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Questions on synonyms ... in today's; Neocossyphus, Sitta, and Milvus

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Old Saturday 17th February 2018, 08:40   #1
Calalp
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Post Questions on synonyms ... in today's; Neocossyphus, Sitta, and Milvus

I have some questions regarding some synonyms (all eponyms, all commemorating Swedish guys) ... this as there are different bids or contradictory claims (alt. different opinions) in various references.

So what about ...

arrhenii as in:
• "Neocossyphus rufus arrhenii" LÖNNBERG 1917 (here) ... equal of; nominate Neocossyphus rufus rufus FISCHER & REICHENOW 1884 or N. rufus gabunensis NEUMANN 1908 ... ?


bergmani as in:
• "Sitta europaea bergmani" MOMIYAMA 1931 (OD attached)... equal of; Sitta europaea baicalensis TACZANOWSKI 1882 or S. e. clara STEJNEGER 1887 or ... ?

Note that the OD tells us "(nec Stejneger)". Is it possibly equal of yet another one of today's subspecies ... ? Maybe Sitta europaea asiatica GOULD 1835 ... ?


forskahlii as in:
• "[Falco] Forskåhlii" GMELIN 1788 (here) ... equal of; Milvus milvus LINNAEUS 1758 or Milvus (migrans) aegyptius GMELIN 1788 ... ?

To me it looks like the latter! (... luckily, regarding precedence/priority, described two pages earlier )


Anyone know the most recent findings/conclusions?

If any reply, please state according to what list/taxonomy.

Grateful for all the help I can get!

Björn (... following the IOC list)
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Old Saturday 17th February 2018, 13:37   #2
Mike Earp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calalp View Post
... luckily, regarding precedence/priority, described two pages earlier
Björn

I think that page precedence does not count under the Code: you therefore need a first reviser action to choose between them if they are synonyms.

Mike
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Old Saturday 17th February 2018, 15:45   #3
James Jobling
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On distribution arrhenii = gabunensis
On distribution bergmani = clara
On distribution (wintering in Egypt) forskahli = migrans

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Old Sunday 18th February 2018, 11:15   #4
Calalp
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Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Jobling View Post
On distribution arrhenii = gabunensis
On distribution bergmani = clara
On distribution (wintering in Egypt) forskahli = migrans
___________________________________________
Last edited by James Jobling : Yesterday at 17:50. Reason: missing i
Thanks James, and simply based on distribution I would be inclined to agree (that´s what made me wonder to start with), at least on arrhenii and bergmani, but less on forskahlii (... and by the way, you forgot one ending -i on that one as well ).

However; I fear it´s not all that easy ...

arrhenii
According to NRM (Naturhistoriska riksmuseet), the Natural History Museum, in Stockholm, who keep the Type of arrhenii (here), from "Eastern Belgian Congo" (indicating it ought to be a specimen of N. r. gabunensis), it´s equal of the nominate Red-tailed Ant-thrush Neocossyphus rufus rufus FISCHER & REICHENOW 1884 ... (originating in East Africa)!?


On this one I don´t know what to believe. A bit troublesome if reputable Museum collections is to be erroneous ...


bergmani
Apparently, according to Dickinson et al. 2006 (Systematic notes on Asian birds. 66. Types of the Sittidae and Certhiidae), the Type of the bergmani Nuthatch is lost, but following the distribution of today's subspecies it does fit with S. e. clara STEJNEGER 1887.

Compare with the other relevant subspecies (attached) listed in Momiyama's paper. To make it a bit easier to follow I might add:

Momiyama's No.4; "Sitta europæa clara", was based on "Sitta amurensis clara Stejneger, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus. ix, pp.392-393, 1886" (here) ... from; "Hokkaidô" [a k a Yesso, Ezo, Yezo alt. Yeso].

The type of No.2; S. e. bergmani was from "Kunashir, Southern Kuril`e Islands" [most likely today's Kunashir/Kunashiri (Island) / 国後島, the most Southern Island in the Kurile Islands chain].

And the preceding subspecies, No.1; "Sitta europæa takatsukasai" was from "Urup and Etorup, Southern Kurile Islands" [most likely the two neighbouring Islands, to the north; Urup (Island) and Iturup/Etorofu-to (Island) 択捉島).

Which does fit the distributions today, as told in HBW:
Quote:
S. e. takatsukasai Momiyama, 1931 - SC Kuril Is (Urup, Iturup).
S. e. clara Stejneger, 1887 - S Kurils (Kunashir, Shikotan) and N Japan (Hokkaido).
However; note that bergmani yesterday was listed as a synonym of Sitta europaea asiatica in the HBW Alive Key!?

