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AOU 2017 Checklist proposals (1 Viewer)

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
A is up, but not readily accessible. Go here directly to see them:

http://checklist.aou.org/assets/proposals/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
 

Snapdragyn

Well-known member
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
 

Snapdragyn

Well-known member
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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fugl

Well-known member
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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Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
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?
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
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.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
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
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
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.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
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.
 

Jim LeNomenclatoriste

Taxonomy and zoological nomenclature
France
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.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
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 :t:
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
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.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
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.

But Gallinago sensu lato = 23 species; more comparable to the Larus or Parus cases ;)
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
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.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
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".
 

cwbirder

Well-known member
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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