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World Bird Names Taxonomic Updates

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Old Tuesday 1st July 2008, 14:45   #1
Nightjar61
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World Bird Names Taxonomic Updates

The International Ornithological Congress has posted taxonomic updates to its website of Recommended English Names, at worldbirdnames.org/updates-tax.html. Among the many new taxonomic changes are proposed splits of Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Osprey, and Barn Owl. We'll have to see whether these changes will be generally accepted, or disputed.

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Old Wednesday 2nd July 2008, 02:01   #2
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I think splitting the Barn Owl is inevitable, with the major question being: how many species?

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Old Thursday 3rd July 2008, 14:58   #3
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World Bird List

I'm delighted to see that this update was noted on the day it was posted. Here's Frank's announcement mentioning a number of changes beyond the taxonomic.

Best wishes,

Sally Conyne

IOC WORLD BIRD LIST UPDATE

Update version 1.6 of the IOC World Bird list is now available OnLine at
worldbirdnames.org, effective June 30, 2008.

Version 1.6 lists 439 additional species (New-20, Accepted Splits-159, and
Proposed Splits-260). Major features include alignments with
• Rasmussen and Anderton (2005) for the avifauna of South Asia.
• BirdLife World List International Version 1.0
• Christidis and Boles (2008) for the Australian avifauna
.
This update also includes taxonomic updates published or identified in peer
reviewed journals since the posting of Version 1.5, upgrades of seabird
taxonomy, and revisions of Ranges and English names, including Great
Black-headed Gull (=Pallas’s Gull), Roughleg (=Rough-legged Buzzard), and
others.


Frank Gill
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Old Wednesday 9th July 2008, 21:40   #4
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I wish everyone could agree to the same name! When I check a trip report I have Clements but they use Howard & Moore! Why is it so hard?
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Old Tuesday 15th July 2008, 15:46   #5
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One of the naming principles of the IOC list is "simplicity and brevity". Some WestPal. recently-split species on the IOC list could benefit from improved, simpler english names.

1) Western and Eastern Bonelli's Warblers (Phylloscopus sp. bonelli & orientalis).
I've heard of "Balkan" Warbler being used for P. orientalis. Adopting that for Eastern Bonelli's would simplify the english names of both species and emphasise their distinctness.

2) Similarly with Western and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers (Hippolais sp. opaca & pallida).
"Isabelline" Warbler is sometimes used for Western.

3) Eurasian and African Blue Tits (Cyanistes sp. caeruleus & teneriffae).
"Ultramarine" Tit is sometimes used for African B.T.

4) Asian and African Desert Warblers (Sylvia sp. nana & deserti).
I don't know of any alternative names for these two. Suggestions anyone?

5) Likewise Western and Eastern Orphean Warblers (Sylvia sp. hortensis & crassirostris).
Any ideas?
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Old Tuesday 15th July 2008, 21:53   #6
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Originally Posted by Acanthis View Post
One of the naming principles of the IOC list is "simplicity and brevity". Some WestPal. recently-split species on the IOC list could benefit from improved, simpler english names.

1) Western and Eastern Bonelli's Warblers (Phylloscopus sp. bonelli & orientalis).
I've heard of "Balkan" Warbler being used for P. orientalis. Adopting that for Eastern Bonelli's would simplify the english names of both species and emphasise their distinctness.

2) Similarly with Western and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers (Hippolais sp. opaca & pallida).
"Isabelline" Warbler is sometimes used for Western.
But whilst established common names modified by prefixes such as 'Eastern/Western etc.' might be rather inelegant, in times of great taxonomic change at least their scope and derivation are clear to all, not just to those with access to the latest literature/recommendations. And in the above examples it would always be uncertain whether a reference to Bonelli's or Olivaceous Warbler was intended to be sensu strictu or sensu lato, unless carefully qualified (and so losing the intended brevity).

Richard

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Old Tuesday 15th July 2008, 22:38   #7
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Originally Posted by Richard Klim View Post
But whilst established common names modified by prefixes such as 'Eastern/Western etc.' might be rather inelegant, in times of great taxonomic change at least their scope and derivation are clear to all, not just to those with access to the latest literature/recommendations. And in the above examples it would always be uncertain whether a reference to Bonelli's or Olivaceous Warbler was intended to be sensu strictu or sensu lato, unless carefully qualified (and so losing the intended brevity).

