Grasswren splits

To: "" <>
Subject: Grasswren splits
From: Kev Lobotomi <>
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2013 21:08:47 +1000
Interesting splits there, whitei is probably not that surprising, not sure 
about rowleyi, although it is a bit of an isolate, so again a possibility. The 
one I question is oweni from central Aust. Schodde & Mason didn't even consider 
this one as a subspecies! I had a look at the grasswrens for HANZAB, & 
certainly the central ones look very distinctive, very rufous & bright compared 
to mallee striatus. They had the opinion that there was a cline between 
striatus & oweni, which gradated into something more rufous in central 
Australia. The main problem here is that most of the habitat between the 2 has 
been wiped out, as well as the possible clines between the 2. I kind of thought 
they warranted subspecific status to mark the differences between the 2, 
especially since the cline is now broken. The other complication is the remark 
that striatus is found in the south-east Murray-Mallee region. I've looked at 
photos of grasswrens from Gluepot & compared them to the grasswrens at Ha
 ttah, south of the Murray & the Gluepot birds are a little more rufous than 
the Hattah birds. This could well be evidence of a cline. I haven't looked at 
the paper, but I hope that these problems have been taken into account. Perhaps 
the birds north of the Murray are actually oweni!?-Kevin Bartram                

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