Proposal (663) to South American Classification Committee
Change English name of Ramphastos ambiguus
Our current Note under Ramphastos ambiguus, which we call “Black-mandibled Toucan”, is as follows:
25. Called "Yellow-throated Toucan" by Haffer (1974), Short & Horne (2001), Short & Horne (2002b), and del Hoyo & Collar (2014). Proposal badly needed.
The reason for the different English names is that the taxon swainsonii has been treated as a separate species by many authors, and under that taxonomic treatment (e.g. Meyer de Schauensee 1970), “Black-mandibled Toucan” is an appropriate name. However, treatment of swainsonii as a subspecies of R. ambiguus, following Haffer (1974), renders “Black-mandibled” misleading because swainsonii has a reddish mandible. When treated as separate species, “Black-mandibled” referred nicely to the main difference between ambiguus (including abbreviatus) and swainsonii, which was known as “Chestnut-mandibled Toucan”. See our Note 24 for taxonomic history.
The authors cited in Note 25 used “Yellow-throated” for broadly defined R. ambiguus – all three subspecies including swainsonii have yellow throats – and we should follow this. This also leaves the “-mandibled” names as referring only to the two-species treatment.
Van Remsen, December 2014
Comments from Zimmer: YES. "Black-mandibled Toucan" ceased to make any sense once swainsoni was lumped.”