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Timmins R.J.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Ostrowski S.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Mostafawi N.,WCS Afganistan Program | Noori H.,WCS Afganistan Program | And 4 more authors.
Forktail | Year: 2010

We report in detail on the first well documented, probable breeding location of the Large-billed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orinus, found in north-east Afghanistan, give a description of its song and summarise its identification criteria using new information from live birds. Fifteen birds were captured and measured in the presumed breeding season, and later their identity was confirmed using DNA markers. In one of the localities visited many birds were singing. We also describe the habitat and assess some conservation issues. Source

Shirihai H.,Emek Ayalon 39 | Schweizer M.,Naturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde Bern | Kirwan G.M.,Field Museum of Natural History | Svensson L.,S ta Toras vag 28
Zootaxa | Year: 2014

The North African population of the Black Wheatear has been treated as Oenanthe leucura syenitica for over 100 years. The type of syenitica was collected by Heuglin in June 1852 near the southern Egypt/northern Sudan border, well out-side the range of the sedentary Black Wheatear. Morphometric inference and genetic analyses of partial sequences of the mitochondrial gene COI demonstrate that the type specimen of syenitica is not conspecific with O. leucura, but instead is closely related to O. lugens of the Middle East and North Africa, being most similar in plumage to O. lugens warriae of the basalt deserts of north-east Jordan and southern Syria. While syenitica was not separable in the analysed part of its mitochondrial DNA from O. l. lugens and O. l. warriae, it differs in morphometrics and plumage features from the latter. The type specimen is a first-summer bird with abraded plumage as expected for June, and may thus have been collected in its breeding range. Its morphological distinctiveness implies that syenitica might be taxonomically dis-tinct from warriae. However, as it is known only from the type and its few associated data, we propose to treat it as a subspecies inquirenda of O. lugens. As a consequence of this, and the fact that we found no genetic or morphological differences between North African populations of O. leucura and riggenbachi Hartert, 1909, the name originally applied to the population in Western Sahara, the North African population takes the oldest available name to become O. leucura riggenbachi. Copyright © 2014 Magnolia Press. Source

Olsson U.,Gothenburg University | Leader P.J.,AEC Ltd. | Carey G.J.,AEC Ltd. | Khan A.A.,Bahauddin Zakariya University | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2013

We use the mitochondrial cytochrome b from 213 individuals and the three nuclear introns BRM 15, myoglobin 2 and ODC 6-7 from a smaller subsample to evaluate the taxonomy of the Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca (Aves, Passeriformes, Sylviidae) complex, which has long been controversial. We sequenced type material of the taxa althaea, blythi, margelanica and minula, and used topotypical material of caucasica, chuancheica, curruca and telengitica. The nuclear introns fail to resolve the complex, but cytochrome b recovers six major clades, revealing genetically identifiable populations corresponding to previously named taxa, and we propose that the names althaea, blythi, curruca, halimodendri, margelanica and minula, respectively, should be used for these. The margelanica clade is suggested to have a more extensive distribution than previously known, including both the taxon telengitica and a population in eastern Mongolia. The taxon minula is found to have a more restricted range than generally believed, only breeding in China. According to the mitochondrial gene tree, there is a basal dichotomy, with the taxa althaea, blythi, halimodendri and margelanica being part of one clade, well separated from a clade containing curruca and minula. Dating analysis suggests that a basal divergence separating curruca and minula from the other four taxa occurred between 4.2 and 7.2. mya; these two then diverged between 2.3 and 4.4. mya. The splits between the althaea, blythi, halimodendri and margelanica lineages is inferred to have occurred later, approximately between 1.0 and 2.5. mya (all 95% HPD). The nucleotide data suggest significant departure from demographic equilibrium in blythi (clade 1a), halimodendri (clade 2a) and minula, whereas tendencies are weaker for other clades. We propose that the names althaea, blythi, curruca, halimodendri, margelanica and minula should be used for the major clades. However, whether these are treated as subspecies or species is largely a matter of species definition and is not resolved by our data. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. Source

Svensson L.,S ta Toras vag 28 | Prys-Jones R.,Bird Group | Rasmussen P.C.,Michigan State University | Olsson U.,Gothenburg University
Ibis | Year: 2010

We re-evaluate the characteristics of the little-known Large-billed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orinus based on plumage and biometrical comparisons of 10 newly discovered specimens of A. orinus with a large sample of Blyth's Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum, the species most closely resembling A. orinus. Using specimens whose identity was verified by DNA analyses, we found that the most important criteria for identifying orinus are its long and comparatively broad bill, with typically uniformly dark upper mandible, and on average longer tarsi and claws with a thin and pointed hind claw. In contrast, previously suggested differences in wing formula, plumage colour and shape of flight-feathers are very minor, variable and seem of limited use for identification of orinus. Graphical analysis of hind claw length against bill to skull length should assist researchers in locating museum or live specimens of orinus that otherwise might be overlooked as dumetorum, and multivariate analysis unambiguously separates the two species based on our present dataset. A review of the scattered literature and specimen records suggests that the breeding distribution of orinus lies between southeastern Kazakhstan and northeastern Afghanistan, within the breeding range of dumetorum, but that orinus may well winter predominantly east of the main wintering range of dumetorum. Further evidence to support this assessment of the species' breeding range was obtained in June 2009, with the discovery of a population in the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Ornithologists' Union. Source

Pearson D.,4 Lupin Close | Svensson L.,S ta Toras vag 28 | Frahnert S.,Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung
Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club | Year: 2012

The lectotype of Lanius isabellinus at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, has been considered to represent the race breeding in Mongolia rather than that of the Tarim Basin region of western China, meaning that the name speculigerus Taczanowski would become a junior synonym. However, questions have been raised concerning this specimen, in particular regarding the small size of the white primary patch and the 'atypical' narrow frontal extension to the black face mask. Here we describe three further specimens from the type series (two males, one female) recently relocated in the Berlin collection. The three type series males (including the lectotype) vary in face markings and wing patch, but all have the dark primaries associated with speculigerus and all can be closely matched by birds from the Mongolian breeding grounds. The mask details and wing patch size of the lectotype fall within the normal range of variability of the Mongolian race. One of the other males is a very close match for a syntype of speculigerus held in Berlin. In wing length and wing / tail ratio the type specimens accord with the Mongolian rather than the Tarim Basin race. Plumage and structure therefore confirm that isabellinus is the correct name for the former, and that arenarius Blyth should be used for the latter. © 2012 British Ornithologists' Club. Source

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