2013-C-1: Return Hawaii Creeper Oreomystis mana to the genus Loxops

YES. 1 without comment.

YES, but if studies are ongoing that suggest another change might take place, we could just as well do nothing for now.

YES. I agree that Loxops seems like the best option.

YES for removal from Oreomystis, as demanded by the new data. Given that James and Olson favor placement in Loxops, that seems best for now.

YES. It clearly shouldn’t stay with Oreomystis, and the need for the new genus isn’t well-established enough.

YES for removal from Oreomystis, as demanded by the new data. I’m OK with putting it in Loxops as long as Olson and James have considered this appropriate within the context of generic boundaries in dreps.

YESLoxops seems the way to go.

YES. I choose Option 3, as the title of the proposal indicates.

2013-C-2: Split White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis into 2, 3, or 4 species

NO. I vote for the option to maintain as one species, i.e., not do anything, at least for now. We can revisit this next year. If I am correct, these clades are still monophyletic relative to all other nuthatches, so we are just splitting hairs. In part I vote for no action because there is no time to properly consider suggestions for new English names before this Supplement is completed. This proposal should (and could) have been presented 6 months ago, giving time for a discussion.

NO, for now, on any of the options.  Like others I think  this complex deserves a more complete study, including analyses of what is happening at contact zones combined with analysis of vocalizations.

NO. Probably a split is needed but it’s far from clear where.

NO for now, on any of the options. I’m convinced that there are two species because the extensive potential contact between aculeata and tenuissima without any signs of interbreeding, and the abrupt replacement of one by the other as indicated by call type. But to separate these two without adequate consideration of the other taxa is a big problem, in my opinion, including even nomenclature (see below). This complex deserves a full study, including careful collecting at contact zones combined with analysis of vocalizations. Note that not one sonogram has been published to my knowledge – thus, we’re talking about vocal groups based on anecdote. Although the two recent papers on this are a great start with intriguing results, note that only 16 localities (Fig. 1) were sampled from throughout the monster range of the complex. There are no samples from the western half of the Eastern group’s range, and so if there were any recent gene flow between Rockies birds and Great Plains birds, e.g. in South Dakota or Nebraska, it is unlikely to be detected. There are no samples from anywhere near the potential contact zone between northern nelsoni and northern tenuissima. There are no samples from the northern 2/3 of the range of Pacific aculeata, where there is potential contact between it and tenuissima. The large and complex range of mexicana, which encompasses the two major Mexican cordilleras is represented by a single locality near the southern end of the range, roughly 1400 km from the northern end of the range, where any recent contact with nelsoni of the Rockies might have occurred. And without DNA samples of isolated lagunae, are we really prepared to assume that it belongs to the nelsoni group based on tradition (?) to the point that we would use lagunae as the name for the Rockies group?  Maybe the sampling is adequate to represent the true degree of gene flow among these populations, but I would need to be convinced of this before voting yes.

NO. While I find these studies really interesting in determining the evolutionary history and genetic divergence processes occurring among the four groups, I find them lacking in their power to determine biological species limits. Specifically, the contact zones have been inadequately studied and sample sizes remain low. The authors themselves recognized this in the first paragraph on page 918. These are nice ESUs and phylogenetic species with some further work to be done to see what is occurring in multiple secondary contact zones.

NO for now. I suggest that we postpone this proposal, given other people’s comments.

YES. I am inclined to go with the 2 species solution for the time being. I don’t know the answer for English names—Eastern and Western White-breasted Nuthatches?

YES, but only if option 2 is accepted; otherwise I favor retaining a one species treatment in the White-breasted Nuthatch. I see no basis with separating out the eastern Sierra/northern Great Basin birds from those of the southern Rockies. They sound identical to my ears, especially the call notes. As for coastal slope birds (aculeata), their call notes and songs sound more like eastern birds than they do to any within the lagunae group, so I don’t see why if you split eastern birds, the Pacific birds should be lumped in within the Rockies group (birds from the Cape District of Baja California, lagunae, sound just like birds from the Rockies). The Pacific birds and those from the east give a single call note; they differ in pitch (lower in eastern birds). Rockies birds give a multiple note high twitter call. Both eastern and Pacific birds give a whistled song (higher pitched again, I think, in Pacific birds) while those from the Rockies are more complex. But from limited play-back birds seem to happily respond to any geographical group that I play. 

