Proposal (65) to South American Check-list Committee


Change English name of Myioborus pariae

Effect on South American CL: This proposal would change the English name of a species on our list from a "Meyer de Schauensee" name ("Yellow-faced Redstart") to a "Ridgely-Tudor" name ("Paria Redstart").

Background: Meyer de Schauensee (1966, 1970) and Meyer de Schauensee & Phelps (1978) used the English name "Yellow-faced Redstart" for Myioborus pariae. [The species was not described until after Hellmayr (1935)]. Sibley & Monroe (1990) also used "Yellow-faced."

Ridgely & Tudor (1989) coined "Paria Redstart" for Myioborus pariae, with the following note:

"As this species is restricted to the Paria Peninsula and as only its spectacles are yellow (by no means the entire face), we feel a clarifying name change calling attention to its restricted range is eminently appropriate."

This was followed by Curson et al. (1994) and Hilty (2003), but also with the further change to "Whitestart."

Analysis: Bob's name is "better" and is in use in the book that will be used in the country to which M. pariae is endemic. The other name is older.

Recommendation: I very reluctantly vote "NO" on this proposal because my basic philosophy is "just live with" old, bad names for sake of stability unless highly misleading. Someone could probably persuade me that the name is highly misleading in that a bird with large yellow spectacles can't be called "faced" (and noting that M. albifacies, which does have a truly white face is called "White-faced").


Literature Cited:

CURSON, J., D. QUINN, AND D. BEADLE. 1994. Warblers of the Americas. Houghton Mifflin.

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. 1978. A guide to the birds of Venezuela. Princeton.

RIDGELY, R. S., AND G. TUDOR. 1989. The birds of South America, vol. 1. Univ. Texas Press, Austin.

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, October 2003



Comments from Robbins: "Following my vote on proposal # 63, I vote for calling M. pariae "Paria Whitestart"."

Comments from Schulenberg: "My vote is NO. By the way, Jorge Perez's thesis also suggests that pariae is a distinct species (well separated both from castaneocapillus and from brunniceps)."

Comments from Jaramillo: "YES.  We, or at least someone, should have been voting on this stuff back in the 70s before everyone started changing names left right and center! It looks like Yellow-faced has little history when you look at the grand scheme of things and certainly Paria has been used by the main recent works dealing with this part of the world, or with this family of birds. As such, I think that Paria is much more entrenched now than Yellow-faced. If the reason we are conservative in not changing English names is to avoid confusion, I think we need to realize that in this case changing it to the older name would probably cause more confusion than going with the new name Paria Redstart. At least this is how I reason on this one."

Comments from Zimmer: "I vote "YES". In general, I don't like tinkering with these names. However, I really dislike bunches of slightly different "descriptive" names for similar species in the same genus. Not only are such names rarely helpful or informative, their very similarity invites confusion. Geographic modifiers, particularly for species with very limited distributions, seem preferable."

Comments from Stiles: "YES, for reasons outlined above. The use of toponyms for highly localized species seems appropriate, especially given the conservation situation of many such species. I have no particular worries about dumping a rather questionable Eisenmann name in a good cause."

Comments from Nores: "YES. Por un lado, me parece bien denominar con el nombre geográfico cuando la especie es endémica, y por otro yo no estoy de acuerdo con denominar a una especie extendiendo el color de una pequeña parte del cuerpo a toda la parte. Por ejemplo, cabeza negra cuando sólo tiene corona negra o en este caso cara blanca cuando sólo tiene blanco alrededor de los ojos."