IRBC - Announcements

Changes to the Irish List, February 2012.


The seventh report of the Taxonomic Sub-Committee of the BOU Records Committee (TSC) (Sangster et al 2011) and the third report of the Taxonomic Advisory Committee of the AERC (Crochet et al 2011) have been published. The reports should be consulted for the full exposition of the TSC and TAC's decisions. The following recommendations included in the reports are applicable to the Irish List and have been adopted by the IRBC.

  • The American race of Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, Hudsonian Whimbrel N.p. hudsonicus, is elevated to a full species N. hudsonicus and is added to Category A of the Irish List after Eskimo Curlew N. borealis. There are two records of Hudsonian Whimbrel in Ireland. At Tralee Harbour, Co. Kerry on the 1st October 1957 (Ruttledge 1958) and Tacumshin Lake, Co. Wexford on the 27th September 1980 (Preston 1983).
  • Studies indicate the American races of Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis acuflavida and S.s. eurygnatha (so called 'Cayenne Tern') are more closely related to Elegant Tern S. elegans than to the nominate race and are split as Cabot's Tern S. acuflavida. Consequently, Sandwich Tern S. sandvicensis becomes monotypic on the Irish List.
  • Studies indicate that the genus Hippolais is not monophyletic and show that, among others, Booted Warbler Hippolais caligata, Sykes's Warbler H. rama and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler H. pallida should be moved to a new genus Iduna, which is placed between the Locustella and Hippolais warblers on the Irish List in the following order:
    • Booted Warbler Iduna caligata
    • Sykes's Warbler Iduna rama
    • Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida
    Icterine Warbler H. icterina and Melodious Warbler H. polyglotta remain unchanged.
  • Recent studies have shown that the genus Zoothera is comprised of two clades, i.e. Zoothera and Geokichla, which are not closely related. The studies have indicated that Siberian Thrush Z. sibirica is most likely part of the latter clade. Consequently, it becomes Geokichla sibirica and is placed after Grey-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus on the Irish List.
  • Stonechat Saxicola torquatus, with over 20 races throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, is split in to three polytypic species, i.e. (European) Stonechat S. rubicola, Siberian Stonechat S. maurus and the extralimital African Stonechat S. torquatus. The Irish List included at least 2 and possibly 3 races of Stonechat, i.e. S.t. hibernans and at least one of either S.t. maurus or S.t. stejnegeri. The resident hibernans along with the nominate now become Stonechat S. rubicola and the other two become races of Siberian Stonechat S. maurus, which was previously recorded in Ireland as Eastern Stonechat. Both are now added to the Irish List as Category A species after Whinchat S. rubetra as follows:
    • Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
    • Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus
    • Stonechat Saxicola rubicola
  • The taxonomic relationships among the genera of Chats and Flycatchers has been clarified and the sequence of genera is changed as follows:
    • Cercotrichas
    • Muscicapa
    • Erithacus
    • Luscinia
    • Tarsiger
    • Ficedula
    • Phoenicurus
    • Monticola
    • Saxicola
    • Oenanthe
  • Recent studies suggest that the greenfinches are a monophyletic group and are better placed in a seperate genus, Chloris. Consequently, Greenfinch becomes Chloris chloris and is moved to a position between Brambling Fringilla montifringilla and Serin Serinus serinus on the Irish List.
  • Recent studies of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences of North American wood warblers have clarified their relationships, resulting in changes to their list order and the introduction of new genera as follows:
    • Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla
    • Northern Waterthrush Parkesia noveboracensis
    • Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora cyanoptera
    • Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
    • Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
    • American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
    • Northern Parula Setophaga americana
    • Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia
    • Blackpoll Warbler Setophaga striata
    • Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
    • Canada Warbler Cardellina canadensis

Additional recommendations in the reports 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.


References:

Crochet, P-A., Barthel, P.H., Bauer, H-G., van den Berg, A.B., Bezzel, E., Collinson, J.M., Dietzen, C., Dubois, P.J., Fromholtz, J., Helbig, A.J., Jiguet, F., Jirle, E., Knox, A.G., Krüger, T., Le Maréchal, P., van Loon, A.J., Päckert, M., Parkin, D.T., Pons, J-M., Raty, L., Roselaar, C.S., Sangster, G., Steinheimer, F.D., Svensson, L., Tyrberg, T., Votier, S.C. & Yésou, P. 2011. AERC TAC's taxonomic recommendations: 2011 report, [online PDF]. Available from the AERC website [Accessed December 2011].

Preston, K. 1983. 30th Irish Bird Report, 1982. Irish Birds 2(3): 392.

Ruttledge, R.F. 1958. 5th Annual Report 1957. Irish Bird Report 1(5): 11.

Sangster, G., Collinson, J.M., Crochet, P-A., Knox, A.G., Parkin, D.T., Svensson, L. & Votier, S.C. 2011. Taxonomic recommendations for British Birds: seventh report. Ibis 153(4): 883-892.


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