Recognize the parulid genus Parkesia
NOTE: The following proposal was submitted to and passed NACC, and is here submitted with the authors’ permission.
The currently recognized parulid genus Seiurus (type species aurocapilla) includes, as well as the Ovenbird, the two species of waterthrushes, Northern (noveboracensis) and Louisiana (motacilla).
Several genetic studies have shown that the species noveboracensis and aurocapilla are not closely related, but that aurocapilla is basal to other parulids. Klein et al. (2004) showed that motacilla is not closely related to aurocapilla. Finally, Lovette and Hochachka (2006) included all three species in a mitochondrial DNA study and found that motacilla and noveboracensis are in fact sister species but not close to the basal aurocapilla. On the basis of this, Sangster (2008) proposed the generic name Parkesia for the waterthrushes. The type species is noveboracensis.
I recommend that we adopt this generic revision and list the species as:
Parkesia noveboracensis Northern Waterthrush
Parkesia motacilla Louisiana Waterthrush
The ovenbird will continue to be listed as Seiurus aurocapilla (Linnaeus, 1766). Eventually this genus and species should be listed first in the Parulidae, but that change should await a full revision of the family.
Sangster, G. 2008. A new genus for the waterthrushes (Parulidae). Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 128:212-215.
Other Lit. as in Leiothlypis proposal.
Richard C. Banks, August 2010