The information below includes the date and a brief description of each significant change, a link to the relevant page, and that page's new version number. Neither minor spelling corrections nor additions to the references are noted on this page.
January 16, 2017
White et al. (2017) have clarified the relations between the potoos.
I have adjusted the position of the Northern Potoo, Nyctibius jamaicensis.
[Nyctibiidae, Strisores I, 3.02]
January 14, 2017
Based on Lerner et al. (2017), I've adjusted the position of Indian
Spotted-Eagle, Clanga hastata and Legge's Hawk-Eagle, Nisaetus
kelaarti. Although it is fairly basal, some uncertainty remains concerning
the closest relatives of the Crowned Eagle, Stephanoaetus coronatus.
[Accipitridae, Accipitrimorphae, 3.02]
Based on Fuchs et al. (2017), Chloropicus and Geocolaptes have
been rearranged. I have not subdivided either genus as the species in each seem
fairly closely related. I have split Fine-banded Woodpecker, Geocolaptes
taeniolaema, (including hausburgi) from Tullberg's Woodpecker,
Geocolaptes tullbergi. Fuchs et al. (2017) have noted some other
possible splits, but I find those splits less compelling in the absence of
[Picidae, Piciformes 3.03]
January 4, 2017
Weavers: The weavers have been rearranged based mainly on De Silva et al. (2017), with some help from the barcoding results of Sonet et al. (2011), who did not provide a tree. Raty did, but cautions that the barcoding data is quite limited and that the result has has no real statistical support. Indeed, when compared to De Silva et al. (2017), there are some odd placements. Nonetheless, I have treated close relationships as having some meaning. When combined with traditional taxonomy, this has allowed me to regroup Textor (formerly the African Ploceus). Keep in mind that I previously restricted the name Ploceus to the Asian species. The two Madagascan weavers are separated as Nelicurvius, with some of the African Textor being moved to Malimbus. Although Sonet et al.'s data indicate that the Golden Palm Weaver is close to Nelicurvius, I have considerable doubts about this and have retained it in Textor.
I have merged Pseudonigrita into Philetairus as they are closely related as shown by the time calibration in De Silva et al. (2017, Fig 2). I have separated Pachyphantes from Textor and placed it near Quela based on the barcoding data. I have also merged Brachycope into Euplectes, again based on the barcoding data, and merged Anaplectes into Malimbus based on De Silva et al. (2017).
The tree in De Silva et al. (2017) encouraged me to acknowledge the split of Aldabra Fody, Foudia aldabrana, from Comoros Fody, Foudia eminentissima.
I have also removed the alternate English name African Golden-Weaver
from Southern Masked Weaver, Textor velatus and removed the hyphens
from Masked and Golden Weavers.
[Ploceidae, Core Passeroidea I, 3.04]
January 1, 2017
Based on Pons et al. (2016), the Mediterranean Flycatcher, Muscicapa
tyrrhenica (including balearica) has been split from Spotted
Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata. See Viganó and Corso
(2015) concerning identification of balearica. There is some possibility
of a further split into monotypic species, which would probably be named
Balearic and Tyrrhenian Flycatchers.
[Muscicapidae, Muscicapoidea II, 3.09]
December 15, 2016
I have made some changes to the sequence of bird orders as a result of
Suh et al. (2015) and Suh (2016). Suh (2016) makes the case for a hard
polytomy at the base of Neoaves. I think there is still some information there,
and the sequence I use reflects this. As a result, Mirandornithes has been
moved to follow Opisthocomiformes (Hoatzin) and Charadriiformes now follows
Ardeiformes. See the text for more information.
[The 46 Orders, Paleognathae, 3.01]
There are still some inconsistencies in the website resulting from the latest changes. These should be straightened out by the beginning of the year. If you see any after that, please let me know. I also hope to make some changes based on Moyle et al. (2016) soon.
December 11, 2016
The position of the genus Apalharpactes has been adjusted based on
[Trogonidae, Afroaves III, 3.02]
December 10, 2016
Lavivora Robins: Zhao et al. (2016) analyzed DNA from all 6
Lavivora species. I have rearranged Lavivora based on their
[Muscicapidae, Muscicapoidea II, 3.08]
December 9, 2016
I have adjusted the order of the Eurylaimides based on Selvatti et al. (2017).
The Sapayoa is now the basal branch. Smithornithidae has been rearranged and I've
added subfamilies to Philepittidae and Eurylaimidae.
[Eurylaimides, Passeriformes I, 3.02]
Pittas: I have rearranged the genera based on Selvatti et al. (2017). Moreover, based on Irestedt et al. (2013) and Collar et al. (2015), I've further split Northern Red-bellied Pitta, Erythropitta erythrogaster, into
- Philippine Pitta, Erythropitta erythrogaster (including yairocho), inspeculata, thompsoni, and propinqua),
- Sula Pitta, Erythropitta dohertyi,
- Sulawesi Pitta, Erythropitta celebensis,
- Sangihe Pitta, Erythropitta caeruleitorques,
- and Siao Pitta, Erythropitta palliceps.
Moreover, Southern Red-bellied Pitta, Erythropitta macklotii, has been split into
- South Moluccan Pitta, Erythropitta rubrinucha (including piroensis),
- North Moluccan Pitta, Erythropitta rufiventris (including cyanonota, bernsteini, and obiensis),
- Louisiade Pitta, Erythropitta meeki,
- Papuan Pitta, Erythropitta macklotii (including finschii, aruensis, kuehni, loriae, digglesi, and oblita),
- and Bismarck Pitta, Erythropitta novaehibernicae (including extima, splendida, and gazellae).
