Re: Cicadabirds

Subject: Re: Cicadabirds
From: John Penhallurick <>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 1995 11:05:12 +1000 (EST)
Dear Tony,

Thanks for your interesting comments.

There are some real puzzles going on.  There is still an enormous amount 
of work, not least fieldwork, to be done on separating good species.  
Most of the decisions on species were made by museum workers considering 
skins, with only relatively imprecise information on place of origin, and 
no behavioural information.

Careful fieldwork in South America, aided by the use of GPS location 
euqipment, is revealing a much more complicated picture.  I mentioned 
yesterday the case of the Antshrike that is going to be split into 8 
species.  Another example is the so-called 'Grey-eyed Greenlet' of 
North-east Brazil.  We saw a number of different forms of this taxon, 
some without grey eyes, some with a pink bill rather than a dark bill, 
some with similar and others with different calls.  Some forms are highly 
habitat specific.  For example, we found one distinctive form only in 
vineforest( I think the Bralizian term is Mato do Cipo), a highly endangered 
and sparsely scattered habitat with a 
number of endemics.  But not too far away, in a different habitat, we 
found a different form.

If anyone is interested in the reference for the paper showing greater 
genetic difference on opposite sides of a river, than at greater 
distances on the same side of the river, it is

Capparella, A.P. (1988) 'Genetic Variation in Neotropical Birds: 
Implications for the Speciation Process' Acta Congressus Internationalis 
Ornithologici XIX, pp 1658-1664

also of interest

Capparella, A.P. (1990) 'Neotropical Avian Diversity and Riverine 
Barriers' Acta XX Congressus Internationalis Ornithologici, Vol 1, pp. 

I have copies of both and can send copies if anyone can't get access to 
the books.

I also have a copy of a recent article by Charles Sibley citing recent 
research that lends a lot of support to the the analysis proposed in 
Sibley & Ahlquist 1990.

In summary, I guess the point I was trying to make it that if you find 
different calls in what is supposed to be the same species(particularly 
when this is not a matter of a cline), it is worth looking at molecular 
evidence to check whether the two forms are really the same species.  In 
South America, again and again it is turning out that they are not the 
same species.

John Penhallurick

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