2011-A-1: Set a minimum standard for the designation of a holotype for extant avian species

YES. 2 without comment.

YES. My understanding of the Code is that its primary value, and the expertise of those who have written it is, with respect to matters of priority, gender agreement, and other aspects of nomenclature, not science per se. This proposal has to do with minimum acceptable scientific standards that virtually all professional ornithologists with a background in taxonomy and systematics would endorse; it even has a proviso concerning rare species that allows some wiggle room in extreme cases. If the ICZN does not adopt such scientific minimum standards, I see no reason to follow them with respect to anything but matters of strict nomenclature.

YES in principle, but I prefer alternate wording and also inclusion of subspecies (as suggested by another committee member):

Recommendation 73A (AOU). Designation of holotype. An author who establishes a new nominal species-group taxon should designate a holotype represented by an entire specimen housed in a museum and available for study, so that subsequent recognition and long-term scientific value of the holotype is maximized.

We note for clarification that by ICZN (1999:48) definition, “The species group encompasses all nominal taxa at the ranks of species and subspecies…” 

NO. I do not think that we should adopt practices that may lead us to use a classification that differs from most others. I think this could be a slippery slope, when we, standing alone by this principal, cease to be the standard bearer for the nomenclature used in journals, governmental agencies, field guides, etc. We have already seen this by the Wilson Bulletin adopting IOC names. 

NO. Reasoning given in 2010-C vote for 2010-C15, which was the same proposal. I recommend that we take the reworded resolution and work with the authors of this proposal to arrive at a draft we can all accept.

NO. The Check-list is the wrong place to do this. I am strongly sympathetic to the argument, but any modification to ICZN language we make has no force. We should see if we can get the weight of the society (and others?) behind a proposal to revise the ICZN itself.

NO. I agree with the concept that new species-level taxa should have as their holotype a full specimen, but I am having trouble really understanding the results of the proposal.  Would we not accept a name that is valid and available under the code, but for which there was only type material that didn’t meet these requirements?  I would be uncomfortable with this, even though I didn’t approve of the type material.

ABSTAIN, at least temporarily. I agree with the idea and the need, but I am not sure this is the proper way to go about it.

ABSTAIN. A standard should be set, but perhaps I am not the one to articulate it. I’d like a full specimen from a series used in the original description. A drop of blood or some tissue without a voucher specimen is not enough.  

2011-A-2: Change linear sequence of genera in Trochilidae to reflect recent genetic data (SACC #267)

YES. 4 without comment.

YES. This is a proposal explicitly to adopt a new linear sequence of genera, that’s all. Explicitly stated in the proposal is that it was not intended to deal with tribes. That leaves three subfamilies, two of which we use already. So, just vote on it for the sequence of genera. We can use Subfamily Incertae Sedis for the “Topazinae” until that name meets Code (which as I understand it would mean stating explicitly that Topaza Gray, 1840, is the type genus).

YES. I’m agnostic about hummingbirds. Let’s keep in line with the SACC (they’ve got most of the diversity). 

YES. Insofar as this proposal is restricted to a sequence of genera, and that sequence has a strong basis, I’ll take it on its merits. I would urge the authors (or anyone who cares, and given that these are hummingbirds there will be such) to establish a Linnaean/ICZN framework for the classification.

YES. I accept the new sequence of genera of hummingbirds based on McGuire et al and recognition of the new subfamily Florisuginae (instead of Topazinae).

NO. I have no problem with the sequence per se, but the sequence without the new classification is rather meaningless and in  my view the classification is untenable. First, I believe—and we have generally accepted—that the check-list is not the place to introduce new names, and the subfamily name Topazinae is not only new, it is not properly proposed under the Code, which covers family-group names.  Further, none of the tribe names (also family-group) has ever (e.g., in McGuire et al. 2009) been properly proposed. In fact, those names apparently have only  been used in Fig. 1 of the McGuire paper; the text discussion of them uses only English group names. Even further, they are not based on the Linnaean system of nomenclature that we have traditionally used, but are based on the phylo-code, which to my knowledge has not been used or endorsed by any important group of vertebrate  systematists. 

I think that none of the prefaces to the check-list editions specifies that we follow the Linnaean system and the ICZN; it was probably not necessary until perhaps the most recent edition.  Nonetheless, I think that is a “given” in our classification and I think that we should stick to it.  Adoption of the phylo-code might be a worthy topic of committee discussion at some point, but I believe not as part of another (i.e., this) proposal.