[Pittidae, Passeriformes I, 3.02]
October 21, 2016
English name changes from IOC 6.3:
- Auckland Merganser, Mergus australis, becomes New Zealand
[Anatidae, Anseriformes, 3.02a]
- Snow Mountains Quail, Anurophasis monorthonyx, becomes Snow
[Phasianidae, Landfowl, 3.05a]
- Russet-naped Wood-Rail / White-bellied Wood-Rail, Aramides
albiventris, becomes Russet-naped Wood-Rail / Rufous-naped
[Rallidae, Gruae I, 3.03a]
- Pomarine Jaeger / Pomarine Skua, Stercorarius pomarinus, becomes
Pomarine Jaeger. (I've left Arctic Skua as an alternative for Parasitic
Jaeger as it is in wide use and not a simple substitution of Skua for
[Stercorariidae, Charadriiformes, 3.04b]
Scientific name changes from Schodde and Bock (2016):
- Australian White Ibis, Threskiornis moluccus, becomes T.
[Threskiornithidae, Ardeae, 3.05a]
- Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinicus, becomes P.
[Rallidae, Gruae I, 3.03a]
- Brazilian Tanager, Ramphocelus bresilius, becomes R.
Based on Aliabadian et al. (2016), the American Barn-Owl, Tyto furcata
(both North and South America, and Hawaii) has been split from Common Barn-Owl /
Western Barn-Owl, Tyto alba (Europe, Africa, and the Middle East). Its
English name has been simplifed to Western Barn-Owl. The Eastern Barn-Owl, now
named Tyto javanica instead of Tyto delicatula, now includes all
subspecies from Pakistan and India through Australia and into the Pacific.
[Strigidae, Afroaves II, 3.05]
The Cyprus Scops-Owl, Otus cyprius, has been split from the Eurasian
Scops-Owl, Otus scops, based on Flint et al. Zootaxa (2015) and Robb et
[Strigidae, Afroaves II, 3.05]
The Red-backed Flameback, Dinopium psarodes, has been split from the
Black-rumped Flameback, Dinopium benghalense. Fernando et al. (2016)
makes the strongest case for the split. Note that the race jaffnense
from northern Sri Lanka remains a subspecies of Black-rumped Flameback,
Dinopium benghalense. There seems to be a stable hybrid zone between
them. Fernando and Seneviratne (2015) and Freed et al. (2015) have more
information on this.
[Picidae, Piciformes 3.02]
The Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch, Fringilla polatzeki, has been split from
Blue Chaffinch, Fringilla teydea, based on Suárez et al. (2009)
and the analysis by Sangster et al. (2016b).
[Fringillidae, Core Passeroidea II, 3.05]
September 17, 2016
Herons and Egrets: I've made a number of changes in the heron family. Besides some rearrangement within Nycticoracinae and Ardeinae, I've transferred Least Bittern to Botaurus from Ixobrychus based on Päckert et al. (2014, Fig. 3); transferred White-eared Night-Heron to Oroanassa from Gorsachius based on Zhou et al. (2016); and transferred White-backed Night-Heron to Calherodius from Gorsachius due to general uncertainty about its affinities.
Further, Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis, has been split into
Western Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis,
and Eastern Cattle Egret, Bubulcus coromandus
based on differences in plumage and DNA
(Raty barcode tree).
Intermediate Egret, Mesophoyx intermedia, has been split into
Intermediate Egret, Mesophoyx intermedia,
Yellow-billed Egret, Mesophoyx brachyrhyncha (Africa),
and Plumed Egret, Mesophoyx plumifera (Australasia) based on differences
in breeding plumage (HBW/BirdLife).
Finally, Great Egret, Casmerodius modestus, has been split into
Eastern Great Egret, Casmerodius modestus,
Great White Egret, Casmerodius albus
and African Great Egret, Casmerodius melanorhynchos, based on differences
in breeding plumage and except for melanorhynchos, DNA.
[Ardeidae, Ardeae, 3.05]
September 5, 2016
New World Vultures:
The New World Vultures have been rearranged to match the phylogeny in
Johnson et al. (2016).
[Cathartidae, Accipitrimorphae, 3.00c]
August 28, 2016
The alternate English name (Diademed Plover) of Diademed Sandpiper-Plover,
Phegornis mitchellii has been removed. I have also corrected some
text that should have been changed when the plovers were rearranged in version 3.01.
[Charadriidae, Charadriiformes, 3.04a]
August 21, 2016
The Willet, Tringa semipalmata, has been split into Western Willet,
Tringa inornata, and Eastern Willet, Tringa semipalmata, based on
Oswald et al., (2016). I have also made some adjustments to the order
of the Tringinae to better reflect available phylogenies.
[Scolopacidae, Charadriiformes, 3.04]
The Gray-hooded Gull / Gray-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus,
has been split into the Gray-hooded Gull, Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus,
of South America and the Gray-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus poiocephalus,
of Africa. Given et al. (2005) found that C. poiocephalus was more
closely related to Hartlaub's Gull, Chroicocephalus hartlaubii than
to C. cirrocephalus. They noted this relationship could be an artifact
of introgression, but they did not have any evidence to that effect.
[Laridae, Charadriiformes, 3.04]
August 15, 2016
There haven't been any updates lately as I've been on a birding trip to South Africa. This was my first trip to Africa and added 377 or so species to my life list (the exact total depends on some splits I'm considering).
July 10, 2016
The genus Grus has been split into three genera: Leucogeranus,
Antigone, and Grus, as in H&M-4. Further, the deep division between
the crowned cranes and the rest is recognized by putting the crowned cranes
in subfamily Balearicinae. AOU recognizes at least one more genus
[Gruidae, Gruae I, 3.03]
Leach's Storm-Petrel complex:
Townsend's Storm-Petrel, Cymochorea socorroensis,
and Ainley's Storm-Petrel, Cymochorea cheimomnestes,
have been split from
Leach's Storm-Petrel, Cymochorea leucorhoa. Besides the
references listed in the
Adams et al. (2016) and Bicknell et al. (2012) are useful when considering the
Leach's complex. For a bit more discussion, follow the link below.
[Hydrobatidae, Ardeae 3.03b]
Following the 57th supplement to the AOU list, the English name of
Black-mandibled Toucan has been removed from the Yellow-throated Toucan
[Ramphastidae, Piciformes 3.03a]
Aceh Bulbul, Pycnonotus snouckaerti, has been split from
Orange-spotted Bulbul, Pycnonotus bimaculatus,
based on Eaton & Collar (2015).
