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2024 ABA Checklist update (3 Viewers)

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States

Of note, is addition of European Goldfinch as a countable ABA Bird, and the addition of three vagrant species: Kentish Plover, Ainley's Storm-Petrel (based upon satellite tracking of tagged birds, not actually seen by anyone in person), and Southern Lapwing. Also some adjustment of rarity codes

A few other points of interest, In particular, this paragraph:

"The CLC will also be maintaining the ABA Checklist regarding discrepancies between the taxonomy and nomenclature of Clements (eBird) and the AOS, and will be adding a list of “Provisional” species in the ABA Area, based on those of eBird, which will be countable on ABA lists in which records occur. These will mostly be of exotic species that have populations that may be gaining establishment in the ABA Area. Further information on the provisional list will be provided in the May 2024 issue of North American Birds."

Point one is the discrepancies between the AOS and Clements. I notice that they seem to be showing preference for Clements with the AOS names demoted to parentheses. So far we have yet to have a situation where Clements recognizes an extra species not recognized by AOS, but it does make one curious how ABA will handle this

Point 2 is the creation of a provisional list (presumably the same list as what ebird uses), and the statement that they will be countable for listing purposes. This is a pretty huge change actually, as if I am interpreting this correctly this will add 30 countable species to the list of countable birds, mostly exotic but a few birds of uncertain provenance. I am not sure now what difference established and provisional will actually mean, but I guess this stuff will be elaborated on in the summer NAB
 
By my reckoning, my own list would go up by about 7 species (just in time to cancel out that likely Redpoll lump!)
 
If they get the provisional list from eBird than notably Black-throated Magpie-Jay will not be countable, as all of them are called escapees on eBird for some reason.
 
That seems reasonable to me. The population of Black-throated Magpie-jays is persistent there but still tiny. I would be surprised if the total population was much higher than 20 birds, and they certainly are not expanding there range significantly
 
That seems reasonable to me. The population of Black-throated Magpie-jays is persistent there but still tiny. I would be surprised if the total population was much higher than 20 birds, and they certainly are not expanding there range significantly
Yeah, but they've been there for over 20 years now. That's enough time to meet the requirements to be on the ABA checklist. Plus, as I understand, the population is going stronger just across the border in Tijuana.
 
You know, in hindsight I just realized why there is a change in the provisional species. It's the same reason we have Western Cattle Egret and Siberian Sand-Plover: alignment with ebird, which of course allows provisionals to count for life lists.
 
You know, in hindsight I just realized why there is a change in the provisional species. It's the same reason we have Western Cattle Egret and Siberian Sand-Plover: alignment with ebird, which of course allows provisionals to count for life lists.

Exactly. In the bigger picture, its as if ABA is handing over (yet) more of its "listing authority" to eBird. Just my speculation, but it makes sense if the ABA is steering toward redefining its role as an organization.
 
Yeah, but they've been there for over 20 years now. That's enough time to meet the requirements to be on the ABA checklist. Plus, as I understand, the population is going stronger just across the border in Tijuana.
My understanding in Tijuana is just the opposite - are you aware of any reports after 2022 or of more than a pair of a birds at a time? At the three Tijuana River Valley parks (in the U.S.), yes those things are evident, but if there are lots of these birds in Tijuana, Mexico they don't seem to be reported very widely.

Many of the CBCs in these three parks (and the Glen Abbey Cemetery) which represent practically their entire U.S. range have shown 5 birds or less in recent years. I think this population was once strong enough to be considered borderline (along with Orange-cheeked Waxbills and Bronze Mannikin in Southern California - both of which are nearly or actually gone) but no longer meets the criteria of being large enough to survive a routine amount of mortality or nesting failure (along with other ABA criteria, I could argue).

I wouldn't hold out much hope of these being on your ABA list.
 
I have found the use of Provisionals to be at best eclectic in various countries. In Britain, my UK List is I think 9 higher than an official list due to provisional status for:-

Great-tailed Grackle
Bearded Vulture
Paddyfield Pipit
Marbled Duck
Booted Eagle
White-headed Duck
Red-headed Bunting
Ruddy Shelduck
Greater Flamingo
White Stork (!)

It rather makes official categorisation and decision-making rather obsolete! I have no interest in the number of itself save for a barometer of effort but some of these are certainly less worthy in my view than some populations of Muscovy, Monk Parakeet and Eagle Owl at various points. Maybe it will settle down but I still do not understand the approach.

All the best

Paul
 
I think a major source of confusion is that "provisional" is being used for two really different things. Sometimes provisional just means "There is a local breeding population of this non-native species, but it has yet to be established or considered established by local checklist committees. In other cases, it's "Here is accurately identified individual of a species that would be extraordinarily rare for this location, and we don't know for sure how it got here". Or we do know, and the reason is ship-assisted, but the local committee hates ship-assisted birds.
 
Exactly. In the bigger picture, its as if ABA is handing over (yet) more of its "listing authority" to eBird. Just my speculation, but it makes sense if the ABA is steering toward redefining its role as an organization.
To be fair, a lot of there listing authority was already handed over to AOS, since ABA doesn't separately evaluate taxonomy, just introduced populations and additions to the checklist from new vagrants.
 
