American Birding Podcast



ABA Checklist Committee Adds Black-backed Oriole to ABA Checklist

In recent weeks, members of the ABA Checklist Committee (CLC) added an additional species to the ABA Checklist, Black-backed Oriole, Icterus abeillei, based on a well-documented record in Pennsylvania in 2017, and subsequent reports from Massachusetts and Connecticut that are widely considered to be the same individual.

Full accounts for these and other decisions made by the CLC since December 2017 will be featured in our next annual report, to be published later in 2018, but the summary for this species is included here.

An extraordinarily long-staying adult individual, seen at a private residence in Berks County, Pennsylvania, from 31 January-2 April 2017, was accepted by the committee 7-1 in the second round of voting (6-2 in the first round). The lone no vote did not request another round of voting and so the species is accepted to the ABA Checklist. The committee thanks the Pennsylvania Ornithological Records Committee (PORC), as well as committees in Massachusetts and Connecticut, for their excellent work with regard to this record. Acknowledging that this was indeed a difficult bird to assess, in the end, most committee members found no convincing evidence against natural vagrancy for this bird aside from extreme unlikeliness. Other similarly unlikely, and ultimately accepted, records of birds whose origin is similar to Black-backed Oriole include Amethyst-throated Hummingbird in Quebec, Streak-backed Oriole in Wisconsin, and Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush in South Dakota and committee members considered these records when thinking about this individual.


The updated ABA Checklist can be downloaded here >>