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Old Wednesday 7th May 2008, 11:54   #1
Daniel Philippe
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Undescribed

Please have a look at : http://www.worldtwitch.com/new_species_hornbuckle.htm

Do you know of any new data on some of these “as yet undescribed species” ?

Daniel
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Old Wednesday 7th May 2008, 18:33   #2
Rasmus Boegh
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Not much to say other than a few of them have been described, and others are in progress. Add to that several other (still) undescribed species that have been discovered since the article you link to was written.
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Old Thursday 8th May 2008, 07:25   #3
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Thank you Rasmus,

What I am trying to do is to update a list of about 80 “species” not yet described. Among them those listed by Jon Hornbuckle and I am currently looking for potential recent data on these:

The skins of two undescribed Otus owls from Zulia University in Maracaibo (Venezuela).

The “Small-island Scops-Owl” discovered in 1975 on Perak Island in the Malacca Strait.

The “Bamenda Nightjar” found in 1992 by Ian Robertson & Nik Borrow in Cameroon.

The “Apurimac Tapaculo” found in Bosque Ampay in Peru.

The Venezuelan Tapaculo and Spinetail.

The Fak-Fak Honeyeater, Melidectes and Paradigalla found by Gibbs in 1992 in Irian Jaya (Indonesia).

The “Bismarck Flyrobin” found in New Britain & New Ireland in 1984.

The “Ethiopian Cliff Swallow” found in 1988 in Awash (Ethiopia) by Madge and Redman.

The Kilombero Cisticolas in Tanzania by Neil Baker.

The “Lekoni Cisticola” in Gabon by Patrice Christy.

The Fulvetta seen in 1991 in Mt. Bi Doup on the Da Lat Plateau, Lam Dong Province (Viet-Nam).

The “Vanikoro White-eye” found by Gibbs in 1994.

The “Tabora Starling” in Tanzania.

The “Beni Thrush” discovered by Jon Hornbuckle in Bolivia.

The “Morris’s Shortwing” with a very distinct song found by Pete Morris in 1996 on Mt Apo in Mindanao (Philippines).

The “Djibouti Sunbird” in the Forêt du Day in 1985.

The Mtera Dam Sunbird and Canary by Neil Baker in Tanzania.

The “Pujyani Flowerpiercer” by Herzog in 1997 in Cochabamba (Bolivia).


I’d be happy with the slightest piece of information …

Daniel
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Old Thursday 8th May 2008, 16:50   #4
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You'll still have to be a bit more specific; are you requesting recent sightings, descriptions, or something else? I'm mainly up-to-speed on Neotropics, but both "Apurimac Tapaculo" and the problematic Venezuelan taxa from the S. latrans (-group), and S. meridanus (-group) are fairly common within their range, and seeing them (well, hearing them!) is rather straight forward. There are numerous other possible new species in this genus, e.g. at least one from Colombia, and one more from Peru ("Millpo Tapaculo"). Add to that all the undescribed taxa that quite probably could represent undescribed species within known groups (e.g. at least two from the Scytalopus atratus group; one from Ecuador and 2nd from Peru; one within the Scytalopus macropus group; one, or more likely two, within the S. notorius/speluncae group). And while we're in this family (or subfamily, if you prefer), you can add the issues of song-types within the monotypic Slaty Bristlefront. The new Venezuela spinetail, a Synallaxis, is also fairly common within its range & habitat - in the same region there are a possible new softtail and wagtail-tyrant. At least one of the Venezuela Megascops (formerly Otus), possibly a part of the highly problematic M. guatemalae/vermiculatus group, is not rare. The north Venezuelan population traditionally included in M. ingens is apparently quite rare, but possibly under-recorded (add to that the Megascops from nearby Santa Marta in Colombia, and another, further away, from Apurimac in Peru, which is closely related to, and possibly conspecific with, M. koepckeae). In short, there are a lot of unresolved issues in Megascops. I haven't asked Jon Hornbuckle about "his thrush", but based on the description I'm not entirely convinced it should represent a new species (though a pos. new thrush of the Hauxwell's group does occur in nearby Peru - it has a pale eye-ring rather like that described by Hornbuckle). In addition to these, I know of possible new hummingbirds (4, incl. a relatively distinctive hermit - description in progress), owls (2, incl. the famous San Isidro Owl, now also known from Peru), hawks (1), potoos (1), woodpeckers (1), wrens (2), tanagers (1), Furnariids (5), antbirds (several, incl. antpittas), and tyrant-flycatchers (several) - most from Peru or Brazil, but a few also from Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Venezuela. Note, however, as always is the case, these will remain as possible new species until actually described, and some could very turn out to be better considered subspecies or morphs of already described species. I'll leave the various species from outside South America for someone else, but at least the "Bismarck Flyrobin", the two Cisticolas from Kilombero, a pos. new Muscicapa from Sulawesi, and a pos. new pipit from Kenya have been observed since Hornbuckle's article.

