2020 AOS Supplement: Yay or nay

Yesterday (June 30), the AOS (American Ornithological Society) and the NACC (North America Checklist Committee) submitted the 61st Supplement for North and Middle America taxonomy on avian species. Here’s the predicament.

iNaturalist follows the Clements Checklist, however most changes to the Clements Checklist are influenced by the AOS Supplement. Here’s the question: Do we start the work on flagging taxa for review? Now is probably the best time than ever to get a new bird curator so @loarie doesn’t have so much on his plate. Thoughts?


I don’t have anything to comment at the moment besides my displeasure at the rejection of the Ocotero proposal


Now is probably the best time than ever to get a new bird curator

Reptiles also desperately need a new curator. So many new Reptile Database updates that haven’t been ‘ported’ to iNaturalist yet … and @loarie needs a break, too :)

I don’t have any comment on the bird taxonomy, not familiar with them.

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I suspect the issue at the moment is not the fact we need more curators but it needs to be right curator. Patience young Padawan, we’ll get this all sorted out.

No, now is not the time to flag taxa changed by the AOS supplement because iNat follows Clements. The next Clements update won’t be until the latter half of 2021 and, while it generally follows AOS, there is no guarantee it will adopt all of the changes in this most recent supplement.

The AOS also doesn’t include subspecies, so if something like the Corvus lump is adopted by Clements we will have to wait and see if it results in new subspecies.


No. The relevant curator(s) will know about and come up with a plan to initiate the changes that are adopted.

All this will do is to increase the backlog of active flags curators have to navigate and investigate and lead to posts/complaints on them about why is this not done yet.


I don’t think it will honestly, the proposal paper stated fairly clearly not only was the “Northwestern” Crow was not a species but not even a subspecies.

Either way, Corvus brachyrhynchos is polytypic, so if Corvus caurinus is merged with it, all of those individuals will have to be assigned to a subspecies by Clements. I would assume they would be included within C. b. hesperis, but it is also possible Clements may treat them as a new subspecies (i.e., C. b. caurinus).

That’s quite in the weeds, though. As @cmcheatle reiterated, this is an inappropriate use of taxa flags.

Just a note for anyone who had not seen it - no 2020 update will be published by Clements


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