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Missouri birders:

 

The American Ornithological Society, or AOS (formerly the AOU), has just published the 61st supplement to its Checklist of North and Middle American Birds. This supplement, which used to be occasional, has become annual because new information is accruing fast and producing many changes in our understanding of bird relationships.


 

As far as Missouri goes, the 61st supplement has produced no species splits or mergers that would affect our list. Nationally, there have been two such changes: (1) Northwestern Crow (Corvus caurinus) has been merged with American Crow and termed a "geographical trend," which means it's not even distinct enough for subspecies status; (2) Mexican Duck (Anas diazi) has been re-split from Mallard and thus elevated to its one-time status as a full species, like the other "brown" relatives of Mallard, such as Mottled Duck and American Black Duck. 

 

No name changes have occurred that would affect the names on our state list, but there have been some rearrangements involving the sequence in which birds are listed within an order, family, or genus, reflecting how closely related they are to other birds in the same group, as determined by the most recent genetic analysis. This "linear order" has been shifted in four groups that are relevant to us: the Selasphorus hummingbirds (Rufous etc.), the turkey, grouse, and pheasant family (Phasianidae), the rails and gallinules (Rallidae), and the cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae). In addition, the linear order of the frigatebird, anhinga, and cormorant families within the order Suliformes has been switched around.

 

That's all that matters for Missouri, although a great many more actions were taken, especially in the tropics. The Annotated Checklist of Missouri Birds, on line at http://mobirds.org/Birds/MOChecklist.aspx, will be current on the linear-order changes by next week.

 

Bill Rowe

 

Secretary, MBRC


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