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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 02:14   #1
Mysticete
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AOU 2017 Checklist proposals

A is up, but not readily accessible. Go here directly to see them:

http://checklist.aou.org/assets/prop...PDF/2017-A.pdf

Some very interesting proposals, including proposals

to split Northern Harrier, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Red Crossbill, and Prevost's Ground-Sparrow

Change species level taxonomy of juncos (splitting some species apart while lumping the two ABA area species together)

Changing the common name of Ring-necked Duck to Ring-billed Duck

Changes in generic classification of geese, egrets, Blue-gray Noddy, and Wilson's Phalarope

And changes in linear ordering of sandpipers
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 04:15   #2
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I love that the recommended common name for the more range-restricted taxon of the ground-sparrow split is 'White-faced' - even though it is the form marked by... (wait for it)... less white on the face. o_0
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 04:33   #3
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Oh, & for goodness' sake, NO on Northern Harrier sensu strictu vs. Northern Harrier sensu lato nonsense (re: the common name for the taxon in North America if split). Call it Hudsonian Harrier & avoid the long-term confusion. >(

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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 06:00   #4
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Oh, & for goodness' sake, NO on Northern Harrier sensu strictu vs. Northern Harrier sensu lato nonsense (re: the common name for the taxon in North America if split). Call it Hudsonian Harrier & avoid the long-term confusion. >(
Nah, resurrect "Marsh Hawk" for the American form, a venerable and most appropriate name for the critter given its habitat preferences.

'Ring-billed" for "Ring-necked"? For Christ's sake, leave the old name alone! Foolish literalism, the hobgoblin of small minds!

I do like the phalarope proposal. . ..
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 06:29   #5
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Merge Mesophoyx and Bubulcus into Ardea , seriously? I killing myself.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 11:28   #6
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My thoughts . . .

01 02 Split White-faced Ground Sparrow Melozone cabanisi from Prevost's Ground Sparrow Melozone biarcuata No idea, no experience!

02 0 8 Revise the generic classification of the subfamily Anserinae Yes

03 12 Transfer Blue-gray Noddy Procelsterna cerulea to the genus Anous Yes

04 1 5 Split North American Red Crossbill Loxia curvirostra into two species NO - particularly not when much of the argument is based on a 'species' that doesn't exist

05 2 3 Transfer Wilson’s Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor to a monotypic genus, Steganopus Vieillot 1818 No: not needed for monophyly

06 2 8 Change the English name of the Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris No; pointless waste of time. Many other far more deserving changes not being suggested

07 30 Transfer (a) Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia and (b) Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis to Ardea Probably yes, but fuller sampling of all heron taxa needed before doing so

08 3 5 Revisit the proposed split of Circus cyaneus and Circus hudsonius Yes, split long overdue

09 4 6 Split Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata into three species Yes, split

10 51 Split Willet Tringa semipalmata into two species Yes, split

11 5 5 Modify our treatment of juncos: (a) recognize bairdi as a species, (b) recognize alticola as a species, and (c) lump phaeonotus and hyemalis Odd that they recommend (a), (b), (c) but then recommend not (c). Strange!?!

12 6 0 Change the linear sequence of species in the Scolopacidae Yes

And finally, why no proposal for a split of Mew Gull from Common Gull?
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 12:31   #7
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[quote=Nutcracker;3513265]My thoughts . . .

01 02 Split White-faced Ground Sparrow Melozone cabanisi from Prevost's Ground Sparrow Melozone biarcuata No idea, no experience!
[quote]

Seen both in the last three years (Costa Rica, Southern Mexico) and they are strikingly different birds - clearly a good split IMO.

cheers, alan
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 12:50   #8
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05 2 3 Transfer Wilson’s Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor to a monotypic genus, Steganopus Vieillot 1818 No: not needed for monophyly
In both case, the monophyly of this clade is not affected
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 14:32   #9
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In both case, the monophyly of this clade is not affected
Yes, I know; but why make a change when it isn't necessary? Rather pointless to split a genus of three species into a genus of two and one of one. It's not like Phalaropus is large and unwieldy, like say Larus or Parus were in the past.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 15:04   #10
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My thoughts . . .


04 1 5 Split North American Red Crossbill Loxia curvirostra into two species NO - particularly not when much of the argument is based on a 'species' that doesn't exist
I know your stance on the Scottish Crossbill, but I think you might have interpreted that proposal in a different way than me. The proposal doesn't make a statement on how valid that split was, but rather that compared to other proposed splits there is far better evidence for distinctiveness of this taxon versus the Scottish Crossbill, and far better evidence of its distinctiveness versus pretty much all the other call types in NA (only Mexican, which is also largely sedentary, seems like a potential future split based on this proposal). As far as I can tell the researchers (who have been studying this complex for over a decade now) have mustered far far more evidence than presented for the Scottish split, and answered many of the questions from the last round of these proposals.

