Working for birds in Africa

Main changes in the March 2010 version

Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:19 -- abc_admin


This new revision (March 2010) is updated to end of March 2010.

For this year’s update only minimal changes have been made.  

Updates and changes have been noted from:

Volume 14 of Handbook of the Birds of the World was published in late 2009 and includes bush-shrikes, drongos, vangas, crows, starlings and sparrows.

A new set of updates to the Clements checklist was put onto the web in December 2009 (version 6.4) (

The IOC produced revised versions every few months ( -- the latest is now version 2.4 dated March 2010.

Birdlife produced a new revision ( -- version 2 dated June 2009.

It has been noted that no further updates to the Howard & Moore list will be produced until they publish version 4.

These updates have revised a few preferred names (detailed below) but have mostly resulted only in changes to the notes.

As previously all references to HBW, CMT, IOC and BL now refer to the most recent version as per the above (ie including corrections and updates on the websites noted).  All relevant notes are included and they have been allowed for in deciding on any of the changes in preferred names noted.

For many years there has been a more or less standard order for families of birds and species within these (used by Birds of Africa for example and most earlier versions of the standard lists).  However in the last few years a new order has been proposed, which is considered to show more correctly the relationships between the various groups and their phylogenetic history.

It is now apparent that most organisations and checklists are adopting this revised order.  It has also placed several species into a more certain relationship to others after many years of great uncertainty and considerable variation as to treatments.  The most "controversial" of these species groups for this African Bird Club list has been some of the various Madagascan endemic passerines.

This March 2010 revision has retained the “traditional” order primarily for practical reasons.  However there is going to be increasing pressure to change this and the change is likely to occur in the next year or so.

Several people continue to point out errors and omissions and I am grateful to them all.  John Caddick in particular is responsible for many of these.

The Changes to Preferred Names in the March 2010 Version

As last year I have split these changes into 6 groups (although as will be seen not all have entries this time):

a)  Additions and Deletions; b) Splitting and Lumping; c) Family Moves; d) Changes to Scientific Names; e) Changes to English Names; f) Changes to French Names.

Most of the changes are corrections to typographical errors.

a) Additions and Deletions

Caprimulgus solala  Nechisar Nightjar  Engoulevent de Nechisar is taken out of square brackets -- it has recently been claimed and my placing into square brackets last year was clearly an error.

Turdus obscurus  Eye-browed Thrush  Merle obscure is added.

Locustella certhiola Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler  Locustelle de Pallas  is added.

b) Splitting and Lumping

Chersomanes beesleyi Beesley's Lark Alouette de Beesley is split off from within C. albofasciata.

Corvus cornix Hooded Crow Corneille mantelée  is split off from within C. corone.

c)  Family Moves

Hypocolius ampelinus Hypocolius Hypocolius gris has been moved into its own family Hypocoliidae (from Bombycillidae).

Note has been taken that many of the series of Madagascan endemics are now usually considered to be a group related between themselves and less so to others. This is likely to be incorporated into the next major revision and this may be accompanied by the major revision of the order of families and species within these -- see above.

d) Changes to Scientific Names

Oceanodroma monteiro Monteiro’s Storm-petrel  becomes Oceanodroma monteiroi  

Accipiter francesii  Frances's Sparrowhawk  becomes Accipiter francesiae

Margaroperdix madagascariensis Madagascar Partridge becomes Margaroperdix madagarensis

Sylvia rueppelli Ruppell’s Warbler becomes Sylvia ruppeli

e)  Changes to English Names

Pterodroma arminjoniana becomes Trindade Petrel  (not Trinidade)

Catharacta antarctica becomes Brown Skua (not Subantarctic Skua)

Locustella naevia becomes Common Grasshopper Warbler (not Grasshopper Warbler)

Megabyas flammulatus becomes African Shrike-Flycatcher (not Shrike-Flycatcher)

Bias musicus becomes Black-and-White Shrike-Flycatcher (not Black-and-White Flycatcher)

f)  Changes to French Names

Lybius vieilloti  becomes Barbican de Vieillot  (not Vielliot)

g)  Changes which were considered but not implemented

I am aware there are now some inconsistencies in terms of what has been accepted and what not. The whole list will come under scrutiny again fully in the next year or so especially if the decision is taken to change the overall order of families and species within them.

Serious consideration was given to the following and these at least are likely to happen in the next revision:

Splitting Turdus olivaceus Olive Thrush into several species

Merging Parisoma spp into  Sylvia

Splitting Laniarius aethiopicus Tropical (Ethiopian) Boubou into several species.

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