Kies Nederlands Switch to English
Roze Spreeuw

Even geduld...

Another newly described species of golden-spectacled warbler (cf Dutch Birding 22: 60, 2000)

In a recent paper in Ibis, Per Alström and Urban Olsson presented evidence that Golden-spectacled Warbler Seicercus burkii actually represents a complex of five species, of which one was described as a new species (cf Dutch Birding 21: 303, 1999). Another study of the taxonomy of this group, which was published at roughly the same time, independently arrives at the conclusion that 'Golden-spectacled Warbler' represents a complex of species but recognizes no less than seven species (Martens, J, Eck, S, Päckert, M & Sun, Y-H 1999. The Golden-spectacled Warbler Seicercus burkii - a species swarm (Aves: Passeriformes: Sylviidae) Part 1. Zool Abhandl Staatl Mus Tierk Dresden 50: 281-327). The study focuses on areas where several forms co-exist and is based on analyses of morphology, vocalizations, altitudinal distribution and molecular phylogenetics. Although the two papers do not refer to each other (both groups were probably unaware of the other group's conclusions), they agree on several points. Both studies recognize three altitudinally segregated species on Emei Shan, Sichuan, China, and agree on their altitudinal distribution. The occurrence of three species on Emei Shan is also supported by a molecular phylogenetic analysis. In both papers, the high-elevation species is called S valentini (both papers did not propose English names for these species). However, the two teams disagree on the proper scientific names of the other two species and each team has even described a new species from Emei Shan. Martens and co-workers described the population inhabiting middle-elevations as a new species: Seicercus omeiensis; this population was recognized as S tephrocephalus by Alström and Olsson. In turn, Alström and Olsson described the low-elevation form as a new species: Seicercus soror, whereas Martens and co-workers apply the name S latouchei to this population. The discrepancy between the two papers is due to different interpretations of the correct designation of existing names to populations. Hopefully, the members of both teams will combine their knowledge and insight and resolve the discrepancies in the near future. In the meantime, birders and field ornithologists will have to live with the fact that 'Golden-spectacled Warbler' consists of several morphologically and vocally distinct species for which scientific names are uncertain.

George Sangster