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Recent RC decisions

Recent RC decisions

At the meeting of the Records Committee on 21st November 2011, the following decisions were made.

Additions to the HK List
A Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii was found in very weak condition at Cheung Sha Wan on 24th June 2011, shortly after the close approach of Tropical Storm Haima. It was collected by AFCD staff, but subsequently died in the animal management centre on 27 June. The species is added to Category I of the HK List.

A record of White Wagtail Motacilla alba baicalensis on 23 January 2007 at Yuen Long was accepted as the first record of this taxon in HK.

Grey-cheeked Fulvetta
The current designation of birds in HK as Alcippe morrisonia is incorrect, as this name refers to birds in Taiwan, according to a recent taxonomic review based on genetic analysis. It is not known whether birds occurring in HK are David’s Fulvetta A. davidi from western China or Huet’s Fulvetta A. hueti from eastern China, which can be separated by song or DNA. It was agreed to remove the species from Cat III of the Hong Kong List until more is known about birds occurring in HK and Guangdong. ‘Grey-cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe morrisonia’ would be added to Appendix 2, for species removed from the List as a result of taxonomic changes.

Although this leaves us in the unsatisfactory position whereby a species that breeds at Tai Po Kau and possibly other mature areas of forest is not on the HK List, our uncertainty as to which species is present means we cannot adopt any other course. However, members of the RC are in the process of analyzing vocalisation data with a view to clarifying the situation in the next 6 months.

Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala sordida
The RC examined photographs of breeding males, comprising sordida from China, personata from Japan and nominate spodocephala from Mongolia and Russia, and compared them with photographs of supposed male sordida from HK. HK birds showed a much smaller area of black around the face and a smaller bill than is the case with sordida on the breeding grounds, and were consistent with nominate spodocephala from the eastern part of the range, which tend to be yellower below and more greenish-tinged on the head. It was unanimously agreed to remove the subspecies sordida from the Hong Kong List.

The new HK List, revised in accordance with the above and with recent amendments to the order and nomenclature in line with IOC changes, will be uploaded shortly.

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman

[ Last edited by cgeoff at 13/12/2011 08:35 ]


Where was the baicalensis White Wagtail seen Geoff?


Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee


Dear Geoff,

The last upload of the HK List is July 2010.  Is there a newer version?  I think the English version better come out first, then the Chinese version could follow soon.

Also, since the record committee also look at subspecies.  Should the HK List include subspecies as well?

HF Cheung

[ Last edited by HFCheung at 9/02/2012 14:22 ]


Ho Fai,

We are in the process of preparing a HK List that includes subspecies. As you will appreciate, however, this is quite timie-consuming.

As for the latest revised list, we will agree this at our next RC meeting on 13th Feb, and I will upload the new version as soon as possible afterwards.

There was a recent revision to the IOC List that I wanted to include, and this held things up slightly.




Contrary to Ho-fais comments, I was able to easily find a list update dating from 2011, which includes species first recorded towards the end of 2010 (Taiga Bean Goose, Eurasian Roller). Check this link:
http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/view ... &extra=page%3D1

Perhaps the issue is not with the RC as accused, but with a lack of communication which has resulted in the updated list not being uploaded onto the HKBWS website 'Download' section.


Thank for the information.  I believe the HK list deserves more publicity.  May I suggest that a scheduled update at least once a year, or an update after every RC decision that involve a change in the list?

HF Cheung


I believe we already do an update at least annually, at least recently. We usually do a new list each time amendments are made. It's just that with IOC List making changes that affected the HK List in both October and January, things have been held up a little.

As for 'publicity', I'll leave that to the Society office.



The RC will have a meeting on 14th May, at which it is anticipated additions to the HK List will be made. In addition, the IOC is very shortly to issue a revised version of the List (according to its website: www.worldbirdnames.org). Consequently, we propose to issue a revised list very soon after that meeting.

Apologies for the delay with this latest revision.



Any update on the latest RC meeting?  Since the HK Bird Report will be printed soon.  It would be good to use the updated list (including the latest change in the IOC list that affect the HK list).

HF Cheung


Minutes of the latest Records Committee meeting are awaiting Geoff Carey's approval on his return from leave on 13th June. I'm sure he will publish details of this, plus a current HK List including the latest IOC changes, which is also awaiting his approval, shortly after his return.

The 2009-10 Annual Report should be published in July. It will follow the current HK List mentioned above although there are one or two small areas where it cannot, for various reasons, but these will be noted in the Report.

Geoff Welch
Secretary, Records Committee

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 7/06/2012 07:54 ]


Thanks, Geoff.  HKBWS runs a bilingual system.  It would good for the chinese name committee to learn these changes as soon as possible so that they have enough time to prepare.

HF Cheung


Apologies for the delay in providing a summary of recent RC decisions. These are as follows:

Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus on 24 March 2012 was accepted into Cat I as a First Record for Hong Kong; the subspecies is indicus.

A Red-crested Pochard at Mai Po on 9 March 2012 was accepted in terms of identity, but further work is required in regard to category.

The Grey-necked Bunting at Long Ke on 10 April 2012 was accepted in terms of identity, but further review is required with regard to category.

