Proposal (471) to South American Classification Committee


Change English name of Atlapetes rufinucha


Background: The Atlapetes rufinucha complex has been split into several species by SACC. The reasons for the splitting of the complex are summed under the following footnote on the SACC webpage:


“52. Atlapetes rufinucha was formerly (Hellmayr 1938, Paynter 1970a, Meyer de Schauensee 1970, Ridgely & Tudor 1989, Sibley & Monroe 1990) considered to be a polytypic species with a disjunct distribution.  However, the genetic data of García-Moreno and Fjeldså (1999) corroborated the predictions of Remsen & Graves (1995b) that these populations did not form a monophyletic group but instead were more closely related to adjacent populations of A. schistaceus.  Thus, Atlapetes latinuchus was formerly considered a subspecies of A. rufinucha, but it is more closely related to parapatric A. schistaceus.  Donegan & Huertas (2006) noted that A. latinuchus itself (even without A. [l.] nigrifrons) may involve more than one species.  See also Note 54a below.”


The complex has been the focus of several SACC proposals (e.g.: 84, 86, and 87). Several of these proposals dealt with the English names of some of the “offspring species” that have resulted from the splitting of the larger Atlapetes rufinucha (sensu lato). In proposal 84, comments by committee members (Stiles, Zimmer, and Jaramillo, at least) suggested that it was the intention of the SACC to change the name of the Bolivian taxa (rufinucha and carrikeri) that were retained under the newly restricted name A. rufinucha; however, no such proposal has been made, and the English name on the checklist (Rufous-naped Brush-Finch) is still that which was originally used for the species when it included populations from Colombia to Bolivia.


Because it has been SACC protocol to award a new name to the “offspring species” of a split of a larger complex, particularly if none of these species occupy the lion’s share of the distribution of the original complex, I suggest that this pattern be followed here for Atlapetes rufinucha (sensu stricto). Since there has been already some use of the name “Bolivian Brush-Finch” (references?), that it appeared to be the favored name by various SACC members when commenting on Proposal 84, and given that the species as currently defined is now an endemic of Bolivia, this name seems the obvious choice for English name of Atlapetes rufinucha (sensu stricto). The name “Rufous-naped Brush-Finch” then is retained for the complex as a whole, which might happen should the pendulum swing back towards lumping other taxa into rufinucha (as appears to be favored by Stotz and Schulenberg until a better study than Garcia-Moreno and Fjeldså (1999) is performed). Additionally, retaining “Rufous-naped” for the group, or for a re-lumped species and “Bolivian” for the Bolivian endemic species will reduce confusion, as well as call attention to the restricted distribution of A. rufinucha as currently defined.



I recommend YES to changing the name of the Bolivian-endemic species A. rufinucha to Bolivian Brush-Finch.


Literature Cited:

GARCÍA-MORENO, J., AND J. FJELDSÅ. 1999. Re-evaluation of species limits in the genus Atlapetes based on mtDNA sequence data. Ibis 141: 199-207.


Dan Lane, October 2010




Comments from Robbins:  “YES.  Bolivian Brush-Finch is an appropriate English name for this endemic, and should not be affected by any upcoming taxonomic changes in this complex.”


Comments from Zimmer:  YES, for reasons nicely summarized by Dan in the proposal.”


Comments from Jaramillo:  YES.  Bolivian Brush-Finch is appropriate; it is a tad similar to Bolivian Warbling-Finch, but that is not concern enough to keep from changing to this more appropriate name.