Proposal (104) to South American Classification Committee


Change English name of Diglossa glauca


Effect on South American CL: This proposal would change the English name of a species on our list from a "Meyer de Schauensee" name ("Deep-blue Flowerpiercer") to a "Ridgely" name ("Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer").


Background: Meyer de Schauensee (1966, 1970) used the name "Deep-blue Flowerpiercer" for Diglossa glauca, and this has been followed by essentially all literature, until Ridgely & Greenfield (2001) changed this to "Golden-eyed Flowerpiercer," with the following note:


"The species was formerly called the Deep-blue Flowerpiercer, but it stands out among flowerpiercers not for its deep-blue coloration (many others are equally blue) but for its conspicuous golden yellow iris."


This was not followed by Clements and Shany (2001), Hennessey et al. (2003), or Dickinson (2003).


Analysis: If we were starting from scratch, then I'd vote for "Golden-eyed," clearly a better name. However, not even Clements & Shany went along with this one. The "deep-blue" is accurate and not misleading per se, except that it might imply to some a diagnostic character that doesn't work.


Recommendation: I vote NO on this proposal. In this case, I do not think the "improved" name is worth overturning at least 40 years of consistent usage.


Literature Cited:

CLEMENTS, J. F., AND N. SHANY. 2001. A field guide to the birds of Peru. Ibis Publ. Co., Temecula, California.

HENNESSEY, A. B, S. K. HERZOG, AND F. SAGOT. 2003. Lista anotada de las Aves de Bolivia. Asociación Armonía/Birdlife International, Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

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.

RIDGELY, R. S., AND P. J. GREENFIELD. 2001. The birds of Ecuador. Vol. II. Field guide. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.


Van Remsen, February 2004




Comments from Robbins: "NO. The primary reason that I voted this way is that no one seems to have followed Ridgely and Tudor's suggestion (although it is an improvement), thus it looks like the status quo will rule."


Comments from Zimmer: "NO. Clearly a better name, but the old name is not misleading, just not diagnostic. For continuity I would stick with the old name."


Comments from Stiles: "NO, again the old name is not wring, just nondiagnostic, and the improvement in aptness isn´t worth the sacrifice of stability."


Comments from Nores: "NO. Aunque pienso que Golden-eyed es mejor que Deep-blue, este último no es erróneo. Coincido con Remsen que si nosotros estuviéramos comenzando con "scratch" yo elegiría Golden-eyed."


Comments from Jaramillo: "NO -- my thoughts are in line with thoughts of others on this."