Proposal (847) to South American Classification Committee
Add Calidris minuta (Little Stint) to main list
Effect on South American CL: This would add a species to the Main List.
Background: There are no previous records of this Artic species in South America. The closest record to this continent comes from the South Atlantic: Prince and Croxall (1983) cited the collection of one specimen at Bird Island, South Georgia, in 20 December 1977.
Published photographic record from Fernando de Noronha Island, Brazil: In October 09th 2018, one individual was recorded in a water reservoir called Açude do Xaréu (03°51’57.6’’S, 32°25’45.1’’W) (Gussoni 2019). Two photographs of this lone individual, identified by Fabio Olmos and Alexander Lees, have been published (Gussoni 2019).
Gussoni, C. O. A. (2019) First record of the Little Stint, Calidris minuta (Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae), in Brazil. Atualidades Ornitológicas 207: 28.
Prince, P.A. & J. P. Croxall (1983) Birds of South Georgia: new records and re-evaluation of status. British Antarctica Survey Bulletin 59: 15-27
José Fernando Pacheco, February 2020
Comments from Claramunt: NO. How is the bird in the picture separable from Calidris pusilla (black semipalmated feet?) or Calidris minutilla (yellowish feet, wing slightly shorter than tail?)? The relatively uniform dorsal coloration and the wings longer than the tail do not match C. minuta very well either. The article does not mention how they determined the species identity. A preserved specimen would be desirable in this case.”
Comments solicited by Mark Pearman from Tony Prater (author of Shorebirds 1987): “This doesn't have the jizz of a LS, too long and slender with a relatively long and slender bill. It doesn't have, as far as I can see, any webbing, so that alone should rule out Semi-p and Western. The overlap (admittedly slight) of the primaries over the tail is one of the reasons it looks long, so I would have plumped for a slightly odd White-rumped. The relatively thin breast/neck streaking area is really the only odd feature but I don't think it is not that odd.”
Comments from Mark Pearman: “I fully agree [with Tony Prater’s assessment].”
Comments from Jaramillo: “NO. This does not look like a Little Stint with that very attenuated structure. It frankly does not look like anything. The long primaries suggest a White-rump or Baird’s but it even looks oddly structured for those. I suggest this may be a hybrid Calidris, but not sure of what. The reality is that it doesn’t matter in terms of what we are trying to decide here, it does not look like a Little Stint and certainly should not be added to the South American list based on this publication.”
Comments from Areta: “NO. The tapering shape, elongated body and general proportions do not look right for minuta, but I cannot convince myself of the identification of this bird. The reddish tones on the wing-coverts and breast band are suggestive of a very worn minuta, but other than that the bird does not seem to be that species and for these same reasons it does not look to me as a conventional bairdi or fuscicollis. The publication does not mention how the bird was identified and which features should be looked at to properly identify it. The idea that it could be a hybrid put forward by Alvaro is an interesting one that also came to my mind, but being so worn, it is difficult to risk reasonable alternatives for me.”
Comments from Robbins: “NO, based on comments by people who have extensive experience with this species.”
Comments from Alex Lees: “Marshall Iliff sent me the link to the SACC proposal a month ago, indicating that he was surprised that the voters weren't convinced by Proposition 847 http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCprop847.htm, the matter was subsequently raised on the CBRO Whatsapp group a few days ago, and I see more SACC members have come out against the identification as Little Stint. When I was initially approached about the bird, I shared the images with Chris Batty (cc-d) who sits on the UK BOURC and formerly the BBRC, he shared my less well informed thoughts that it was a Little Stint at the time and he has now provided a rebuttal to the comments that have arisen thus far (see email below). It is a shame that such detailed comments were not provided in the paper that was published by the finder.
“I'm also copying in Marshall as he may want to chime in and Vitor and Pacheco so everyone is informed. I'm not sure if SACC members have seen the remaining images of this bird on eBird either - https://ebird.org/brasil/checklist/S49080357”
Comments from Chris Batty:
“From: Chris Batty <email@example.com>
To: Alexander Lees <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Sunday, 3 May 2020, 20:01:06 BST
Subject: Re: stint
This is an entirely typical Little Stint in worn alternate plumage: there should be no question about the identification of this bird.
i) 'How is the bird in the picture separable from Calidris pusilla'
• be the absence of semi palmations, the pale ear coverts, attenuated body, black-spots on reddish-brown foreneck, distinct gape notch.
