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3319Re: Who's On First?

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  • Don Roberson
    Jul 30, 2004
      The 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.

      Don Roberson
      Bird Families of the World
      at http://montereybay.com/creagrus/list.html
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