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RE: [CALBIRDS] Fw: Townsend's Shearwatwer (New North American record)

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  • Kimball Garrett
    Birders, Most of you are perfectly aware of this, but in case any beginning birders out there are confused by the dueling subject lines in Doug Aguillard s
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 6, 2007
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      Birders,

      Most of you are perfectly aware of this, but in case any beginning
      birders out there are confused by the "dueling" subject lines in Doug
      Aguillard's two posts regarding the Newell's/Townsend's Shearwater in
      San Diego the other day, it is simply a matter of taxonomy.

      The current AOU treatment is of a single species, Townsend's Shearwater
      (Puffinus auricularis), with two subspecies: the nominate (breeding on
      the Islas Revillagigedos off w. Mexico) and P. a. newelli (breeding on
      Kauai and perhaps other islands in the Hawaiian archipelago).
      Differences in plumage and structure are subtle (but probably on par
      with species-level differences among the "small black-and-white"
      shearwaters); vocalizations are purportedly similar (but Townsend's is
      poorly studied). The two taxa differ in breeding habitat, at-sea
      ecology, and breeding season.

      Right now it is "correct" to refer to the species as Townsend's
      Shearwater, but given (a) that Newell's Shearwater is generally used to
      refer to the Hawaiian birds (is there anybody in Hawaii or in the U. S.
      Fish and Wildlife Service who calls the Hawaiian birds Townsend's
      Shearwaters?), and (b) that current taxonomic trends in procellariids
      make it likely that a "split" will be recognized, it makes sense to
      refer, informally at least, to the two groups as "Townsend's" and
      "Newell's". Philip Unitt has determined that the San Diego bird was
      Newell's.

      [Another wrench thrown into this mess is the suggestion that a
      poorly-known tropical Pacific taxon, myrtae, might be allied with the
      auricularis complex rather than with the "Little" or "Audubon's"
      groups.]

      Sorry for the semi-pedantic taxonomy lesson, but I was concerned there
      might be confusion about the postings.

      KLG

      Kimball L. Garrett
      Ornithology Collections Manager
      Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
      900 Exposition Blvd.
      Los Angeles CA 90007
      (213) 763-3368
      (213) 746-2999 FAX
      kgarrett@...

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf
      > Of Douglas Aguillard
      > Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2007 12:13 PM
      > To: Calbirds@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [CALBIRDS] Fw: Townsend's Shearwatwer (New North American
      record)
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Douglas Aguillard
      > To: Calbirds@...
      > Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2007 9:57 AM
      > Subject: Newell's Shearwatwer (New North American record)
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