As a mid-year tradition, the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) published this month the 57th supplement to the Check-list of North American Birds. This year's changes affect a lot the Panama bird list as well. These changes include splits, lumps, English and Latin names changes, new orders and subfamilies and changes in the linear sequence of the list. I will mention those splits/lumps and names changes affecting Panama birds, but you're welcomed to check the publication to know all the other changes. Are you ready to make some changes... you may have one or two new species in your life lists! Lets check them out:
English and Latin names changes
- Morphological, biogeographical and genetic data proved that the medium-sized Shearwaters do not belong to the genus Puffinus and are now named Ardenna, leaving the Latin names of the next species this way: Ardenna pacifica, Ardenna grisea and Ardenna creatopus for Wedge-tailed, Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters respectively.
- Due to a split, the form of Green Violetear found in Costa Rica and western Panama (including Azuero Peninsula and ranging to South America) is known as Lesser Violetear (Colibri cyanotus). The form present in Mexico and northern Central America is called now Mexican Violetear.
- The Gray-necked Wood-Rail form found in Costa Rica, Panama and South America is called now Gray-cowled Wood-Rail (Aramides cajaneus), due to a split of the form found in Mexico and northern Central America, which is called now Russet-naped Wood-Rail (Aramides albiventris).
- Genetic data indicate that the Yellow-breasted Crake is not closely related to Porzana, thus its new Latin name is Hapalocrex flaviventer.
- After the taxonomic changes of the form of Black-mandibled Toucan found in Panama (the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Ramphastos ambiguus swainsoni), its name is changed into Yellow-throated Toucan... insipid, but quite descriptive and inclusive for both forms (with black and chestnut mandibles).
- Dusky Antbird is not a true Cercomacra antbird, and is now called Cercomacroides tyrannina.
- Due to splits affecting mostly extralimital forms, the form of Sirystes found in Panama (and the Choco bioregion) is called Choco Sirystes and its Latin name changed to Sirystes albogriseus.
- The Latin names of Tawny-crowned, Golden-fronted and Lesser Greenlets are changed into Tunchiornis ochraceiceps, Pachysylvia aurantiifrons and Pachysylvia decurtata.
- The Latin name of White-thighed Swallow is changed into Atticora tibialis.
Splits and lumps
- A long-expected change, the Blue-crowned Motmot complex have three recognized species in Mesoamerica, two of them occurring in Panama: Lesson's Motmot -instead of Blue-diademed Motmot- (Momotus lessonii) in western Panama and Whooping Motmot (Momotus subrufescens) in central and eastern Panama. The original paper mentions a gap in the ranges of these two species in central Panama; however, probably both species occur replacing each other altitudinally in the central provinces. You can help to better understand this by recording with photos, video and -specially- audio every Momotus motmot in that region of Panama (Cocle & Veraguas provinces and the Azuero Peninsula).
- The Plain Wren is split into three (yes, three!) species, two of them occurring in Panama: Canebrake Wren (Cantorchilus zeledoni) in western Bocas del Toro province (already accepted by the Panama Audubon Society -PAS-) and Isthmian Wren (Cantorchilus elutus) in the rest of Panama. By far, that's my favorite name change so far!
- The Three-striped Warbler is split into three species as well, two of them occurring in Panama: the Costa Rican Warbler (Basileuterus melanotis) of Costa Rica and western Panama (east to Veraguas) and the near-endemic Tacarcuna Warbler (Basileuterus tacarcunae) in eastern Panama and extreme northwestern Colombia. The Tacarcuna Warbler has become very rare in its past distribution in Cerro Azul/Cerro Jefe and the Guna Yala foothills to the east of Panama City, so now it is a good time to search for it.
Clearer now? It is time to update your records and to go out after those new species around the corner!