OSME Region List (ORL) version 3.3α

Striped Crake, Aenigmatolimnas marginalis. Photo: Ammar Al-Jeraiwi

Striped Crake, Aenigmatolimnas marginalis. Photo: Ammar Al-Jeraiwi.

The ORL version 3.3 was published in early July 2016 in a β-version to meet the planned schedule of two updates per year. Several important papers were at that time unobtainable, as were a number of older documents that we sought to review for relevant information, but we expected them to become accessible in the near future. That proved to be the case, and so the α-version could be compiled in short order. Below is the summary of changes since version 3.2 – it also appears on the ORL homepage at https://osme.org/ORL.

ORL 3.3: summary of changes

A major source of recent occurrence data was Arend Wassink’s The new Birds of Kazakhstan, from which many accounts, were updated. Those seabird species on the BirdLife Tracking Database that also occur in the OSME are identified in the ORL Non-Passerine and Hypothetical sections by a diagonally shaded pale blue fill in the relevant English name cells. We would be interested in feedback.

Kennedy and Spencer 2014 showed that the Great Cormorant taxon in most the OSME Region, sinensis (also in inland Europe) is as distant from Phalacrocorax carbo as is P. lucidus, White-breasted Cormorant, the African taxon that just reaches Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

A Striped Crake Aenigmatolimnas marginalis from sub-Equatorial Africa turned up in Kuwait, first record for the OSME Region, after having been taken for the similar Spotted Crake Porzana (now Zaporniaparva. Lesser Moorhen, another African rail, (3 records Oman) has now been allotted the genus Paragallinula Sangster et al 2015. The seriously declining and distinctively-plumaged alboaxillaris taxon of Eurasian Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus appears to breed in tiny numbers irregularly in Kazakhstan (Kohler et al 2013) and so has been accorded its own account in the ORL; its taxonomic status is uncertain. Huang & Tu 2016 establish clades in Tringa and Calidris via DNA barcoding, improving understanding of relationships.

In common with an increasing number of species with Nearctic and Palearctic populations, Lapland Owl Strix lapponica has been split by Robb and the Sound Approach 2015 from Great Grey Owl S. nebulosa, the vocal differences reinforcing the molecular conclusions of Nijman and Aliabadian 2013 (The Nearctic taxa may be split further, given that Hull et al 2014 have formally proposed yosemitensis as a new species). Another similar split from Robb and the Sound Approach 2015 and Nijman and Aliabadian 2013 concerns Boreal Owl Aegolius funereus: the sole Nearctic form becomes Aegolius richardsoni (seemingly there is some debate in the New World whether to call this taxon Richardson’s Owl or Boreal Owl), but presumably the single south Asian (beickianus) and the five Palearctic (funerus, pallens, caucasicus and the extralimital magnus, sibiricus) are included as sspp under A. funereus, which pleasingly reverts to the English name Tengmalm’s Owl.

The Speckled Piculet has long been included in the genus Picumnus, the nominate being in the Region in Afghanistan and extralimital in Tibet and India, two other sspp occurring as far east as Borneo, but the other 26 species in the genus occur in South America. It will come as no surprise that Dufort 2015 shows that that Speckled Piculet belongs in its own genus, Vivia, and by case agreement the species name becomes innominata.

A molecular analysis by Zhan et al 2015, employing a battery of molecular techniques, concludes that Saker Falcon Falco cherrugis essentially is monotypic: although plumage differences between cherrug and milvipes populations had long been cited as the rationale for dividing populations (sometimes populations being elevated to ssp status, eg Karyakin 2011) into these two groups, Zhan et al 2015 found examples of the supposed plumage differences within each group. However, the analysis of Fuchs et al 2015, employing a different suite of techniques, found Saker Falcon was not monophyletic! There is clearly much yet to be learned, but pro tem the ORL will refer to ‘cherrug-type’ populations under the informal name of ‘Northern Saker Falcon’ and to ‘milvipes-type’ populations under the informal name of ‘Southern Saker Falcon’.

An in depth revision of the Phylogeny of True Geese by Ottenburghs et al 2016 reveals ancestral Bar-headed Goose Anser indicusis basal to Branta and Anser genera. Amongst other discoveries, they found Swan Goose A. cygnoides to be sister to Greater (A. albifrons) and Lesser (A. erythropus) White-fronted Geese and to Tundra Bean Goose A. serrirostris.

Red’kin et al 2015 review the taxonomy of numerous Russian taxa, in passing largely adopting the same treatment of the large grey shrikes as in the ORL since 2010.  Stervander et al 2016 applied a suite of molecular techniques to Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla and sister taxa: dukhunensis differs greatly from all others and pro tem we suggest informally the English name Sykes’ Short-toed Lark (from Sykes 1832); also eremica, formerly grouped with Blanford’s Lark C. blanfordi, is distant from all other Blanford’s Lark taxa and pro tem we suggest the informal English name of Arabian Short-toed Lark.

