22 December 2015

Checklist of Avifauna for the Nebraska Sandhills

The sandhills of Nebraska and extreme southern South Dakota are a unique and expansive area of predominantly prairie lands with interspersed wetlands and human settlements. A great variety of birds occur.

A modern-era checklist has just been prepared for the region, based upon a database of more than 148,000 records, with the first dated record from 1886.

The details convey there are 58 families with a representative 406 valid species. Other sorts of birds occur, specifically known hybrids. In the case of prominent name changes, previous alternate common names are indicated.

The source of the details needed to create this updated checklist was: Gill, Frank and D. Donsker (editors). 2015. International Ornithological Council world bird list (version 5.4). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.5.4. www.worldbirdnames.org", which is the result of a multi-year voluntary effort by globally situated experts. This freely-available spreadsheet also includes details on the published sources that indicated the original naming, as well as subspecies and their distribution. Each tidbit makes the information essential when considering world avifauna, but are interesting as well.

Species are listed in the taxonomic order indicated by this reference. In the case of prominent name changes, previous alternate common names are indicated. Some of the changes are slight, while there might also be a completely new common name.

Family Anatidae
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck; Dendrocygna autumnalis
Swan Goose; Anser cygnoides
Greater White-fronted Goose; Anser albifrons
Bar-headed Goose; Anser indicus
Snow Goose; Chen caerulescens
Ross's Goose; Chen rossii
Canada Goose; Branta canadensis
Cackling Goose; Branta hutchinsii
Brant Goose; Branta bernicla
Mute Swan; Cygnus olor
Trumpeter Swan; Cygnus buccinator
Tundra Swan; Cygnus columbianus
Wood Duck; Aix sponsa
Gadwall; Anas strepera
Eurasian Wigeon; Anas penelope
American Wigeon; Anas americana
American Black Duck; Anas rubripes
Mallard; Anas platyrhynchos
Blue-winged Teal; Anas discors
Cinnamon Teal; Anas cyanoptera
Northern Shoveler; Anas clypeata
Northern Pintail; Anas acuta
Green-winged Teal; Anas crecca
Canvasback; Aythya valisineria
Redhead; Aythya americana
Ring-necked Duck; Aythya collaris
Tufted Duck; Aythya fuligula
Greater Scaup; Aythya marila
Lesser Scaup; Aythya affinis
Common Eider; Somateria mollissima
Harlequin Duck; Histrionicus histrionicus
Surf Scoter; Melanitta perspicillata
White-winged Scoter; Melanitta fusca
Black Scoter; Melanitta americana
Long-tailed Duck; Clangula hyemalis
Bufflehead; Bucephala albeola
Common Goldeneye; Bucephala clangula
Barrow's Goldeneye; Bucephala islandica
Hooded Merganser; Lophodytes cucullatus
Common Merganser; Mergus merganser
Red-breasted Merganser; Mergus serrator
Ruddy Duck; Oxyura jamaicensis
Family Odontophoridae
Scaled Quail; Callipepla squamata
Northern Bobwhite; Colinus virginianus
Family Phasianidae
Wild Turkey; Meleagris gallopavo
Ruffed Grouse; Bonasa umbellus
Sage Grouse; Centrocercus urophasianus
Sharp-tailed Grouse; Tympanuchus phasianellus
Greater Prairie-Chicken; Tympanuchus cupido
Chukar Partridge; Alectoris chukar
Grey Partridge; Perdix perdix
Common Pheasant; Phasianus colchicus
Family Gaviidae
Red-throated Loon; Gavia stellata
Pacific Loon; Gavia pacifica
Great Northern Loon; Gavia immer
Yellow-billed Loon; Gavia adamsii
Family Podicipedidae
Pied-billed Grebe; Podilymbus podiceps
Red-necked Grebe; Podiceps grisegena
Horned Grebe; Podiceps auritus
Black-necked Grebe; Podiceps nigricollis; eared grebe
Western Grebe; Aechmophorus occidentalis
Clark's Grebe; Aechmophorus clarkii
Family Threskiornithidae
American White Ibis; Eudocimus albus
Glossy Ibis; Plegadis falcinellus
White-faced Ibis; Plegadis chihi
Family Ardeidae
American Bittern; Botaurus lentiginosus
Least Bittern; Ixobrychus exilis
Black-crowned Night Heron; Nycticorax nycticorax
Yellow-crowned Night Heron; Nyctanassa violacea
Green Heron; Butorides striata
Western Cattle Egret; Bubulcus ibis
Great Blue Heron; Ardea herodias
Great Egret; Ardea alba
Reddish Egret; Egretta rufescens
Little Blue Heron; Egretta caerulea
Snowy Egret; Egretta thula
Family Pelecanidae
American White Pelican; Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
Brown Pelican; Pelecanus occidentalis
Family Phalacrocoracidae