I’ve not looked carefully at northeastern California yet, but in every other location in the state that I’ve checked, except for Chimney Creek Campground in Tulare County, it’s either one taxon or the other present (easily told by call). Within the Sierra Nevada Mountains, they are generally separated by altitude habitat, aculeata preferring oaks, and tenuissima (Rockies group) preferring pines. But in the Greenhorns and Piutes and south into the transverse ranges of Southern California, it’s all aculeata, even at high elevations in dry Jeffrey pines. Over most of the Sierra the aculeata go up to about 3000’, then there’s a 4000’ zone (3000’ – 7000’) where there are no White-breasted Nutatches, then at about 7000’ where the forest starts to open up you find tenuissima. At Chimney Creek Campground which has many oaks, aculeata dominates, although twice we have recorded tenuissima which is found just above at Kennedy Meadows. In the Pitt River Valley in Lassen County in northeast California it’s all aculeata from calls (oaks are common) and this extends to the Day area of southwest Modoc County, while at Eagle Lake to the south (still Lassen County) in dry yellow pine forest, I’ve only heard tenuissima (15 years of birding there).

Morphologically the two western groups are very similar appearing, indeed they are hard to tell apart even as specimens. Both have long and slender bills, unlike eastern birds which have slightly stouter and shorter bills. Recall that the English name for aculeata is the “Slender-billed Nuthatch.” I hope I have this right, but I believe that Grinnell and Miller’s (1944) subspecies limits within California was later re-defined by someone else in the 1950’s. I don’t have time to dig out the reference at the moment. I’m sure Grinnell and Miller (1944) based their analysis of intergrades on only morphology and given how difficult aculeata and tenuissima are to tell apart as specimens perhaps there findings should be re-examined, indeed I believe it was (in the 50’s). Bottom line is that we might not be able to tell them apart, but the birds seem to have sorted themselves out by habitat niche, at least in areas where the two come close to each other or are perhaps parapatric. 

I realize that some of the above is of a conjectural nature. I have long believed that there were likely more than one species involved in this complex, likely three. I’m happy to await further research and developments, but I think we are making a mistake by adopting a two species approach (east and west) and would prefer to leave things as they are.

Addendum: The Hawbecker reference corrects some of what is in Grinnell and Miller (1944) and especially Aldrich (1944).  Basically, within California, tenuissima (from interior group) and aculeata are more neatly separated than suggested from Grinnell and Miller (1944) and Hawbecker’s study of museum specimens and his clarification of ranges of each fits well with what he actually hears from the birds. The Hawbecker reference is:  Hawbecker, A.C.  1948.  Analysis of variation in western races of White-breasted Nuthatch.  Condor 50:26-39. The Aldrich reference is:  Aldrich, J.W.  1944.  Notes on the races of the White-breasted Nuthatch.  Auk 61:592-604. I note that the Hawbecker reference is not in the BNA account.  I didn’t check on the Aldrich (1944) reference. Combined with vocalizations, the Hawbecker paper makes the case for splitting three species a little stronger, not that I’m advocating that, just not two please (west and  east).

2013-C-3: Adopt new English names for Artemisiospiza belli and A. nevadensis

YES. 1 without comment.

YES. I remember the 1931 edition well, as it was published the year I was born. Sagebrush Sparrow is okay, just an extra unnecessary syllable.

YES. I vote for Sagebrush Sparrow over Sage Sparrow.

YES. Sagebrush Sparrow and Bell’s Sparrow.

YES on Bell’s and Sage.

YES on Bell’s Sparrow and Sagebrush Sparrow.

YES. I like Bell’s Sparrow and Sagebrush Sparrow, and am happy that we have a solid option if canescens is split in the future (Mojave Sparrow).