[Pycnonotidae, Sylvioidea II, 3.02]
July 9, 2016
Violetears: The Green Violetear, Colibri thalassinus, has been split into Mexican Violetear, Colibri thalassinus, and Lesser Violetear, Colibri cyanotus based on Remsen et al. (2015). [Trochilidae, Apodiformes, 3.06]
Wood-Rails: Following the 57th supplement to AOU list, the English
name of Rufous-naped Wood-Rail / White-bellied Wood-Rail, Aramides albiventris,
has been changed to Russet-naped Wood-Rail / White-bellied Wood-Rail.
AOU NACC has also changed the name of Gray-necked Wood-Rail to Gray-cowled Wood-Rail.
SACC uses Gray-necked, and I continue to use that also.
[Rallidae, Gruae I, 3.02a]
The scientific name of the Pink-footed Shearwater has been corrected to
Ardenna creatopus (was creatopa). According to H&M-4, creatopus
[Procellariidae, Ardeae 3.03b]
Blue-crowned Motmot complex:
Following AOU supplement 57, the English name of
Blue-crowned Motmot, Momotus coeruliceps, has been changed to Blue-capped Motmot,
and Blue-diademed Motmot, Momotus lessonii, has been changed to Lesson's Motmot.
[Momotidae, Afroaves III, 3.01a]
Based on Olson (2015), the extinct Puerto Rican Parakeet, Psittacara maugei,
has been split from Hispaniolan Parakeet, Psittacara chloropterus.
[Psittacidae, Basal Australaves 3.05]
Following the 57th supplement to the AOU list, the English name of Sky Lark has
been removed from the Eurasian Skylark, Alauda arvensis.
[Alaudidae, Paroidea & Sylvioidea I, 3.08a]
Following AOU supplement 57, the English name of Orange Bishop has been removed
from the Northern Red-Bishop, Euplectes franciscanus.
[Ploceidae, Core Passeroidea I, 3.03a]
July 8, 2016
Following AOU supplement 57 (2016), the Caribbean Coot, Fulica caribaea,
is now treated as a color morph of American Coot, Fulica americana.
There was never strong evidence these were separate species.
[Rallidae, Gruae I, 3.02]
When separating Darod Lark, Calandrella daaroodensis, from Blanford's
Lark, Calandrella blanfordi, I had missed that eremica belongs
with daaroodensis. Since eremica has priority, Darod Lark becomes
Calandrella eremica. Since the resulting species occurs on both sides of
the Gulf of Aden, Darod Lark is no longer an appropriate name, and no name seems
to be in use, I'm calling it Aden Lark. In sum, Darod Lark, Calandrella
daaroodensis is replaced by Aden Lark, Calandrella eremica.
[Alaudidae, Paroidea & Sylvioidea I, 3.08]
Wrens: Saucier et al. (2016) found that the Plain Wren, Cantorchilus modestus, is actually three species: Cabanis's Wren, Cantorchilus modestus, Canebrake Wren, Cantorchilus zeledoni, and Isthmian Wren, Cantorchilus elutus. The split of Canebrake Wren had previously been advocated by Kroodsma and Brewer (2005). See also Mann et al. (2006).
The Santa Marta Wood-Wren, Henicorhina anachoreta, has been split from
Gray-breasted Wood-Wren, Henicorhina leucophrys.
See Caro et al. (2013) and
SACC proposal #700.
The Gray-breasted Wood-Wren complex is rather complicated and I think it is
likely there will be future splits once the complex is better understood.
[Troglodytidae, Certhioidea, 3.02]
Klicka et al. (2014) found that the Yellow-green Bush-tanager, formerly
Chlorospingus flavovirens, was a tanager, and not part of the sparrow
genus Chlorospingus. However, they did not include enough tanagers in
their analysis to determine its affinities. This has now been remedied by
Avendaño et al. (2016), who found it is sister to the Blue-and-gold
Tanager, Bangsia arcaei. As a result, the Yellow-green Bush-tanager is
now Bangsia flavovirens.
[Thraupidae, Core Passeroidea V, 3.04]
June 9, 2016
Cornetti et al. (2015) found that the Small and Large Lifou White-eyes are fairly closely
related (closer to each other than to the Silvereye). So I have moved the
Green-backed White-eye, Zosterops xanthochroa, and
Small Lifou White-eye, Zosterops minutus, to a position near the
Large Lifou White-eye, Zosterops inornatus.
[Zosteropidae, Sylvioidea III, 3.05]
June 7, 2016
The Chinese Blue Flycatcher, Cyornis glaucicomans, has been split from
Blue-throated Blue-Flycatcher, Cyornis rubeculoides. Note that the
subspecies klossi seems to belong to the Hainan Blue-Flycatcher,
Cyornis hainanus. See Zhang et al. (2016).
[Muscicapidae, Muscicapoidea II, 3.07]
June 6, 2016
Although there is no change to the linear order, I've adjusted the Hydrobatidae
species tree to take Sausner et al. (2016) into account.
[Hydrobatidae, Ardeae 3.03a]
The species name Black Sunbird, Leptocoma sericea, has been changed to
aspasia. It was originally named as Cinnyris sericeus (Lesson, 1827),
a junior homonym of Cinnyris sericeus (Bechstein 1811), so the next oldest name
aspasia must be used instead.
[Nectariniidae, Basal Passeroidea, 3.01a]
June 5, 2016
The Striolated Puffbird, Nystalus striolatus, has been split into
Western Striolated-Puffbird, Nystalus obamai, and
Eastern Striolated-Puffbird, Nystalus striolatus.
See Whitney et al. (2013e) and SACC #617
[Bucconidae, Piciformes 3.03]
Thrushes: Based on Alström et al. (2016), the Plain-backed Thrush, Zoothera mollissima, has been split into:
- Alpine Thrush, Zoothera mollissima
- Himalayan Thrush, Zoothera salimalii
- Sichuan Thrush, Zoothera griseiceps
There is probably another species here, “Yunnan Thrush”, but futher
work is necessary to confirm this.
