AOU 51st supplement (1 Viewer)

njlarsen

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Information I have received elsewhere have told that the names of the split Winter Wrens were discussed inside the NACC until everyone were sick of it. And that, yes, those are the current official names.

Niels
 

Kratter

Well-known member
I am responding as a member of the AOU-CLC.

First, we made a mistake on the English names of the Scoters. On our proposal they were listed as
M. nigra Common Scoter
M. americana Black Scoter
Somehow these got convoluted during the manuscript preparation and switched to nigra = Black, and americana = American.
We are going to publish errata in the next Auk that will have nigra = Common Scoter, and americana = Black Scoter.

I originally posted the query here from the AOU-CLC regarding the wren names. The CLC does give some weight to what the public thinks and how they may react, although the conversation on this board did go a little off-topic. As I recall, there were a number of responses favoring that hiemalis stay as Winter Wren. If we went into the murky waters of group names (hyphen hysteria), we would then have to also have the Old World troglodytes have the group name "Winter-Wren" as well, which would not likely be very stable globally. English names service a very diverse audience (not just records committees) and a majority of the Committee felt that Pacific/Winter was best. If the California BRC has to deal with a few confused submissions, the world will not stop.

As far as the Polioptilidae, they come are placed after Cyphonrinus phaeocephalus. The Calcariidae are placed after Peucedramus taeniatus. The supplement spells out the sequence changes in detail. The AOU website will be updated shortly with the changes

I'll keep monitoring this thread for comments, opinions, and any problems.

Andy Kratter
 

Snapdragyn

Well-known member
"I would expect that the California records committee would want to give careful scrutiny to any reported hiemalis, regardless of the common name. They are, after all, very similar taxa. Surely you don't mean that the committee wouldn't check dates and details if it were named "Eastern Wren!" Also, its puzzling to think that someone unfamiliar with the split would report either the eastern Winter Wren or the Pacific as a rarity."

I was actually speaking to the situation beyond California, & to the confusion that may now arise not just for new records but for old ones as well. If someone unfamiliar w/ the date of the split sees an old record for 'Winter Wren' from a state or province where both occur, they may assume that it was hiemalis when it was not, or was not verified to (then sub)species. This is an even greater risk in the months following the split as there will be those aware of the split using 'Winter Wren' to mean one thing, and those not yet clued in using 'Winter Wren' to mean another. If hiemalis now had a different name, seeing 'Winter Wren' would immediately flag records both old and new as needing further review.

I find it sad that the committee states that it follows the naming standards outlined in the preface to the 6th edition, yet continues to fail to do so when splitting species. It's one thing to retain 'Red-winged Blackbird' for the widespread North American species when splitting the Red-shouldered Blackbird of Cuba; it's quite another to retain things like 'Winter Wren' or 'Canada Goose'.

Update: After reading Kratter's post (& thank you for posting here), I'd like to add a bit to my thought.

If I may quote the film "The Princess Bride" (& please note that this is not directed at Kratter, btw), "I don't think that word means what you think it means." What does 'Winter Wren' now mean? It means whatever the person saying it intends, but the person hearing will have to ask for clarification because it simply cannot be clear. 'Did you mean in the old sense, or the new split sense?' This isn't just about records committees (& I daresay it will be more than just CA's committee that has to deal with this); it's about common birders speaking to one another. Clarity of communication is lost for them as well, assumptions will be made, & misunderstandings will arise.

For the records committee concern, a different source of error is being overlooked here. How many entries on ebird for 'Winter Wren' will now be made that actually refer to extralimital Pacific Wrens? Those will never be caught now. Certainly there would (& will) be misidentifications regardless of the name used, but at least w/ a different name more people might become aware that a change of classification has occurred, & they might then be more careful in their observations. Here again, the birding community is not well-served by the retenention of the old name IMO, as birders in the East in particular may miss that there has even been a change.
 
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Kirk Roth

Well-known member
For the records committee concern, a different source of error is being overlooked here. How many entries on ebird for 'Winter Wren' will now be made that actually refer to extralimital Pacific Wrens? Those will never be caught now. Certainly there would (& will) be misidentifications regardless of the name used, but at least w/ a different name more people might become aware that a change of classification has occurred, & they might then be more careful in their observations. Here again, the birding community is not well-served by the retenention of the old name IMO, as birders in the East in particular may miss that there has even been a change.

Let's hope that ebird will follow Niels' idea... or better yet, provide a note explaining the split.

If we, as researchers, don't trust our data gatherers to correctly name our datapoints, we have two options. 1) educate the participants in our study, 2) laboriously correct the data ourselves or 3) get different workers. I prefer the first and find that most reporters are far better than they're given credit here.
 

Kirk Roth

Well-known member
We are going to publish errata in the next Auk that will have nigra = Common Scoter, and americana = Black Scoter.

Glad to hear this! It spares some mass confusion between American and Eurasian lists!
 

MichaelRetter

Michael L. P. Retter
I would just note that there is a population of what appear to be Pacific Wrens breeding in the Black Hills of South Dakota. At least, there has been since the early part of the last decade. The birds are quite rusty in coloration, respond to recordings of Pacific Wren, and ignore recordings of Winter Wren (sensu stricto).
 

