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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54 Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy | October 2016 Check-list Supplement Redux, v. 2016 Shorebird Subfamily Reshuffle –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Relationships among the shorebirds are also now better understood. Below is the new classification scheme, including a change in subfamilies and in sequence. Within each genus, there is no change in sequence of the species. • Numeniinae (curlews) • Bartramia (Upland Sandpiper) • Numenius (traditional curlews) • Limosinae (godwits) • Arenariinae (turnstones and Calidrine sandpipers) • Arenaria (turnstones) • Calidris (sandpipers, including peeps) • Scolopacinae (dowitchers, snipes, and woodcocks) • Limnodromus (dowitchers) • Lymnocryptes (Jack Snipe) • Gallinago (other snipe) • Scolopax (woodcocks) • Tringinae (tringines) • Xenus (Terek Sandpiper) • Actitis (Spotted and Common sandpipers) • Tringa ("legs", "shanks", tattlers, Willet, and Solitary, Green, Wood, and Marsh sandpipers) • Phalaropus (phalaropes) Notable Changes That Were Not Accepted –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– • A revision of the genus Picoides • Changing the "surname" of Myioborus redstarts to "whitestart" (e.g., "Painted Whitestart") • Split of Eastern Meadowlark (yielding Lilian's Meadowlark) • Transfer of Paint-billed Crake from Neocrex to Mustelirallus Finally, Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) was not split. The established population in Florida pertains to the sub- species poliocephalus; it is native in Asia from Turkey to northern Thailand. It is considered a full species (Gray-headed Sw- amphen) by the Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. eBird uses Clements taxono- my in the very few instances when it and NACC taxonomy disagree, so swamphens seen in Florida should be entered into eBird as Gray-headed Swamphens. On the Horizon –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– A lump of Common and Hoary redpolls was considered this year but tabled for further discussion and a likely ruling in 2017. A White-breast- ed Nuthatch split is still on many people's minds. A major over- haul of hummingbird taxonomy is ripe for consideration. And new information re- garding "Western Fly- catchers" may merit changes, as well. The author thanks Jon Dunn, Ted Floyd, Paul Lehman, Ian Paulsen, and Van Remsen for assisting with prepara - tion of this article, and all the members of the AOU NACC for their diligence in maintain - ing the Check-list. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– GLOSSARY Allopatric. Describes two taxa that do not come into physical contact because their ranges are disjunct. Assortative mating. The phenomenon in which birds choose mates that are most like themselves. Morphology. Physical characteristics. Nominate. The nominate subspecies is the subspecies that shares its name with the species as a whole. For instance, Empidonax traillii traillii is the nominate subspecies of Willow Flycatcher. Phylogeny. A reconstruction, based on analy - sis of shared traits, of the evolutionary his- tory of a group of organisms. It is usually depicted in a tree-like diagram. Sensu lato. In the broad sense. For example, "Canada Goose sensu lato" refers to what we called Canada Goose before the split— it includes Cackling Goose. Sensu stricto. In the strict sense. For instance, "Canada Goose sensu stricto" means what we call Canada Goose today, after the split—just the large birds. Taxa. Plural of taxon. A taxon is a biological group or classification of organisms. Class - es, orders, families, genera, species, and subspecies are all various levels of taxon. This bird, photographed in Florida, is called Purple Swamphen on the AOU Check-list and the ABA Checklist. However, it is currently called Gray-headed Swamphen in eBird. Photo © Michael Retter Many birders breathed a big sigh of relief this summer when they found out that Hoary Redpoll will still appear on their life lists... for now. Photo © Caleb Putnam

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