Neotropic Cormorant; Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Double-crested Cormorant; Phalacrocorax auritus
Family Cathartidae
Turkey Vulture; Cathartes aura
Family Pandionidae
Western Osprey; Pandion haliaetus
Family Accipitridae
White-tailed Kite; Elanus leucurus
Golden Eagle; Aquila chrysaetos
Sharp-shinned Hawk; Accipiter striatus
Cooper's Hawk; Accipiter cooperii
Northern Goshawk; Accipiter gentilis
Northern Harrier; Circus cyaneus
Bald Eagle; Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Mississippi Kite; Ictinia mississippiensis
Red-shouldered Hawk; Buteo lineatus
Broad-winged Hawk; Buteo platypterus
Swainson's Hawk; Buteo swainsoni
Red-tailed Hawk; Buteo jamaicensis
Ferruginous Hawk; Buteo regalis
Rough-legged Buzzard; Buteo lagopus
Family Rallidae
Yellow Rail; Coturnicops noveboracensis
Black Rail; Laterallus jamaicensis
King Rail; Rallus elegans
Virginia Rail; Rallus limicola
Sora; Porzana carolina
Common Moorhen; Gallinula chloropus
American Coot; Fulica americana
Family Gruidae
Sandhill Crane; Grus canadensis
Whooping Crane; Grus americana
Family Recurvirostridae
Black-necked Stilt; Himantopus mexicanus
American Avocet; Recurvirostra americana
Family Charadriidae
American Golden Plover; Pluvialis dominica
Grey Plover; Pluvialis squatarola; black-bellied plover
Semipalmated Plover; Charadrius semipalmatus
Killdeer; Charadrius vociferus
Piping Plover; Charadrius melodus
Snowy Plover; Charadrius nivosus
Mountain Plover; Charadrius montanus
Family Scolopacidae
American Woodcock; Scolopax minor
Wilson's Snipe; Gallinago delicata
Short-billed Dowitcher; Limnodromus griseus
Long-billed Dowitcher; Limnodromus scolopaceus
Hudsonian Godwit; Limosa haemastica
Marbled Godwit; Limosa fedoa
Eskimo Curlew; Numenius borealis
Whimbrel; Numenius phaeopus
Long-billed Curlew; Numenius americanus
Upland Sandpiper; Bartramia longicauda
Greater Yellowlegs; Tringa melanoleuca
Lesser Yellowlegs; Tringa flavipes
Solitary Sandpiper; Tringa solitaria
Willet; Tringa semipalmata
Spotted Sandpiper; Actitis macularius
Ruddy Turnstone; Arenaria interpres
Red Knot; Calidris canutus
Sanderling; Calidris alba
Semipalmated Sandpiper; Calidris pusilla
Western Sandpiper; Calidris mauri
Least Sandpiper; Calidris minutilla
White-rumped Sandpiper; Calidris fuscicollis
Baird's Sandpiper; Calidris bairdii
Pectoral Sandpiper; Calidris melanotos
Dunlin; Calidris alpina
Stilt Sandpiper; Calidris himantopus
Buff-breasted Sandpiper; Tryngites subruficollis
Wilson's Phalarope; Phalaropus tricolor
Red-necked Phalarope; Phalaropus lobatus
Red Phalarope; Phalaropus fulicarius
Family Laridae
Black-legged Kittiwake; Rissa tridactyla
Sabine's Gull; Xema sabini
Bonaparte's Gull; Chroicocephalus philadelphia
Black-headed Gull; Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Little Gull; Hydrocoloeus minutus
Ross's Gull; Rhodostethia rosea
Laughing Gull; Leucophaeus atricilla
Franklin's Gull; Leucophaeus pipixcan
Mew Gull; Larus canus
Ring-billed Gull; Larus delawarensis
California Gull; Larus californicus
Great Black-backed Gull; Larus marinus
Glaucous-winged Gull; Larus glaucescens
Glaucous Gull; Larus hyperboreus
Iceland Gull; Larus glaucoides
Thayer's Gull; Larus thayeri
American Herring Gull; Larus smithsonianus
Lesser Black-backed Gull; Larus fuscus
Caspian Tern; Hydroprogne caspia
Least Tern; Sternula antillarum
Common Tern; Sterna hirundo
Forster's Tern; Sterna forsteri
Black Tern; Chlidonias niger
Family Stercorariidae
Pomarine Skua; Stercorarius pomarinus; pomarine jaeger
Parasitic Jaeger; Stercorarius parasiticus
Long-tailed Jaeger; Stercorarius longicaudus
Family Columidae
Rock Dove; Columba livia; rock pigeon
Eurasian Collared Dove; Streptopelia decaocto
Mourning Dove; Zenaida macroura
White-winged Dove; Zenaida asiatica
Family Cuculidae
Yellow-billed Cuckoo; Coccyzus americanus
Black-billed Cuckoo; Coccyzus erythropthalmus
Family Tytonidae
Western Barn Owl; Tyto alba
Family Strigidae
Flammulated Owl; Psiloscops flammeolus
Eastern Screech Owl; Megascops asio
Snowy Owl; Bubo scandiacus
Great Horned Owl; Bubo virginianus
Barred Owl; Strix varia
Great Grey Owl; Strix nebulosa
Burrowing Owl; Athene cunicularia
Northern Saw-whet Owl; Aegolius acadicus
Long-eared Owl; Asio otus
Short-eared Owl; Asio flammeus
Family Cprimulgidae
Common Nighthawk; Chordeiles minor
Common Poorwill; Phalaenoptilus nuttallii
Chuck-will's-widow; Antrostomus carolinensis
Eastern Whip-poor-will; Antrostomus vociferus; whip-poor-will