In any case; Sten Bergman collected birds on the Southern Kuriles from the Autumn of 1929 until the Summer of 1930. And I assume "his" bird ended up in Mr. Okada's collection (and not in the one of Momiyama, as suggested by Dickinson et al). Looks like I have to trace down Okada's "Sangaku" Paper of 1930, doesn´t it?


forskahlii
And it´s even trickier with the Kite "[Falco] Forskåhlii". The Linnaean disciple Forsskål*] described this, (later "his") Kite in Descriptiones Animalium** (1775), here (or see attached relevant excerpt) ... without a binomial scientific name.

Does this far longer Latin text (than Gmelin's few, scanty lines) tell us anything additional? Making it possible to pin-point its identity? If it is Milvus (migrans) aegyptius?

Anyone feel like translating it?

Either way I doubt that this "Forskåhlii" was ever aimed at the Red Kite Milvus milvus (as indicated in today's Key!) Most of the Red Kites (at least the ones who does migrate) winters in Spain.

Björn

__________________________________________________ ___
*The Swedish (alt. Finnish-Swedish) naturalist Peter (not Pehr) Forsskål (1732-1763).
Born 11 January 1732, in Helsingfors/Helsinki (Finland, in those days, Sweden)
... and he died 11 July 1763, in Jerim, in Southwest Arabia (in today's Yemen).

**Published "post mortem auctoris", 1775, edited by Carsten Niebuhr.
A book where the Author is/was called (and his surname misspelled): "Petrus Forskål".

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Old Monday 19th February 2018, 14:25   #5
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A few hours ago, in the Bird Name Etymology subforum, Martin added () a link to Shaw's General Zoology (1809) that might be of help for anyone still in doubt on the identity of "[Falco] Forskåhlii" ... here.

Making me even more convinced we're dealing with a synonym of the aegyptius Kite!

Anyone who disagree?

Björn

PS. Note Shaw's remark:
Quote:
NATIVE of Egypt, where it is said to be very common in summer: ...

... in the Gmelinian edition of Systema Naturæ, viz, first under the title Falco ægyptius, and again under that of F. Forskahlii.
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Old Monday 19th February 2018, 23:42   #6
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Shaw says very common in summer. ??
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Old Tuesday 20th February 2018, 06:03   #7
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1. FALCO with yellow cere and feet; ashy above, ferrugineous below; with dark brown wings; with forked, brown-barred tail of the length of the body.

DESCRIPTION. From the tip of the bill to the end of the tail nearly a cubit. Bill and cere yellow. Feathers of the head lanceolate, rufescent-grey, black in the middle, with isolated bristles towards the mouth. Back feathers and upper wing coverts ashy: with dark brown shaft. Remiges dark brown, the 5 first ones narrowed towards the tip, all of them on the inferior side grey, barred dark-brown: black towards the apex. Wings below grey-brown, with obscure barring: coverts ferrigineous, with a black central line. Same colour of the feathers below the body: all are white closest to the skin. Tail of the length of the body, and extending past the tip of the folded wing. 12 rectrices, towards the centre progressively a bit shorter: ashy, with dark brown bars. Thighs and nearly the half tibiae feathered: remaining part of the tibia and fingers yellow. Nails black: the rear and inner ones equal to one another, with the reamining ones larger.

LOCATION: in Egypt frequent in winter. Arab. Haddáj.

OBSERVATION. Either Falco (10) Milvus? but not wholly ferrugineous, and no whitish head. Or Falco (11) forficatus? but not whitish below, really ferrugineous.

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Old Tuesday 20th February 2018, 07:34   #8
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Thanks Laurent! Excellent, at a quick glance (I´ll look into it later, in detail) that´s a fairly good match on the Black or Yellow-billed Kite Milvus migrans/aegyptius ...

Makes one wonder why today's Key claims it as:
Quote:
forskahlii / forskali / forskalii
... (syn. Falco sp?, syn. Lophoceros nasutus, syn. Milvus milvus).
I've confirmed the Hornbill synonym, but cannot figure out which one would match the Red Kite. Are we dealing with two different raptor synonyms?

What did I miss?
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Old Tuesday 20th February 2018, 08:46   #9
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Originally Posted by mb1848 View Post
Shaw says very common in summer. ??
Mark, So I noted, but in my world, there's nothing necessarily contradicting, or excluding, in a bird being frequent in winter and/versus very common in summer?

