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      Biological, ecological, conservation and legal information for all species and subspecies of Australian bird

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          We introduce a dataset of biological, ecological, conservation and legal information for every species and subspecies of Australian bird, 2056 taxa or populations in total. Version 1 contains 230 fields grouped under the following headings: Taxonomy & nomenclature, Phylogeny, Australian population status, Conservation status, Legal status, Distribution, Morphology, Habitat, Food, Behaviour, Breeding, Mobility and Climate metrics. It is envisaged that the dataset will be updated periodically with new data for existing fields and the addition of new fields. The dataset has already had, and will continue to have applications in Australian and international ornithology, especially those that require standard information for a large number of taxa.

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          Environmental uncertainty and the global biogeography of cooperative breeding in birds.

          Understanding why organisms as different as amoebas, ants, and birds cooperate remains an important question in evolutionary biology. Although ecology can influence cooperation and conflict within animal societies and has been implicated in species differences in sociality, the environmental predictors of sociality across broad geographic and taxonomic scales remain poorly understood. In particular, the importance of temporal variation in selection pressure has been underestimated in most evolutionary studies. Environmental uncertainty resulting from climatic variation is likely to be an important driver of temporal variation in selection pressure and therefore is expected to impact the evolution of behavioral, morphological, and physiological traits, including cooperation. Using a data set of over 95% of the world's birds, we examine the global geography and environmental, biotic, and historical biogeographic predictors of avian social behavior. We find dramatic spatial variation in social behavior for which environmental and biotic factors--namely, among-year environmental variability in precipitation--are important predictors. Although the clear global biogeographic structure in avian social behavior carries a strong signal of evolutionary history, environmental uncertainty plays an additional key role in explaining the incidence and distribution of avian cooperative breeding behavior. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

            Author and article information

            Sci Data
            Sci Data
            Scientific Data
            Nature Publishing Group
            10 November 2015
            : 2
            [1 ] Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University , Darwin, NT 0909, Australia
            [2 ] Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University , North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia
            [3 ] BirdLife Australia , 5/60 Leicester St, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia
            [4 ] Institute for Sustainability and Innovation, Victoria University, Footscray Park Campus , PO Box 14428, Melbourne MC, Vic. 8001, Australia
            [5 ] East Asian—Australasian Flyway Partnership Secretariat , 3F G-Tower, 175 Art center-daero (24-4 Songdo-dong), Yeonsu-gu, Incheon 406-840, Republic of Korea
            [6 ] Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Engineering and the Built Environment, Deakin University , 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia
            [7 ] 28 Morgan Crescent , Curtin, ACT 2605, Australia
            [8 ] The Cairns Institute, James Cook University , PO Box 6811, Cairns, Qld 4870, Australia
            [9 ] Australian Bird & Bat Banding Scheme , GPO Box 8, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
            [10 ] School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University , Waurn Ponds, Vic. 3216, Australia
            [11 ] Bush Heritage Australia , PO Box 329, Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Vic. 8009, Australia
            Author notes
            [b ] D.C.F. (email: don.franklin@ .

            S.T.G. led the project and was involved in all stages of data assembly, drafting of the manuscript and revision of the data set. D.E.D. assembled data on egg size and clade membership and participated in the quality check tests. G.E. assembled data related to threatened birds and climate impacts, reviewed assembled data, advised on nomenclatural and taxonomic changes and participated in the quality check tests. P.-J.G. assembled data on brain sizes and flight initiation distances. A.S. assembled data related to climate impacts. J.K.S. assembled data related to threatened birds, commented on the manuscript and reviewed assembled data. M.A.W. provided data on flight initiation distances and commented on the manuscript. S.B. assembled data related to threatened birds. G.M.C. assembled data related to threatened birds. D.D. provided all data on movements derived from the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme. G.D. assembled data related to threatened birds. K.F. assembled data related to threatened birds. D.C.F. provided data on brain size, drafted the manuscript, reviewed assembled data, coordinated revision of the dataset and manuscript and participated in the quality check tests.

            Copyright © 2015, Macmillan Publishers Limited

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit Metadata associated with this Data Descriptor is available at and is released under the CC0 waiver to maximize reuse.

            Data Descriptor

            taxonomy, conservation biology, zoology, biodiversity


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