2011-A-3: A new generic name for some sparrows formerly placed in Amphispiza

YES. 7 without comment.

YES. Now we will only have two species that don’t belong together instead of three. I am campaigning again of course for putting A. quinquestriata into its own genus. I note the issue of behavior being brought up in the wren discussion (a later motion), and although I’m not sure the reasons for sparrow genera being formed, they all fit neatly into their own behaviors (e.g. Fox Sparrows scratching habitually with their feet together, the gregarious habits of ZonotrichiaJunco, and Spizella as opposed to the more solitary habits of Ammodramus and Aimophila, including the old members of that genus. Sage and Black-throated are VERY different behaviorally. But, this argument has been previously made and it was largely not accepted.

YES. Phylogenetic data require a new group name for belli. Good name, too.

YES. And I like the name Artemisiospiza too.

2011-A-4: Split Gray Hawk Buteo nitidus into two species

YES. 4 without comment.

YES. This is an excellent proposal, and several solid lines of evidence support this split.

YES. A good study, publication of which is long overdue.

YES. Convincing analysis.

YES.  This is a very convincing analysis, including distinct vocal differences as well as plumage and morphological differences.

YES. The plumage and vocal differences are consistent with the degree of divergence associated with species boundaries in birds in general. Justification for species rank is greater for these two than between several pairs of allotaxa in “Leucopternis” for example. The degree of genetic divergence is high, but in itself not convincing if there is a gap in the distribution: there are bulbuls in the Congo that show greater % sequence divergence across rivers with absolutely no sign of phenotypic differences (Ben Marks’ dissertation).

YES. Sounds like there is good evidence for the split, and that it is overdue.

2011-A-5: Transfer Deltarhynchus flammulatus to Ramphotrigon

YES. 3 without comment.

YES, although the BOLD distance tree on COI nearly made me reject the proposal out of hand.

NO. Should be bolstered by additional sequence and taxon sampling.

NO. The relationship of Ramphotrigon and Deltarhynchus is not well-supported in the Ohlson et al. paper. Even if the Escalante results were published, I wouldn’t vote yes because we need better taxon sampling at multiple loci before making this change. The similarilty in syringeal morphology is interesting but also not enough to support this merger.

NO. Escalante’s analysis is not published, and both the Escalante tree and the Ohlson et al. tree lack one of the three Ramphotrigon species. Biogeographically a three-species Ramphotrigon makes more sense, as all three are found only in the South America tropics, while Deltarhynchus is a Mexican endemic. Ramphotrigon (with Delatarhynchus) was formerly considered to be close to Myiarchus, but these recent trees have it far outside. A more complete analysis is needed before acting.

NO. Based on the new tree another option could be the retention of Deltarhynchus as a monotypic genus. However perhaps in any case we should vote on revising the linear sequence to place Deltarhynchus next to Ramphotrigon.

NO. The Escalante results aren’t published, and the support for Deltarhynchus as embedded in Ramphotrigon in Ohlson et al. are substandard. There is little question that the two are closely related, and from that basis alone it could be argued that a monotypic genus is unwarranted. Nonetheless, I recommend that we uphold our standards by waiting for solid, published data. Too bad Tello et al. (Cladistics 2009) did not sample this group more broadly – they only included “Rhamphotrigon” ruficauda.

NO. I think more data are needed; at least a study including all of the Ramphotrigon. Not to mention that the best dataset so far is not yet published.

GENERAL COMMENT. As pointed out in the proposal, there is already published information indicating that Deltarhynchus is nested within Ramphotrigon. Ohlson et al. (2008) sampled D. flammulatusR. megacephalum, and R. ruficauda for three nuclear introns and showed that D. flammulatus is sister to R. ruficauda, with R. megacephalum sister to this pair (>.95 posterior probability). Lanyon (1985 – not 1984 as cited in the proposal) had previously proposed that the two genera are closely related, and Birdsley’s (2002) cladistic reanalysis of previously published morphological and behavioral data supported this. This is in addition to the unpublished mitochondrial (CO1) data indicating the paraphyly of Ramphotrigon with respect to Deltarhynchus.

2011-A-6: Change the gender ending of two species names

YES. 6 without comment.