Japanese / Manchurian Bush Warbler
The IOC have recently revised the taxonomy of this complex based on the findings of Alstrom et al. (2011) (
http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2148-11-352.pdf). This has resulted in a change of genus name to Horornis, and the recognition of two species: Manchuria Bush Warbler H. borealis and Japanese Bush Warbler H. diphone, which includes the central Chinese breeding taxon that occurs in HK, canturians. A review of birds trapped for ringing over the years indicated that both species occur in HK, though the exact pattern of occurrence and habitat preferences of the two are as yet unclear. The net result is the addition of one species to Category I of the HK List.

It should also be noted that the treatment of canturians as a subspecies of diphone is tentative and that canturians may warrant species status (Alström et al. 2011) and as such a change of both English and scientific names may be required in the future.

Black-throated Tit appears to now be established in HK, mainly in the Tai Mo Shan massif. Accordingly, and in view of the fact that the early pattern of records suggests captive origin rather than natural colonisation, it has been added to Category IIA of the HK List.

Work on the identity of 'Grey-cheeked Fulvettas' (sensu lato) occurring in HK continues. If anybody has sound recordings of the song of birds in HK, the RC would like to obtain copies for research.

Two species were released from the requirement for support in the form of an Unusual Report Form: Lesser Frigatebird and Red-breasted Flycatcher (though as with all species, records atypical in any way may require substantiation).

The revised HK List will soon be uploaded to the website.
The List now stands at 513 species.

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman


I'm curious about the Northern Goshawk that was photographed at Mai Po. At the time, there seemed to be widespread consensus about the ID. Was it considered to be of captive origin?

[ Last edited by brendank at 22/06/2012 13:51 ]


I cannot work out how the HK List now stands at 513.

The post from RC on 22 Aug 2011 stated that "The HK List now stands at 508 species".
The post from RC on 12 Dec 2011 announced 1 addition (Bulwer’s Petrel) and 1 removal (Grey-cheeked Fulvetta).

The most recent post from RC on 22 June 2012 announced 3 additions (Brown-backed Needletail, Japanese / Manchurian Bush Warbler, Black-throated Tit).  

I guess I must have missed something.  I think RC need to prepare a full list to HKBWS for publicity.

HF Cheung


I will reply on Geoff Carey's behalf as he is away from HK at the moment.

It appears we omitted to report on the decisions taken at our meeting on 13 February (which is mentioned above). At that meeting, we accepted Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis of 11th December 2011 into Cat I as a First Record for Hong Kong. There were no other additions or deletions from the list.

At the previous meeting on 21 November 2011, Bulwer's Petrel was added to the List but 'Grey-cheeked Fulvetta' was moved from Cat III to Appendix II. Cat III species are not part of the official list as far as numbers are concerned so it was not in the 508. So the maths is

508 + Bulwer's Petrel + Northern Goshawk + Brown-backed Needletail + Japanese Bush Warbler + Black-throated Tit = 513

I hope that clarifies.

Other decisions taken at the 13 February meeting were to change Chinese Babax, Chestnut Munia and Baya Weaver into Cat IIC, which is reserved for species which no longer have self-sustaining populations in Hong Kong. This means they still remain on the HK List but in a special status. For details on Category definitions, please see page 30 of the 2007-08 Annual Report.

The reason no report and HK List was issued after 13 February was that the Committee did not agree on the handling of Japanese/Manchurian Bush Warbler until the 14 May meeting and Geoff did not want to issue a 'temporary' HK List. Now that agreement has been reached and a draft HK List has been approved, I will send it to the HKBWS Office for any necessary corrections to the Chinese names and it can then be formally posted on this website.

I agree that in future, we should publish the key decisions at any RC meeting after the meeting, even if it is 'no decision'. But this was one that dragged on rather and by the time agreement was reached, I regret we had forgotten that no publication on other decisions had been made.

Geoff Welch
Secretary, Records Committee

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 22/06/2012 17:53 ]


Thank you. That solve the mistery. I have already asked relevant people to work on the Chinese names.
Just a bit surprised to learn that even after these years, RC still consider "Grey-cheeked Fulvetta" not established in HK.

HF Cheung


No, there is no doubt now that it is established, we are just not sure which species it is.

The RC is trying to decide which of two (new) species it is, David's Fulvetta Alcippe davidi or Huet's Fulvetta Alcippe hueti. Either is possible but we know it is not Grey-cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe morrisonia which is the Taiwan species, because that looks different to the ones we have in Hong Kong. David's and Huet's can most easily be separated by voice which is why Geoff is asking for recordings. Once this is determined, it will go into either Cat IIA or Cat IIB.

I believe this all comes about because of a recent split of the Chinese Fulvettas.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 22/06/2012 18:16 ]


Sorry, I forgot to add.

At the 13 February meeting, the English name of Rufous-rumped Grassbird was changed to Chinese Grassbird, now accepted by IOC as a separate species Graminicola striatus, and Plain-tailed Warbler to Alstrom's Warbler, as recommended by IOC. These may need changes to the Chinese names.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 22/06/2012 18:30 ]


Given the acceptance of a Northern Goshawk into Category 1, are there any plans for review of old records, for instance the apparent influx of 1988-89, when I saw three: at Tai Po Kau in early December, Lai Chi Wo in very late December and Lam Tsuen Valley (with RWL and MDW) in late Jan? Neither of the first two were single observer birds either, and all were very safely identifiable as Northern - the first two were observed perched allowing coloration and patterning, including of the head to be easily seen, and the Lam Tsuen bird was observed as it flew over the valley mobbed by Large-billed Crows, leaving no doubts as to its massive size for an accipter, and all other key features were also noted.

