• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

More Babbler shuffling! (1 Viewer)

James Eaton

Trent Valley Crew
Good stuff, the Black/Bare-headed 'Laughingthrush' must be the biggest surprise!

Black Scimitar Babbler and Bare-headed Scimitar Babbler - totally awesome. Bill, tail, feeding habits, habitat of Black, mixed-flock feeding behaviour and especially the calls all make sense for this placement - really great stuff reading this!


Well-known member
Great. It looks that the result will be enthusiastic shuffling and changing of scientific and common names.

As the result, many publications will be useless, because of uncertainity what species they refer to. Matching species between old, new and intermediate names in different publications will be nightmare. And this is not a definite final situation yet.

It looks like scientific names of birds lost the reason of existence: unchanging, reliable identifiers of animals. Perhaps time to introduce a taxonomy-free identifier of species, maybe a number?

Jim LeNomenclatoriste

Taxonomy and zoological nomenclature
Zuccon et al. (2020). Type specimens matter: new insights on the systematics, taxonomy and nomenclature of the subalpine warbler (Sylvia cantillans) complex


We revise the taxonomy of the Sylvia cantillans complex, a group of phenotypically distinct warblers with mainly parapatric distributions around a large part of the Mediterranean basin. We redefine the species limits using a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear markers and we objectively link available names to the genetically defined lineages by genotyping the surviving type specimens. In addition, the study of archival documents clarifies the exact composition of type series and provides further evidence for the identification of lost types. These results support the recognition of three species-level taxa: Moltoni’s warbler, Sylvia subalpina (north-central Italy, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics); the western subalpine warbler, S. iberiae (North Africa, Iberia, southern France and extreme north-west Italy); and the eastern subalpine warbler, S. cantillans, with subspecies S. cantillans cantillans (southern Italy, Sicily) and S. cantillans albistriata (Balkans, Greece, western Turkey).

I guess their French vernacular names will be applied like this :

Sylvia iberiae - Fauvette passerinette
Sylvia cantillans - Fauvette des Balkans
Sylvia subalpina - Fauvette de Moltoni
Last edited:

Peter Kovalik

Well-known member
Tianlong Cai, Shimiao Shao, Jonathan D. Kennedy, Per Alström, Robert G. Moyle, Yanhua Qu, Fumin Lei & Jon Fjeldså. The role of evolutionary time, diversification rates and dispersal in determining the global diversity of a large radiation of passerine birds. Journal of Biogeography. First Published: 24 April 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13823


Variation in species diversity among different geographical areas may result from differences in speciation and extinction rates, immigration and time for diversification. An area with high species diversity may be the result of a high net diversification rate, multiple immigration events from adjacent regions, and a long time available for the accumulation of species (known as the ‘time‐for‐speciation effect’). Here, we examine the relative importance of the three aforementioned processes in shaping the geographical diversity patterns of a large radiation of passerine birds.


Babblers (Aves: Passeriformes).

Using a comprehensive phylogeny of extant species (~90% sampled) and distributions of the world's babblers, we reconstructed their biogeographical history and analysed the diversification dynamics. We examined how species richness correlates with the timing of regional colonization, the number of immigration events and the rate of speciation within all 13 geographical distribution regions.

We found that babblers likely originated in the Sino‐Himalayan Mountains (SHM) in the early Miocene, suggesting a long time for diversification and species accumulation within the SHM. Regression analyses showed the regional diversity of babblers can be well explained by the timing of the first colonization within of these areas, while differences in rates of speciation or immigration have far weaker effects. Nonetheless, the rapid speciation of Zosterops during the Pleistocene has accounted for the increased diversification and accumulation of species in the oceanic islands.

Main Conclusions
Our results suggest that the global diversity patterns of babblers have predominantly been shaped by the time‐for‐speciation effect. Our findings also support an origin centred in tropical and subtropical parts of the SHM, with a cradle of recent diversification in the oceanic islands of the Indo‐Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, which provides new insights into the generation of global biodiversity hotspots.

