Proposal (454) to South American Classification Committee


Recognize a new scientific name for the Blue-winged Warbler


NOTE: The following proposal was submitted to and passed NACC, and is here submitted with the authors’ permission.



Olson and Reveal (2009) have shown that the Linnaean name Certhia pinus is a composite name, based on illustrations of birds of two different warbler species, the Pine Warbler, now known as Dendroica pinus, illustrated by Catesby, and the Blue-winged Warbler, now Vermivora pinus, illustrated by Edwards.


Wilson was aware of the problem and essentially restricted the name to what we now call the Pine Warbler.  He, and later Bonaparte, in effect lectotypified Certhia pinus as Catesby’s plate.  Wilson described as new the Blue-winged Warbler, as Sylvia solitaria.  Wilson used the name pinus for the Pine Warbler.


Baird (1858), however, used pinus of Linnaeus for the Blue-winged Warbler, and gave Wilson credit for the name Sylvia (now Dendroica) pinus, incorrectly regarding Wilson’s use of that name as a new name.  Stejneger (1885) realized the latter was wrong and used the name Sylvia vigorsii for the Pine Warbler.  Stone (1921) argued again that Wilson was giving a name to Catesby’s illustration as pinus, and that name, attributed to Wilson, has been used by AOU since 1931.  But Wilson was merely mentioning the name as used by Latham.  Even if he intended it as new it would have been a junior homonym, and thus unavailable.


Wilson’s and Bonaparte’s actions clearly made Linnaeus’s name Certhia pinus the name for the Pine Warbler, and thus Wilson’s Sylvia solitaria is the name for the Blue-winged Warbler.  Unfortunately, that name is preoccupied by Sylvia solitaria Lewin, 1808, and no other name is available.  Olson and Reveal proposed the name Vermivora cyanoptera.


I propose that we accept this new name and the other consequences of this study.  The Blue-winged Warbler and its citation must be listed as:


Vermivora cyanoptera Olson and Reveal.  Blue-winged Warbler




Olson, S. L., and J. L. Reveal.  2009.  Nomenclatural history and a new name for the Blue-winged Warbler (Aves: Parulidae).  Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121:618-620.


Richard C. Banks, August 2010