Mike Turnbull


These records appear (with others) on page 5 of the 1993 HK Bird Report.
Geoff Carey was involved in this review and that mentioned on page 486 of The Avifauna.

I presume he will decide whether another review is necessary when he returns from UK.


Forgive me if I'm being slow, but I get more confused each time I try to understand the situation with Bush Warblers.

Are Manchurian Bush Warbler and Japanese Bush Warbler (ssp canturians) now two separate species on the Hong Kong list?

If this not correct could the RC please clarify.

I also see from the reference paper that:

  • Brownish-flanked Bush Warbler and Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler are no longer Cettia, but are also now Horornis and
  • Pale-footed Bush Warbler is no longer Cettia pallidipes, but now Urosphena pallidipes (same as Asian Stubtail)

Will HKBWS adopt this new taxonomy too?

Mike K

[ Last edited by kmike at 24/06/2012 15:38 ]
Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee


You are correct. Manchurian Bush Warbler and Japanese Bush Warbler are now two separate species on the Hong Kong List. Manchurian Bush Warbler is Horornis borealis and Japanese Bush Warbler is Horornis diphone ssp canturians.

The other taxonomic changes you have mentioned have also been adopted and you will see them when the new List is published. Geoff Carey did not mention them because they were taxonomic changes which only affect the order of species on the List. There are other taxonomic changes which also affect order but not species - e.g. all bradypterus warblers are now locustella.

Yellowish-bellied Bush Warbler is no longer on the List - it was deleted some time ago - for details see page 7 of the 2003-04 HKBR.     

Please note. The taxonomic changes are not decisions of the HKBWS Records Committee but of the International Ornithological Committee, which is the taxonomic authority which the RC automatically follow. The only decision required by the RC is how any new taxonomy affects the HK List.

In the case of Manchurian/Japanese Bush Warbler, the RC had to decide which of the two 'new' species should be on the HK List. In this case, it was decided that both had occurred in Hong Kong in the past. This was based on measurements of birds trapped over many years, mostly at MPNR, and compared to data given in 'Reed and Bush Warblers' Kennerley and Pearson, p598. I'm not sure they will be easy to separate from field observations but Kennerley and Pearson do discuss other differences and as Geoff says, there may also be differences in habitat or dates of occurrence but these are still under consideration.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 24/06/2012 19:58 ]


Thanks Geoff

Look forward to the updated list

Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee


3rd September decisions

At the 3rd September 2012 meeting of the Records Committee, the following decisions were agreed.

Red-crested Pochard 2012-03-09. Previously accepted as a first-year female, it was unanimously agreed to place this record into Category I, the first record of this species considered to have occurred naturally. Previous records continue to be regarded as of non-natural occurrence.

Grey-necked Bunting 2012-04-10 in Sai Kung. Previously accepted as an adult female, there was a 3-3 split between placing this species in Cat I and Cat III. In such cases, it is RC policy to adopt the more conservative approach, and to remain with the status quo. Should further records occur in the future, this can be reviewed.

Features counting against Cat I included the unusual tail feather placement visible in photographs and the date, which was considered early for a bird presumed to have flown from wintering grounds in northern India; the distance from there to HK is probably longer than the distance from northern India to Central Asian breeding grounds, and it is reasonable to expect occurrence in HK no earlier than the time it begins to occur on the breeding grounds (mid April). Although it is possible to postulate this was a bird that spent the winter in southeast Asia, there is no evidence that the latter occurs regularly, and the chances of such a bird arriving in HK are considered slim. Although there is a record from Vietnam in winter, we have no idea of the provenance of that bird. Furthermore, occurrence in spring is contrary to HK records of other species that winter in India, which generally occur in autumn. The only other regional record of a vagrant occurred in autumn in Japan, which is typical of other comparable species such as Black-headed and Red-headed Bunting, and Common Chiffchaff.

All-dark storm-petrel 2012-05-30. By a 5-1 vote, the RC accepted this record as that of an all-dark Storm-petrel sp, probably Swinhoe’s although it was not possible to eliminate Tristram’s or Matsudaira’s, based on the photographs.

Russet Sparrow: after a review of photographs, all 2011 records are considered likely to involve ex-captive individuals. Given this and after a review of all previous records, there was unanimous agreement that this species should now be placed in Category III.

Although no further decisions affecting the HK List were made, work is continuing on the following species:

Pale Blue Flycatcher: a review of category.
Brown Shrike of the taxon confusus: a review of possible records based on published criteria.
Rufous-bellied / Rufous-vented Niltava: a review of records.
Blue-fronted Flycatcher: a review of all records in regard to both identity and category.
‘Grey-cheeked Fulvetta’: work still underway regarding which species occurs in HK, and the most appropriate category.

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman


At the 22 November 2012 meeting of the Records Committee, the following decisions were agreed.

Varied Tit on Po Toi from 16 September 2012
Identification was confirmed as a bird of the northern, nominate subspecies. Although it was acknowledged that significant evidence in favour of this bird having occurred naturally, a decision on this was shelved, pending further consideration, and would hopefully be made at the next meeting.

