A charismatic shorebird, the Willet has just been split into two species, the Western Willet Tringa inornata and Eastern Willet Tringa semipalmata according to the TiF checklist based on the recently published study by Oswald et al. (2016). The split was suggested by John H. Boyd who has been running the Taxonomy in Flux (TiF) checklist for quite some time. The birding world has long been waiting for this split but this species was nowhere in the proposal lists of neither on the International Ornithologists Union (known as IOC) website nor in the Fifty-seventh Supplement to the American Ornithologists’ Union Check-list of North American Birds until know. IOC has just (23 Aug 2016) listed Western Willet as potential split for the 6.4 update.
Boyd’s move might be the first adaptation of the Oswald’s study which says in the conclusion “Genetic, morphological, ecological, and behavioral differences suggest that the 2 Willet subspecies may merit treatment as separate species. Further studies are needed to determine the presence of pre- or post-mating reproductive isolation.” Time will tell when these big taxonomic bodies put the proposal on the table or require further studies.