RE: New Zealand Oystercatchers

Subject: RE: New Zealand Oystercatchers
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 21:25:36 +1000
Given that each country has its own authority that makes its own decisions
about the integrity of its own species, this sort of situation will always
arise, ie where one authority pressents a taxonomy that it has determined to
be accurate, but which happens not to coincide with decisions made by
another group in another country.

So, it's a long-standing problem when dealing with 'official lists' from
different countries, but the whole thing is further compounded when the
source of reference isn't an official checklist, but a field guide which
might reflect its author's preferences or perceptions at the time of
publication and present yet another version or interpretation of the list.

Field guides from many other pairs of adjacent countries contradict each
other just as ours and New Zealand's do. As do official checklists. They are
always changing, often idiosyncratic, and can never be entirely reconciled
between countries or authorities.

An option when managing records that are across a number of countries is to
turn to an outside arbiter, such as Clements or Sibley, and to opt for their
interpretations of species distribution and classification around the world.
The alternative would be to take it upon oneself to make an independent
choice (informed or otherwise) between each contradictory option - of which
there are very many.

So, I maintain my life list (world list) according to Clements, and suffer
the odd contradiction in nomenclature between that and, for example, the
Australian List, or the local field guide or list for wherever.

In the case of New Zealand, the Heather and Robertson field guide separates
the oystercatchers as does Clements, but regards the Red-billed Gull as
Larus novaehollandiae, conspecific with Silver Gull, whereas Clements
separates it as Larus scopulinus.

But in Australia, writing about Australian birds, it's Christidis and Boles
all the way - but I'm on standby for the coming revision.

Bill Jolly

Lockyer Valley, Queensland.

(27º 34' 21" S; 152º 08' 21" E)

Visit our website at

From: "crompton" <>
To: "birding aus" <>
Subject: [Birding-Aus] New Zealand Oystercatchers Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006
18:24:45 +1000

Hi all, Just got a copy of The hand guide to the birds of New Zealand. Its
list of oystercatchers are as follows

Pied Oystercatcher - Haematopus ostralegus ( a totally differant bird to
the one we find in Australia - Haematopus longirostris???)

Chatham Island Oystercatcher -  Haematopus chathamensis

Variable Oystercatcher - Haematopus unicolor

There was no mention of the South Island Oystercatcher - Haematopus
finschi. Is it a recent new species? The book says it was published in
2001!  Also the book seems to use alot of names for birds that are more
like slang or just plain uncommon or ambiguous ( example above with Pied
Oystercatcher )  than official english names and I'm not talking about
names like Kakpo or kea, I'm talking about Red billed gull for Silver gull
and Pied Shag for Pied Cormorant and even Black Browed Mollymawk for Black
Browed Albatross!
Any thoughts on what some of you might think is a trival matter? my
appologies if you do
many thanks in advance

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