More Grasswren splits

To: Mike Carter <>, Murray Lord <>, Birding-Aus <>
Subject: More Grasswren splits
From: John Graff <>
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2013 10:05:48 +0800
Hi Mike,

Oweni was at one time used for the western sandplain form of Striated 
Grasswren. I don't know it's range limits for certain off the top of my head 
but it is the form that occurs in the Great Victoria Desert, abuts whitei in 
the west. I *think* closest to striatus

This is what Martin Cake wrote on our blog a while back discussing Striated 
Grasswren in WA:
"Nominate striatus
 grades very broadly between two forms, a browner south-eastern mallee 
form and a rufous (but still white-bellied) central sandplain form 
approaching whitei in colour but not size, actually grading 
smaller towards the northwest. A large genetic study of grasswrens [8] 
found that the rufous inland form of striatus is surprisingly genetically 
distinct given the broad ecophenotypic gradient, enough to justify its 
reinstatement as subspecies oweni. Rather annoyingly, molecular studies to date 
have not included whitei, which for the moment remains a tantalisingly likely 
future split."

"[8] Christidis L et al.
 (2010). Plumage patterns are good indicators of taxonomic diversity, 
but not of phylogenetic affinities, in Australian grasswrens. Amytornis (Aves: 
Maluridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57: 868-877"


> From: 
> To: ; 
> Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2013 11:18:43 +1000
> CC: 
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] More Grasswren splits
> Hi Murray,
> Richard and Damien Baxter are currently heading for Grasswren country across 
> northern Australia and asked what I knew about 'oweni' one of the four new 
> species mentioned in your message. The first mentioned 'modestus' is clearly 
> a split from Thick-billed Grasswren and 'rowleyi' and 'whitei' splits from 
> Striated Grasswren. Because 'oweni' is placed between the latter two I assume 
> it is also a split from that species but split from which ultrataxa and where 
> does it occur? I cannot find a mention of 'oweni' in Schodde & Mason's DAB 
> nor in HANZAB.     
> Mike Carter
> 30 Canadian Bay Road
> Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
> Tel  (03) 9787 7136
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