Birding is full of specific terminology, so eBird has its fair share as a result! We’ve defined some of the important terms you’ll run across in eBird below in case you need them.
ABA Area (listing region): The area encompassed by the 50 United States (including Hawaii and Midway Island), Canada, and the French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon (France). Does not include Greenland or Bermuda.
ABA Continental (listing region): The area encompassed by the 49 continental United States, Canada, and the French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon (France). Does not include Hawaii, Midway Island, Greenland, or Bermuda.
Abundance: the average number of birds reported on all checklists within a specified date range and region. This metric includes checklists that did not report the species and provides a measure of how commonly a species is reported relative to other species in the region.
Adult: refers to the plumage rather than the age of the bird. A bird is an adult when it acquires the plumage(s) it will repeat for the rest of its life.
Africa (listing region): All of Africa, including the following: Cape Verde and Canary Islands, Sao Tome and Annabon in the Gulf of Guinea, and Socotra (Yemen) in the Arabian Sea; all of Egypt except the provinces of Port Said, North Sinai, and South Sinai. Note that this northeast border is geopolitical and does not exactly follow the Suez Canal (spanned by Ismailia and Suez governorates, which are included in Africa) outlined by sources such as Birds of the Western Palearctic.
Alert: subscription-based notifications about certain birds in a given region that go to the email address associated of your Cornell Lab Account. Alerts can be Needs Alerts for species you haven’t yet eBirder in a region or Rare Bird Alerts for regional rarities. Subscribe or manage your Alerts here.
AOU Area (listing region): United States, Canada, St. Pierre et Miquelon (France), Mexico, and the regions of Central America and the Caribbean as defined below. The Hawaiian Islands, U.S. Minor Outlying Islands of Midway and Johnston Atoll and Swan Island (Honduras) are included, along with as Bermuda, Clipperton Island (France), and San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina (Colombia). Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao are not included.
Asia (listing region): All of Asia, including the following: the Egyptian governorates of Port Said, North Sinai, and South Sinai; all of Turkey except the Turkish provinces west of the Bosporus and north of the Sea of Marmara, including Istanbul (which spans the Bosporus) and Canakkale (which spans the Dardanelles); all of Kazakhstan except the provinces of West Kazakhstan and Atyrau; Russian provinces roughly east of the Ural Mountains as defined here; all Indonesia except Papua (included in Australasia). Note that this definition of Asia is geopolitical and does not exactly follow the borders (Suez Canal, Bosporus, Caspian Sea, Ural River, Ural Mountains, and specific island groups in Indonesia) outlined by sources such as Birds of the Western Palearctic.
Atlantic/Arctic Oceans (listing region): Atlantic Ocean waters beyond the 200 mile limit and the following independent countries or islands: Bermuda, the Falklands (Malvinas), and Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan de Cunha.
Australasia (listing region): Australia (mainland states, Tasmania, Norfolk Island, Macquarie Island, Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island, and Lord Howe Island), New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, and the Indonesian provinces of Papua and Maluku. We do not include Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island, nor Heard Island in this listing region. This listing region has been defined by our eBird Australia (Eremaea eBird) team.
Australasia (ABA) (listing region): Australia and Papua-New Guinea, including the Indonesian states of Papua and the Maluku Islands, following the American Birding Association (ABA) Listing Regions.
Australia and its territories (listing region): The country of Australia as defined by eBird and outlying island territories. Outlying island territories (considered "countries" in eBird) include Cocos Island, Christmas Island, Heard Island, Lord Howe Island, and Norfolk Island. As defined by eBird, Australia includes Macquarie Island as part of Tasmania as well as Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island, both of which get no state assignment, but are assigned to the country of Australia.
Average Count: the average number of birds seen on checklists that detected the species, within a specified date range and region. This only incorporates checklists that reported the species (no zeros, unlike abundance), which tells us how many of a species we can expect to see where/when the species encountered.
Bird Conservation Region: ecologically distinct regions in North America with similar bird communities, habitats, and resource management issues as defined by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative in State of the Birds reports.
Birds per hour: the average number of birds seen per birding hour within a specified date range and region (e.g., 6 Carolina Chickadees in 2 hours of birding would be 3/hour). This methodology is used for the Christmas Bird Count and allows for a useful comparison of the various methodologies available in eBird.
Central America: Central America includes the seven countries between Mexico and Colombia: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Swan Island (Honduras) and Cocos Island (Costa Rica) are included.
Checklist: eBird checklists are aggregated lists of the birds you identified while birding, plus effort data like duration and distance traveled during that birding event.
Complete checklist: an eBird checklist that includes all the birds you identified as best you could while birding (that doesn’t exclude species or report only highlights). Complete checklists are extremely valuable to research and conservation in eBird.
Eastern Hemisphere (listing region): Eurasia, Africa, and Australasia as defined below, as well as the ocean regions with the exceptions of the island groups specifically defined above as in the Western Hemisphere.
Europe (listing region): All of Europe including islands of Iceland, the Faroes, Shetlands, Hebrides, Svalbard, Novaya Zemlya, Jersey, Malta, and Crete. Also included are: Turkish provinces west of the Bosporus and north of the Sea of Marmara, including Istanbul (which spans the Bosporus) and Canakkale (which spans the Dardanelles); the Kazakhstan provinces of West Kazakhstan and Atyrau; and Russian provinces roughly west of the Ural Mountains. Madeira and the Azores are included, but the Canary Islands are not. Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan are not included. Note that this definition of Europe is geopolitical and does not exactly follow the borders (Bosporus, Caspian Sea, Ural River, and Ural Mountains) outlined by sources such as Birds of the Western Palearctic.
Eurasia (listing region): Europe and Asia as defined above.
