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.

Archives of ‘What's New’ Items

The updates for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 have been archived separately.

2015 Additions and Subtractions

Based on scientific names.

Discoveries and Splits (15)

  1. Andean Blossomcrown, Anthocephala berlepschi
  2. Purple-crowned Plovercrest, Stephanoxis loddigesii
  3. Blue-vented Hummingbird, Saucerottia hoffmanni
  4. Rapa Shearwater, Puffinus myrtae
  5. Northern Harrier, Circus hudsonius
  6. Desert Tawny Owl, Strix hadorami
  7. Naretha Bluebonnet, Northiella narethae
  8. Perija Tapaculo, Scytalopus perijanus
  9. Copperback Quail-thrush, Cinclosoma clarum
  10. Western Whistler, Pachycephala occidentalis
  11. Australian Pipit, Corydalla australis
  12. Pale Baywing, Agelaioides fringillarius
  13. Sharp-beaked Ground Finch, Geospiza acutirostris
  14. Vampire Finch, Geospiza septentrionalis
  15. Genovesa Cactus-Finch, Geospiza propinqua

Lumps (2)

  1. Newell's Shearwater, Puffinus newelli
  2. Campina Jay, Cyanocorax hafferi

Comparison with IOC list, version 5.1

As of March 21, 2015, the TIF list contains 10761 species. The differences between the TIF and IOC lists involve around 250 species (99 species removed, 151 species added, compared to IOC 5.1). Of the 99 species on the IOC list that I have not included, about 75% are New World species that neither of the AOU committees has accepted. I will eventually reconsider both these and the extinct species. Adding all of the extras would bring the TIF list to 10860 species, 151 more than the current IOC list. Of those 151, 47 are on IOC's proposed or accepted split/new species list, 9 have been lumped on the IOC list, and 3 are extinct species not on the IOC list. This leaves 92 other splits or new species (some have previously been considered for addition to the IOC list).

IOC English Names

Although I started with the Howard-Moore list, I am now using the IOC list as a baseline. Every species gets an IOC-style name. That doesn't mean its the only name, or that it exactly matches the IOC name. Four percent of the species have two names. This usually happens because of differences between the IOC name and the AOU name (NACC or SACC). In such cases, I usually give the IOC name second. A few other non-IOC names have also been retained.

Some IOC-style names don't exactly match the true IOC name due to differences in taxonomy. For example, IOC recognizes two species of Laniisoma—Brazilian Laniisoma and Andean Laniisoma. In this case, I currently follow SACC taxonomy which has only one Laniisoma. However, their English name is entirely different (Shrike-like Cotinga). Keeping in mind that the species has been known as the Elegant Mourner, I added the IOC-ish English name Elegant Laniisoma.

The IOC-style names have been fully Americanized (gray, not grey; AOU-style hyphenation). I'm also a little more aggressive than AOU in adding hyphens to break up words that don't scan well. I'm also more aggressive than IOC at removing hyphens when they seem unnecessary. They may not always look the same, but they are pronounced the same.


Stephen Nawrocki has updated his enhanced excel spreadsheet of the TIF world list to Version 2.79. Numbering now matches the csv files.

Four lists are also available in csv format. Three of the lists use the TiF species list for that area. The ABA list has been modified to match the ABA species list.

The ABA and AOU lists include only ABA or AOU species, but in TiF order. The South American list has a slightly different species list than the AOU SACC's working list.

March 2015

March 21


The Townsend's Shearwater complex has been studied by Martínez Gómez et al. (2015). They found that auricularis and newelli are not genetically distinct. Accordingly, Newell's Shearwater, Puffinus newelli, is lumped into Townsend's Shearwater, Puffinus auricularis. However, the third subspecies, myrtae, is sufficiently distinct to elevate to a species, Rapa Shearwater, Puffinus myrtae.
[Procellariidae, Ardeae, 3.01]

Southern Australian Birds: The Bluebonnet, Northiella haematogaster, has been split into Naretha Bluebonnet, Northiella narethae, and Eastern Bluebonnet, Northiella haematogaster. See Dolman and Joseph (2015).
[Psittaculidae, Basal Australaves, 3.01]

