Proposal (97) to South American Classification Committee


Change English name of Amazilia edward from Snowy-breasted Hummingbird to Snowy-bellied Hummingbird


I would like to submit a proposal to the SACC that the English name of Amazilia edward be changed to Snowy-bellied Hummingbird. This is the name used in Ridgely and Gwynne's (1989) A Guide to the Birds of Panama, Stiles and Skutch's (1989) A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica, and the American Ornithologist's Union's (1998) 7th edition Check-list of North American Birds. Not only would this change conform to the primary (and virtually only) resources used by birders and ornithologists within the species' entire range, but the one of the prominent field marks of the species is the white belly which contrasts strongly with the glittering green breast.


Rich Hoyer, February 2004




Comments from Remsen: “YES. This Central American species is known from South America from only one locality, so we should be consistent with AOU and regional works that cover the area that includes 99.99% of the species' range, and thus change to Snowy-bellied.


“Historically, the species was known as ‘Snowy-breasted’ (e.g., Ridgway 1911, Eisenmann 1955, Slud 1964, Wetmore 1968, Ridgely 1976). The first usage of "Snowy-bellied" that I can find is AOU (1983), and this was followed by the primary literature and bird guides for Costa Rica and Panama. The reason for the change (I can't pinpoint the actual source) is that the bird's breast is primarily green, becoming white on the lower margin of what we typically consider "breast". So, "Snowy-breasted" is nearly "wrong" and certainly misleading. The reason SACC started with "Snowy-breasted" is that that's the way it is in Dickinson (2003); it is also that way in Schuchmann (1999) and Sibley & Monroe (1990) [the latter surprising given that Burt Monroe was basically in charge of English names in that and AOU 1983.].”


Comments from Zimmer: "YES. The previous name is misleading at best, and the latter has gained acceptance in the pertinent field guides."


Comments from Stiles: "YES. Corrects a rather flagrant inaccuracy and has been used in numerous recent works."


Comments from Nores: "Si. El nombre Snowy-breasted Hummingbird es para mí erróneo."


Comments from Jaramillo: "YES.  Snowy-bellied is the undeniably best choice in this situation."