More Armchair Ticks


The IOC taxonomy has changed – twice since I had it at 10,347 species but only this month’s version has affected me. The new 10,384 total has pushed my world list up to 1,064.

I thought Italian sparrow would be one of them but despite the new Collins Bird Guide recognising it, not so the IOC. No, it’s the Americans and the Kiwis (not literally) wot done it. The former, predictably, split yellow-rumped warbler back into myrtle and Audubon’s. This affects practically all my USA lists, including that for Santa Clara County.

In New Zealand, both kokako and saddleback split into North Island and South Island species. Which presents me with a wee dilemma. No problem with kokako, which I only ever saw on Tiritiri Matangi, but I saw saddleback both there and at Ulva Island, way down south. The Tiri bird would certainly have been transplanted. But from where? Hopefully the conservation effort is sassy enough not to be mingling separate species, so I’m guessing that my Tiri saddleback is genuine North Island.

And the Ulva bird, South Island? Hm, that was back in 2003, so would it have been? Wouldn’t it? Anyone know?

6 thoughts on “More Armchair Ticks

  1. I suspect the Ulva bird was a South Island Saddleback. It would be from the population rescued from Big South Cape Island (the debacle of which lead to the modern age of New Zealand bird conservation), and was the only species saved there. Tiri birds would almost certainly (though I’d need to check) come from one of the islands off Northland via Little Barrier Island. There is something of a genetic bottleneck with most of the diversity being on the island they survived on for the longest, and much less diversity on all the transplanted islands. I am not aware of any mixing of the two species (my friend studies their genetics, and I never heard anything along those lines).

  2. Brilliant information. Thank you. I’m happy to count my sightings as two ticks! Although I’ll try to be more observant in future.

  3. Reading of HBW confirms my original prognosis. The Northland island all North Island Saddlebacks come from is Hen Island. Both the ticks represent the effort and dedication of the New Zealanders to saving their avian fauna, so lets raise a glass to their efforts!

  4. I’ll raise several glasses. The New Zealanders are way ahead of the world when it comes to this, maybe out of necessity but we can’t get too complacent about what we may need to do over the next few years.

  5. Pingback: I and the Bird #122 | Chuqui 3.0
  6. When I saw your IATB writeup at Chuqui’s blog, I imagined a giant flock of exotic birds settling in on your front porch.

    This is even lazier! How cool!

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