I have been getting more and more suspicious that the lumping of Masked
Plover Vanellus miles and Spur-winged Plover Vanellus novaehollandiae is
unjustified. Even Peters (1934), that super-lumper kept them separate.
They were merged on the basis of supposed interbreeding around Cairns and in
the Lake Eyre Basin. Now the thinking about the significance of
hybridisation has changed radically of late. Whereas in the past, even a few
hybirds were taken as evidence of conspecificity, now limited or very local
hybridisation is taken as evdidence that we are dealing with two distinct
species. I had an email from a birder in Cairns who told me that the common
Vanellus there was miles. Novaehollandiae is rare, as are hybrids. I
haven't been able to get any reliable data from the Lake Eyre Basin.
Birders rarely go there and none of the landholders knows anything about
birds. But given the situation around Cairns, I would be very surprised if
it was very different around Lake Eyre. I know that an ornithologist from
the SA Museum, I think it was Shane Parker, brought back a set of hybrids
from that reason, but if he set out to collect just hybrids, this means
What do you thinK?
Dr John Penhallurick
86 Bingley Cres
Fraser A.C.T. 2615
Phone: Home (612) 62585428
sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt Aeneid Book 1,line 462 "The
world is a world of tears, and the burdens of mortality touch the heart."
Magna est veritas et praevalebit Vulgate, Book of Edras
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whatever they need to have done, but can not do at all, or can not so well
do, for themselves-in their separate, and individual capacities. Abraham
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