Swan River Honeyeater / Western White-naped Honeyeater, Melithreptus chloropsis, becomes Gilbert's Honeyeater (following IOC). I have also made a slight correction to the ordering in Melithreptus based on Toon et al. (2010).
[Meliphagidae, Paracorvids, 3.01]

Chestnut Quail-thrush / Chestnut-backed Quail-thrush, Cinclosoma castanotum, is split into Copperback Quail-thrush, Cinclosoma clarum, and Chestnut Quail-thrush, Cinclosoma castanotum, based on Dolman and Joseph (2015).
[Cinclosomatidae, Corvida I, 3.01]

March 20

Hummingbirds: I have changed the subfamily and tribal structure to be closer to that of H&M 4 (Dickinson and Remsen, 2013). This means that the tribe Polytimini is promoted to subfamily Polytiminae and that Trochilinae loses Lesbiini and Coeligenini to the new subfamily Lesbiinae. I did not promote Patagonini to a subfamily and made another change they do not endorse, which was to split the tribe Trochilini into two tribes—Cynanthini and Trochilini.

The genus name Chlorostilbon (Gould 1853) has been replaced by Cynanthus (Swainson 1827) due to priority.

I have incorporated more results from McGuire et al. (2014) as well as Benham et al. (2015) for Metallura. This has led to a number of minor adjustments to the hummingbirds.

One not so minor adjustment was moving Violet-chested Hummingbird, Sternoclyta cyanopectus, and Scissor-tailed Hummingbird, Hylonympha macrocerca, next to Heliodoxa, in Coeligenini (see the discussion in SACC proposal #180).

Rufous Sabrewing seems better placed with Campylopterus. As it is the type of Platystylopterus, the remaining former Platystylopterus are now called Pampa (Reichenbach 1854, type pampa). Probably I should not have separated rufus from Campylopterus in the first place.

Finally, the Blue-vented Hummingbird, Saucerottia hoffmanni, has been split from the Steely-vented Hummingbird, Saucerottia saucerottei.
[Trochilidae, Apodiformes, 3.01]

March 11

Strix Owls: Hume's Owl, Strix butleri, has been split into Omani Owl, Strix butleri, and Desert Tawny Owl, Strix hadorami based on Robb et al. (2013) and Kirwan et al. (2015).
[Strigidae, Afroaves II, 3.01]

The newly described Perija Tapaculo, Scytalopus perijanus, has been added to the list (Avendaño et al., 2015).
[Rhinocryptidae, Furnariida II, 3.01]

March 10

Estrildid Finches: The tree and order within Lonchurinae has been adjusted based on Hooper and Payne (2015).
[Passerellidae, Core Passeroidea I, 3.01]

March 9

English Name Changes: Some English names have been changed to match the IOC list.

  • Congo Peacock, Afropavo congensis, becomes Congo Peafowl (IOC 5.1).
    [Phasianidae, Galliformes, 3.00a]
  • Ashy Thornbill / Ashy Gerygone, Acanthiza cinerea, becomes Gray Thornbill (IOC 5.2).
    [Pardalotidae, Paracorvids, 3.00a]
  • Mottled Whistler, Rhagologus leucostigma, becomes Mottled Berryhunter (IOC 5.2).
    [Artamidae, Corvida I, 3.00a]
  • Yellow-breasted Brushfinch / Rufous-naped Brushfinch, Atlapetes latinuchus, becomes Yellow-breasted Brushfinch (IOC 5.1).
    [Passerellidae, Core Passeroidea III, 3.00a]

March 6

Neotropical Ground-Doves: The Purple-winged Ground-Dove, Claravis geoffroyi and Maroon-chested Ground-Dove, Claravis mondetoura have been moved to Metriopelia. Also, Columbina has been rearranged. See Sweet and Johnson (2015). These changes are already reflected in the 3.00 csv files.
[Columbidae, Columbea, 3.01]

White-breasted Nuthatches: I have rejected the proposed split of the White-breasted Nuthatch into three species:

  • Carolina Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis,
  • Slender-billed Nuthatch, Sitta aculeata, and
  • Cordilleran Nuthatch, Sitta lagunae.

