Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 9, 2020

Three New Bird Species Species Described for Peru

from the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology

New avian species are constantly evolving, but this is difficult to perceive within a human lifespan, and is not (at least not immediately) the source of the “new species” heralded on updated editions of field guides and written up in scientific journals and the popular press. Roughly 5 to 10 new bird species are described worldwide each year. While a few are truly never-seen-before species discovered in poorly studied, out-of-the-way places, many others are the result of genetic studies and detective work both in the field and in natural history collections.

The wren-like Magellanic Tapaculo (Scytalopus magellanicus) is a polytypic species in the family Rhinocryptidae (the “hidden noses”) whose range spans the length of the Andes Mountains from Colombia to Tierra del Fuego. A study published recently (The Auk: Ornithological Advances; April 2020) combined vocal, morphological, and genetic analyses of multiple populations that are isolated by elevation as well as by other geographic barriers. The authors identified three new endemic Peruvian species—Jalca Tapaculo (Scytalopus frankeae), Ampay Tapaculo (Scytalopus whitneyi), and White-winged Tapaculo (Scytalopus krabbei)—within the cryptically diverse Scytalopus magellanicus complex.

See the full article: Untangling Cryptic Diversity in the High Andes: Revision of the Scytalopus [magellanicus] Complex (Rhinocryptidae) in Peru Reveals Three New Species.

For additional information on tapaculos, also see: Systematics, Biogeography, and Diversification of Scytalopus Tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae), an Enigmatic Radiation of Neotropical Montane Birds


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