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Country Lists and Status

          The GRIN database provides site users with the ability to generate lists of the diurnal raptor species in 261 countries and other distinct geographic entities, mostly islands. The areal names have been chosen for both zoogeographic and geopolitical reasons. Although biologists are usually primarily interested in the former, the latter may have important conservation management implications. Thus, the apparent redundancies that appear in the list are deliberate. A list of diurnal raptors can be generated, for example, for Hispaniola and each of its component countries, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and there are separate lists for the United Kingdom, England, and Scotland.

          The status designations shown for each species on the country lists are coded as follows:

Permanent resident: A breeding species present throughout the year.
Breeding: Nesting documented or very probable. (equivalent to “Breeding migrant” in the European and African literature).
Non-breeding: Resident only during the non-breeding period of the year. (equivalent to “Non-breeding migrant” in the European and African literature).
Migrant: Occurs in passage to breeding or non-breeding areas.
Visitor (= Casual): Scarce, but of regular, expected occurrence; occurs annually.
Vagrant (= Accidental): Rare and unexpected; does not occur annually.
Extinct: Extirpated.

          Species regarded as hypothetical are not included in the database, but some are mentioned in the texts of the species accounts.

          Multiple symbols are shown for some species in the same country to indicate the occurrence of two or more populations (usually subspecies) differing in status. For example, Northern Hemisphere Peregrine Falcons migrate regularly through Ecuador, a few winter there, and there is also a small resident breeding population; thus, the symbols for breeding resident, non-breeding resident, and migrant are shown. A legend is shown at the top of the country lists to define the color-coded symbols used for status; holding the cursor briefly over each symbol will also show the status.

          The process of compiling these data has been necessarily subjective, since a surprising variety of status terms have been used in the global literature. In addition, there are many instances of relatively common, presumed resident, species in some countries for which no actual nests have been documented. Rather than lose potentially useful information by omitting these likely breeders as the result of overly rigid standards, a preliminary "best guess" of their status has been made.

          The boundaries between "Migrant", "Visitor," and "Vagrant" are also somewhat subjective and frequently involve judgement calls in instances where the literature is non-specific.

          The sources for the database information include the primary literature, general references on raptors and birds of the world, the most recent "Birds of …" books for regions and countries, and even birding guides, since the latter frequently contain the most up-to-date information on distributional changes. The field notes columns in certain regional journals, including BirdingASIA, British Birds, Bulletin of the African Bird Club, Cotinga, Dutch Birding, North American Birds, and Sandgrouse have been especially valuable.

          It should be emphasized that many designations are based on sight records, and, inevitably, some may represent misidentifications. Although such observations are not as reliable as specimen records, or even photographic documentation, omitting them would lead to an unacceptable loss of useful information, especially for the most recent changes in raptor distribution. Even so, no records are drawn from the ubiquitous trip lists now posted on the web or on list servers, since, unlike the observations included in the field notes columns of journals, few of them have been vetted by a regional authority. Whenever possible, leading authorities for each region have been recruited to verify the accuracy of the lists for their respective areas of expertise in an attempt to make the database as reliable and current as possible.

          As with the dropdown list of species names, entering the first letter of the desired country or place name will advance the search to the first name starting with that letter.

          Corrections or additions to the lists by any knowledgeable observer are essential to maintain the integrity of the database and will be greatly appreciated -- Please send them to grin@peregrinefund.org.

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