Fw: Long-tailed Finch query

To: "Tony Russell" <>
Subject: Fw: Long-tailed Finch query
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Sun, 04 Mar 2001 10:23:10 +1100
Hello Tony,

More on the Long-tailed Finch subspecies fiasco. Slater, Simpson and Morcombe must all be incorrect (I've only personally checked on Slater). I It amazes me how all three could make the same mistake. Clement (1999), "Finches and Sparrows" is also a bit confused as to which subspecies is which and where they are from.

Immelmann (1982) "Australian Finches", Hall (1974) "Birds of the Harold Hall Expeditions", North (1907-1909) "Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds", Schodde and Mason (1999)...etc.....all agree that acuticauda (yellow bills) is in the NW and hecki (red bills) is in the north and east. A giveaway is that the first long-tails collected were in 1839 in Derby WA and that these had yellow bills and were obviously acuticauda as they were the first ones collected. Any other forms (such as red-billed Queensland birds) would have to be given a different name (hecki) if they were going to be subspecifically described.

Thanks for picking up this error Tony. Hopefully we can stop the rot now, and all future field guides can get the Long-tailed Finch right.


Mick Todd

Michael Todd
Toronto, NSW, Australia

At 02:17 PM 2/03/01 +1030, Tony Russell wrote:

Hi Michael,
Oh dear yes, I misread Pizzey as far as bill colour / range goes, he does
agree with S&M, but doesn't mention race names (playing safe?).
But what about the diffs between those two and the other three?Slater,
Simpson, Morcombe all have acuticauda with red bills in NT/Qld and hecki
with yellow bills in WA, ie bill colours the same as S&M and Pizzey, but the
race names round the other way.
I've actually seen both types, yellows at Kununurra and reds in NT and Qld.,
it's just that the literature is inconsistent. I'll certainly be having
another look (provided we find some) in May / June during my next trip -
I'll be watching for intergrades in the overlap areas.

Adelaide birding by 4WD
phone: 08 8337 5959

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