Hawfinch on Po Toi on 1 November 2012
The committee voted unanimously to accept this as the first Category I record for HK due to the combination of good plumage condition, location and its appearance with other migrant finches such as Eurasian Siskin and Brambling. Previously accepted records of Hawfinch would now be recirculated with a view to reviewing category.

'Swan Goose' at Mai Po from 14 November 2012
The committee voted unanimously to accept this record as concerning the domesticated form of Swan Goose known as 'Chinese Goose'

Other issues discussed included records of House Sparrow, the identification of blue flycatchers and niltavas, the possibility that Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus occurs in HK, and whether Crested Honey Buzzard of the taxon ruficollis can be identified with certainty. No decisions were made regarding these issues, but they will receive further consideration in the future.

Other than the addition to Category I of Hawfinch, no changes to the HK List are required arising from the most recent update to the IOC list (v3.2). The HK List now stands at 514 species.

The next meeting is scheduled for 27 February 2013.

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman


At the meeting of the Records Committee on 25th February 2013, the following key decisions were made.

Varied Tit.The decision on category for this species had been held over from the previous meeting to await developments in the possible invasion of the species in eastern China.Since that time, apparently wild birds have been recorded in a further five provinces and another two locations in Hong Kong. As a result, the Committee voted 6-0 to accept this species (ssp varius) to Cat 1 of the HK List.

Whistling Green Pigeon 2012-11-27. Given the possibility that this bird might be a Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon based on tail shape, bill size and the brighter green head and neck, the Committee agreed to suspend the decision on species to allow time for further ID information and photos to be obtained, particularly of the Ryukyu ssp of Whistling Green Pigeon. An examination of skins at Tring in April will also be carried out.

Japanese Tit 2012-12-21. Photos of ‘Great’ Tits taken at Kaiping, Guangdong show apparent hybridization between P. cinereus and P. minor, and it was thought the Shek Kong bird was possibly such a hybrid. Further research at Tring will be carried out in April.

Slaty Bunting 2013-02-08.The RC agreed that the photographs showed a single female Slaty Bunting in good feather condition and voted 6-0 to accept this species to Cat. 1 of theHK List. Currently there is no evidence for more than one individual having been present. Observers are encouraged to submit all sightings, especially if more than one individual was seen or photographed.

Red-headed Bunting 2012-12-23.The meeting reviewed all six records identified as Red-headed Bunting, including the first in 2008. The identity of all six was confirmed. As a result of further examination of buntings trapped for ringing, it now appears that replacement of tail feathers is common in late autumn buntings. In view of this, the pristine feather condition of most of the remaining five records and the consistency of dates, the Committee voted 6-0 to assign all six records to Cat I,with the 2008-10-01 Mai Po Access Road record now being the first accepted HK record. A synopsis of all six records will be published in the 2012 HKBR. All previous HK records assigned to Black or Red-headed Bunting supported by photographs will be reviewed to see if their identity can be established.

White-tailed Robin 2012-12-26. Identification agreed, and sexed as a female, the first such record in HK. However, the bird had missing tail feathers and it was unanimously agreed to retain the current Cat III rating for the species.

'Grey-cheeked Fulvetta'.Two recordings now exist of song from TaiPo Kau, one in 2006 and one in 2013. After comparison with song of birds in south China and elsewhere, birds in HK can be identifed as Huet’s Fulvetta Alcippe hueti. As this is the species present in Guangdong, it was agreedby a vote of 6-0 to place this species in Cat. IIA of the HK List.

IOCv3.3. The following changes were accepted for theHK List.

Eastern Curlew becomes Far Eastern Curlew
Greater Spotted Eagle becomes Clanga clanga
Asia Brown Flycatcher becomes Muscicapa latirostris
Finches – order, Grey-capped Greenfinch and Eurasian Siskin go to end
Eurasian Siskin becomes Spinus spinus

A revised HK LIst will be posted on the website very soon.

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman

[ Last edited by cgeoff at 1/04/2014 09:09 ]


Update on recent deliberations of the Records Committee

No further conclusions have been made by the RC since the meeting reported above. At the last meeting on 20 May 2013, the main topics of discussion were the green pigeon on Po Toi on 27 November 2012 and the possible occurrence of Japanese Tit at Shek Kong and Wetland Park last winter.

Regarding the former, despite progress made through examination of skins at the BMNH, Tring, UK, it remained uncertain which species was involved. Consequently, it was agreed to carry out further examination of skins in Beijing and Japan in regard to Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon and the Taiwan subspecies (formosae) of Whistling Green Pigeon.

In respect of Japanese Tit, examination of skins at Tring showed that the type specimen of commixtus had a pure grey mantle, confirming that this taxon belongs within cinereus, rather than minor where it appears in the IOC List v3.3. The Shek Kong bird appears to be a hybrid of commixtus and minor, while the Wetland Park bird had significantly more extensive green on the mantle, suggesting it was, perhaps, minor. However, it was agreed that further consideration is needed, backed up by more photographs. Photographers are encouraged to photograph Cinereous Tits in HK and south China, and post these on the website.

It was agreed to remove Speckled Piculet from the list of species requiring RC assessment, but to add Indian Spotbill, in view of its rarity and similarity to Chinese Spotbill.

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman

[ Last edited by cgeoff at 6/08/2013 14:11 ]


Recent decisions of the Records Committee

At its meeting on 24th August 2013, the RC agreed the following major decisions.

