OSME Region List of birds
A consultative document
Semi-collared Flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata - an OSME speciality © Aurélien Audevard
The OSME Region List of Bird Taxa – Version 3.41
The aim of the OSME Region List (ORL) is to provide a definitive list of bird taxa2 that have been recorded in the OSME Region. This Formal Edition is issued with a version number so that we* can implement amendments from the results of new research and from comments, corrections and suggestions we may receive. The ORL will be the basis of any country-by-country checklist for the OSME Region, a project that is being undertaken separately under the aegis of OSME Council in cooperation with the countries involved. A longer-term aim is to produce the ORL and country checklists in the languages of each country. However, before you examine the ORL for the first time, we suggest that you read its Ornithological basis, and the Explanation of the ORL. The Ornithological basis provides the rationale for the Order, Sequence and Nomenclature adopted in the ORL. For ease of reference, the ORL comprises five sections: Part A is the list of Non-passerines, Part B contains the Non-Passerine References, Part C is the list of Passerines, Part D contains the Passerine References and Part E comprises the Hypothetical list (species that are of unproven occurrence, those that are unlikely to occur and some perhaps that are both). We acknowledge here the help freely given and the interest expressed by so many people from throughout the Region and from the ornithological world – we believe that we have included their names in the Acknowledgements section below, but if you have been omitted, we apologise, and do let us know so that we can update it! A Simplified ORL (SORL – see http://osme.org/sites/default/files/SIMPLIFIED_ORL_2016_3.3.1.pdf)intended for use in routine correspondence and as a reference source of taxa names in non-taxonomic papers is derived from the published version of the ORL: the SORL usually is revised annually. The SORL is available in Excel format from the Listmaster.
MIKE BLAIR*, STEVE PREDDY, ADULRAHMAN AL-SIRHAN ALENEZI
*ORL correspondence coordinator; Listmaster, c ⁄ o The Lodge, Sandy, SG 19 2DL UK or via orl
(ORL Team Founder Members and Co-authors: RICHARD PORTER AND †SIMON ASPINALL)
The IOC re-sequencing of Non-passerine Orders, planned for late 2017
Following ORL 3.4 below, the next version will be 4.0, incorporating the IOC’s resequencing of non-passerine Orders, which is summarised at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/classification/orders-of-birds-draft-7-1/. This is a much-delayed revision, due primarily to the flood of taxonomic papers that revised relationships between and within genera in so many Orders. The task facing IOC is to establish the ‘post-flood’ sequences of genera and species within Orders so that the re-sequencing of Orders clearly identifies the fewest possible taxa whose taxonomic status remains unsettled.
ORL 3.4: summary of changes
Isenmann et al 2016 in a fine book present much data on the birds of Libya, some of which informed ORL entries on taxa occurring in Egypt and added to entries in the Hypothetical List. Wassink 2016 adds new data to that published in Wassink 2015b.
Wallace et al 2017 subsume Oceanodroma in Hydrobates, thus changing four scientific names in the ORL Collinson et al 2016 and Huang et al 2016 came to somewhat differing conclusions on the relationships of the small Egretta taxa, partly because of different molecular techniques, but also because of small samples, particularly from museum specimens, and that the two papers considered different population subsets. There is some suggestion of lumping some reef heron (reef egret) populations with some Little Egret E. garzetta populations; Nearctic Snowy Egret E, thula also seems closely related. There also may be reason to consider superspecies status, but too little is known as yet.
Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus, from reports in many countries, is expanding its range northwards, involving both the nominate and vociferus sspp. Three papers, Sonsthagen et al 2012, Nebel et al 2015 and Doyle et al 2016 examine the relationships within many Golden Eagle Aquila chyrsaetos populations. Taken together, the papers suggest that three distinct populations exist within the OSME Region (and up to four in the Nearctic), which informally and tentatively we group as ‘Northern Golden Eagle’ (chrysaetos group), ‘Mediterranean Golden Eagle’ (homeyeri group) and in easternmost Central Asia ‘American Golden Eagle’ (canadensis group subsuming kamschatica in the Kazakh Altai).