Either way I doubt that the Red Kite ever was more or less frequent in Egypt.

What's your (or anybody else's) conclusion on the ID, following Forsskål's description (in post #7)?

Björn
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 10:00   #10
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Continuation on Gmelin's [Falco]"Forskåhlii

If Gmelin's [Falco]"Forskåhlii" (alt. its modern version forskahlii) is a Kite, I assume Latham's [Falco] "Forskalii" (forskalii) from 1790, here, must be the same, as the latter apparently (according to the Richmond card, here) only was an emendation of the former spelling. Note that Latham's first Reference goes back to Forsskål's "Fn. Arab.* p. vi. 1. & p. 1.1" (1775). [here (alt. here), the same pages/reference as Gmelin used in 1788].

Doesn´t this make Latham's [Falco]""Forskalii" (double-i, without h) simply an unjustified/incorrect subsequent spelling?

Also note Latham's latter reference back to his own "Arabian Kite" (from 1787) without any binomial name, here, ... a text fairly similar to Shaw's text of 1809.

To me this only strengthen the case that Gmelin's [Falco]"Forskåhlii" (and the Key's "Falco sp.?") truly was/is equal of either the Black or Yellow-billed Kite Milvus migrans/aegyptius.


I guess it´s the "Milvus Forskali" (no h, single, ending -i) of Brehm 1849 (1851), in the Paper Etwas über die Arten der europäischen Vögel, that messed things up, and caused most of the confusion (in this thread and elsewhere ), as this bird got the note "Nordosteuropaisches Inseln" (on the Richmond card, here), however the full text, in German (here) tells us:
Quote:
Milvus Forskali, den beiden vorhergehenden sehr ähnlich, aber durch seinen weissgrundigen Oberkopf und Hinterhals, seinen sehr kurzen Schnabel und die rostfarbigen , langen Flecken auf dem Oberflügel - die mittlern obern Flügeldeckfedern sind so gefärbt - und durch die hochrostfarbige Flügelkante leicht von den beiden vorhergehenden zu unterscheiden. Ob dieser Vogel die nordosteuropäischen Inseln niemals berührt, können wir nicht sagen, allein es wäre diess sehr möglich.
In this case I think (with only minor knowledge of German) that we possibly, might, could be dealing with the Red Kite Milvus milvus!

Anyone who get the full content?

Björn

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*"Fn. Arab." = the so called "Fauna Arabica", i.e. Descriptiones animalium, (avium, amphibiorum, piscium, insectorum, vermium ...) is, as far as I can tell, the Fauna counterpart of Forsskål's Flora Ægyptiaco-Arabica: ... (sive descriptiones plantarum quas per Aegyptum inferiorem et Arabiam felicem), same editor: Niebuhr (1775).
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 13:01   #11
l_raty
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I think Latham's Forskalii is more likely to have been a deliberate change, i.e., an unjustified emendation, rather than a simple incorrect subsequent spelling. (Latham cited the correct OS from Gmelin in the synonymy of his Forskalii [albeit with the å rendered as a simple a], yet he used a different spelling for the valid name of the species. Note also that his citation of Forskål's work in the same synonymy reads Forskal. Fn. Arab., without a h in the author's name.)
(Either way, deliberate or not, Latham's Forskalii is quite clearly a subsequent spelling of Gmelin's Forskåhlii. Note that, as Latham also cited Gmelin's aegyptius in the synonymy of this name, he is also arguably the First Reviser, and forskahlii should in principle take precedence over aegyptius. Forskahlii would presumably match the conditions to be a forgotten name, however...?)

The possibility that the bird might have been a Red Kite ("Falco (10) Milvus" Linn. 1758) was mentioned by Forskåhl from the very beginning, see the last line of my translation above. This was also repeated by Latham: "Rostrum flavum : remiges versus apicem nigrae : cauda cinerea — an sequens ? sed nec totus ferrugineus, nec caput albidum" (= "bill yellow : remiges black towards the tip : tail ashy — or [might this be] the next one ? but not wholly ferrugineous, and no whitish head"; the next species in Latham's Index ornithologicus is Falco Milvus).

