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Northwestern Crow return?


Tony Leukering

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The American Ornithological Society (AOS), on the strength of the genetic paper by Slager et al. (2020) decided to lump Northwestern Crow with American Crow, thus apparently solving a long-lasting dilemma about the countability and detectability of the taxon, particularly in the southern, more accessible-to-birders portion of the range. However, a monkey wrench has been thrown into the bathwater with the baby.

Taxonomy of the Northwestern Crow (

Robert W. Butler

British Columbia Birds 31:41-46.

Abstract: A recent genomic study by Slager et al. (2020) suggested that the Northwestern Crow (Corvus caurinus) and the American Crow (C. brachyrhynchos) hybridized along a >1400 km wide zone between northwest Washington and the north coast of British Columbia. A reanalysis of those data suggests hybridization is confined to coastal valleys inhabited by humans and isolated from much of the British Columbia coast by uninhabited fjords and where genetics of crows has yet to be described. Based on these results, it is recommended that Corvus caurinus be retained as a full species.

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2 hours ago, Tony Leukering said:

The American Ornithological Society (AOS), on the strength of the genetic paper by Slager et al. (2020) decided to lump Northwestern Crow with American Crow, thus apparently solving a long-lasting dilemma about the countability and detectability of the taxon, particularly in the southern, more accessible-to-birders portion of the range. However, a monkey wrench has been thrown into the bathwater with the baby.

Taxonomy of the Northwestern Crow (

Robert W. Butler

British Columbia Birds 31:41-46.

Abstract: A recent genomic study by Slager et al. (2020) suggested that the Northwestern Crow (Corvus caurinus) and the American Crow (C. brachyrhynchos) hybridized along a >1400 km wide zone between northwest Washington and the north coast of British Columbia. A reanalysis of those data suggests hybridization is confined to coastal valleys inhabited by humans and isolated from much of the British Columbia coast by uninhabited fjords and where genetics of crows has yet to be described. Based on these results, it is recommended that Corvus caurinus be retained as a full species.

This is VERY interesting. Do you have to be a BCFO member to access the full article? Thanks for sharing.

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