The likely identity of Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris breeding grounds was narrowed down, a little unexpectedly, to the steppe belt of mid- to northern Kazakhstan, but over a considerable latitude rang, by means of light isotope ratio analysis of samples from juvenile birds in specimen collections - Buchanan et al 2017. This covers a vast area, and so even quite a reasonable population just might still exist. The analysis by Aliabadian et al 2016 of relationships between barn owl taxa reduced Western Barn Owl Tyto alba distribution by transferring its easternmost ssp stertens & javanica to Eastern Barn Owl T. deliculata, resulting in two changes: javanica has priority over deliculata, thus making Eastern Barn Owl T. javanica, and because stertens just reaches into Afghanistan at the Torkham border crossing, it added a species to the ORL! The third species is extralimital American Barn Owl T. furcata.
In the continuing story of large grey shrikes, an amendment was proposed by Pam Rasmussen (2017) to the American Ornithological Society on the taxonomy of Nearctic and closely-related eastern Palearctic large grey shrike taxa (some of which occur in the OSME Region); this proposal aligns with the treatment suggested in the ORL.
In two papers by the same lead author, Pentzold et al 2013 & 2016, molecular and song analyses support treating the Cyprus Coal Tit as a separate species, Periparus (ater) Cypriotes; we retain a degree of caution pending further work.
Samotskaya et al 2016 re-evaluate records of Blyth’s Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum purporting to be breeding in the OSME Region, and by song-type analysis, conclude that the species employs a form of song on passage to the breeding grounds not heard when establishing breeding territory. Furthermore, museum specimens attributed to Blyth’s Reed Warbler collected reasonably close to the recently-discovered breeding areas of Large-billed Reed Warbler A. orinus are actually the latter species. Re the Eurasian/African/Mangrove Reed Warbler complex, a few tantalising snippets suggest that the relationships of isolated populations, particularly those in oases that the picture is complex, taxon ammon being provisionally names ‘Siwa Reed Warbler’ in Isenmann et al 2016 and taxon ambiguus named ‘Ambiguous Reed Warbler’ by Dutch Birding: for the latter, we earlier had coined the informal name of ‘Brehm’s Reed Warbler’, still a hypothetical Region species.
The over-lumped Zosterops genus is ripe for deconstruction, but progress is limited largely to studies of extralimital taxa, eg Husemann et al 2016 in East African white-eyes; our guess is that at least one new OSME Region taxon occupies isolated patches of mangroves, but some of these are in currently volatile areas. Wassink 2016 continues to document species newly found in Kazakhstan.
References for ORL 3.3 Introductory Material
Aliabadian, M, N Alaei-Kakhki, O Mirshamsi, V Nijman and A Roulin. 2016. Phylogeny, biogeography, and diversification of barn owls (Aves: Strigiformes). Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 119(4): 904–918.
Buchanan, GM, AL Bond, NJ Crockford, J Kamp, JW Pearce-Higgins and GM Hilton. 2017. The potential breeding range of Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris identified by stable-isotope analysis. Bird Cons. Intl. 10pp. doi.org/10.1017/S0959270916000551
Collinson, JM, E Ferguson, T Jones and C Rozen. 2016. Genetic analysis of a Western Reef Egret E. gularis fgrom Israel. Sandgrouse 38((1): 2-4.
Doyle, JM, TE Katzner, GW Roemer, JW Cain III, BA Millsap, CL McIntyre, SA Sonsthagen, NB Fernandez, M Wheeler, Z Bulut, PH Bloom and JA DeWoody. 2016. Genetic structure and viability selection in the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), a vagile raptor with a Holarctic distribution. Conserv. Genet. doi: 10.1007/s10592-016-0863-0
Huang, ZH, MF Li and JW Qin. 2016. DNA barcoding and phylogenetic relationships of Ardeidae (Aves: Ciconiiformes). Genet. Mol. Res. 15 (3): gmr.15038270
Husemann, M, S Sturm, M Curto, H Meimberg and JC Habel. 2016. Four new mitochondrial genomes of the genus Zosterops (Aves: Passeriformes: Zosteropidae) from East Africa with a phylogenetic evaluation of the group. MtDNA Part B 1(1): 544-548. doi: 10.1080/23802359.2016.1198937
Isenmann, P. J Hering, S Brehme, M Essghaire, K Etayeb, E Bourass and H Azafzaf. 2016. Oiseaux de Libye/Birds of Libya. SEO France. National Museum of Natural History, 55 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France.