Last edited by Rasmus Boegh : Thursday 8th May 2008 at 19:05. Reason: typo
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Old Thursday 8th May 2008, 20:44   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Philippe View Post


The Fak-Fak Honeyeater.

The “Ethiopian Cliff Swallow” found in 1988 in Awash (Ethiopia) by Madge and Redman.


The “Morris’s Shortwing” with a very distinct song found by Pete Morris in 1996 on Mt Apo in Mindanao (Philippines).

A few not very scientific updates:

The first was trapped, photographed and may have even been described by Beehler (?) last year I think - Wattled Smoky Honeyeater? Plenty about it on the net.

The second - so legend has it - may be referable to Common House Martin! - whihc become peculiarly brown and grubby on their wintering grounds;

The third is I understand being reviewed as part of a major review of shortwing taxonomy rather than tryiong to prepare a description in isolation - don't expect any results soon!

Cheers
alan
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Old Thursday 8th May 2008, 21:13   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewis20126 View Post
A few not very scientific updates:

The first was trapped, photographed and may have even been described by Beehler (?) last year I think - Wattled Smoky Honeyeater? Plenty about it on the net.

The second - so legend has it - may be referable to Common House Martin! - whihc become peculiarly brown and grubby on their wintering grounds;

The third is I understand being reviewed as part of a major review of shortwing taxonomy rather than tryiong to prepare a description in isolation - don't expect any results soon!

Cheers
alan
Yes Beehler described a honeyeater last year, but it was not the Fak-fak Honeyeater.

The species Beehler described was the Foja Honeyeater Melipotes carolae.

I believe no ornithologist has visited the Fak-fak area since Gibbs.
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Old Friday 9th May 2008, 02:32   #7
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In addition to the above list, I've heard of the following:

an owl from the Talaud Islands, Indonesia (Ninox);

an owl from Reunion Island, Indian Ocean (Otus);

a paradise-whydah from Ethiopia (Vidua);

a bushshrike from Kenya (Dryoscopus? - can't remember)

and if all those crossbills turn out to be good species, then the population from the South Hills, Idaho, would represent an undescribed species
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Old Friday 9th May 2008, 09:03   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmus Boegh View Post
are you requesting recent sightings, descriptions, or something else?
Anything that could lead to a better assessment of the discovery:

- New sightings in the area where it was first discovered, or somewhere else.

- Whether it is potentially a new species, a subspecies, a morph, a hybrid, a significant range extension for a taxon or nothing. For instance Bret Whitney and Pepe Alvarez saw a “new” Amazilia hummingbird in Peru (Loreto - Allpahuayo) 7 or 8 years ago, but they say today that it was probably nothing.
On the other hand, the “Allpahuayo Hawk” seen by the same two in Peru (Loreto: Allpahuayo) in 1993 and later in Brazil (Pará: Carajás) could well be a new species or a range extension of Leucopternis semiplumbea.

