Taxonomic changes for 2017

You will want to familiarize yourself with the taxonomic changes for this year. Some, but not all, of the possible changes may be flagged as exceptions during the AviSys update. For some changes you will need to figure out what the corresponding new name is, and manually update your AviSys data accordingly before the update will run to completion. Exceptions are reported in a file named UPDEXCEP.TXT, and suggestions for how to deal with exceptions are provided in that file. Read these suggestions carefully. Exceptions will only be reported for species that you have seen; all changes for species that you have not seen are done entirely automatically.

Below I provide a bare-bones summary of all the possible changes that you might encounter in the 2017 update. You're likely to need to research some of these changes further. There is a very readable account of most, but not all, of the changes provided by eBird. More technical, and complete, information about the changes can be found at the Clements checklist site. These Cornell web pages also describe many other changes (e.g., in scientific names) that may be of interest to you but that don't have a direct bearing on the AviSys update. If you are starting from an older AviSys update (you don't have the 2016 update), you may need to research older Clements pages.

AviSys provides a message that says information is provided in PDF files. It's referring to the information that is now on this web page.

Simple name changes

These are listed separately under simple name changes.


In this table, "old name" is a name that was in the 2016 taxonomy but has disappeared from the 2017 taxonomy due to a lump. For help with this, see How to do a lump.

Old nameNew name
Species lumped into an existing species
Thayer's GullIceland Gull
Species lumped into a new species
Western Olive SunbirdOlive Sunbird
Eastern Olive SunbirdOlive Sunbird


For help, see How to do a split.

There are two tables of splits. The first table lists splits where one of the split species retains the original name. Thus, because the name still exists, AviSys will not flag your sightings of that species as an exception; however you will want to review your records to see if you need to transfer some sightings to one of the new species.

Old nameNew name
Gray-breasted PartridgeMalaysian PartridgeMountains of Malay Peninsula
Gray-breasted PartridgeRoll's PartridgeNW Sumatra (Batak highlands)
Gray-breasted PartridgeSumatran PartridgeMountains of central Sumatra
Gray-breasted PartridgeGray-breasted PartridgeMountains of e Java

Northern HarrierHen HarrierWidespread Eurasia
Northern HarrierNorthern HarrierWidespread North America; winters to n South America

Glossy SwiftletChristmas Island SwiftletChristmas I. (Indian Ocean south of Java)
Glossy SwiftletPlume-toed Swiftletaffinis Andaman and Nicobar Islands; elachyptera Mergui Archipelago (off Myanmar); cyanoptila Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Natuna Island, and lowland Borneo; vanderbilti Nias I. (off w Sumatra); oberholseri Batu Islands and Mentawi Islands (off w Sumatra)
Glossy SwiftletGray-rumped Swiftletseptentrionalis Philippines (Calayan, Camiguin Norte, Babuyan, Claro, Fuga); marginata northern Philippines (central Luzon to Mindoro, Panay, Negros, Bohol, and Leyte); identity of the population on Palawan not determined, but may belong with Ridgetop Swiftlet
Glossy SwiftletRidgetop Swiftletisonota northern Philippines (northern Luzon); bagobo southern Philippines (montane Mindoro, Mindanao, and Sulu Archipelago)
Glossy SwiftletTenggara Swiftletsumbawae western Lesser Sundas (Sumbawa; population on Flores and Besar possibly also this subspecies); sumbae western Lesser Sundas (Sumba)
Glossy SwiftletDrab Swiftletneglecta Lesser Sundas (Sawu, Roti, Semau, and Timor); perneglecta Lesser Sundas (Alor, Wetar, and Kisar); populations on Romang, Damar and Tanimbar possibly introgressant with Glossy Swiftlet
Glossy SwiftletGlossy Swiftletspilura N Moluccas; manadensis N Sulawesi, Sangihe, Siau, Talasea and Talaud islands; esculenta central and southern Sulawesi, Banggai and Sula islands, South Moluccas (to Kai Islands), and Aru Islands; minuta Salayar, Bonerate, Tanahjampea and Kalao is. (n Flores Sea); amethystina Waigeo I. (off nw New Guinea); numforensis Numfor I. (off nw New Guinea); nitens New Guinea, western Papuan Islands, Yapen, and Karker; misimae Louisiade Archipelago (Misima and Rossel); stresemanni Admiralty Islands (Manus, Rambutyo, Nauna, Los Negros); heinrothi Bismarck Archipelago (New Hanover, Nusa, New Ireland, and Djaul); spilogaster Bismarck Archipelago (Lihir Group and Tatau Islands); hypogrammica Bismarck Archipelago (Nissan and Green); tametamele Bismarck Arch. (New Britain and Witu); Bougainville; lagonoleucos northwestern Solomon Islands (Buka and Bougainville; identify of population on Shortland not determined, but possibly this subspecies); becki Central and ne Solomon Islands; single record from Malaita; makirensis Makira (Solomon Islands); desiderata Rennell (s Solomon Islands)
Glossy SwiftletSatin Swiftleturopygialis Santa Cruz Is. and Vanuatu (including Torres and Banks Is.); albidior New Caledonia and Loyalty Islands

