American Birding Association Checklist Committee (CLC) Midterm Report, 2023

by Peter Pyle
Chair, ABA-CLC

July 19, 2023

We present our 2023 “midterm” announcements based on species additions and ABA code changes since our annual report in December 2022. Additions and code changes have been incorporated into the current ABA Checklist, along with taxonomic and nomenclatural revisions from the 64th Supplement to the American Ornithological Society (AOS) Check-list. In December 2023 we will publish our annual report in North American Birds, which will provide more details on ABA-CLC decisions throughout the year. Updated ABA Checklist (PDF and CSV) available here >>

Species Accepted

Two species have been accepted to the ABA Checklist:

–Eurasian Marsh-Harrier (Western Marsh-Harrier), Circus aeruginosus, alpha code WEMH, ABA Code 5, based on records of (undoubtedly) the same bird on 25-27 August 2022 in Maine and on 8-19 November 2022 in New Jersey. The first-round vote was 8-0 for acceptance. Presently, Clements/eBird and the AOS use different common names, which will be listed with the latter in parentheses in the ABA Checklist (see our 2022 annual report), as above.

–Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina), alpha code ICWA, ABA Code 5, based on a record from Gambell, Alaska, 22 September 2022. The firt-round vote was 8-0 for acceptance.

Species Not Accepted

Two species were not accepted to the ABA Checklist:

–Variable Hawk (Geranoaetus polyosoma), based on records of a single individual in Colorado, observed sporadically from 1987 to 1994, and one in New Mexico on 2 October 2017. The votes were 5-3, 5-3, and 3-5 during three rounds of circulation.

–Black Catbird (Melanoptila glabrirostris), based on records of one collected in Texas on 21 June 1892, and one observed on a boat 200 miles of the coast of Louisiana on 4 or 5 June 2013. The votes were 5-3, 5-3, and 3-5 during three rounds of circulation.

Both of the above two species received support from CLC members for acceptance to the ABA Checklist but, in each case, enough questions were raised concerning the natural occurrence and/or the locations of the records that they did not receive the required 7-1 or 8-0 vote to be accepted on the third and final rounds. Several members who did not support the records indicated that they could be valid and that, should additional records of these species occur, they would likely accept the species to the ABA Checklist.

Species Under Review

Currently there are five species under review; Gundlach’s Hawk (Accipiter gundlachi), based on a record in Florida on 1 January 2023; Kentish Plover, based on a record in Alaska on 29 May 2023; and European Goshawk (A. gentilis), Western House-Martin (Delichon urbicum), and Siberian House-Martin (D. lagopodum) based on taxonomic decisions by the AOS and records of these species in Alaska and St. Pierre et. Miquelon.

ABA Code Changes

We have changed the ABA Code for one species, Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola), from 2 to 3.

Further details about these accepted records, progress on circulating records, and other news from the ABA-CLC will be presented in our annual report in the December issue of North American Birds.

We thank the members of the local bird records committees in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Texas for information on the above records, and Ted Floyd for suggesting the code change for Wood Sandpiper.

If you would like to suggest changes to the ABA Codes, please post them to the Listing & Taxonomy forum in ABA Community.