Nebel, C, A Gamauf, E Haring, G Segelbacher, A Villers and FE Zachos. 2015. Mitochondrial DNA analysis reveals Holarctic homogeneity and a distinct Mediterranean lineage in the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). Biol. J. Linn. Soc. June 2015: 1-13.
Pentzold, S, C Tritscha, J Marten, DT Tietze, G Giacalone, M Lo Valvo, AA Nazarenko, L Kvist and M Päckert. 2013. Where is the line? Phylogeography and secondary contact of western Palearctic coal tits (Periparus ater: Aves, Passeriformes, Paridae). Zool. Anzeiger. 252: 367-382.
Pentzold, S, MI Förschler, DT Tietze, C Randler, J Martens and M Päckert. 2016. Geographic variation in coal tit song across continents and reduced species recognition between Central European and Mediterranean populations. Vert. Zool. 66(2): 191-199.
Rasmussen, P. 2017. Split Lanius excubitor into two or more species. Formal submission 2017-B-8 to the N&MA Classification Committee of the AOU.
Samotskaya, V, I Marova, P Kvartalnov, V Yu Arkhipov and V Ivanitskii. 2016. Song in two cryptic species: comparative analysis of Large-billed Reed Warblers Acrocephalus orinus and Blyth's Reed Warblers Acrocephalus dumetorum. Bird Study 63(4): 479-489 (doi: 10.1080/00063657.2016.1220489)
Sonsthagen, SA, TJ Coonan, BC Latta, GK Sage and SL Talbot. 2012. Genetic diversity of a newly established population of golden eagles on the Channel Islands, California. Biol Conserv. 146: 116-122.
Wallace, SJ, JA Morris-Pocock, J González-Solis, P Quillfeldt and V Friesen. 2017. A phylogenetic test of sympatric speciation in the Hydrobatinae (Aves Procellariiformes). Mol. Phyl. Evol. 107: 39-47.
Wassink, A. 2016. Birds of Kazakhstan: new and interesting data, part 7. Dutch Birding 38(6): 388-392.
ORL 3.3: summary of changes
A major source of recent occurrence data was Arend Wassink’s The new Birds of Kazakhstan, from which many accounts, were updated. Those seabird species on the BirdLife Tracking Database that also occur in the OSME are identified in the ORL Non-Passerine and Hypothetical sections by a diagonally shaded pale blue fill in the relevant English name cells. We would be interested in feedback.
Kennedy and Spencer 2014 showed that the Great Cormorant taxon in most the OSME Region, sinensis (also in inland Europe) is as distant from Phalacrocorax carbo as is P. lucidus, White-breasted Cormorant, the African taxon that just reaches Yemen’s Red Sea coast. A Striped Crake Aenigmatolimnas marginalis from sub-Equatorial Africa turned up in Kuwait, first for the OSME Region, after having been taken for the similar Spotted Crake Porzana (now Zapornia) parva. Lesser Moorhen, another African rail, (3 records Oman) has now been allotted the genus Paragallinula Sangster et al 2015. The seriously declining and distinctively-plumaged alboaxillaris taxon of Eurasian Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus appears to breed in tiny numbers irregularly in Kazakhstan (Kohler et al 2013) and so has been accorded its own account in the ORL; its taxonomic status is uncertain. Huang & Tu 2016 establish clades in Tringa and Calidris via DNA barcoding, improving understanding of relationships.
