I am looking for a data base of life history traits for bird species. Is there such data base? If not, what are your advice on how to collect those data? Is there a handy website that list characteristics of birds around the world? I started to gather those data using wikipedia (and the references anytime wikipedia actually have reference) but it is very cumbersome.

The kind of data I am looking for are:

  • Reproductive age
  • Average lifespan
  • Average gestation time
  • Number of eggs per reproduction event
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE. When reading your question without reading the example, I was rather thinking you were looking for population data (dynamic of population size through time and things like that). But it seems that you are actually interested in life-history measures of different species, is that right? If yes, you might want to change your post to say that you're looking for life-history data (and not population data). $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jul 6 '15 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b Life-history is the term I was looking for $\endgroup$ – user16618 Jul 7 '15 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ I rewrote your post. If you don't like it,please feel free to rollback. In its current form, I am voting to reopen the post. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jul 7 '15 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ I started looking at wikipedia and I even started collecting the life history traits into a spread sheet, but I wanted to see if there was something like this already available, becuase it seemed to be very cumbersome $\endgroup$ – user16618 Jul 7 '15 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ Yes indeed. And the question seems legit. This is why I cared about improving the format and defining the scope more accurately hoping it would get reopen. I added that you started with wiki to the post. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jul 7 '15 at 16:24

Have you tried the Ecological Data Wiki? It's an NSF-funded repository of links to ecological databases and datasets:

Main page: http://ecologicaldata.org

Find data tab, refined to Taxon=Birds, Ecological level=Species: https://ecologicaldata.org/search?f[0]=taxonomy_vocabulary_2%253Aname%3ABirds&f[1]=taxonomy_vocabulary_6%253Aname%3ASpecies

The 'Avian body size and life history' dataset on the above page looks relevant to your search.


Up until recently, my answer would have been: Find your library's copies of standard reference-works like the Handbook of Australian New Zealand, and Antarctic Birds, Birds of the Western Palearctic, and the Handbook of North American Birds, and prepare to spend a couple of weeks transcribing the details of interest for each species. You still may need to take that approach for some regions.

For Australian birds, most of the key details are now available in digitised form in Garnett et al. (2015). Similar datasets may be available for other regions.


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