American Birding Association Checklist Committee (CLC) Report, Early December 2023

by Peter Pyle
Chair, ABA CLC

December 5, 2023

This report primarily addresses updates to the ABA Checklist based on taxonomic revisions in October by Clements et al. (2023), as reflected in eBird checklists and Birds of the World accounts. In 2022 the ABA-CLC decided to list Clements names followed by those of the American Ornithological Society (AOS; Chesser et al. 2023) in parentheses, where differences in common (English) and/or scientific names occurred (Pyle et al. 2022). For example, “Gray-headed (Purple) Swamphen Porphyrio poliocephalus (porphyrio)”  is listed for this species. This had represented the only case in the Checklist for which discrepancies occur in both com­mon and scientific names. Following the 2022 revision by Clements, there were 16 discrepancies listed for 15 species, eight each for common and scientific names.

The revisions by Clements et al. (2023) resulted in nomenclatural changes for 13 species on the ABA Checklist, as follows:

The scientific name for Violet-crowned Hummingbird has now been aligned by Clements to that of the AOS, as Ramosomyia violiceps, replacing Leucolia (Ramosomyia) violiceps.

The scientific name for Eurasian Dotterel is replaced by Eudromias (Charadrius) morinellus.

Lesser Sand-Plover Charadirus mongolus is replaced by Siberian (Lesser) Sand-Plover  Anarhynchus (Charadrius) monglus. We are currently aware of no records in the ABA Area for the newly split Tibetan Sand-Plover (A. atrifrons), a possible vagrant to Alaska, Hawaii, and elsewhere.

The scientific names for Greater-Sand-Plover and Wilson’s, Collared, Mountain, and Snowy plovers are replaced by Anarhynchus (Charadrius) followed by leschenaultii, wilsonia, collaris, montanus, and nivosus, respectively.

Yellow-nosed Albatross is replaced by Atlantic Yellow-nosed (Yellow-nosed) Albatross for Thalassarche chlororhynchos. We are currently aware of no records in the ABA Area for the newly split Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (T. carteri).

Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans is replaced by [Antipodean] (Wandering) Albatross Diomedea [antipodensis] (exulans). There are two records of this taxonomic group for North America, from California in 1967 and Oregon in 2008. These are suspected of being Antipodean Albatrosses (Howell et al. 2014) but separation of the four new taxa of Wandering Albatrosses, now recognized by Clements, is complicated by age-related plumage variation in this complex. The CLC will be voting on the addition of the Antipodean Albatross to the ABA Checklist; until this occurs, we will list the species in square brackets to indicate that final taxonomic placement on the ABA Checklist is pending.   

Intermediate Egret is replaced by Medium (Intermediate) Egret for Ardea intermedia.

Cattle Egret is replaced by Western Cattle (Cattle) Egret for Bubulcus ibis. We are aware of potential records for the newly split Eastern Cattle Egret (B. coromandus), e.g., from Midway Atoll and French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Pyle and Pyle 2017), and the ABA-CLC will potentially consider the addition of this species to the ABA Checklist.

Clements has removed the hyphen from Night-Heron for Black-crowned and Yellow and night herons.

The common name for Circus aeruginosus has now been aligned by Clements to that of the AOS, as Western Marsh Harrier, replacing Eurasian (Western) Marsh Harrier.

These changes result in there now being 25 species with nomenclatural discrepancies in the ABA Checklist, nine species with discrepancies in common name only, 13 species with discrepancies in scientific name only, and three species with discrepancies in both common and scientific names.

Another change to common names results from CLC acceptance of Siberian House Martin (Delichon lagopodum) which now replaces Western/Siberian House-Martin (Delichon urbicum/lagopodum) on the ABA Checklist (Pyle et al. 2023). The CLC is currently undergoing second-round voting on the potential addition to the ABA Checklist of Western House-Martin, as well as Gundlach’s Hawk (Accipiter gundlachi), Eurasian Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), and Kentish Plover (Anarhynchus [Charadrius] alexandrinus).

The updated ABA Checklist may be found here >>

Literature cited

Chesser, R. T., S. M. Billerman, K. J. Burns, C. Cicero, J. L. Dunn, B. E. Hernández-Baños, R. A. Jiménez, A. W. Kratter, N. A. Mason, P. C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen Jr., and K. Winker. 2023. Sixty-fourth supplement to the American Ornithological Society’s Check-list of North American Birds. Ornithology. 140: 1–11.

Clements, J. F., P. C. Rasmussen, T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, A. Spencer, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2023. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2023. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Howell, S. N. G., I. Lewington, and W. Russell. 2014. Rare Birds of North America. Princeton University Press.

Pyle, P., M. Gustafson, A. Jaramillo, T. Johnson, A.W. Kratter, A. Lang, M.W. Lockwood, M. Mutchler, and D. Sibley. 2022. 33rd report of the ABA Checklist Committee. North American Birds. 73(2): 18–22.

Pyle, P., L. DeCiccio, D. Gochfeld, A. Jaramillo, T. Johnson, A.W. Kratter, A. Lang, M.W. Lockwood, M. Mutchler, and D. Sibley. 2022. 34th report of the ABA Checklist Committee. North American Birds. In press.

Pyle, R.L., and P. Pyle. 2017. The Birds of the Hawaiian Islands: Occurrence, history, distribution, and status. B.P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI, U.S.A. Version 2 (31 December 2016) http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/birds/rlp-monograph

One other change by Clements to a species on the ABA Checklist is the removal  of Wrentit (Chamaea fasciata), from the Sylviid Warbler (Sylividae) family and placement into the Parrotbill (Paradoxornithidae) family. We will await an AOS decision on this replacement before affecting this change to the ABA Checklist.

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, which is widely admired by banders and serious birders. Peter serves as an Editorial Consultant at Birding, a prolific contributor to ornithological literature, and current Chair of the ABA Checklist Committee.