Proposal (896) to South American Classification Committee


Change spelling of Dryocopus schulzi to Dryocopus schulzii



Effect on South American CL: This proposal would change the spelling of the scientific name of the Black-bodied Woodpecker Dryocopus schulzi to Dryocopus schulzii.


Background:  SACC uses Cinclus schulzii, with footnote 4 citing Dickinson & Christidis (2014), but with no further details. On the other hand, SACC uses Dryocopus schulzi, with footnote 80aa citing Dickinson & Christidis (2015), but again with no further details, such as citation of the original work.


Relevant information:

1. The two new species-group names, with the spelling schulzii, were introduced by Cabanis (1882), eight lines apart.  The original combinations are Cinclus (last word p. 182) schulzii (first word p. 183), and Ph[loeotomus] schulzii (p. 183).


2. The following year, Cabanis (1883) published the combinations Cinclus schulzi and Phloeotomus schulzi (both without the -ii ending).


3. The subsequent uses of schulzi are incorrect subsequent spellings under Article 33.4 of the Code. Consideration of the potential application of prevailing usage is precluded for this case because the spelling schulzi Cabanis, 1883 has never been attributed to the publication of the original spelling (Cabanis 1882), a prerequisite of the relevant article, Art. 33.3.1.—see Articles, 19.1, 23.5 and Glossary p. 121 [usage, prevailing].


4. del Hoyo & Collar (2014: 670), under genus Hylatomus (= Dryocopus), used schulzii, justifying this by citing Zoonomen (see below) but providing no further details in the text.


5. In Zoonomen, Alan P. Peterson has this comment for Dryocopus schulzii:


– Usually given as schulzi and dated to 1883 (e.g. Cory CBA II no.2:459 (1919); Peters 6:156 (1948); HBW; H&M 4rd 1:303 (2013); SACC Checklist (accessed 2014.03.09).

–The single "i" spelling is correct for the 1883 J. Orn. publication, but Cabanis published the name Phloeotomus schulzii with a description in Dec. 1882 in the Orn. Centralbl.

– It would seem that this incorrectly cited J. Orn. work has rarely been examined by any of the authors above. The J. Orn. entry not only reproduces almost verbatim the description in Orn. Centralbl. But specifically cites it!


6. Available on demand, ND has a translation into English (by Rick Wright) of Cabanis (1882) and Cabanis (1883).


Recommendation: Authors who use Cinclus schulzii  Cabanis, 1882 simply have to be consistent by also using Dryocopus schulzii (Cabanis, 1882), as the cases are effectively identical. In both cases, the original spelling is schulzii. We therefore recommend that SACC uses Dryocopus schulzii.


Literature cited


Cabanis, J. in Schalow, H. (1882). Allgemeinen Deutschen Ornithologischen Gesellschaft. Sitzung vom 6. November 1882.  Orn. Centralblatt 7: 182-183. - page/190/mode/1up


Cabanis J. in Schalow, H. & Cabanis, J. (1883): Bericht über die November-Sitzung. Journal für Ornithologie 31: 100-104.


del Hoyo, J., & N. J. Collar. (2014). HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated checklist of the birds of the world. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.


Dickinson, E.C., & L. Christidis (editors). 2014. The Howard and Moore complete checklist of the birds of the world. Fourth edition. Volume 2. Passerines. Aves Press, Eastbourne, United Kingdom.


Dickinson, E. C., and L. Christidis (eds.). 2015. The Howard and Moore complete checklist of the birds of the World. Vol. 2. Passerines. List of Errata for Vol. 2 plus Corrigenda in respect of range statements and additional Errata from Vol. 1 (2013). Aves Press, Eastbourne, U.K., 29 pp.



