2021 Clements Update and Continual Concerns


Everything looks good! I also added sources and a description.

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@loarie is there a reason you reused old taxon ids for some of the output taxa? I ask because in some cases, there are still IDs for those taxa (from users who opted out of having their IDs auto-updated for taxon changes).

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Thats a good point - we should make new taxa for these. I updated taxon changes in the following groups so that existing inactive taxa weren’t recycled and moved work done on ranges/altases accordingly
split#13 - Alophoixus bres
split#55 - Phylloscopus maforensis
split#3 - Anthus similis
split#6 - Bubo africanus
split#33 - Zosterops abyssinicus
split#62 - Pachycephala pectoralis


@loarie cross-referencing your list of 65 splits with the eBird update list, I wasn’t sure what was happening with the following: Campylopterus largipennis, Trichoglossus flavoviridis, Meliphaga gracilis, Sylvia cantillans, Turdinus crispifrons, Lonchura tristissima. They all have observations of both descendent taxa on iNat

More generally, eBird have of course gone through the whole process of assigning existing observations to new taxa, so must have maps etc. If these could be accessed this would save time atlassing etc.

Your absolutely right. Thanks for catching these. This one missing due to an error on my end:
Campylopterus largipennis → Campylopterus largipennis, Campylopterus diamantinensis

The others I forgot to include because, like
Glaucidium brodie → Taenioptynx brodie, Taenioptynx sylvaticus
which I inconsistently did include, they are mired in genus level splits like
Glaucidium → Glaucidium, Taenioptynx

Turdinus crispifrons → Gypsophila crispifrons, Gypsophila annamensis, Gypsophila calcicola
Turdinus → Turdinus, Malacocincla, Gypsophila

Meliphaga gracilis → Microptilotis gracilis, Microptilotis imitatrix
Meliphaga → Meliphaga, Microptilotis, Territornis

Trichoglossus flavoviridis → Saudareos flavoviridis, Saudareos meyeri
Trichoglossus → Saudareos, Trichoglossus

Sylvia cantillans → Curruca cantillans, Curruca subalpina
Sylvia → Sylvia, Curruca

Lonchura tristissima → Mayrimunia tristissima, Mayrimunia leucosticta
Lonchura → Lonchura, Padda, Lepidopygia, Mayrimunia

I’ll add these as new splits (#66 - 71) now

Re: what Cornell is doing, I’m not sure but we can ask Marshall Iliff who I’m pretty sure is responsible for it.

OK - I updated my post above:
to include the 5 new splits in the list
and I added all the relevant IUCN ranges to the output taxa as recommended by jwidness

So still waiting on each of these to have taxon ranges and atlases on all output taxa.

Then we can proceed with next steps

Thanks all for moving this update forward!

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I committed 270 taxon change as part of the Clements 2021 update. Thats almost everything that doesn’t involve a split - either a species splits like the ones we’ve been working on here, or a genus split which we’ll get to later. An example of a genus split would be like:
Cynanthus → Cynanthus, Phaeoptila
Cynanthus sordidus → Phaeoptila sordida

I also skipped 3 big lumps that involved more than 1,000 observations just to double check them with you and to make sure we commit them in a way that won’t slow down the site. They are:
Hydrobates lump
Caracara plancus lump

I had meant to also hold off on this Corvus brachyrhynchos caurinus lump but I forgot.

There’s still 1,014 taxon changes to go that are either involved in species or genus splits (plus the two groups I mentioned above that I skipped for now). My plan is to proceed with the species splits once we have all those atlases sorted (thanks for your help with that - see previous reply) and then discuss what to do with the genus splits…

getting there!


A couple of comments: isn’t the Caracara lump missing a taxon change Caracara plancus = Caracara plancus plancus? And the extinct Oceanodroma macrodactyla is missing from the Hydrobates lump

similarly, Chaetura chapmani = Chaetura chapmani chapmani, Lepidocolaptes fuscicapillus = L.f.fuscicapillus, and Amytornis whytei = A.w.whitei

the Chaetura, Lepidocolaptes and Amytornis changes can I think still be made

There are some issues with split 42, Grallaria rufula.

