My understanding was that Lesser Redpoll and Common Redpoll do not form mixed pairs where they breed sympatrically (Lifjeld and Bjerke 1996 for example). Has this been contradicted?
I think this is already done by some folks. I know the ABA for a long time has Fea's/Zino's Petrel on their checklist until someone could provide formal documentation and a strong argument that Fea's was the species involved in (most?) sightings.Combining these two criteria presents us with anothwr opportunity, which is to embrace some awkward species pairs or groups. If you only get as far as Bean Goose sp, well that's recognisable in the field (as distinct from Pink-footed etc) and geographically attributable (to the combined ranges of Tundra & Taiga). So it's a tick. We you see your first, say, Tundra your list doesn't increase, it just changes slightly.
Well, there are two ways species are "arbitrary". One is simply researchers may use different species concepts or even interpret the same concept differently. So often times when people argue about species they may actually be making more philosophical than scientific arguments.Earlier messages also suggest that the definition of a species is somewhat arbitrary. I am not totally convinced by this. My understanding is that the process is as follows - a researcher studies a species (say Red Grouse) and proposes in a scientific paper that the research indicates it is a valid species. Taxonomists, working on behalf of global taxonomies (IoC, Birdlife, Clements etc.) then review the published paper and determine whether the evidence is robust enough for acceptance. I presume that the review is made against set criteria, and not just an arbitrary decision, though the criteria are unknown to me and would probably surpass my scientific knowledge.
Should have said BOURC, not BBRC, as well (#52).Sorry should have said three global list that are maintained - Clements updated annually, IOC updated biannually and BirdLife updated annually. Howard and Moore, Sibley, Peters etc have not been maintained, with the former the most current and last updated to version 4 in 2013-2014.
Should have said BOURC, not BBRC, as well (#52).
Well, the NACC/SACC checklist does handle issues beyond taxonomy, including additions to the checklist from vagrants and range expansions. And honestly there is barely any difference between NACC/SACC and Clements. Clements has traditionally almost religiously followed both taxonomic committees. Mostly its a few slight differences in species that are largely vagrants to the New World, and not likely to effect most folks.The example of the NACC is interesting. To be honest I cannot see the advantage of regional committees addressing taxonomy. The BBRC in the UK formally did this, but then decided to switch to the IOC taxonomic list some years ago. I think this move was the correct decision. Most Americans I have spoken to use Clements for global birding, but what happens where NACC varies from Clements at a local level? As with all local taxonomic lists that do not cover all global species, this must get messy.
I am not saying that local taxonomic committees do not have the relevant expertise to make decisions (arbitrary or not), but what is the advantage of investing time (probably voluntarily) and obtaining expertise, to make decisions at a local basis - this seems more about the ‘rules of local listing’, and as I say listing is fairly arbitrary anyway.
There is significant advantage of lumping rather than splitting lists. Think of all the database, reports, books, websites etc. that need to make decisions regarding taxonomy and the taxonomic authority to use. Common use of Latin is also a great communication tool. I once got very confused in China as the name for Ferruginous Duck is Bai Yan Ya, which people with a Beijing accent say as Bai Yar Ya - I was all excited about Baer’s Pochards until we referred to Latin names.
As far as I am aware there are only three global taxonomic lists and for about 90% of birds they match at species level. I understand that moves are afoot to bring about consensus in area of difference. So I would say pick one, ditch any local lists, and hopefully one day we will all be working to the same set of decisions (arbitrary or not).
I mean what I am saying is not speculation...Every SACC and NACC decision with only a very few exceptions is followed by Clements. Just look at the update history. Clements, other than the Mexican Duck situation, never has made a North/South American centric split prior to that split being accepted by the NACC or SACC. Even decisions that some would consider controversial (cough rejection of Yellow-rumped Warbler split cough) are followed by Clements.I suppose it is possible that Clements copy NACC/SACC but a straightforward copy of NACC/SACC’s homework seems unlikely - unless they share workload by using the same same experts on their panels. An advanced of local taxonomic authorities is smaller workload, so potentially they may review and implement changes quicker than a global taxonomic authority. If Clements later reach the same conclusion as NACC/SACC, rather than merely copy, then perhaps the decision making process is not so arbitrary after all.
The international Ornithological Union has formed a working group to develop a unified world checklist (see Working Group Avian Checklists | International Ornithologists' Union). As you will note in the reference, BirdLife has recently joined the working group, which means that all the main up to date global taxonomies are represented. In recent dialogue with staff at Clements/EBird, it was suggested that an objective of the unified list would be that Clements, BirdLife and IOC would no longer need to maintain their own separate lists. All parties see the advantage that a single unified list would bring to all aspects of ornithology and conservation.
Hopefully local taxonomic committees will also see the advantage and follow suit.
I did this years ago when I started using the IOC but it isn't just speciatian decisions which are not standardised, nomenclature is a big issue too as is name changing for apparently political reasons.As far as I am aware there are only three global taxonomic lists and for about 90% of birds they match at species level. I understand that moves are afoot to bring about consensus in area of difference. So I would say pick one, ditch any local lists, and hopefully one day we will all be working to the same set of decisions (arbitrary or not).