An updated list of the bird species protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has been released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"This update to the list of federally protected birds reflects the best available science on bird taxonomy and distribution and will help us improve management of our nation’s migratory birds," said Rowan Gould, acting director of the agency. "The new list benefits researchers, hunters, conservationists, state agencies, tribal governments, and birdwatchers by extending federal protection to all migratory bird species native to the United States while highlighting advances and changes in bird taxonomy that have accumulated since the list was last published."
The FWS gives the following reasons for the changes: "correcting previous mistakes including misspellings, adding species based on new evidence of occurrence in the United States or U.S. territories, removing species no longer known to occur within the United States, and changing names based on new taxonomy. The net increase of 175 species (186 added and 11 removed) brings the total number of species protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to 1007.
A document with details of the revisions, includes the rationale for the myriad of changes, and provides a complete list of the species.
The list was last updated in 1985.