Proposal (43) to South American Classification Committee


Change English name of Automolus roraimae


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 "Hilty" name.


Background: Meyer de Schauensee (1966, 1970) changed the English name of Automolus roraimae from Cory & Hellmayr's (1925) "White-throated Automolus" to "White-throated Foliage-gleaner." This name was subsequently used by Meyer de Schauensee & Phelps (1978), Sibley & Monroe (1990), Ridgely & Tudor (1994), Rodner et al. (2003), and Remsen (2003). Hilty (2003) coined "Tepui Foliage-gleaner," with the following note:


"Previously called White-throated Foliage-gleaner [Meyer de Schauensee & Phelps 1978]."


Analysis: This species has a white throat and lives in the tepuis. Other foliage-gleaners also have white throats and live in the Tepui region (e.g., Philydor rufus cuchiverus), although no other is so narrowly restricted to it (as a species). Perhaps "Tepui" is slightly better, but I see no compelling reason to make this change at the expense of stability.


Recommendation: I vote "NO" on this proposal. The cost-benefit analysis of the change, in my opinion, favors staying with name established for previous 35+ years.


Literature Cited:


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.

HILTY, S. L. 2003. Birds of Venezuela. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

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.

MEYER DE SCHAUENSEE, R., AND W. H. PHELPS, JR. 1978. A guide to the birds of Venezuela. Princeton University Press.

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.

RODNER, C., M. LENTINO, AND R. RESTALL. 2001. Checklist of the birds of northern South America. Yale University Press.

SIBLEY, C. G., AND B. L. MONROE, JR. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.


Van Remsen, July 2003




Comments from Schulenberg: "My vote is "No": retain the name "White-throated Foliage-gleaner". As I said earlier, I prefer simpler names over complex, wordy names. But I also favor stability of names. And so I don't want to initiate round of name changes to accommodate my personal tastes in name formation. I'll try to be content with beating everyone on SACC over the head with my personal tastes in name formation whenever we *need* to choose between alternate names, or to coin a new name. "


Comments from Zimmer: "I vote "yes" on changing the English name of A. roraimae from "White-throated Foliage-gleaner" to "Tepui Foliage-gleaner". I'm generally opposed to tinkering for the sake of tinkering, but given the specialized range/habitat restriction of this species, I think the name "Tepui Foliage-gleaner" is very appropriate, and a nice way of setting this bird apart from the rest of the pack."


Comments from Robbins: " I vote "yes" to change the English name of A. roraimae to "Tepui Foliage-Gleaner". This is a very appropriate name change as it is far more informative than "White-throated"."


Comments from Stiles: "A very tentative NO for reasons stated above, though I might be persuaded otherwise with more evidence."


Comments from Stotz: " I vote No. I should say that this no vote is completely predicated on my reluctance to change names just to make them better. Tepui is unquestionably a better name, and White-throated is really a holdover from the old scientific name of this taxon, which was A. albogularis. This is one where if there were a groundswell of support for Tepui, I could change my vote."


Comments from Jaramillo: "NO.  I am going with name stability on this one. Names do not need to be informative, just unambiguous. The more we change names, the more ambiguous and confusing they become."