What does community_taxon_id mean?

My goal is to understand iNaturalist API, for example, to see if person find a bird. I have a problem because I don’t know how I can to check if this is a bird.

  1. I have found a community_taxon_id. What does it mean? Where can I find all community_taxon_id? For example if community_taxon_id=1 it’s a bird. Where can I find a list with all community_taxon_id? Can you give me a link?

  2. I have found a iconic_taxon_name, for example, Aves. Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class Aves. So if I will check that iconic_taxon_name=Aves I will find all birds, I’m right?

What does community_taxon_id mean?

I guess the community_taxon_id is the id of the community taxon.
A community taxon is a normal species name as all other, but it is given by the community, not by the person who created the observation.
I cant find an url to this text. You do not have it cause you have not created an observation yet… Maybe it is better to start using iNaturalist before you start programming with the API???

‘’ About community taxa

The community taxon (or community identification) represents what taxon the iNaturalist community thinks is depicted in an observation. If you’re interested in how we choose the community taxon, see the notes on the algorithm below, but in general, we try to choose a taxon that more than 2/3 of the identifiers agree with. Sometimes this means choosing a higher level taxon that contains a number of disagreeing taxa (e.g. you think it’s a kingsnake and I think it’s rattlesnake, so iNat chooses suborder Serpentes which contains all snakes). The algorithm also slightly favors dissent, because we’ve found that dissenters are often correct.

A research grade observation must have (among other criteria) a community taxon. If an observation has only one identification, it won’t have a community taxon. All observations with at least one identification will also have an observation taxon. The observation taxon is the taxon we use when sharing observations with data partners, linking observations of the same taxon on the site, updating your life list, etc. In most cases the observation taxon will eventually be set to the community taxon, but sometimes they will differ especially before the community has settled on an identification. For example, if you think its a snake (suborder Serpentes) and I think it’s a kingsnake (genus Lampropeltis) the observation taxon will be at kingsnake (supported by my identification only) but the community taxon will be at serpentes (supported by at least two identifications). If for some reason you don’t agree with the community taxon, you can reject it on your own observations, which means that observation taxon will never be set to the community taxon (rather your own ID). It also means your observation can only become research grade when the community agrees with you. If you don’t like the whole idea of community taxa, you can opt out of them entirely by editing your settings.

The algorithm: for all identified taxa and the taxa that contain them (e.g. genus Homo contains Homo sapiens), score each as the ratio between the number of ‘agreements’ - cumulative IDs for that taxon over the sum of the cumulative IDs, ‘disagreements’ - the number of IDs that are completely different (i.e. IDs of taxa that do not contain the taxon being scored), and ‘ancestor disagreements’ - the number of more conservative IDs that disagree with the finer taxon. For the identified taxa that have a score over 2/3 and at least 2 identifications, choose the lowest ranked taxon’’


I am not sure but I think the number of iconic taxa are 12…


1 Like

If you download the file at this link https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/inaturalist-taxonomy.dwca.zip, there is a csv in there called taxa.csv. The community_taxon_id will correspond to the number at the end of the taxonID column in that spreadsheet. And the taxonomic columns (e.g. scientificName) describe that taxon, e.g. community_taxon_id / taxonID 3 = Aves aka birds https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/3



you can also find numerical taxon ID for a taxon of your choosing by just going to relevant page in iNaturalist and checking URL


Welcome to the Forum. Always a good place to discuss things. I’m not well versed in the ‘search’ aspects of iNat, but @optilete has good suggestions. I would stress that you use iNat for a while to get a sense about how the site works.
If your only goal is to understand the API (I don’t even know what that stands for!) - which is fine - it would still be helpful to understand how the observation/confirmation process works first. You will likely become more familiar with the search functions as well. I wish you luck!


This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.