- Whether a description is in progress or completed and if it is a potential new species, what would be its genus and/or species group ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmus Boegh View Post
both "Apurimac Tapaculo" and the problematic Venezuelan taxa from the S. latrans (-group), and S. meridanus (-group) are fairly common within their range, and seeing them (well, hearing them!) is rather straight forward. There are numerous other possible new species in this genus, e.g. at least one from Colombia, and one more from Peru ("Millpo Tapaculo"). Add to that all the undescribed taxa that quite probably could represent undescribed species within known groups (e.g. at least two from the Scytalopus atratus group; one from Ecuador and 2nd from Peru; one within the Scytalopus macropus group; one, or more likely two, within the S. notorius/speluncae group).
My tapaculo list (9 birds) is not well documented. For instance I do not know when the “Apurimac Tapaculo” was first discovered.
I have only one in Venezuela (close to caracae and meridanus ?), two in Colombia: one from the East Andes (Donegan et al.) and one from the Serranía de los Yariguíes (Donegan et al. 2005), three in Peru: Apurimac, Millpo and Satipo (different from Millpo ?) and three in Brazil: one from Minas Gerais, one from the Atlantic forest and one Merulaxis (currently described by Luiz Pedreira Gonzaga and others).


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The new Venezuela spinetail, a Synallaxis, is also fairly common within its range & habitat.
Is it the one mentioned by Hornbuckle ?

There is apparently one more in Peru (La Libertad), the “Chao Spinetail” (Birding-Peru website)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmus Boegh View Post
At least one of the Venezuela Megascops (formerly Otus), possibly a part of the highly problematic M. guatemalae/vermiculatus group, is not rare. The north Venezuelan population traditionally included in M. ingens is apparently quite rare, but possibly under-recorded (add to that the Megascops from nearby Santa Marta in Colombia, and another, further away, from Apurimac in Peru, which is closely related to, and possibly conspecific with, M. koepckeae).
Is there any data somewhere on the net ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmus Boegh View Post
I know of possible new hummingbirds (4, incl. a relatively distinctive hermit - description in progress), ... potoos (1), ... wrens (2)
Do you have more details on these ?

Many thanks,
Daniel
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Old Friday 9th May 2008, 09:29   #9
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There are three undescribed, flightless rails walking around on three islands of the Solomons.
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Old Friday 9th May 2008, 09:53   #10
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Yes Beehler described a honeyeater last year, but it was not the Fak-fak Honeyeater.

The species Beehler described was the Foja Honeyeater Melipotes carolae.

I believe no ornithologist has visited the Fak-fak area since Gibbs.
The Foja Mountains are not far from Fak-Fak and Gibbs described his bird with "a prominent elongated eye wattle".

Beehler et al. 2007 explain that "this species possesses a fleshy pendant suborbital wattle, unique in the genus Melipotes, among other characteristics that distinguish it from all congeners."

Could it be the same bird ?

Daniel
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Old Friday 9th May 2008, 10:41   #11
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In addition to the above list, I've heard of the following:

an owl from Reunion Island, Indian Ocean (Otus);

a paradise-whydah from Ethiopia (Vidua);

a bushshrike from Kenya (Dryoscopus? - can't remember)
More info on those ?

Daniel
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Old Friday 9th May 2008, 10:42   #12
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There are three undescribed, flightless rails walking around on three islands of the Solomons.
More info ?

Daniel
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Old Friday 9th May 2008, 11:10   #13
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i think the Reunion Otus is an extinct taxon is it not?
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Old Friday 9th May 2008, 14:24   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Philippe View Post
The Foja Mountains are not far from Fak-Fak and Gibbs described his bird with "a prominent elongated eye wattle".

Beehler et al. 2007 explain that "this species possesses a fleshy pendant suborbital wattle, unique in the genus Melipotes, among other characteristics that distinguish it from all congeners."

Could it be the same bird ?

Daniel

You beat me too it; Papuan birder is correct but it is very likely the same bird.

alan
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Old Friday 9th May 2008, 14:49   #15
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Hello! I don't get to check Birdforum all that often, but a friend asked me to comment on this...