Brehm's text means, more or less:
4. Milvus Forskali, very similar to the two previous ones, but easy to distinguish from the two previous ones by its white-grounded upper head and hind neck, its very short bill and the rusty-toned, long patches on the upper wing - the middle upper wing feathers are so coloured - and by the deep rusty-toned wing edge. Whether this bird ever reaches the North-East European islands, we can not say, but it would be quite possible.
The whitish head and rusty tones in the wing suggest Red Kite. On the other hand, the bill of Red Kite actually averages longer than that of Black Kite. Also, Brehm's "two previous ones" presumably referred to #2 and #3 in his treatment of the genus: Milvus ater / M. fuscus (i.e., Black Kite) and M. parasiticus (i.e., Yellow-billed Kite); Red Kite was in first position, as Milvus regalis / M. ruber; in other words, Brehm himself appears to have regarded Milvus Forskali as closer to Black than to Red Kite.
Note also that Brehm did not claim the authorship of Milvus Forskali, thus we might conceivably still be dealing with an (odd) interpretation of Gmelin's name, here.
(In any case, even if separately available, it would seem a bit odd to claim the nordosteuropäischen Inseln as the "type locality" of Forskali Brehm, when the only thing Brehm actually wrote about these islands in the OD was that he had NO evidence that the bird frequented them...)
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 17:41   #12
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Laurent, in this last post I actually think your arguments sum to it being impossible to determine with certainty what Forskåhl's bird really represented without access to the original type (was it actually a red x black hybrid?). If that is true, then is should be deemed an indeterminable name and not a name that can take precedence over any other name?

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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 18:58   #13
l_raty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
Laurent, in this last post I actually think your arguments sum to it being impossible to determine with certainty what Forskåhl's bird really represented without access to the original type (was it actually a red x black hybrid?). If that is true, then is should be deemed an indeterminable name and not a name that can take precedence over any other name?
It's Brehm's bird (my last paragraph) that is causing me problems, much more than Forskåhl's.

Forskåhl's bird (or birds? if the species was common, he presumably saw more than one...?), on range alone, seems extremely unlikely to have anything to do with a Red Kite. And Forskåhl's plumage description does not suggest this species either (e.g., head not pale; upperparts not rufescent; tail ashy, not rufous; underside of the remiges grey, not white). Some plumage details may fit Yellow-billed better than Black, e.g., apparently rather greyish back and upperwing covert, and a more ferrugineous tone on the underwing coverts and underparts. Then there is this yellow bill and cere...
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Old Thursday 22nd February 2018, 09:59   #14
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Compare the following links, and texts (in German), by Alfred Brehm, 1883 (the Son of Ludwig Brehm, who wrote the 1849/51 piece):

Milan (Milvus migrans) versus Schmarotzermilan (Milvus Forskali) ... with illustrations!

Does those texts make the case any clearer? (This far, no need for a full translation )

Also note the text on "Yellow-billed Kite", here (page 30). And the following line: "Milvus forskali (refer to Milvus migrans parasitus)", found here, down the page, in the tabular List of synonyms.

System overload. I don´t know what to think.

Björn

PS. Laurent, his surname is Forsskål (not Forskåhl), double-s, no h.
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Old Friday 23rd February 2018, 07:39   #15
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Neocossyphus rufus arrhenii

Regarding the Type of the "arrhenii" Ant-thrush (here), I´ve been in contact with Ulf Johansson, Curator at NRM (Naturhistoriska riksmuseet), the Natural History Museum, in Stockholm, and he agrees that something looks fishy with the claim of it being synonymous of the nominate subspecies Neocossyphus r. rufus.

He promissed to take a closer look at the specimen itself, its history, and to check the morphology in detail, but unfortunate the Type collections at NRM are being moved, and not accessible until April this year.

Thereby, on arrhenii, we will simply have to be patient, and wait, to see what he will find, if a replacement into gabunensis will be done (the most likely rearrangement, also in his mind).

We´ll see.
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Old Monday 26th February 2018, 10:36   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calalp View Post
Does those texts make the case any clearer? (This far, no need for a full translation )
Milvus Forskali here is given as an African version of the German species, so close to it that some have doubted its species status, and differing at first glance mainly in a straw-yellow, instead of black, bill -- which clearly fits Yellow-billed Kite quite well. The range is given as the whole of Africa, to the exception of the Atlas countries, as well as Madagascar (so far, so good), Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, probably even European Turkey (over-optimistic...). Brehm cites as synonyms of Milvus Forskali: Milvus parasiticus, M. aegyptius, M. leucorhynchus, Falco Forskali, F. Forskahli, F. aegyptius, F. parasitus and F. parasiticus.

