Fw: Long-tailed Finch query

To: "Tony Russell" <>, "birds" <>
Subject: Fw: Long-tailed Finch query
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2001 12:38:00 +1100
Hello Tony,

I think you've got the subspecies names attached to the wrong colour forms hence your misinterpretation of a "mistake".

Long-tailed finches in WA (P. a. acuticauda) across to about Victoria River in NT have yellow bills. These were first collected at Derby, WA in 1839. Poephila acuticauda hecki in western Queensland have red bills. This form was first collected in the Northern Territory in 1900.

I've had a look at Schodde and Mason (1998) and Pizzey and Knight (1997) and they both agree with each other. Pizzey and Knight just doesn't specify as to which colour form belongs to which subspecies. I haven't got an up-to-date version of Slater or Simpson and Day to hand so I can't check what they have. The problem is that there has been some confusion as to whether the two forms warrant subspecific status. There appears to be a large area of overlap with gradual change from yellow bills through orange bills to red bills. More recent opinion has leaned towards their not warranting subspecific status. Schodde and Mason(1998) however, leans towards their being separated into two subspecies.

I haven't had much to do with long-tails personally so I can't really comment on which approach is most accurate.


Mick Todd

Michael Todd
Toronto, NSW, Australia

At 06:55 PM 1/03/01 +1030, Tony Russell wrote:

Subject: Long-tailed Finch query

> Morning all,
>  In preparing for a trip into the Kimberleys it has become apparent that
Schodde and Mason ( in their Directory of Aust Birds -Passerines), differ
from leading field guides in terms of which subspecies of Long-tailed Finch
have red bills and which have yellow, and which are to be found in the
Kimberleys and which in the Top End and Qld.

 Pizzey, Slater, Simpson & Day, and Morcombe all agree ( Pizzey doesn't name
subspecies) that the Red-billed ( P.a. acuticauda ) are in NT and Qld and
the Yellow-billed ( P. a. hecki ) are the ones in the Kimberley, while S & M
( p757) say the opposite in both their distribution map and in their
descriptive text.
So who is correct?
 Is it safe to assume that it's just a case of S & D having it wrong? If
this is the case and it has been noticed before has anyone undertaken to
advise S & M of their error? Or is it that S & M know something the others
have missed?
> Tony Russell.
> Adelaide birding by 4WD
> phone: 08 8337 5959
> e-mail: 

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