Taxonomy

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.

Hooded Crow, like this bird in Jerusalem, Israel, could be merely a stable colour morph rather than the full species we currently believe it to be. Photo: SuperJew (commons.wikimedia.org).

Crows in black and white

A genetic survey of corvid museum specimens has revealed that crows readily switched plumage colours during their evolution, suggests new...

27/02/2014

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Scaly-breasted Wren-babbler, here photographed in Himachal Pradesh, India, was hiding a new species in the Chinese part of its range. Photo: J M Garg (commons.wikimedia.org).

Wren-babbler split

Analysis of the voice and genes of a Chinese mountain wren-babbler has indicated that there are two species present.

27/02/2014

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This newly re-christened Sagebrush Sparrow Fort Rock State Park, Oregon, has arisen as a result of the splits in Sage Sparrow. Photo: Innotata (commons.wikimedia.org).

AOU changes

A key split features in the American Ornithologists’ Union's latest round of taxonomic revisions, but other predicted changes have been put...

27/02/2014

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This captive Thick-billed Parrot at Queens Zoo, New York, USA, is now likely to be lumped with the rarer Maroon-fronted Parrot in its native Mexico. Photo: Futureman1199 (commons.wikimedia.org).

Parrots lumped

Molecular research indicates that two Mexican parrot species should be lumped together as subspecies.

27/02/2014

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Crested Lark, seen here in Dubai, UAE, has long been mooted for potential splits. Photo: Nepenthes (commons.wikimedia.org).

Up with the larks

A comprehensive study of the lark family has resulted in several potential splits and lumps being revealed in Crested and Thekla Lark.

27/02/2014

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This Varied Tit, photographed on mainland Japan, will retain its name in the new revision. Photo: Alpsdake (commons.wikimedia.org).

Varied Tit splits

The widespread Varied Tit of east Asia is likely to be split into four species in a forthcoming paper.

27/02/2014

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Japanese Alpine Accentor, here photographed on Mount Norikura, is a likely split from European birds, along with the other eastern Asian forms. Photo: Alpsdake (commons.wikimedia.org).

Regional accentors

The two subspecies of Black-throated Accentor, from the Ural Mountains and in west Central Asia, are recommended to be split in a new paper.

26/02/2014

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This Clapper Rail in Florida may now be split as a separate species from its east coast counterparts.  Photo: Dominic Sherony (commons.wikimedia.org).

Going like the Clappers

The North American large rallid complex of King and Clapper Rails should in fact be four distinct species, research shows.

26/02/2014

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