At least in the name. It seems like the American Ornithologists’ Union has decided to remove the Sharp-tailed portion of both the Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sparrows names. The plus side is that when you are drawing someones attention to a sparrow hopping around in some coastal grasses it doesn’t take 5 minutes to get the name out of your mouth. The downside: the ability to call out Sharp-tailed Sparrow and give yourself the extra few seconds to clinch the ID of the bird before having to plump for Saltmarsh or Nelson’s.
In the same committee vote, those hoping to get a few ‘armchair ticks’ from the possible split of Savannah Sparrow into four separate species are going to be disappointed. It seems likely that we are going to see a few new species come out of the split of Savannah Sparrow, but I guess there is still some work to be done yet. More details on the proposal committee votes ( here)
There is an interesting thread on this topic right now on birdforum pointing out the particularly amusing situation whereby we have the AOU deciding to use the name Little Plover (instead of Little Ringed Plover) for Charadrius dubius apparently to keep in line with ‘the Brits’ (see comments) especially as the British Ornithologists’ Union decided to drop that name change and return to Little RingedPlover! Confusing these bird names! More stuff for Greg to discuss at the COA Annual General Meeting in March I guess! (details here).