Family Apodidae
Chimney Swift; Chaetura pelagica
White-throated Swift; Aeronautes saxatalis
Family Trochilidae
Ruby-throated Hummingbird; Archilochus colubris
Broad-tailed Hummingbird; Selasphorus platycercus
Rufous Hummingbird; Selasphorus rufus
Calliope Hummingbird; Selasphorus calliope
Family Alcedinidae
Belted Kingfisher; Megaceryle alcyon
Family Picidae
Lewis's Woodpecker; Melanerpes lewis
Red-headed Woodpecker; Melanerpes erythrocephalus
Acorn Woodpecker; Melanerpes formicivorus
Red-bellied Woodpecker; Melanerpes carolinus
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker; Sphyrapicus varius
Red-naped Sapsucker; Sphyrapicus nuchalis
Downy Woodpecker; Picoides pubescens
Hairy Woodpecker; Picoides villosus
Northern Flicker; Colaptes auratus
Family Falconidae
American Kestrel; Falco sparverius
Merlin; Falco columbarius
Gyrfalcon; Falco rusticolus
Prairie Falcon; Falco mexicanus
Peregrine Falcon; Falco peregrinus
Family Tyrannidae
Eastern Phoebe; Sayornis phoebe
Say's Phoebe; Sayornis saya
Olive-sided Flycatcher; Contopus cooperi
Western Wood Pewee; Contopus sordidulus
Eastern Wood-Pewee; Contopus virens
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher; Empidonax flaviventris
Acadian Flycatcher; Empidonax virescens
Willow Flycatcher; Empidonax traillii
Alder Flycatcher; Empidonax alnorum
Least Flycatcher; Empidonax minimus
Hammond's Flycatcher; Empidonax hammondii
Cordilleran Flycatcher; Empidonax occidentalis
Vermilion Flycatcher; Pyrocephalus rubinus
Cassin's Kingbird; Tyrannus vociferans
Western Kingbird; Tyrannus verticalis
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher; Tyrannus forficatus
Eastern Kingbird; Tyrannus tyrannus
Great Crested Flycatcher; Myiarchus crinitus
Family Laniidae
Loggerhead Shrike; Lanius ludovicianus
Great Grey Shrike; Lanius excubitor; northern shrike
Family Vireonidae
White-eyed Vireo; Vireo griseus
Bell's Vireo; Vireo bellii
Yellow-throated Vireo; Vireo flavifrons
Plumbeous Vireo; Vireo plumbeus
Cassin's Vireo; Vireo cassinii
Blue-headed Vireo; Vireo solitarius
Warbling Vireo; Vireo gilvus
Philadelphia Vireo; Vireo philadelphicus
Red-eyed Vireo; Vireo olivaceus
Family Corvidae
Grey Jay; Perisoreus canadensis
Blue Jay; Cyanocitta cristata
Steller's Jay; Cyanocitta stelleri
Pinyon Jay; Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus
Black-billed Magpie; Pica hudsonia
Clark's Nutcracker; Nucifraga columbiana
American Crow; Corvus brachyrhynchos
Northern Raven; Corvus corax; common raven
Family Bombycillidae
Bohemian Waxwing; Bombycilla garrulus
Cedar Waxwing; Bombycilla cedrorum
Family Paridae
Tufted Titmouse; Baeolophus bicolor
Black-capped Chickadee; Poecile atricapillus
Mountain Chickadee; Poecile gambeli
Family Alaudidae
Horned Lark; Eremophila alpestris
Family Hirundinidae
Sand Martin; Riparia riparia; bank swallow
Tree Swallow; Tachycineta bicolor
Violet-green Swallow; Tachycineta thalassina
Purple Martin; Progne subis
Northern Rough-winged Swallow; Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Barn Swallow; Hirundo rustica
American Cliff Swallow; Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Cave Swallow; Petrochelidon fulva