It may be worth noting that AE Brehm's Thierleben is a work that went through a very large number of versions and editions, both during Brehm's lifetime and after his death. In the earliest version, Brehm had used the name Hydroictinia parasitica for the same bird -- "Von dem afrikanischen Vertreter des Milans, welcher mit Fug und Recht Schmarotzermilan (Hydroictinia parasitica) genannt wird" [here], in 1866. ("Schmarotzermilan" means "Parasitic Kite"; he still used this vernacular for the bird in 1882.) He must have decided at some point that Forskali was a synonym and was the name that had priority.
Before Brehm, Schlegel 1844 [here] had also adopted parasiticus (attributing it to Latham 1801, although it dates from Daudin 1800, who spelled it parasitus) as valid for the African birds, citing both of Gmelin's names in its synonymy.
Daudin himself [ibid.] treated the Egyptian birds as distinct from the birds of the rest of Africa, calling them aegyptius Gm. and citing Forskahlii Gm. as a synonym. Blanford in 1870 [here] used aegyptius as valid, placing both Forskhalii Gm. and parasiticus "Latham" in its synonymy. Closer to us, Hartert, in 1914 [here], adopted a treatment similar to Daudin's (albeit he treated the corresponding taxa as subspecies, rather than as species), also citing Forskahlii as a synonym of a valid aegyptius. Although not explicit in these works, I suspect the adoption of aegyptius as valid by these authors may indeed have resulted from the application of some type of "page precedence" rule. (Which, as Mike noted above, doesn't exist in the current Code.)

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Old Monday 26th February 2018, 12:24   #17
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Thanks Laurent, that´s (just about) how I understood it ...

The thing that made me a bit uncertain was the contradictory claims in today's HBW Alive Key regarding "Falco parasitus" DAUDIN 1800:
Quote:
parasitus
L. parasitus parasite < Gr. παρασιτος parasitos parasite.
● ex "Parasite" of Levaillant 1798, pl. 22 (subsp. Milvus migrans).
versus "Falco parasiticus" LATHAM 1801 (also here), the latter, according to the Richmond card (here), an emendation of the former spelling:
Quote:
parasiticus
[...]
● ex "Parasite" of Levaillant 1798, pl. 22 (syn. Milvus aegyptius).
[...]
Two different conclusions, both based on the same plate (here) ... !?!

This said; even if Levaillant's bird on Plate itself is pretty hard to recognize. To me Levaillant's bird looks like a juvenile aegyptius! Or (maybe) a ditto parasiticus (subspecies of aegyptius, according to IOC). Although depicted with a somewhat disproportionate (long) tail.

/B

PS. Also relevant in this context is Latham's "Parasite F. [Falcon]", here (even without any binomial name).

PPS. Is it possible (by the text, in French) to tell the geographic origin of Levaillant's bird
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Old Monday 26th February 2018, 14:48   #18
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Levaillant says that he found that bird in all the part of Africa that he visited, more commonly in the regions well supplied in small game, notably in the Caffre and Great Namaqua countries. He then goes on explaining how the Dutch call it in the Cape colonies.

Latham's Falco parasiticus is a mere incorrect subsequent spelling of Daundin's name, with no separate nomenclatural standing.
(Latham cited the name incorrectly as having been used by Daudin 1800 with this spelling; he did not cite the correct original spelling at all, and did not express any intent to introduce a new spelling; as a consequence, the spelling change cannot be interpreted as intentional, and does not represent an emendation in the sense of the Code.)

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Old Monday 26th February 2018, 17:14   #19
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But neither an "emendation" nor an "incorrect subsequent spelling" explain the two different identities ... does it?
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Old Tuesday 27th February 2018, 06:13   #20
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Today's updated HBW Alive Key:
Quote:
Quote:
parasitus
[...]
● ex "Parasite" of Levaillant 1798, pl. 22 (subsp. Milvus migrans).
Quote:
parasiticus
[...]
● ex "Parasite" of Levaillant 1798, pl. 22 (syn. Milvus migrans parasitus).
[...]
Just to make things clear: following IOC (and my MS) this is the Milvus aegyptius parasitus, the South African (south of the Sahara + Comoros and Madagascar) subspecies of Yellow-billed Kite Milvus aegyptius.

End of this small detour from Mr Forsskål's Kite (just had to straighten out the overall picture, the things I didn´t understand) ... back to the track!

/B
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Old Friday 2nd March 2018, 08:57   #21
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Let´s return to the identity of "Forskåhlii", and the original source itself ...

If we´re to dissect the description by Peter Forsskål (1775) in detail (following, trusting Laurent's translation, in post #7) ... versus today's Black Kite Milvus migrans and Yellow-billed Kite Milvus (migrans) aegyptius, as well as the Red Kite Milvus milvus, this is what we´ve got (at least, in my mind ) ...