ii) 'How is the bird in the picture separable from Calidris minutilla'
• e.g. blackish legs, attenuated shape
iii) 'The relatively uniform dorsal coloration does not match C. minuta'
• This plumage is heavily worn but the dorsal colouration is typical of minuta: compare with pics 1 and 2 attached
iv) 'the wings longer than the tail do not match C. minuta very well'
• wings longer than the tail is entirely typical of minuta: compare with pics 1 and 2 attached
v) 'This doesn't have the jizz of a LS, too long and slender with a relatively long and slender bill'
• see iv)
vi) 'The overlap (admittedly slight) of the primaries over the tail is one of the reasons it looks long, so I would have plumped for a slightly odd White-rumped'
• see iv)
vii) 'The relatively thin breast/neck streaking area is really the only odd feature but I don't think it is not that odd'
• this statement doesn't make sense to me but the pattern of streaking on the breast sides matches minuta see pic 3 attached
viii) 'This does not look like a Little Stint with that very attenuated structure'
• see pic 1 and pic 3
ix) 'The long primaries suggest a White-rump or Baird’s'
• such long primaries are typical of Little Stint
x) 'The tapering shape, elongated body and general proportions do not look right for minuta'
• see pic 1 and pic 3
Comments from Robbins: “YES, based on comments from Chris Batty.”
Comments from Pacheco: “Please register my vote as YES. In the meantime, the CBRO consulted Chris Batty and Marshall J. Iliff to confirm Gussoni's record.”
New comments from Areta: “YES. Looking at two small pictures on a low-quality PDF is different from seeing the whole set of pictures in eBird. Not only should the links to the pictures have been included in the proposal and referenced in the article, but identification features of the bird be explained in the note itself. Now, based on this "newly available evidence" the shape can be more properly assessed (it looked abnormally long-winged in the only published photograph were this could be assessed, perhaps by the posture) and the reddish collar/face pattern properly understood. It certainly looks like C. minuta in the unpublished photographs, but admittedly it would have been a stretching of the evidence to reach this conclusion using only the pictures published in the original note. Hopefully future notes will include the critical evidence to substantiate the claims and provide comparative analyses explaining the diagnostic features.”
Comments from Zimmer: “YES for adding Little Stint to the list, based upon the full range of photos available. I see bunches of Little Stints in basic plumage each winter in East Africa, where it is a common wintering bird and migrant. The bird in the photos looked structurally typical to me for Little Stint – everything from bill shape and length, to primary extension, relative leg-length and body proportions. I saw hundreds as recently as January through early March in Uganda and Tanzania. I see the rare vagrant to Alaska every few years in May-June – these are always in fresh alternate plumage. It has been many years since I've seen adults in worn alternate plumage (which is what the bird in the photos appeared to be in), but from what I could tell, the traces of color on the face and sides of the neck on the bird in question appeared to be completely consistent with what I would expect of a worn alternate-plumaged adult minuta, and inconsistent with any other small calidrid that would be expected in Brazil in any season, particularly when considered in combination with the structural characters clearly evident in the photos. I would agree with others who noted that when submitting proposals such as this one, it would be most helpful to include ALL of the documentary photos (or, at least all of the relevant links) within the proposal, rather than relying on committee members to have to dig around for additional evidence.”
Additional comments from Claramunt: “The additional photos and comments are clarifying. The lack of semipalmation can be now seen in the photographs, and the projection of the wing tip beyond the tail tip seems to be indeed a diagnostic feature. I change my vote to YES.”
Comments from Stiles: “YES. With the new info received, I'll vote YES.”
Comments from Jaramillo: “YES. It would help if these proposals had links to the complete set of photos. This goes for the Warbling Vireo one as well, as the original photos were odd, bad angles. The full set are clear-cut. It seems like we could have all avoided time wasting by having the full set of photos. I just recall seeing 2 or so photos that looked very odd. The full set of photos linked to below on eBird look good for Little Stint. But one can’t be surprised that we could not get there based on a couple of photos that looked weird!”
Comments from Pacheco: “Please consider my vote as YES. I had followed - through CBRO - the consultations of Carlos Gussoni and Alex Lees to shorebird specialists.”
Comments from Paul Lehman (who has Remsen’s vote): “YES. With the presentation of NINE photos of the bird, I would agree that it looks to be a good fit for Little Stint. Bill size and shape look good, as does apparent lack of semipalmations. And the remaining wash of color on the face and breast sides is certainly strongly suggestive of that nice burnt-orangey color that an alternate Little Stint would show, and the pattern of mostly dark spotting (rather than streaks) to the upper breast sides looks appropriate as well. Overall shape seems fine.”