Monday, August 19, 2013

Any common bird name changes to the annual American Ornithological Union (AOU) Check-List, Warbler Guy? In turn, does the American Birding Association (ABA) adopt these new bird name changes, including splits that create two new species?

Jake, that's a great question.
The recently published July issue of The Auk (published by the AOU) has the answer. 

It features the annual supplement to the AOU Check-List*, and, indeed, the ABA Checklist automatically adopts changes in taxonomy adopted by the AOU.
(* = Fifty-Fourth Supplement to the American Ornithologists’ Union Check-list of North American Birds(pp. 558-571)  
R. Terry Chesser, Richard C. Banks, F. Keith Barker, Carla Cicero, Jon L. Dunn, Andrew W. Kratter, Irby J. Lovette, Pamela C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen Jr., James D. Rising, Douglas F. Stotz and Kevin Winker)

But do NOT get too excited. Sit back in your chair. The ONLY new landbird split for the entire 2013 list centers on the SAGE SPARROW. It's a GREAT, handsome bird species, no doubt. 

The newly split Bell's Sparrow, this one from Baja California, Mexico, photo by Jorge Montejo via flickr

BUT not a wood-warbler. 

So, ho-hum, here are the details on the split: The old, you're-sooooo 2012 version of the SAGE SPARROW
is now the Sagebrush Sparrow (Artemisiospiza nevadensis) and Bell’s Sparrow (Artemisiospiza belli).

The Bell's species includes the intermediate-looking, interior-California-breeding subspecies called canescens as the scientific name trinomial. Some experts believe this population may eventually be split from Bell’s Sparrow and become a species of its own. Most if not all vagrant records of “Sage Sparrow” in the central and eastern parts of North America relate to Sagebrush Sparrow.

OK, now back to the edge of your chair and out the door with your binoculars as you enjoy the southbound wood-warbler migration. Pinch me, as I'll soon enjoy seven days in WI while searching for wood-warbler dispersers and migrants as I head to the Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Door County area for birding by myself and with friends.

(Err, I must admit, some day soon, I'll again be able to lead tours there in the spring and fall....For now, it's a mere personal foray and no tours or classes scheduled, BUT feel free to tempt me by contacting me, if you wish: danieledelstein at att dot net....and warblerwatch dot com)

Thanks to the ABA's Michael Retter who helped me read and learn about the aforementioned split. He's a treasure and his writing is easily found at the ABA birding blog:


Anonymous said...

Thanks....gr8 info..

Anonymous said...

More splits, please. Or, more to the point, I won't complain if the ABA wants to make my life list larger.