The new Slater guide

To: Lloyd Nielsen <>
Subject: The new Slater guide
From: Chris Sanderson <>
Date: Wed, 7 Oct 2009 14:10:42 +1000
Hi Lloyd,

I thought it was a combination of the DNA, but also there being a population
of Sooty Owls in PNG?  The idea being that if north and south are
populations of a species with identical DNA, geographic isolation is harder
to argue for.  Similarly with Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo, didn't an individual
turn up in NW WA that was visually identical to Goulds?
All comes back to how you define a species I guess, hence the broad spectrum
confusion on bird taxonomy here and worldwide.  I think academic
consultation with experienced birders would certainly be useful, but I
suspect what would be more useful would be some central guidelines on what
can and can't be called a species so everyone is singing from the same
songbook.  Good luck getting resolution on that argument though.  If you do
there's a little conflict in the middle east that needs sorting out too.


On Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 1:04 PM, Lloyd Nielsen

> It is interesting that Peter has treated Lesser Sooty Owl and Paperbark
> Flycatcher as distinct species. Both are very distinct in the field. With
> Lesser Sooty Owl, the reason I heard/read that Sooty and Lesser Sooty were
> lumped was because DNA was identical. However, there are apparently other
> closely related Australian species which also have identical DNA which have
> been retained as good species.
> A lumping which I find  irksome is that of Gould's and Little
> Bronze-Cuckoo. Each are fairly easily identified in the field. In some
> areas, they occur side by side, in very different habitats, using different
> species of Gerygone as host parents. The so-called hybrid between the two
> northern taxa seems to occur only within the habitat of Gould's (I have
> never seen it within the drier habitat of Little) - the possibility that it
> is an 'age stage' of Gould's has never been considered. I have been told
> that DNA work has been done on these birds and is waiting to be written up.
> I believe that the three taxa are considered to be at the first stage of
> speciation. It will be interesting to see what the final conclusion will be.
> I am not knocking the taxonomists but I would think a little consultation
> with some of us who spend a lot of time in the field would probably help the
> situation. There are a few other examples here in north Queensland which
> badly need attention.
> I have not seen the new guide as yet - has Rusty-tailed Gerygone been
> retained? Interesting that there have been a few sightings by different
> people of a gerygone from mangroves up and down the Qld coast in the last 8
> years or so with a complete red-brown upper surface to the tail despite the
> original specimens being shown by Schodde (Emu 85:49) to be examples of
> Yellow-bellied Gerygones (New Guinea etc) faded by preservative spirit.
> Lloyd Nielsen
> Mt Molloy, Nth Qld
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