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Black Kite/Yellow Billed Kite

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Old Wednesday 15th March 2006, 16:04   #1
wingless
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Black Kite/Yellow Billed Kite

Hi All,

I firmly believe that the yellow billed kite and black kite are distinct species and i know others do, does anyone know of any papers published on this? Or any other information? Do you know if it is now accepeted that these are two different species, for a long time it's been disputed. What's your opinions? I know the european black kite very well and have just spent 2 months in cameroon where the yellow billed kite is very abundant, i'm working on raptor conservation at the moment and am trying to convince UNEP-WCMC to list yellow bills and black kites as seperate species, mainly in the interest of factual information more than anything.

Thanks!
Robbie
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Old Wednesday 15th March 2006, 16:30   #2
Rasmus Boegh
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They obviously are different species if following PSC (i.e. where, to put it simply, all subspecies are elevated to species), but that is of little relevance to most biologists. With the available evidence the odds for them being different species per BSC seem rather poor and few seem to accept the split. The difference in morphology hardly is sufficient evidence unless supported by other things and the fact that the two groups intergrade where they meet speak against it. Why do you think they are different species? Do you have any evidence in hand that isn't available to the general public or evidence that I may have missed (which certainly is possible)? If so, I would be interested in hearing about it.

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Old Wednesday 15th March 2006, 19:05   #3
Trevor Hardaker
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Hi there,

I believe a recent issue of Birding World had a paper on the Black/Yellow-billed Kite issue and tentatively concluded that they should be split:

i) Black Kite Milvus migrans, several subspecies - essentially all forms
except the sub-Saharan Yellow-billed Kites;

ii) Yellow-billed Kite Milvus aegyptius with one subspecies, parasitus.

This is on the basis that the DNA of these two is divergent by 1.8% from migrans, which is the same as between migrans and Red Kite Milvus milvus. There are apparent differences in DNA between aegyptius and parasitus, but this was based on only a handful of specimens, so more work is required.

I don't have the article to hand, and may have gotten things slightly wrong here (I don't think so.), but maybe someone who has it can shed some more light on the exact findings.

Kind Regards
Trevor
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Old Wednesday 15th March 2006, 21:22   #4
Rasmus Boegh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor Hardaker
I believe a recent issue of Birding World had a paper on the Black/Yellow-billed Kite issue and tentatively concluded that they should be split...
If anyone has the exact reference for above article it would be nice if it could be posted (a bit of googling didn't reveal it & the Birding World page is of no help).
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Old Wednesday 15th March 2006, 23:08   #5
wingless
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmus Boegh
If anyone has the exact reference for above article it would be nice if it could be posted (a bit of googling didn't reveal it & the Birding World page is of no help).
hi, I dont think this is the particular article but it is interesting non the less, again its to do with work on DNA.

http://www.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/molsys/jwm05.pdf

Thanks, Robbie
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Old Thursday 16th March 2006, 00:25   #6
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"Raptors of the World" by Ferguson-Lees and Christie list both Yellow-billed and Black-eared Kites as seperate species, noting differences, in ecology, size, extent of wing-patches, and proportionate length of tail.
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Old Thursday 16th March 2006, 01:02   #7
wingless
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Thankyou Hanno, as does Ian Sinclair et al in their most recent book so im not the only one hehe
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Old Thursday 16th March 2006, 15:36   #8
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The Birding World article is merely a summary of the Johnson et al paper that Wingless gave the link to.

Cheers

Paul
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Old Thursday 16th March 2006, 16:57   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmus Boegh
PSC (i.e. where, to put it simply, all subspecies are elevated to species)
Rasmus, this is very good summary of current bird taxonomy!
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Old Thursday 16th March 2006, 19:34   #10
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[quote=Trevor Hardaker]
I believe a recent issue of Birding World had a paper on the Black/Yellow-billed Kite issue and tentatively concluded that they should be split:

Nothing new there then with regards to Splitting World
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Old Thursday 16th March 2006, 19:38   #11
Rasmus Boegh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jurek
Rasmus, this is very good summary of current bird taxonomy!
It sure seems that way sometimes! Strangely, many seem to think that just because a fieldguide presents a split, it is the "truth" (but it is obviously a fair distance from the peer-reviewed articles normally required).

Anyway, back on the subject, as I just had a fast look at the article linked to earlier. Good to see that their evidence is supported by both cyt-b and ND2; far better than the single-gene papers I sometimes have read. However, there also are a few things that clearly means that further studies are needed. For example, it is stated that "Yellow-billed Kites are found in two well supported but non-sister clades" and further: "[the] two yellow-billed kite clades were as divergent (1.8% GTR div.) as they were from other Milvus taxa". What's going on there? Likewise, the GTR div. data suggest that the Yellow-billed group is closer to the Red Kite than it was to the Black Kite, but the mt control region analysis suggest the opposite, i.e. that the Yellow-billed group is closer to the Black Kite than it is to the Red! And what's going on with the two specimens that phenotypically were migrans sensu strictu, but with a genotype that placed them within parasiticus? A simple case of a mistaken ID? Finally, it seems there are some issues with the taxon affinis. Their results place it within a monophyletic clade centred around migrans, but a study from 2004 (Scheider, J., Wink, M., Stubbe, M., Hille S. and Wiltschko, W.: Phylogeographic relationships of the Black Kite Milvus migrans. Raptors Worldwide; WWGBP, Berlin, 2004) found that affinis clustered at the base of the Milvus kites (but also noted that their samples could be degraded). So, there seemingly are a few issues that require further studies, but it certainly points in the right direction for people who think the Yellow-billed is a different species... surely a lot of people would get an armchair tick - I would.

Last edited by Rasmus Boegh : Thursday 16th March 2006 at 19:53. Reason: can't spell
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Old Thursday 16th March 2006, 23:37   #12
Hanno
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I would not get an armchair tick, the filed guide I used in Kenya at the time already had it as a seperate species.
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Old Friday 22nd December 2006, 21:13   #13
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Thanks to Wikipedia, I too read the paper with interest. Indeed, they go for 3 Milvus spp. -- milvus, migrans and aegyptius -- just about knocking "Cape Verde Kite" on the head once and for all... (shame!).
Anything else hit the literature on this subject recently?
Guy
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