WARNING: Twitching discussed herein (and ultrataxa)

To: Birding-Aus Mail <>
Subject: WARNING: Twitching discussed herein (and ultrataxa)
From: Lawrie Conole <>
Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000 18:30:45 +1000
So far I haven't noticed much discussion on the list about the numerical effects of Schodde & Mason (1999) on life lists.  Of course this is a facile point - it's essentially twitching rubbish isn't it!?  No apologies for that - I warned you in the e-mail subject line.

Schodde the splitter has also indulged in some lumping.  Very even-handed of him really.  I had a look through the tome to see what effect it had on my list (I'd already gleaned it thoroughly for the interesting material on ultrataxa, biogeography, etc. - time for some fun now ....).  As it effects my list (spot the gaps!):


  • Black-eared Miner Manorina melanotis INTO Yellow-throated Miner M. flavigula (-1)
  • Spotted Catbird Ailuroedus melanotis INTO Green Catbird A. crassirostris (-1)
  • Tasmanian Scrubwren Sericornis humilus INTO White-browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis (-1)
  • Arafura Fantail Rhipidura dryas FROM Rufous Fantail R. rufifrons (+1)
  • Australian Pipit Anthus australis FROM Richard's Pipit A. richardi (+1) (additional +1 to World list, as NZ A. novaeseelandiae is split as well by this logic)
  • Australian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus australis FROM Clamorous Reed-Warbler A. stentoreus (+1)
  • Grey Fantail R. albiscapa FROM NZ Grey Fantail R. fuliginosa (+1 to World list; 0 to Australian list)
  • Mallee Whipbird Psophodes leucogaster FROM Western Whipbird P. nigrogularis (0; as I don't have the WA Western Whipbird)
  • Paperbark Flycatcher Myiagra nana FROM Restless Flycatcher M. inquieta (+1)
  • Silver-backed Butcherbird Cracticus argenteus FROM Grey Butcherbird C. torquatus (+1)
  • Australian list +2
  • World list +4
  • 486 ultrataxa
  • 279 'Christidis & Boles' species
But seriously for a moment, I'd be interested to see some discussion on how recognisable some of these ultrataxa are in the field.  Where ultrataxa overlap we can't fall back on Schodde & Mason's excellent maps to arbitrate.  I'm intrigued by some of the southern Victorian ultrataxa for example - an Otways/Strezlecki population of the Brown-headed Honeyeater.  It'll certainly change the way I look at some of these birds.

Comments ....... ?????

Cheers -- Lawrie

PS:  Any comments about how many football fields of forest are being cleared while I type this e-mail would be superfluous - I've already thought about that.  It doesn't change my interest in the minutiae of ultrataxa.

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