Normand David and Andrew Elliott, December 2020





Comments from Claramunt: “NO. The proposal indicates that the spelling schulzi“…has never been attributed to the publication of the original spelling (Cabanis 1882)” But that seems incorrect because in the “Compendium of the newly described genera and species” published in the same volume (Reichenow & Schalow 1883) there is an account of the new woodpecker that clearly reads:


227. Phloeotomus Schulzi.

J. Cabanis, Ornith. Centralbl. 7. Jahrg. 1882. p. 183.



“Therefore, the “incorrect" spelling schulzi has been attributed to the original publication and therefore this fulfills the second requirements of Art. 33.3.1. I have to conclude that the change from schulzi to schulzii in some recent checklists is not justified; schulzi, which is still in clear prevailing usage, should be maintained.


“The same would apply to Cinclus schulzi:”


Comments from Bonaccorso: “NO. According to Santiago´s comment, the use of “schulzi” is justified. From my perspective, maintaining stability in these kind of “minor” cases should be a priority.”


Comments from Dick Schodde: “NO. “The issue centres on the issue of prevailing use and turns on two points made by the proposers, N. David and A. Elliott:


“POINT 1. The spelling schulzi is precluded from application as correct spelling in prevailing use under Art. 33.3.1 of the Code (ICZN 1999) because it has never been attributed to the publication of the original spelling schulzii (Cabanis 1882). This is just not true, as shown by Peterson in Zoonomen and by Claramunt in response to SACC Proposal 896 here. Peterson (l.c.) reports that Cabanis (1883), in the J. Orn. 31: 102 which introduced the spelling schulzi, “specifically cites” the original publication by Cabanis (1882), in the Orn. Centralblatt 7: 183 which uses schulzii. Claramunt in turn records Reichenow & Schalow (1883: 421) attributing schulzi to the original publication in the Orn. Centralblatt.  I haven’t been able to confirm Peterson’s claim but Claramunt’s is correct. Being the first uses of schulzi as an ISS, these references establish priority of attribution to the original publication in the Ornithologisches Centralblatt 7: 183.


“Despite its seeming simplicity, Art. 33.3.1 can, in this case, be interpreted in several ways. Its clause specifying that an ISS in prevailing usage “is attributed to the publication of the original spelling” can be read in isolation as a qualifier for application of prevailing usage. That view is taken by David and Elliott, presumably because the spelling schulzi has usually been attributed – when attributed at all – to the later source in the Journal für Ornithologie 31: 102 (Cabanis 1883). Alternatively, the generality conferred by present tense and the second use of attribute in the Article can be read as using the word to connect the ISS with the original publication of the name instead of the first publication of the ISS. In other words, attributed/attribution are employed expressly to establish that new relationship, and the clause itself is the first step in that process. “Whole-of-Article” context shows this to be the intent and meaning of the clause.


“In any case, what needs to be remembered here is that the spellings schulzi and schulzii have the same source. They were used in two separate reports for the one woodpecker described by the one author (Cabanis) at the one meeting of the D.O.G. in November 1882. Their common source from the November 1882 meeting is specified in both reports; so the two spellings are linked, their publications explicitly referenced to one another. If the Ornithologisches Centralblatt, with the spelling schulzii, was the original publication because it appeared earlier (December 1882), then the Journal für Ornithologie, with the incorrect subsequent spelling schulzi appearing later in January 1883, is ipso facto attributed to the Orn. Centrabl. in the sense required for the purpose of Article 33.3.1.


“POINT 2. Authors who use Cinclus schulzii Cabanis, 1882 simply have to be consistent by also using Dryocopus schulzii (Cabanis, 1882), as the cases are effectively identical. Why do they have to be consistent? Where is the ruling in the Code? This is an opinion from nomenclatural interpreters inside a nomenclatural question, not name-using biologists in the world outside. The two names here are for species that are orders apart. Few, if any, biologists will bother about matching nomenclatural treatment of a name in the woodpeckers with a name in the dippers. Cinclus schulzii is not only the correct original spelling for the Rufous-throated Dipper, but also in use for it in its original form and publication since at least 1960 (Greenway in Peters’ Checklist, vol. 9: 379). It is advisedly left alone. But this does not mean that Dryocopus schulzi must follow, particularly if the replacement schulzii, a form unused for nearly 130 years, damages connections with spelling, and so connections in ornithological literature, right up to the decade just finished.


