Colin Scouler asked us how we (the Editors of HANZAB) arrived at our
decisions regarding acceptance or not of changes propsed in Schodde & Mason.
>the advance publicity for Volume 5 of HANZAB indicates that the editors
have accepted at least some of the >splits, eg by treating the Short-tailed
and Kalkadoon Grasswrens as separate species. Does anyone know >how the
editors arrived at their decision?
The default for HANZAB (and what should be the default for ALL Birds
Australia work and publications) is Christidis & Boles (1994; RAOU Monogr.
2). Amendments to this list will be published, though the form of those
amendments has changed (it was originally to be an update in 'Emu', but is
now to be a revised edition of the monograph). Any departures from
Christidis & Boles (1994) are ONLY made after consultation with Les
Christidis or Walter Boles, or both of them (though mainly Les because he
is a member of the HANZAB Steering Committee), and it is known that such
changes will be accepted by them in the revised list, based on the same
principles used by them in RAOU Monogr. 2.
We discussed Schodde & Mason, as it affected Volume 5, with Les and three
changes were made. In Volume 5 of HANZAB, we accept: (1) separation of
Short-tailed Grasswren Amytornis merrotsyi from Striated Grasswren A.
striatus; (2) recognition of Kalkadoon Grasswren Amytornis ballarae as a
species separate from Dusky Grasswren Amytornis purnelli; and (3)
separation of Western Wattlebird Anthochaera lunulata from Little
Wattlebird A. chrysoptera. All these changes have been vetted by
Christidis & Boles. However, we continue to recognize Black-eared Miner as
a separate species, consistent with treatment in Christidis & Boles and
contra that of Schodde & Mason.
So, basically, Christidis & Boles as published or to be published remains
the authority. Again, with Volume 6, we will discuss any potential changes
with Les or Walter and will only go with those that will be accepted by
them in their revised list.
Note that we will always discuss differences between Christidis & Boles and
Schodde & Mason in the HANZAB texts if they arise.
I also support the comments of Peter Menkhorst regarding Schodde & Mason
and assessment of what is in it. However, it is also important to note
that Schodde & Mason is a major advance in the discussion of taxonomy,
nomenclture and geographical variation of Australian birds. As we say in
the introduction to Volume 5 of HANZAB, Schodde & Mason "has provided a
substantial base from which to further investigate the variation in species
and, of greater import, the subspecies of Aust. birds, and has greatly
assisted us in the preparation of this volume. For the first time in
contemporary ornithology in the Aust. region, DAB presents a complete
listing and analysis of the terminal taxa of Aust. passerine birds."
On another matter, Ralph Reid asked
>It would be interesting to know if any of the various editors/compilers of
what we consider our standard >reference books/field guides are
listening-in on this list.
>If they are, they probably refrain from posting anything for fear of
Indeed! Some of us are listening-in, and some of us participate more than
others. But some of us always try and keep a low profile! Unfortunately
there are many points that arise on Birding Aus that deserve a response
from, or could be answered by, me or other members of Birds Australia.
Hugo Phillipps does a fantastic job responding frequently to such points,
and I have to confess I often leave things to him. (But he deserves our
thanks.) There are also points that some of us refrain from debating so
as not to confuse what may be our positions in comparison with what may be
Birds Australia's position.
For myself and others on the Handbook Team, the deadlines for producing
HANZAB mean that there often simply isn't time to respond. This has
certainly been the case for the past six months for me.
Managing Editor, Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds
PO Box 99
Sawtell NSW 2452
Phone: 02 6658 5289
Fax: 02 6658 5429
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
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