To all Missouri birders:
The Annotated Checklist of Missouri Birds has undergone some changes, as it usually does at this time of year, following the annual meeting of the Missouri Bird Records Committee and the publication of the American Ornithologists' Union's annual supplement to its Check-list of North American Birds. I apologize for the delay in posting this; a couple of points had to be ironed out before I could finalize it.
All the changes here have already been entered in the online Missouri Checklist at www.mobirds.org
I. Name changes that affect Missouri (from the AOU's 53rd supplement, July 2012)
Purple Gallinule: specific name is now spelled martinicus, not martinica.
Chuck-will's-widow and Whippoorwill are in new genus Antrostomus, no longer Caprimulgus. Old-World nightjars remain in Caprimulgus.
Calliope Hummingbird is now in genus Selasphorus along with Rufous, Allen's, and Broad-tailed; it is no longer in its own genus, Stellula.
Purple and House Finches are in new genus Haemorhous, no longer Carpodacus. Similar Old-World finches like Common Rosefinch remain in Carpodacus.
II. Sequence changes that affect Missouri (also from the AOU)
All falcons (Kestrel to Prairie) remain in the same sequence, but falcons as a group move to right after woodpeckers. It has been shown that falcons are not closely related to other raptors and in fact are closer to passerines.
All parrots (on our list, only Carolina Parakeet) move to right after the new listing for falcons and thus right before flycatchers. They too are much closer to passerines than previously thought.
The sequence of wrens has been changed, due to genetic studies. It is now Rock Wren, House Wren, Winter Wren, Sedge Wren, Marsh Wren, Carolina Wren, Bewick's Wren.
III. Status changes from the MBRC this summer
Black Vulture: Change to PR u (s,c, local), a (n). Roughly speaking, this means that Black Vultures still require documentation in the northern third of the state, but not in the southern and central two-thirds; in particular, the species no longer needs documentation in the vicinity of St. Louis or Columbia.
Red-shouldered Hawk: Now PR c (s), u (n).
Whooping Crane: Recent records have moved it from T a to T ca.
Dunlin: Winter status moves to WV ca.
Common Ground-Dove: Now becomes WV & WR ca, with a bird having lingered through some weeks of the winter. This status also encompasses "transient."
Burrowing Owl: Moves to T r in the western part of the state; no documentation required there. Other status designations remain the same.
Rufous Hummingbird: Winter status moves to WR ca.
Western Wood-Pewee: SV a (NEW SPECIES -- comes between Olive-sided Flycatcher and Eastern Wood-Pewee)
Varied Thrush: With more than 15 state records, it moves to WR & WV r and has been removed from the Review List. Documentation is no longer required, but see below.
Gray Catbird: Winter status changes to WR r (s), ca (n)
Vesper Sparrow: Winter status changes to WR r (s), ca (n)
Nelson's Sparrow: Status has been changed to reflect a seasonal difference: T r (spring), u (fall)
Fox Sparrow: Status reflects an east-west difference as a migrant and a north-south difference as a winter resident: T c (e), u (w); WR u (s, c), r (n)
Lincoln's Sparrow: Also changed to reflect an east-west difference as a migrant: T c (w), u (e); WR r
Scarlet Tanager: Now also WV a
Lazuli Bunting: Previously listed as only hypothetical in fall, but with the recent acceptance of a record at that season, it moves to "a (fall)" as a transient.
Indigo Bunting: With a few more winter records accumulated for south and central Missouri, its status at that season becomes WV ca (s,c), a (n).
Lesser Goldfinch: Now WV & WR a.
Birders are reminded that even if a species does not have to be reviewed by the MBRC, the observer is strongly urged to provide some descriptive details when reporting a "rare" species to the Bluebird seasonal editor, or on eBird. For instance, a Varied Thrush seen anywhere in the state would no longer require documentation, per the Checklist and Review List (see above); but it would still be a highly unusual record, and the seasonal editor and the eBird reviewer would both expect a description with some key details (or a photograph, of course) before putting it in the seasonal report and perhaps sending it on for that season's issue of North American Birds (Iowa/Missouri region). Think of it as a "mini-doc."
If these changes occasion any questions, I'll be glad to try to answer them either privately or in this forum. Birders are also reminded that the checklist is available from the Audubon Society of Missouri in handy card form for a nominal charge, and even with these changes, the card form is overall still accurate.