Taxonomy Update: 2020

If you are looking for something to keep you amused during quarantine, this probably
won’t fill that bill. However, even in these crazy times, the American Ornithology
Society’s North American Classification Committee (NACC) continues its mission to
update the taxonomy of North American birds, and it is my duty to report its decisions.
There are two new English names for Costa Rican birds. These changes were made last
year by the South American Classification Committee (SACC), and so are already
included in eBird and Merlin. The NACC adopted these changes this year.
1) The Paltry Tyrannulet is now officially called Mistletoe Tyrannulet. It’s scientific name
has been changed from Zimmerius vilissimus (which is now Guatemalan Tyrannulet) to
Zimmerius parvus.
2) The Checker-throated Antwren (Epinecrophylla fulviventris) is now Checker-throated
Scientific name changes (In order as presented in Garrigues and Dean’s 2nd edition):
Canivet’s Emerald – Cynanthus canivetii
Coppery-headed Emerald – Microchera cupreiceps
White-tailed Emerald – Microchera chionura
Blue-tailed Hummingbird – Saucerottia cyanura
Snowy-bellied Hummingbird – Saucerottia edward
Sapphire-throated Hummingbird -Chrysuronia coeruleogularis
Blue-chested Hummingbird – Polyerata amabilis
Charming Hummingbird – Polyerata decora
Blue-throated Goldentail – Chlorestes eliciae
Chestnut-backed Antbird – Poliocrania exsul
Dull-mantled Antbird Sipia laemosticta
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner – Dendroma rufa
White-crowned Manakin – Pseudopipra pipra
White-shouldered Tanager – Loriotus luctuosus
Comb Duck (listed as a rarity in the back of the guide) – Sarkidiornis
For the further edification of anyone who has not fallen asleep by now, the remaining
changes made by the NACC have to do with changing the linear sequences within
groups. For example, in Garrigues and Dean’s second edition, Selasphorus scintilla,
Scintillant Hummingbird, comes before Selasphorus flammula, Volcano Hummingbird. In
future editions, that will change.
To see the complete report of the NACC, you may visit

(Article content and photo below from SBVC ‘Taxonomy Tsar’, Jo Davidson).