[quote=Rasmus Boegh;1193706] The north Venezuelan population traditionally included in M. ingens is apparently quite rare, but possibly under-recorded

That's true. This species is not uncommon, but most birders don't go high enough for it. The northern Andean (e.g. Yacambú) and Coastal Cordillera birds apparently show some differences.

Actually, I think Robin Restall's comments on new Otus on John Hornbuckle's page refer to two specimens (rather than species) from Perija which Hilty included in Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl (watsonii), although they were taken above 2000m. In the Northern South America book, I think they were identified as Cinnamon Screech-Owl (petersoni).

[quote=Rasmus Boegh;1193706] the problematic Venezuelan taxa from the S. latrans (-group), and S. meridanus (-group) are fairly common within their range, and seeing them (well, hearing them!) is rather straight forward.

Perhaps the reason that Venezuelan tapaculos are not better known is that the main analyses have not included our taxa. There is also an undescribed species from Perija.

There are quite a few species waiting to be described from southern Venezulea, but even in the well-known north, several oft encountered taxa will end up being split. Just looking at the northern Venezuelan antibirds (sensu lato), there is the Sakesphorus from xeric NW Venezuela (phainoleucus), the western White-flanked Antwren, the west Venezuela Formicarius, the Perija and Tachira members of the Rufous Antpitta complex, the Rusty-breasted Antpitta.

So there's a lot of work to do! Best wishes, Chris
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Old Saturday 10th May 2008, 01:01   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Philippe View Post
The Foja Mountains are not far from Fak-Fak and Gibbs described his bird with "a prominent elongated eye wattle".

Beehler et al. 2007 explain that "this species possesses a fleshy pendant suborbital wattle, unique in the genus Melipotes, among other characteristics that distinguish it from all congeners."

Could it be the same bird ?

Daniel
There is highly unlikely that the Fak-fak honeyeater and the Foja Honyeater is the same species. The Foja Honeyeater has been isolated for a long time. The Fak-fak Mountains and Foja Mountains are located quite far away from each other as well.

There is however a possibility that the "Fak-fak Honyeater" isnt a undescribed species, but merely just a sub-population of a already described New Guinea honeyeater, I have Diamonds orginally papper and he raise this possibility, I could look more closely into which species he suspected it may represent.

Last edited by Papuan birder : Saturday 10th May 2008 at 01:05.
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Old Saturday 10th May 2008, 01:13   #17
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There are three undescribed, flightless rails walking around on three islands of the Solomons.
Could you please tell me more about this Hidde.

I only know of 1 potentially undescribed rail in the Solomon Islands

I know that Guy Dutson observed (and photographed) a unknown rail on Malaita in July 2002, and several others have seen this unknown rail since Dutsons observation, some have raised the possibility that it may be a sub-population of a already described subspecies, or represent a undescribed subspecies of Woodford's Rail Nesoclopeus woodfordi.

Here is the orginal article.

