Bird Banding Laboratory


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Species Numbers, Alpha Codes and Recommended Band Sizes

Taxonomic revisions by the AOU have resulted in many changes in bird classification over the past several decades. The Banding Offices acknowledge these changes and uses the common names assigned by the AOU. The AOU stopped using species numbers with the 7th edition of the checklist, but the BBL has continued using the numbers from the 6th edition with modifications. However, we have maintained the common names and species numbers where the AOU has combined formerly acknowledged species. For some of these species, there is an "unidentified" category, to be used ONLY FOR TRULY UNIDENTIFIABLE OR INTERGRADE INDIVIDUALS --- not in place of subspecific designation. The taxa for which we have included formerly recognized species are: Townsend's Shearwater, Green-winged Teal, Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Brant, Tundra Swan, Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Flicker, Savannah Sparrow, Seaside Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Palm Warbler.

The alpha codes provided here are required for reporting bandings to the Bird Banding Laboratory in Bandit (preferred) or Band manager. They are not required or recommended for any other purpose.

As a courtesy to those who use these codes for point counts, computerized data bases, etc. we are also providing a list of suggested codes for gallinaceous and other birds that may not be banded with Federal bands. This makes the species list complete for these users. Go to Gallinaceous and Other Birds

When more than one band size is indicated, the first is normally the most commonly used. Adjustments must sometimes be made for geographical, sex and age differences.

Return to Codes SPECIES TABLE