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New species of nightjar

The Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus complex of south-eastern Asia is currently divided into four species: the widespread Large-tailed, Jerdon's C atripennis (southern India and Sri Lanka), Philippine C manillensis (Philippines, except south-west) and Sulawesi Nightjar C celebensis (Sulawesi, Indonesia). In an analysis of 109 sound recordings of nightjars of this complex, George Sangster and Frank Rozendaal were able to consistenly identify six vocal groups. They propose to treat these six groups as species based on, eg, several consistent differences in territorial song, lack of intermediate vocal types, congruence between geographical distribution of vocal types and morphological characters of these taxa and sympatry without intergradation of two vocal groups in India. These six species are the four species mentioned above, Andaman Nightjar C andamanicus (Andaman Islands, formerly considered a subspecies of C macrurus) and a new species, Mees's Nightjar C meesi (Sumba and Flores, Indonesia) (Sangster, G & Rozendaal, F G 2004. Systematic notes on Asian birds. 41. Territorial songs and species-level taxonomy of nightjars of the Caprimulgus macrurus complex, with the description of a new species. Zool Verh, Leiden 350: 7-45).
The two known museum specimens of Mees's Nightjar were previously assigned to the easternmost and most widespread taxon of Large-tailed Nightjar, C macrurus schlegelii, and morphologically the new species is extremely similar to it.
Mees's Nightjar only occurs on Sumba and Flores in scrubland with scattered small trees or at the edge of open forest. The only other nightjar occurring on these islands is Savanna Nightjar C affinis, from which it differs acoustically and morphologically. Although on some occasions both species have been observed close to each other, Savanna Nightjar is probably associated more to steppe-like habitats and dry grasslands. Mees's Nightjar is probably not rare but can easily be overlooked when the birds are silent or when the song is not known.
The new species is named after Gerlof Mees, former curator of birds at Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie (now Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum Naturalis) in Leiden, the Netherlands. ANDRÉ J VAN LOON