Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
The New Checklist of the Birds of New York State
The Checklist of the Birds of New York State (1996) followed the 6th Edition of the AOU Check-list of North American Birds (1983) and the subsequent 35th through 40th Supplements. The publication of the 41st Supplement (AOU 1997), with its numerous and sometimes dramatic changes, has made it necessary to realign our official list accordingly, as presented here. We will then be in conformity with the 7th Edition of the AOU Check-list of North American Birds.
Bird classification today may be in a greater dynamic state than anytime in history, reflecting the results of modern biochemical and DNA-DNA hybridization research. The forthcoming 7th Edition of the AOU Check-list will in no way be the final chapter and the changes will continue apace. We will adopt further changes as they appear.
Some may wonder why we must pay heed to this constant rearranging and renaming process. The very simple answer is that one must recognize some responsible central authority in an attempt to bring some order to what has become an increasingly chaotic picture of systematics and English names, so that what appears in these pages can be understood by any reader who picks up The Kingbird anywhere in this country.
We will start by summarizing those changes which apply specifically to the Checklist of Birds of New York State and then reproduce New York's current checklist of 451 species in its correct AOU confirmation.
The genus of Yellow-nosed Albatross is changed to Thalassarche.
The Family Cathartidae (American Vultures) is removed from the Order Falconiformes and placed in the Order Ciconfiformes after the Family Ciconiidae (Storks.)
The Family Anatidae (Geese, Swans, and Ducks) has been extensively rearranged.
In the Family Falconidae (Caracaras and Falcons) please note that Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo) has been removed from the Checklist of the Birds of New York State by the reversal of the New York State Avian Records Committee's (NYSARQ decision on the record. This change is not the result of any AOU action.
In the Family Phasianidae (Partridges, Grouse, and Turkeys), the genus of Spruce Grouse has been changed to Falcipennis.
In this same Family Phasianidae, Northern Bobwhite has been removed and placed in its own Family Odontophoridae (New World Quail.)
In the Family Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings), the specific name of American Golden-Plover has been changed from dominica to dominicus.
In the Family Laridae (Skuas, Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers), the sequence of Jaegers and Skuas has been reversed.
In the Family Alcidae (Auks, Murres, and Puffins), Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus mamoratus) is replaced by Long-billed Murrelet (B. perdix) as the result of a species split.
In the Family Strigidae (Typical Owls), the generic name for Burrowing Owl has been changed from Speotyto to Athene. In the Family Picidae (Woodpeckers and Allies), Lewis's Woodpecker has been added to the Checklist of the Birds of New York State by a NYSARC decision in mid-1996. This change is not the result of any AOU action.
All of the above changes cover the non-passerine portion of the Checklist of the Birds of New York State. The Order Passeriformes includes some 188 species of our checklist and most of the dramatic changes occur within that Order. Listed below you will find the new Family sequence within that Order, followed by changes taking place within those Families.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
Corvidae (Jays, Magpies, and Crows)
Paridae (Chickadees and Titmice)
Sylviidae (Old World Warblers and Gnatcatchers)
Turdidae (Thrushes' )
Mimidae (Mockingbirds, Thrashers, and Allies)
Sturnidae (Starlings and Allies)
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
Parulidae (Wood Warblers)
Emberizidae (New World Sparrows)
Cardinalidae (Grosbeaks and Buntings)
Icteridae (Blackbirds and Orioles)
Fringillidae (Fringilline and Cardueline Finches)
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
In the Family Tyraanidae (Tyrant Flycatchers), the specific name of Olive-sided Flycatcher is changed from borealis to cooperi.
In the Family Vireonidae (Vireos), the English name Solitary Vireo is changed to Blue-headed Vireo.
In the Family Hirundinidae (Swallows), Barn Swallow is now placed directly after Bank Swallow, and the generic name for both Cliff and Cave swallows is changed from Hirundo to Petrochelidon.
In the Family Paridae (Chickadees and Titmice), the genus Parus has been replaced by the genus Poecile in the case of both Black-capped and Boreal chickadee, and by the genus Baeolophus in the case of Tufted Titmouse.
In the Family Emberizidae (New World Sparrows), the genus Zonotrichia has been rearranged and the sequence is now: White-throated, Harris's, White-crowned, Golden-crowned.
In the Family Icteridae (Blackbirds and Orioles), the sequence for grackles is now: Common Grackle followed by Boat-tailed Grackle.
It also should be pointed out that the three patronymic English names that ended in s' (Ross', Lewis', Harris') will now appear as Ross's, Lewis's, Harris's.