Horned Parakeet (Horned)Horned ParakeetNew Caledonia
Horned Parakeet (Ouvea)Ouvea ParakeetLoyalty Islands (Ouvéa)

Cardinal Myzomela (all other ssp)Cardinal Myzomela
Cardinal Myzomela (Samoan)Samoan MyzomelaSamoa (Upolu, Savai'i and Tutuila)

Northern ShrikeGreat Gray Shrikeexcubitor W and n Europe to w Siberia; homeyeri Balkan Peninsula to s Ural Mountains and w Siberia; leucopterus W Siberia to Yenisey River
Northern ShrikeNorthern Shrikesibiricus E Siberia to n Mongolia and Kamchatka Peninsula; bianchii Sakhalin and s Kuril Islands (n Japan); mollis Russian Altai and nw Mongolia; funereus W China (Tien Shan Mountains); borealis breeds Alaska and northern Canada, south to extreme northern British Columbia and Alberta, northern Ontario, and Quebec; winters southern Canada and northern United States.

Magnificent RiflebirdMagnificent Riflebirdmagnificus Lowlands of w and w-central New Guinea; alberti N Queensland (n Cape York Peninsula)
Magnificent RiflebirdGrowling RiflebirdLowlands of central and se Papua New Guinea

Streak-eared BulbulAyeyarwady BulbulCentral and s Myanmar
Streak-eared BulbulStreak-eared BulbulThailand, southern Indochina, and the northern and central Thai-Malay Peninsula

Buff-vented BulbulBuff-vented BulbulThai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Bangka and Belitung, Anambas Islands, and Natuna
Buff-vented BulbulCharlotte's BulbulBorneo

Olive BulbulCachar Bulbulnortheastern India (Assam) and eastern Bangladesh
Olive BulbulOlive Bulbulviridescens southern Myanmar and southwestern Thailand; lekhakuni southern Myanmar to western Thailand; cinnamomeoventris Thai-Malay Peninsula (Mergui District and Isthmus of Kra south at least to Songkhla)

Blue-throated FlycatcherBlue-throated Flycatcherrubeculoides Kashmir to n India and n Myanmar; > to Sri Lanka; dialilaemus E Myanmar to n and sw Thailand; rogersi Myanmar (Arakan Yoma and lower Chindwin River area)
Blue-throated Flycatcher (Chinese)Chinese Blue Flycatcherbreeds southern China (southern Shaanxi and western Hubei to Sichuan and Guizhou); winters southwestern Thailand and the Thai-Malay Peninsula
Blue-throated Flycatcher (klossi)transferred to Hainan Blue Flycatcher (klossi)E Thailand to s Laos and s Vietnam

Sharp-beaked Ground-FinchVampire Ground-FinchGalapagos Islands (Darwin and Wolf Is.)
Sharp-beaked Ground-FinchGenovesa Ground-FinchGalapagos Islands (Genovesa Island)
Sharp-beaked Ground-FinchSharp-beaked Ground-FinchGalapagos Islands (Pinta, Fernandina, and Santiago Islands; formerly also Santa Cruz Island, this population now extinct)

Yellow-eyed JuncoYellow-eyed Junco
Yellow-eyed Junco (Baird's)Baird's JuncoMts. of s Baja California (Sierra de la Laguna)

Red Crossbill (South Hills or type 9)Cassia CrossbillSouth Hills and Albion Mountains of sc Idaho
Red CrossbillRed Crossbill

If you have observations of Streak-eared Bulbul you might need to take note that the English name "Streak-eared Bulbul" now is applied to a different scientific name (conradi, not blanfordi).