Family Regulidae
Golden-crowned Kinglet; Regulus satrapa
Ruby-crowned Kinglet; Regulus calendula
Family Troglodytidae
Rock Wren; Salpinctes obsoletus
Sedge Wren; Cistothorus platensis
Marsh Wren; Cistothorus palustris
Bewick's Wren; Thryomanes bewickii
Carolina Wren; Thryothorus ludovicianus
Winter Wren; Troglodytes hiemalis
House Wren; Troglodytes aedon
Family Polioptilidae
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher; Polioptila caerulea
Family Sittidae
Pygmy Nuthatch; Sitta pygmaea
Red-breasted Nuthatch; Sitta canadensis
White-breasted Nuthatch; Sitta carolinensis
Family Certhiidae
Brown Creeper; Certhia americana
Family Mimidae
Grey Catbird; Dumetella carolinensis
Northern Mockingbird; Mimus polyglottos
Sage Thrasher; Oreoscoptes montanus
Brown Thrasher; Toxostoma rufum
Curve-billed Thrasher; Toxostoma curvirostre
Family Sturnidae
Common Starling; Sturnus vulgaris; European starling
Family Turdidae
Varied Thrush; Ixoreus naevius
Eastern Bluebird; Sialia sialis
Mountain Bluebird; Sialia currucoides
Townsend's Solitaire; Myadestes townsendi
Veery; Catharus fuscescens
Gray-cheeked Thrush; Catharus minimus
Swainson's Thrush; Catharus ustulatus
Hermit Thrush; Catharus guttatus
Wood Thrush; Hylocichla mustelina
American Robin; Turdus migratorius
Family Cinclidae
American Dipper; Cinclus mexicanus
Family Passeridae
House Sparrow; Passer domesticus; English sparrow
Family Motacillidae
Buff-bellied Pipit; Anthus rubescens; American pipit
Sprague's Pipit; Anthus spragueii
Family Fringillidae
Evening Grosbeak; Hesperiphona vespertinus
Pine Grosbeak; Pinicola enucleator
Grey-crowned Rosy Finch; Leucosticte tephrocotis
Purple Finch; Haemorhous purpureus
Cassin's Finch; Haemorhous cassinii
House Finch; Haemorhous mexicanus
Common Redpoll; Acanthis flammea
Red Crossbill; Loxia curvirostra
Two-barred Crossbill; Loxia leucoptera; white-winged crossbill
American Goldfinch; Spinus tristis
Lesser Goldfinch; Spinus psaltria
Pine Siskin; Spinus pinus
Family Parulidae
Ovenbird; Seiurus aurocapilla
Worm-eating Warbler; Helmitheros vermivorum
Louisiana Waterthrush; Parkesia motacilla
Northern Waterthrush; Parkesia noveboracensis
Golden-winged Warbler; Vermivora chrysoptera
Blue-winged Warbler; Vermivora cyanoptera
Black-and-white Warbler; Mniotilta varia
Prothonotary Warbler; Protonotaria citrea
Tennessee Warbler; Leiothlypis peregrina
Orange-crowned Warbler; Leiothlypis celata
Nashville Warbler; Leiothlypis ruficapilla
Connecticut Warbler; Oporornis agilis
MacGillivray's Warbler; Geothlypis tolmiei
Mourning Warbler; Geothlypis philadelphia
Kentucky Warbler; Geothlypis formosa
Common Yellowthroat; Geothlypis trichas
Hooded Warbler; Setophaga citrina
American Redstart; Setophaga ruticilla
Cape May Warbler; Setophaga tigrina
Cerulean Warbler; Setophaga cerulea
Northern Parula; Setophaga americana
Magnolia Warbler; Setophaga magnolia
Bay-breasted Warbler; Setophaga castanea
Blackburnian Warbler; Setophaga fusca
American Yellow Warbler; Setophaga aestiva
Chestnut-sided Warbler; Setophaga pensylvanica
Blackpoll Warbler; Setophaga striata