Filter: a list of species and their expected maximum counts for specific time periods throughout the year. These filters are applied to specific geographic areas: counties, states, provinces, countries, and ecological regions, and are managed by the volunteer reviewer(s) for the region. See our Help Center article on The eBird Review Process for more information.
Frequency: how often a species is reported on complete checklists within a specified date range and region, measured by percent of checklists reporting the species. Frequency is used is on the eBird Bar Charts and in the purple grids on species maps.
High count: the highest count of a species submitted on a *single checklist* within a specified date range and region.
Hotspot: public birding locations where checklists are aggregated and you can view data summaries. More info here.
Immature: a bird in any non-adult plumage, including (but not limited to) juvenile plumage. Report a bird as immature if it is no longer in juvenile plumage but has not yet reached adult plumage.
Indian Ocean (listing region): Indian Ocean and its islands, including Madagascar, the Comoros and Seychelles Islands, and the Maldives, among others. The Lakshadweep islands off India are included within Asia.
Juvenile: a bird in its first plumage of non-downy feathers.
Nocturnal checklist: checklists starting earlier than 40 minutes before sunrise, or later than 20 minutes after sunset are flagged as nocturnal as a check on any unintentional AM/PM errors or accidentally typing 03:00 instead of 13:00 in 24-hour time. If you are submitting a checklist that is Nocturnal in part, but extends into the daytime, we recommend keeping separate lists for the Nocturnal and daytime periods. Note that the service we used for these flags does not take into account Daylight Saving Time. If you find your lists tagged incorrectly, please email us.
North America (listing region): ABA Area, Greenland, Mexico, the West Indies, and Central America regions as defined below. Not included are distant islands, including the Hawaiian Islands and U.S. Minor Outlying Islands of Midway and Johnston Atoll, Bermuda, and Clipperton Island (France). San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina (owned by Colombia) are also included.
Observation: an observation is a report of a single species on an eBird checklist. Whether the species count is 1 or 100,000, it’s still one observation.
Observation Type: the protocol that describes kind of birding you were doing on a given checklist. There are four main ones in eBird: Traveling, Stationary, Incidental, & Historical, plus special protocols for specific cases like pelagic birding, banding, or NFC counts. Definitions for each can be found on Step 2 of the Submit page.
Pacific Ocean (listing region): Pacific Ocean and its islands, including New Zealand but excluding those included within Australasia, North America, and South America.
Pack: downloadable frequency information on the birds of a region for eBird Mobile so that you can have a tailored bird list while birding with or without a cell signal! You can still add any bird species to an eBird checklist at any time, even if that species occurs outside the pack region.
Patch list: a series of locations for a specific area that you can summarize in a patch list. Patches should be possible to cover thoroughly in a morning, or a few hours of birding by foot or car. These can include transects of up to about five miles or areas up to four or five square miles. Patches should *not* cover entire counties, multiple widely-separated hotspots, or exceptionally large areas.
Smart Sort: the list of species in an area sorted based on frequency of eBird submissions rather than by taxonomy. Species that are infrequent (6%> and >0% frequency) and unrecorded (0%) are designated with an orange half-circle and a red circle, respectively. More info here.
South America (listing region): The entire continent along with Fernando de Noronha (Brazil), Trinidad and Tobago, Bonaire and Curacao (Netherlands Antilles), and Aruba. Isla de Malpelo (Colombia), the Galapagos Islands, and the Falkland Islands or Malvinas are not included.
South Polar (listing region): Antarctica, Bouvet Island, South Georgia, and South Sandwich Islands, and Heard Island and McDonald Islands.
Top 100: a showcase for listing totals from eBirders for every region in the world. If you prefer not to be shown on the Top 100 you may opt out under preferences. If you maintain a group account, you should opt-out to keep totals fair between individual eBirders. If you're entering your Life List, make sure to use locations that represent the list of birds. It's not alright to upload your entire world list under a single county. The Top 100 is updated every day or two: check the "last updated" time at the top right, since your totals will not be current immediately after entering a new bird. Explore the Top 100 here.
Totals: on eBird Bar Charts, the sum total of all counts from all observations for a species within a specified date range and region.
Total Ticks: the sum of your lists for a series of regions. eBird shows Total Ticks for the ABA Area (your state, province, and territory lists added together) and Total County Ticks (your county lists added together for a given state/province). E.g.: if you have seen 25 birds in Arizona, 100 in California and 150 in British Columbia your ABA Total Area Ticks would = 275.
Western Hemisphere (listing region): North and South America as defined above, plus islands in the hemisphere such as the Hawaiian Islands and U.S. Minor Outlying islands of Midway and Johnston Atoll, Clipperton Island (France), Bermuda, Isla de Malpelo (Colombia), the Galapagos Islands, the Falkland Islands or Malvinas.
West Indies (listing region): Bahama Islands, Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles south and east to Barbados and Grenada, Providencia (Colombia), and San Andrés Islands (Colombia). Swan Island (Honduras) or islands that are part of the South America listing region are not included.
Western Palearctic (listing region): eBird follows the definition outlined by Cramp and Simmons in the Birds of the Western Palearctic (BWP). It includes all of Europe as defined above, as well as the Canary Islands, and the following countries: Cape Verde, Western Sahara, Morocco, Tunisia, *Algeria, *Libya, Egypt, Palestinian Territory, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey. In addition, we use states or provinces within the following countries to best approximate the boundaries of the Western Palearctic: **Mauritania, *Mali, *Niger, *Chad, and *Saudi Arabia. Differences with the BWP definition are marked with an asterisk and those that are more restrictive regions are marked with a double asterisk; in all cases, the discrepancy involves following geopolitical boundaries rather than latitude and longitude.
Yard list: a patch list for where you reside (almost always captured by one location) that can be summarized on a yard list.