Olsson et al 2016 examined the morphology and molecular phylogeny of the Eurasian Reed/Mangrove Reed/African Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus/avicenniae/baeticatus) complex and found 8 lineages. They concluded that the reed warbler populations from Iberia through North Africa belonged not to African Reed Warbler A. baeticatus, as recently proposed, but to a new species, A. ambiguous, which may occur in the OSME Region in oases in westernmost Egypt; when previously placed in A. baeticatus it had been recorded in oases in easternmost Libya. No English name has been proposed, but pro tem we suggest Brehm’s Reed Warbler (from Brehm 1857).

Revisiting the Olsson et al 2013 seminal paper on the Lesser Whitethroat complex, it delineated the breeding distribution for the taxon margelanica as being the loess plateau of Northern China. Now Shirihai et al 2001 had elevated margelanica (Stolzmann 1897) to a full species, separate from Sylvia curruca, and indeed Olsson et al 2013 validate that approach, noting that margelanicais genetically is quite different from curruca. However, the English name ‘Margelanic Whitethroat’ coined by Shirihai et al 2001 was based on specimens of migrant individuals passing through Margelan, Uzbekistan. We suggest informally the alternative English name ‘Cathay Whitethroat’, because the loess plateau lies within Cathay, the historical name for northern China. Wassink 2015 notes 3 records attributable to S. margelanica in south-east Kazakhstan. Furthermore, Votier et al 2016 employing a suite of isotope-ratio analyses demonstrate not only that the eastern taxa of the Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca complex align with the conclusions of Olsson et al 2013, but also that taxa halimodendri and blythi show no evidence of intergrading; the corollary was that many morphology-based catalogued specimens attributed to other S. curruca taxa were unequivocally blythi.

White-tailed Rubythroat Calliope pectoralis has been split by Liu et al 2016 into extralimital Chinese Rubythroat C, tschebaiewi and polytypic Himalayan Rubythroat C. pectoralis, whose two ssp bailloni and the nominate both occur in the OSME Region. Hooper et al 2016 demonstrate that Rusty-tailed Flycatcher should be Ficedula ruficauda and not Muscicapa ruficauda. Lastly, Li et al 2015 examine the molecular phylogeography and the population history of the white wagtail complex. It is not straightforward: haplotypes for alba, yarrelli, leucopsis & lugens were found in populations (in differing proportions) other than those identified as such, implying complicated population histories, perhaps even reallocation of taxa in some populations whose distribution limits are as yet unknown. This complexity is explained by white wagtails being extremely mobile across an extensive largely homogenous grassland habitat during the last glacial maximum, where populations met and separated often, resulting in extremely fast plumage divergence: the low genetic diversity reflects a mitochondrial history of less than 1 million years. We think it important to continue to list white wagtail taxa separately, so that none are lost from consideration and so that the weight of new data can be judged.

Thanks to Mike Jennings, I’ve now been able to go through all 30 issues of Phoenix and have incorporated numerous original contributions as cited references in the ORL. Version 6.3 of the IOC World Bird List has been taken into account in ORL3.3 proper (α), which supersedes the β-version. Lastly, observant readers will have noticed a considerable increase in ornithological papers from Chinese lead authors. We expect this to accelerate over the next few years as the investment China has made across the sciences takes effect in ornithology, especially in findings from biological molecular research.

Mike Blair

ORL Listmaster

References for ORL 3.3 Introductory Material

Dufort, M. 2015. An augmented supermatrix phylogeny of the avian family Picidae reveals uncertainty deep in the family tree. Mol. Phyl. Evol. 94(A). doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2015.08.025

Fuchs, J, JA Johnson and DP Mindell. 2015. Rapid diversification of falcons (Aves: Falconidae) due to expansion of open habitats in the Late Miocene. Mol. Phyl Evol. 82: 166-182.

Hooper, DM, U Olsson and P Alström. 2016. The Rusty-tailed Flycatcher (Muscicapa ruficauda; Aves: Muscicapidae) is a member of the genus FicedulaMol. Phyl. Evol. Accepted.

Huang, Z and F Tu. 2016. DNA barcoding of Calidris and Tringa (Aves: Scolopacidae). Mitochondrial DNA 1-4.http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/24701394.2016.1155121

Hull, JM, A Englis Jr, JR Medley, EP Jepsen, JR Duncan, HB Ernest and JJ Keane. 2014. A new subspecies of Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa) in the Sierra Nevada of California, USA. Raptor Res. Found. 48(1): 68-77.