Peter Kovalik

Well-known member
Tianlong Cai, Alice Cibois, Per Alström, Robert G. Moyle, Jonathan D. Kennedy, Shimiao Shao, Ruiying Zhang, Martin Irestedt, Per G.P. Ericson, Magnus Gelang, Yanhua Qu, Fumin Lei, Jon Fjeldså. Near-complete phylogeny and taxonomic revision of the world’s babbler (Aves: Passeriformes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 12 October 2018.

IOC Updates Diary June 29

Recognize Paradoxornithidae as a family separate from Sylviidae and revise sequence and genera within that family Cai et al. (2019) and modified by Penhallurick & Robson (2009). In addition to the parrotbill genera, Paradoxornithidae also includes: Myzornis, Moupinia, Lioparus, Chrysomma, Rhopophilus, Fulvetta, and Chamaea.

Revise sequence and genera in Sylviidae based primarily on Cai et al. (2019)

Jim LeNomenclatoriste

Taxonomy and zoological nomenclature
I ask my question here because there is apparently no thread on the family Macrosphenidae, and I don't even know if this question has already been asked , but shouldn't we use Phlexis Hartlaub, 1866 instead of Cryptillas Oberholser, 1899, for Cryptillas victorini?


Well-known member
I should have inquired better
Do not worry soon when we get our jetpacks someone will provide a registry of nomenclaural acts available on the internets so we no longer have to heft big books around.
Here is Harry Church Oberholser in 1899.
https://books.google.com/books?id=E...oECAYQAQ#v=onepage&q=Phlexys Hartlaub&f=false .
Following his footnotes I went to page 218 of 1866 PZS but I did not find Phlexis Hartlaub? Edit I read 1 for 7 Phlexis is in the 1866 Ibis.
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/258424#page/171/mode/1up .
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/90954#page/288/mode/1up .
Then Oberholser says Erichson used Phlexys. As Laurent has shown he did not. Then Olberholser says Agassiz emended Phlexys to Phlexis. He did not.
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/105020#page/630/mode/1up .
What? As a first revisor I nominate Phlexys Oberholser as the proper genusas opposed to Cryptillas Oberholser
Last edited:


Well-known member
Marcaigh, F.Ó., D.J. Kelly, D.P. O'Connell, D. Dunleavy, A. Clark, N. Lawless, A. Karya, K. Analuddin, and N.M. Marples (2021)
Evolution in the understorey: the Sulawesi babbler Pellorneum celebense (Passeriformes: Pellorneidae) has diverged rapidly on land-bridge islands in the Wallacean biodiversity hotspot
Zoologischer Anzeiger (advance online publication)
doi: 10.1016/j.jcz.2021.07.006

Tropical islands hold great treasures of Earth's biodiversity, but these fragile ecosystems may be lost before their diversity is fully catalogued or the evolutionary processes that birthed it are understood. We ran comparative analyses on the ND2 and ND3 mitochondrial genes of the Sulawesi babbler Pellorneum celebense, an understorey bird endemic to Sulawesi and its continental islands, along with its morphology and song. Genetic, acoustic, and morphological data agree on multiple isolated populations, likely representing independently evolving lineages. The Sulawesi babbler shows signs of rapid speciation, with populations diverging between Central and Southeast Sulawesi, and even on land-bridge islands which were connected within the last few tens of thousands of years. The genetic divergence between Sulawesi babbler populations in this time has been around 33% of their divergence from sister species which have been isolated from Sulawesi for millions of years. This is likely facilitated by the Sulawesi babbler's understorey lifestyle, which inhibits gene flow and promotes speciation. Similar patterns of endemism are seen in Sulawesi's mammals and amphibians. This work highlights the undocumented biodiversity of a threatened hotspot, wrought by complex processes of speciation which interact with ecology and geology. Subspecific taxonomy has at times been controversial, but we argue that discrete populations such as these play a key role in evolution. Lying as they do at the heart of the biodiversity hotspot of Wallacea, these islands can reveal much about the evolution of biodiversity at all of its levels, from the gene to the ecosystem.

Users who are viewing this thread