Birder's Guide

OCT 2014

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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Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy | October 2014 38 s a general policy, the AOU ac- cepts as additions to the Check-list any species the ABA's Checklist Committee (ABA CLC) adds to its list that are not already on the AOU's list. See the ABA CLC's annual report in the November/ December 2013 issue of Birding for details on those species. Likewise, the ABA CLC automatically adopts all taxonomic chang- es accepted by the NACC. You can read all the proposals on which the NACC voted this year by visiting its webpage . Species marked with an asterisk below are those which do not appear on the ABA Checklist, either because there are no currently ac- cepted records in the ABA Area or because they are non-native species which have not yet been admitted to the list. When a split is discussed, the species that retains the scientifc name of the "old" lumped spe- cies is listed frst. These days, almost any change in taxonomy is due (at least partly) to analysis of new genetic data, so that is not always mentioned below. Clapper Rail Split –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– • Mangrove Rail* (Rallus longirostris) • Ridgway's Rail (Rallus obsoletus) • Clapper Rail (Rallus crepitans) Recent genetic studies have looked at the relatedness of the New World "big rails", that is, what we have traditionally known as Clapper Rail and King Rail. It turns out that the "King Rails" resident in Mexico (longirostris) are more closely related to the Clapper Rails on the Pacifc Coast of the U.S. and Mexico. Not only that, but East Coast Clapper Rails are more close- ly related to the eastern U.S. King Rails than they are to the other populations of "Clapper Rail". In other words, the King and Clapper rails that occur in the eastern U.S. are sister taxa (perhaps not surpris- ing given their limited hybridization both there and in Cuba). The "King Rails" of interior Mexico and the "Clapper Rails" of the U.S./Mexican Pacifc Coast are also sis- ter taxa. In order to refect this new knowl- edge, King Rail was split into two species, and Clapper Rail into three. (For an article on the different "Clapper Rails" in the ABA Area, check out the September/October 2013 issue of Birding.) Finally, Robert Ridgway has an English bird name to cel- ebrate his storied contributions to North American ornitholo- gy! Ridgway's Rail includes the "California" (obsoletus), "Yuma" (yumanensis), and "Light- footed" (levipes) subspecies, plus others farther south in Mexico. Any "Clapper Rail" ob- served in California, Nevada, or Arizona is this species. The name "Clapper Rail" was retained for the birds on the East Coast of the U.S. (this species also extends partially into Middle America and the Caribbean), but its scientifc name has changed. Besides genetics, other differences Check-list Supplement Redux, v. 2014 A Every summer, birders anxiously await publication of the " Check-list Supplement" by the American Ornithologists' Union's North American Classifcation Committee (NACC). The Supplement details revisions to its Check-list (for instance, lumps, splits, new species, new classifcations). This " Check-list Redux" is the fourth annual summary appearing in ABA publications. It aims to ex- plain in straightforward terms what has changed and how those changes impact anyone birding in the U.S. or Canada. Illustrations, photos, charts, and maps are employed where applicable. Large rails in saltmarsh on the Atlantic coast of the United States, such as this one in Maryland, are still called Clapper Rail. Photo © Jacob Spendelow Clapper Rail distribution in the ABA Area. between Ridgway's Rail and East Coast Clapper Rail include the former's gener- ally brighter coloration and propensity for some populations (especially "Yuma" Rails) to nest in freshwater marshes. East Coast Clappers are restricted to saltmarsh.

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