[Turdidae, Muscicapoidea II, 3.06]
The English name of Ficedula luzoniensis has been changed from Thicket
Flycatcher to Bundok Flycatcher to match IOC.
[Muscicapidae, Muscicapoidea II, 3.06]
June 4, 2016
Tyrannulets: Zucker et al. (2016) found that Nesotriccus is embedded in Phaeomyias and that both are very closely related to Phyllomyias. Accordingly, I have merged Nesotriccus (Cocos Flycatcher) and Phaeomyias into Phyllomyias. It would not be unreasonable to go a step further and merge the monotypic Capsiempis with Phyllomyias. However, both names have equal priority and need a first reviser action to decide between them. Since there's not a strong need to merge them, it can wait.
Also based on Zucker et al. (2016), the Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, formerly
Phaeomyias murina, has been split into Amazonian Mouse-colored
Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias murinus, including wagae, and Northern
Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, Phyllomyias incomtus, including
[Tyrannidae, Tyrannida II 3.03]
June 3, 2016
White-eyes: The Dark-eyed White-eye, Zosterops tetiparius, including paradoxus (called rendovae by H&M-4) has been split from the Solomons White-eye, Zosterops kulambangrae, based on H&M-4, IOC 6.2, and Moyle et al. (2009). IOC 6.2 uses rendovae for a different species, see the box on the rendovae problem.
Based on Hayes et al. (2016), the Gray-brown White-eye, Zosterops
cinereus, has been split into Kosrae White-eye, Zosterops cinereus, and
Gray-brown White-eye, Zosterops ponapensis.
[Zosteropidae, Sylvioidea III, 3.04]
May 31, 2016
Based on Hosner et al. (2015b) and SACC #697, the
Ayacucho Thistletail, Asthenes ayacuchensis, has been split from
Vilcabamba Thistletail, Asthenes vilcabambae. These are not each other's
closest relatives and the split has caused some minor rearrangement of
[Furnariidae, Furnariida II, 3.02]
The White-tailed Rubythroat, Calliope pectoralis, has been split into
Himayalan Rubythroat, Calliope pectoralis, and
Chinese Rubythroat, Calliope tschebaiewi, based on Liu et al. (2016).
[Muscicapidae, Muscicapoidea II, 3.05]
May 29, 2016
Calandrella Larks: The genus Calandrella has been studied in detail by Stervander et al. (2016). I use their arrangment, and have implemented three splits.
- Darod Lark, Calandrella daaroodensis, of northern Somalia has been split from Blanford's Lark, Calandrella blanfordi.
- Red-capped Lark, Calandrella cinerea, is split into Northern Red-capped Lark, Calandrella williamsi, and Southern Red-capped Lark, Calandrella cinerea. The Northern Red-capped Lark only the Kenyan birds (williamsi) and Nigerian birds usually attributed to saturatior. If they had a scientific name, I would probably split the Nigerian and Kenyan birds into two species. The type of saturatior is from Angola, representing a Southern Red-capped Lark. The isolated northern populations in the DR Congo and Uganda belong in Southern Red-capped Lark.
- Sykes's Short-toed Lark, Calandrella dukhunensis, has been split from Greater Short-toed Lark, Calandrella brachydactyla. The name Rufous Short-toed Lark has been used for this species, but has also been used more appropriately for the Somali Short-toed Lark, Alaudala somalica.
[Alaudidae, Paroidea & Sylvioidea I, 3.07]
I've made some adjustments to the Ficedula tree based on Hooper et al.
(2016). They added some samples from the Black-and-orange Flycatcher,
Ficedula nigrorufa, and provided further evidence that the Rusty-tailed
Flycatcher belongs in Ficedula, which we already knew from
Raty's analysis on BirdForum.
[Muscicapidae, Muscicapoidea II, 3.04]
May 28, 2016
American Sparrows: Bryson et al. (2016) mostly resolves the order of the tribes in Passerellidae. The position of Chlorospingini is a little uncertain, but probably correct. Further, Spizella and Arremon have been reordered as in Barker et al. (2015), and I have split the basal Arremon as Lysurus. Two of these were in Lysurus in H&M-3, while the other two were in Buarremon, whose type species torquatus has been returned to Buarremon, along with the other 7 species previously split from it.
The arrangement of genera inside the tribes remains particularly uncertain in
three cases: Ammodramini, Passerculini, and Pipilonini.
Ammodramini is a particular problem and Bryson et al.'s Figure 2B
(2016) has it totally unresolved. I have followed Figure 2A which does resolve
it, but with weak support. Barker et al. (2015) is similar but with
For Passerculini, which is not well-resolved by Bryson et al. (2016), I
have followed Klicka et al. (2014). However, taking Barker et al. (2015) into
account, Centronyx (Henslow's and Baird's Sparrows) has been merged into
Passerculus, and Xenospiza has been merged into Melospiza.
Barker et al. (2016) give a somewhat different topology, but I just don't see
Baird's and Sierra Madre Sparrows as sister species, while Baird's and Henslow's
sister and related to Savannah Sparrow as in Klicka et al. (2014) makes a lot of
That brings us to Pipilonini. Based on Barker et al. (2015) and Bryson
et al. (2016), I have returned the White-eared and Prevost's Ground-Sparrows to
Melozone. It is not clear whether they are closer to Aimophila or
to Kieneria as in Barker et al. (2015) or basal to both as in Bryson et
al. (2016) Figure 2B. The position of Pezopetes and Torreornis is
also uncertain. Klicka et al. (2014) had them weakly attached to the
Melozone-Aimophila-Kieneria clade. Barker et al. (2015) found them in a
clade sister to Pipilo. Bryson et al. (2016) did not include
Torreornis, but had Pezopetes sister to Atlapetes-Pipilo in
Figure 2A, and in a basal polytomy in Figure 2B. As a result, I moved them to a
basal trichotomy with Melozone-Aimophila-Kieneria and
[Passerellidae, Core Passeroidea III, 3.03]
May 26, 2016
I've updated the phylogeny of Anser and Branta based on Ottenburghs
et al. (2016). Their calibrated phylogeny suggests that the two genus treatment
is best. Their phylogeny does not combine well with Ruokonen and Aarvak (2011),
rendering the position of Middendorf's Bean-Goose somewhat uncertain.