YES. Gender correction doesn’t rise to the same level as errors in synonymy.

NO. The new British Birds (see http://www.britishbirds.co.uk/letters/the-correct-gender-of-poecile-and-the-scientific-name-of-the-willow-tit ) has a letter critical of David and Gosselin’s  recommended change of gender for Poecile. The back and forth on the gender of that genus has me thinking we maybe should hold off on some of these changes. In addition, when we put martinica in Porphyrio (2001), I specifically asked whether it should be martinicus while editing the manuscript, and either David or Gosselin wrote back that it should stay martinica. I would like to see a grater consensus on these name changes before we make them ourselves.

NO. This is a tentative vote pending improving my understanding of the issue. The letter in British Birds mentioned earlier makes for interesting and somewhat concerning reading, given our reliance on Gosselin and David on these issues. Note that we are currently not in agreement with the BOU as to the gender of Poecile. It is unfortunate that most (or all) of us lack the grounding in classical languages to enable us to make informed judgments on our own.

NO. Maybe it is because we largely lack gender issues in English, but I find these sorts of changes to be exceedingly tedious and reason that if we’ve been using this dead language in a mistaken manner for over 50 years then the 50-year rule should prevail. Why can’t this be so? If we considered the names to be gender-based synonyms, could longstanding usage not prevail? Just as a reminder, here is the “50-year rule” from the 4th edition:

23.9. Reversal of precedence. In accordance with the purpose of the Principle of Priority [Art. 23.2], its application is moderated as follows:

23.9.1. prevailing usage must be maintained when the following conditions are both met: the senior synonym or homonym has not been used as a valid name after 1899, and the junior synonym or homonym has been used for a particular taxon, as its presumed valid name, in at least 25 works, published by at least 10 authors in the immediately preceding 50 years and encompassing a span of not less than 10 years.

2011-A-7: Change English Name of the Bahama Warbler to Pinelands Warbler

YES. 1 without comment.

YES, marginally. I think Bahama Warbler is perfectly suitable as well.

YES. I think we should get the best name possible before any name becomes entrenched, and I agree completely with the authors on the endless repetition of Bahama “Something” or “Island” “Something” – we ought to be able to do better than that especially if the species is not throughout the island(s)

NO. 1 without comment

NO. Is tedium a good reason to pass over a perfectly good name?

NO. I think Bahama Warbler is better. There are certainly other warblers that occur in pines in other geographic regions, so Pinelands Warbler is not informative in my opinion (and too similar to Pine Warbler). I don’t think the authors make a strong argument for the change, and do not see how changing the name will aid conservation efforts. And I have no problem with “Bahama This” and “Bahama That” – it implies something interesting in that geographic region.

NO. I believe that if we were to change an English name, it should be to a demonstrably better one. In this case I think we are exchanging one mediocre name for another. For the record, one of the signers of this motion, J. B. Hallett, Jr., preferred Pinewoods to Pinelands. Yes, this species is restricted to the pine woods, but so is an endemic subspecies of (to the Bahamas, range slightly more extensive and includes New Providence and Andros in addition to the Abacos and Grand Bahama) Pine Warbler (S. p. achrustera). And some of the subspecies of the Bahama Yellowthroat prefer the scrub under the pines. And other Bahama birds, like the Bahama Swallow are strongly tied (for breeding) to the the same pines. So why make an exception for the warbler? We’ve used Bahama this and Bahama that for all of the other Bahama endemic species, so let’s continue the mediocre trend, unless someone can come up with something better. Note, that some of us tried with Northrop’s Oriole, but that didn’t pass.

NO. None of the other species named “Bahama” xxx, is found throughout the Bahamas, and it had not caused concern or confusion. What would be confusing would be having both a Pine Warbler and a Pinelands Warbler.   

NO. I prefer the Bahama Warbler. The grounds for rejecting this are trivial. Pinelands is too much like Pine. But go with what the locals want. I really don’t care.

NO. I have not been comfortable with Pinelands from the very beginning because of similarity to Pine. The fact that the species is not found throughout the Bahamas is not all that relevant. Of the other 5 “Bahama” species, only 2 breed throughout the Bahamas, and one of those, the Mockingbird, is not endemic. Admittedly, the warbler has the smallest range. I should say that although we usually require a super-majority to make a change, it seems to me that in this case with a newly coined name,  we should go with a majority vote. At very least, I will change my vote if a majority of the committee prefers Pineland, um, I mean Pinelands.

