Proposal (44) to South American Classification Committee
Change English name of Hylocryptus rectirostris
Effect on South American CL: This proposal would change the English name of a species on our list from a "Meyer de Schauensee" name to newer "Ridgely-Tudor" name.
Background: Meyer de Schauensee (1966, 1970) changed the English name of Hylocryptus (then Automolus) rectirostris from Cory & Hellmayr's (1925) "Straight-billed Automolus" to "Chestnut-capped Foliage-gleaner." This was followed by Sibley & Monroe (1990). Sick (1993) used "Henna-capped Foliage-gleaner, as did Ridgely & Tudor (1994), with the following note:
"In the recent literature (e.g., Meyer de Schauensee 1966, 1970), H. rectirostris has been called the Chestnut-capped Foliage-gleaner. This name causes much confusion with the name of another species, the Chestnut-crowned Foliage-gleaner (Automolus rufipileatus) of Amazonia. Given that H. rectirostris's closest relative, the geographically distant H. erythrocephalus, is called Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner, and the color of their crowns and napes is the same, we feel "Henna-capped" to be an appropriate and certainly less confusing one."
Remsen (2003) stuck with "Chestnut-crowned."
Analysis: I am confused by the logic of the statement above. If there is "confusion" between two species in different genera whose ranges do not come within 1000 km, why is there not also comparable confusion between two presumed allospecies whose names are nearly identical? I appreciate that Bob was trying for "symmetry" in using "Henna" for the two presumed sister taxa. However, I have no idea what color "henna" really is, and I doubt many others do either. I do, however, know (roughly) what "chestnut" is. Finally, side-by-side comparison of the two species indicates to my eye that their crown colors are not the same, but that rectirostris has a slightly darker, more chestnut crown.
Recommendation: I will vote "NO" on this proposal. In contrast to many Ridgely-Tudor names, in my opinion this one is barely an improvement if at all.
CORY, C. B., AND C. E. HELLMAYR. 1925. Catalogue of birds of the Americas Field Mus. Nat. Hist. Publ., Zool. Ser., vol. 13, pt. 4.
MEYER DE SCHAUENSEE, R. 1966. The species of birds of South America and their distribution. Livingston Publishing Co., Narberth, Pennsylvania.
MEYER DE SCHAUENSEE, R. 1970. A guide to the birds of South America. Livingston Publishing Co., Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.
REMSEN, J. V., JR. 2003 (in press). Family Furnariidae (ovenbirds). Pp. #-# in "Handbook of the Birds of the World," Vol. 8. Broadbills to Tapaculos (del Hoyo, J. et al., eds.). Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
RIDGELY, R. S., AND G. TUDOR. 1994. The birds of South America, vol. 2. Univ. Texas Press, Austin.
SIBLEY, C. G., AND B. L. MONROE, JR. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.
SICK, H. 1993. Birds in Brazil. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
Van Remsen, July 2003
Comments from Schulenberg: "My vote is "No": retain the name "Chestnut-capped Foliage-gleaner", on the general principle of name stability. For what it is worth, I would agree that the color of the crown in rectirostris is not the same as in erythrocephalus. And I think "henna" is more of an orange-brown, which means that it might be more appropriate for erythrocephalus."
Comments from Zimmer: "I vote "no" on changing the English name of Hylocryptus from "Chestnut-capped Foliage-gleaner" to "Henna-capped Foliage-gleaner", mainly to maintain tradition. "Henna-capped" would bring a nice symmetry to the genus, but as names go, I don't think it represents any major improvement, and adopting it would be destabilizing."
Comments from Robbins: "I vote "no" for changing the English name of Hylocryptus rectirostris as the proposed new name isn't an improvement."
Comments from Jaramillo: "NO. _ Retain Chestnut-capped Foliage-Gleaner on basis of name stability, and the fact that the new name is no less confusing or an improvement than the old name."