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 criteria 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: [email protected].

Introduced SpeciesCurrent Countable PopulationsCountable Since At LeastSources for Countability Dates
Mute SwanQC to NC to MNPre-1980
Southwestern BCPre-1980
Austin region (TX)2018eBird, breeding at Town Lake, 2003
Egyptian Goose (2014)Los Angeles region (CA)1995
Florida†2008
Central Texas2019eBird, Canyon Lake, 2004
Muscovy DuckFlorida1992
Date of Robertson and Wolfenden’s FL checklist
Laysan Duck (2017*)Midway Atoll (HI)2019
MallardHawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
Plain ChachalacaSapelo Island (GA)Pre-1980
Mountain QuailMason & Kitsap counties (WA)Pre-1980
California QuailOR to BC to UTPre-1980
Springerville region (AZ)Pre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands but Kauaʻi)Pre-1980
Gambel’s QuailSan Clemente Island (CA)Pre-1980
Lemhi County (ID)Pre-1980
Hawaiʻi Island (HI)Pre-1980
Wild TurkeyHawaii (Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi)Pre-1980
Many areas of southern Canada, northern & western U.S.Pre-1980
White-tailed PtarmiganSouthern Sierra Nevada (CA)1987
Uinta Mountains (UT)1991
Gray PartridgeWI to OR to AlbertaPre-1980
Prince Edward IslandPre-1980
Far east Ontario & southern QuebecPre-1980
Ring-necked PheasantSouthern Canada and most of U.S. (except Southeast)Pre-1980
Kenai Peninsula (AK)Pre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
Kalij Pheasant (2017*)Hawaiʻi (HI)Pre-1980
Oʻahu (HI)2018
Indian Peafowl (2018*)Hawaii (Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi)†Pre-1980
Los Angeles County (CA)1988
Florida2007
Robertson & Woolfenden (1992) mentioned in https://www.aba.org/birding_archive_files/v43n5p46.pdf
Gray Francolin (2017*)Hawaii (all major islands but Oʻahu)Pre-1980
Oʻahu (HI)1995
Black Francolin (2017*)Hawaii (all major islands but Oʻahu)Pre-1980
Oʻahu (HI)2009
Red Junglefowl (2017*)Hawaii (all major islands)†Pre-1980
Key West (FL)Pre-1980
Fitzgerald (GA)1985
Himalayan SnowcockRuby Mountains (NV)Pre-1980
ChukarCO to CA to BCPre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands but Oʻahu)Pre-1980
Erckel’s Francolin (2017*)Hawaii (Hawaiʻi Island, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Lānaʻi)Pre-1980
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (2017*)Hawaiʻi Island (HI)Pre-1980
Rock PigeonABA AreaPre-1980
Eurasian Collared-DoveABA Area1997
Spotted DoveLos Angeles region (CA)Pre-1980
Bakersfield region (CA)Pre-1980
Fresno region (CA)Pre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
Mourning DoveHawaii (Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Oʻahu)Pre-1980
Zebra Dove (2017*)Hawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
Purple Swamphen (2013)Florida2011
Cattle EgretHawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
Barn OwlHawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
Monk ParakeetFlorida1984
New York City and southwest CT region1985
New Orleans region (LA)1987
Dallas-Fort Worth region (TX)1990eBird
Chicago region (IL & IN)1994
Austin region (TX)1996eBird
Houston region (TX)2000eBird
San Antonio region (TX)2013eBird
Nanday Parakeet (2012)Los Angeles region (CA)1991
Florida†1998
Green ParakeetLower Rio Grande Valley region (TX)1984
Brush (2007) mentioned in Birds of the World account
Mitred Parakeet (2021)Los Angeles region (CA)
Miami region (FL)†
Sunnyvale region (CA)
1995
2002
2011
White-winged ParakeetMiami region (FL)†Pre-1980
Yellow-chevroned Parakeet (2019)Los Angeles region (CA)†
Miami region (FL)
1997

1995

eBird

Oʻahu (HI)1984
Los Angeles region (CA)1988
Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach region (FL)1989
San Diego region (CA)2001eBird
Rose-ringed Parakeet (2017*)Kauaʻi (HI)†Pre-1980
Oʻahu (HI)†1988
Bakersfield region (CA)1992
Naples region (FL)2005
Rosy-faced Lovebird (2012)Phoenix region (AZ)2002
Eurasian SkylarkSE Vancouver Island†Pre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
Red-vented Bulbul (2017*)Houston region (TX)Pre-1980
Oʻahu (HI)†1981
Red-whiskered BulbulKendall region (FL)†Pre-1980
Oʻahu (HI)1980
Los Angeles region (CA)1986
Japanese Bush-Warbler (2017*)Hawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
Warbling White-eye (2017*)Hawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush (2017*)Kauaʻi (HI)Pre-1980
Hwamei (2017*)Hawaii (Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi)Pre-1980
Red-billed Leiothrix (2017*)Hawaii (Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu)Pre-1980
White-rumped Shama (2017*)Oʻahu & Kauaʻi (HI)Pre-1980
Molokaʻi (HI)2012
Northern MockingbirdHawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
European StarlingABA AreaPre-1980
Common Myna (2008)Hawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
South FL†1997
Common Waxbill (2017*)Hawaii (Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi)1988
Red Avadavat (2017*)Hawaii (Hawaiʻi Island, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi)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*)Oʻahu & Kauaʻi (HI)Pre-1980
Maui (HI)2012
House SparrowABA AreaPre-1980
Eurasian Tree SparrowWestern IL & eastern IA/MO regionPre-1980
House FinchHawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
Yellow-fronted Canary (2017*)Oʻahu (HI)1979
Hawaiʻi Island (HI)1981
Island Canary (2017*)Midway Atoll (HI)Pre-1980
Western MeadowlarkKauaʻi (HI)Pre-1980
Spot-breasted OrioleMiami region (FL)Pre-1980
Northern CardinalLos Angeles region (CA)Pre-1980
Hawaii (all major islands)Pre-1980
Red-crested Cardinal (2017*)Hawaii (all major islands but Hawaiʻi)Pre-1980
Yellow-billed Cardinal (2017*)Hawaiʻi Island (HI)1987
Saffron Finch (2017*)Hawaiʻi Island & Oʻahu (HI)1980
Kauaʻi (HI)2019
Yellow-faced GrassquitOʻahu (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 December 22, 2020