• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

AOU-NACC Proposals 2022 (1 Viewer)

Peter Kovalik

Well-known member
Slovakia

Proposals 2022-A

2022-A-1: Reinstate Northwestern Crow Corvus caurinus as a species

2022-A-2: Recognize Turdus confinis (San Lucas Robin) as a separate species from Turdus migratorius (American Robin)

2022-A-3a: Treat Turdus plumbeus (Red-legged Thrush) as two species

2022-A-3b: Treat Turdus plumbeus (Red-legged Thrush) as three species

2022-A-4: Treat Turdus daguae as a separate species from Turdus assimilis (White-throated Thrush)

2022-A-5a: Reassess the taxonomy of the Pampa curvipennis (Wedge-tailed Sabrewing) complex: Lump excellens with curvipennis

2022-A-5b: Reassess the taxonomy of the Pampa curvipennis (Wedge-tailed Sabrewing) complex: Split pampa from curvipennis

2022-A-6: Split Haplophaedia assimilis from Greenish Puffleg H. aureliae

2022-A-7: Recognize Trogon ambiguus (Coppery-tailed Trogon) as a separate species from Trogon elegans (Elegant Trogon)

2022-A-8: Treat Lepidocolaptes neglectus as a separate species from L. affinis (Spot-crowned Woodcreeper)

2022-A-9: Recognize Thryothorus albinucha as a separate species from T. ludovicianus (Carolina Wren)

2022-A-10a: Split Numenius hudsonicus (Hudsonian Curlew) from N. phaeopus (Whimbrel)

2022-A-10b: Resume using the English name Hudsonian Curlew for N. hudsonicus

2022-A-10c: Resume using the English name Whimbrel for N. phaeopus sensu stricto

2022-A-11: Recognize extralimital Leptodon forbesi as a species distinct from Gray-headed Kite L. cayanensis

2022-A-12: Recognize extralimital Turdus maculirostris as a species distinct from Spectacled Thrush T. nudigenis

2022-A-13: Recognize extralimital Sipia palliata as a species distinct from Dull-mantled Antbird S. laemosticta

2022-A-14a: Recognize extralimital Herpsilochmus frater as a species distinct from Rufous-winged Antwren H. rufimarginatus

2022-A-14b: Change the English name of H. rufimarginatus to Rufous-margined Antwren

2022-A-15: Recognize extralimital Pyrocephalus nanus as a species distinct from Vermilion Flycatcher P. rubinus

2022-A-16: Change the scientific name of Anthus lutescens (Yellowish Pipit) to Anthus chii

2022-A-17: Revise linear sequence of genera in Troglodytidae, especially Ferminia

2022-A-18: Split Leucolia wagneri from L. viridifrons (Green-fronted Hummingbird)

2022-A-19: Split Black-billed Streamertail Trochilus scitulus from (Red-billed) Streamertail T. polytmus

2022-A-20a: Split Cynanthus latirostris (Broad-billed Hummingbird): Recognize C. doubledayi as a species

2022-A-20b: Split Cynanthus latirostris (Broad-billed Hummingbird): Recognize C. lawrencei as a species

2022-A-20c: Split Cynanthus latirostris (Broad-billed Hummingbird): English names

2022-A-21: Split Lampornis cinereicauda from White-throated Mountain-gem L. castaneoventris
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Presumably this is part of the first wave of proposals for the reconciliation process between the major world checklists. Well that and some SACC book-keeping.
 

TomDerutter

Well-known member
Hudsonian Curlew sounds... weird. If it wasn't there twice, i'd have guessed it to be a mistake...

Edit: apparently it's the pre-1944 name
People born after 1944 might consider such a resumption a name change, but from an AOU/AOS nomenclature perspective that would not be correct
 
Last edited:

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Hudsonian Curlew sounds... weird. If it wasn't there twice, i'd have guessed it to be a mistake...

Edit: apparently it's the pre-1944 name
Perhaps it is, but given that it has already been changed to something else it is incorrect regardless of the bystander's natal date to attempt to characterise changing again as "not a name change"! Probably NACC is having a hissy fit because "Hudsonian" is also not American, being Canadian in implication.

