ABA Checklist Committee Mid-Year 2020 Report

by Peter Pyle
Chairman, ABA Checklist Committee

We will be adopting a new schedule for announcing results and news from the ABA Checklist Committee (ABA-CLC). Once per year in early July we will provide voting results from the first half of the year, and we will update the on-line ABA Checklist with both species additions from this “midterm” announcement and taxonomic revisions based on the American Ornithological Society (AOS) supplement to their Check-list, released annually in early July. Then, once per year in December, we will publish our annual report as we have in the past, providing more details on ABA-CLC decisions throughout the year, as well as additional news on CLC membership, ABA codes, and other items.  The ABA Checklist will be updated at the end of December as well, and we intend to update the checklist twice per year, in July and December, in future years. The annual report this year will be published in the December issue of North American Birds.

Included this year’s midterm (July 2020) announcement is the acceptance of four new species to the ABA Checklist:

–Pallas’s Gull (Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus) based on a record from Shemya Island, Alaska, 2-4 May 2019 (ABA-CLC 2020-01, accepted 8-0 in May 2020);

–Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) based on a record from La Romaine, Quebec, on 9 May 2019 (ABA-CLC 2020-02, accepted 8-0 in May 2020);

–Tricolored Munia (Lonchura malacca) based on several records in southern Florida but most prominently one photographed at Fort Jefferson on 17 December 2013. This species is accepted as a vagrant to the ABA Area from a now-established population of this species in the West Indies including Cuba (ABA-CLC 2020-03; accepted 8-0 in May 2020); and

–Pallas’s Grasshopper-Warbler (Helopsaltes [formerly Locustella] certhiola) based on a record from Gambell Island, Alaska, 9-12 September 2019 (ABA-CLC 2020-05; accepted 8-0 in May 2020).

Two additional species are currently under review by the ABA-CLC:

–Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), based on a record from Adak Island, Alaska, 21 September 2016 (ABA-CLC 2019-02), is undergoing its third round of voting after receiving split votes of 4-4 in September 2019 and 5-3 in June 2020. Per ABA-CLC bylaws the current (third) circulation will be the final round, and it will require a vote of 8-0 or 7-1 for acceptance to the ABA Checklist.

–Small-billed Elaenia (Elaenia parvirostris), based on a record from Chicago, Illinois, 17-22 April 2012 (ABA-CLC 2020-04), is undergoing its second round of voting after receiving a split vote of 6-2 in June 2020.

We are awaiting a final decision from the Washington Bird Records Committee on a record of a Northern Giant-Petrel (Macronectes halli) recorded off Ocean Park, Washington, 8 December 2019 and will in all likelihood be voting on this record beginning this fall. Otherwise we are aware of no potential new additions to the ABA Checklist at this time.

Details of 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.



Peter Pyle is an expert on molt, especially as it pertains to aging birds. He is the author of the two-volume Identification Guide to North American Birds, widely admired by banders and serious birders. Peter is Chairman of the ABA Checklist Committee, Editorial Consultant at Birding, and a prolific contributor to the ornithological literature.