Hawfinch record review

On the basis that once a species is accepted as Cat I, past records can be reviewed in that context, the following seven records of Hawfinch were accepted as Cat I.

26 December 1984 and 5 January 1985 – one at Mong Tseng
17 November 1994 – one at Mui Wo
22 January 2006 – one at Mong Tseng
14-23 January 2009 – one at Shek Kong
15 February 2009 – one at Ping Che
22 February 2011 – two at Yuen Long
24 February 2011 – one at Ping Long

Whistling Green Pigeon
Po Toi 2012-11-27.

It was agreed to pend the record and request further skins or photographs of south China sphenurus from Beijing and formosa Ryukyu from Japan, with particular focus on the tail and under-tail pattern.

Additions to the HK List

Martens's Warbler Seicercus omeiensis
One at Pak Sha O, Sai Kung from 5th January to 26th February 2013.

Japanese Tit Parus minor
One at Wetland Park, Yuen Long on 15th and 29th January 2013.

The HK List now stands at 520 species. A revised list will be posted shortly.

[ Last edited by cgeoff at 12/09/2013 16:07 ]


Regarding Japanese Tit, I notice that IOC now includes the taxon commixtus within Japanese Tit, rather than Cinereous Tit. Is this the taxon occurring in Hong Kong and, if so, does that mean that all 'Great Tits' occurring in HK should be considered as Japanese Tit?
If so, the Wetland Park bird (and Shek Kong bird?) would not be a new species for HK, but may represent a different taxon.


This is one area where the Records Committee do not accept the taxonomy of IOC.

The RC has placed commixtus within cinereous rather than minor and use the scientific name Parus cinereous for the local 'Great' Tit.
Perhaps this has not been made clear, but it is commented on above in Geoff Carey's 06/08/2013 posting

'In respect of Japanese Tit, examination of skins at Tring showed that the type specimen of commixtus had a pure grey mantle, confirming that this taxon belongs within cinereus, rather than minor where it appears in the IOC List v3.3'

This position was established some time ago, well before the arrival of either the Shek Kong or the Wetland Park birds.
RC have suggested to IOC that their placement of commixtus is wrong but so far without result.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 6/10/2013 06:13 ]


Thanks Geoff, I had forgotten that, but remember reading it now. Are there other differences between these species, or is the split purely on the basis of mantle colour? It's interesting that commixtus apparently interbreeds with minor (e.g. the Shek Kong bird) - to me, it weakens the case for splitting these species (but I guess that depends on your species definition). Do we know how frequently interbreeding happens and whether the hybrids are fertile?

Out of interest, are there other cases where the RC stance differs from IOC in terms of taxonomy?


Regarding the hybrid issue, I can only make a personal comment.

A few weeks ago I spent several days in Meixian in northeast Guangdong close to the Fujian border. The Cinereous Tits there looked exactly like some photos Jonathan Martinez sent us from northwest Hunan and the first photo here is one of these. The other two are the Shek Kong bird and the Wetland park bird, in that order.

There doesn't seem much difference to me between the first two but the Wetland park bird is much greener/yellower on the mantle.
Given that our regular birds in HK are grey with no green/yellow, there may be a change in colour as you go north in south/central China and the Shek Kong bird may have been a bird from further north rather than a hybrid.
This is just my opinion since seeing the birds in Meixian. The RC did say a 'possible hybrid' because I don't think this has been properly researched and the RC were just suggesting a possibilty. Maybe a good subject for someone to take up, if they like 'Great Tits'.
I'm not sure if there are other differences but obviously a lot more to be learnt.

I don't think there are other differences with IOC but I wasn't around when the original IOC list was set up - maybe Geoff Carey can say.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 7/10/2013 05:57 ]


Great to see all the records of Hawfinch being accepted.

I'd be interested to know what led to this decision.

Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee


Re the review of Hawfinch historical records. The details behind this decision will appear in the 2012 HKBR. To summarise, it was made under the following rule

‘The hurdle to achieve Cat I should remain high; however, once a species is accepted as Cat I, past records can be reviewed in the context that the species is in Cat I’

With species like Hawfinch, where the possibility of escapes is high, the Records Committee takes a conservative view. However, each successive 'clean' record increases the chances of the species being re-allocated to Category I. This re-allocation happened with the record of Hawfinch on Po Toi on 1 November 2012. Ten previous Hawfinch records were then reviewed under the above rule. Of these, seven were considered acceptable given that the species was already in Category I. The other three did not meet this standard, either for ID or still considered ex-captive reasons.

A similar process happened with Red-headed Bunting, which is also explained in more detail in the 2012 HKBR.

I hope this answers your question while increasing your anticipation of the 2012 HKBR.

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 7/10/2013 06:05 ]


Original posted by ajohn at 6/10/2013 16:49
Out of interest, are there other cases where the RC stance differs from IOC in terms of taxonomy?
I've thought of another one - RC treats Mongolian Gull (mongolicus) as a subspecies of Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans) but IOC treats it as a subspecies of Vega Gull (Larus vegae).


At the RC Meeting on 11th December, the following decisions were agreed.