Next the damnfools will be looking to abolish Whimbrel, they need to be stopped right here and now. Hudsonian Whimbrel rules!

John
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Perhaps it is, but given that it has already been changed to something else it is incorrect regardless of the bystander's natal date to attempt to characterise changing again as "not a name change"! Probably NACC is having a hissy fit because "Hudsonian" is also not American, being Canadian in implication.

Next the damnfools will be looking to abolish Whimbrel, they need to be stopped right here and now. Hudsonian Whimbrel rules!

John
Hudsonian Whimbrel would probably make the most sense, since it makes it clear what the split refers to (versus curlew, which could suggest a Long-billed Curlew split to casual folks).
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I thought the Crow had only just been lumped and why change Whimbrel to Curlew?
Had you read the proposal? It's by the author of a new paper who argues the lump was premature. And includes a rebuttal basically dismissing the new paper's claims. So I would guess it has zero chance of passing.

(Although based on my recent track record on predicting votes for AOS splits/lumps, that probably means it will pass!)
 

thomasdonegan

Former amateur ornithologist
Presumably this is part of the first wave of proposals for the reconciliation process between the major world checklists. Well that and some SACC book-keeping.

Reading the proposals, it seems many of them are the opposite of reconciliation. Most of these seem to involve Van Remsen trashing HBW taxonomy, picking a few nits, noting it's in a textbook not a learned journal article, saying it's not good enough and recommending not to accept. I don't know many of these species well enough to comment, but I know what someone on a mission with an agenda looks like.
 
Last edited:

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I am still reading through the proposal, but I find zero merit for retaining Hudsonian Curlew over Hudsonian Whimbrel, and points out an issue sometimes with scientists being in charge of common names. The argument seems to be stability of name in the literature, however given that "whimbrel" has been used since 1944, surely what is most important is reducing confusion for people today. It's one thing to bring back a name that was in use a few decades ago, but the overwhelming majority of people who use common names in birds and in which this is relevant are only familiar with Whimbrel.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
Cyprus
I am still reading through the proposal, but I find zero merit for retaining Hudsonian Curlew over Hudsonian Whimbrel, and points out an issue sometimes with scientists being in charge of common names. The argument seems to be stability of name in the literature, however given that "whimbrel" has been used since 1944, surely what is most important is reducing confusion for people today. It's one thing to bring back a name that was in use a few decades ago, but the overwhelming majority of people who use common names in birds and in which this is relevant are only familiar with Whimbrel.
Exactly, stability of nomenclature is a very prominent issue at the moment.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Regarding proposal 3, I am surprised this paper is not included in there. https://repository.si.edu/bitstream...nd_Bermingham_2008.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
It is only mitochondrial and it is expressed in a different way than the taxonomist most often does, but there are 16/842 bp = 1.9% that show fixed differences between the Bahamas-Cuba-Caymans group and the Hispaniola-Puerto Rico-Dominica group. I doubt this would have led to a different recommendation but I would have liked to see it included. (and privately, I favor the two species view even though I only have live experience with one group).
Niels
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I actually thought the Trogon proposal looked persuasive, given that it was essentially lumped by Peters back in the day with no explanation given. In fact one of the arguments AGAINST the split seems to just be because Birdlife didn't and the author hates the system they use to split taxa.
 

Jim LeNomenclatoriste

Taxonomy and zoological nomenclature
France
I actually thought the Trogon proposal looked persuasive, given that it was essentially lumped by Peters back in the day with no explanation given. In fact one of the arguments AGAINST the split seems to just be because Birdlife didn't and the author hates the system they use to split taxa.
I don't know if it is Remsen who is behind this proposal, but it is the case, one has the impression that he is against all the taxonomic proposals made by HBW
 

Paul Clapham

Well-known member
Canada
Had you read the proposal? It's by the author of a new paper who argues the lump was premature. And includes a rebuttal basically dismissing the new paper's claims. So I would guess it has zero chance of passing.

