Western/Mallee Whipbird & Schodde and Mason

To: "" <>
Subject: Western/Mallee Whipbird & Schodde and Mason
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2002 16:52:05 +1000
Hi Dean,
No sample sizes are given for Western Whipbird taxa. On p 6 of the book
under Materials it states 'most totals for species are listed under the
relevant species in the text, in the section Taxonomic circumscription. (I
presume totals = sample size) This is not the case for the Western Whipbird

As for the science...on page 10 it states 'We are all too aware that graphic
presentation of the results of analysis, in the form of data matrices,
diagrams  and statistical tests (e.g. analysis of variance) would help
readers and improve rigour. Preparing them, however proved complex, space
expensive and time consuming, leading us to the decision not to exclude them
but to postpone them for inclusion in future electronic up-dates of the

The bottom line is this is a very impressive review of Australian bird taxa
and the first complete review of passerines to sub-specific (or ultra taxa)
level since G. Matthews work many many years ago. The authors findings have
important implications for Australian ornithology. For example this is the
first real working list of Australian passerine sub-species (or ultra taxa)
for conservation purposes.  However, in the absence of lists of specimens
examined, the results of statistical analysis (which we are told were
undertaken) and many sample sizes it is extremely difficult for the
discerning reader to interpret many of their findings. Lets hope the
'science' is eventually published in electronic up-dates as suggested.


-----Original Message-----
From: Dean Portelli 
Sent: Friday, 2 August 2002 16:19
Subject: Western/Mallee Whipbird & Schodde and Mason

Hi all,

I am hoping someone can help me with the descriptions of Mallee & Western 
Whipbird in Schodde and Mason (1998) Directory of Australian Birds: 
Passerines. I have photocopies of the relevant pages for both species but am

interested in the sample size that they used to assess plumage differences 
between populations/sites. Nowhere in the text on these pages do they list 
the number of specimens examined (except to say they have none from Two 
Peoples!!) - I wonder if anyone who owns the book could tell me if the 
sample size is listed anywhere else in the book (it will save me an hours 
hike into my old uni's library!!). If the sample size is not quoted I find 
this to be poor science, it is BASIC practice to quote sample sizes in any 
study. As I suspect there are not many W/M Whipbird specimens in existence 
given the elusive nature of the species, hence the sample size may have much

to do with how accurate the proposed taxonomy is.
I would greatly appreciate any assistance from anyone out there - even if it

is to tell me that they don't quote sample sizes!!

Many Thanks in Advance
Dean Portelli

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