English Name of Upucerthia Validirostris

Proposal (606) to South American Classification Committee

English name of Upucerthia validirostris

With the passage of proposal 572 to treat Upucerthia jelskii and U. validirostris as conspecific, we have a problem with which English name to use. I used Buff-breasted Earthcreeper as a placeholder because it had been used by Cory & Hellmayr (1927) for U. validirostris when it included the jelskii subspecies group. However, typical practice is to use a separate name from either of the daughter species for a broadly defined species after lumps or splits. The problem was created by Meyer de Schauensee, who treated the jelskii group as a separate species but retained Cory & Hellmayr’s “Buff-breasted” for narrowly defined U. validirostris.

A YES vote on this proposal is for approval of use of Buff-breasted for broadly defined U. validirostris. A NO vote would be to find another name (to be determined) for broadly defined U. validirostris (and the NO voters become the authors of a follow-up proposal for a novel name).

Reasons for a YES vote are (1) this is just a return to the name used by Cory & Hellmayr, and (2) it avoids inventing a novel name for the broadly defined species. The reason for a NO vote is to avoid perpetual confusion concerning what “Buff-breasted” refers to, even if it means inventing a new name.

I lean slightly towards a YES. Not that Cory & Hellmayr is a widely used source of English names, but they did indeed establish Buff-breasted for the broadly defined species. If this were a novel lump, then I would strongly favor a coining a new name, but this is not the case.

Van Remsen. November 2013


Comments from Zimmer: “YES, to return to the English name of Buff-breasted Earthcreeper for the more broadly defined validirostris (with jelskii) group. As Van points out, this is not a novel lump, and we would just be returning to a name used previously for this species, even though there is some potential for confusion as to whether the name applies to pre-lumped species-limits or post-lumped species-limits.”

Comments from Stiles: ““YES, to maintain the original name for the broadly defined species, for reasons expressed by Van; given that the splitting of these two was relatively recent, I suspect that the new English names therein have seen little use, so the potential confusion mentioned by Kevin would be minimal.: