Proposal (#309) to South American Classification Committee

Add Platalea leucorodia (Eurasian Spoonbill) to main list


Effect on South American CL: This transfers a species from the Hypothetical List to the Main List.

Background: The Hypothetical List currently reads as follows: "Unpublished photo from Tobago (ffrench & White 1999). From Floyd Hayes: "an immature was photographed by Wayne S. Scott at Buccoo, Tobago, 3 Nov 1986. For reasons why we believe this was a valid record, see text of our 1st report of TTRBC at Also, one was photographed on Fernando de Noronha island in Jan.-Feb. 1999 (Dutch Birding 24: 205) -- move to main list if photos published. Photos now published in Kenefick & Hayes (2006)."

Published photographic record from Tobago: An immature was photographed at Buccoo, Tobago, on 3 November 1986, by Wayne Scott (first mentioned by Murphy 1992). Adolphus James (pers. comm. to W. Scott) reported that two birds had been present. It was accepted by the
Trinidad and Tobago Rare Bird Committee (TTRBC 1996-19), which had access to the photos. Two photos are now published by Kenefick and Hayes (2006). The photos reveal the white plumage and a pale-tipped dark bill, which distinguish this species from the Roseate
Spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja) of the New World. The black-tipped wings are indicative of an immature. The TTRBC considered it a natural vagrant rather than an escapee because it was a young bird unlikely to have spent any time in captivity, the legs were unbanded, no nearby zoos had kept the species, and Tobago is an unlikely destination for an escapee, but a likely landfall for a trans-Atlantic vagrant (Hayes and White 2000).

Literature Cited:
HAYES, F. E., AND G. WHITE. 2000. First report of the Trinidad and Tobago Rare Bird Committee. Living World, Journal of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club 1999-2000:39-45.

KENEFICK, M., AND F. E. HAYES. 2006. Trans-Atlantic vagrancy of Palearctic birds in Trinidad and Tobago. Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19:61-72.

MURPHY, W. L. 1992. Notes on the occurrence of the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) in the Americas, with reference to other Palearctic vagrants. Colonial Waterbirds 15:113-123.

Floyd Hayes, Sept. 2007


Comments from Stiles: "YES. I will accept the arguments of Hayes and the TTRBC - and nothing else fits the description."

Comments from Robbins: "YES to all four new records for South America. Identifications
appear straightforward and I see no issues concerning provenance."

Comments from Nores: "YES. La foto publicada por Kenefick & Hayes (2006) muestra claramente los caracteres que distinguen a esta especie de la local (Ajaia ajaja): plumaje blanco y pico negro con el extremo claro. Es la única de las 4 especies propuestas por Hayes que para mi no genera dudas."

Comments from Jaramillo: "YES - Identification is solid."

Comments from Zimmer: "YES. Arguments for natural vagrancy appear sound, and the identification is straightforward."