Unnatural Heritage

Subject: Unnatural Heritage
From: David James <>
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2000 22:42:16 +1000
At 17:45 7/02/00 +1100, Andrew Taylor wrote:

>I'd be interested to know of extinct subspecies missing from the list

Schodde & Mason (1999, Directory of Australian Birds, CSIRO) recognise 3
ssp of yellow chat. Epthianura crocea macgregori from central eastern Qld
(Gladstone/Rockvegas) has not been seen for decades.

the taxonomy of the list below is pretty dodgey.

Notornis alba White Galinule. I doubt theres's such a thing. It was a
Porphyrio with white, blue and piebald forms. So why wasnm't it just a
population of purple swamphen suffering from leucism as the result of the
"founder effect" of gene-pool bottlenecking? In the coral sea there is one
cay where 1/4 of the buff-banded rails are white. doesn't make them a
different species to the BB Rails on the next cay 3 km away that are all

The original description of the unique type specimen of  Hemiphaga
(novaeseelandiae) spadicea  "New Zealand Pigeon (Norfolk Island race)"
indicates that it is very different to  Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae of NZ and
was probably a different species - details are in HANZAB 3 in the Geog.
Variation section of Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae

I seem to recall that Rallus philippensis maquariensis Macquarie Island Rail 
was flightless (but maybe not??). I have difficulty with the concept of a
flightless subspecies of an otherwise volant species. 

Schodde & Mason treat Zosterops strenua Robust White-eye as Zosterops
tenuirostris strenuus (ie conspecific with Slender-billed whiteye of Norfolk) 

Turdus xanthopus vinitinctus  Lord Howe Island Vinous-tinted Thrush is
often treated as a subspecies of island thrush Turdus poliocephalus

Schodde & Mason treat Rhipidura cervina  Lord Howe Fantail as a ssp of NZ
Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa (but they treat Grey Fantail as a different
species R. albiscapa.)

Likewise, they treat Gerygone insularis as conspecific with NZ's Grey
Gerygone G. igata (thus G. igat insularis).

I don't wish to imply that S&M is the last word, but the list below does
seem a bit innacurate 

 >This is the number of bird taxa "presumed extinct"
>in the federal endangered species schedules, see:
>Subspecies and Norfolk, Lord Howe and Macquarie Island are included.
>The taxa are:
>Aplonis fusca   Norfolk Island Starling 
>Columba vitiensis godmanae Lord Howe Pigeon 
>Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae erythrotis  Macquarie Island Parakeet 
>Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens  Lord Howe Parakeet 
>Dasyornis broadbenti littoralis  South-western Rufous Bristlebird 
>Dromaius baudinianus  Kangaroo Island Emu 
>Dromaius minor  Dwarf Emu/King Island Emu 
>Dromaius novaehollandiae diemenensis  Emu (Tasmanian subspecies) 
>Drymodes superciliaris colcloughi  Roper River Scrub-robin 
>Gerygone insularis  Lord Howe Warbler 
>Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae spadicea  New Zealand Pigeon (Norfolk Island race) 
>Lalage leucopyga leucopyga  Norfolk Island Long-tailed Triller 
>Nestor productus  Norfolk Island Kaka 
>Ninox novaeseelandiae albaria  Lord Howe Boobook Owl 
>Notornis alba  White Gallinule 
>Psephotus pulcherrimus Paradise Parrot 
>Rallus pectoralis clelandi Lewin's Water Rail (western race) 
>Rallus philippensis maquariensis Macquarie Island Rail 
>Rhipidura cervina  Lord Howe Fantail 
>Turdus xanthopus vinitinctus  Lord Howe Island Vinous-tinted Thrush 
>Turdus poliocephalus poliocephalus  Norfolk Island Thrush 
>Zosterops abogularis  Norfolk Island Silvereye 
>Zosterops strenua Robust White-eye 
>At least one of these is probably incorrect - Schodde and Mason don't
>regard the Roper River Scrub-robin as a valid subspecies - I think they
>suggest the specimen was not collected from the NT?
>I'd be interested to know of extinct subspecies missing from the list
>Andrew Taylor

David James
PO BOX 5225
Townsville Mail Centre,
Qld 4810, Australia

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