[Tweeters] Re: Madera Canyon Eared Quetzal

mattxyz at earthlink.net mattxyz at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 2 17:46:57 PDT 2007

Hi Scott -
Yet again, the change happened with the 43rd Supplement to the AOU
list in 2002. No other species were changed from Trogon to Quetzal
-- the explanation says the name change is based on the Eared
Quetzal's affinity to the other birds in this group known as
Quetzals. The scientific name was not altered. It references studies
carried out by Howell & Webb -- and I think they are the experts on
birds of that region, if memory recalls.

My recommendations -- You can shout into the wind about name changes
until you are blue in the face, or you can see them as examples of
the evolving nature of science. As we learn more, we adapt our
understanding of the world. Why not treat these name changes as
fascinating examples of new understandings of the way our world is

Sure, some of these changes are influenced by less lofty ideals than
new scientific advances, but in many cases they are attempts to
better reflect the best cumulative knowledge of the birds in the AOU
region. Sure, it's revealingly geeky to admit that I enjoy looking
at these updates, but for a non-ornithologist they provide a really
interesting peek into the evolution of the field.

If anyone is interested in tracing the recent changes, go to the
AOU's website and find the section on checklists. You can download
all the supplements from 42-48 [all the updates since the 7th version
of the checklist was released], as well as the entire AOU checklist.
Here's the direct link:


Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA

>What is an Eared Quetzel? It's not in my books on birds of Mexico,

>Costa Rica, or Trinidad. Is the Eared Trogon now being called a

>quetzel? Is it still Euptilotus neoxenus? Who decided the change,

>when and why? How about other trogons, are they also being called

>quetzels? So, the wonderful Resplendent Quetzel is no longer one of

>a kind. Anyone who has seen a trogon will now be able to say

>they've seen a quetzel. I do get tired of all these name changes.


>Scott Warner

>Brier, WA

><mailto:swaner28 at msn.com>swaner28 at msn.com



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