Birder's Guide

OCT 2016

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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51 October 2016 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy This long-anticipated split has finally happened. The two "new" species bare - ly overlap in range (see maps). A re- cent study states that the only place this seems to happen regularly is the Pine Nut Mountains of Storey County, Nevada, and that hybridization is limited to this very small area; however, local birders report overlap in Reno, as well. Limited hy - bridization in addition to consistent dif- ferences in voice, habitat, behavior, and morphology was enough to tip the scales toward a split. California Scrub-Jay is the more coastal species, and, predictably, it is darker in overall color. It lives in oak woodlands, which likely has led to its having a larger bill than Woodhouse's, a species that, in the Great Basin, mostly lives in piñón- juniper scrub. Most vagrant scrub-jays seem to have been Woodhouse's, but there are records of vagrant Californias in eastern Washington and southwestern British Columbia. Traditionally, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay has not referred to the two southern- most subspecies of "Western Scrub-Jay". Found in southern Mexico, the remota and sumichrasti subspecies differ sub - stantially in genetics, behavior, and mor- phology and are usually referred to as the sumichrasti group, or "Sumichrast's Scrub-Jay". The proposal submitted to the NACC suggests that it (and perhaps the subspecies texana) may deserve spe - cies status, as well, but that more study is needed. In light of this, one may won- • Passeridae (Old World sparrows) • Motacillidae (pipits and wagtails) • Fringillidae (true finches) Split of Western Scrub-Jay –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– • California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) • Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii) der whether including sumichrasti and remota under the name "Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay" is well advised, as it sets up another potential sensu stricto/sensu lato issue. Would a more inclusive and less specific name such as "Inland Scrub-Jay" have been preferable? For more on identification of "Western Scrub-Jays", see Dessi Sieburth's article in the April 2016 issue of Birding. Split of Leach's Storm-Petrel –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– • Leach's Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) • Townsend's Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma socorroensis) • Ainley's Storm-Petrel* (Oceanodroma cheimomnestes) You may be thinking "Which of these have I seen?" The answer is "Probably not more than one, and that one is probably Leach's." In North America, Leach's Storm-Petrel now consists of two subspecies. The nomi- nate is found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Any Leach's seen north of Santa Barbara, California, can probably be safely assumed to be leucorhoa. The sub- species chapmani breeds on islands (such as San Benito and the Coronados) fairly close Michael L. P. Retter Fort Worth, Texas mretter@aba.org California Scrub-Jay. Photo © Yuko Honda Range of California Scrub-Jay within the ABA Area. Purple = year-round range. Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay. Photo © J. N. Stuart Range of Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay within the ABA Area.

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