RC decisions 2018

RC decisions 2018

At the meeting of the Records Committee on 23 January 2018, the following decisions were made.

Additions to Cat. I of the HK List
Black Noddy Anous minutus on 18 June 2017 at Kung Chau.
Chinese Bush Warbler Locustella tacsanowskia, singles trapped at Mai Po on 5th and 30 September 2014.
Rook Corvus frugilegus from 1 November 2017 into 2018 at Mai Po and Lut Chau.

The HK List now stands at 552 species in Cat. I and Cat. II.

A record of Iceland Gull remains under review, while the category of Desert Wheatear on 19 February 2013 remains under discussion.

Records of putative Large-billed Leaf Warblers on Po Toi in spring 2016 and 2017 were reviewed with Per Alstrom, whose conclusion was that these were all Arctic Warblers showing atypically dark legs and/or bill. Jonathan Martinez also reported having seen such birds on migration in south China. Consequently, Large-billed Leaf Warbler is not on the HK List.

Sound recordings of various taxa of Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia were reviewed, including recordings made in HK on 19-20 April, 17 May and 13 June 2000. It was agreed that the latter all matched the southern subspecies malayanus; currently, only stictonotus is known from HK. A paper is under preparation.

The publication of updated versions of the IOC List has resulted in a small number of changes to nomenclature of birds recorded in HK. These are incorporated in the updated HK List.

Geoff Carey
Chairman, Records Committee


At the meeting of the Records Committee on 25 April 2018, the following additions to the HK List were agreed.

Category I

Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus. One filmed at Nam Sang Wai by TVB on 13 March 2018. Communication with TVB confirmed that the footage was not sourced elsewhere.

Category III

Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae on 24 June 2016 sound recorded at Kop Tong Village.

Monk Parakeet Myiopstitta monachus photographed on 12 October 2016 at Long Valley.

Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii photographed on 30 March 2017 on Po Toi. Research based on photographs and skins indicated that this bird appears to be the Taiwanese taxon O.t. ardens. However, correspondence with Taiwan observers indicates that it is not known to make regular movements away from its breeding grounds, and is considered rare on the Taiwanese coast.

Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti photographed at HK International Airport on 19 February 2013. Damage and missing feathers indicated this bird is likely to have been ex-captive.

In addition, Version 8.1 of the IOC List amended the taxon of Black-backed Swamphen from Porphyrio indicus viridis to Porphyrio poliocephalus viridis, a change in line with (though not in response to) the previous RC assessment. It was agreed to change the English name to Grey-headed Swamphen accordingly.

The HK List now stands at 553 species in Categories I and II. In the twenty years since the period covered by the Avifauna, the HK List has increased by 105 species (23%).

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman

[ Last edited by cgeoff at 6/06/2018 09:27 ]


At the meeting of the Records Committee on 9 August 2018, the following decisions were made.

Recent DNA analysis of Riparia martins indicates that birds occurring in Hong Kong are the east Siberia taxon ijimae of R. riparia (Sand Martin); the results were published in Schweizer et al. 2018 in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution ( There are currently no HK records of fohkienensis (PaleMartin R. diluta).
It was agreed to add Sand Martin to the HK List and remove Pale Martin

The inclusion by the IOC of Horornis(diphone) canturians within H. borealis means that ‘Japanese Bush Warbler H. diphone’ must be removed from the HK List. The scientific name of Manchurian Bush Warbler changes to H. canturians, with two subspecies: nominate canturians and borealis.

In view of the lack of compelling reasons otherwise, it was decided to remove Caspian Gull, and treat mongolicus as a subspecies of Vega Gull Larus vegae, in line with IOC treatment.

The HK List now stands at 551 species in Category I and II.


The following species were added to Cat III of HK List:

- Sahel Paradise Whydah Vidua orientalis (one recorded at Tuen Mun on 12 October 2016).
- Cordilleran Parakeet Psittacara frontatus (one recorded at Long Valley on 17 October 2016).

In the interests of maintaining some stability and to make it slightly easier for those submitting records at the end of each calendar year, it was agreed that an updated HK list including taxonomic changes would be published once a year, in January.

It was agreed to remove White-spectacled Warbler from the list of species requiring an Unusual Report Form to be submitted.

It was also agreed to accept without further substantiation field records of Sakhalin and Pale-legged Leaf Warblers in which the call was heard clearly enough to differentiate between the higher frequency call of Pale-legged and the lower frequency call of Sakhalin (see Hungnon et al. Forktail 33 (2017): 77-80). It should be noted that the calls of the two are very similar in structure, but that careful attention to the pitch, especially in comparison with other species, should allow identification. The typical call of Pale-legged Leaf Warbler is at a frequency of around 5700hz, which is similar to that of Yellow-browed Warbler, while the typical call of Sakhalin is at a frequency of around 4700hz, somewhat lower.

The latest version of the IOC List (8.2) includes a number of other changes relevant to the HK List, including the split of the Magpie complex, the inclusion of Seicercus within Phylloscopus and the placement of Locustella species within Helopsaltes.

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman

[ Last edited by cgeoff at 10/09/2018 17:15 ]