  • Some species are missing from the main G. rufula split because they were described as “new species”, but what they really meant is that there were no existing epithets for those populations of rufula. These need to be added: alvarezi, gravesi, oneilli, saturata, and sinaensis
  • Many of the rufula subspecies were also split and the subspecies swaps aren’t all capturing that info. Based on iNat’s existing IDs, G. rufula rufula should swap directly to G. saturata, though if you want to show the entire split, it actually also goes to G. rufula sensu stricto and G. alvarezi, but there are no iNat IDs that need to be moved to those.
  • G. rufula obscura needs a split to G. obscura and G. gravesi – IDs already exist in the range of both outputs.
  • From the same publication, G. blakei needs to be split to G. blakei, G. ayacuchensis, and G. centralis. Again, these were described as new, but they are previously unnamed populations of G. blakei that have iNat IDs.
  • There is an existing active ungrafted taxon of G. saturata with IDs: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/1276420. We should either use this as the output instead of https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/1289551, or we need another swap for that too.

Are we aligning bird common names with Clements, too?

Yes - We’ll have to “bud off” Caracara plancus plancus from Caracara plancus sensu lato. I think I’d rather just create a new ssp beneath the existing Caracara plancus rather than swap Caracara plancus (sensu stricto) into Caracara plancus and create a new Caracara plancus (sensu lato)

Because there are a lot of long extinct birds in the taxonomy (e.g. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/632159-Teratornithidae) and we use the same system (conservation statuses) to track recently extinct birds in Clements as well as long extinct fossil taxa like these, there’s no easy way for iNat to track recently exctinct birds so taxon frameworks ignore them - I’m likewise ignoring them in this coordination of the update but I hope its something we can manually mop up after the update is done (I’d love to figure simplify iNat’s taxonomy with a firmer policy excluding long-extinct taxa but thats a topic for another thread)

I budded off nominate ssp. for Chaetura, Lepidocolaptes and Amytornis, thanks for notifying these

thanks for checking this. Would be possible to provide the necessary changes as edits to the split and 8 swaps that are scheduled in notation like this?

Grallaria rufula cajamarcae -> Grallaria cajamarcae
Grallaria rufula cochabambae -> Grallaria cochabambae 
Grallaria rufula obscura -> Grallaria obscura
Grallaria rufula occabambae -> Grallaria occabambae
Grallaria rufula rufula -> Grallaria rufula
Grallaria rufula saltuensis -> Grallaria saltuensis
Grallaria rufula spatiator -> Grallaria spatiator

That would make it much easier for me to follow what needs to be changed.

Clements provides common names, and I did bulk update them as part of the last (2019) Clements update, but it was met with some controversy because the formatting of the Clements common names doesn’t fit with the norms of iNat common names (e.g. “Blue-throated Piping-Guan (Blue-throated)”) so I my understanding is that we’re not going to do that again. @bouteloua might be able to provide more context about what in particular was controversial about the Clements common names

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I was talking about the species level names. The subspecies group names used by eBird obviously don’t really fit iNat.

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Grallaria rufula → Grallaria alvarezi,Grallaria cajamarcae,Grallaria cochabambae,Grallaria gravesi,Grallaria obscura,Grallaria occabambae,Grallaria oneilli,Grallaria rufula,Grallaria saltuensis,Grallaria saturata,Grallaria sinaensis,Grallaria spatiator

Grallaria rufula cajamarcae → Grallaria cajamarcae
Grallaria rufula cochabambae → Grallaria cochabambae,Grallaria sinaensis (but no existing input IDs)
Grallaria rufula obscura → Grallaria obscura,Grallaria gravesi,Grallaria oneilli (but no existing IDs need to go to oneilli)
Grallaria rufula occabambae → Grallaria occabambae
Grallaria rufula rufula → Grallaria rufula,Grallaria alvarezi,Grallaria saturata (though all existing iNat IDs go to saturata)
Grallaria rufula saltuensis → Grallaria saltuensis
Grallaria rufula spatiator → Grallaria spatiator

Grallaria blakei → Grallaria blakei,Grallaria ayacuchensis,Grallaria centralis

And there’s the duplicate G. saturata to deal with: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/1276420

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Excellent thank you
I sorted out split#42 - Grallaria rufula following your instructions

I also made split#72 - Grallaria blakei

Great example of the difficulty distinguishing splits from “wholly new”… seems there’s no shortcut to really digging into the literature which is super time consuming

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