2011-A-8: Reorganize classification of Thryothorus wrens

YES. 1 without comment.

YES. Long overdo

YES. There seems to be solid evidence for this change.

YES. Ample evidence supports this.

YES. Sorry one genus is defined by molecular characters, and the vocal data are not completely diagnostic, but I see this as the best way forward. I don’t agree with the assertion that recognizing Cantorchilus will open us up to uncounted molecular “clades of convenience”. Where taxonomy fails us, we should have recourse to new names even if we don’t have the time (or inclination, or training) to find a visible phenotype (which may not even exist) to define the group.

YES. Thryothorus sensu lato was widely suspected as not being a monophyletic group. Now we have the data that require dismembering it into several genera.

YES. I’d follow SACC. A change is needed. I hope that this is the right one.

YES. I am very sympathetic to the comments against this proposal. When SACC considered splitting up Thryothorus the first time (Proposal 219), it did not pass, but the entire committee supported the recognition of Pheugopedius, but were split of Thryophilus and Cantorchilus. The second time through, the 4 genus approach passed fairly easily (proposals 408-411). I think reading the SACC material on this would be a good idea for anybody puzzling over this. The problem of no clear diagnosable morphological or behavioral distinction for Cantorchilus still exists, but I think we are going to run up against that issue more and more as molecular studies take on difficult groups. Certainly some of the genera of warblers we have created would be difficult to diagnose morphologically.

NO. Genera should never be defined solely as a single-locus molecular clade, as Cantorchilus is. As Mann et al. 2006 stated (p.758), “no known uniquely derived morphological characteristics diagnose the genus Cantorchilus, as defined here……the genus is diagnosable by 9 unreversed synapomorphies in cytochrome ….”

I view that a vote in support of this is tacit approval for future “genera” based solely on a molecular clade of convenience. I do not think that is what genera are supposed to be; there is supposed to be some phenotypic basis as well. The interesting study of song (Mann et al. 2009) suggested to me that song style in these birds is not a good indicator of generic limits. I can’t find definitive shared derived behaviors for the genera but rather see words like “most” “usually” sing with the same style; styles “tend to differ” among clades; and that there are noteworthy exceptions “that differ markedly from those most typical of their genus.” (In a group with vocal learning it might be expected to be hard to find genus-level song characteristics.)

The results of Mann et al. (2006) gave no statistical support for any one of the three possible relationships among the three clades that did not fit in Thryothorus. The options remain monophyly, diphyly, or triphyly. Choosing the latter requires naming the third clade based solely on its molecular characteristics (in this dataset), whereas either of the former enable taxonomic changes to be tied to earlier, morphologically defined genera. Given incomplete taxon sampling and small genomic datasets thus far, I would personally choose option 1 and split off Pheugopedius alone. Unfortunately, that is not an option in the proposal; I do support breaking up Thryothorus, just not in the way proposed.

NO, based on the other arguments against this proposal.

2011-A-9: Recognize the genus Dendroplex Swainson 1827 (Dendrocolaptidae) as valid (SACC #316)

YES. 5 without comment.

YES. The phylogeny presented by Derryberry et al. 2011 adds support to this proposal.

YES, taking into consideration Derryberry et al. 2011, evidently not available at the time of the SACC discussion and vote.

YES. See the tree for the woodcreepers in Derryberry et al. (2011; Evolution): there is no support for inclusion of this group in Xiphorhynchus, and weak support for it as the sister to the CampylorhamphusLepidocolaptes group.

YES. The recent Derryberry et al. 2011 Evolution paper adds data to this question, and while the relationship of the “Dendroplex” clade is not ironclad, it is both sufficiently not part of Xihporhynchus and morphologically distinctive for me to support its resurrection as a two-species genus.

YES. I know nothing about these birds, but stay with SACC.

2011-A-10: Change sequence of wren genera

YES. 5 without comment.

YES. We could wait for additional data, but the broad outlines of this story are not going to change.

YES. This new sequence obviously reflects phylogenetic classification more accurately than the previous one.

YES. I’m ok with this, but again, agnostic.

NO. Same stance as on 2011-A-8.