As you may guess from my preferred name for the lagunae group, I think Rocky Mountain Nuthatch is a horrible name, as if Mexico and the Sierra Nevadas were not part of the range. My reasons for rejection are basically that of the NACC. I have provided a lengthy account of the whole situation in the TiF nuthatch section.
[Sittidae, Certhioidea, 3.01]

Madanga correction: Laurent Raty has pointed out that the name Anthus ruficollis already exists (for Red-throated Pipit), so the Madanga cannot be Anthus ruficollis. For now, I will refer to it as Anthus “ruficollis”.
[Motacillidae, Sylvioidea III, 3.01a]

Darwin's Finches: I've added a table with distribution information for Darwin's Finches.
[Thraupidae, Core Passeroidea V, 3.01]

March 5

Zosteropidae: Lightning strikes twice! It was quite a surprise when Fjeldså et al. (2010) found that the Cinnamon Ibon, Hypocryptadius cinnamomeus was not only not a white-eye, but outside the whole babbler-warbler clade (Sylvioidea). Rather, it belonged to Passeroidea and can be considered a basal member of the Old World Sparrow family, Passeridae. Well, here we are in 2015 and it's happened again. Alström et al. (2015) found that the Madanga, formerly Madanga ruficollis (previously Heleia on TiF), is not a white-eye. It turns out that it is another member of Passeroidea, in fact, a pipit. It gets the new scientific name Anthus ruficollis. It's closest relative is the Alpine Pipit, Anthus gutturalis.
[Zosteropidae, Sylvioidea III, 3.01]

Wagtails, Longclaws & Pipits: Alström et al. (2015) includes some other interesting findings. For one, the Sao Tome Shorttail, Amaurocichla bocagii, is not just sister to the wagtails, it is a wagtail. Accordingly it is now Motacilla bocagii. Although their analysis is not as taxon-rich as Outlaw and Voelker (2006b), they included some additional taxa: Alpine Pipit, Anthus gutturalis, and Nilgiri Pipit, Anthus nilghiriensis. These have been repositioned accordingly.

The other interesting thing in Alström et al. (2015) is that their multigene analysis yields a different placement of the longclaws compared with Outlaw and Voelker (2006b). The limited taxon sampling leaves some residual uncertainty, but I have separated some of Anthus in Corydalla (Vigors, 1825, type richardi) and Cinaedium (Sundevall, 1850, type lineiventre).

Australasian Pipit, Corydalla novaeseelandiae, has been split into Australian Pipit, Corydalla australis, and New Zealand Pipit, Corydalla novaeseelandiae. This split was recommended by Schodde and Mason (1999), but rejected by Christidis and Boles (2008) “in the absence of molecular evidence”. Tavares and Baker (2008) provided limited molecular evidence in the form of a barcode divergence of 4.1%, which is a good indication that they are separate species.
[Motacillidae, Sylvioidea III, 3.01]

February 2015

February 28

High-level Update: After a long hiatus, it's time for a major update. Jarvis et al. (2014) is now reflected in the higher-level taxonomy. To mark the change, I've updated the main list to version 3 (some ancillary files have not been updated). I've also added a little bit on the fossil record for many of the orders.

Additional updating may be sporadic. I simply do not have as much time to work on the list as I did previously because health issues are continuing to take up a substantial amount of time and energy. When I got well enough to go birding regularly, something had to give, and it was the TiF list. As things have continued to improve, I've finally been able to give some time to the TiF list again.

Some other changes were made while the big update was in process. Details are given below.