http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2002/09/675.html
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Old Saturday 10th May 2008, 15:02   #18
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First of all, PB is absolutely right to state that the Fakfak Melipotes is not the same species as the recently described Foja Honeyeater. Zoogeographically that wouldn't make sense. However, it is remarkable that both apparently represent outlying populations of birds with elaborately developed wattles compared to their closest relatives living nearestby.
This puts the Kumawa Melipotes in a different light. It was described by Jared Diamond (in a sloppy description I must say) in 1985 as a distinct subspecies of the Smokey Honeyeater (Melipotes fumigates kumawa). He mentions four major features in which it differs from "fumigates" and he actually concludes that it is closer to the Western Smokey Honeyeater (Melipotes gymnops), but without designating it under that species ! Which, of course, would be the correct thing to do, since "gymnops" is also the species which lives closest by. The nearest population of "fumigates" occurs in the Weyland Mountains at the western end of the main trunk of New Guinea, while "gymnops" lives in the Wandammen (and Arfak and Tamrau Mountains) Mountains right in between the Kumawa's and Weylands. So, for the Kumawa Melipotes to belong to "fumigates" would mean a strange leapfrog distribution of that species that I don't know of any other New Guinea bird species.
This automatically makes "gymnops" the closest relative of the Fakfak Melipotes too. For that mountain range lies to the northwest of the Kumawa's, still further away from the Weyland Mountains and further into the realm of "gymnops". But Diamond also describes the Melipotes living there to belong to "fumigates" with the remark that it "was unexpected" to find representatives of this species so far west. One must bear in mind that Diamond only saw this bird a few times. He never handled any. Furthermore, he was unable to distinguish the Foja Honeyeater from "fumigates" despite seeing this bird with its different morphology many times. A missed chance for Mr Diamond.
David Gibbs had a closer look at the Fakfak Melipotes and he was sure it was closer to "gymnops" than to "fumigates", still he thought of it as "very distinct" not at least because of the elongated eye skin.
People have returned to the Fakfak Mountains a few times since Gibbs visit in 1992, like Forsyth and Betts in 1995, but that was mainly to check out the local Amblyornis and its strange bowers. I'm afraid that we have to wait a long time before the Melipotes and the equally undescribed Ptiloprora of that place will enter the checklists of the birds of the world.
I can be less "elaborate" on the three undescribed rails of the Solomon Islands. I guess everybody knows about the Kolombangra Rail, a close relative of the Roviana Rail. The other two belong to the Woodford's Rail species complex which is far from being resolved, but lets give Guy Dutson some time. One is the bird from Malaita already mentioned by PB and the other is from Choiseul. The last has been seen by only a very few people, H.Hamlin of the Whitney South Seas Expeditions was the first and our friend Jared Diamond was another.

Last edited by Hidde Bruinsma : Saturday 10th May 2008 at 15:06.
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Old Saturday 10th May 2008, 20:56   #19
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Whether it is potentially a new species, a subspecies, a morph, a hybrid, a significant range extension for a taxon or nothing.
In most cases, that's something I'll leave for the people actually describing them. Obviously, I do have my opinions, but opinions are of little scientific value. Add to that the problems with species concepts (see e.g. Silveira and Olmos, 2007).

I'll also add that, while some info may be published freely before the actual descriptions, some info is withheld, at least sometimes intentially. While descriptions of Neotropical birds haven't had any major issues with anybody "stealing the honours" (so to speak), it is certainly not unheard of (e.g. R. Hoser & Australian snakes).

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On the other hand, the “Allpahuayo Hawk” seen by the same two in Peru (Loreto: Allpahuayo) in 1993 and later in Brazil (Pará: Carajás) could well be a new species or a range extension of Leucopternis semiplumbea.
It has actually been seen more than once by what can only be described as an extremely knowledgeable and reliable ornithologist. In terms of biogeography, it is extremely unlikely that it, unless a single individual that somehow got lost and managed to cross the Andes in the process, represents the same as L. semiplumbea (even if visually similar). Note also that the only "mystery" Leucopternis records I am aware of in Carajás are L. melanops - something dealt with recently in Amaral, Silveira, & Whitney, 2007.

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My tapaculo list (9 birds) is not well documented. For instance I do not know when the “Apurimac Tapaculo” was first discovered.
Haven't asked and don't know, but it is at least 15 years ago.