1. A review of all records of blue flycatchers resulted in Hill Blue Flycatcher Cyornis banyumas being added to Category I of the HK List, with the first record at Bethanie near Pok Fu Lam on 15 December 1968. Captive origin cannot be ruled out in all cases, but other records for which the possibility is considered low are as follows:

1986-01-09Tai Po Kau
1996-01-02Kap Lung
1996-01-07Hatton Road
2009-03-18Mount Davis
2011-02-04Sam A Tsuen
2012-11-24Po Toi

Those for which captive origin is considered probable are:

1981-11-26BMH, Kowloon
1990-10-03HK Observatory

As part of the same review process, the following records of Chinese Blue Flycatcher are considered acceptable and probably of natural origin:

1993-01-16Ho Chung
1995-01-29Ng Tung Chai
2006-04-01Tung Ping Chau

Those considered to be probably be of ex-captive origin are:

2009-05-01Tai Po Kau
2010-08-21Tai Po Kau male
2010-08-21Tai Po Kau female
2012-08-18Tai Po Kau

2. All previous records of Mandarin were reviewed. Records that occurred at the time breeding birds were present in the former Waterfowl Collection at Mai Po Nature Reserve, in addition to the two records from Kam Tin in 2007-08, are treated as referring to ex-captive individuals. The remainder are accepted as of natural origin, although the possibility that one or more were ex-captive remains.

3. As a result of IOC decision, Zappey's Flycatcher Cyanoptila cumatilis is added to Category 1 of the HK List; currently, there is only one record, a male on Po Toi on 19th October 2008. It should be noted that how to identify females with certainty is unknown.

A revised HK List will be posted shortly on the website.

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman

http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/view ... 0248&highlight=


Recent RC decisions

At the meeting of the Records Committee on 17th March 2013, the following decisions affecting the HK List were made.

Purple Swamphen
The recent record of Purple Swamphen at MPNRon 31st March 2013 was the first Hong Kong record since 1999. The RC reviewed the category of this record with particular reference to the Chinese Journal of Zoology paper on the Distribution of Purple Swamphen in China (He et al. 2013). This paper showed breeding for Purple Swamphen at several sites in Guangdong and Fujian, a substantial change since 1999. The Committee agreed unanimously that, given this expansion and the absence of any indication of ex-captivity, the latest record should be accepted as Category I.

Allprevious records of Purple Swamphen in Hong Kong were then reviewed. These comprised two sets of records, between 1988 and 1991 and 1993 and 1999, all at MPNR. The second set followed the known escape of two birds from a waterfowl collection at Fairview Park in December 1992. The Committee agreed that all records following this escape in the period 1993 to 1999 should be retained as Category III, but that the earlier records from 1988 to 1991 could now be accepted as Category I.

Whistling Green Pigeon 27 November 2012 Po Toi
After prolonged discussion since this record was first submitted and close examination of photographs of both this species and Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon from various parts of their range, this record was accepted as the first occurrence of Whistling Green Pigeon in Hong Kong. The species was added to Category I given the weather conditions at the time and the lack of any indication of its being ex-captive.

Alexandrine Parakeet
The RC agreed to move this species to Category IIB in view of the fact that it appears to be at least as the same level of establishment as Rose-ringed Parakeet. Very helpful in this assessment were data and photographs provided by the Crested Bulbul Club from their weekly Guided Tours at Kowloon Park. These showed a 78% non-zero count, with a high of 20 and a median count of 4 over the years 2004 to 2013, as well as occasional reports of breeding.

With the addition of these three species, the HK List now stands at 525.

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman

[ Last edited by cgeoff at 1/04/2014 09:07 ]


At the RC meeting on 9th June 2014, the following species was added to Category I of the HK List:

Rosy Minivet Pericrocotus roseus
One at Po Toi on 27 April 2014.

This increases the HK List to 526 species. A new list will be posted in due course; however, with the issue of the IOC World List V4.2, a number of changes to the species order are required first.

The following changes to species for which substantiation in the form of notes or photographs is essential for all records were agreed:

Species now requiring substantiation – Dalmatian Pelican,Mandarin Duck, Eurasian Black Vulture, Brown Crake, Crested Kingfisher,Oriental Skylark, Chinese Babax, Japanese Grosbeak, Chestnut Munia, BayaWeaver, Eurasian Jay
Species no longer requiring substantiation – Malayan NightHeron, Yellow-legged Buttonquail, Black-legged Kittiwake, Fairy Pitta.

As ever, records of any species in unusual circumstances (whether number, date or locality) may cause the RC to request details. If you make such a record, please be prepared to provide such substantiation.

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman




粉紅山椒鳥 (Rosy Minivet Pericrocotus roseus)




卷羽鵜鶘 (Dalmatian Pelican)、鴛鴦 (Mandarin Duck)、
禿鷲 (Eurasian Black Vulture)、紅腳苦惡鳥 (Brown Crake)、
冠魚狗 (Crested Kingfisher)、小雲雀 (Oriental Skylark)、
矛紋草鶥 (Chinese Babax)、黑頭蠟嘴雀 (Japanese Grosbeak)、
栗腹文鳥(Chestnut Munia)、黃胸織雀 (Baya Weaver)、松鴉 (Eurasian Jay)。

黑冠鳽 (Malayan Night Heron)、黃腳三趾鶉 (Yellow-legged Buttonquail)、
三趾鷗 (Black-legged Kittiwake)、仙八色鶇 (Fairy Pitta)。


賈知行 (Geoff Carey)
Original posted by cgeoff at 12/06/2014 11:08
At the RC meeting on 9th June 2014, the following species was added to Category I of the HK List:

Rosy Minivet Pericrocotus roseus
One at Po Toi on 27 April 2014.

