Grasswren and owl taxonomy

To: <>, <>
Subject: Grasswren and owl taxonomy
From: Michael Ramsey <>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2011 08:13:18 +1100

 HI all, It does not seem to make sense, in a biogeographic sense that 
Tasmanian and NZ Boobooks are the same species while mainland ones are another. 
I can't think ofany other species pairs between Tas and NZ. Perhaps the birds 
share some similar characteristics beacuse they inhabit wetter forests and more 
southern forests than mainland birds. There is also the northern Atherton race, 
lurida I think to consider as well. Would that be a seperate species too??? 
Michael> From: 
> To: 
> Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 19:12:25 +1100
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Grasswren and owl taxonomy
> To address two points raised today:
> 1  Rowleyi form of Striated Grasswren.  A 2010 paper on grasswrens by 
> Christidis, Rheindt, Boles and Norman (Plumage patterns are good indicators 
> of taxonomic diversity, but not of phylogenetic affinities, in Australian 
> grasswrens Amytornis (Aves: Maluridae)) included genetic samples from 
> rowleyi.  While it didn’t specifically address whether it deserves to be 
> split, some of the the results did suggest the genetic differences between 
> rowleyi and other forms of Striated Grasswren are comparable with those 
> between some other species pairs.  Actually there have been quite a few 
> papers on Fairy-Wren and Grasswren taxonomy in recent times.  Most are listed 
> at this thread on Bird Forums:  
>  It is interesting that this 
> form was only described in 1999, whereas most of the other Australian splits 
> or potential splits have been known about for a long time.
> 2  Tasmanian Boobook.  This is something I have been looking at recently.  
> The treatment Joshua refers to was first published in Handbook of the Birds 
> of the World.  At the time Les Christidis said (see 
> ) that 
> it was based on a misinterpretation of some of his research.  But having 
> looked at specimens, the Tasmanian birds do look more similar to New Zealand 
> ones than mainland ones.  See these photos I took of specimens at the 
> Australian Museum:  Frank Rheindt and 
> James Eaton are doing some research on genetics of Ninox owls which hopefully 
> will shed more light.
> The second edition of Owls of the World by Weick goes further and splits four 
> Boobooks – Tasmanian, New Zealand, Australian and Red (lurida).  The absence 
> of any genetic samples of lurida, plus a lack of detailed research on how 
> they interact with other forms of boobook, makes it hard to assess the merit 
> of that treatment.
> Hope this helps.
> Murray Lord
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