A Pair of Armchair “twitches”

California Scrub-JayWoodhouse's Scrub-JayJuly 7:  Each summer the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU) issues its latest list of taxonomic changes which invariably include not only name revisions, but also some splits that create new species. This year is no exception, and our birdspix.com list is the fortuitous beneficiary of two such new species.* First is the split of the former Western Scrub-Jay into two species, California Scrub-Jay and Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay*.

Leach's Storm-PetrelTownsend's Storm-PetrelNext, the former Leach’s Storm-Petrel is now split into three species – Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Townsend’s Storm-Petrel,* and Ainley’s Storm-Petrel.

Of the other changes, several affect species that may be seen in North America:

Green Violetear is split into two species – Mexican Violetear (Mexico to Nicaragua but seen rarely in the US as a casual), and Lesser Violetear (Costa Rica to South America).

The Puffinus genus of shearwaters has been split so that many of the North American shearwaters are now in the genus Ardenna. This affects Wedge-tailed, Buller’s, Short-tailed, Sooty, Great, Pink-footed, and Flesh-footed Shearwaters.

Sandhill Crane is now in a new genus Antigone.

Orange Bishop (not ABA countable) has had a name change to Northern Red Bishop.

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