Wikidata:Property proposal/IBP 4-letter bird species alpha code

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IBP 4-letter bird species alpha code[edit]

Originally proposed at Wikidata:Property proposal/Natural science

DescriptionStandardized four-letter alphabetic code for bird species by the Institute for Bird Populations
Representsbird (Q5113)
Data typeExternal identifier
Domaintaxon (Q16521)
Allowed values[A-Z]{4}
Example 1Virginia Rail (Q747837) → VIRA
Example 2Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Q945114) → CBCH
Example 3Townsend's Warbler (Q512543) → TOWA
Example 4Pink-footed Shearwater (Q27074606) → PFSH
SourceInstitute for Bird Populations: Standardized 4- and 6-letter Bird Species (“Alpha”) Codes
Planned usePopulate bird species entries with this identifier commonly used by ornithologists and bird banders
Number of IDs in source2,154
Expected completenesseventually complete (Q21873974)


4-letter alpha codes are commonly used by ornithologists and bird banders to abbreviate English common names for bird species and a small number of non-species level taxa. The Institute for Bird Populations (Q7742176) has been maintaining for years a registry to standardize the usage of these 4-letter identifiers:

The U.S. Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) has long used alpha codes in banding data, and these codes have become an integral part of large ornithological programs across the United States and Canada. Inconsistencies have occurred in the rules governing the alpha codes of the BBL, however, and the list it maintains does not include most species found in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean but not in the United States or Canada. In 2003, IBP began developing a new set of four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes to reflect current American Ornithologists' Union (AOU; now American Ornithological Society, AOS) taxonomy and nomenclature in their check-list (AOU 1998) and subsequent supplements (AOU 2000-2016 and AOS 2017-2019). This list includes all species of birds recorded in North America, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean region, including records out to 200 miles from shore in most areas. We update this list annually, following publication of each AOU/AOS supplement to their check-list, which usually occurs in July.

While the codes currently don't resolve to an online API or catalog (they are documented in yearly publications and datasets released by the IBP), adding them to bird species items in Wikidata will be of particular value for supporting the existing usage of these codes in communities of practitioners. If there's consensus for creating this property and populating the corresponding items, I would also like to advocate for the creation of the companion property representing the 6-letter alpha code based on the scientific name. I am not quite sure about the best name for these 2 properties, suggestions are welcome. --DarTar (talk) 00:51, 10 August 2019 (UTC)


Achim Raschka (talk)
Andrawaag (talk)
Brya (talk)
CanadianCodhead (talk)
Christian Ferrer (talk)
Dan Koehl (talk)
Daniel Mietchen (talk)
FelixReimann (talk)
Infomuse (talk)
Infovarius (talk)
Jean-Marc Vanel
Joel Sachs
Josve05a (talk)
Klortho (talk)
Lymantria (talk)
Mellis (talk)
Michael Goodyear
Mr. Fulano (talk)
Nis Jørgensen
Peter Coxhead
Andy Mabbett (talk)
Prot D
Rod Page
Strobilomyces (talk)
Tommy Kronkvist (talk)
Tris T7 TT me
William Avery
Pictogram voting comment.svg Notified participants of WikiProject Taxonomy

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support I am surprised this code is not yet in Wikidata as a property. Really useful to have. --Andrawaag (talk) 07:57, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment are they stable and distinct? If so, They should use external-id as datatype. --- Jura 12:10, 11 August 2019 (UTC)
@Jura1: yes, the codes are unique and persistent. Fixed the datatype in the proposal, it was a mistake. Thanks.—DarTar (talk) 17:37, 11 August 2019 (UTC)

@Andrawaag, Jura1, DarTar, Ambrosia10, daniel Mietchen, YULdigitalpreservation: ✓ Done, see IBP 4-letter bird species alpha code (P7182) --DannyS712 (talk) 18:29, 17 August 2019 (UTC)