• [Falco] "Forskåhlii" GMELIN 1788, based on Forsskål's "Falco cera pedibusque flavis, ..." (of 1775, without any binomial name), quoted (in divided parts), with comments, below:
Quote:
1. FALCO with yellow cere and feet; ashy above, ferrugineous below; with dark brown wings; with forked, brown-barred tail of the length of the body.
Falco (in those days more or less equal of Raptor) ... all three Kites discussed (Black-, Yellow-billed and Red) have yellow cere and yellow feet. Both the Black and Yellow-billed Kite fits the description "ashy above", but only the Yellow-billed aegyptius (and the Red, of course) has ferrugineous lower parts. Forsskål's "Dark brown wings" excludes, in my mind, the Red Kite, and the "forked brown-barred tail" ... fits all, they all have (more or less) forked tails (less in flight, but certainly so when perched), least in migrans. Regarding "brown-barred", they all have more or less brown/dark-barred tails (most obvious below), even if I would say that the minute bars on the tail of the Red Kite are more blackish than brown. The "tail of the length of the body" is harder to determine, not knowing how the body was measured (and I haven´t found any reliable, comparable measurements of their tails vs "bodies" (incl. excl. head?) ... on this one I will pass. Clearly the Red Kite is the one Kite with the longest tail.


Quote:
DESCRIPTION. From the tip of the bill to the end of the tail nearly a cubit [one cubit, ranges from 44.4-52.92 cm]
Indicating a bird less than, or just about, half a meter. This, of course, said with reservation for the unknown methods of measuring, as well as not knowing exactly what cubit Forsskål had in mind. Either way: the size talks in favour of either one of the two smaller Kites. Of those two aegyptius seems to be the smaller one (on average).

HBW have the following measurements; Black Kite: 44-66 cm (incl. ssp. Yellow-billed Kite): contra Red Kite: 60-72 cm [here]. Note that other references claim the Head-tail measurements as: Black Kite: "48-58" or "55-60 cm" vs Red Kite "60-70" alt. "60-66 cm".


Quote:
Bill and cere yellow.
Black Kite: Bill black, cere yellow. Yellow-billed Kite: Bill and cere yellow (adult). Red Kite: Bill greyish (paler by age), with black tip, cere yellow. "Bill and cere" talks (strongly) in favour of aegyptius (... from here onwards I´ve dropped the Red Kite).


Quote:
Feathers of the head lanceolate, rufescent-grey, black in the middle, with isolated bristles towards the mouth.
Fits aegyptius better than migrans, as the former has a more reddish tone of the otherwise grey-brownish head. Also the one with most obvious "black in the middle". Black Kite's more dark-brownish. See photo here versus here. Both (of course) with "with isolated bristles towards the mouth".


Quote:
Back feathers and upper wing coverts ashy: with dark brown shaft.
Too vague, would fit either one.


Quote:
Remiges dark brown, the 5 first ones narrowed towards the tip, all of them on the inferior side grey, barred dark-brown: black towards the apex.
Both the Black - and Yellow-billed Kite have "dark brown remiges", but interesting is that Forsskål mentioned "the 5 first ones narrowed towards the tip (i.e. the primaries) as Raptor expert Dick Forsman (2016), in his recent book Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East (2016) points out that the Yellow-billed Kite (aegyptius) as: "Similar to Western Black Kite and often difficult to separate, except for diagnostic adults. Differ structurally from Western Black Kite in showing narrower wing and more pointed wingtip (only five fingers) and slightly more deeply forked tail, but ..." [here, with even more details].

Looking at the Photos in Forsman's book I perceive the tips of primaries of aegyptius somewhat more pointed than the (six!?) ones on migrans. To me Mr Forsskål seems to have been a very sharp-eyed observant, more and more, for every sentence ... quite a "birder"!) I assume he had obtained a specimen, studied at close range.

[Even if not of interest regarding the ID of "Forskåhlii" itself, note that Forsman also cover field identification of the parasitus subspecies.]


Quote:
Wings below grey-brown, with obscure barring: coverts ferrigineous, with a black central line. Same colour of the feathers below the body: all are white closest to the skin.
Fits aegyptius better than migrans.


Quote:
Tail of the length of the body, and extending past the tip of the folded wing.
Not useful as characteristic for either one.


Quote:
12 rectrices, towards the centre progressively a bit shorter: ashy, with dark brown bars.
Not useful as characteristic for either one. Couldn´t find any info regarding differences in numbers of retrices (tail feathers).


Quote:
Thighs and nearly the half tibiae feathered: remaining part of the tibia and fingers yellow.
Not useful as characteristic for either one.


Quote:
Nails black: the rear and inner ones equal to one another, with the reamining ones larger.
Not useful as characteristic for either one.


Quote:
LOCATION: in Egypt frequent in winter. Arab. Haddáj.
Distribution, numbers in Seasons, migration etc., etc. ... hard to find reliable info on species/subspecies level (due to the recent split/non-split situation). Anyone with better sources than I´ve found?

This hieme/winter part is, to me, the most disturbing part of Forsskål's text. Note that Peter Forsskål spent more than a full year in Egypt (from 27 Sept. 1761 until 9 Oct. 1762). Could this quote possibly be read as it being (more) frequent/common in winter, as the numbers increased when European birds arrived/added to, or replaced, the local population? In the meaning (implied/as understood) Present ... versus (more) common, in winter?

Also noteworthy is that Forsskål (in "his" Descriptiones animalium/ "Fauna Arabica", on p.7), under the heading AVES MIGRATORI [Migrating birds], PER CONSTANTINOPOLIM [trough/over/via Constantinople/Istanbul], below; III. AUTOMNALES [in Autumn] listed "Milvus Falco" as "Septembri transit" (here) and (on the following page), under the heading AVES ALEXANDRIÆ. /I. PERMANENTES [BIRDS OF ALEXANDRIA /1. permanent, stationary, consisting alt. all-year] we (again?) find a "Falco Milvus" (but the opposite way around), with the Arabic name "Haddája"!?! Not sure if those two "Milvus Falco" vs "Falco Milvus" was intended as bionomial names or simply Latin text. Maybe Haddáj/ Haddája was used for any other Kite/s? Whatever Red/Black/Yellow-billed ones?


Quote:
OBSERVATION. Either Falco (10) Milvus? [today's Red Kite Milvus milvus, the given numbers referrs to Linnaeus's Systema naturae 1758, here] but not wholly ferrugineous, and no whitish head.
Enough said.


Quote:
Or Falco (11) forficatus? [today's Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus, ditto] but not whitish below, really ferrugineous.
Note that Svensson et al. points out that the ferrugineous lower part as one of the key characters of aegyptius contra the greyish-brown lower part of migrans (also parasitus is duller).

In my mind, this far, all of it (except maybe for the "Location" part), adds up strongly in favour of Gmelin's "Forskåhlii" (1788) being a synonym of Gmelin's own aegyptius, i.e. today's Yellow-billed Kite. I doubt this is the way Forsskål would have described any specimen of nominate migrans. If only he´d mentioned a dark iris ... but, well, one can´t have it all.

And, as always; don´t hesitate to question, or comment, any of the above!

Björn

________________________________________

References:
Forsman, D. 1999. The Raptors of Europe and The Middle East - A Handbook of Field Identification. T. & A. D. Poyser
Forsman, D. 2016. Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Bloomsbury/Helm (Helm Identification Guides).
Snow, D. W. & C. M. Perrins (Eds.). 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Concise Edition. Volume 1 Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press.
Svensson, L., K. Mullarney & D. Zetterström. 1999 (& 2009). Fågelguiden - Europas och Medelhavsområdets fåglar i fält. Bonnier Fakta (the Swedish original version of The field guide: Birds of Europe).
--

Last edited by Calalp : Friday 2nd March 2018 at 09:26.
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Old Sunday 4th March 2018, 06:32   #22
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forskahlii as in:
• [Falco] "Forskåhlii" GMELIN 1788 = Milvus (migrans) aegyptius GMELIN 1788

Anyone who think otherwise?

Björn

PS. Except, of course, today's HBW Alive Key
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Old Saturday 24th March 2018, 14:55   #23
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[Falco] "Forskåhlii" GMELIN 1788

Another fact that (in my mind) points in favour of Gmelin's "Forskåhlii" as a synonym of aegyptius (and not of migrans) is the fact that a fellow countryman of Peter Forsskål, the Swedish collector Axel Eriksson (more than a century later), shot two adult Kites (both specimens with yellow bills), that he identified as "Milvus forskahli" resp. "Forskahli".

One adult male on on the 28th of December 1879 in the vicinity of Omaruru (in today's Namibia), and another one the 14th of September 1886, in Limpopo, Transvaal, on the border between Transvaal and Bechuanaland, (in today's Botswana). Both later "up-dated" (by the esteemed Swedish ornithologist Gustaf Rudebeck) into "Milvus migrans parasitus" DAUDIN 1800 [i.e today the subspecies Milvus aegyptius parasitus, following today's IOC list].

