The North American Checklist Committee of the AOU has published the 51st supplement to the AOU Checklist of North American Birds, which includes two major splits, some name changes (mostly from the creation of new genera), and some big changes in higher-level taxonomy. Below is a summary of the changes to English and Scientific names of species in the Sibley Guide. Major changes were also made to the sequence of species, with a few new families and orders being created and moved around in the list. While these changes and the studies behind them are always enlightening, this post is confined to species-level changes of names and taxonomic status. When combined with a previous post about name changes since 2000, this updates all species and names in the Sibley Guide.
Splits (no lumps) affecting species counts:
- Eastern Whip-poor-will Caprimulgus vociferus
- Mexican Whip-poor-will Caprimulgus arizonae
Formerly considered a single species – Whip-poor-will C. vociferus – these are now split based on differences in vocalizations, DNA, etc. Identification is fully covered in the Sibley Guide.
- Winter Wren Troglodytes hiemalis
- Paciﬁc Wren Troglodytes paciﬁcus
Formerly considered a single species – Winter Wren T. hiemalis – and now two species based on differences in songs and calls, plumage, and lack of hybridization. Identification is covered in the Sibley Guide. I think continuing to use the name “Winter Wren” with a new meaning will lead to confusion, and would encourage birders to use “Eastern Winter Wren” and “Pacific/Western Winter Wren” for clarity.
Changes to species names:
- Black Scoter Melanitta americana
Formerly Melanitta nigra. This is now considered a separate species from Common Scoter (M. nigra) of Europe, which has not yet been recorded in North America. The published 51st supplement shows the English name of the North American species changed to American Scoter, but this is apparently in error. The English name remains Black Scoter.
- Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis
Formerly Greater Shearwater
- Brown Jay Psilorhinus morio
Formerly Cyanocorax morio
- Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora cyanoptera
Formerly Vermivora pinus
- Tennessee Warbler Oreothlypis peregrina
Formerly Vermivora peregrina
- Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata
Formerly Vermivora celata
- Nashville Warbler Oreothlypis ruﬁcapilla
Formerly Vermivora ruficapilla
- Virginia’s Warbler Oreothlypis virginiae
Formerly Vermivora virginiae
- Colima Warbler Oreothlypis crissalis
Formerly Vermivora crissalis
- Lucy’s Warbler Oreothlypis luciae
Formerly Vermivora luciae
- Northern Waterthrush Parkesia noveboracensis
Formerly Seiurus noveboracensis
- Louisiana Waterthrush Parkesia motacilla
Formerly Seiurus motacilla
- Canyon Towhee Melozone fusca
Formerly Pipilo fusca
- California Towhee Melozone crissalis
Formerly Pipilo crissalis
- Abert’s Towhee Melozone aberti
Formerly Pipilo aberti
- Rufous-winged Sparrow Peucaea carpalis
Formerly Aimophila carpalis
- Botteri’s Sparrow Peucaea botterii
Formerly Aimophila botterii
- Cassin’s Sparrow Peucaea cassinii
Formerly Aimophila cassinii
- Bachman’s Sparrow Peucaea aestivalis
Formerly Aimophila aestivalis
- Five-striped Sparrow Amphispiza quinquestriata
Formerly Aimophila quinquestriata
- McCown’s Longspur Rhynchophanes mccownii
Formerly Calcarius mccownii
Related posts and pages:
- Variation in head pattern In recent posts and quizzes here I’ve been stressing the head feather groups, and how...
- Name changes of birds in the 2012 AOU supplement With the annual publication of the supplement to the AOU checklist, here is a listing...
- New draft range maps for Winter Wren Maps updated with comments received as of 11 Aug 2010 In the 51st supplement...
- Distinguishing Pacific and Winter Wrens These two species (recently split) are extremely similar in appearance. No significant differences exist in...