(Although based on my recent track record on predicting votes for AOS splits/lumps, that probably means it will pass!)
I hope it doesn't pass. Historically, here in southwestern British Columbia all crows were automatically considered Northwestern Crow. No debate, no problem. If you went south into Washington state, then you started to have arguments and discussions about American versus Northwestern, but for us life was simple.

But now if the split comes back, everybody knows that we're living in the heart of the hybrid zone and the best we can hope for is that crows are American/Northwestern or American X Northwestern. Worst case is that people want to try to identify "pure" specimens of one or the other.
 

Peter Boesman

Well-known member
I also had a quick read and agree that some proposals lack scientific objectivity/accuracy or in some cases contain clear errors.
I am just back from a birdsound recording trip to Colombia, and unfortunately have little time on my hands, but I couldn’t resist to pick a single proposal in order to explain my point. I chose to write down comments on proposal 2022-A-8 which tackles the Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes affinis complex, as this one largely deals with vocalizations and involves one of my own earlier publications. I sent my comments to Dr. Cherry Tesser, and hope by doing so, the NACC members will dispose of more accurate information in order to reach a well-founded decision.
I recommend anyone else with knowledge on the topics to do so as well for other cases.

I am not sure my comments will be made available on-line anytime soon through the NACC website, for which I include them below (editing somewhat messed up by copy/paste)

Greetings,
Peter


Comments on NACC proposal 2022-A-8: Treat Lepidocolaptes neglectus as a separate species from L. affinis (Spot-crowned Woodcreeper)

As I believe I was indeed the first to indicate significant vocal differences between the taxon neglectus and other taxa of the L. affinis complex (Boesman 2016) and given this input was the major reason for del Hoyo & Collar (2016) to treat the former as a distinct species, I would like to comment on the present NACC proposal 2022-A-8.

The author of the proposal - while admitting he is not an expert in Woodcreeper voices - mentions several arguments to question the claimed vocal difference, which I would like to tackle one by one:




  • “Great care must be taken with woodcreeper songs because individuals seem capable of producing variations of the same song”
    • Individual variation in voice is well known and is indeed quite extensive in many woodcreepers, but it should not be confused with or used as an argument to mask species-specific vocal characteristics, and surely it is no reason to minimize the taxonomic significance of voice in this suboscine family. I believe it is safe to say that nearly every woodcreeper species can be correctly identified based solely on voice, independently of individual vocal variation. In other words, I don’t see the relevance of this remark.
    • As a further consideration, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper sensu lato was split into Montane Woodcreeper L. lacrymiger and Spot-crowned Woodcreeper L. affinis largely based on voice (Ridgely 1994. The Birds of South America) long before genetic evidence was made available as a further support, illustrating the importance of vocal differences in this family and genus. With a dramatic increase in the availability of birdsound recordings during the last two decades, such findings can now be supported by even more extensive evidence than in these early days.
  • “It seems premature to draw conclusions solely on the basis of geographical patterns in woodcreeper vocalizations”
    • All recent splits of Woodcreeper complexes were supported by vocal differences in the distinct groups. As a matter of fact and as a striking and illustrative example, the geographical range of L. duidae was basically entirely redrawn based on voice, now extending into NE Peru and E Ecuador, whereas formerly, presumably purely based on hardly noticeable morphological differences, this was not at all the case (compare the obsolete range description of the different taxa for L. albolineatus in Marantz 2003 with present knowledge).
  • “A minor point is that the song of lignicidamay be unknown – it is represented in xeno-canto only by a single call note (by Dan Lane)… it seems to me that its vocalizations also should be included in any such study.”
  • Marantz: “The first thing that is apparent from these recordings is that the species' vocalizations are highly variable, with almost no two sounding the same”.
    • Marantz apparently focusses on variation and inexplicably fails to see the common distinguishing features that identify each group’s voice: song and call of the southern group is based on overslurred whistles, while in northern group on underslurred whistles. Southern group is a single long whistle followed by a long fast trill, song of northern group is a long whistle followed by 1-3 notes, etc.
  • Marantz: “In my mind, until one has dozens, if not hundreds, of recordings, and can map out in a clear way the homologous sounds of each group under study, it is inadvisable to begin splitting woodcreepers on the basis of their vocalizations.”
    • Required sample size is of course a matter of discussion, but if about 100 recordings (XC+ML) are not sufficient to draw conclusions about two groups, then one may question many other taxonomic decisions from the recent past. (This doesn’t mean at all I am not in favour of large sample sizes. On the contrary, I believe my efforts to document as many bird vocalizations as possible over the last 30 years (32.000+ recordings available on-line) clearly demonstrate the importance I am giving to this.)
    • In this case however, I believe that chances are very slim that a larger than present sample size will uncover a hitherto undocumented territorial song or will alter significantly our understanding of song and dominant call types: Lepidocolaptes woodcreepers are not typical dawn singers (as opposed to many other woodcreeper species) and have a rather limited and fairly stereotypical vocabulary, mainly consisting of a song phrase and a dominant call note, which typically is uttered sporadically during the active day-time hours.
    • I do agree however that more recordings are needed when vocal differences are more subtle, and especially the difficult (and in my opinion unresolved) case of Buff-throated/Cocoa Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus guttatus/susurrans proves that not all currently recognized woodcreeper species differ markedly in voice. Marantz’s PhD work (2005) primarily focussed on this complex, and therefore he may oversee this is rather the exception than the rule, or at least that in the Lepidocolaptes genus vocalizations are far more stereotypical and differences rather clear-cut.
  • Marantz: “Moreover, in Venezuela we found that populations that are not sister taxa, and which have very different vocalizations, seem to have no problem hybridizing when they come into contact.”
    • I don’t see the relevance of this remark. Reasoning along these lines, one could then argue that the Woodcreeper family is a single species... (In any case, hybridization is a non-issue in allopatric populations).
  • Marantz: “I would recommend basing decisions on careful analyses of a wide array of vocalizations rather than a simple analysis that uses the number of elements and their frequencies, which for woodcreepers is invariably going to lead one astray.”
    • I am open to any suggestions about describing objectively sounds, but before writing down my conclusions in Boesman (2016) I did analyse all on-line available recordings of all vocalizations (both song and calls) and I objectivated my findings by using standard basic sound parameters to allow quantification of differences, which I believe is common practice in bioacoustical analysis for taxonomic decisions.
    • I even highlighted and illustrated a somewhat aberrant vocalization, which was clearly a vocalization of a very excited bird, as can be heard in many Woodcreeper species after repeated playback:
    • XC97460 Spot-crowned Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes affinis) :: xeno-canto
    • ML6976 Spot-crowned Woodcreeper (Northern) Macaulay Library
    • Both above recordings have the same pattern on sonogram (and differ from all other available vocalizations), the recordist of ML6976 in 1971 thankfully carefully noted this voice was indeed stimulated by playback…
    • And finally, I placed the affinis complex in a broader context by comparing also with typical song of L. lacrymiger to check the possible hypothesis that the taxon neglectus would rather belong to this South American group, hypothesis that was proven wrong based on voice (besides genetic considerations).
In conclusion, I respectfully disagree that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that there are clearly two vocal groups in the L. affinis complex with very different voice. On the contrary, all 100+ on-line available recordings clearly indicate that both groups are readily identifiable by both song and call notes.

Whether this is sufficient evidence to treat both groups as distinct species is another matter and largely depends on the criteria used to reach such conclusion.

About the evidence there should however not be any discussion as explained above:

  • Both groups differ morphologically in minor details, which however at the time were deemed sufficient to describe them as different taxa
  • Both groups differ markedly in voice (we are talking here about very different voices, not differences for which a PCA is needed to plot separate groups…)
  • Both groups are genetically distinct lineages
  • Both groups are allopatric and thus taxonomic status in a BSC taxonomy needs to be determined by indirect evidence different from the examination of (inter)breeding behaviour as in the case of sympatry
Similar evidence was used to upgrade a complex in the same genus (L. albolineatus) to 4 species (initially 5, but see Treat Lepidocolaptes layardi as a subspecies of L. fuscicapillus (lsu.edu)). I thus believe taxonomic consistency would rather favour treatment of L. neglectus and L. affinis as two distinct species.

