yellow-rumped pardalote

To: "" <>
Subject: yellow-rumped pardalote
From: Peter Lansley via Birding-Aus <>
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 02:17:28 +0000
Hi all,
in response to postings by John Leonard & James Mustafa among others, I agree 
that the spotted/yellow-rumped pardalote Pardalotus punctatus/xanthopyge group 
needs further taxonomic review. By the way, I studied vocalisations of the 
south-eastern subspecies of Striated Pardalote P. striatus (which supported 
their conspecificity) and cannot in fact recall writing about the spotted group.
It is not quite true to say there is no reported interbreeding of spotteds & 
yellow-rumps. This was published way back in 1983 by JCZ Woinarski (Emu 
83:80-86). I believe John's field study took place at Millwood Dam, Bendigo 
Whipstick/Kamarooka forest (now part of Greater Bendigo NP, Vic.). I believe 
some interbreeding has also been reported from the Adelaide region of SA but 
don't have any details to hand.
This does not however mean the two should be lumped. As noted by others, the 
vocalisations (of punctatus vs. xanthopyge)  are distinctive and the habitats 
occupied by each are quite sharply differentiated. The two taxa maintain their 
distinct populations at the boundary of quite small  isolated mallee remnants 
surrounded by box-ironbark woodland in Victoria (e.g. Bendigo whipstick, 
Rushworth Forest and even the Long Forest near Bacchus Marsh), as is seemingly 
also the case in WA as noted by Frank O'C.Interbreeding over such a small 
geographical area would not seem to preclude the two being considered separate 
species, as is the case for the Eastern, Pale-headed & Northern Rosella group 
(although being parrots, has science been thrown out the window to give them 
special treatment not afforded to the less iconic small passerines??)
The two pardalotes should certainly be considered as ecological species under 
one of the Phylogenetic species concepts, even if they don't quite qualify as 
species under the Biological species concept. They would appear to be more 
distinctive as a species pair than Yellow-throated and Black-eared Miners. 
Genetic analysis? - bring it on!
While we're on the subject of splitting and lumping, how about the shrike-tits? 
Obviously isolated geographically and distinctive morphologically, and 
vocalisations also differ at least in some respects (see Graeme Chapman's 
website for calls of Northern). What are the taxonomists waiting for ?

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