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I have only one in Venezuela (close to caracae and meridanus ?), two in Colombia: one from the East Andes (Donegan et al.) and one from the Serranía de los Yariguíes (Donegan et al. 2005), three in Peru: Apurimac, Millpo and Satipo (different from Millpo ?) and three in Brazil: one from Minas Gerais, one from the Atlantic forest and one Merulaxis (currently described by Luiz Pedreira Gonzaga and others).
Serranía de los Yariguíes has other undescribed taxa; a warbler, antpitta and hermit. The Millpo does occur near Satipo. I'm not aware of any additional new from that region. A Scytalopus briefly caused some problems, but was later found to be S. acutirostris.. Add to the Scytalopus' I mentioned earlier that "something" apparently is going on within the populations presently included in S. magellanicus. The Brazilian situation is very messy, and the Minas Gerais taxon I suspect you are referring to may already have been described (many birders that have seen S. novacapitalis at Serra da Cipo have actually seen the "new" taxon), as Raposo et al., 2006, suggested it is this population that actually should be referred to as S. speluncae, whereby the "old-new" Mouse-coloured Tapaculo from the Serra do Mar region in Brazil needed a new name; S. notorius. This has not (yet) gained widespread recognition, and one can question if they interpreted the old type correctly (if not, the inland Minas Gerais population remains undescribed). There are also a few other prob's - among others, they included the population later described as a separate species, S. diamantinensis, in their S. speluncae. Add to that the problem that they and the recently described S. pachecoi have similar songs, which, following the most recent authority on tapaculo taxonomy, would mean that they're probably better considered subspecies of a single species (per BSC). They do, however, have different calls, and work that may validate this as significant for species-level taxonomy is in progress. Add to that the problem that some have suggested transferring the English name Mouse-coloured Tapaculo to the "new" S. speluncae from inland Minas Gerais, instead referring to the coastal population as Serra do Mar Tapaculo. I'd suggest people just forget the name Mouse-coloured Tapaculo completely, and use the locality based names (Serra do Mar, Espinhaço, Diamantina & Planalto). Finished? No: There's an undescribed taxon in Bahia (also a pos. new Heliobletus and Tolmomyias in that state), and the northern and southern Serra do Mar Tapaculo are likely to represent different species. The issues I referred to regarding the song-types in the Slaty Brislefront are the same as the Merulaxis you refer to.

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Is it the one mentioned by Hornbuckle ?
Yes, it is the same spinetail in Venezuela I referred to. A pretty standard Synallaxis - fairly dull with rufous crown and dark frontlet.

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There is apparently one more in Peru (La Libertad), the “Chao Spinetail” (Birding-Peru website)
It is part of the S. stictothorax complex, which needs a review. The presently published evidence only supports a single species, but that is almost certainly too little. And while we're at spinetails, there's a pos. new Certhiaxis in Tocantins, Brazil. It is quite similar to, and found sympatrically with, the widespread C. cinnamomea.

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Is there any data somewhere on the net ?
No, the info on the owls is not on the net (haven't really searched for it, so I could be wrong, but I guess not).

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Do you have more details on these ?
Hummingbird1: An Amazilia found in the southern part of the range of the Versicoloured Emerald (which in any case needs a taxonomic review). Work in progress (but as always it may take years before actual results are published).
Hummingbird2: "Ampay Hummingbird".
Hummingbird3: A Coeligena. Prob. just a new ssp. or aberrant population.
Hermit: Found in the Brazilian Amazon. A small, dark-throated species with a distinctive feature I'll leave for the description (which is in progress).
Potoo: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=93985 (post #14).
Wren1: "Mantaro/Otuto Wren"
Wren2: A Microcerculus found in the region of the triple-border between Brazil, Peru & Colombia. The entire M. marginatus complex needs a review.

Add to that the other Furnariids, tyrant-flycatchers, antbirds, and all the single, brief views that could be something or could be nothing - e.g. highly competent ornithologists have seen a barbet, part of the Capito niger group, in the south-east Amazon, but I'm not aware of any further sightings, and with that level of evidence who can say what it was or for that matter exclude an escapee (even if locality suggests otherwise).

Last edited by Rasmus Boegh : Sunday 11th May 2008 at 11:42. Reason: unhead -> unheard; andbird -> antbird
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Old Sunday 11th May 2008, 12:33   #20
Hidde Bruinsma
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I fear to tread on your turf, Rasmus, but do you know more about that new Picumnus very recently found in the Serra Geral do Tocantins ? I've read something on the ornithomedia site but I can't fully understand what is written there.
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Old Sunday 11th May 2008, 12:59   #21
Daniel Philippe
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I've read something on the ornithomedia site but I can't fully understand what is written there.
Not much is said about the piculet: three specimens were collected in two different sites (heard in others) which looked different from all known Picumnus. The autors are currently studying these birds to eventually confirm whether it is a new taxon or not.
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Old Sunday 11th May 2008, 13:06   #22
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A big thank you to all who responded and provided valuable insight.

