AVONET: morphological, ecological and geographical data for all birds

Joseph A. Tobias, Catherine Sheard, Alex L. Pigot, Adam J.M. Devenish, Jingyi Yang, Ferran Sayol, Montague H.C. Neate-Clegg, Nico Alioravainen, Thomas L. Weeks, Robert A. Barber, Patrick A. Walkden, Hannah E.A. MacGregor, Samuel E.I. Jones, Claire Vincent, Anna G. Phillips, Nicola M. Marples, Flavia A. Montaño-Centellas, Victor Leandro-Silva, Santiago Claramunt, Bianca DarskiBenjamin G. Freeman, Tom P. Bregman, Christopher R. Cooney, Emma C. Hughes, Elliot J.R. Capp, Zoë K. Varley, Nicholas R. Friedman, Heiko Korntheuer, Andrea Corrales-Vargas, Christopher H. Trisos, Brian C. Weeks, Dagmar M. Hanz, Till Töpfer, Gustavo A. Bravo, Vladimír Remeš, Larissa Nowak, Lincoln S. Carneiro, Amilkar J. Moncada R., Beata Matysioková, Daniel T. Baldassarre, Alejandra Martínez-Salinas, Jared D. Wolfe, Philip M. Chapman, Benjamin G. Daly, Marjorie C. Sorensen, Alexander Neu, Michael A. Ford, Rebekah J. Mayhew, Luis Fabio Silveira, David J. Kelly, Nathaniel N.D. Annorbah, Henry S. Pollock, Ada M. Grabowska-Zhang, Jay P. McEntee, Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez, Camila G. Meneses, Marcia C. Muñoz, Luke L. Powell, Gabriel A. Jamie, Thomas J. Matthews, Oscar Johnson, Guilherme R.R. Brito, Kristof Zyskowski, Ross Crates, Michael G. Harvey, Maura Jurado Zevallos, Peter A. Hosner, Tom Bradfer-Lawrence, James M. Maley, F. Gary Stiles, Hevana S. Lima, Kaiya L. Provost, Moses Chibesa, Mmatjie Mashao, Jeffrey T. Howard, Edson Mlamba, Marcus A.H. Chua, Bicheng Li, M. Isabel Gómez, Natalia C. García, Martin Päckert, Jérôme Fuchs, Jarome R. Ali, Elizabeth P. Derryberry, Monica L. Carlson, Rolly C. Urriza, Kristin E. Brzeski, Dewi M. Prawiradilaga, Matt J. Rayner, Eliot T. Miller, Rauri C.K. Bowie, René Marie Lafontaine, R. Paul Scofield, Yingqiang Lou, Lankani Somarathna, Denis Lepage, Marshall Illif, Eike Lena Neuschulz, Mathias Templin, D. Matthias Dehling, Jacob C. Cooper, Olivier S.G. Pauwels, Kangkuso Analuddin, Jon Fjeldså, Nathalie Seddon, Paul R. Sweet, Fabrice A.J. DeClerck, Luciano N. Naka, Jeffrey D. Brawn, Alexandre Aleixo, Katrin Böhning-Gaese, Carsten Rahbek, Susanne A. Fritz, Gavin H. Thomas, Matthias Schleuning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

288 Citations (Scopus)


Functional traits offer a rich quantitative framework for developing and testing theories in evolutionary biology, ecology and ecosystem science. However, the potential of functional traits to drive theoretical advances and refine models of global change can only be fully realised when species-level information is complete. Here we present the AVONET dataset containing comprehensive functional trait data for all birds, including six ecological variables, 11 continuous morphological traits, and information on range size and location. Raw morphological measurements are presented from 90,020 individuals of 11,009 extant bird species sampled from 181 countries. These data are also summarised as species averages in three taxonomic formats, allowing integration with a global phylogeny, geographical range maps, IUCN Red List data and the eBird citizen science database. The AVONET dataset provides the most detailed picture of continuous trait variation for any major radiation of organisms, offering a global template for testing hypotheses and exploring the evolutionary origins, structure and functioning of biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-597
Number of pages17
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • avian traits
  • continuous variables
  • data integration
  • ecomorphology
  • functional diversity
  • macroecology
  • macroevolution
  • trait-based ecology

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