Finally, in anticipation of the possible remark that my analysis (Boesman 2016) was not peer-reviewed, I would like to point out that this was part of a single-person effort during a single year to document 400+ cases in which vocal differences may have an impact on their taxonomic treatment (See Ornithological Notes - Birds of the World), and for which peer-reviewing was practically impossible because of time-constraints. In the five years following this effort however, the scientific community has tackled several of these cases (although unfortunately far from all of them, at the present rate it will take another few decades to do so…). Unsurprisingly, their more in-depth analysis typically led to uncovering further fine-grained structure in vocal differences. In very few cases if any however, did it lead to contradictory findings in comparison with my earlier preliminary analysis.
 

Kirk Roth

Well-known member
I am still reading through the proposal, but I find zero merit for retaining Hudsonian Curlew over Hudsonian Whimbrel, and points out an issue sometimes with scientists being in charge of common names. The argument seems to be stability of name in the literature, however given that "whimbrel" has been used since 1944, surely what is most important is reducing confusion for people today. It's one thing to bring back a name that was in use a few decades ago, but the overwhelming majority of people who use common names in birds and in which this is relevant are only familiar with Whimbrel.
I had meant to comment on this weeks ago - but this English name issue underscores that while so-called "stability" is a common stated justification for a name, the term is rarely defined or even appreciated for having multiple possible interpretations. If "stability" means conforming to the literature in strictly a temporal sense then Winker is right that yes, 153 years is greater than 77 years. If stability means conforming to literature in a publication sense, then how many post-1944 articles, books, websites, and so on refer to the North American taxa as a "whimbrel" vs. those prior to 1944 which refer to it as a "curlew"? And it it more "stable" to contradict more publications or more time? Is it more "stable" to contradict more recent or more distant usage? Is it more "stable" to contradict more common or more rare usage?

This is not to mention the obvious instability of adding confusion to laymen, birders and researchers on the sensu stricto/lato question. Under the Winker suggestion, any report of a "Whimbrel" would need to be qualified both with the year of the report and frankly whether the author is familiar with the name change - not an inconsiderable problem evidenced by the multi-annual reports of Wilson's Snipe reported as "Common Snipe" so many years after the split, even in serious research.

And further instability would be introduced by contradicting the already established names by the IOC and now others. I recognize that the IOC split is only a year or two old, but it would be a bad look for the AOS to come late to the party and demand to change the name proposed by people who recognized the split earlier and frankly the name that is already in use. Is that sort of "stability" offset by literature from last century?

To be fair, Mr. Winker never actually mentions the word "stability" in his proposal although his description of "least disruption in the literature" could be interpreted as such under one of the definitions of the word. I think its important for us to recognize that stability in language is not such a simple concept as it is often portrayed in our discussions - the nuance is formidable.
 

Kirk Roth

Well-known member
I also had a quick read and agree that some proposals lack scientific objectivity/accuracy or in some cases contain clear errors.
I am just back from a birdsound recording trip to Colombia, and unfortunately have little time on my hands, but I couldn’t resist to pick a single proposal in order to explain my point. I chose to write down comments on proposal 2022-A-8 which tackles the Spot-crowned Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes affinis complex, as this one largely deals with vocalizations and involves one of my own earlier publications. I sent my comments to Dr. Cherry Tesser, and hope by doing so, the NACC members will dispose of more accurate information in order to reach a well-founded decision.
I recommend anyone else with knowledge on the topics to do so as well for other cases.

I am not sure my comments will be made available on-line anytime soon through the NACC website, for which I include them below (editing somewhat messed up by copy/paste)

Greetings,
Peter

Peter, thank you for posting this here - it is very informative for us to see. Anything that illuminates AOS proposals is most welcome and sadly rare at some times. Moreover, a very careful and well crafted response to the proposal - well done and thank you for putting this work in.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top