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USFWS updates list of birds protected by MBTA

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is updating the list of birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) by both adding and removing species, to reflect changes in taxonomy and accepted use, as well as new evidence regarding the natural occurrence or absence of species in the United States or U.S. territories. The proposal would add 16 species and remove three, bringing the total number of species protected by the MBTA to 1,106. Names changes would affect 30 other listings.

The proposal would:

(1) Add 11 species based on new distributional records documenting their occurrence in the United States or U.S. territories:

- Chestnut-winged Cuckoo (Clamator coromandus)

- Dark-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus melacoryphus)

- Hooded Crane (Grus monacha)

- Northern Giant-Petrel (Macronectes halli)

- Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)

- Pallas's Gull (Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus)

- Inca Tern (Larosterna inca)

- Small-billed Elaenia (Elaenia parvirostris)

- Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler (Helopsaltes certhiola)

- Blue-and-white Swallow (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

- Naumann's Thrush (Turdus naumanni)

(2) Add five species because of recent taxonomic changes in which taxa formerly treated as conspecific have been determined to be distinct species:

- Mexican Duck (Anas diazi) — formerly considered conspecific with Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

- Short-billed Gull (Larus brachyrhynchus) — formerly named Mew Gull and considered conspecific with Larus canus, which now has the English name of Common Gull and remains on the list based on prior occurrences of the Common Gull taxon in the United States

- Puerto Rican Mango (Anthracothorax aurulentus) — formerly considered conspecific with Antillean Mango (Anthracothorax dominicus)

- Asian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus) — formerly considered conspecific with Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus)

- Chihuahuan Meadowlark (Sturnella lilianae) — formerly considered conspecific with Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella manga)

(3) Remove three species based on revised taxonomic treatments, either because a species is taxonomically merged with another species, either on or off the list; a species previously on the list is taxonomically split into multiple species and the new species is not known to occur within the United States or U.S. territories; or the species is considered extinct:

- Northwestern Crow (Corvus caurinus) is lumped with American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

- Antillean Mango (Anthracothorax dominicus)

- Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus)

(4) Revise the common (English) names of eight species and revise the scientific names of 22 species to conform to the most recent nomenclatural treatment. See the table in the agency's proposal here for the list of species. 

Comments can be submitted on the proposal through February 10, 2023. 

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