Snapdragyn

Well-known member
"If we, as researchers, don't trust our data gatherers to correctly name our datapoints, we have two options. 1) educate the participants in our study, 2) laboriously correct the data ourselves or 3) get different workers. I prefer the first and find that most reporters are far better than they're given credit here."

I agree with you. I think changing the name is a wonderful way to educate our participants. I do not think that leaving the same name and putting up an announcement will prove as effective. My experience playing an online game over the past 11 years (ha! linked my two main hobbies at LAST! :p ) is that a) update notes are not read by everyone (EVERY update sees someone surprised to find something different, even though it was clearly announced in the notes), & b) some people may be away for long enough to have missed notes by the time they use the system again. It's much harder to miss a name that is consistently different than what it used to be, & everyone would become aware of the change as soon as they attempted to enter a record for either of the newly split species.

I also certainly don't intend to disparage any data reporters for not following discussions on nomenclature such as this, nor do I see advocating for common names which provide greater clarity as doing so in any way. I'm not faulting any reporters here, I'm disagreeing with the name & pointing out my reasoning.
 

jmorlan

Hmmm. That's funny -- Opus Editor
Opus Editor
All proposals in 2009-B/C/D/E are still shown as pending - the AOU website clearly hasn't been updated yet.

Hiemalis has been elevated as per proposal 2009-E-1, and the adopted names were one of the options in supplementary proposal 2009-E-1 supp.

But if there's enough adverse reaction...

Richard

Wouldn't that be nice!

I just took a look at the supplemental proposal on common names and I think I see what the problem was. They considered only sets of bad choices. What was wrong with Boreal Wren / Pacific Wren conserving "Winter Wren" for the species pair?

I think I've finally got Polioptilidae and Calcariidae correctly placed, but this placement seems to differ from the original proposals. Originally the Gnatcatchers were to go before the Wrens instead of after; and the Longspurs were to take the entire Fringillidae with them when moved up before the American Wood Warblers. I must say, having the longspurs and Snow Bunting by themselves in front of the warblers seems truly odd.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
yes...the arrangement of the Calcariidae is odd; They should be before the Parulidae however. My guess is a second proposal is probably needed to move the Passeridae and the Fringillidae to a more accurate position (Fringillidae in front of Calcariidae)

The order of families is also off from the original proposal for the Old world warbler split and the order the checklist update adopted. Probably again, because another proposal is needed
 
sequence of Polioptilidae and Calcariidae

Yes, the original proposal for Polioptilidae suggested that they go before the wrens rather than after, but I am not sure how significant this is. The basic fact being reflected is that the gnatcatchers and wrens are sister groups. I am not sure whether the AOU has adopted the rule of thumb that some checklists have of placing the taxon with the fewest species first in the sequence (at a branching point), or have they?

The position of the Calcariidae seems accurate to me with respect to recent data (eg Alstrom et al. 2008 having them as the sister group to the 'Parulidae') and with the initial wording of the recommendation in the proposal ("This new family should be placed in the linear sequence after the Peucedramidae, but before the Parulidae and the remaining New World nine-primaried oscines"). However, the proposal then goes on to present a recommended sequence in list form that lists Fringillidae before Calcariidae. I suspect that this is just an error, and perhaps Peucedramidae was intended to be there instead of Fringillidae? Really, the Fringillidae isn't very relevant to the discussion.

The position of the Calcariidae may seem odd, but that is what makes it interesting. Another striking example of convergent evolution (on a finch-like morphology in this case) and a reminder that superficial morphology doesn't necessarily tell you much about relationships.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I believe fringillidae is often (usually?) recovered as the sister group to a Emberizoidae clade, which includes New World Warblers, longspurs, tanagers, cardinals, etc. So fringillidae should be moved (but again this will probably need a separate proposal).

It's interesting how with birders the taxonomic changes don't result in much hair pulling, but common names do. Herpers often suffer hysteria at both :p
 

Kirk Roth

Well-known member
"Oreothlypis" has me pulling my hair - I can barely pronounce it!

I much prefer "Parkesia;" there's a warbler genus that rolls well off the tongue...
 
passerine ordering, and names

The current position of the Fringillidae, directly following the 'nine-primaried' passerines, is compatible with a sister group relationship (if that is correct), again assuming that the AOU is not following a rule of larger taxon last for the order of sister groups. A bigger issue is why the accentors and wagtails/pipits are still sandwiched between Sturnidae and Bombycillidae when I think it is clear that they belong somewhere among the Fringillidae/Passeridae/nine-primaried passerines (the Passerida). Perhaps they are waiting for a 'definitive' answer as to where exactly they fit, or perhaps it is simply ' so many proposals, so little time'.

My main problem with Oreothlypis is the inappropriate association with cookies. ;) Parkesia is an appropriate tribute to Kenneth Parkes, and I assume it should be pronounced 'Parks-ee-ah', though a part of me wants to call it 'Par-kee-shya'.
 

MichaelRetter

Michael L. P. Retter
Anybody know how to pronounce "Peucaea?"

As with any scientific name, however you want! There is no incorrect way. I'd be inclined to say "pyoo-SEE-uh", for whatever it's worth. Meanwhile, I still have no idea how even attempt saying Patagioenas.
 
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