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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41 October 2014 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy the bill. First-year birds of both subspecies sport a pale gray bill with a dark tip. There are two records of Salvin's Albatross in the ABA Area—one from off the Aleutians and one very recent record from off central California. Salvin's nests off New Zealand and, re- cently, in the southern Indian Ocean. Adult Salvin's have a medium-gray hood (includ- ing the nape) with a white forehead, and a dusky bill with a yellow culmen ridge and a dark tip. First-year birds have a dark gray bill with a dark tip. All ages show com- pletely dark primaries from below, mak- ing the black in the "hand" more extensive than in White-capped. (This is somewhat analogous to separating the borealis and diomedea subspecies of Cory's Shearwater.) Chatham Albatross is not yet confrmed for the ABA Area, but it may be added to the Checklist before long. Two records (per- haps of the same young) Shy Albatross off California are currently being re-evaluated after Steve N. G. Howell identifed them as Chatham Albatross based on (orangeish) bill color. The AOU is waiting for the ABA CLC to act on this record. Adults have an ochraceous orange bill (with small dark tip to the mandible) that sharply contrasts with a dark gray hood. As in Salvin's, the hood covers the nape, and the forehead is white. All ages have the same wing pat- tern as Salvin's. First-year birds have an ochre-gray bill with a dusky tip. Chatham Albatross nests only in the Chatham Islands off New Zealand. For more on these albatross species, their identifcation, and their records within the ABA Area, see Rare Birds of North America; Steve Howell's Petrels, Albatrosses, & Storm- Petrels of North America (2012); and the sixth edition of the National Geographic guide. Brown Hawk-Owl Split –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– • Brown Hawk-Owl* (Ninox scutulata) • Northern Boobook (Ninox japonica) This split separates resident Ninox owls of southern Asia (scutulata) from the highly migratory ones of eastern Asia (japoni- ca); the latter are now called Northern Boobook. The two also differ in voice. Two records of Northern Boobook exist from Alaskan islands. I believe that the English name of N. scutulata would remain "Brown Hawk-Owl", but the Supplement could be read to suggest that it might be "Brown Boobook" should it ever be added to the Northern American list (a very unlikely scenario). Nutmeg Mannikin Changed to Scaly-breasted Munia –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Lonchura punctulata, added to the ABA Checklist just last year, has had its English name changed from Nutmeg Mannikin to Scaly-breasted Munia. It has long been known in the pet trade as "Spice Finch" or "Nutmeg Mannikin", but neither name is now widely used by ornithological authori- ties. The species has no particular associa- tion with nutmeg (or other spices), or even Indonesia's Banda Islands whence nutmeg originates. For largely extralimital species, the NACC generally follows regional au- thorities on issues of common name usage. Almost all other taxonomic authorities call this species Scaly-breasted Munia, and, thus, the AOU has followed suit. This change also has the beneft of eliminating some poten- tial confusion among birders who, when reading "mannikin", may mistakenly infer a relationship with the Neotropical manakins of the family Pipridae. Black-Hawks Changed to Black Hawks –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– The black-hawks of the genus Buteogallus have lost the hyphen from their "last name". This affects three species: Common Black Hawk, Great Black Hawk*, and Cuban Black Hawk*. Great Black Hawk has no accepted records from the ABA Area, but it occurs rather far north into Tamaulipas, so it wouldn't be an outlandish prospect to show up in southern Texas. (Records of this species from Florida have been treated as suspect.) Cuban Black Hawk has been recorded in Georgia, but that record was not accepted by the ABA CLC. This change in names is taking place because the "black hawks" are a paraphyletic group. That is, they are not each other's closest relatives. Some black hawks are more closely re- lated to other Buteogallus, such as Solitary Eagle*, than they are to other species called "black hawk". Pallas's Leaf-Warbler Changed to Pallas's Leaf Warbler –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Much as with the black hawks (above), the Phylloscopus leaf-warblers were found to be a paraphyletic group. So goes the hyphen. Scientifc Name and Check-list Sequence Changes –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– The genus Geotrygon (quail-doves) was found to be paraphyletic. Therefore, it was split into three genera. Ruddy and Key West quail-doves are still in Geotrygon, so the only consequence for ABA Area birders is a reshuffing of the sequence of some of the doves. Why the hyphen didn't drop out of "quail-dove", as it did in Northern Hawk Owl, is unclear. Coming after Spotted Dove, the new dove sequence is as follows. Zebra Dove* Passenger Pigeon Inca Dove Common Ground-Dove Ruddy Ground-Dove Ruddy Quail-Dove Key West Quail-Dove White-tipped Dove This bird, photographed in Santa Clara County, California, is now known as Scaly-breasted Munia. When Nutmeg Mannikin was added to the ABA Checklist list last year, it was called Scaly-breasted Munia in most of the world. Photo © Mike Danzenbaker

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