Birder's Guide

NOV 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 44 of 67

More on Nutmeg Mannikins This Nutmeg Mannikin, photographed in Hawaii, is an adult of the subspecies topela. Photo © Jack Jeffrey. More than one subspecies of Nutmeg Mannikin occurs in the U.S. The subspecies topela was introduced to Hawaii with individuals captured from the wild in Hong Kong in 1866 (P. Pyle, pers. comm.). On the other hand, Nutmeg Mannikins in the continental U.S. are of the nominate subspecies, which is native to India and Sri Lanka (Pranty and Garrett 2011). These were imported for the pet trade from an exotic population established in Puerto Rico (Garrett et al. 2013) beginning in the 1960s. In most regions of the world, Lonchura punctulata is known as Scaly-breasted Munia (and, in aviculture, by a host of other names such as "spice bird" or "spice fnch"). Because the AOU Area for North and Middle America includes Hawaii and the Caribbean islands (where the species has long been established), Nutmeg Mannikin is already on the AOU Check-list. As such, its English name and taxonomic placement are automatically accepted by the ABA CLC. However, a proposal to the AOU to change the English name to Scalybreasted Munia may be forthcoming (J. Dunn, pers. comm.). release rather than an individual straying from the distant population." One of us (Pranty) takes the "strict" view that Rule 2(B)(iii) would limit "countable" Nutmeg Mannikins only to those regions or counties in California in which the species has been ratifed by the ABA CLC to be established. The other of us (Floyd) takes the more "liberal" view that exotics from established populations (i.e., meeting the eight criteria of the ABA CLC given in Pranty et al. 2008) elsewhere would count. Exotic game birds in the ABA Area illustrate the subjective nature of "countability". A Himalayan Snowcock in eastern Colorado (far from the established population in Nevada) would be judged by most birders to be uncountable. But what about a Chukar in eastern Colorado? (Chukars are established in western Colorado.) What about Ring-necked Pheasants? Their populations are regularly augmented by public and private stocking efforts. What about native game birds like Northern Bobwhites and Wild Turkeys? Their populations, too, are frequently augmented by stocking for hunters. The question of where to count Nutmeg Mannikins, along with the related question of when to count them (relative to when they were added to the ABA Checklist), is currently under discussion at . W e now discuss two additional species recently recorded in the ABA Area that have not yet been reviewed by the ABA CLC. In each case, identifcation is not an issue, but the provenance of the individuals (i.e., how they arrived in the ABA Area) is sure to be discussed. Hooded Crane (Grus monacha) –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Background One or more single Hooded Cranes were observed over a 21-month period, in Idaho (April 2010), Nebraska (April 2011), Ten- This adult Nutmeg Mannikin, photographed in San Diego County, California, is of the nominate subspecies. Note the more colorful plumage and stronger scaling below. Photo © B.J. Stacey. November 2013 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy 43

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