Richard
Good point well made! My concern though is that these splits may be perceived by birders in general as some form of 'half-species' not to be given as much importance as other species. It's a matter of perception I know but I find myself falling into this way of thinking, and I'm sure I'm not alone.
I liked the decisive American way of dealing with splitting the former Rufous-sided Towhee and Solitary Vireo - new names for all the splits!
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Old Wednesday 16th July 2008, 08:06   #8
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Originally Posted by Acanthis View Post
I liked the decisive American way of dealing with splitting the former Rufous-sided Towhee and Solitary Vireo - new names for all the splits!
Yes, I agree. Such an approach makes pre/post-split confusion impossible. But it can be undesirable where a split is limited to the separation of a relatively obscure, restricted-range (eg island) form from a common/widespread species - in such cases there is still a good argument for the retention of the established common name of the parent, but perhaps prefixed with a boring qualifier such as 'Common, Eurasian etc.' (although probably omitted in informal everyday usage).

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Old Wednesday 16th July 2008, 10:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Klim View Post
Yes, I agree. Such an approach makes pre/post-split confusion impossible. But it can be undesirable where a split is limited to the separation of a relatively obscure, restricted-range (eg island) form from a common/widespread species - in such cases there is still a good argument for the retention of the established common name of the parent, but perhaps prefixed with a boring qualifier such as 'Common, Eurasian etc.' (although probably omitted in informal everyday usage).

Richard
As with Eurasian/European and African Blue Tits though they were assumed to be sister forms, when in fact they're more like first cousins.
I see the various canarian tits are up for splitting. So I suppose "Ultramarine" Tit (keeping the Cyanistes colour theme going ) really may only apply to the mainland forms + 'degener' of Fuerteventura.

Richard, this morning I've been enjoying looking through what must have been a whole lot of work, your Holarctic listing site.
I see you use the conservative Voous sequence. Aside from long-term stability what do you see as the benefits of using this sequence?

Personally I'm torn between Voous with its useful, logical though arguably out-of-date sequence, and the kind of responsive up-to-date sequences as created by Don Roberson and John Boyd.
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Old Wednesday 16th July 2008, 12:26   #10
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Originally Posted by Acanthis View Post
Richard, this morning I've been enjoying looking through what must have been a whole lot of work, your Holarctic listing site.
I see you use the conservative Voous sequence. Aside from long-term stability what do you see as the benefits of using this sequence?

Personally I'm torn between Voous with its useful, logical though arguably out-of-date sequence, and the kind of responsive up-to-date sequences as created by Don Roberson and John Boyd.
Glad you enjoyed looking at the website. I realise that the Voous sequence is rather obsolete taxonomically, but as the checklist is essentially an update of Voous's 1977 list, retaining largely the same sequence aids direct comparison. And, as a birder resident in Britain/Europe, I like to retain maximum compatibility with the foremost local authorities (AERC, BOU, BB, BWP, DBA etc.), which also still follow Voous.

But hopefully, given a reasonable period of stability, all will eventually adopt a more modern taxonomy - my preference would be the Cracraft et al sequence already used by Dickinson (Howard & Moore), Gill & Wright (IOC), BirdLife International and OSME - in which case I'll certainly follow.

Richard

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Old Thursday 17th July 2008, 08:01   #11
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Stability ought to be a goal in and of itself, so that once a new taxonomy is agreed on at World authority level that should be it for say ten years. Note I do not refer to splitting and lumping, just the order in which things are listed.

How about Sahara Warbler and Gobi Warbler for the two Desert species?

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Old Thursday 17th July 2008, 11:44   #12
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Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
Note I do not refer to splitting and lumping, just the order in which things are listed.
But changes in the order in which things are listed are the result of splitting and lumping.

(Not of species, of course, but this makes little difference - it is always much more difficult to apprehend/discuss/protect a natural group that does not appear as such on the checklists.)