Black-throated Blue Warbler; Setophaga caerulescens
Palm Warbler; Setophaga palmarum
Audubon's Warbler; Setophaga auduboni; yellow-rumped warbler. There may also be occurrences of the more eastern Myrtle's Warbler, which now has a distinct scientific name.
Yellow-throated Warbler; Setophaga dominica
Prairie Warbler; Setophaga discolor
Grace's Warbler; Setophaga graciae
Black-throated Grey Warbler; Setophaga nigrescens
Townsend's Warbler; Setophaga townsendi
Black-throated Green Warbler; Setophaga virens
Canada Warbler; Cardellina canadensis
Wilson's Warbler; Cardellina pusilla
Fmmily: Incertae Sedis
[Genus relationships not certain.]
Yellow-breasted Chat; Icteria virens
Family Icteridae
Yellow-headed Blackbird; Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
Bobolink; Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Western Meadowlark; Sturnella neglecta
Eastern Meadowlark; Sturnella magna
Bullock's Oriole; Icterus bullockii
Baltimore Oriole; Icterus galbula
Orchard Oriole; Icterus spurius
Red-winged Blackbird; Agelaius phoeniceus
Brown-headed Cowbird; Molothrus ater
Rusty Blackbird; Euphagus carolinus
Brewer's Blackbird; Euphagus cyanocephalus
Common Grackle; Quiscalus quiscula
Great-tailed Grackle; Quiscalus mexicanus
Family Emberizidae
Lark Bunting; Calamospiza melanocorys
Red Fox Sparrow; Passerella iliaca; fox sparrow
Song Sparrow; Melospiza melodia
Lincoln's Sparrow; Melospiza lincolnii
Swamp Sparrow; Melospiza georgiana
Harris's Sparrow; Zonotrichia querula
White-crowned Sparrow; Zonotrichia leucophrys
White-throated Sparrow; Zonotrichia albicollis
Golden-crowned Sparrow; Zonotrichia atricapilla
Dark-eyed Junco; Junco hyemalis
Savannah Sparrow; Passerculus sandwichensis
Nelson's Sparrow; Ammodramus nelsoni; Nelson's salt-marsh sparrow
Saltmarsh Sparrow; Ammodramus caudacutus
Le Conte's Sparrow; Ammodramus leconteii
Baird's Sparrow; Ammodramus bairdii
Henslow's Sparrow; Ammodramus henslowii
Grasshopper Sparrow; Ammodramus savannarum
American Tree Sparrow; Spizelloides arborea
Chipping Sparrow; Spizella passerina
Field Sparrow; Spizella pusilla
Clay-colored Sparrow; Spizella pallida
Brewer's Sparrow; Spizella breweri
Vesper Sparrow; Pooecetes gramineus
Lark Sparrow; Chondestes grammacus
Black-throated Sparrow; Amphispiza bilineata
Cassin's Sparrow; Peucaea cassinii
Green-tailed Towhee; Pipilo chlorurus
Spotted Towhee; Pipilo maculatus
Eastern Towhee; Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Family Calcariidae
McCown's Longspur; Rhynchophanes mccownii
Lapland Longspur; Calcarius lapponicus
Smith's Longspur; Calcarius pictus
Chestnut-collared Longspur; Calcarius ornatus
Snow Bunting; Plectrophenax nivalis
Family Cardinalidae
Summer Tanager; Piranga rubra
Scarlet Tanager; Piranga olivacea
Western Tanager; Piranga ludoviciana
Dickcissel; Spiza americana
Rose-breasted Grosbeak; Pheucticus ludovicianus
Black-headed Grosbeak; Pheucticus melanocephalus
Northern Cardinal; Cardinalis cardinalis
Blue Grosbeak; Passerina caerulea
Indigo Bunting; Passerina cyanea
Lazuli Bunting; Passerina amoena
Painted Bunting; Passerina ciris

