The American Ornithology Union has recently released the taxonomy
changes for 2017. In addition to changes to the names of two birds
that may be encountered most often by local members of the San
Vito Bird Club, there are also changes in the English names of two
other Costa Rican birds, as well as in the scientific names for a few
others. Let’s deal with the two most locally significant (and quite
sensible) changes first.
A bird that those of us in San Vito are very familiar with,
Aulachohrynchus prasinus, or Emerald Toucanet, is now called the
Northern Emerald-Toucanet. (Note that there is now a hyphen!)
This species was split from what is now called the Southern
Emerald-Toucanet, which occurs mainly in South America and lacks
the obvious blue patch on the throat.
Meet the Talamanca Hummingbird! This beautiful hummingbird
was, until recently, called the Magnificent Hummingbird, or Eugenes
fulgens. The species was split. Its new scientific name is Eugenes
spectabilis, and its new English name was derived from its home
range in the Talamanca Mountains. E. fulgens, which is now called
Rivoli’s Hummingbird, is found from Nicaragua north as far as the
The English names have also changed for the following Costa Rica
●Clapper Rail (Rallus crepitas) is now Mangrove Rail (Rallus
●Prevost’s Ground-Sparrow (Melozone biarcuata) is now
Cabanis’s Ground-Sparrow (Melozone cabanisi).
Scientific name changes are important to know, especially for those
SVBC members who post photos to the Asociación Ornitológico de
Costa Rica Facebook page. These include:
●Anas americana, American Wigeon, is now Mareca americana
●Anas discors, Blue-winged Teal, is now Spatula discors
●Anas cyanoptera, Cinnamon Teal, is now Spatula cyanoptera
●Anas clypeata, Northern Shoveler, is now Spatula clypeata
●Circus cyaneus, Northern Harrier, is now Circus hudsonius
●Sturnella militaris, Red-breasted Blackbird, is now Leistes
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