Karyakin, IV. 2011. Subspecies population structure of the Saker Falcon range. Raptors Conservation21: 116-172.

Kennedy, M and HG Spencer. 2014. Classification of Cormorants of the World. Mol. Phyl. Evol. 79: 249-257

Köhler, P, L Lachmann and R Urazliyev. 2013. Numenius species and subspecies in west Kazakhstan. WSG Bull. 120(1): 1=10

Li, X, F Dong, F Lei, P Alström, R Zhang, A Ödeen, J Fjeldså, PGP Ericson, F Zou and X Yang. 2015. Shaped by uneven Pleistocene climate: mitochondrial phylogeographic pattern and population history of White Wagtail Motacilla alba (Aves: Passeriformes). J. Avian Biol. doi: 10.1111/jav.00826

Liu, Y, G Chen, Q Huang, C Jia, G Carey, P Leader, Y Li, X Yang, F Zou, U Olsson and P Alström. 2016. Species delimitation of the White-tailed Rubythroat Calliope pectoralis complex (Aves, Turdidae) using an integrative taxonomic approach. J. Avian Biol.Accepted.

Nijman, V and M Aliabadian. 2013. DNA barcoding as a tool for elucidating species delineation in wide-ranging species as illustrated by owls (Tytonidae and Strigidae). Zool. Sci. 30: 1005-1009.

Olsson, U, P Leader, G Carey, AA Khan, L Svensson and P Alström. 2013. New insights into the intricate taxonomy and phylogeny of the Sylvia curruca complex. Mol. Phyl. & Evol.  doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2012.12.023

Olsson, U, H Rguibi-Idrissi, JL Copete, JLA Matos, P Provost, M Amezian, P Alström and, F Jiguet. 2016. Mitochondrial phylogeny of the Eurasian/African reed warbler complex (Acrocephalus, Aves). Disagreement between morphological and molecular evidence and cryptic divergence: a case for resurrecting Calamoherpe ambigua Brehm 1857. Mol. Phyl. Evol. Accepted.

Ottenburghs, J, H-J Megens, RHS Kraus, O Madsen, P van Hooft, SE van Wieren, RPMA Crooijmans, RC Ydenberg, MAM Groenen and HHT Prins. 2016. A Tree of Geese: A Phylogenomic Perspective on the Evolutionary History of True Geese. Mol. Phyl. Evol101: 303-313.

Red’kin, YA, VYu Arkhipov, SV Volkov, AA Mosalov and EA Koblik. 2015. [Type or species? Controversial taxonomic treatment of the birds of Northern Eurasia]. Вид или не вид? Спорные таксономические трактовки птиц Северной Евразии. [XIV Ornithological Conference of Northern Eurasia. II. Reports]. XIV орнитологическая конференция Северной Евразии. II. Доклады. [In Russian].

Robb, MS & the Sound Approach. 2015. Undiscovered Owls. The Sound Approach. Poole, UK.

Sangster, G, JC Garcia-Rodrigez and SA Trewick. 2015. A new genus for the Lesser Moorhen Gallinula angulata Sundevall, 1850 (Aves, Rallidae). Euro. J. Taxon. 153: 1-8.

Shirihai, H, G Gargallo and AJ Helbig. 2001. Sylvia Warblers. Identification, taxonomy and phylogeny of the genus Sylvia. Helm. A&C Black. London. UK.

Stervander, M, P Alström, U Olsson, U Ottosson, B Hansson and S Bensch. 2016. Multiple instances of paraphyletic species and cryptic taxa revealed by mitochondrial and nuclear RAD data for Calandrella larks (Aves: Alaudidae). Mol. Phyl. Evol. Accepted.

Votier, SC, S Aspinall, S Bearhop, D Bilton, J Newton, P Alström, P Leader, G Carey, RW Furness and U Olsson. 2016.Stable isotopes and mtDNA reveal niche segregation but no evidence of intergradation along a habitat gradient in the Lesser Whitethroat complex (Sylvia curruca; Passeriformes; Aves). J. Orn. doi 10.1007/s10336-016-1351-5

Wassink, A. 2015. The new Birds of Kazakhstan. De Cocksdorp. Texel, Nederland.

Zhan, X, A Dixon, N Batbayar, E Bragin, Z Ayas, L Deutschova, J Chavko, S Domashevsky, A Dorosencu, J Bagyura, S Gombobobaatar, ID Grlica, A Levin, Y Milobog, M Ming, M        Prommer, G Purev-Ochir, D Ragyov, V Tsurkanu, V Vetrov, N Zubkov and MW Bruford. 2015. Exonic versus intronic SNPs: contrasting roles in revealing the population genetic structure of a widespread bird species. Heredity 114: 1-9.

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