In a publication in Forktail co-authored with Dr. Moores from Birds Korea, we demonstrated that, contrary to the long-established invasive practices where birds are killed, first records of presence can be established through non-invasive methods. Here we reported the presence of a Chinese Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus yunnanensis) in the Republic of Korea through recordings of vocalisations.
We recorded and analysed a Chinese Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus yunnanensis) on Baekryeong Island, Incheon, Republic of Korea, on 1 and 2 May 2020. This was the first adequately-documented national record of the species. The calls and song of this species are diagnostic, and identification in the field based on these vocalisations was straightforward and immediate.
There is a strong prevalence in many regions of the world to place much higher value on records confirmed by photographs, specimens or in-the-hand measurements than on records documented only with sound-recordings.
To avoid invasive methods, we analysed the recordings to confirm the bird’s identity. While the origins of a preference for visual documentation are understandable, a wider acceptance of the value of sound-recordings in documenting the presence or absence of species will likely prove immensely helpful in improving the understanding of the distribution, abundance and conservation status of many taxa which are morphologically extremely similar.
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