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AOU-NACC Proposals 2009

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Old Saturday 15th August 2009, 08:17   #1
Richard Klim
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AOU-NACC Proposals 2009

The first batch of 2009 NACC proposals (2009-A) has been posted on the AOU website:
http://www.aou.org/committees/nacc/proposals/2009-A.pdf

Notable proposed splits include Aphelocoma woodhouseii, A sumichrasti, Troglodytes pacificus & Loxia sinesciurus.

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Old Sunday 16th August 2009, 14:55   #2
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anyone want to place bets on which of these will be split and which will not

My guess is Pacific Wren will be a sure thing

Woodhouse's and Sumichrast Scrub-Jays I doubt will be split, since only one gene was sampled and the AOU prefers other data being brought into species proposals, i.e. playback experiments, hybridization studies, etc. The only way I think this split will be accepted is to accommodate the Island Scrub-Jay situation, and if it is split I think Woodhouse's may be split and Sumichrast will not be.

South Hills Crossbill could go either way. The evidence is good that they should be treated as a different species, even under BSC. I can see it not going through though on the reasoning that AOU might want to deal with the Crossbill situation all at once, and not piece meal. I think a lot of taxonomists are quite scared of dealing with Crossbill, and with good reason! I also wonder if this would go through how the ABA will treat it. Fea's and Zino's are currently treated as different species but the same "tick" based on difficulty to ID. I can see the Red Crossbills group being treated the same way.
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Old Sunday 16th August 2009, 16:17   #3
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One thing that these proposals (specifically the Trogon splits) bring to the forefront is the lack of logic in the geographical limits between NACC and SACC areas. My guess is that the least overlap in number of species would have been if the limit was set at the Mexican Isthmus of Tehuantepec instead of at the Panama-Colombia border (am I correct in thinking the latter is the current limit?

I would not be surpriced if Mysticete is correct in the guesses of which splits to accept. Reading the account yesterday, I would have felt that the arguments for Woodhouse's would be good enough, but of course, I don't have a vote

If Woodhouse's is split but Sumichrast is not, which entety will the latter actually belong to? I have never seen this one, but brighter blue with hooked bill sounded more like californica?

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Old Sunday 16th August 2009, 16:52   #4
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Woodhouse's and Sumichrasts are sister taxa, so if not split completely sumichrasts would probably be included within Woodhouse's.

I actually have come to appreciate the cautious nature of AOU, especially compared to taxonomic bodies like CNAH (which covers NA herps). Sure it means splits take longer, but avoids a lot of the fickle genera assignment and splits that occur.

As far as AOU goes, yes it does cover Panama and everything north. I don't think you could really though find a smooth place to separate AOU and SACC. You are bound to have overlap somewhere. The AOU boundaries seem appropriate. Interestingly, there has been a lot of editorials and commentary about changing the ABA area (currently Canada, AK, and the lower 48 states), and expand them to include anywhere up to all of the current AOU area. No idea if this is just editorializing or something that they plan on having the next version of the checklist incorporate.
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Old Sunday 16th August 2009, 18:32   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mysticete View Post
Interestingly, there has been a lot of editorials and commentary about changing the ABA area (currently Canada, AK, and the lower 48 states), and expand them to include anywhere up to all of the current AOU area. No idea if this is just editorializing or something that they plan on having the next version of the checklist incorporate.
Michael Retter's discussion of possible wider ABA Area definitions in Birding 41/4 (Jul 2009) was thought-provoking. I've always considered the current ABA Area, excluding Greenland and Mexico, to be rather illogical. Presumably it was originally based on someone's idea of a relatively safe, mostly English-speaking subset of North America (apologies to Québec and St.-Pierre et Miquelon!). We would all learn much more about ornithology in Mexico (with a corresponding boost to conservation efforts) if most US/Canadian birders no longer believed that the world ended abruptly at the Rio Grande.