I am well aware of the secrecy surrounding some of these discoveries (not only to avoid an honour theft, but also supposedly to better protect the area), I am hence not going to look for info about them, but as there are many discoveries being unveiled, I find it interesting to remain updated on their development (especially the taxa I saw of course, but not only that).

I was with Bret Whitney in Sept 2006 when we saw what he said could have been the “Allpahuayo Hawk” in the Jaú National Park (Brazil - Amazonas), but unfortunately Bret was the one who did not see it well enough to confirm. He however made no secret about the prior sightings of this hawk in Peru and Brazil (I do not know more as I haven’t read Amaral's article yet).

And we did see with him other non described taxa such as the “Island Streaked Flycatcher”, similar to Myiodynastes maculatus, but with a different voice and only found on the Solimoes/Amazon islands or the “Jau Tody-Tyrant” with a song different from other Hemitriccus. I would also welcome any progress on the description of these birds.

I actually have many others to deal with, but I think I will post about them later with one thread per species or family to shorten the messages and not mix everything.


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Old Sunday 11th May 2008, 17:31   #23
Rasmus Boegh
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And we did see with him other non described taxa such as the “Island Streaked Flycatcher”, similar to Myiodynastes maculatus, but with a different voice and only found on the Solimoes/Amazon islands or the “Jau Tody-Tyrant” with a song different from other Hemitriccus. I would also welcome any progress on the description of these birds.
Both are - supposedly - in progress, but the involved people are quite busy with other things, too. Interesting recordings of a Hemitriccus have also been made in north-eastern Peru.

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Not much is said about the piculet: three specimens were collected in two different sites (heard in others) which looked different from all known Picumnus. The autors are currently studying these birds to eventually confirm whether it is a new taxon or not.
... and you can be certain that's a genus they'll be careful with before describing anything. To quote J.V. Remsen:

"Species-level taxonomy in the genus Picumnus is in need of major re-evaluation; interbreeding, to varying degrees, between various pairs of parapatric and partially sympatric species is inordinately high."

Knowing who are involved, that's not something I'd worry about, though (cf. recent work by some of the same people on the likely hybrid, P. corumbanus). On a somewhat related issue, Tocantins is a very interesting state (with more than a Picmnus worth keeping an eye on) - long overlooked by ornithologists & birders alike.

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Old Sunday 18th May 2008, 08:39   #24
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It’s actually just a follow up of Hidde’s previous comments:

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I guess everybody knows about the Kolombangra Rail, a close relative of the Roviana Rail.
So the Roviana Rails on Kolombangra would be different from those on New Georgia and Rendova ? I am unaware of this finding and haven’t found anything on the net … Who said that ?


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...the other is from Choiseul. The last has been seen by only a very few people, H.Hamlin of the Whitney South Seas Expeditions was the first and our friend Jared Diamond was another.
Hidde, do you happen to know when was the "Choiseul Rail" last seen ?

Are there other Rallidae elsewhere still waiting for a description ?

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Old Sunday 18th May 2008, 11:53   #25
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The Kolombangara rail was first heard of but not seen by Diamond in either 1974 or 1976. It was described by locals as similar to the Roviana Rail, which Diamond was going to scientifically describe in 1991, and they named it "keremete" after its call. The bird was later seen by Brian Finch but I don't know any details of that sighting. It was seen again by David Gibbs in 1994 and well enough to notice that it was quite different from the Roviana Rail. Gibbs includes a pen drawing in his article (Bull. Brit.Orn.Club Vol. 116, no 1, P. 20), which was reproduced in Taylor's book on the rails of the world.
Diamond's sighting of the Choiseul rail in the seventies may very well have been the last one. I don't know of any more recent.
Two more undescribed subspecies of rails spring to my mind: one is the Foja rail which probably belongs to Mayr's Forest-rail (Rallina mayri) and the other is a race of the Barred Rail (Gallirallus torquatus) from southern Sulawesi.
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