This is an updated checklist for a regional area within Nebraska which conforms to international standards of name designation and taxonomy. The Nebraska bird group standards are based upon a lesser extent of species evaluation ... those only for North America.

Avian taxonomy is an ever-changing situation. Updates are typically issued on a yearly basis, so any field guide may be out-of-date within months after it is published. Name and taxonomy standards used vary greatly, from state to national to international.

It requires a focused effort to update particulars within any digital record-keeping methodology. Changes have to be carefully integrated with all previous, related details, while maintaining their essential intregrity. For a database, temporary alterations have to be allowed as additions and edits occur. Then the information has to be checked again to ensure essential accuracy.

It took numerous hours of a pre-holiday weekend to update the bird nomenclature details included in the database of the Great American Sandhills. It was a much more interesting endeavour than going shopping for holiday gifts!

A day earlier effort to update using the American Ornithologists Union checklist simply did not work. The effort was abandoned as the resultant details were confusing due to a lack of flexibility, especially when considering taxonimc sequence. Any use of the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union state checklist was immediately not feasible, due its simplicity and since it could not be saved digitally for later consideration at the home computer, where the hours of editing would occur.

The most problemantic item in regards to updating any personal database is the taxonomic sequence. Common and scientific names can be easily changed. Yet, none of the issued sources provide a specific number of identification, so there is the necessity to derive some means so that once the information is updated, it can be properly sorted for presentation that is proper and adheres to the original source.

After editing the records based upon the AOU checklist, the species sequence was not right. They attribute a species number based not upon when it was first designated, but upon an arbitrary designated number when something occurred. The Winter Wren is an example of this stupidity. The species has been known for nearly two centuries, yet when it was split to include the Pacific Wren of the northwest, its id value was changed.

The NOU checklist indicates nothing as far as a value where the list can be downloaded and used to prepare an electronic checklist, with a value that would allow creating a list with the proper taxonomic sequence.

The most problematic item is determining a sequence. Records need to be sorted so they can be regularly displayed in the right manner. Yet there is no number designated by any of the checklists available. In the case of the update using the IOC list, at least the row of the spreadsheet could be used to provide a faux number to enter so the species could be kept in the proper order. It would certainly make this sort of effort easier if a number was designated by authorities.

The extent of birds has been studied for decades, so it would seem that some numbering sequence could have been adopted that would be dynamic and suitable for the long-term. Alas, that is not the case now and never has been. Determining the order for species has always been essential and it will continue to be essential. Certainly the nomenclature experts could consider and develop a resolution...