YES. I like Bell’s Sparrow and Sagebrush Sparrow. If canescens is later split as its own species, and Mohave Sparrow or Mohave Sage Sparrow is adopted than we would offer something for everyone: a patronym for Bell’s Sparrow, a habitat for Sage Sparrow, and a geographical region for Mohave Sparrow or Mohave Sage Sparrow. No one will accuse us of discriminating, but I’m not sure if we are expressing the close relationships of these three to each other? Back to compound names? Note re: canescens: In California it’s Mojave, while in western Arizona it’s Mohave. Since the breeding range is almost exclusively in California (plus a tiny part of Nevada), it would seem that the spelling of Mojave should be used.


2013-C-4: Change the linear sequence of families in the Charadriiformes

YES. 7 without comment.

YES. We have all kinds of problems if we try to split up the Laridae.

YES. The changes are mandated by our conventions for sequencing taxa, and I derive the same sequence using those conventions.  [Note – the position of Pluvialis outside Charadriidae in the figure was corrected in Baker et al. 2012.]

2013-C-5: Transfer Providence Petrel Pterodroma solandri from Appendix to main list

YES. 6 without comment.

YES, but with reservations. I really dislike sight identifications of these sea birds. Doesn’t anyone collect any more?

YES. Nice work to Dunn and Gibson on this series of proposals.

2013-C-6: Transfer Fea’s Petrel Pterodroma feae from Appendix to main list

YES. 6 without comment.

YES, but with even greater reservations. Larger versus smaller bills means a difference of a couple mm, as seen from the deck of a bobbing boat—by observers determined to see them.

YES. Nice work to Dunn and Gibson on this series of proposals.

2013-C-7: Add Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus to the U.S. List

YES. 6 without comment.

YES. Note that 5, 6, and 7 are also additions to the US list.

YES. Nice work to Dunn and Gibson on this series of proposals.

2013-C-8: Add Rosy-faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis to the main list

YES. 5 without comment.

YES. Meets our criteria for an established introduction.

YES. Meets our criteria for an established introduction.

YES. Nice work to Dunn and Gibson on this series of proposals.

2013-C-9: Transfer Nandayus nenday from Appendix to main list and change English name to Nanday Parakeet

YES. 4 without comment.

YES. Nanday or Nenday. Why do English and specific names not agree in spelling? Note needed on alternate, and former, English name. Distribution should begin: Resident in . . . 

YES. English name Nanday Parakeet is best.

YES. Meets our criteria for an established introduction. And YES on English name change to conform to usage in its native continent. As an aside, the monotypic genus Nandayus is embedded in Aratinga sensu stricto, but that will be the subject of a future proposal.

YES. Nice work to Dunn and Gibson on this series of proposals.

2013-C-10: Add Asian Rosy-Finch Leucosticte arctoa to the main list

YES. 7 without comment.

YES. Nice work to Dunn and Gibson on this series of proposals.

2013-C-11: Update the classification of siskins and goldfinches

NO, at least for now. A change like this deserves a better proposal, one that focuses on the species on our list, not a rehashed SACC proposal that treats our taxa only as a side issue. This proposal does not even indicate what of our species would be involved or what the new names would be. This is obviously a last minute concoction. This is not something that should wait until the deadline for submittal of the Supplement, giving no time for thought or discussion.

NO. The Nguembock et al. (2009) paper had very limited taxon sampliing for North American species, and although the gene sampling was stronger than Arnaiz-Villena et al (2007), I don’t think the new information adequately treats the species on our list.

NO. It seems best to wait for better taxon sampling. I think we should minimize changing these again until the dust settles.

NO. I am in favor of this change. I agree that we need a little more time to digest the results of these studies, and in particular to focus on the North American taxa.

NO. Accept emailed suggestion to postpone votes on this proposal.

YES to recognizing SA species except tristis as Sporagra and NA ones as Astragalinus, following the rationale set out by Stiles. If we only recognized Sporagra we’d most likely end up changing the genus again for the NA species. If we leave as is (all in Spinus) we’d be perpetuating groupings known to be non-monophyletic. I also agree with not changing common names at this point. Changing the common name American Goldfinch seems unthinkable!

YES, but only in part. Yes to splitting Sporagra from Carduelis, as mandated by the current data, but NO for Astragalinus. Although I might agree with further splitting into Astragalinus, I think that this should be a separate proposal, carefully considered because support for that in the tree is much weaker. SACC did not make this change explicitly because SACC assumed NACC would develop a proposal on this.