Recent changes in taxonomy have made life a bit more complicated for us birders in India (and elsewhere), and some familiar species suddenly have new names! Here is a list of name changes for some common species. In making this list, we assume that you have set your eBird preferences to display both Common and Scientific Names, with common names set to ‘English (India)’.
Note this is not a full listing of possible name confusions — we will keep adding to it as time permits! For those interested in investigating further, here is a detailed description of the eBird taxonomy.
|Old name||New name||Why?|
|Older species split; now only indicus occurs in India|
|split into passerinus (most of India) and merulinus (NE India)|
|split into sinensis (N, NE India) and parroti (Peninsular India).|
|split into affinis (most of India) and nipalensis (Himalayas and NE India)|
|Eurasian Golden Oriole|
|split into oriolus and kundoo; only kundoo occurs in India|
|split into albogularis (C and S India) and albicollis (N, E and NE India)|
|split into several taxa; only cinereus occurs in India|
|split into xanthogenys (Himalayas) and aplonotus (Peninsular and S India)|
|split into castanea (Peninsular India) and cinnamoventris (Himalayas and NE India)|
|split; only hodgsoni occurs in India|
|split into leucocephalus (Himalayas and NE India) and ganeesa (Western Ghats)|
|torquatus split into many taxa; only maurus occurs in India|
|Brown Rock Chat|
|renamed, scientific name unchanged|
|Common Hill Myna|
|split into religiosa (C, NE India) and indica (Western Ghats)|
|split into malabarica (most of India) and blythii (Western Ghats)|
|split into concolor (Western Ghats), minullum (NE India) and virescens (Andaman)|
|split into malacca (S, C and W India) and atricapilla (N, E and NE India)|
For those who have managed to get this far, a note on Rock Pigeons (or, for those used to older names: Blue Rock Pigeons). Most of the Rock Pigeons we see are either derived from domestic pigeon stock, or are hybrids between wild and domestic pigeons. In eBird, these should be reported as “Feral Pigeons”. True “wild-type” Rock Pigeons are probably quite rare, so please be cautious when reporting these on eBird. More on Feral versus Wild-type pigeons in eBird can be found here.