Black-chinned Honeyeaters

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Black-chinned Honeyeaters
Date: Wed, 03 Nov 2010 10:54:08 +1100
Referring to the western variety of Melithreptus lunatus C&B state (p.189) that 
"This form is readily distinguishable from eastern lunatus in size, bill shape 
and eye skil colour, although less so than the differences that distinguish M. 
gularis and M. laetior."
I'm happy with the recognition of the Swan River Honeyeater as a distinct 
species. But what of the Black-chinned/Golden-backed Honeyeater? If the 
differences between the two forms are greater than those between M. lunatus and 
M. chloropsis then why aren't they split too?

Perhaps it is that while lunatus and chloropsis are separated by more than 1000 
km the Black-chinneds occupy an unbroken stretch of territory so perhaps there 
are intermediate forms. However, C&B don't mention this, stating only that "The 
taxonomy ... is still unresolved. ... More specimens and molecular studies are 
needed before a change is made to the treatment in C&B 1994."

The IOC world bird list doesn't separate them. Does anyone know what the latest 
findings are?

Jim Sneddon

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