Of course, similar criticisms could be made of European birders and the BWP-based Western Palearctic boundaries.

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Old Monday 17th August 2009, 00:00   #6
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well...the original definition of the ABA area was solely based on an arbitrary idea of what area coverage would be a realistic arena for competitive birding. Of course, what was realistic then really isn't realistic anymore. How many birders can afford to spend every spring in the Aleutians? or Gambell? Especially with Adak off bounds now (unless you can pony up 10,000 dollars for the occasional birding cruise).

I think ABA might as well expand to include Hawaii, Greenland, Bermuda, and Mexico. Makes biogeographical sense and would aid bird conservation in all those areas
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Old Tuesday 18th August 2009, 10:02   #7
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When the ABA checklist was established in the 1960s, the AOU checklist covered Canada and the USA bar Hawaii. Greenland was excluded in the then-current fifth (1957) edition, and Hawaii, Bermuda, and Mexico (bar Baja California) had never been included in an AOU checklist. So the ABA boundaries make sense in that context. I don't have a problem with keeping them the way they are. I also don't have a problem with adding Hawaii, Greenland, and Bermuda.

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Old Thursday 17th September 2009, 07:14   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mysticete View Post
anyone want to place bets on which of these will be split and which will not

Woodhouse's and Sumichrast Scrub-Jays I doubt will be split, since only one gene was sampled and the AOU prefers other data being brought into species proposals, i.e. playback experiments, hybridization studies, etc. The only way I think this split will be accepted is to accommodate the Island Scrub-Jay situation, and if it is split I think Woodhouse's may be split and Sumichrast will not be.
The proposed split of Western Scrub-Jay is discussed in the Sep 2009 issue of ABA's Birding:
Hess 2009. News and Notes: New Scrub-Jay Species? Birding 41(5): 29.
http://www.aba.org/birding/v41n5p28.pdf
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Old Thursday 17th September 2009, 16:42   #9
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I am unable to open that pdf even from the ABA website - it seems to be corrupted (no problems opening the other pdfs in this issue). If anyone else has better luck, could you please summarize the points of the article?
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Old Thursday 17th September 2009, 16:53   #10
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I gave it a quick skimming through earlier, and my feeling is that it is a popular presentation of more or less the same info given in the PDF linked to in post 1.

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Old Thursday 17th September 2009, 17:17   #11
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The link still works for me. But as Niels says, it doesn't contain anything new - it's just ABA's news item reporting the recent proposal to NACC.

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Old Sunday 6th December 2009, 16:43   #12
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Originally Posted by Mysticete View Post
My guess is Pacific Wren will be a sure thing.
Troglodytes pacificus will be recognised by AOU-NACC (proposal 2009-A-03), according to ABA's Bill Maynard (PEEPS):
http://birding.typepad.com/peeps/200...t-species.html

...and North American Birds is reporting extralimital records of the two forms:
http://www.aba.org/nab/v63n2p206.pdf [see p216]

Richard

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Old Sunday 6th December 2009, 19:40   #13
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will the splitting of the winter wren have any consequences for us old world birders?

I don't know this as fact, but I've always assumed that the winter wren would have colonised Eurasia via the Bering Sea. Therefore will our wren sspp be lumped with the pacific forms, or split outright. In which case, where would the split be?
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Old Sunday 6th December 2009, 20:12   #14
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will the splitting of the winter wren have any consequences for us old world birders?
Probably not at this stage. The following paper suggested that the western North American form first diverged from eastern North American and Eurasian forms:
Drovetski et al 2004. Complex biogeographic history of a Holarctic passerine.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...f/15129966.pdf
The proposal to AOU is based upon a subsequent paper, which suggests that this divergence has resulted in separate species:
Toews & Irwin 2008. Cryptic speciation in a Holarctic passerine revealed by genetic and bioacoustic analyses.
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/j...90385/abstract
But see Drovetski et al for details of later divergences (which could yet be considered as potential species).