In common with an increasing number of species with Nearctic and Palearctic populations, Lapland Owl Strix lapponica has been split by Robb and the Sound Approach 2015 from Great Grey Owl S. nebulosa, the vocal differences reinforcing the molecular conclusions of Nijman and Aliabadian 2013 (The Nearctic taxa may be split further, given that Hull et al 2014 have formally proposed yosemitensis as a new subspecies). Another similar split from Robb and the Sound Approach 2015 and Nijman and Aliabadian 2013 concerns Boreal Owl Aegolius funereus: the sole Nearctic form becomes Aegolius richardsoni (seemingly there is some debate in the New World whether to call this taxon Richardson’s Owl or Boreal Owl), but presumably the single south Asian (beickianus) and the five Palearctic (funerus, pallens, caucasicus and the extralimital magnus, sibiricus) are included as sspp under A. funereus, which pleasingly reverts to the English name Tengmalm’s Owl. The Speckled Piculet has long been included in the genus Picumnus, the nominate being in the Region in Afghanistan and extralimital in Tibet and India, two other sspp occurring as far east as Borneo, but the other 26 species in the genus occur in South America. It will come as no surprise that Dufort 2015 shows that that Speckled Piculet belongs in its own genus, Vivia, and by case agreement the species name becomes innominata.
A molecular analysis by Zhan et al 2015, employing a battery of molecular techniques, concludes that Saker Falcon Falco cherrug is essentially monotypic: although plumage differences between cherrug and milvipes populations had long been cited as the rationale for dividing populations (sometimes populations being elevated to ssp status, eg Karyakin 2011) into these two groups, Zhan et al 2015 found examples of the supposed plumage differences within each group. However, the analysis of Fuchs et al 2015, employing a different suite of techniques, found Saker Falcon was not monophyletic! There is clearly much yet to be learned, but pro tem the ORL will refer to ‘cherrug-type’ populations under the informal name of ‘Northern Saker Falcon’ and to ‘milvipes-type’ populations under the informal name of ‘Southern Saker Falcon’.
An in depth revision of the Phylogeny of True Geese by Ottenburghs et al 2016 reveals ancestral Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus is basal to Branta and Anser genera. Amongst other discoveries, they found Swan Goose A. cygnoides to be sister to Greater (A. albifrons) and Lesser (A. erythropus) White-fronted Geese and to Tundra Bean Goose A. serrirostris.
Red’kin et al 2015 review the taxonomy of numerous Russian taxa, in passing largely adopting the same treatment of the large grey shrikes as in the ORL since 2010. Stervander et al 2016 applied a suite of molecular techniques to Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla and sister taxa: dukhunensis differs greatly from all others and pro tem we suggest informally the English name Sykes’ Short-toed Lark (from Sykes 1832); also eremica, formerly grouped with Blanford’s Lark C. blanfordi, is distant from all other Blanford’s Lark taxa and pro tem we suggest the informal English name of Arabian Short-toed Lark.
Olsson et al 2016 examined the morphology and molecular phylogeny of the Eurasian Reed/Mangrove Reed/African Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus/avicenniae/baeticatus) complex and found 8 lineages. They concluded that the reed warbler populations from Iberia through North Africa belonged not to African Reed Warbler A. baeticatus, as recently proposed, but to a new species, A. ambiguous, which may occur in the OSME Region in oases in westernmost Egypt; when previously placed in A. baeticatus it had been recorded in oases in easternmost Libya. No English name has been proposed, but pro tem we suggest Brehm’s Reed Warbler (from Brehm 1857).
Revisiting the Olsson et al 2013 seminal paper on the Lesser Whitethroat complex, it delineated the breeding distribution for the taxon margelanica as being the loess plateau of Northern China. Now Shirihai et al 2001 had elevated margelanica (Stolzmann 1897) to a full species, separate from Sylvia curruca, and indeed Olsson et al 2013 validate that approach, noting that margelanica is genetically quite different form curruca. However, the English name ‘Margelanic Whitethroat’ coined by Shirihai et al 2001 was based on specimens of migrant individuals passing through Margelan, Uzbekistan. We suggest informally the alternative English name ‘Cathay Whitethroat’, because the loess plateau lies within Cathay, the historical name for northern China. Wassink 2015 notes 3 records attributable to S. margelanica in south-east Kazakhstan. Furthermore, Votier et al 2016 employing a suite of isotope-ratio analyses demonstrate not only that the eastern taxa of the Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca complex align with the conclusions of Olsson et al 2013, but also that taxa halimodendri and blythi show no evidence of intergrading; the corollary was that many morphology-based catalogued specimens attributed to other S. curruca taxa were unequivocally blythi.
