a biome. EBA lists only cover the area of the biome that restricted range species occur in, they do not cover a whole biome if the restricted range species do not occur throughout. This is the biggest and most important difference between EBA lists (with or without other threatened species noted) and BENES lists. There are other differences. 

EBA (Endemic Bird Areas lists, BirdLife International) are areas where 2 or more restricted range species overlap, and this may only be in part of a biome. This is because EBAs do not cover restricted range species if only one species occurs in the area. They do not cover threatened or near threatened species unless they also have restricted ranges (to be fair BirdLife list these in the text of their books and website). They do not cover biome endemics either, unless they are restricted range. Biomes are usually much larger than the 50,000km2 of the restricted range species limit. BENES lists are designed to cover all of the above for the whole biome. 

Admittedly biomes can be big, and in large biomes it is possible to eliminate many species from a possible list just on range alone. But if visiting several sites in a large biome (say the Atlantic forest) then it is far easier to start with a complete list for the biome to be visited than trying to construct a list from field guides and trip reports. Besides field guides are often out of date, especially the maps, global status is usually not given or is out of date and names and taxonomy change, along with new species being added. Every species on every BENES lists was checked for range on the most up-to-date range maps on the internet (WWF Wildfinder and NatureServe: InfoNatura) all status’s were checked with BirdLife International and all names and taxonomy made to follow Clements (and so HBW). Yes, I suffered making these BENES lists, the Amazonian Lowlands list took about 15 days work alone. Rather than leave all that work collecting dust, I decided to make it available for everyone for free on my website, I hope you find it useful. 

BENES LISTS only cover South America at the moment and can be found in the NEOTROPIC section. Also for info on the worlds' biomes visit World Wildlife Fund page