AOU Changes & ABA Area Birds

The American Ornithologists’ Union published the 51st supplement to its check-list of North American Birds in July of 2010. Here is a brief summary of the changes of interest to ABA birders. The updated AOU checklist, now with 2070 species, can be found at The following splits affected ABA area birds: Black Scoter (Melanitta nigra) was split into American and Eurasian Species. The American species retains the common name Black Scoter (M. americana) and the Eurasian Scoter becomes Common Scoter (M. nigra). The Eurasian species has not yet been reported in the ABA Area.

Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferus) was split into two species: Eastern Whip-poor-will (C. vociferus) and Mexican Whip-poor-will (C. arizonae). Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) was split into three species: Eurasian Wren (T. tryglodytes), Winter Wren (T. hiemalis), and Pacific Wren (T. pacificus).

Pictures and texts comparing all of these splits can be found in Sibley’s Guide to Birds and the National Geographic Field Guide to North America. Songs can be found in the Stokes’ Field Guide to Bird Songs as well as on Draft range maps for all species may be seen at

About Harlequin

Harlequin is a pseudonym for content not attributed to a specific author. It echoes the name of the YCAS newsletter, The Harlequin. Watch for Harlequin Ducks along the rocky portions of the York County coast in winter. ¶ The avatar is by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, who sketched and painted the species during the Harriman Alaska Expedition. ¶ "When we got before the glacier, I saw my first pair of harlequins... the glass showed them plainly to be a ♂ + ♀ histrionicus." — L.A. Fuertes, June 7, 1899
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