ABA Area Introduced Species

One of the questions the RSEC receives most frequently is about which populations of introduced species may be counted in the ABA Area.

Version 2020 of the ABA Recording Rules and Interpretations has updated Rule 2.B(v) to help clarify the answer to this question. Previously, the rule said that a bird is countable if from a population that met the ABA Checklist Committee’s Criteria for Determining Establishment of Exotics. However, the RSEC recognizes that criterion #8—which states that a publication must document the first seven criteria—would rarely be met for established populations that were not the basis for the initial addition of an introduced species to the Checklist. Therefore, Rule 2.B(v) now says that only the first seven criteria are required for a population to be countable.

Perhaps the best indicator of a countable population is whether it meets criterion #6, which reads:

The population has been present for at least 15 years. Previous CLC criteria used a 10-year persistence threshold. As we have seen with several exotics, 10 years is an insufficient period to judge the likelihood that an exotic will persist. Accordingly, we have increased the persistence criterion to 15 years. The CLC readily acknowledges that 15 years may also be insufficient in some cases to determine establishment; populations of many exotics follow a “boom and bust” cycle over several decades—the population of Crested Mynas at Vancouver became extirpated more than 100 years after its introduction. With long-lived species (e.g., Amazona parrots) or when gamebird populations are regularly subsidized, one could argue that persistence should be for 30 or more years for genuine trends in the population to become obvious. Our point here is that like numerical criteria, no simple formula of the number of years for persistence can apply to all species. Flexible persistence criteria (“at least 15 years”) and lack of numerical criteria will allow Committee members to exercise their own judgment in potentially uncertain or controversial cases, but only in the context of strong biological evidence and with the intention that the final judgment be a conservative one.

To help birders decide where and when they may count introduced species, we have compiled a list of populations of introduced species on the ABA Checklist that have been present for at least 15 years (as of 2020) and appear to meet the other criteria for being considered established. Your life list is your own, of course, but the current RSEC position is that birds from any of the populations listed below may be counted by birders wishing to do so if seen during or after the year provided. And to be clear, these dates of countability are applicable to Life Lists, not Big Year Lists. The Big Year Rules state “Each species counted by the participant must have been encountered in accordance with the ABA Recording Rules current at the time the species was encountered.” Thus, introduced birds counted during Big Years prior to 2020 must have belonged to populations that met all eight Criteria for Determining Establishment of Exotics.

Please note that some of the species on this list also may occur as countable vagrants from native populations (e.g., Eurasian Skylark).

Please note that this list of countable populations may not be exhaustive and is subject to deletions and additions based on any updated understanding. The RSEC welcomes feedback on this list as well: rsec@aba.org.

The ABA and RSEC would like to thank Nick Block, RSEC Secretary from 2015–2020, for creating and maintaining this list.

Introduced Species (year added to Checklist) Current Countable Populations Countable Since At Least Sources for Countability Dates
Mute Swan QC to NC to MN Pre-1980
Southwestern BC Pre-1980
Austin region (TX) 2018 eBird, breeding at Town Lake, 2003
Egyptian Goose (2014) Los Angeles region (CA) 1995
Florida† 2008
Central Texas 2019 eBird, Canyon Lake, 2004
Muscovy Duck Florida 1992
Date of Robertson and Wolfenden’s FL checklist
Laysan Duck (2017*) Midway Atoll (HI) 2019
Mallard Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
Plain Chachalaca Sapelo Island (GA) Pre-1980
Mountain Quail Mason & Kitsap counties (WA) Pre-1980
California Quail OR to BC to UT Pre-1980
Springerville region (AZ) Pre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands but Kaua’i) Pre-1980
Gambel’s Quail San Clemente Island (CA) Pre-1980
Lemhi County (ID) Pre-1980
Hawai’i Island (HI) Pre-1980
Wild Turkey Hawaii (Hawai’i Island, Maui, Lāna’i, Moloka’i) Pre-1980
Many areas of southern Canada, northern & western U.S. Pre-1980
White-tailed Ptarmigan Southern Sierra Nevada (CA) 1987
Uinta Mountains (UT) 1991
Gray Partridge WI to OR to Alberta Pre-1980
Prince Edward Island Pre-1980
Far east Ontario & southern Quebec Pre-1980
Ring-necked Pheasant Southern Canada and most of U.S. (except Southeast) Pre-1980
Kenai Peninsula (AK) Pre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
Kalij Pheasant (2017*) Hawai’i (HI) Pre-1980
O’ahu (HI) 2018
Indian Peafowl (2018*) Hawaii (Hawai’i Island, Maui, O’ahu, Kaua’i)† Pre-1980
Los Angeles County (CA) 1988
Florida 2007
Robertson & Woolfenden (1992) mentioned in https://www.aba.org/birding_archive_files/v43n5p46.pdf
Gray Francolin (2017*) Hawaii (all major islands but O’ahu) Pre-1980
O’ahu (HI) 1995
Black Francolin (2017*) Hawaii (all major islands but O’ahu) Pre-1980
O’ahu (HI) 2009
Red Junglefowl (2017*) Hawaii (all major islands)† Pre-1980
Key West (FL) Pre-1980
Fitzgerald (GA) 1985
Himalayan Snowcock Ruby Mountains (NV) Pre-1980
Chukar CO to CA to BC Pre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands but O’ahu) Pre-1980
Erckel’s Francolin (2017*) Hawaii (Hawai’i Island, O’ahu, Kaua’i, Lāna’i) Pre-1980
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (2017*) Hawai’i Island (HI) Pre-1980
Rock Pigeon ABA Area Pre-1980
Eurasian Collared-Dove ABA Area 1997
Spotted Dove Los Angeles region (CA) Pre-1980
Bakersfield region (CA) Pre-1980
Fresno region (CA) Pre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
Mourning Dove Hawaii (Hawai’i Island, Maui, O’ahu) Pre-1980
Zebra Dove (2017*) Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
Purple Swamphen (2013) Florida 2011
Cattle Egret Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
Barn Owl Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
Monk Parakeet Florida 1984
New York City and southwest CT region 1985
New Orleans region (LA) 1987
Dallas-Fort Worth region (TX) 1990 eBird
Chicago region (IL & IN) 1994 https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/4163574.pdf