I actually read this proposal as suggestive that the Scottish Crossbill split is not valid, IN CONTRAST to the South Hills split
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 15:07   #11
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Oh, & for goodness' sake, NO on Northern Harrier sensu strictu vs. Northern Harrier sensu lato nonsense (re: the common name for the taxon in North America if split). Call it Hudsonian Harrier & avoid the long-term confusion. >(
I would prefer they keep Northern Harrier. This isn't a case like the Winter Wren, where both taxa are widely distributed in North America. Northern Harrier is pretty much NA only, with Hen Harrier being only a rare vagrant. It's not going to trip up the average birder If the "old name" is kept. Also, Northern Harrier (AFAIK) was never really used widely in the old world, so keeping both names increases nomenclatural stability.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 15:13   #12
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My thoughts . . .


11 5 5 Modify our treatment of juncos: (a) recognize bairdi as a species, (b) recognize alticola as a species, and (c) lump phaeonotus and hyemalis Odd that they recommend (a), (b), (c) but then recommend not (c). Strange!?!

And finally, why no proposal for a split of Mew Gull from Common Gull?
They will frequently throw out proposals with the recommendation to reject, just to establish a "proper" AOU opinion. IN this case they probably felt that to use this new study to support split of bairdi and alticola, they needed to also include a proposal for lumping these taxa, since this study supports that change.

As for Mew versus Common, I am sure that will come at some point, but given that I don't think even IOC has acted upon the change, its certainly a far lower priority than Willet and the other proposals here.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 15:47   #13
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Yes, I know; but why make a change when it isn't necessary? Rather pointless to split a genus of three species into a genus of two and one of one. It's not like Phalaropus is large and unwieldy, like say Larus or Parus were in the past.
The same remark can be said about the following genera : Gallinago, Chubbia & Coenocorypha.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 16:08   #14
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I would prefer they keep Northern Harrier. This isn't a case like the Winter Wren, where both taxa are widely distributed in North America. Northern Harrier is pretty much NA only, with Hen Harrier being only a rare vagrant. It's not going to trip up the average birder If the "old name" is kept. Also, Northern Harrier (AFAIK) was never really used widely in the old world, so keeping both names increases nomenclatural stability.
And - more to the point - Northern Harrier is used in the old world, specifically to distinguish vagrant hudsonius from resident cyaneus
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 16:11   #15
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One case where even I agree that keeping the name makes sense

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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 16:17   #16
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I know your stance on the Scottish Crossbill, but I think you might have interpreted that proposal in a different way than me. The proposal doesn't make a statement on how valid that split was, but rather that compared to other proposed splits there is far better evidence for distinctiveness of this taxon versus the Scottish Crossbill, and far better evidence of its distinctiveness versus pretty much all the other call types in NA (only Mexican, which is also largely sedentary, seems like a potential future split based on this proposal). As far as I can tell the researchers (who have been studying this complex for over a decade now) have mustered far far more evidence than presented for the Scottish split, and answered many of the questions from the last round of these proposals.

I actually read this proposal as suggestive that the Scottish Crossbill split is not valid, IN CONTRAST to the South Hills split
Thanks for the clarification!

Though I still think best put on hold, pending a full survey of the whole genus; it would look bad for instance if accepting L. sinesciuris left L. curvirostra paraphyletic between New and Old World populations.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 16:24   #17
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Yes, I know; but why make a change when it isn't necessary? Rather pointless to split a genus of three species into a genus of two and one of one. It's not like Phalaropus is large and unwieldy, like say Larus or Parus were in the past.
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The same remark can be said about the following genera : Gallinago, Chubbia & Coenocorypha.
But Gallinago sensu lato = 23 species; more comparable to the Larus or Parus cases
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 16:26   #18
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Thanks for the clarification!

Though I still think best put on hold, pending a full survey of the whole genus; it would look bad for instance if accepting L. sinesciuris left L. curvirostra paraphyletic between New and Old World populations.
I think the situation is well known enough in NA to advocate for the split. Paraphyly itself doesn't actually count against recognizing a species...many island endemics for instance are more closely related to a specific subgroup within a wider continental range. It will probably take decades to resolve Old World crossbill taxonomy...I would rather have the South Hills form recognized than wait for studies that may or may appear, especially as the restricted distribution makes the population vulnerable to logging or other human impacts.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 16:46   #19
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I think the situation is well known enough in NA to advocate for the split. Paraphyly itself doesn't actually count against recognizing a species...many island endemics for instance are more closely related to a specific subgroup within a wider continental range. It will probably take decades to resolve Old World crossbill taxonomy...I would rather have the South Hills form recognized than wait for studies that may or may appear, especially as the restricted distribution makes the population vulnerable to logging or other human impacts.
Fair point - though I do wonder if the publicity surrounding splitting might actually do the taxon more harm than good: the biggest risk to it of all must be some numbskull seeing the publicity and having the bright idea "let's see what happens if I release some squirrels there".
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 19:20   #20
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I think the situation is well known enough in NA to advocate for the split. Paraphyly itself doesn't actually count against recognizing a species...many island endemics for instance are more closely related to a specific subgroup within a wider continental range. It will probably take decades to resolve Old World crossbill taxonomy...I would rather have the South Hills form recognized than wait for studies that may or may appear, especially as the restricted distribution makes the population vulnerable to logging or other human impacts.
I fully agree with Morgan here. Not only is monophyly is not a requirement at the species level (and is especially not expected in 'island' taxa), but other factors are also good for splitting this species. Also, a split of the (South Hills or Cassia) Crossbill has been proposed before (in 2009), and was voted 6 yes to 5 no, and did not pass at the time. If you read the comments on the proposal at the time (available [here]), I think the 2009 objections can be sorted into three rough categories:

1. Lack of good vouchering/specimens. This has been somewhat remedied in the interim, with 10 specimens now residing at University of Wyoming.

2. Preference to deal with the whole Red Crossbill complex at one time. This seems like it is really an opinion situation more than anything else. I would say that, while preferable in some cases (like has happened with groups like the Yellow-rumped Warbler before), with the holarctic monster that is Red Crossbill, I suspect that we might have to wait another hundred years for such a complex-wide solution. For such a complex situation (pun!), I think piecemeal splitting is more appropriate, rather than wait forever. When we have data that supports at least one taxon of the complex that warrants species-level status separate from the rest of the complex, we should split that taxon. Also, for what it is worth, this particular population of crossbills likely won't wait around 100 years for this ultimate solution, and will instead likely shortly be extinct as written about [here].

3. Various comments with the data in the paper that the 2009 proposal was based on. This includes issues with some of the AFLP data and potential number of outcrossers/generation, things about associative mating, etc. There has been a lot of work on this South Hills population since 2009, and a lot of these original concerns have been addressed.

As you could probably guess, I am in favor of this split. I have read the papers that underlie it, and I think the authors have done a good job supporting the reproductive isolation from other crossbills and generally shown the distinctiveness of this population. It seems like a good species to me, especially in a way that things like Scottish Crossbill do not.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 19:26   #21
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...

2. Preference to deal with the whole Red Crossbill complex at one time. This seems like it is really an opinion situation more than anything else. I would say that, while preferable in some cases (like has happened with groups like the Yellow-rumped Warbler before), with the holarctic monster that is Red Crossbill, I suspect that we might have to wait another hundred years for such a complex-wide solution. For such a complex situation (pun!), I think piecemeal splitting is more appropriate, rather than wait forever. When we have data that supports at least one taxon of the complex that warrants species-level status separate from the rest of the complex, we should split that taxon. Also, for what it is worth, this particular population of crossbills likely won't wait around 100 years for this ultimate solution, and will instead likely shortly be extinct as written about [here].
On the suggestion of piecemeal splitting, including samples of nominate L. c. curvirostra (from e.g. Sweden) should not be a problem, and would be a major improvement to the study.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 19:54   #22
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On the suggestion of piecemeal splitting, including samples of nominate L. c. curvirostra (from e.g. Sweden) should not be a problem, and would be a major improvement to the study.
ah but would inclusion of that data actually influence this study? I would hypothesize that any Old World Crossbill samples included would either:

come out as the sister taxon to the North American forms.

just show up within the smear of non South Hills Crossbill forms with no change in resolution.

It seems extraordinary unlikely that a few samples from Europe or Asia would influence at all any of the results they show here, unless you think its likely that the South Hills form is descended from Swedish birds somehow, and that explains the gene differences and assortive mating.

Don't get me wrong...tackling the old world forms would be an important extension of this study that I am sure Benkman and colleagues are probably involved with or looking into. But I am not sure it really affects the outcome for this proposal
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 20:03   #23
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ah but would inclusion of that data actually influence this study? I would hypothesize that any Old World Crossbill samples included would either:

come out as the sister taxon to the North American forms.

just show up within the smear of non South Hills Crossbill forms with no change in resolution.
If previous studies are any indication, Palearctic populations of plain-winged crossbills (i.e., L. curvirostra + pytyopsittacus + 'scotica') should form the sister group of Nearctic populations.
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 20:09   #24
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My suspicion is that it would show nominate L. c. curvirostra to be sister to [South Hills + other N American crossbills], with a split of L. sinesciuris thus also necessitating a split of L. minor (Brehm, 1846) for all the other N American crossbills
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Old Wednesday 18th January 2017, 20:18   #25
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My suspicion is that it would show nominate L. c. curvirostra to be sister to [South Hills + other N American crossbills], with a split of L. sinesciuris thus also necessitating a split of L. minor (Brehm, 1846) for all the other N American crossbills
necessitating? only if you believe in the phylogenetic species concept, I believe. In a biological species concept, lack of monophyly is not a problem at the species level as has already been stated in this thread.

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