I think a major source of confusion is that "provisional" is being used for two really different things. Sometimes provisional just means "There is a local breeding population of this non-native species, but it has yet to be established or considered established by local checklist committees. In other cases, it's "Here is accurately identified individual of a species that would be extraordinarily rare for this location, and we don't know for sure how it got here". Or we do know, and the reason is ship-assisted, but the local committee hates ship-assisted birds.
I can only add to the "provisional" status from eBird is a messy one at times because there is no set standard, species could be provisional in one county, but considered escapees in the next over, simply because the eBird reviewer doesn't want to consider those birds as truly "wild".

A good example would by White-eyed Parakeet in South Florida, come to Miami-Dade county and you can find hundreds if not thousands of them in North Miami and Miami Beach (it's really weird that nobody wants to count them as established without a study, when their population is probably larger than that of some native species at this point). But the main issue comes from the fact that these birds are expanding, in the past years we've started seeing them in South Miami and flocks are being reported in Broward. So while the Miami birds are all countable as provisional, the ones in Broward are seen as escapees, even though the birds are naturally expanding every year, and this is all due to the reviewer not wanting to count these birds as wild birds.
 
Here are the species that could potentially be added to the new "Provisional ABA list":

Provisional in eBird due to not-yet-ABA-accepted populations:
-Blue-crowned Parakeet
-Swinhoe's White-Eye
-Blue-and-yellow Macaw
-Pin-tailed Whydah
-White-fronted Parrot
-Orange-winged Parrot
-Chestnut-fronted Macaw
-Red-lored Parrot
-Tanimbar Corella
-Burrowing Parakeet
-Yellow-headed Parrot
-White-eyed Parakeet
-Orange-cheeked Waxbill
-Northern Red Bishop (I swear this one used to be on the checklist? Am I misremembering?)
-Salmon-crested Cockatoo
-Mandarin Duck
-White Cockatoo
-Golden Pheasant
-Green Pheasant
-Silver Pheasant
-Common Hill Myna
-Great Tit

Established on eBird but not accepted to ABA checklist:
-Japanese Quail
-Lavender Waxbill

Provisional on eBird due to ABA-rejected vagrant records (probably would not be added to a provisional checklist):
-House Crow
-Great White Pelican
-Gray Thrasher
-Striped Sparrow
-Tropical Mockingbird
-Rufous-collared Sparrow
-Hooded Crow
-West Indian Whistling-Duck
-Demoiselle Crane
-Lesson's Seedeater
-Ruddy Shelduck
 
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Northern Red Bishop has never been on the ABA checklist, but has been illustrated in field guides for at least several decades, so I assume that is the source of the mix-up. Talking to some birders in California, populations of these species are very unstable, and prone to random crashes and regional extirpations. Not surprised they have never been added.

IIRC, the ABA checklist committee is currently evaluating Great White Pelican and House Crow, and perhaps will be taking additional looks at these other birds. Ship-assisted birds ARE considered countable under ABA rules and for inclusion on the checklist, as long as they were not restrained in any manner. However there is a weird loop-hole as ABA usually defers to state committees first, and many states won't evaluate or approve records of birds believed to be ship assisted. Otherwise Hooded Crow, House Crow, and Tropical Mockingbird should already be on the list.
 
Ship-assisted birds ARE considered countable under ABA rules and for inclusion on the checklist, as long as they were not restrained in any manner. However there is a weird loop-hole as ABA usually defers to state committees first, and many states won't evaluate or approve records of birds believed to be ship assisted. Otherwise Hooded Crow, House Crow, and Tropical Mockingbird should already be on the list.
But if any of those individual birds subsequently make it to a landlocked state...?
MJB
 
But if any of those individual birds subsequently make it to a landlocked state...?
MJB
Hasn't happened yet as far as I know. Of course some of our coastal states are large. It would be quite a feat for a ship-assisted bird which landed in Corpus Christie to make it to the nearest inland state!
 
Hasn't happened yet as far as I know. Of course some of our coastal states are large. It would be quite a feat for a ship-assisted bird which landed in Corpus Christie to make it to the nearest inland state!
Speaking of which, Cattle Tyrant would be added to the list above - currently "Provisional" status and expected to be reviewed by ABA in the next year.
 
Yeah...I am assuming Cattle Tyrant will make it to the normal list though

Actually, this will be an interesting wrinkle for big year folks. Usually you can't finalize your list completely on January 1st, as any first ABA records might still be in committee and the birds not formally accepted yet. Presumably, if you can count provisionals, then presumably unless a record gets rejected on ID, your list could be now finalized.

Actually, speaking of big years, does this mean provisionals count for those as well? If so, it looks like the field is now open for another attempt (hopefully by people who actually live in the ABA area grumble grumble...
 
Yeah...I am assuming Cattle Tyrant will make it to the normal list though

Actually, this will be an interesting wrinkle for big year folks. Usually you can't finalize your list completely on January 1st, as any first ABA records might still be in committee and the birds not formally accepted yet. Presumably, if you can count provisionals, then presumably unless a record gets rejected on ID, your list could be now finalized.

Actually, speaking of big years, does this mean provisionals count for those as well? If so, it looks like the field is now open for another attempt (hopefully by people who actually live in the ABA area grumble grumble...
If these "Provisional" species count for Big Years, then why are they not simply accepted to the checklist? What's the difference?
 

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