Birder's Guide

OCT 2015

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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25 October 2015 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy gered due to human-introduced goats and rats. (You can read more about con- servation efforts at tinyurl.com/TOSH- Beck) The species has no records in the ABA Area, but if numbers increase, warm waters off southern California—espe- cially in El Niño years—would be a good place to look. Newell's Shearwater is a Hawaiian-breeding endemic with one re- cord from San Diego County, California. Separation of the two species (and from Manx Shearwater) is often very dif- fcult and beyond the scope of this arti- cle, but see the caption for the excellent illustration by Ian Lewington in Steve N. G. Howell's Petrels, Albatrosses, & Storm- Petrels of North America. Great Skua Split –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– • Great Skua (Stercorarius skua) • Brown Skua* (Stercorarius antarcticus) —no com- mon name given by NACC, but called this by the AOU's South American Checklist Committee This rather obvious split was long over- due. Great Skua is the only large skua breeding in the Northern Hemisphere. There are no accepted records of Brown Skua in the ABA Area, but at least four birds widely speculated to have been this species have been documented in ABA Area waters (two in NC, one in NJ, and one in NS). In addition, two have been positively identifed from the UK, prov- ing that the species does venture north of the equator. See Birding, December 2000, p574 and tinyurl.com/skua-NS for de- tails. Identifcation of the two is tricky and beyond the scope of this article. New Genus for American Tree Sparrow –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– The species's scientifc name has changed from Spizella arborea to Spizelloides ar- Herald Petrel Split –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– • Trindade Petrel (Pterodroma arminjoniana) • Herald Petrel* (Pterodroma heraldica) Trindade Petrel is found in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and nests on (among others) the Trindade Islands of Brazil. Herald Petrel is a species of the Pacifc Ocean, and although there are no accept- ed records for the ABA Area, there are re- cords off Hawaii and the Pacifc Coast of Mexico, so birders should be cognizant of this species during pelagics off southern California. Both species are quite variable in plumage, and the ability to ID a vagrant bird on the wrong ocean is probably be- yond our current knowledge. "Trindade" is pronounced "treeng-DAH-jee". Townsend's Shearwater Split –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– • Townsend's Shearwater* (Puffnis auricularis) • Newell's Shearwater (Puffnis newelli) Townsend's Shearwater (sensu stricto) nests only on Isla Socorro in Mexico's Revillagigedo (reh-BEE-yah-hee-HEY- though) Archipelago, in the Pacifc Ocean. It has been extirpated from two historic breeding islands and is critically endan- borea. Genetic data show it to be not at all closely related to Spizella sparrows. Instead, it is related to a group contain- ing Fox Sparrow, Zonotrichia sparrows, and juncos. New Genera for Some Hawaiian Honeycreepers –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 'I 'iwi* (Vestiaria coccinea ➛ Drepanis coccinea) Lesser 'Akialoa* (Hemignathus obscurus ➛ Akialoa obscura) Greater 'Akialoa* (Hemignathus ellisianus ➛ Akialoa ellisiana) Hawai'i 'Amakihi* (Hemignathus virens ➛ Chlorodrepanis virens) O'ahu 'Amakihi* (Hemignathus favus ➛ Chlorodrepanis fava) Kaua'i 'Amakihi* (Hemignathus kauaiensis ➛ Chlorodrepanis stejnegeri) Greater 'Amakihi* (Hemignathus sagittirostris ➛ Viridonia sagittirostris) Splits for Some Hawaiian Honeycreepers –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A grim reminder of the plight of Hawaii's birdlife comes in the form of four splits. Nine of the eleven resulting species are extinct. In all cases, the names of the new Michael L. P. Retter Fort Worth, Texas mretter@aba.org This possible Brown Skua was photographed on Sable Island, Nova Scotia on 13 May 1996. Photo © Zoe Lucas American Tree Sparrow is now in the mono- typic genus Spizelloides . Photo © Brian E. Small

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