Taxonomy: the mysteries surrounding the birds we watch
Per Alström is a Professor of ornithology, working at Uppsala University (Department of Ecology and Genetics). Previous employments at, e.g., the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Swedish Species Information Centre), and the Swedish Museum of Natural History.
Per has been a keen birder since his early childhood in southwest Sweden. He started travelling abroad at an early age and, altogether, he has spent several years in the field in some 20 countries in Asia, as well as multiple trips to other parts of the world including North America and parts of Africa. Author of over 100 scientific and 60 popular science articles (including many on difficult to identify bird species), and first author of two highly acclaimed books, A Field Guide to the Rare Birds of Britain and Europe (1991) and Pipits and Wagtails of Europe, Asia and North America (2003) and co-author of chapters in two volumes of Handbook of the Birds of the World (2004, 2006) and several chapters in The Largest Avian Radiation: The Evolution of Perching Birds, or the Order Passeriformes (in press).
Together with Paul Donald, he is currently writing a handbook to the larks of the world (to be completed in the summer of 2020). He has been involved in descriptions of seven species and two subspecies of birds new to science. Advisor to the IOC World Bird List, a member of the recently founded Working Group on Avian Checklists and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the international ornithological journal Avian Research.
A lay person’s introduction to bird taxonomy