3319Re: Who's On First?
- Jul 30, 2004The American Ornithologists' Union is the sole arbitor of the taxonomy
and sequence of the bird checklists we use. Their list is on-line and
easily accessible at http://www.aou.org/aou/birdlist.html
Supplements to this list are always published in the July issue of
"The Auk" and quickly incorporated into the on-line list.
The ABA, CBRC, and other state & provincial committees all follow the
AOU checklist. They have always adopted every change and innovation,
and always will. In essence, as to taxonomic issues, ABA and/or CBRC
are simply rubber stamps. There is no chance they will not adopt every
change in the AOU order and taxonomy; these groups are not competent
to disagree (e.g., I think there is only one professional
ornithologist on the CBRC: Kimball Garrett). There is no need to wait
until some future CBRC or other meeting to adopt the AOU taxonomy. It
is official now.
As to the reason for placing the waterfowl and gamebirds first, here
is a very short explanation: all current research on the evolution of
birds agrees that there are two major basal lineages: Palaeognathae
(ratities and tinamous) and Neognathae (all others). So Ostriches
through Kiwis (including Tinamous) must be listed first. Within the
Neognathae there are also two basal lineages: Galloanserae (gamebirds
and waterfowl) and Neoaves (all others). This means that the gamebirds
and waterfowl must be placed next in the list (after rarities and
tinamous) as has been done in the AOU checklist (2002), the on-line
South American checklist, and the new 3d ed Howard & Moore world
checklist (Dickinson 2003). The order within the Galloanserae is
subject to some debate: whether the gamebirds (e.g., quail, pheasants)
or waterfowl (ducks, geese) are more basal and should go first. The
current AOU judgment puts the ducks/geese before the
chachalacas/quails/pheasants. But there is now wide agreement that
both these groups precede all others here in North America.
Bird Families of the World
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