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Posted by: Sandy Steinman | July 28, 2012

Changes in Bird Names

Sibley  reports on changes of bird names in a recent article. Here are some of the changes cited.

Xantus’s Murrelet/ Synthliboramphus scrippsi has been split into

Scripps’s Murrelet/Synthliboramphus scrippsi – called “Northern” in the Sibley Guide
Guadalupe Murrelet/ Synthliboramphus hypoleucus – called “Southern” in the Sibley Guide

Audubon’s Shearwater has been split

Galápagos Shearwater is now a full species and does not occur in North America
Audubon’s Shearwater  occurs in North America, and it retains the same name as before.

Gray Hawk has been split.  Only one occurs in North America, and that species retains the common name , but has a new scientific name Buteo plagiatus. The Southern Gray-lined Hawk does not occur in our area.

Genera changes leading to name changes

The genus Stellula no longer exists, being merged into the genus Selasphorus, so Calliope Hummingbird which was  Stellula calliope is now  Selasphorus calliope.

Four species of North American nightjars were formerly in the genus Caprimulgus. Now all  the native North American species are now placed in the new genus Antrostomus. The genus Caprimulgus remains on the North American list by virtue of a single record of an Old World species, Grey Nightjar, in the Aleutians.

  • Chuck-will’s-widow Antrostomus carolinensis
  • Buff-collared Nightjar Antrostomus ridgwayi
  • Eastern Whip-poor-will Antrostomus vociferus
  • Mexican Whip-poor-will Antrostomus arizonae

The genus Thryothorus applies only to  Carolina Wren, and the other (mostly tropical) species in that genus are in a new genera. The only one on the North American list is: Sinaloa Wren Thryophilus sinaloa

New DNA research proves that  the Sage Sparrow (formerly Amphispiza belli) is not closely related to other species in that genus, such as Black-throated Sparrow. It is now the only member of a new genus: Sage Sparrow Artemisiospiza belli

Three species of finches formerly in the genus *Carpodacus” are moved into a new genus, based on DNA evidence. The genus Carpodacus is now reserved for Old World species, including Common Rosefinch, while the New World species are in the new genus Haemorhous.

  • Purple Finch Haemorhous purpureus
  • Cassin’s Finch Haemorhous cassinii
  • House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus

Other name changes include:

  • Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus, formerly Common Peafowl
  • Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinicus, formerly P. martinica
  • Island Canary Serinus canaria, formerly Common Canary

to learn more go the American Orthnithologist Union article in the The Auk FIFTY-THIRD SUPPLEMENT TO THE AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS’ UNION

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