Brown Skua and other semi-species

Subject: Brown Skua and other semi-species
From: John Penhallurick <>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 11:42:05 +1000 (EST)
I have a copy of the latest electronic birdlist from Sibley.  In that he 
has resolved many of the cases that were marked as uncertain in Sibley 
and Monroe: in most cases, the two forms are split, but in a minority 
they are lumped.  I have incorporated all these changes into my program.  
But there are still quite a few uncertain cases.

What I object to is that half the time, a taxon Y is listed as a species, 
with a footnote 'This may be a subspecies of X', and the other half the 
time a taxon Y is listed as a subpecies of X, with a note 'Y may be a 
good species'.  It is totally arbitrary which method is chosen.  For that 
reason, I prefer to be totally consistent and put all such forms in the 
species list, but using the Genus(?X)Y notation.  I think it is better 
until the matter is resolved to alert birders that a form may be a good 
species, so they should look for it rather than ignoring it, as they are 
likely to do if it is listed as a subspecies.

Back to Brown Skua(c.lonnbergi).  I have'nt got the electronic Sibley 
with  me at the moment, but since I list it as a full species in my 
birdlist, I assume that the electronic Sibley Birds of the World treats 
it as a full species.  I'll confirm this on Monday.


John Penhallurick

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