Best global species database?

What is the best global species database? We want to auto-populate verified species names within our platform's onboarding process and I am trying to find the right database to pull from.


I used 2 main sources when localizing checklists for Meru, Kenya.

IUCN updates the redlist status and other classification data ("Assessments") which I used for mammals.

It also means you get numeric unique ids (which however are affected by split and mergers of species which may latin a better choice). For example in our case there are in some taxonomies a split of giraffe into 4 species, meaning our local giraffe is according to IUCN a subspecie (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) or a specie (Giraffa reticulata) as latest taxonomist claims.

For birds I merged via Avibase as it is available in 9 different taxonomies, including synonyms and more than 175 languages.

And they are synched and should have fairly good coverage and updated information. Assessments which can change data like the redlist status are updated irregularly. 


This is what we use for Movebank:

It has good global coverage. In deciding what to use, consider what taxonomic groups your platform will specialize in, if any, because some taxonomies catch up with changes more quickly than others.

Hi all!

You should check the Catalogue of Life!

With regard to GBIF, I know their backbone taxonomy is used a lot: 

There is also the Tree of Life project ( I use it mostly for educational purposes but in any case it's another source of species info. And ditto to IUCN, for the species it has.

All the best,