Interesting to see that paper-thanks for posting a link. Although proposing that it should be split into three subspecies wasn't a focus of the paper, I think their results showing support for the hypothesis that populations of R. Quetzals have greatly declined because of habitat fragmentation, and especially that this species is composed of at least three evolutionary significant units. are pretty important.
Although proposing that it should be split into three subspecies wasn't a focus of the paper, I think their results showing support for the hypothesis that populations of R. Quetzals have greatly declined because of habitat fragmentation, and especially that this species is composed of at least three evolutionary significant units. are pretty important.
Indeed, but I’ve got a nagging doubt as often in this case: are the 3 populations different enough so that they need to be recognized as ssp and therefore be all protected or do they need to be all protected and then have to be recognized as ssp ?
Ulrich Schulz & Knut Eisermann. Morphometric differentiation between subspecies of Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno mocinno and P. m. costaricensis) based on uppertail-coverts. Bull. B.O.C. 2017 137(4).
Summary.—Resplendent Quetal Pharomachrus mocinno is endemic to montane
cloud forests of Middle America. Disjunct populations in the highlands north
(southern Mexico and northern Central America) and south of the lowlands of
Nicaragua (Costa Rica and Panama) have been recognised subspecifcally by
several authorities (e.g. Ridgway 1911, Cory 1919, Dickinson & Remsen 2013, Gill
& Donsker 2017), but have also been suggested to merit species status (Solórzano
& Oyama 2010). We present morphometric diferences in the elongated uppertailcoverts
of adult males. We analysed width and length of the uppertail-coverts of
73 adult male specimens in European ornithological collections. Mean width and
mean length of the uppertail-coverts were signifcantly greater in northern P. m.
mocinno compared to southern P. m. costaricensis. Our data support a previously
published proposal to treat the two taxa as species based on molecular and other
Pablo Bolaños-Sittler, Jérôme Sueur, Jérôme Fuchs & Thierry Aubin (2019) Vocalisation of the rare and flagship species Pharomachrus mocinno (Aves: Trogonidae): implications for its taxonomy, evolution and conservation, Bioacoustics, DOI: 10.1080/09524622.2019.1647877
The Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno is a rare Neotropical bird included in the IUCN red list as Near Threatened. Fragmentation of its habitat, the cloud forest, is considered as the principal threat. Two subspecies are currently recognised but genetic and morphometric studies suggested they could be considered as full species. We assessed whether male vocalisation would support a species delimitation hypothesis. We recorded in the field and downloaded from sound archives vocalisation of 57 individuals from 30 different localities distributed in 11 countries. We estimated the acoustic differences of all the Pharomachrus taxa with multivariate analyses and machine learning techniques. Our results show vocal differences between P. m. mocinno and P. m. costaricensis that could have a molecular basis, potentially due to genetic drift developed during the more than three million years of separation of P. m. mocinno (from Mexico to Nicaragua) and P. m. costaricensis (Costa Rica and Panama). We therefore suggest that P. mocinno could potentially be divided into two species. A possible separation of these taxa into two species could have important consequences for the conservation status of the Resplendent Quetzals, and redirect conservation efforts for these taxa.
With thanks to Tom Schulenberg for bringing this to our attention.
The page in the Zoonomen list (i.e., 312) is wrong -- but the year is not.
The quetzal is Pharomacrus costaricensis Cabanis 1869, and is on the next page (313, footnote signed "Der Herausgeber" = Cabanis), as also correctly indicated by the Richmond index card.
Malacoptila costaricensis Cabanis 1862 (confusingly also on p. 312 in 1869) is considered a synonym of Malacoptila panamensis Lafresnaye (White-whiskered Puffbird), see e.g. the Peters CL, 6:17.
The phrasing in the abstract is a bit messy, but these recordings cover all the species in the genus. ("We estimated the acoustic differences of all the Pharomachrus taxa" should probably have occurred before the sentence that precedes it, not after it.)
(The detail of the recordings is in the supplementary file which is freely accessible on the publisher's website.)