These birds are today found in Vänersborgs museum* (No. VMA000062 and VMA000063), each one mounted on a stick, with the name "Parasitglada" (Parasitic Kite) on the label, pinned to the socket (here).

Note that the same museum also holds yet another specimen (VMA000064), a juvenile specimen (with an expected black bill) of the same taxa, collected at the same time, by the same guy, in the same location as the first (Namibian) specimen ... a bird that Eriksson identified as "Milvus Migrans"!? Also this bird was later identified (by Rudebeck) as "Milvus migrans parasitus" [i.e today's Milvus migrans/aegyptius parasitus (depenting on which list you prefer)].

Anyone with a different view on my conlusion/s, in post in posts #21-22, that Gmelin's "Forskåhlii" was/is equal of aegyptius?

If so: why?

Björn

PS. For anyone curious on the wintering range of Milvus m. migrans (in Southern Africa), see Brooke 1974, here.

__________________________________________________ ______
*The reason for those birds ending up in the Vänersborgs museum, in the rural city Vänersborg [and not in the collections of Naturhistoriska riksmuseet (the Swedish Museum of Natural History), in Stockholm], is that Vänersborg was the home Town of Axel Eriksson (and of his far more well-known colleague Andersson). For more info see: The African Bird Collection, here (in English).

PPS: And a thanks to Mike! For noticing and remarking, yesterday, on the (at that point messy) very short-lived, version of this post (deleted the same day). Great having a watchful eye stopping me from appearing all confused. I hope this one turned out better.
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Old Tuesday 17th April 2018, 13:26   #24
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Quick return to "Neocossyphus rufus arrhenii"

Yesterday I gratefully received a reply from Ulf Johansson, Curator at Naturhistoriska riksmuseet (The Swedish Museum of Natural History), in Stockholm, regarding the identification of the type of "Neocossyphus rufus arrhenii" LÖNNBERG 1917 (kept in their collection, see post #1), and now, after he had a closer look at this issue, he agrees that the claim of it being a synonym for today's nominate rufus is most likely an error. The NRM homepage will (soon) be updated into: syn. Neocossyphus rufus gabunensis NEUMANN 1908.

One less to rack one's brains over!

Björn
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Old Thursday 19th April 2018, 07:09   #25
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In conclusion

Thereby; in my MS it will be:

arrhenii as in:
● the invalid Ant-thrush "Neocossyphus rufus arrhenii" LÖNNBERG 1917 = N. rufus gabunensis NEUMANN 1908

bergmani as in:
● the invalid Nuthatch "Sitta europaea bergmani" MOMIYAMA 1931 = syn. S. e. clara STEJNEGER 1887

forskahlii as in:
● the invalid Kite "[Falco] Forskåhlii" GMELIN 1788 = syn. Milvus (migrans) aegyptius GMELIN 1788 ( ... principally based on morphology)

In my mind (for reasons posted earlier in this thread), none of the various names for the Kite was directly, explicitly, exclusively aimed at the nominate subspecies of Black Kite Milvus migrans migrans (as indicated by today's HBW Alive Key).

The only (minor) doubt/disturbing fact, on the true identity of "Forsskål's Kite" is the phrase "In Ægypto frequens hieme." ("Frequent/Common in Winter"), indicating it could be/involve wintering birds from Europe (migrans), however I choose to read this remark as Forsskål interpreted this (those) Kites as being more numerous in winter, when Black Kites from Europe (i.e. migrans) increased their numbers substantially. The morphological description, the plumage characters, of "his" Kite speaks strongly (beyond doubt?) in favour of today's Milvus (migrans) aegyptius.

Note that there's no indication regarding seasonal frequency on most (all?) the following birds [in Forsskål's Descriptiones animalium (a k a "Fauna Arabica"/Fn. Arab.) 1775, the main reference for "Falco Forskåhlii" GMELIN 1788], execpt for the ones listed as "Aves migratoriæ" ("Migrating birds"). For example; Forsskål didn´t mention the seasonal frequency/presence for "Motacilla schoenobænus", on p.6 [today's Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus], a bird that clearly must have been more frequent in winter, contra the rest of the year (as it´s non-breeding in Egypt, only wintering there).

This said (as usual) without having the full picture, due to lack of understanding Latin.

Onwards; the guys behind those names will be dealt with in the Bird Name Etymology sub-forum ...

See you all there!

Björn
___

Last edited by Calalp : Thursday 19th April 2018 at 07:36. Reason: typo
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