Proposal (789.1) to South American Classification Committee



Establish an English name for Cyanoloxia rothschildii


The previous version of this proposal (see below) did not pass (3 NO vs. 2 YES, and 1 vote outstanding).  Three of the five commenters suggested or preferred Amazonian Grosbeak as an alternative, although two of them were not opposed to Rothschild’s Grosbeak per se. Thomas Schulenberg noted that “Amazonian” and “Rothschild’s” are both in current use by different world-wide taxonomic schemes. He further noted that Amazonian is appropriate because the species is the most widespread grosbeak in Amazonia.


No commenter opposed the retention of Blue-black Grosbeak for C. cyanoides (minus C. c. rothschildii).  This was the original name used solely for Middle American populations, so that can be used to justify not creating a new name for the daughter species.


Therefore, this version of the proposal shifts to proposing Amazonian Grosbeak, rather than Rothschild’s Grosbeak, for C. rothschildii.


Craig Caldwell, June 2018



Comments from Stotz: “YES.  I think Amazonian is a good modifier for this taxon given its range.  I figure Rothschild already is recognized by the scientific name.”





Proposal (789.0) to South American Classification Committee



Establish an English name for Cyanoloxia rothschildii



Proposal 736, adopted 6 February 2018, elevated Cyanoloxia cyanoides rothschildii to species rank as C. rothschildii but did not propose an English name.


I propose Rothschild’s Grosbeak. This name of course derives from the specific epithet and in addition dodges how to choose a color-based name for this “Blacker-than-blue-black Grosbeak”. Because the split was in essence a correction of an earlier unwarranted lump, retaining the current Blue-black Grosbeak for C. cyanoides (minus C. c. rothschildii) should not violate the SACC preference for not retaining a pre-split English name for a “daughter” species.



Craig Caldwell, April 2018


Note from Remsen: Rothschild is presumably Lionel Walter Rothschild of the famous Rothschild bird collection.




Comments from Remsen: “YES. Hellmayr (1938) used the name “Rothschild’s Blue Grosbeak” for Cyanocompsa cyanoides rothschildii so use of “Rothschild’s” has a precedent; he used “Blue-black Grosbeak” only for C. c. concreta, and I assume it was Eisenmann who selected this name for the species as a whole.  I can’t think of a descriptive or geographic name that works. Rothschild  amassed the largest private bird collection in the world.  “Blacker-than-Blue-black Grosbeak” has a certain perverse appeal, however.”


Comments from Schulenberg: “My provisional vote is NO. Although not noted in this proposal, there are two English names already in use for Cyanoloxia rothschildi: Rothschild's Grosbeak, adopted by IOC; and Amazonian Grosbeak, adopted by HBW/BirdLife. My preference is Amazonian Grosbeak. Cyanoloxia rothschilidii is not the only grosbeak in the Amazon, of course, but it is the most widespread Amazonian grosbeak, and so the name fits pretty well. My vote is not set in stone. but I think it's incumbent upon SACC to consider all reasonable choices, so I want to force consideration of an alternative name, one that already has a constituency. retaining Blue-black Grosbeak for Cyanoloxia cyanea is fine by me.”


Comments from Stiles: “YES to Rothschild´s Grosbeak. Rothschild’s collection was an important source of information for various publications on South American birds, notably by Hellmayr and Hartert.”


Comments from Jaramillo: “NO.  I go with Tom on this one and prefer Amazonian Grosbeak given that this is a name that is already out there. Rothschild already has the swift by the way, so he is covered.”


Comments from Stotz: “NO.  Amazonian Grosbeak would be my choice, but I am okay with Rothschild’s if the committee is leaning that way.”