Analysis of avian DNA, biometrics and vocalisations add to our understanding of bird species all the time. We cover all the 'splits', lumps and discoveries.

This nominate Purple Swamphen could now be one of three species in the Western Palearctic, as <em>madagascariensis</em> and <em>poliocephalus</em> are also present in the region, in Egypt and Turkey respectively. Photo: Bill Baston.

Out of the swamp

Purple Swamphen looks like it consists of six different clades, which may correspond to different species.


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It has now been shown that Madanga, found in Indonesia, despite resembling a flycatcher or chat, is actually a morphologically aberrant pipit or wagtail. Photo: Rob Hutchinson (

Transformer pipits

THE extent to which some passerines can change their appearance to suit their environments and habitats has been revealed in a dramatic way...


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Northern Harrier is often proposed as a potential split from Hen Harrier, and the new analysis supports this proposal. Photo: dfaulder (

All points harriers

The full species status of Northern Harrier from North America – once considered to be a subspecies of Hen Harrier – has received further...


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This Stone-Curlew on Lanzarote belongs to the sedentary subspecies <em>insularum</em> - but is it a new cryptic Canarian endemic, along with the stone-curlews on the rest of the archipelago? Photo: James Lowen.

Stone-curlew to be split?

A genetic study of the four recognised subspecies of Stone-curlew has found the current classification inaccurate, and that the two forms...


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Glowing Puffleg giving a demonstration of how it got its English name. Photo: Keith Bowers (

Hummingbirds a-gogo

New research has found that there were once, probably are, and almost certainly will be many more species of hummingbird than are known at...


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