27/01/2015
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Atlantic Chaffinch subspecies to be split?

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This Azorean Chaffinch of the subspecies <em>moreletti</em> is certainly distinctive, and a split is hinted at, though not confirmed in the new study. Photo: Froth82 (commons.wikimedia.org).
This Azorean Chaffinch of the subspecies moreletti is certainly distinctive, and a split is hinted at, though not confirmed in the new study. Photo: Froth82 (commons.wikimedia.org).


Chaffinches in the Atlantic or Macaronesian Islands are well known to have evolved distinctive subspecific forms on many of the islands, much like African Blue Tit in the same region.

Now a new genetic study has indicated that the different subspecies of Fringilla coelebs isolated on various islands (in the Azores F c moreletti, Madeira F c maderensis, La Palma F c palmae, El Hierro F c ombriosa and Tenerife, La Gomera and Gran Canaria F c canariensis) are probably differentiated enough to euphemistically warrant a “taxonomic revision”.

This helps to confirm previous work on the forms, though no actual split has been announced as yet.

For more information, see: Rodrigues, P, Lopes, R J, Reis, S, Resendes, R, Ramos, J A, and Tristão da Cunha, R. 2014. Genetic diversity and morphological variation of the common chaf?nch Fringilla coelebs in the Azores. Journal of Avian Biology 45: 167-178. 
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