White-tailed Rubythroat Calliope pectoralis has been split by Liu et al 2016 into extralimital Chinese Rubythroat C, tschebaiewi and polytypic Himalayan Rubythroat C. pectoralis, whose two ssp bailloni and the nominate both occur in the OSME Region. Hooper et al 2016 demonstrate that Rusty-tailed Flycatcher should be Ficedula ruficauda and not Muscicapa ruficauda. Lastly Li et al 2015 examine the molecular phylogeography and the population history of the white wagtail complex. It is not straightforward: haplotypes for alba, yarrelli, leucopsis & lugens were found in populations (in differing proportions) other than those identified as such, implying complicated population histories, perhaps even reallocation of taxa in some populations whose distribution limits are as yet unknown. This complexity is explained by white wagtails being extremely mobile across an extensive largely homogenous grassland habitat during the last glacial maximum, where populations met and separated often, resulting in extremely fast plumage divergence: the low genetic diversity reflects a mitochondrial history of less than 1 million years. We think it important to continue to list white wagtail taxa separately, so that none are lost from consideration and so that the weight of new data can be judged.
Thanks to Mike Jennings, I’ve now been able to go through all 30 issues of Phoenix and have incorporated numerous original contributions as cited references in the ORL. Version 6.3 of the IOC World Bird List has been taken into account in ORL3.3 proper, which supersedes the β-version. Lastly, observant readers will have noticed a considerable increase in ornithological papers from Chinese lead authors. We expect this to accelerate over the next few years as the investment China has made across the sciences takes effect in ornithology, especially in findings from biological molecular research.
References for ORL 3.3 Introductory Material
Dufort, M. 2015. An augmented supermatrix phylogeny of the avian family Picidae reveals uncertainty deep in the family tree. Mol. Phyl. Evol. 94(A). doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2015.08.025
Fuchs, J, JA Johnson and DP Mindell. 2015. Rapid diversification of falcons (Aves: Falconidae) due to expansion of open habitats in the Late Miocene. Mol. Phyl Evol. 82: 166-182.
Hooper, DM, U Olsson and P Alström. 2016. The Rusty-tailed Flycatcher (Muscicapa ruficauda; Aves: Muscicapidae) is a member of the genus Ficedula. Mol. Phyl. Evol. Accepted.
Huang, Z and F Tu. 2016. DNA barcoding of Calidris and Tringa (Aves: Scolopacidae). Mitochondrial DNA 1-4. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/24701394.2016.1155121
Hull, JM, A Englis Jr, JR Medley, EP Jepsen, JR Duncan, HB Ernest and JJ Keane. 2014. A new subspecies of Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa) in the Sierra Nevada of California, USA. Raptor Res. Found. 48(1): 68-77.
Karyakin, IV. 2011. Subspecies population structure of the Saker Falcon range. Raptors Conservation. 21: 116-172.
Kennedy, M and HG Spencer. 2014. Classification of Cormorants of the World. Mol. Phyl. Evol. 79: 249-257
Köhler, P, L Lachmann and R Urazliyev. 2013. Numenius species and subspecies in west Kazakhstan. WSG Bull. 120(1): 1=10
Li, X, F Dong, F Lei, P Alström, R Zhang, A Ödeen, J Fjeldså, PGP Ericson, F Zou and X Yang. 2015. Shaped by uneven Pleistocene climate: mitochondrial phylogeographic pattern and population history of White Wagtail Motacilla alba (Aves: Passeriformes). J. Avian Biol. doi: 10.1111/jav.00826
Liu, Y, G Chen, Q Huang, C Jia, G Carey, P Leader, Y Li, X Yang, F Zou, U Olsson and P Alström. 2016. Species delimitation of the White-tailed Rubythroat Calliope pectoralis complex (Aves, Turdidae) using an integrative taxonomic approach. J. Avian Biol. Accepted.
Nijman, V and M Aliabadian. 2013. DNA barcoding as a tool for elucidating species delineation in wide-ranging species as illustrated by owls (Tytonidae and Strigidae). Zool. Sci. 30: 1005-1009.