Urban parakeets in Northern Illinois: A 40-year perspective

Austin region (TX) 1996 eBird
Houston region (TX) 2000 eBird
San Antonio region (TX) 2013 eBird
Phoenix region (AZ) 2019 eBird
Nanday Parakeet (2012) Los Angeles region (CA) 1991
Florida† 1998
Green Parakeet Lower Rio Grande Valley region (TX) Pre-1980 Brush (2005)
Mitred Parakeet (2021) Los Angeles region (CA) 1995
Miami region (FL)† 2002
Sunnyvale region (CA) 2011 eBird
Red-masked Parakeet (2022) O’ahu (HI) 2003
San Francisco region (CA)† 2004
Los Angeles region (CA)† 2004
Miami region (FL) 2004
San Diego region (CA) 2007
Fort Lauderdale region (FL) 2014
Hawai’i Island (HI) 2014
White-winged Parakeet Miami region (FL) Pre-1980
Yellow-chevroned Parakeet (2019) Los Angeles region (CA)† 1997
Miami region (FL) 1995 eBird
Red-crowned Parrot Lower Rio Grande Valley region (TX)† Pre-1980
O’ahu (HI) 1984
Los Angeles region (CA) 1988
Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach region (FL) 1989
San Diego region (CA) 2001 eBird
Lilac-crowned Parrot (2022) Los Angeles region (CA)† 1992
San Diego region (CA) 2020 eBird
Rose-ringed Parakeet (2017*) Kaua’i (HI)† Pre-1980
O’ahu (HI)† 1988
Bakersfield region (CA) 1992
Naples region (FL) 2005
Rosy-faced Lovebird (2012) Phoenix region (AZ) 2002
Eurasian Skylark SE Vancouver Island† Pre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
Red-vented Bulbul (2017*) Houston region (TX) Pre-1980
O’ahu (HI)† 1981
Red-whiskered Bulbul Kendall region (FL)† Pre-1980
O’ahu (HI) 1980
Los Angeles region (CA) 1986
CBC data, https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/wilson/v085n04/p0506-p0512.pdf
Japanese Bush-Warbler (2017*) Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
Warbling White-eye (2017*) Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush (2017*) Kaua’i (HI) Pre-1980
Hwamei (2017*) Hawaii (Hawai’i Island, Maui, O’ahu, Kaua’i) Pre-1980
Red-billed Leiothrix (2017*) Hawaii (Hawai’i Island, Maui, Moloka’i, O’ahu) Pre-1980
White-rumped Shama (2017*) O’ahu & Kaua’i (HI) Pre-1980
Moloka’i (HI) 2012
Northern Mockingbird Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
European Starling ABA Area Pre-1980
Common Myna (2008) Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
South FL† 1997
Common Waxbill (2017*) Hawaii (Hawai’i Island, Maui, O’ahu, Kaua’i) 1988
Red Avadavat (2017*) Hawaii (Hawai’i Island, O’ahu, Kaua’i) Pre-1980
African Silverbill (2017*) Hawaii (all major islands) 1987
Java Sparrow (2017*) Hawaii (all major islands) 1979
Scaly-breasted Munia (2013) Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
CA coast region† 2003
Pensacola region (FL) 2014
Kendall region (FL) 2016
Houston region (TX) 2019
Tricolored Munia (2020) Cuba (vagrants in FL) 2003
Chestnut Munia (2017*) O’ahu & Kaua’i (HI) Pre-1980
Maui (HI) 2012
House Sparrow ABA Area Pre-1980
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Western IL & eastern IA/MO region Pre-1980
House Finch Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
Yellow-fronted Canary (2017*) O’ahu (HI) 1979
Hawai’i Island (HI) 1981
Island Canary (2017*) Midway Atoll (HI) Pre-1980
Western Meadowlark Kaua’i (HI) Pre-1980
Spot-breasted Oriole Miami region (FL) Pre-1980
Northern Cardinal Los Angeles region (CA) Pre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands) Pre-1980
Red-crested Cardinal (2017*) Hawaii (all major islands but Hawai’i) Pre-1980
Yellow-billed Cardinal (2017*) Hawai’i Island (HI) 1987
Saffron Finch (2017*) Hawai’i Island & O’ahu (HI) 1980
Kaua’i (HI) 2019
Yellow-faced Grassquit O’ahu (HI) 1989
* = Added to the Checklist with addition of Hawaii to the ABA Area, so date does not reflect when population was accepted as established.
† = Population that was the basis of acceptance to the ABA Checklist
Hawaii Species Information:
General Background Sources:

Updated September 30, 2022