My work on birds is carried out in a huge database, where I can have all records open at once. However, converting details on over 10,000 species of birds at once into html is not possible, so the information in my database can be accessed via a search engine, or by going to a family group.
Here is some advice on searching. You may like to try the examples cited below to get experience with searching.
You can search on Scientific Name (for example, “Rallus longirostris”); or on English Name (for example, “Clapper Rail”); or on French Name “Râle gris”; or German Name (for example, “Klapperralle”); or Spanish Name (for example “Rascón Piquilargo”). You can search on only one of these at a time. If the search finds a unique match, it will display full details of the species. Note that some of the fields, which may contain large amounts of information, require you to click on a “Click to see full text” to view the information in a separate window.
If the search finds more than one match, it will display all species that match the search term. For example, if you type just “Rallus” against Scientific Name, the detail of all birds in the genus Rallus will be displayed. You are warned against typing a search term that will produce hundreds of records, such as “Flycatcher” under English Name, as the resulting list may overwhelm your computer’s memory.
If you enter a search term under English Synonym ( for example, “Little Cassowary”), if the search finds a unique match, it will display the details of the species to which this name relates (in this case “Dwarf Cassowary” Casuarius bennettii). If the search term finds more than one match among English Synonyms, it will display all species that have a match with the search term ( for example, try just “Cassowary”. This will list all species that have an English synonym that includes the word “Cassowary”.)
You can also search by Scientific Synonym. For example, if you type “Scolopax obscura”, the following record will be displayed:
Scolopax obscura S.G.Gmelin,1784,Reise durch Russland zur Untersuchung der drey Reiche,3,p.90,pl.17. (Shore of Caspian Sea). (= R.a.aquaticus)
The search may retrieve more than one record. For example, if you search for “Rallus gularis”, you will get both the following records:
Rallus gularis Horsfield,1821,Transactions of the Linnaean Society of London,13,pt.1,p.196.(Java.), which is the basis of Gallirallus striatus gularis; and
Rallus gularis Lesson(ex Cuvier MS),”1831”,Traité d'Ornithologie(1830),p.536. (Madagascar). Not Rallus gularis of Horsfield,1821. (= D.c.cuvieri), which is a synonym, though not available because it is pre-occupied, of Dryolimnas cuvieri cuvieri.
Of course if you use a single word as a search term, such as “Hypotaenidia”, your search will produce all synonyms containing this term.
You should be aware that I have reproduced exactly the name as it was cited by the original author. For example, Gallirallus was originally proposed by Lafresnaye,1841 as “Galli-rallus”. And the ligature “æ” was widely used before the twentieth century, as in “Anser cærulescens Bonnaterre,1790”.
I am in the process of going through my file and replacing all instances of spelling which deviate from the modern spelling with, for example, “Gallirallus [as Galli-rallus] Lafresnaye,1841”.
Another problem is that where a citation has abbreviated the name, the abbreviated portions of the name are reproduced in brackets. For example, in G. R. Gray, 1844-49, the genus was abbreviated to the first letter; thus we find C[achinna] herpetotheres.
If you enter a term under Generic Name, if a unique match is found, it should display a single record. For example, if you enter “Rallus”, the following will be displayed:
Rallus Linnaeus,1758,Systema Naturae....editio decima,tom.1,pars 1,p.153.Type,by subsequent designation (Fleming,1821,Memoirs of the Wernerian Natural History Society,3,p.176.),Rallus aquaticus Linnaeus,1758.
Note that this is case-sensitive, for example if you type Rallus, the citation for “Gallirallus” will not be displayed, nor that for “Laterallus”.
Since my checklist is extensively annotated, this search will also display any notes that apply to a generic name. For example, if you searched for “Lyrurus”, the following will be produced:
Lyrurus Swainson,”1831”,in Swainson & Richardson,Fauna Boreali-Americana,2(1832),p.497.Type,by original designation,Tetrao tetrix Linnaeus,1758.
Note!:Madge & McGowan,2002,Pheasants,Partridges and Grouse,p.368 resurrect Lyrurus as a genus:"Though often absorbed within Tetrao,the two species of black grouse form a distinctive pair...both Lyrurus have quite ornate,peculiarly twisted tails and
(ctd!) indulge in communal lekking, which differs considerably from the often solitary "popping" of forest-living capercaillies."
Searching for a Subgeneric name is similar. For example, if you enter “Tricholimnas”, you will get:
Tricholimnas Sharpe,1893,Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club,1,p.28.Type,by original designation,Tricholimnas lafresnayanus (Verreaux) = Gallirallus lafresnayanus J. Verreaux & Des Murs,1860.
And as is usual with subgeneric names, a following note:
Note>:Tricholimnas contains only G.lafresnayanus.
Finally, you can search on Generic or Subgeneric Synonym. If you type “Nesolimnas”, you will get:
Nesolimnas Andrews,1896,Novitates Zoologicae,3,pp.260,266.Type,by monotypy,Rallus dieffenbachii G.R.Gray,1843. (= Hypotaenidea)
The entry on brackets indicates that this is a synonym of the subgeneric name Hypotaenidea.
Note that such searches will not infrequently produce more than one result. This will include cases where a name was originally cited as a Nomen nudum (that is, no type species was designated), and later cited with a valid type species. It will also include cases of Homonyms, where the later name will be marked “Not….”.
If you have any further queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org