Proposal (757) to South American Classification Committee


Add Fregata aquila to the Main List



Effect on South American CL: This would add a species to the Main List.


Background: At least one individual of this species has been tracked with a platform transmitting terminal (PTT) and found to fly through within 200 nautical miles of a Brazilian island (Williams et al. 2017).


An Ascension Island Frigatebird, which was tagged on Boatswainbird Island, flew less than 100 nautical miles of Fernando de Noronha, a Brazilian island that lies approximately 410 km or 190 nautical miles from mainland Brazil. The bird itself was over 200 nautical miles from mainland Brazil. The geographical scope of the SACC states that “the region covered by the list is: (1) continental South America and all islands within 1200 km of its shores eastward into the Atlantic and westward into the Pacific oceans (including … Fernando de Noronha…) … and (3) waters within 200 nautical miles of the coasts and these land areas, including the islands” (Remsen et al. 2015). Therefore, the frigatebird flew within 200 nautical miles of Fernando de Noronha, which includes the area covered by the SACC, and therefore should be added to the SACC list. The original paper is attached to this proposal.


Recommendation: I recommend a yes vote to add this species to the South American checklist.


Literature Cited:

Remsen, J. V., Jr., J. I. Areta, C. D. Cadena, A. Jaramillo, M. Nores, J. F. Pacheco, J. Pérez-Emán, M. B. Robbins, F. G. Stiles, D. F. Stotz, and K. J. Zimmer. Version [25 Sep 2017]. A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union.

Williams, S. M., S. B. Weber, S. Oppel, E. H. K. Leat, J. Sommerfeld, B. J. Godley, N. Weber, and A. C. Broderick. 2017. Satellite telemetry reveals the first record of the Ascension Frigatebird (Fregata aquila) for the Americas. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129:600-604.


Sean M. Williams, September 2017




Comments from Areta: "YES. Unambiguously identified birds at their breeding grounds have been shown to enter the SACC area by satellite tracking. I wonder how often would F. aquila individuals penetrate our area and how close to the continent would they approach."


Comments from Stiles: "YES. The tracking data for F. Aquila qualify it for inclusion under both SACC criteria."


Comments from Zimmer: “YES, for reasons outlined in the Proposal.”


Comments from Remsen: “YES.  I regard satellite-tracking data as sufficient evidence for occurrence.”


Comments from Pacheco: “YES.  Under the SACC criteria I agree that the species should be considered as part of the main list.”


Comments from Jaramillo: “YES.  Although I do not know what the error is on the PTT technology used, I assume that it is within a scope that it would not invalidate the inclusion within the EEZ zone of Brazil.


Comments from Robbins: “YES, a unique way of adding a species to the list!”