About the Book

Birds have long held a unique dual role as a model group for scientists and as the focus of birders’ passionate quests. Despite centuries of observation, each year brings the discovery and description of several entirely new avian species and hundreds of other taxonomic “splits” or “lumps” based on DNA data.

In today’s arena of continuous taxonomic change, The Clements Checklist presents the most up-to-date and most widely endorsed compendium of the more than 9,930 species of birds recognized by the scientific and birding communities. In taxonomic sequence, this checklist provides the scientific and English name of each species and a description of the worldwide range of each species and subspecies.

Through five editions, Clements’s book served as the master checklist relied upon by birders, ornithologists, conservationists, and other scientists. Before his untimely death in June 2005, Clements had nearly completed a sixth edition of this masterpiece of the world’s biodiversity of birds. Thanks to a generous gift from Karen Clements, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is pleased to announce its role in continuing the legacy of this authoritative reference of the birds of the world.

Features of the Clements Checklist

  • Comprehensive indexes with all taxa listed by English and scientific names
  • Tables and maps showing the world distribution of total bird species and endemics by geographic area, which will be of special interest to conservationists
  • Space to record the location and date of individual sightings, thereby providing the user with a personalized ornithological journal

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has accepted the job of maintaining the ever-changing list of species, subspecies, English names, and approximate distributions, beginning with publication of the 6th edition. We are accomplishing this ongoing task using the considerable expertise of our research ornithologists on staff, aided enormously by input from knowledgeable professional and amateur cooperators worldwide. We invite input on known or suspected errors or updates at any time.

We will post all errors in the printed volume as soon as these come to our attention and we confirm them. On a regular basis, we will post updates to the taxonomy, scientific and English nomenclature, and range descriptions. Birders with suggested taxonomic changes, suggestions, or questions are invited to submit their queries to cornellbirds@cornell.edu.

The most established resource on the taxonomy and biogeography of birds for the birding community, the Clements Checklist is the official world checklist of the American Birding Association (ABA) and is used as the authoritative reference in the birding competitions and listing activities of this preeminent North American organization for serious birders.

About the Authors

The late James F. Clements, a partner in the successful printing firm of George Rice & Sons, was a naturalist, entrepreneur, and adventurer. Jared Diamond is professor of Geography and Physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Anthony White is chair of the American Birding Association Recording and Ethics Committee. John W. Fitzpatrick is Emeritus Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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