Written by Michael Wilson
July 10, 2010
In the 51st supplement of the AOU Checklist released in 2010 the whip-poor-will was taxonomically split into the eastern and Mexican species (Caprimulgus vociferous and C. arizonae, respectively). There has always been a long standing tradition of recognizing the eastern and Mexican whip-poor-wills as unique populations based on their distinct geography, vocalizations, plumage, morphology and other characteristics. This population-level recognition has benefitted both species because each has undergone decades of regionally-focused conservation. This divided attention also serves as a reminder of the importance of recognizing distinct populations of other species that have multiple forms in the conservation planning process.