Archived: Consultation on a subset of potential taxonomic changes to passerines

Following the publication in 2014 of volume 1 of the Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International are now working on the second volume of the checklist, which covers the passerines and is scheduled for publication in late 2016.

The Illustrated Checklist builds off the Handbook of the Birds of the World series, and BirdLife’s annually updated taxonomic checklist. On top of a comprehensive review of the taxonomic literature, the Lynx-BirdLife list is based on application of the criteria for recognising species limits described by Tobias et al. (2010). The new list will form the taxonomic basis of BirdLife’s assessments of the status of the world’s birds for the IUCN Red List.

Information and comment is now sought on a subset of potential passerine splits, particularly those for which acoustic information may be critical in determining the appropriate taxonomic status. These are listed below.

Note that this is NOT a comprehensive list of all potential taxonomic revisions to passerines being considered, simply those for which input is particularly sought to determine whether changes to the status quo are appropriate.

Please provide any feedback and information by posting comments below. Unfortunately, owing to a tight publication schedule, we cannot undertake to provide responses to contributions at this stage.

For non-passerines (and subsequent to publication of vol.2 for passerines), an open and transparent process has been established by which anyone can provide information or comments to inform regular updates to the list (see more details here)


Passerine taxa for which more data are required:

Stripe-headed Antpitta Grallaria andicolus

Does anyone have recordings of the race punensis?


Wakolo Myzomela Myzomela wakoloensis

This occurs in two subspecies, nominate on Buru, elisabethae on Seram. How different are they vocally, and do birders have any experience of their behaviour or ecology which would contribute to a taxonomic reassessment?


White-cheeked Honeyeater Phylidonyris niger

The race gouldii from coastal SW Australia is moderately distinct in plumage and structure from the nominate, and we wonder if it differs vocally, which would make it all the more likely that it should be split. Does anyone possess recordings to test this idea?


Dusky Myzomela Myzomela obscura

We think it quite likely that this breaks down into four species: M. simplex (with mortyana) from the northern Moluccas, M. rubrotincta from Obi, M. obscura (with fumata, aruensis and harterti) from New Guinea and Australia, and M. rubrobrunnea from Biak Island. However, we really need as many recordings as possible of these taxa to be able to assess their distinctiveness, and any observations on their ecology and behaviour from anyone who knows them.


Red Myzomela Myzomela cruentata

We think it quite likely that this breaks down into two species: M. cruenta (with coccinea) in New Guinea, and M. erythrina (with lavongae, vinacea and cantans) in New Ireland/New Hanover. Any acoustic evidence to support this potential split would be appreciated.


Sunda Cuckooshrike Coracina larvata

Does anyone have recordings of the race melanocephala from Sumatra?


Moluccan Cuckooshrike Coracina atriceps

Does anyone have recordings of the race atriceps from Seram?


Vinaceous Rosefinch Carpodacus vinaceus

Genetic studies indicate that the geographically far distant race formosanus of Taiwan (China) is also genetically far distant, but it is virtually identical in plumage. Curiously, there seem to be no recordings of the songs of either taxon, but perhaps birders have material that has not been posted on bird voice websites?

This entry was posted in Archive, Taxonomy. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Archived: Consultation on a subset of potential taxonomic changes to passerines

  1. Daniel Lane says:

    With regard to Grallaria andicolus, there are many recordings available of punensis: look at Xeno-canto and Macaulay Library, any cut from Abra Malaga, in Cusco dept., is punensis (despite the recording from that site on XC that is identified as “andicolus”; this identification is in error). To my ear, there are no appreciable vocal differences between andicolus and punensis.

  2. Guy Dutson says:

    I have seen and heard most of the Red Myzomela subspecies. They have very simple calls which I could not distinguish by ear. Some other congeners have songs but I have not heard this species sing. Unfortunately my recordings are on cassette at BLOWS.

Comments are closed.