“Recommendation: If demonstrably in prevailing use as defined in the Glossary of the Code (ICZN 1999), the spelling schulzi should be retained for Dryocopus schulzi (Cabanis, 1882), Orn. Centralb. 7: 183 under Art. 33.3.1 of the Code, as a correct original spelling. Estimates of prevailing usage should discount records of the first spelling schulzii generated after 1999 via sources breaching Article 33.3.1 of the Code (ICZN 1999).



Cabanis, J. in Schalow, H. (1882). Allgemeinen Deutschen Ornithologischen Gesellschaft. Sitzung vom 6. November 1882.  Orn. Centralblatt 7: 182-183. 

Cabanis, J. in Schalow, H. & Cabanis, J. (1883): Bericht über die November-Sitzung. J. Orn. 31: 100-104.

Claramunt, S. (2021). Comments on Proposal 896 to the South American Classification Committee. c/- J.V. Remsen, Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University.

David, N. & Elliott, A. (2020). Proposal 896 to the South American Classification Committee. c/- J.V. Remsen, Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University.

Greenway, J.C., Jr. (1960). Cinclidae . Pp. 374-379 in Mayr, E. & Greenway, J.C. Jr. (eds.), Check-List of Birds of the World, vol. 9. Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Mass. 

ICZN (International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature) (1990). The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, The Natural History Museum, London.

Peterson, A.P. (post 2014).

Reichenow, A. & Schalow, H. (1883). Compendium der neu beschriebenen Gattungen und Arten. J. Orn. 31: 399 – 424.


Comments from Lane: “NO. I will follow suit of others who know the ins and outs of nomenclature better than I.”


Comments from Stiles: “NO. Here, from Schodde’s and Santiago’s comments, I gather that by Cabanis’s referring to his original publication of schulzii but spelling it schulzi, he effectively made this spelling available, and this was the spelling used virtually universally thereafter, such that the latter spelling, being in common usage, trumps the earlier schulzii. OK, I can live with that, so will vote NO.”


Comments from Areta: “Again, this is one of this cases in which communication is not breached by a minute change in spelling. Whether one wishes to adhere to strict priority or to invoke prevailing usage, the fact remains that the cases of Cinclus and Dryocopus are effectively identical in terms of their early history. Given this, I believe that being consistent here is useful and that whatever is decided for one of them should be applied to the other. There is no such rule written on The Code, but alas, names are for communication and in these cases, I see no good reasons to create an inconsistency (not even if they differ in their frequency of usage). Applying strict priority would result in consistency (in this case), while I am not sure of whether application of PU will result in the same (I haven´t seen any attempt to assess how prevailing is one name over the other for both species). However, given that the names schulzii and schulzi have been used interchangeably without any communication conflict, that schulzi has been referred to the original description of schulzii (in both genera), and that it is clear that Cabanis preferred schulzi, a NO vote would be understandable, although the basis for such a vote should be further justified by those voting NO. That schulzi was referred to the OD of schulzii does not make the change mandatory, but rather opens the gate to apply PU criteria. If PU indicates that, say, Dryocopus schulzi and Cinclus schulzii should be applied, then that inconsistency would be laughable at (as it currently is), because it would just show how contingencies have played upon each name. My main point here is that, from a communication perspective, both options can work and find support in The Code, but the highly desirable consistency is not in there.”


Comments from Pacheco: “NO. According to Dick Schodde's well-founded argument.”