[Anatidae, Anseriformes, 3.02]
May 21, 2016
Woodpeckers: A number of changes have been made based on Dufort (2016). As far as general organization is concerned, Nesoctitinae has been demoted to tribe Nesoctitini within Picidae; Chrysocolaptini has been separated from Campephilini; and Picoidini has been separated from Melanerpini. All seem to be among the deeper branches of the woodpecker tree. Changes within Picoidini are based on Fuchs and Pons (2015) and Dufort (2016). The arrangment of Celeus draws on Benz and Robbins (2011).
Generic changes include the following:
- The African Piculet, Verreauxia africana, has been removed from Sasia. See H&M-4 and Dufort (2016).
- The Speckled Piculet, Vivia innominata, has been removed from Picumnus. See Dufort (2016).
- Campethera has been merged into Geocolaptes. Dufort (2016) found that the Ground Woodpecker, Geocolaptes olivaceus, is embedded in Campethera. Since Geocolaptes (Burchell, 1832) has priority over Campethera (G.R. Gray, 1841), the combined genus must take the name Geocolaptes.
- The Helmeted Woodpecker belongs in Celeus, not Hylatomus. See Benz et al. (2015) and Lammertink et al. (2016).
- The Hispaniolan Woodpecker is separated from Melanerpes as Chryserpes striatus. See Dufort (2016).
- The Yellow-crowned Woodpecker moves to Leiopicus from Chloropicus. It's not entirely clear whether it is closer to Dendrocoptes or Chloropicus. See Fuchs and Pons (2015).
At the species level, there are two splits.
Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Campephilus principalis, has been split into
Campephilus principalis, American Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and
Campephilus bairdii, Cuban Ivory-billed Woodpecker. See Fleischer et al.
(2007) and Dufort (2016).
Sooty Woodpecker, Mulleripicus funebris, has been split into Sooty
Woodpecker / Southern Sooty-Woodpecker, Mulleripicus fuliginosus, and
Funereal Woodpecker / Northern Sooty-Woodpecker, Mulleripicus funebris,
based on Dufort (2016).
Further, the Bronze-winged Woodpecker now includes the subspecies
yucatanensis. As a result, it takes the scientific name Colaptes
yucatanensis as yucatanensis (S. Cabot, 1844) has priority over
aeruginosus (Malherbe, 1862). These two taxa may be separate species, but
more study is need here and elsewhere in the Golden-olive complex.
[Picidae, Piciformes 3.02]
May 11, 2016
Based on Woods et al. (2016), the Gray-faced Petrel, Pterodroma gouldi, has
been split from Great-winged Petrel, Pterodroma macroptera. Note that these
are not sister taxa.
[Procellariidae, Ardeae 3.03]
May 2, 2016
English name changes from IOC: There are some updates to English names based on IOC 6.1 and 6.2.
- Alternate name removed from Common Loon, Gavia immer.
[Gaviidae, Ardeae 3.02c]
- Alternate name removed from Choco Sirystes, Sirystes albogriseus.
[Tyrannidae, Tyrannida II 3.02b]
- Santa Cruz Whistler, Pachycephala vanikorensis, becomes Temotu Whistler.
[Pachycephalidae, Corvida I 3.01a]
- Alternate name removed from Espanola Mockingbird, Mimus macdonaldi.
[Mimidae, Muscicapoidea I 3.00b]
There's also one scientific name change. Mascarene Parrot is Mascarinus
mascarinus, not M. mascarin. According to IOC, this matches the way
similar species epithets from Linnaeus are treated.
[Psittaculidae, Basal Australaves 3.04a]
May 1, 2016
CSV Files: The CSV files have now been updated to version 3.06.
Fodies and Weavers: The Fodies have been rearranged based on Warren et al. (2012), which I had missed before. I noticed an error in translating the tree for the Ploceidae, so both it and the linear order have been corrected. The results from Warren et al. also suggest that Textor is not monophyletic. However, this involves species used as outgroups, and I've found that strange things can happen in these cases. As a result I am not splitting Textor at this time.
I also note the wide discrepancy between the dating of
the Warren et al. and Päckert et al. (2016) trees. In particular, the
split between Ploceus and Euplectes is dated at about 13 mya by
Päckert et al. while Warren et al. date it at 1.43 mya (node 1). I suspect
the Päckert et al. dates are artificially lengthened by doubtful
calibration points. One is an undescribed fossil, likely a single bone, from
Becker (1987). They do not cite Becker. The other is the separation of
Australia from New Zealand as a “soft minimum”. In general, it
is difficult to know how the extra time is distributed across the tree, but I
don't think this is enough to account for the order of magnitude difference in
dating the split, although it may account for half or more of the
difference. I can't say that I entirely trust the temporally fixed node 6 that
Warren et al. use either.
[Ploceidae, Core Passeroidea I, 3.03]
April 29, 2016
I've repositioned Przevalski's Finch, Urocynchramus pylzowi, based on
Päckert et al. (2016). It is now sister to the weavers, Ploceidae.
[Urocynchramidae, Core Passeroidea I, 3.02]
Based on Päckert et al., I've rearranged the Ploceidae and split
Ploceus into two genera: Ploceus for the Asian species and
Textor for the African species.
[Ploceidae, Core Passeroidea I, 3.02]
April 24, 2016
Geese: The genus Branta has been rearranged and Philacte and Chen merged into Anser. See Paxinos et al. (2002).