Olsson, U, P Leader, G Carey, AA Khan, L Svensson and P Alström. 2013. New insights into the intricate taxonomy and phylogeny of the Sylvia curruca complex. Mol. Phyl. & Evol. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2012.12.023
Olsson, U, H Rguibi-Idrissi, JL Copete, JLA Matos, P Provost, M Amezian, P Alström and, F Jiguet. 2016. Mitochondrial phylogeny of the Eurasian/African reed warbler complex (Acrocephalus, Aves). Disagreement between morphological and molecular evidence and cryptic divergence: a case for resurrecting Calamoherpe ambigua Brehm 1857. Mol. Phyl. Evol. Accepted.
Ottenburghs, J, H-J Megens, RHS Kraus, O Madsen, P van Hooft, SE van Wieren, RPMA Crooijmans, RC Ydenberg, MAM Groenen and HHT Prins. 2016. A Tree of Geese: A Phylogenomic Perspective on the Evolutionary History of True Geese. Mol. Phyl. Evol. 101: 303-313.
Red'kin, YA, VYu Arkhipov, SV Volkov, AA Mosalov and EA Koblik. 2015. [Type or species? Controversial taxonomic treatment of the birds of Northern Eurasia]. Вид или не вид? Спорные таксономические трактовки птиц Северной Евразии. [XIV Ornithological Conference of Northern Eurasia. II. Reports]. XIV орнитологическая конференция Северной Евразии. II. Доклады. [In Russian].
Robb, MS & the Sound Approach. 2015. Undiscovered Owls. The Sound Approach. Poole, UK.
Sangster, G, JC Garcia-Rodrigez and SA Trewick. 2015. A new genus for the Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata Sundevall, 1850 (Aves, Rallidae). Euro. J. Taxon. 153: 1-8.
Shirihai, H, G Gargallo and AJ Helbig. 2001. Sylvia Warblers. Identification, taxonomy and phylogeny of the genus Sylvia. Helm. A&C Black. London. UK.
Stervander, M, P Alström, U Olsson, U Ottosson, B Hansson and S Bensch. 2016. Multiple instances of paraphyletic species and cryptic taxa revealed by mitochondrial and nuclear RAD data for Calandrella larks (Aves: Alaudidae). Mol. Phyl. Evol. Accepted.
Votier, SC, S Aspinall, S Bearhop, D Bilton, J Newton, P Alström, P Leader, G Carey, RW Furness and U Olsson. 2016. Stable isotopes and mtDNA reveal niche segregation but no evidence of intergradation along a habitat gradient in the Lesser Whitethroat complex (Sylvia curruca; Passeriformes; Aves). J. Orn. doi 10.1007/s10336-016-1351-5
Wassink, A. 2015. The new Birds of Kazakhstan. De Cocksdorp. Texel, Nederland.
Zhan, X, A Dixon, N Batbayar, E Bragin, Z Ayas, L Deutschova, J Chavko, S Domashevsky, A Dorosencu, J Bagyura, S Gombobobaatar, ID Grlica, A Levin, Y Milobog, M Ming, M Prommer, G Purev-Ochir, D Ragyov, V Tsurkanu, V Vetrov, N Zubkov and MW Bruford. 2015. Exonic versus intronic SNPs: contrasting roles in revealing the population genetic structure of a widespread bird species. Heredity 114: 1-9.
1 Our assessment of a number of papers for version 3.3 is preliminary, hence the adoption here of a beta (β) version; we’ll issue final version in July 2016.
2 We use the word ‘taxon’ (plural ‘taxa’) rather than ‘species’ or ‘subspecies’ here because there are a number of cases where any definition of a species or subspecies is inadequate to describe the status of populations where a majority of, but not all, individuals can be identified through visual identification, morphology or DNA studies. The subtleties revealed through much modern genetic research indicate that many more taxa than previously thought are in dynamic states of evolutionary stability that defy simple definitions of ‘species’ and ‘subspecies’ (the Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava complex (qv) is a good example). Overlying this problem is that precise knowledge of taxa distribution limits and population numbers and densities is lacking over vast areas of the Region, which leads us to be cautious about even well-argued cases for ‘splitting’ and ‘lumping’. We therefore retain some taxa that we have not elevated to a higher rank and others that we have not ‘lumped’, but we note the cases for doing so.