IRBC - Announcements

Changes to the Irish List, October 2005.


The third report of the Taxonomic Sub-Committee of the BOU Records Committee (TSC) has been published in Ibis (Sangster et al 2005). The report should be consulted for the full exposition of the TSC's decisions. The following recommendations included in the report are applicable to the Irish List and have been adopted by the IRBC.

  • Recent studies have shown that the forms of Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis breeding in the North Atlantic, P. a. baroli & P. a. boydi are not closely related to other forms breeding in the southern oceans and are best treated as a seperate species Macaronesian Shearwater P. baroli, which replaces Little Shearwater on the Irish List.
  • Common Scoter Melanitta nigra is currently treated as a polytypic species with races M. n. nigra and M. n. americana. Recent studies have shown that these forms are better treated as full monotypic species, i.e. Common Scoter M. nigra and Black Scoter M. americana. Consequently Common Scoter is now treated as a monotypic species on the Irish List.
  • Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca is currently treated as a polytypic species with races M. f. fusca, M. f. deglandi and M. f. stejnegeri. Recent studies have shown that these forms are better treated as two full species, i.e. Velvet Scoter M. fusca and White-winged Scoter M. deglandi with races M. d. deglandi and M. d. stejnegeri. Consequently Velvet Scoter is now treated as a monotypic species on the Irish List.
  • Recent genetic studies of Terns have shown the need for a revision of the group and as a result they should now be listed in the following order:
    • Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscata
    • Little Tern Sternula albifrons
    • Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica
    • Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia
    • Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida
    • Black Tern Chlidonias niger
    • White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
    • Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
    • Elegant Tern Sterna elegans
    • Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis
    • Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
    • Common Tern Sterna hirundo
    • Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii
    • Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
  • Recent genetic studies of Hirudines have shown the need for a revision of the group and as a result they should now be listed in the following order:
    • Sand Martin Riparia riparia
    • Swallow Hirundo rustica
    • House Martin Delichon urbicum
    • Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica
    • Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
  • Recent genetic studies of Tits have shown the need for a revision of the group and as a result they should now be listed in the following order:
    • Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus
    • Great Tit Parus major
    • Coal Tit Periparus ater
    • Marsh Tit Poecile palustris

Additional recommendations in the report have no relevance to the Irish List at present although they may become applicable in the future. A PDF version of the latest Irish List may be downloaded here.


Reference:

Sangster, G., Collinson, J.M., Helbig, A.J, Knox, A.G. & Parkin, D.T. 2005. Taxonomic recommendations for British Birds: third report. Ibis 147: 821-826.


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