[And this earlier BF thread for further discussion:
http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=114503]

Richard

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Old Sunday 6th December 2009, 20:15   #15
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The Old World forms are more closely related to the "Taiga Winter Wren".
I'd prefer a three way split (after the Aleutian forms would have been allocated).

I see Richard already provided the details!
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Old Sunday 6th December 2009, 22:05   #16
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[quote=Xenospiza;1664938]I'd prefer a three way split (after the Aleutian forms would have been allocated).[quote]

I agree, I realise it isn't as simple as this, but it seems strange to allocate a seperate species in the middle of another species (geographically speaking)and completely seperating the two populations.

A similar example is with the Quail Thrushes, where a similar looking species like cinnamonmeum Cinnamon Quail-Thrush seperates two distinct subspecies of the Chestnut-breasted Quail-Thrush.
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Old Monday 7th December 2009, 03:18   #17
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I wonder if the ABA announcement means that the Scrub-Jay and Crossbill splits did not go through?

Wish they would just go ahead and post the next proposal and the tentative results of this one :)
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Old Monday 7th December 2009, 14:40   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenospiza View Post
The Old World forms are more closely related to the "Taiga Winter Wren".
I'd prefer a three way split (after the Aleutian forms would have been allocated).

I see Richard already provided the details!
One could also argue for a 4-way spit based on the grouping of subspecies in Clements that has the Aleutian ones in their own group separate from the Eurasian ones.
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Old Thursday 18th March 2010, 21:11   #19
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Pacific Wren

Hess 2010. News and Notes: A New "Pacific Wren"? Birding 42(2): 26-27.
http://www.aba.org/birding/v42n2p26.pdf

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Old Sunday 21st March 2010, 07:58   #20
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Winter Wren

Addenda to Proposal Set 2009-A.
http://www.aou.org/committees/nacc/proposals/2009-E.pdf
  • Troglodytes pacificus – 'Western Winter-Wren'
  • Troglodytes hiemalis – 'Eastern Winter-Wren'
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Old Sunday 21st March 2010, 08:00   #21
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Votes on Proposals 2009-A

http://www.aou.org/committees/nacc/p..._votes_web.php

Proposed splits of Aphelocoma woodhouseii, A sumichrasti, Loxia sinesciurus failed.

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Old Sunday 21st March 2010, 14:52   #22
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Western Winter-Wren? Ugh...Pacific Wren is so much better a name, and that hyphen is totally unnecessary. Besides Pacific is used for other tetrapod species without confusion, don't see why it would lead to confusion here (not to mention that the Eastern Winter Wren would by default including all other winter wrens from NA through Japan...NAME DOES NOT MAKE SENSE
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Old Sunday 21st March 2010, 15:06   #23
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Also my predictions for why certain proposals wouldn't pass seems to have been spot on. If only I could have that good of a predictive ability when it comes to gambling
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Old Sunday 21st March 2010, 15:42   #24
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Winter Wren

Quote:
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...not to mention that the Eastern Winter Wren would by default including all other winter wrens from NA through Japan...
Well, not quite. Troglodytes hiemalis Eastern Winter-Wren would include only North American hiemalis and pullus. T troglodytes would encompass the Eurasian sspp, although T pacificus should perhaps include pallescens (Commander Is/Kamchatka).

[But I also hate those AOU hyphens – I'm hoping that Gill et al 2009 will eventually prevail.
http://www.worldbirdnames.org/On%20h...WJO%202009.pdf]

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Old Sunday 21st March 2010, 16:02   #25
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If the three way split goes through, then the names I would prefer would be Eurasian Wren (until further work is done), Winter Wren (for Troglodytes hiemalis) and Western Wren (for T pacificus) -- but I could easily live with Pacific for the last one. Inclusion of the word "winter" in the name for a bird that is resident in coastal central California does not seem that wise to me.

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