I am now treating the Bean Goose as three species instead of two. Sangster and Oreel (1996) presented evidence that the Taiga Bean-Goose and Tundra Bean-Goose interbred rarely or not at all, that they are separate biological species. Although Ruokonen et al. (2008) presented evidence that they are reciprocally monophyletic, increasing sampling in Ruokonen and Aarvak (2011) contradicted this. I am presuming this represents incomplete lineage sorting. Ruokonen and Aarvak (2011) also found that the sister taxa johanseni and middendorffii were basal to both, and I have split them as Middendorf's Bean-Goose, Anser middendorffii. There is a complication in that birds identified as neglectus in all three groups. Apparently the neglectus specimens were quite diverse in appearance too, and this subspecies seems better left unrecognized. The evidence here is not conclusive, but my best guess as to how to divide the Bean-Geese is this:
- Middendorf's Bean-Goose, Anser middendorffii (inc. johanseni)
- Taiga Bean-Goose, Anser fabalis (monotypic)
- Tundra Bean-Goose, Anser serrirostris (inc. rossicus)
[Anatidae, Anseriformes, 3.01]
April 20, 2016
Old World Sparrows: Gymnoris and Carpospiza have been repositioned based on Price et al., 2014 and Raty (BirdForum). Because Gymnoris is not sister to Petronia, I am calling them Bush-Sparrows, as in H&M-4 (Dickinson and Christidis, 2014). The IOC names are retained as secondary names.
- Yellow-throated Bush-Sparrow / Yellow-throated Petronia, Gymnoris superciliaris,
- Sahel Bush-Sparrow / Bush Petronia, Gymnoris dentata,
- Yellow-spotted Bush-Sparrow / Yellow-spotted Petronia, Gymnoris pyrgita,
- Chestnut-shouldered Bush-Sparrow / Yellow-throated Sparrow, Gymnoris xanthocollis.
[Passeridae, Core Passeroidea II, 3.04]
April 16, 2016
Pilbara Grasswren, Amytornis whitei,
Sandhill Grasswren, Amytornis oweni,
and Rusty Grasswren, Amytornis rowleyi,
have been split from Striated Grasswren, Amytornis striatus, based on
Christidis et al. (2013) (I only recently got a copy of the complete paper).
The grasswrens have been rearranged based on Christidis et al. (2010).
My Maluridae species tree had a typo in it which has now been corrected (6:45pm EDT).
[Maluridae, Basal Oscines, 3.04]
April 11, 2016
Cuckoo-Doves: The English names of White-faced Dove, Turacoena manadensis, and Black Dove, Turacoena modesta, have been changed to White-faced Cuckoo-Dove and Black Cuckoo-Dove to match recent IOC changes. There are also several splits.
- Based on Ng and Rheindt (2016), Sula Cuckoo-Dove, Turacoena sulaensis, has been split from White-faced Cuckoo-Dove, Turacoena manadensis.
The remaining splits are based on Ng et al. (2016).
- Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia amboinensis, has been split into Sultan's Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia doreya, and Amboyna Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia amboinensis.
- Bar-necked Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia magna, has been split into Flores Sea Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia macassariensis, Timor Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia magna, and Tanimbar Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia timorlaoensis.
- Enggano Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia cinnamomea, and Barusan Cuckoo Dove, Macropygia modiglianii, have been split from Ruddy Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia emiliana.
- The subspecies borneensis has been moved from Ruddy Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia emiliana, to Philippine Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia tenuirostris.
[Columbidae, Columbea, 3.04]
April 8, 2016
Ailuroedus catbirds: I have accepted a number of splits in the Ailuroedus catbirds that were recommended by Irestedt et al. (2016) and adopted by IOC. They are:
- Split Tan-capped Catbird, Ailuroedus geislerorum (inc. molestus Rothschild & Hartert, 1929), and Ochre-breasted Catbird, Ailuroedus stonii (inc. cinnamomeus), from White-eared Catbird, Ailuroedus buccoides.
- Split Spotted Catbird, Ailuroedus melanotis into Spotted Catbird, Ailuroedus maculosus, Huon Catbird, Ailuroedus astigmaticus, Black-capped Catbird, Ailuroedus melanocephalus, Black-eared Catbird, Ailuroedus melanotis (inc. joanae and facialis) Arfak Catbird, Ailuroedus arfakianus (inc. misoliensis), and Northern Catbird, Ailuroedus jobiensis inc. guttaticollis.
Further, I have added a species tree for the catbirds and bowerbirds. This has
led to some minor rearrangement of the bowerbirds.
[Ptilonorhynchidae, Basal Oscines, 3.03]
March 27, 2016
Johansson et al. (2016) found that Psaltria is embedded in the
concinnus complex (which still needs to be sorted out). I have merged
Psaltria into Aegithalos.
[Aegithalidae, Sylvioidea II, 3.01]
March 11, 2016
I've changed the English name of Greater Antillean Elaenia, Elaenia fallax
to Sclater's Flycatcher. The other name didn't really fit since the Hispaniolan
subspecies was previously split, meaning that Elaenia fallax is restricted
to Jamaica. Note that Jamaican Elaenia, formerly used for this taxon, is now used
for Myiopagis cotta
[Tyrannidae, Tyrannida II, 3.02a]
The genus name Pseudochloris (Sharpe 1888) repalces the temporary
Burns et al. (2016) have established several new names that replace temporary names. The Chestnut-headed Tanager, Thlypopsis "ruficeps", becomes, Thlypopsis pyrrhocoma. Several genera are also changed: "Hemispingus" becomes Kleinothraupis, "Poospiza" becomes Castanozoster, and "Loxigilla" becomes Asemospiza. Burns et al. (2016) contains other new genus names, but I think the tanagers are already oversplit at the genus level and am more inclined to lump existing genera, as I previously did with the Galapagos finches.
[Thraupidae, Core Passeroidea V, 3.03a]
March 6, 2016
The genus Procelsterna has been merged into Anous. See Cibois et
[Laridae, Charadriiformes, 3.03]
English name changes: The following English names have been changed based on SACC and IOC decisions:
- Andean Snipe, Chubbia jamesoni, becomes Jameson's Snipe.