Laurent -
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Old Thursday 17th July 2008, 15:56   #13
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Re stability, does anyone have an idea of how long it will be before this is achieved in avian taxonomy? I may have this wrong (I'm not a biologist) but my impression is that advances in genomic analysis in the last decade or so have been such that getting it right once and for all--at least in broad outline--is just around the corner. Or is this an over-optimistic view?

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Old Friday 18th July 2008, 04:34   #14
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I would say we will have a good idea of modern birds figured out within a decade, though it may take more time after that to confirm and get good support for all of them. "Metaves" still seems a mess to me.

In regards to species level taxonomy, I wouldn't be surprised if they were still splitting species and lumping species 50 years from now...
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Old Friday 18th July 2008, 07:40   #15
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Originally Posted by l_raty View Post
But changes in the order in which things are listed are the result of splitting and lumping.

(Not of species, of course, but this makes little difference - it is always much more difficult to apprehend/discuss/protect a natural group that does not appear as such on the checklists.)

Laurent -
No they aren't, lately many of them have resulted from complete reappreciation of relationships between groups, based on DNA evidence. Its those macro-scale changes that result in radical new taxonomies.

Fitting the odd species in here and there by splitting and lumping is not so disturbing.

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Old Friday 18th July 2008, 07:41   #16
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In regards to species level taxonomy, I wouldn't be surprised if they were still splitting species and lumping species 50 years from now...
And a good thing too, or what would we talk about in the pub?

John
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Old Friday 18th July 2008, 12:30   #17
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Fitting the odd species in here and there by splitting and lumping is not so disturbing.
It's not always so simple as that - some taxa are quite convoluted, and when split will result in a decent amount of new sequencing (Western Reef-Heron anyone? )
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Old Friday 18th July 2008, 13:45   #18
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Re stability, does anyone have an idea of how long it will be before this is achieved in avian taxonomy? I may have this wrong (I'm not a biologist) but my impression is that advances in genomic analysis in the last decade or so have been such that getting it right once and for all--at least in broad outline--is just around the corner. Or is this an over-optimistic view?
It'll never get finally sorted out. Taxonomists have to put food on the table, same as everyone else, and the minute they claim the job's finished they'll be out of work. They simply have to send the whole system into upheaval every few years just to ward off the P45's.

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Old Friday 18th July 2008, 13:58   #19
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Fugl may be correct in saying that soon, we should have enough DNA evidence to sort out the major groupings. However, the next 50 years, we may again have a fight over the relative importance of DNA versus anatomy versus voice versus "a new thing no one have thought of yet"

Or someone may come up with a convincing new species concept that means everything has to be revised again

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Old Sunday 20th July 2008, 12:15   #20
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Fugl may be correct in saying that soon, we should have enough DNA evidence to sort out the major groupings. However, the next 50 years, we may again have a fight over the relative importance of DNA versus anatomy versus voice versus "a new thing no one have thought of yet"

Or someone may come up with a convincing new species concept that means everything has to be revised again

Niels
Oh excellent! That's something to look forward. Keeps it interesting! Hopefully not as long as fifty years - I'll be one of these by then.


Quote:
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How about Sahara Warbler and Gobi Warbler for the two Desert species?

John
Sahara is excellent, Gobi hmm.... not so much, since the Gobi only forms part of its range. In HBW the habitat of nana is given as dry-steppe, so perhaps Steppe Warbler?
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Old Sunday 20th July 2008, 16:13   #21
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When some of the warblers were split, we gave them the following official (back-translated) names:

Booted Warbler -> Steppe Warbler
Syke's Warbler -> Saxaul Warbler

African Desert Warbler -> Sahara Warbler
Asian Desert Warbler -> Desert Warbler
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Old Sunday 20th July 2008, 18:25   #22
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When some of the warblers were split, we gave them the following official (back-translated) names:

Booted Warbler -> Steppe Warbler
Syke's Warbler -> Saxaul Warbler

African Desert Warbler -> Sahara Warbler
Asian Desert Warbler -> Desert Warbler
Personally, i reckon the original names were far less confusing. Hopefully we'll retain those in Britain....
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Old Wednesday 23rd July 2008, 06:04   #23
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Re: Barn Owl:
Please read:
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/j...35419/abstract .
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Old Wednesday 23rd July 2008, 14:05   #24
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Thank you for that link

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