For many birders, seeing as many of the bird families in the world as possible is an interesting quest. For those willing and able to travel, seeing all of the currently 250 families on the IOC world list is a feasible target. We have now made it easy to see which families you have, and haven't, seen on any of your lists. To do so, just click on the two crows icon. Families where you have seen at least one species are shown in bold, and those that you haven't seen in grey. You can also see how many of the species within the family you have seen, and all these columns are sortable.

Target Families

You can also see your "target" families, i.e. those families you still need, ranked by "easiness". This is determined in a similar way to target species, i.e. the easiest target family is the one that has been seen by most other listers, for the same location, time period, taxonomic authority and list type. Sort the family table by either of the last two columns ("Seen by Others" and "Others %") to order by the number of other listers who have seen at least one species from the family. (NB: For simplicity, these columns are not shown in the example above.)

Because target families can be quite slow for popular and large lists, e.g. World lists, they are not shown by default. When viewing your families as above, click the two crows again (there will now be a target symbol superimposed on them) to add the targets columns to the end of table.

For those keen on building a big world family list, you can follow BirdQuest's strategy for seeing all the world's bird families


Subalpine Warbler - Monfrague - Spain_2669
Hosted on Flickr
Subalpine Warbler - Monfrague - Spain_2669

The IOC World List has now been updated to the latest published version 10.2 from July 2020.

Of most interest to listers in Britain and Europe will be the split of Subalpine Warbler (have you seen Western or Eastern or both?!) Most American listers will have lost Northwestern Crow following its not unexpected lump with American Crow, whilst some Asian listers will be pleased that White-faced Plover is a separate species compared to Kentish Plover. Australian listers might find they now have one or two extra Grasswrens following the split of Striated.

Regional or country lists based on IOC, such as the IOC Western Palearctic list, have also been updated.

We automatically apply updates where we can, and in other cases you will be prompted for any taxonomic changes to address yourself.

If you have any queries about distributions or identification of individuals so that you know what you can count, do post in the forums so that other BUBO Listers can help out.

Warbler subalpine warbler Sylvia cantillans Kavaki Lesvos 14/05/10
Hosted on Flickr
Warbler subalpine warbler Sylvia cantillans Kavaki Lesvos 14/05/10


As well as the recently introduced Lockdown Listing, there are many other types of lists that birders like to keep. We support lots of these on BUBO Listing, some more frivolous than others!

All records Any (wild) bird. The default list type.
Self-found records Birds you have found yourself, e.g. not twitched. We don't enforce rules for what exactly is meant by self-found: it has often been discussed - e.g. on the BUBO Forum, and see Punkbirder rules - and easily gets controversial! E.g. what if you are in a group, what if you re-find a bird that was missing? Decide on your own rules and use the comments when you enter a record on your list.
Garden Birds seen in or from your garden or yard. Read more about Garden/Yard Lists.
Green: foot Also known as zero-carbon lists, or BIGBYs (Big Green Big Year), all birds recorded must be whilst walking from your home or place of work. Read more about Green Birding in general from the Biking Birder and Green Birding Megastars.
Green: non-motorised Still green, but also allowing forms of non-motorised transport (e.g. bicycle, canoe).
Green: public transport Not quite as green, but allowing scheduled public transport (ground or water only, so no planes).
Patchwork Challenge Birds on your local patch as part of Patchwork Challenge
#LocalPatch Birds on your local patch as part of #LocalBigYear.
Lockdown: COVID-19 Birds seen during lockdown because of COVID-19. Also consider the related Facebook groups #BirdTheFeckAtHome and The Self Isolating Bird Club.
Nocmig (Night Flight Call) Nocturnal bird migration recording, i.e. bird calls recorded by 'nocmigging'.

Birds that you have photographed (and ideally have an identifiable photo!)

Audio Birds that you have sound recorded (identifiably!)
Ringing/Banding Birds that you have ringed (banded).
Nest Nests seen.
Juvenile Birds seen in juvenile plumage, i.e. out of the nest but prior to moult into first-winter plumage.
Television Birds seen or heard on TV. Read more about Television Lists!
False Birds recorded anywhere in the world, i.e. not just within the actual list location. Hence a False Western Palearctic list includes species that have been recorded in the Western Palearctic and which you have seen anywhere in the world.


All these different list types are in addition to the actual location, authority used, and whether it is a life list or year list, so you can have a self-found life list for your local patch, multiple garden lists for different places you have lived, a county green (non-motorised) year list, and a country false life list, for example.

You can show all lists within an area, whether they are for the full county itself or a more specific site, within it. For example, you can see all Ireland self-found country lists, or show the same and include all Ireland self-found site lists as well. Just ensure you 'show all sublocations as well' when you choose a list to view.

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)
Hosted on Flickr
Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

With a quarter of the world in lockdown because of the COVID-19 coronavirus, there clearly isn't much birding being done. Many of us are birding more regularly from our gardens, houses or apartments, or wherever else we are in lockdown, so we have just introduced lockdown lists to BUBO Listing. When you create a new list, choose 'Lockdown: COVID-19' from the list type dropdown.


Rather than need to add a specific site for where you are locked down, we suggest you add it to the county (or country). You can show all lists within the county, whether they are for the full county itself or a more specific site, even garden, within it: just ensure you 'show all sublocations as well' when you choose a list to view. You can do this for any list, e.g. year, life, self-found etc. Be sure to select list type of 'Lockdown: COVID-19' to see all lockdown lists within the selected location. For example, see all England lockdown lists.


Finally, please be sensible during this period of global crisis. Follow official advice, and stay at home.

We have just launched the ability to combine existing lists with each other on BUBO Listing. This means that if you have entered one or more country lists say, and wish to add records from these to update your World list, you can now do so.

Combining lists works across different taxonomies so you can add AOS records from a North America list into an IOC-based World list for example; because of taxonomy differences you are likely to find some records that cannot be automatically combined and you will be notified of these.

Combining lists works with lists that you have already created. If you wish to create an entirely new list based on records from an already existing one, Create New List already does exactly that. You can only combine lists one at a time, so if you want to combine your British list and your North American list into your World list for example, you could first combine the British list with your World list, then separately combine your North American list.

If a species does not exist on the list you are copying to, but is recognised by the authority, it will be added. If the species is already on the list then the details (date, location etc.) will be taken from the earlier of the two records from the lists being combined.

To combine a list with another:

  • Select the Combine Lists option from the user menu when logged in.
  • First select the primary list, i.e. the one to which you wish to add records, from the table.
  • Then select the secondary list, i.e. the one which contains the records you wish to combine with the primary list, from the dropdown selection below the table.
  • You will be asked to confirm before the combining is done. The operation is complicated and cannot be undone, so do check carefully (e.g. to see that you have primary and secondary lists the correct way round) before going ahead.
  • You are also given the option to add a note to the location of each record. This is particularly useful when combining records with a World list since you can ensure that the country of the secondary list is carried across to the primary. For example, if I was combining a Norfolk county list into my World list I may have an existing species record with a location of "Cley". This location alone would be fairly meaningless on a World list, so I could add a location note of "Norfolk, England": the resulting World list entry would show as "Cley [Norfolk, England]".
  • After combining you will be shown (and emailed) those species that have been copied. You may have some manual updates to make to the new primary list, particularly where taxonomies differ.

Note that if a species on the secondary list has been split or lumped on the primary list, it will not be copied. We recommend you process all taxonomic updates on the secondary list before combining lists.

If you encounter any problems at all then please Contact Us. As always we'd love to hear your feedback too - a posting in the forums is best for this so that other BUBO Listers can add their comments.