[Scolopacidae, Charadriiformes, 3.02c]
- Big-crested Penguin / Erect-crested Penguin, Eudyptes sclateri, becomes
[Spheniscidae, Ardeae, 3.02b]
- Solitary Eagle / Montane Solitary-Eagle, Buteogallus solitarius, becomes
Solitary Eagle; Crowned Eagle / Crowned Solitary-Eagle, Buteogallus coronatus,
becomes Chaco Eagle.
[Accipitridae, Accipitrimorphae, 3.00c]
Coopmans's Elaenia, Elaenia brachyptera, has been split from
Lesser Elaenia, Elaenia chiriquensis, based on Rheindt et al. (2015).
[Tyrannidae, Tyrannida II, 3.02]
Black-billed Thrush: Based on Cequeira et al. (2016), the Amazonian Thrush, Turdus debilis, and Campina Thrush, Turdus arthuri, have been split from the Black-billed Thrush, Turdus ignobilis. [Turdidae, Muscicapoidea II, 3.03]
Based on Manthey et al. (2016), the Blood-red Tanager, Piranga haemalea, historically
considered a separate species, has been re-split from Highland Hepatic-Tanager /
Tooth-billed Tanager, Piranga lutea. Piranga has also been rearranged.
[Cardinalidae, Core Passeroidea V, 3.03]
Based on Marcondes and Silveira (2015), the Rufous-naped Wood-Rail /
White-bellied Wood-Rail, Aramides albiventris, including subspecies
mexicanus, vanrossemi, pacificus, and plumbeicollis,
has been split from Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Aramides cajaneus.
[Rallidae, Gruae I, 3.01]
The discussion of Little and Blue Penguins has been updated to include
Grosser et al. (2015) and (2016), which found that Little Penguins are recent
arrivals in New Zealand.
[Spheniscidae, Ardeae, 3.02a]
Add some discussion of Price et al. (2014) and Selvatti et al. (2015) relating
to the status and placement of Tichodromidae.
Locustellidae: Alström et al. (2011b) found that the Little Rush Warbler, Bradypterus baboecala, consists of at least two species. The Highland Rush Warbler, Bradypterus centralis, has been split from it. The correct allocation of subspecies remains uncertain. Alström et al. examined 4 subspecies: transvaalensis and tongensis from the baboecala group and centralis and elgonensis from the centralis group. IOC has included only the two subspecies in centralis, while H&M-4 (Dickinson and Christidis, 2014) also included chadensis and sudanensis in the Highland Rush Warbler (B. centralis).
There is additional information available. Kennerley and Pearson (2010) note
that some birds from Cameroon, usually thought to be centralis have
vocalizations that “sound like southern birds rather than those of SW
Uganda and Rwanda.” They suggest that these birds are not
centralis. Since then, they have been considered part of msiri.
Stervander et al. (2005) found Rush Warbler on the Jos Plateau in central Nigeria
that responded to playback of Little Rush Warbler calls, even though it looked
more like centralis. Dowsett and Dowsett-Lemaire (2015) found that birds
at Lake Awassa in Ethiopia responded to playback of songs from South Africa,
suggesting that abyssinicus belongs in the baboecala group.
More work needs to be done to properly sort out this situation.
[Locustellidae, Paroidea & Sylvioidea I, 3.06]
Leader et al. (2013) found that the Chinese Hill Warbler, Rhopophilus
pekinensis, consists of two species. Accordingly, it has been split into
Tarim Babbler, Rhopophilus albosuperciliaris, and Beijing Babbler,
[Paradoxornithidae, Sylvioidea III, 3.03]
Based on Miller and Lambert (2006) and H&M-4 (among others), the New Zealand
Robin, Petroica australis, has been split into
North Island Robin, Petroica longipes, and
South Island Robin, Petroica australis (inc. rakiura).
Based on Kearns et al. (2016), the Pacific Robin, Petroica multicolor, has been
split into Pacific Robin, Petroica pusilla and the monotypic
Norfolk Robin, Petroica multicolor.
The English name of the New Guinea Scrub-Robin, Drymodes beccarii, has been
changed to Papuan Scrub-Robin to match IOC usage.
[Petroicidae, Basal Passerida, 3.02]
Bushshrikes: The current consensus seems to be that the
Four-colored Bushshrike, Telophorus quadricolor, is better treated as
a subspecies of the Gorgeous Bushshrike, Telophorus viridis. E.g.,
Dowsett, R.J., and F. Dowsett-Lemaire (1993), H&M-4 (Dickinson and
Christidis, 2014), HBW Alive, Clements 6,9, IOC-5.3.
[Malaconotidae, Corvida II, 3.02]
Based on Donegan et al. (2014a),
Merida Brushfinch, Atlapetes meridae, has been split
from Moustached Brushfinch, Atlapetes albofrenatus, and
Black-fronted Brushfinch, Atlapetes nigrifrons, has been split from
Yellow-breasted Brushfinch, Atlapetes latinuchus.
[Passerellidae, Core Passeroidea III, 3.02]
Happy New Year! The new year brings a major revision of Corvida. This was originally planned to incorporate Jønsson et al. (2016) into the TiF list, but the project grew. Consideration of Aggerbeck et al. (2014), Marki et al. (2015), and Jønsson et al. (2016) ended up with only minor changes to the family order. The fact that Marki et al. (2015) gave a phylogeny very similar to Aggerbeck (2014) in spite of the fact that their dataset was very similar to Jønsson et al. played a big role in this. There is still some uncertainty about the exact positioning of several families in Corvida.
The process took a long time partly because I've reexamined all of the corvid families. Changes within them are detailed below. (Some minor corrections were made Jan 3-7.)
