Listing Areas and Regions


The ABA Area is defined in the organization’s bylaws and in the ABA Checklist. It includes the 49 continental United States, Hawaii, Canada, the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, and adjacent waters to a distance of 200 miles from land or half the distance to a neighboring country, whichever is less. Bermuda, and Greenland are not included.

The A.O.S. Area – North is the area covered in the latest (7th) edition of the A.O.S. Check-List of North American Birds. This includes North and Central America from the North Pole to Greenland to the boundary of Panama and Colombia, including the adjacent islands under the jurisdiction of the included nations; the Hawaiian Islands; Clipperton Island; Bermuda; the West Indies, including the Bahama Islands, the Greater Antilles, Leeward and Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles (ending with Grenada); and Swan, Providencia, and San Andres Islands in the Gulf of Mexico.

The A.O.S. Area – South is defined as: (1) continental South America and all islands within 1200 km of its shores eastward into the Atlantic and westward into the Pacific oceans (including Malpelo, the Galapagos islands, San Felix and San Ambrosio, the Juan Fernandez islands, Fernando de Noronha, Trindade, Martin Vaz, São Pedro and São Paulo Archipelago, and the Falklands/Malvinas); (2) islands in the Caribbean Sea close to South America and not covered by the AOS Checklist (including Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago); and (3) waters within 200 nautical miles of the coasts of these land areas, including the islands.

The Central America Area includes Guatemala, Nicaragua, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama, including adjacent waters to a distance of 200 miles or halfway to the nearest country, whichever is shorter. Cocos and Swan Islands are included; Mexico, Providencia, and San Andres are not included.

The West Indies Area is defined in Raffaele et al.’s A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies. It includes the Bahama Islands, the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles (ending with Grenada), Providencia, and San Andres. It does not include Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, and Swan Island.

The Europe and Western Palearctic Area is described in Cramp et al.’s Handbook of Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palearctic, and in Beaman and Madge’s The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic. This area includes the whole of Europe, North Africa southwards to the central Sahara (including the Hoggar and the Tibetsi), the Middle East eastwards to the border of Iran (but excluding most of the Arabian Peninsula), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, the islands of the Banc d’Arguin off Mauritania, and the Cape Verde Islands.

The Asian Area includes Russia east of the Ural River and Ural Mountains and the Russian Arctic islands east of but not including Novaya Zemlya. It also includes Kazakhstan (except for the portion west of the Ural River), Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey (except for the portion north of the Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, and the Dardenelles), and Cyprus. Asia is separated from Africa by the Suez Canal. In the Indian Ocean, it includes Sri Lanka, Lakshadweep (the Laccadive Islands), the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but does not include Socotra (Africa), the Maldives, the Chagos Archipelago, and Christmas Island (all Indian Ocean). It includes the Russian islands in the Bering Sea and North Pacific, Japan, the Izu Islands (except Nampo Shoto and the Daito Islands), the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and most of Indonesia. In Indonesia, the dividing line between Asia and Australasia runs through the Banda and Molucca Seas with Sulawesi, Banggai, and Talaud on the Asian side, and the islands of Kai, Ceram, Buru, the Sula Group, and Morotai on the Australasian side.


The entire world is divided into nine Listing Regions, as shown on the ABA Listing Regions Map, and as supplemented by the specific descriptions below. In the event of apparent conflict with the Map, the descriptions are controlling. Each of the five continental Listing Regions includes: (a) all interior seas; (b) “related” islands which lie generally within 200 nautical miles of the continent, as listed below in each continental description; and (c) a “pelagic belt,” extending seaward 200 nautical miles from the coastline and/or from related islands, or half the distance to another continent (or to islands in an ocean Region) if closer.

The North America Region includes all of the Aleutian Islands and is divided from Eurasia by a line in the Bering Sea running midway between Attu, St. Matthew, St. Lawrence, and Little Diomede islands on the North American side, and Medny (in the Commander Islands), the Siberian coast, and Diomede Island on the Eurasian side. The North America Region includes Greenland, other related islands within 200 nautical miles of the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, the Bahamas, all of the cays and islands lying between Nicaragua and Jamaica, and all of the Greater and Lesser Antilles south to and including Grenada and Barbados (but excluding Trinidad and Tobago and the other Caribbean islands specifically included in the South America Region). The North America Region includes all of Panama and extends across the Caribbean Sea halfway to South America and
its related islands.

The South America Region includes the entire continent from the Panama/Colombia border south to Cape Horn; and includes Fernando de Noronha, Trinidad, Tobago, the Venezuelan islands near 12 degrees north latitude, Bonaire, Curaçao, and Aruba; and extends across the Caribbean Sea halfway to North America and its related islands. Excluded are Isla de Malpelo (west of Colombia), the Galápagos Islands, the Falkland Islands, Easter Island, and the archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina.

The Eurasia Region includes Europe and Asia. The European portion includes Malta, Great Britain, Ireland, and the Hebrides, Rockall, Shetland Islands, and Iceland, but excludes the Faeroe Islands. Included in the Asiatic portion are Wrangel, Diomede, and the Commander Islands, the Izu Islands (excluding Nampo Shoto and the Daito Islands), the Ryukyu Islands, the Philippines, and Indonesia east through the entire Banda Arc (Greater and Lesser Sundas) to Timor and Tanimbar. Eurasia includes the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep (the Laccadive Islands). Excluded are the Maldives and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. The dividing line between Eurasia and Australasia in Indonesia runs through the Banda and Molucca Seas, with Sulawesi (Celebes), Banggai, and Talaud on the Eurasian side, and the islands of Kai, Ceram, Buru, the Sula group, and Morotai on the Australasian side. The Suez Canal separates Eurasia from Africa.

The Africa Region includes Socotra in the Arabian Sea, São Tomé and Annobon in the Gulf of Guinea, and the Canary Islands, but excludes Madeira. The Africa Region does not include Madagascar or the Comoro Islands, which are in the Indian Ocean Region.

The Australasia Region includes Halmehera and the Moluccan Islands, New Guinea (with Waigeo, Biak, Woodlark, and the Louisade Archipelago), the Admiralty Islands, and the Bismarck Archipelago; but excludes Greene Island, Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, and the Micronesian islands of Tobi, Helen, and Kapingamarangi.

The South Polar Region includes all land and ocean south of 52 degrees south latitude in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and south of 56 degrees south latitude in the Pacific Ocean. Where 56S in the Pacific reaches the 200-nautical-mile pelagic belt of South America, the boundary follows the edge of the pelagic belt around the tip of South America and northward in the Atlantic Ocean to 54S, thence eastward to 50 degrees west longitude, thence northward to 52 degrees south latitude, thence eastward to 147 degrees east longitude (the boundary of the Pacific Ocean Region), thence southward to 56S. This boundary approximates the Antarctic Convergence. The South Polar Region includes Shag Rocks, South Georgia, Bouvet (near 5E), and the Heard Island group. Excluded are the Falkland Islands, Kerguelen, and Macquarie Island.

Atlantic/Arctic Ocean Region, Pacific Ocean Region, and Indian Ocean Region
The Ocean Regions include all oceans and islands not included in any Continental Region or its pelagic belt. Each extends south to 52 or 56 degrees south latitude, as defined for the South Polar Region.


World Families: This is a list of the different bird families that a member has seen in the world. The standard is The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. The current edition (6.9) contains 235 families. The present threshold is 100. Birds that are listed as “incertae sedis”, of uncertain placement, should not be counted as a separate family.

Millennium: This category applies to the ABA Area only. The rules for counting birds in this category are the same as for the ABA Area, except that the species listed must have been encountered on or after January 1, 2001.





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