By Jim Williams
If you have interest in browsing through 10,331 names of the world’s birds here’s the Web site for you: http://www.worldbirdnames.org/. This list supplements the book “Birds of the World” by Frank Gill and Minturn Wright (Princeton University Press, 2006). The list uses standardized English names. It classifies the birds in 42 Orders, 226 Families, and 2,199 Genera. The site updates summaries of new species and proposed splits. (A split is determination by scientists that what was thought to be one bird species actually is two or more. Those decisions these days are based almost entirely on DNA study.) The list can be downloaded as HTML or Excel files. It is the work of Frank Gill, M. Wright, and D. Donsker. The list was created on behalf of the International Ornithological Conference. AND WHAT are Orders, Families, and Genera? The classification of living and extinct organisms is called taxonomy. There are nine classifications leading to a specific species: life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. For example, our common crow, the American Crow, is in the kingdom Animalia (animals), the phylum Chordates (animal with a spine), the class Aves (birds), the order Passeriformes ( perching birds), the family Corvidae (crows, ravens, jays, and magpies), and the genus Corvus (crows and ravens), which brings us to the species American Crow.