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Observed: 22nd July 2011 By: Bird Boy SamBird Boy Sam’s reputation in BirdsBird Boy Sam’s reputation in BirdsBird Boy Sam’s reputation in Birds
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RoyW's picture

Stonechat taxonomy.

The bird in this observation is a European Stonechat, but this should perhaps now be given the scientific name Saxicola rubicola instead of S. torquatus.

Stonechats found in Europe, northern Asia, and Africa have previously been considered to all be one species (with variuos different subspecies) under the name S. torquatus. Studies have now shown that it is perhaps better to treat these as at least three seperate species: African Stonechat (S. torquatus), European Stonechat (S. rubicola), and Siberian Stonechat (S. maura). African Stonechat keeps the name S. torquatus because the type specimen first given that name was of one of the subspecies found in Africa.

The taxonomical sub commitee of the British Ornithologists Union have recently agreed that this is the best treatment for the species (some world lists had already accepted the change):

The spelling of torquata is also pretty much universally considered to be incorrect now, and it should be torquatus, see (eg.):