Comments from Piacentini:  “YES. Can anyone argue for stability when different important references/sources adopt distinct generic placement?  It is Dryocopus in some, Hylatomus in other, and it used to be Ceophloeus or even Neophloeotomus less than a century ago.  So, instead of looking back, I'm wondering what decision would have greater chance to bring stability in the forthcoming years.  Given that both views have some support in the Code, I believe that having the two (and only two) species in the world spelled in the same way could reduce confusion in the future, more than being a matter of consistency, which in itself lacks foundation on the Code. People that are not interested in the bureaucracy of nomenclatural rules will not research the origins and correct spellings; most will not even realize that one species could be schulzi and another schulzii. They will just pick up the first version that appears in Google. In fact, were it possible, I'd argue to change Cinclus back to schulzi, as the "misspelled" version is actually much more prevailing (about 9 times!) than the correct schulzii!, to the point that Google suggests me the wrong name when I search for the correct one. See the prints below. Notice that within the correct Wikipedia page, the filename of the figure with the distribution map is misspelled.  Maybe it is more natural to spell it with a single i. or maybe it is just inertia from the time when Cinclus schulzi was believed to be the correct name. Regarding "Dryocopus", the google-measured prevailing usage of Dryocopus schulzi (7200 vs. 2000 for schulzi) is much less evident than in Cinclus, and actually Hylatomus schulzii prevails over Hylatomus schulzi (1100 vs 400). Stability, in this case, becomes hard to defend. If stability is not a true issue, prevailing usage is not defendable, either. Given that Cinclus schulzii is already adopted but most recent authors (so a change back to Cinclus schulzi is unrealistic, right?), I have to claim that we adopt the original schulzii for the woodpecker as well. I guess that having a different version of the name as the correct one for each of two species may cause an uncertainty for most people. Let's hope that from now on most people will learn that such a name always has double ii.”


“Maybe I'm being somehow inconsistent with my regular view expressed in so many cases before. But the truth is that I judge this kind of change/correction as "irrelevant" when it does not affect communication. Maybe Santiago or Dick can convince me otherwise. But I again state that schulzi/schulzii does not disturbs me compared with masafuerae/masafucrae, or rutilus/rutilans (in Xenops).”


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Additional comments from Claramunt: “I like Vitor’s reasoning regarding the ideal of consistency of using the same spelling for the two names that honored Schulz. That makes nomenclature more user-friendly. But I think we can use those ancillary criteria only when they don’t conflict with actual ICZN rules.


schulzi is in prevailing usage and is thus protected by Article 33.3.1. We don’t get to choose whether we like schulzi or schulzii better.


“Some prominent checklists changed to schulzii recently (an unwise move) and that may give the impression that “things are changing” and that soon everybody will use schulzii. However, today, schulzi is still in clear prevailing usage. Eventually, we may have to do some numbers. A cursory exploration of Google Scholar gave over 100 papers using schulzi versus only 6 papers using schulzii. I know, we need to count authors, not papers, but I think the results would be similar: about an order of magnitude more authors using schulzi versus schulzii. That is clear prevailing usage and thus schulzi is protected by Article 33.3.1.


“So, at the end, to make both names to be spelled the same, I think we should revert to Cinclus schulzi not change the name of the woodpecker.”


Additional comments from Areta: “NO. I think both names should be spelled schulzi. I don´t think there is a clear solution here as prevailing usage is a defective tool, and my understanding is that both schulzii or schulzi could be used. As I argued above, consistency is not a part of The Code, but in this case I believe it should play a role in the arguments, regardless of what prevailing usage (count authors?, count papers?, count citations?, count google scholar? count google searches?, count since when?...). It does not matter if the birds are "orders apart" -- the inconsistency between Dryocopus schulzii and Cinclus schulzi can only be defended by a bureaucrat, given that they have the exact same origins. What matters to me is that we do not act like bureaucrats and find a code-compliant solution. The names schulzii were clearly a historical error, rapidly amended to schulzi by the author AND are (presumably by any measure?) in prevailing usage. I therefore think that having both names spelled schulzi is justified. As a plus, it will not disrupt communication but will simplify life of users and will be the correct way of honoring Schulz. Win-win-win."