February 27

Yellow-throated Toucan: The English name of Ramphastos ambiguus is changed to Black-mandibled Toucan / Yellow-throated Toucan. The point is that Black-mandibled properly applies only to the ambiguus group, but is not appropriate when swainsonii (Chestnut-mandibled Toucan) is included in the species. See SACC #663, and note that the NACC still uses Black-mandibled.
[Ramphastidae, Piciformes, 3.00]

Campina Jay Lump: Campina Jay, described as Cyanocorax hafferi by Cohn-Haft et al. (2013), is treated as a subspecies of Azure-naped Jay, Cyanocorax heilprini (SACC #635).
[Corvidae, Corvida II, 3.00]

Brushfinches: The name “Brush-Finch” has been replaced by “Brushfinch”, as recommended by SACC (Proposal #653).
[Passerellidae, Core Passeroidea III, 3.00]

Baywing Split and Icterid Names: There are some English name chanes and a split due to SACC proposals #641 and #642, respectively. The Bay-winged Cowbird, Agelaioides badius, is split into Grayish Baywing, Agelaioides badius, and Pale Baywing, Agelaioides fringillarius. Red-breasted Meadowlark is now the primary English name of Sturnella militaris and White-browed Meadowlark is the primary name of Sturnella superciliaris. The Band-tailed Oropendola, Cacicus latirostris, now has primary name Band-tailed Cacique, and the Casqued Oropendola, Cacicus oseryi now has primary name Casqued Cacique.
[Icteridae, Core Passeroidea IV, 3.00]

Darwin's Finches: After considering Farrington et al. (2014) and Lamichhaney et al. (2015), I have rearranged Darwin's Finches, merged “Geospiza” and Camarhynchus into Geospiza, and split some taxa.

  • Sharp-beaked Ground-Finch, Geospiza difficilis has been split into
    • Sharpe's Ground-Finch, Geospiza difficilis (including debilirostris),
    • Vampire Finch, Geospiza septentrionalis, and
    • Sharp-beaked Ground-Finch, Geospiza acutirostris
  • Large Cactus-Finch, Geospiza conirostris, has been split into
    • Large-billed Cactus-Finch, Geospiza conirostris (possibily including darwini), and
    • Genovesa Cactus-Finch, Geospiza propinqua

This leads to a net gain of 3 species. However, there is a case to be made for lumping conirostris into magnirostris (these may be allopatric, sources differ), propinqua into scandens (allopatric), and acutirostris into fortis (also allopatric).
[Thraupidae, Core Passeroidea V, 3.00]

February 26

Western Whistler: The Western Whistler, Pachycephala occidentalis, has been split from the Australian Golden Whistler, Pachycephala pectoralis, based on Joseph et al. (2014b).
[Pachycephalidae, Corvida I, 3.00]

Redstarts: The Phoenicurus redstarts have been rearranged based on Voelker et al. (2015). For the moment, I'm treating the Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher, Muscicapa sodhii (Harris et al., 2015) as a subspecies of the Asian Brown Flycatcher, Muscicapa latirostris. The available genetic data place it close to the subspecies siamensis.
[Muscicapidae, Muscicapoidea II, 3.00]

February 20

Hawk Phylogeny: Oatley et al. (2015) has led to several changes. The subfamily Lophospizinae (crested goshawks) has been moved to a trichotomy with Harpiinae and Aquilinae. The Red-thighed and Little Sparrowhawks have been transferred from Aerospiza to Tachyspiza, and the harriers have been rearranged. Further, the Northern Harrier / Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus, has been split into Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus, and Northern Harrier, Circus hudsonius.
[Accipitridae, Accipitrimorphae, 3.00]

Boa Nova Tapaculo: The English name of Scytalopus gonzagai has been changed to Boa Nova Tapaculo, which allows the English name of Scytalopus speluncae to revert to Mouse-colored Tapaculo.
[Rhinocryptidae, Furnariida II, 3.00]

February 15

Blossomcrowns and Plovercrests: Based on Lozano-Jaramillo et al. (2014), the Blossom-crown, Anthocephala floriceps, has been split into Santa Marta Blossomcrown, Anthocephala floriceps, and Andean Blossomcrown, Anthocephala berlepschi. Additionally, based on Cavarzere et al. (2014), the Plovercrest, Stephanoxis lalandi, has been split into Purple-crowned Plovercrest, Stephanoxis loddigesii, and Green-crowned Plovercrest, Stephanoxis lalandi.
[Trochilidae, Apodiformes, 3.00]