This increases the HK List to 526 s ...


RC Meeting 28 Oct 2014

The following decisions were made at the most recent meeting of the Records Committee on 28 October 2014.

Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warbler
PJL presented DNA analysis of three HK records, 2012-09-11 and 2012-10-04 at MPNR and 2010-10-26 at Kam Tin. This suggested the 2012 records were Middendorff’s but the 2010 record was closer to Styan’s, although the photographic evidence suggested Middendorff’s. It was agreed to wait for further DNA analysis on five previous Styan’s records before taking a decision on the 2010 record. It was also decided that the previous record of Middendorff’s, 2009-10-29, which lacked DNA evidence, could not now be accepted, and that the first accepted HK Record of Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warbler dated 1993-02-26 would need to be reviewed.

Dark-sided Flycatcher 2013-12-29 Pui O
Review of skins at the British Museum (BM) by PJL confirmed that this record was acceptable as rothschildi/fuliginosa/gulmergi. The RC would like to see any photographs that may also relate to this taxon, which can be identified by its being extensively dark on the underparts.

Rufous-bellied Niltava female 2013-01-07 Tai Po Kau
Skin examination at BM by PJL confirmed that this record was acceptable as a first-winter female Rufous-bellied Niltava of the ssp whistleri from the northwest Himalayas. Given this and the signs of primary damage in the photographs, it was agreed to retain Rufous-bellied Niltava in Cat III.

Minivet sp. 2010-10-10 Po Toi
Review of skins at BM by PJL confirmed that this record was acceptable as a female stanfordi Minivet, a hybrid between Rosy and Swinhoe’s Minivet, and it was agreed to accept the record as such.

Rosy Minivet 2014-04-27 Po Toi
PJL’s skin review of skins at BM suggested that this record, accepted as HK’s first at the previous RC Meeting, may also be a stanfordi Minivet. Further circulation will be carried out.

Hepatic Cuckoo sp 2013-04-07 to 2013-05-04 and 2013-07-04 Po Toi
Examination of photographs show that these records referred to the same bird. Skin review at BM by PJL confirmed that this record was acceptable as hepatic female Oriental or Himalayan Cuckoo C. optatus or saturatus, but could not be identified to species.

Kentish Plover dealbatus 2013-10-26 Tai Long Wan
It was agreed to accept this as the first HK record of Kentish Plover ssp dealbatus.

Geoff Carey


紀錄委員會會議 2014年10月28日

利雅德(PJL/Paul Leader)發表了三個在香港紀錄樣本的DNA分析,分別為2012年9月11日及2012年10月4日在米埔自然護理區及2010年10月26日在錦田。2012的紀錄為北蝗鶯,但2010年的紀錄則較近史氏蝗鶯,雖然相片的紀錄顯示為北蝗鶯。會上同意進一步將之前五項史氏蝗鶯的DNA樣本作分析後,才決定此項2010年的紀錄。此外基於缺乏DNA的證據確認,之前2009年10月29日的北蝗鶯紀錄現不獲接納。而此鳥種於1993年2月26日的首項紀錄亦須重新檢視。

利雅德檢視大英博物館的標本後確定此紀錄為 rothschildi/fuliginosa/gulmergi  種群。紀錄委員會樂於鑑別此類種群的照片。牠們的特徵為下身大部份較為暗色。




赤色型杜鵑 2013年4月7日至2013年5月4日及2013年7月4日蒲台
經鑑別相片後確認三項紀錄為同一個體。利雅德在大英博物館檢視標本後確定為赤色型的北方中杜鵑C. optatus 或saturatus,但未能鑑定其身份。

環項鴴dealbatus 2013年10月26日大浪灣
會上同意接納此紀錄為在香港首項環頸鴴亞種dealbatus 的紀錄。

賈知行(Geoff Carey)


RC Meeting 12 January 2015

At its most recent meeting, the RC made the following decisions.

Crow-billed Drongo 7 Sept 2014 on Po Toi
Added to Cat. I of the HK List

Brown Noddy 17 May 2006 off Po Toi
After recirculation of the original submission in the light of further information, added to Cat. I of the HK List.

White-tailed Robin
This species has been moved from Cat. III to Cat. I based on the 14 February 2014 record on Cheung Chau. A review of all previous records will be carried out to determine whether others can be regarded as of natural origin not that a pattern of records has established.

Russet Sparrow
The most recent review of the status of this species, it is clear in retrospect, took place around the time that the pattern of records underwent a distinct change. Prior to 2011, Russet Sparrow occurred at widespread sites in a variety of months, and included birds that appeared to be ex-captive. In view of this, the decision was taken to place it in Cat. III; while this was conservative, it was in line with RC policy on such species/records. Beginning in late autumn 2011, however, this species has appeared regularly, sometimes in flocks, mainly at Long Valley. A clear pattern of natural occurrence appears to have established itself, and in view of this, the species has now been placed back in Cat. I. Records prior to 2011 continue to be regarded as referring, on the basis of the evidence relevant to the period, as possibly referring to ex-captive individuals.

House Sparrow
A review of its current placement in Cat. III will be carried out.

