Taxonomic and nomenclatural changes in the AOU 48th supplement
GREENE CO., MO. — The 48th supplement to the AOU‘s checklist has been published. You can download the PDF from the AOU‘s site. A summary of taxonomic and nomenclatural changes follows:
- The committee reversed its 1998 decision and moved Cathartidae (New World vultures) out of Ciconiiformes (storks, etc.) back into Falconiformes (hawks and falcons). It appears that evidence for the stork-vulture link was not as strong as the committee originally believed.
- The Palearctic Bean Goose (Anser fabalis) is split into two species: Taiga Bean-Goose (Anser fabalis) and Tundra Bean-Goose (Anser serrirostris). Apparently, the both species have been recorded in North America, though the committee acknowledges that identifying previous records may be problematic.
- Cuban Black-Hawk (Buteogallus gundlachii), is given full species status. It was previously considered conspecific with the Common Black-Hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus).
- Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle is moved out of the monotypic genus Spizastur into Spizaetus, where it is placed immediately after Ornate Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus ornatus).
- Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans) is split into Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) and Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans). “Birds in our area were identified (Wilds and Czaplak 1994) as belonging to the michahellis group, which retains the English name Yellow-legged Gull,” writes the committee.
- The kingfisher genus Ceryle is re-split into genera Ceryle and Megaceryle. North American species affected are the Belted and Ringed kingfishers, which are both placed in Megaceryle.
So no real surprises here. Any thoughts?