The second table lists splits where the species that was split no longer exists, and thus any sightings of it will be reported by AviSys as an exception.

Old nameNew name
Magnificent HummingbirdRivoli's HummingbirdMts. of s Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to ne Nicaragua
Magnificent HummingbirdTalamanca HummingbirdMontane forests of Costa Rica and w Panama

Emerald ToucanetNorthern Emerald-Toucanetwagleri Sierra Madre del Sur of sw Mexico (Guerrero and sw Oaxaca); prasinus SE Mexico (Veracruz, adj. San Luis Potosí and Oaxaca); warneri Mts. of se Mexico (Sierra de Los Tuxtlas in s Veracruz); virescens southeastern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, western El Salvador, Honduras, and northern Nicaragua; volcanius Eastern El Salvador (Volcán San Miguel); maxillaris Highlands of Costa Rica and w Panama; caeruleogularis Highlands of w Panama (Chiriquí to Coclé); cognatus Mts. of e Panama (Darién) and adjacent Colombia
Emerald ToucanetSouthern Emerald-Toucanetlautus Santa Marta Mountains (ne Colombia); griseigularis N end of W Andes and w slope of Central Andes of Colombia; albivitta E and Central Andes of Colombia, e Ecuador and w Venezuela; phaeolaemus Subtropical W Andes of Colombia; atrogularis Humid Andes of e Peru and n Bolivia; dimidiatus Subtropical Andes of n Peru; cyanolaemus Subtropical Andes of se Ecuador and n Peru

SilktailTaveuni SilktailFiji (mountains of Taveuni)
SilktailNatewa SilktailFiji (mountains of Vanua Levu)

Superb Bird-of-ParadiseVogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradiseinopinata mountains of the Bird's Head Peninsula, West Papua, New Guinea; niedda mountains of the Wandammen Peninsula, Bird's Neck, West Papua, New Guinea
Superb Bird-of-ParadiseGreater Superb Bird-of-Paradisesuperba montane western New Guinea, from the Kobowre Mountains (West Papua, Indonesia) to the Sepik-Strickland River Divide (western Papua New Guinea); addenda eastern ranges of New Guinea, from the Yuat-Strickland River Divide and the base of the southeastern Peninsula, Papua New Guinea; latipennis eastern New Guinea (mountains of the Huon Peninsula, and presumably also the Herzog and Adelbert Ranges)
Superb Bird-of-ParadiseLesser Superb Bird-of-Paradisesoutheastern Papua New Guinea (mountains of the Papuan Peninsula, west at least to the Wharton Range)

Gray-brown White-eyePohnpei White-eyePohnpei (e Caroline Is.)
Gray-brown White-eyeKosrae White-eyeKosrae (e Caroline Is.)

Black-chinned Laughingthrush (Banasura)Banasura LaughingthrushHill forests of sw India (Western Ghats in Coorg region)
Black-chinned Laughingthrush (Nilgiri)Nilgiri LaughingthrushSW Peninsular India (Nilgiri Hills in w Tamil Nadu)

Kerala Laughingthrush (Palani) Palani LaughingthrushS India (Palni and Anaimalai hills and n Kerala)
Kerala Laughingthrush (Travancore)Ashambu LaughingthrushHill forests of sw India (s Kerala)

White-tailed RubythroatHimalayan Rubythroatpectoralis Mountains of Turkestan to Afghanistan (Pamirs) and n Pakistan; confusa E Himalayas (Nepal to Bhutan); > to ne India; ballioni W China (w Xinjiang from Tien Shan to Kashgar)
White-tailed RubythroatChinese RubythroatE Ladakh to nw China (Gansu), se Tibet and extreme n Myanmar

Large Cactus-FinchEspañola Cactus-FinchEspañola I. (Galapagos Islands)
Large Cactus-FinchGenovesa Cactus-Finchdarwini Galapagos Islands (reportedly Darwin and Wolf Is.); it is not certain that currently there is a population on either island, and perhaps not a valid subspecies; propinqua Genovesa I. (Galapagos Islands)

Prevost's Ground-SparrowWhite-faced Ground-SparrowHighlands of southern Mexico (Chiapas) Guatemala, El Salvador, and western Honduras
Prevost's Ground-SparrowCabanis's Ground-SparrowHighlands of central Costa Rica