Mynas in Cat. III
Itwas agreed that the correct scientific name for Pale-bellied Myna species number 768, currently Acridotheres cinereus, should be Acridotheresgrandis and the English name would also be changed to Great Myna. It wasalso agreed to add Javan Myna Acridotheresjavanicus to Cat III based on the record dated 2013-02-26.

The number of species in Categories I and II of the HK List now stands at 530.

Geoff Carey
HKBWS Chairman

[ Last edited by cgeoff at 24/04/2015 11:14 ]


RC Meeting 20 April 2015

At its most recent meeting, the RC made the following decisions.

Pine Bunting was transferred to Category I of the HK List based on two records, at Tai Mo Shan on 25 December 2005 and Long Valley on 12 November 2014.

Indochinese Green Magpie was added to Cat III of the HK List based on a record at Brides Pool on 26 February 2014.

Snowy-browed Flycatcher
was added to Cat III of the HK List based on records at Mount Davis on 17 November 2014 and Lau Shui Heung on 28 November 2014.

The HK List now stands at 531 species.

Records currently under consideration that might increase this total include those of Chinese Barbet, Asian Short-toed Lark, Ijima's Leaf Warbler.

Geoff Carey
RC Chairman

[ Last edited by cgeoff at 27/04/2015 08:25 ]


紀錄委員會會議 2015年4月20日
白頭鵐 - 基於2005年12月25日大帽山及2014年11月12日塱原的紀錄,現接受為香港鳥類名錄中第I 類。
印支綠鵲  -基於2014年2月26日新娘潭的紀錄,現接受為香港鳥類名錄中第III類。
棕胸藍姬鶲 – 基於2014年11月17日摩星嶺及2014年11月28日流水響的紀錄,現接受為香港鳥類名錄中第III類。
賈知行(Geoff Carey)

[ Last edited by gary at 9/09/2015 22:04 ]


RC Meeting 1 September 2015

In Geoff Carey's absence, I will briefly summarise the changes to the HK List agreed at the Records Committee Meeting on 1 September 2015.

Additions to Category I of the HK List were

Chinese Barbet based on a record at Tai Po Kau dated 2014-12-31
Ijima’s Leaf Warbler based on a record on Po Toi dated 2015-03-29
Buff-breasted Sandpiper based on a record at MPNR dated 2015-04-19

In addition, House Sparrow was transferred to Category I of the HK List based on a record at Long Valley dated 2012-11-03

The HK List now stands at 535 species in Categories I and II.

The following changes to the List are required as a result of IOC changes in V5.2 and 5.3

Common Blackbird Turdus merula becomes Chinese Blackbird T. mandarinus
The correct Hong Kong species for Purple Swamphen needs to be determined following a split in V5.2.
A new HK List will be issued when this change is finalised.

Geoff Welch
Secretary, HKBWS Records Committee

[ Last edited by wgeoff at 9/09/2015 13:55 ]


Good to see Chinese Blackbird finally being recognised as a good split.

Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee



黑眉擬啄木鳥﹣2014年12月31 日於大埔滘發現
飯島柳鶯 ﹣ 2015年3月29日於蒲台發現
飾胸鷸 ﹣ 2015年4月19日於米埔自然護理區發現

第I 及第II類的香港雀鳥數目現增至535種。
基於IOC 的變動(由V5.2至5.3),以下鳥種須作出變動。
烏鶇Turdus merula 轉為中國烏鶇 (暫譯) T. mandarinus
基於新分類方式(V5.2),在香港的紫水雞Purple Swamphen 須再鑑定其身份。



RC Meeting 30 Nov 2015

At its most recent meeting, the RC agreed the following.

Additions to Cat. I
Asian Short-toed Lark (24 Nov 2014 at Lok Ma Chau)
Brown-eared Bulbul (9 Mar 2015 at Chai Wan)
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (7 May 2015 at Tai Po Kau)

The HK List now stands at 538 species in Categories I & II.

A review of category for White-capped Redstart resulted in a vote split between Cat. I and Cat. III. In accordance with previous practice, the status quo was retained, and the species remains in Cat. III.

A harrier seen at Long Valley on 5 Apr 2014 remains unidentified, though further attempts will be made to obtain opinions from experts.

Rosy Minivet: the decision was made not to publish an account of the first record of this species, pending examination of skins due to the possibility it was a hybrid. It is hoped such an examination can be carried out in summer 2016. In the meantime, however, it remains on the HK List.

The following changes to the List are required as a result ofIOC changes in V5.4:

Asian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphoneparadisi becomes Amur ParadiseFlycatcher T. incei
Short-tailed and Wedge-tailed Shearwater changed from Puffinusto Ardenna.

Finally, Mike Leven announced his resignation from the Committee, and members unanimously recorded their appreciation for his contributions over the past 23 years.

Geoff Carey, Chairman.



Thank you for your latest notice.

Thankful if your would kindly clarify if the full name of Amur Paradise Flycatcher's scientiful name is Terpsiphone incei.

Furthermore, what are the individual second Latin term for the sherarwaters Puffinus.

Thank you again for you and RC's work.

S L Tai

[ Last edited by tsheunglai at 11/12/2015 22:29 ]


As Geoff Carey is away this weekend at Pak Sha O, I can help to answer these questions.

Yes, Amur Paradise Flycatcher is Terpsiphone incei

Yes, the second Scientific Name for the shearwaters is as before, pacificus for Wedge-tailed and tenuirostris for Short-tailed Shearwater.


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