Yes, this is quite a puzzle, isn't it.
As to the Nectarinia chalybea superspecies, you are correct.
N. chalybea includes the old N.c.chalybea and N.c.subalaris.
N. manoensis includes the old N.c.intermedius (which has become N.m.pintoi, due
to the merger of the old genus Cinnyris with Nectarinia) and N.c.manoensis.
Nectarinia mediocris has remained basically the same, with subspecies
N.m.mediocris, N.m.usambaricus, N.m.fuelleborni, and N.m.bensoni.
Nectarinia preussi does, indeed, consist of the old forms N. ludovicensis
preussi and N.l.reichenowi, but, again, the latter has had to be changed into
N.p.kikuyensis, due to the merger of Cinnyris into Nectarinia, as the name
became a junior synonym of the 'real' Nectarinia reichenowi.
Now the Nectarinia afer complex.
Nectarinia afer is, indeed, the old N.a.afer.
Nectarinia stuhlmanni is the old N.a.stuhlmanni
Nectarinia ludovicensis is the old N.l.ludovicensis.
Now Nectarina prigoginei. I think Sibley and Monroe have made a serious mistake
here. From the range indicated, it clearly includes all three forms you
mentioned, graueri, chapini, and whytei. But N. prigoginei was only described
in 1958, so it should not be used as species name for the complex. Both graueri
and whytei have priority, and the oldest name available, which should be used,
is graueri, described in 1908. Perhaps they all should have been left under
I don't understand your problem of sympatry between graueri and chapini. The
form chapini occurs only in the Itombwe Mountains (northwest of Lake Tangayika)
and the mountains west of Lake Kivu, whereas graueri is the form in the Virunga
Volcanoes and the mountains west of Lake Edward, and in Rwanda and Uganda.
Van Perlo did merge these forms under N. ludovicensis, hence his mention of
this species from western Uganda (subspecies N.l.graueri).
I hope this helps to clarify this issue somewhat.
Paul Van Gasse
From: Colin/Merian Richardson [SMTP:
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 4:35 AM
Subject: birding-aus RFI new taxonomy of some Nectariniidae spp
I wonder if anyone can help me (please answer direct). I am revising my
lifelists, and converting them to the current taxonomy (based on Monroe and
Sibley, and as per Clements 4th Ed). I am having some difficulty
correlating my observations of spp of sunbirds in Africa with the current
lists, in particular, some of the "double-collared" group.
When I lived in Africa, the principle reference materials available to me
were the 6-volume Mackworth-Praed and Grant set - African Handbook of
Birds. These listed a number of "double-collared" sunbirds and their races.
It now seems all is rearranged, and the new spp do not always seem to
relate to all the races or species. My old observations are not therefore
straightforward, particularly my Rwanda and Zaire ones.
The old spp were the Northern, Eastern, Southern and Greater
double-collared sunbirds, and races did move between some spp in M-P&G from
series to series. But in general the race description and distribution
I believe I have the following corresponces straight:
N. ludovicensis (Montane D-cS) = old N. ludovicensis ludovicensis
N. preussi (Preuss' DcS) = old N. ludovicensis preussi + N.l.reichenowi
N. mediocris (Eastern D-cS) = old N. mediocris mediocris + N.m.usambaricus
N.m.fuelleborni (which = N.m.bensoni)
N. chalybea (Southern D-cS) = old N.chalybeus chalybeus + N.c.subalaris
N. manoensis (Miombo D-cS) = old N. chalybeus intermedius + N.c.manoensis
(which = N.c.bractiatus)
N. afer (Greater D-cS) = old N. afer afer
N. stuhlmanni (Stuhlmann's D-cS) = N. afer stuhlmanni
N. prigoginei (Prigogine's D-cS) = N. afer prigoginei
But where in this new scheme of things do the following fit?
N. afer chapini
N. afer graueri (aka N. chalybeus graueri)
N. afer whytei
If chapini and graueri are placed with preussi, they overlap ranges, which
suggests sympatricity. If with anything else, they do not match the stated
ranges. And whytei is a Malawi endemic - where does it fit without
Further van Perlo states ludovicensis occurs rarely in w.Uganda - is this
the same as the Angolan ludovicensis which is now considered endemic there,
or a synonym for graueri or another?
Any help gratefully received!
Colin T. Richardson
P.O. Box 86, LAE Morobe Prov. 411, PNG
+675-4721488 (ext.17) (office)
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