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Costa Rican Taxonomy (2 Viewers)

Of interest, the Costa Rica guide and the Belize guide are now available for purchase, at least here in the states. Of interest to the forum, the Belize book on amazon has a preview with chunks of the book available to read, including as luck would have it the entire taxonomic note section, where they outline why they split/lump what they do, using IOC as the baseline (and not AOS I should note). No idea if this works outside the US, but you can access the preview here. A lot of this is the material from that table I initially posted out, with the evidence and ranges more clearly outlined.


Some of this is already out of date, since some of their proposed changes such as splitting Tropical Pewee or lumping Osprey have already been done. It's a bit of work going through the notes since some of the notes are for POTENTIAL splits not recognized, and some are for splits/lumps they do follow through with. You could probably cross-reference easily enough with the index which is also included in the preview. Of interest they recognize American Great Egret and Atlantic Booby at the species level, as two obvious examples I noticed. Bunch of others, although also some lumps (only one Whimbrel and Barn Owl for instance)

Edit: I just noticed that not all of the novel taxonomic changes are referenced in the taxonomic notes. It seems like the seabirds aren't covered, since they were covered in Howell's recent seabird field guide. So the note section won't mention the Bridled Tern, Brown Booby, etc splits. Also the taxonomic notes are largely focused on Belize residents....largely North American taxa that are strays or pass through are not discussed in this section but apparently in the main text. Just a word of caution there
 
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Princeton has a preview of the Costa Rica book, although note the taxonomic section is not included. There is an index of English common names however, so if folks want to have a go at that they can. Also most of the plates in the Costa Rica book are the same plates from the Belize book, since both previews are heavily weighted towards aquatic birds, which obviously have a lot of overlap between those two countries
 
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Of interest, the Costa Rica guide and the Belize guide are now available for purchase, at least here in the states. Of interest to the forum, the Belize book on amazon has a preview with chunks of the book available to read, including as luck would have it the entire taxonomic note section, where they outline why they split/lump what they do, using IOC as the baseline (and not AOS I should note). No idea if this works outside the US, but you can access the preview here. A lot of this is the material from that table I initially posted out, with the evidence and ranges more clearly outlined.

Both guides are available now from Amazon in the UK. The preview of the Belize guide includes the whole of Appendix B (Taxonomic Notes).
 
Thankfully the screech-owls are one of the examples that are discussed in more detail. The authors argue that Middle American Screech-Owl consists of 5 species:

Skutch's Screech-Owl (Megascops new sp.): endemic/near endemic? to Pacific slope of Costa Rica. It is suggested that it might be most closely related to Choco Screech-Owl, but still (probably?) separate

Costa Rican Screech-Owl (M. vermiculatus): Eastern Nicaragua through NW Panama

Choco Screech-Owl (M. centralis): no range given but presumably the same range given elsewhere

West Mexican Screech-Owl (M. hastatus): West Mexico...duh

Mesoamerican Screech-Owl (M. guatemalae): Eastern Mexico to western Nicaragua
Resurrecting this thread to add that the bird he proposed as Skutch's Screech-Owl (side note, if eponyms don't go away it would be a travesty for Skutch not to have a bird named after him) is currently recognized by eBird as Puntarenas Screech-Owl [undescribed form] as of the 2023 update. It's vocally very distinct from Choco Screech-Owl which is what it was being treated as by eBird at least for the last few years.

There's also a population on the Nicoya Peninsula of one of the Screech-Owls that is also vocally distinct but I forget the specifics as I don't bird that region very often (almost ever).
 
A Screech-Owl in the Nicoya would presumably be Pacific (M cooperi) and I think it would at least classically be viewed as nominate M c cooperi. At least in the past the mooted possible split was “Oaxaca’s” Pacific Screech-Owl, M c lambi.

It’s been a decade now since I’ve spent a lot of time in CR but I’ve heard a bit of murmuring about a theoretical Nicoya Megascops of interest over the years.
 
A Screech-Owl in the Nicoya would presumably be Pacific (M cooperi) and I think it would at least classically be viewed as nominate M c cooperi. At least in the past the mooted possible split was “Oaxaca’s” Pacific Screech-Owl, M c lambi.

It’s been a decade now since I’ve spent a lot of time in CR but I’ve heard a bit of murmuring about a theoretical Nicoya Megascops of interest over the years.
I know it's not Pacific, but I can't remember if it's Tropical or Middle-American (memory says the latter).

Edit: just found the reference. Yes, it's a local population of Middle-American on the Nicoya Peninsula that also maybe (unclear, but what I've heard) vocalize a bit distinctly from the Caribbean population (which itself is distinct from northern populations of Middle-American Screech-Owl).

Vocalizations on ML of Nicoya Population

Vocalization of Caribbean CR Population
 
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I live on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and come across the undescribed Puntarenas Screech-Owl quite regularly while birdwatching. Does anyone know if someone is actually working on describing this species? sadly it seems that when it comes to avian taxonomy these days people are more interested in linear sequencing than actually working on describing many of the undescribed species that still exists out there.
 
I live on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and come across the undescribed Puntarenas Screech-Owl quite regularly while birdwatching. Does anyone know if someone is actually working on describing this species? sadly it seems that when it comes to avian taxonomy these days people are more interested in linear sequencing than actually working on describing many of the undescribed species that still exists out there.
A phylogeny is nowadays kind of a key part of any paper that describes a new species, because you want to put it in the context of what its related to, and the genetics can provide a line of evidence to support species recognition.
 
I worked extensively on plant taxonomy in Hawaii prior to retiring and do agree that it is important to include phylogeny when describing new species, however it seems to me that these days many people working on taxonomy is more interested sitting in front of a computer in the lab solely analyzing material based on the efforts of others.

I did spend time in the lab but I did spend even more time out in the field doing actual fieldwork and complementing existing material and information, which I understand may put some people off as it can be very difficult work in difficult conditions.
 

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