[CT Birds] more on moorhens...err...I mean gallinules...

Anthony Zemba Anthony.Zemba at gza.com
Wed Jul 27 14:20:45 EDT 2011

Hi All:
Who can remember the article in Audubon Magazine sometime back in the late '70s or so on the lament about the then recent AOU name changes, particularly the name change from Common Gallinule to Common Moorhen.  I think it was a concession to the Brits for consistency, No? Anyways, I can't remember the author but I remember the complaint: something to the effect of "not all gallinules are hens, and they certainly aren't common" or something to that effect....
Anyways, the author of that article is vindicated! I am forwarding a post below (after my sign off) from a fellow Alabama birder who summarizes the recent AOU Supplement

Anthony Zemba CHMM
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anthony.zemba at gza.com<mailto:anthony.zemba at gza.com>

Hi all,

The American Ornithologists' Union has released its fifty-second supplement to its Checklist of North American Birds. Several changes have the potential to affect birders here in Alabama.

The New World populations of Common Moorhen are now split out as a separate species from those found in the Old World. Our species becomes Gallinula galeata, with the English name COMMON GALLINULE (note the change from the old name Common Moorhen back to Gallinule).

Similarly, our North American Snowy Plover, formerly considered a subspecies of the Old World Kentish Plover, is recognized as a separate species. The common name of Snowy Plover stays the same while the scientific name becomes Charadrius nivosus.

Major nomenclatural changes are made to the generic classification of the Wood Warblers:

The majority of our wood warblers are now placed in the genus Setophaga (the genus of American Redstart). The genus Dendroica is no longer recognized, with all species being transfered to Setophaga. Hooded Warbler is also moved into the genus Setophaga (previously in the genus Wilsonia) along with Northern Parula and Tropical Parula (formerly belonging to the genus Parula).

The two remaining species of Wilsonia (Canada and Wilson's Warbler) are placed in the genus Cardellina, the same genus as the Red-faced Warbler.

Three species in the genus Oporonis (Kentucky, Mourning, and MacGillivray's Warblers) are now placed in Geothlypis, the same genus as the Yellowthroats (includes our familiar Common Yellowthroat). The Conneticut Warbler remains in the genus Oporonis due to difference in song, behavior, and locomotion (it's the only member of the clade that walks).

For traveling birders who visit Mexico, taxonomic changes to Mexican Jay may result in an additional species to your life list. The species is now split into two separate species (representing two allopatric subspecies groups). The wollweberi subspecies of Mexican Jay occurring in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas (and continuing into Mexico) is recognized as a distinct species from the more southern subspecies Aphelocoma ultramarina, which is resident of the Transvolcanic Belt of Central-Southern Mexico. The species in the United States/ABA area becomes A. wollweberi and retains the common name of Mexican Jay, while the resident species in the Transvolcanic region of Mexico is A. ultramarina with the cool-sounding name of Transvolcanic Jay.

Hope this helps.

Good Birding,

Howard Horne
Mobile, AL

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