NO, for same reason as 2011-A-8.

2011-A-11: Transfer the genus Paroaria to the Thraupidae (SACC #276)

YES. 8 without comment.

YES. Clearly a tanager based on published and unpublished data.

YES. Seems solid and it is good to finally find a home for Paroaria.

2011-A-12: Change species limits in the Arremon torquatus complex (SACC #468)

YES. 5 without comment.

YES. I think we should follow the SACC lead on this.

YES. I like geographic designations for English names so Costa Rican Brush-finch is fine for A. costaricensis. Am I right to assume that tacarcunae from the highlands of eastern Panama is a subspecies of A. atricapillus?

YES. The English name Costa Rican Brush-Finch, however, is inappropriate, as it also occurs in Panama. Chiriqui Brush-Finch is better, although it (barely) extends outside the Chiriqui highlands.

YES, following the overwhelming vote by SACC for this.

YES, following comments posted at SACC site.

2011-A-13: Change English name of Maui Parrotbill to Hawaiian name Kiwikiu

Please note: Some of the comments made by members of the NACC in 2011 on this proposal are offensive and culturally insensitive. We deeply apologize for them. We have redacted them because they have no place in our current discourse and would cause ongoing harm. Individuals wishing to view the original comments can submit a request by email to info@americanornithology.org or via our website Contact form and we will provide them for review.

NO. Due to the offensive nature of these comments, AOS has redacted them, condemns them, and apologizes for the harm they have caused.  Maui Parrotbill is a long established name and should continue to be used. Personally, I fail to understand how the name of a species affects conservation efforts, except by people who confuse the name with the object it stands for. Due to the offensive nature of these comments, AOS has redacted them, condemns them, and apologizes for the harm they have caused. for Check-list purposes, stability is important. Due to the offensive nature of these comments, AOS has redacted them, condemns them, and apologizes for the harm they have caused.

NO. I’m sympathetic to the impulse, but there are limits. Recognizing a name established in Hawaiian traditional culture is one thing, but giving precedence to a newly-minted name in favor of established usage seems a bit much.

NO, for reasons given by others.

NO. Due to the offensive nature of these comments, AOS has redacted them, condemns them, and apologizes for the harm they have caused. I basically like Maui Parrotbill, even recognizing it isn’t in the largely Asian parrotbill group within Timaliidae.

NO. We do not adopt local names for species from other areas with non-English speakers (Quebec, Haiti, Mexico, other Caribbean and Central American countries).

NODue to the offensive nature of these comments, AOS has redacted them, condemns them, and apologizes for the harm they have caused. While there could be some confusion with Paradoxornithidae, this must be at most a minor issue and not more problematic than the many other such cases.

NO. While I usually abstain from English name votes, I do want to raise my hand and urge that we do not dip into gray literature when making decisions on proposed changes – for common name issues and scientific ones. Maybe that threshold is a little high for English names, but it would represent a dual standard.

NODue to the offensive nature of these comments, AOS has redacted them, condemns them, and apologizes for the harm they have caused.  The current name is also accurate and appropriate.

NODue to the offensive nature of these comments, AOS has redacted them, condemns them, and apologizes for the harm they have caused.

NOThe name Maui Parrotbill is a lousy one  Due to the offensive nature of these comments, AOS has redacted them, condemns them, and apologizes for the harm they have caused. I’d leave as is. But again, I’d go along with what the Hawaiian’s want. Has it ever been called a Kiwikiu by anyone? [RESPONSE: It was used for a recent 5-year review of the species by US Fish and Wildlife. Both names (Maui Parrotbill and Kiwikiu) were used, in rather haphazard fashion, in a recent semi-annual report from the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project.]

2011-A-14: Revise the citation for Anser anser

YES. 7 without comment.

YES. Moreover, this calls for a reevaluation of several citations where some later author presumed to know what was Linnaeus’s “main” basis for a name. 

YES. This is the way we have it in Howard-Moore 4 (forthcoming).

2011-A-15: Move Veniliornis fumigatus to Picoides (SACC #263)

YES. 5 without comment.

YES, to keep in line with the SACC.

YES. Nice that the fumigates sample was based on two vouchered specimens. Clearly more work is needed in Picoides.

YES. As noted, SACC already did this. We also need to see if there are other changes to NACC generic boundaries that come from that same set of papers.