The Roberts Birds 8 / Birds of The World Project

The John Voelcker Bird Book Fund has formally partnered with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, USA, whereby newly revised and updated Roberts 8 content for southern Africa will be uploaded to the Birds of the World (BoW) platform. The endeavour is intended to bring together everything known about every species of bird in existence, housed in a single repository, and driven by the goal to make available all knowledge that can be directed towards the critical conservation of our planet’s birds. In its mission to achieve this Cornell Lab of Ornithology has established an entire ecosystem of services that fit together to allow people to record birds (eBird), identify birds in the field (Merlin Bird ID) and explore life history content (Birds of the World)

About this project

The R8/Cornell-BoW collaboration is a multi-year project covering the update of all 990 species accounts for southern Africa, which was last done in 2005 with the large Roberts 7th edition Handbook.
Initially focusing on southern Africa’s endemics, the project launched on March 1st 2023 and the first newly completed species updates are available for viewing.
A team of top professional South African ornithologists, Professor Derek Engelbrecht as Editor-in-chief, with Assistant editors David Allan and Professor Peter Ryan, are contributing authors and over-seeing the project.
Nearly 100 authors have been invited to write the species accounts. All submitted material and species accounts undergo a rigorous review process by the renowned FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, Cape Town, South Africa.
This huge and significant project will be ongoing, with new material, research findings, and imagery added as our knowledge expands and is recorded on the site. 
The John Voelcker Bird Book Fund Trust will consider publishing Roberts 8 in hard copy given demand and affordability, but this is some way off.

Free Access to member nations

Agreement has been reached whereby FREE ACCESS is granted to member nations: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Eswatini (Swaziland).

Please find a PDF guide to setting up a personal Cornell LAB account to for your free access.

Anyone interested in Participating or contributing to this project please contact Derek at (Editor-in-Chief, R8-Cornell BoW)

For the latest updates

Roberts 8 and Birds of the world