Corvida: I've made some changes to some of the corvid families based
on Marki et al. (2015) and Jønsson et al. (2016). Neosittidae
has been moved and placed in its own superfamily, Neosittoidea. The tree has
also been adjusted slightly in the direction of more uncertainty without further
changing the order of the families. At the superorder level, I've also merged
Pachycephaloidea into Oroloidea and Campehpagoidea into Malaconotoidea. The
subfamilies Pteruthiinae and Rhaagologinae have been promoted to families and
Chaetorhynchus and Lamprolia has been given their own family,
Lamproliidae. I have also added subfamilies to Campephagidae and Paradisaeidae.
[Corvida I, 3.01]
[Corvida II, 3.01]
[Corvida III, 3.01]
The Cinclosomatidae tree has been adjusted slightly based on Jønsson et
al. (2016). I have not followed their suggestions concerning genera.
[Cinclosomatidae, Corvida I, 3.01]
Based on Jønsson et al. (2016) as well as appearance, Oriolus has
been separated into 4 genera. Brown Oriole though Tanimbar Oriole, which also
have distinct skull morphology have been separated in genus Mimeta
(Vigors and Horsfield 1827, type sagittata). Further, Dark-throated
Oriole through Isabela Oriole have been placed in genus Xanthonotus
(Bonaparte 1854, type xanthonotus). Finally, Black-and-crimson Oriole
through Silver Oriole go in the genus Analcipus (Swainson 1831, type
[Oriolidae, Corvida I, 3.01]
Whipbirds and Wedgebills:
The Psophodidae have been rearranged and divided into three genera based on Toon
et al. (2013) and Jønsson et al. (2016). The three genera are used
because the divisions within the family are deeper than usually supposed. The
genus Androphobus has been merged into Psophodes because
Jønsson et al. (2016) found it is sister to the Eastern Whipbird. The
Wedgebills take the genus name Sphenostoma (Gould 1838, type
cristatum) and the Western and Mallee Whipbirds become genus
Phodopses (Schodde and Mason 1999, type nigrogularis).
[Psophodidae, Corvida I, 3.01]
Cuckooshrikes: I've added a tree for the cuckooshrike family
(Campephagidae). The minivets have been put in their own subfamiliy,
Pericrocotinae. Five species of Coracina have been separated as Ceblepyris
(Cuvier 1816, type cinereus). See H&M-4 (Dickinson and Christidis,
2014) and Jønsson et al. (2010c, 2016). Also, the Admiralty Islands
Cicadabird, Edolisoma admiralitatis, has been split from Common
Cicadabird, Edolisoma tenuirostre (H&M 4; J&olash;nsson et al., 2010c).
The last part of Edolisoma has been resequenced to better reflect
Jønsson et al. (2010c).
[Campephagidae, Corvida II, 3.01]
Mottled Whistler: The Mottled Whistler has been promoted to a family,
Rhagologidae, based on Jønsson et al. (2016).
[Rhagologidae, Corvida II, 3.01]
Batises: Platysteiridae has been rearranged based on a combination of Njabo et al. (2008), Fuchs et al. (2012b), and Jønsson et al. (2016) together with a lot of guesswork. It is clear that some of the putative Batis superspecies involve birds that are not closely related. What is not clear is how to put them back together. No doubt further revision will be needed. Nine species of Batis have been placed in the temporary genus "Batis".
The Western Black-headed Batis has been moved from Batis to
Lanioturdus, as Lanioturdus erlangeri, based on
Jønsson et al. (2016).
[Platysteiridae, Corvida II, 3.01]
Silktail: Lamproliidae (Silktail and Drongo Fantail) has been split from Rhipiduridae based on Jønsson et al. (2016). [Lamproliidae, Corvida III, 3.01]
Fantails: Added species tree. Based on Nyári et al. (2009) and
Jønsson et al. (2016), I have split Rhipidura into 8 genera.
Three do not seem to have available names, so I have given them temporary
designations. The temporary genera are "Leucocirca1",
"Leucocirca2", the true Leucocirca, "Rhipidura",
Neomyias, Cyanonympha, the true Rhipidura, and
[Rhipiduridae, Corvida III, 3.01]
Drongos: Added species tree. I've also divided Dicruridae into 4
genera: Chaptia, Drongo, Edolius, and Dicrurus.
This arrangement is based on Jønsson et al. (2016) and Pasquet et al.
(2007). Thanks to James Jobling for pointing out Drongo.
[Dicruridae, Corvida III, 3.01]
Birds-of-paradise: Subfamilies and a species tree have been added.
The manucodes and paradise-crow have been separated in their own subfamily,
Phonygamminae. The position of the Magnificent Bird-of-paradise, Diphyllodes
magnificus, has been adjusted as a result. Further, I have decided it is
better to keep all of the riflebirds in the same genus. Since this clade
includes the Superb Bird-of-paradise, Ptiloris (Swainson 1825) been
replaced by Lophorina (Vieillot 1816).
[Paradisaeidae, Corvida III, 3.01]
Monarchs: The Monarchidae have been rearranged based on Andersen et al. (2015b). Among other things, Grallina has been moved to the basal position in subfamily Monarchinae. Data on timing from Jønsson et al. (2016) was combined with Andersen et al. (2015b) to merge 5 genera into Monarcha (Chasiempis, Clytorhynchus, Mayrornis, Neolalage, and Pomarea).
As recommended by Andersen et al. (2015b), Chestnut-throated Flycatcher,
Myiagra castaneigularis (inc. whitneyi), has been split from
Azure-crested Flycatcher, Myiagra azureocapilla. In addition, I have
split White-cheeked Monarch, Symposiachrus malaitae, from Solomons
Monarch, Symposiachrus barbatus.
[Monarchidae, Corvida III, 3.01]
Shrikes: The Long-tailed Fiscal is now in the monotypic genus
Neofiscus (Roberts 1922). The remaining Lanius shrikes
have been rearranged. using a combination of Fuchs et al. (2011c), Gonzalez et
al. (2008), Jønsson et al. (2016), Olsson et al. (2010), and Peer et al.
(2011). This is currently too conjectural to include a species tree.
[Laniidae, Corvida III, 3.01]