birding-aus RFI: Lesser Sooty Owl taxonomy

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Subject: birding-aus RFI: Lesser Sooty Owl taxonomy
From: Phil Gregory <>
Date: Sun, 07 Feb 1999 14:53:54 +1000

Whilst working on a list of New Guinea endemics, the taxonomy of Sooty
and Lesser Sooty owl has caused me some confusion. The PNG guides show
the species as Sooty Owl T. tenebricosa, of the subspecies arfaki
according to Brian Coates. However, looking at the National Photographic
Index volume on Cuckoos, Nightbirds and Kingfishers indicates that it is
T. multipunctata in New Guinea ( then listed as a subspecies of Sooty
I checked in Monroe and Sibley  World Checklist of Birds, which gives it
as Sooty Owl T. tenebricosa there, yet Clements (1991 edition) gives it
as Lesser Sooty. Curiouser and curiouser!
The Handbook of Birds of the World hasn't covered Owls yet, so no joy
from that source, ditto HANZAB. The birds there certainly look large
enough to be Sooty Owl, but I'd like to know for sure whether Lesser
Sooty is an Aus endemic or not.
Advice and comments please. Thanks.
Phil Gregory

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