Faunistic Commission of the Working Group on Waders

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 Absence of a competent expert group in the USSR responsible for investigation of unusual records of birds, in particular belonging to species of difficult identification, has been always a reason of confusion and mistakes in scientific information on distribution. Creation of such an expert group became especially relevant when collecting of birds for scientific purposes has gradually started giving place to observational techniques in bird studies since 1960s-1970s. A need for a Faunistic Commission was emphasized already when the All-Union Ornithological Society was established in 1983, but until now such commissions have been created neither in Russia, nor in most other CIS countries that emerged after collapse of the USSR. Accordingly, the WGW Executive Committee started since 1988 to function as a temporary Faunistic Commission for waders of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, until a respective body is established under the auspices of the Mensbier Ornithological Society.

There are two directions of activities of the Faunistic Commission (FC) of the WGW.

1. High priority is given by the FC to revealing of erroneous data in ornithological literature published during the past decades, and preventing appearance of such data in future publications. Accordingly, FC members have been evaluating reliability of records of waders being by some reason doubtful, or new to large regions.

2. The FC keeps track of current records of waders and provides consultancy on identification of these birds. The FC investigates submitted information about observations of waders and informs observers about its decisions. Applications to the FC should normally be in accordance with a special form and supplied with supporting evidence, such as labeled study skins or parts of birds, photos of sufficiently high quality (preferably from different angles), video- and audiorecords or bird sketches made in the field. Records of species and subspecies of waders new for the CIS, individual countries or large regions of Russia are particularly important to submit for investigation by the FC. All nesting instances of rare or rarely recorded species, such as American Golden Plover, Wandering Tattler, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Jacksnipe, Solitary Snipe, require documental confirmation. The latter is also highly desirable in all species of waders for observations outside of their known distribution ranges.

Decisions of the FC are being summarized in annual issues of the “Information materials of the WGW”. Negatory decisions of the FC in respect to a series of published records of waders were summarized in a paper “Some conclusions of the Faunistic Commission of the Working Group on Waders in 1988-1995” (“Ornithologia” (Moscow), 2001, Vol. 29, p. 93-97).

Editors of various editions are advised to refrain from accepting information about unusual records of waders for publication unless correctness of their species/subspecies identification was confirmed in a written form by the Faunistic Commission of the WGW.