[Tweeters] eBird guidance on Common vs Short-billed Gull; loss of NW Crow

Steve Hampton stevechampton at gmail.com
Tue Aug 17 13:02:09 PDT 2021


I think that's a good question. Short-billed was it's historic name and
also it's Latin name (brachyrhynchus = short bill). It was also called
Short-billed Mew Gull at one point.

The AOS guidelines for English bird names are here:

You'll see this fits under C.1., splits, where the preference is for new
names to avoid confusion with old names (e.g. are we referring to the new
Winter Wren or the old Winter Wren?). There are some exceptions, including
this: "1.1.b. Differential usage. In some cases, a name is much more
associated with one daughter species regardless of relative range size."
That was certainly the case here, where gull enthusiasts for decades have
referred to brachyrhynchus as "Mew" and canus as "Common" (and also
kamchatkensis as "Kamchatka"), and Common Gull is widely used in Europe for
this species (the Brits only use Mew for our form), so leaving just the
North American form as Mew would have been fine. I assume they debated this
point, but in the end decided to revert back to Short-billed.

On a related front, I see that the ghosts in eBird's machine have reverted
some of my past Mew Gulls to Short-billed and some (even here in
Washington) to Common! I assume they'll be correcting this.

On Tue, Aug 17, 2021 at 10:43 AM J Christian Kessler <1northraven at gmail.com>

> have to wonder what was wrong with the name "Mew" that neither side of the

> split continues with that name.


> Chris Kessler

> Seattle


> On Tue, Aug 17, 2021 at 10:07 AM Steve Hampton <stevechampton at gmail.com>

> wrote:


>> eBird's taxonomic updates finally rolled out this morning. Two things:


>> 1) Mew Gull is now split into Short-billed Gull (North America) and

>> Common Gull (Eurasia). 99.999% of the time, the correct entry will be

>> Short-billed Gull. I assume county reviewers will be removing Common Gull

>> if there are no prior records in their area (such as for "Kamchatka" Common

>> Gull, the most likely Common Gull to reach the PNW).


>> 2) Northwestern Crow is no more; it was lumped with American Crow last

>> summer after a study showed a vast intragration zone between the two.


>> Note the splitting and lumping is done by the American Ornithological

>> Society each summer. It takes eBird a while to update their software.


>> --

>> Steve Hampton

>> Port Townsend, WA

>> *Qatay, S'Klallam territory*


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>> Tweeters at u.washington.edu

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> --

> "moderation in everything, including moderation"

> Rustin Thompson


Steve Hampton
Port Townsend, WA
*Qatay, S'Klallam territory*
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