Taxonomic recommendations for Western Palearctic birds: ninth report


This paper is the Ninth Report of the Taxonomic Sub-Committee of the BOU Records Committee (BOURC-TSC). Previously, the remit of the BOURC-TSC has been restricted to taxonomic issues affecting those species admitted to the British List (for which, see BOU 2013). To facilitate collaboration with other national taxonomic committees and with the objective of taxonomic progress at a continental scale, this report continues our series of recommendations for British birds but its scope extends to the entire Western Palearctic (sensu BWP). The starting point for species not on the British List and which have not been covered in previous reports is Voous (1977). Species-level decisions are based on criteria outlined by Helbig et al. (2002). The Eighth Report of the Sub-Committee was published as Sangster et al. (2012).

Recommendations in this report fall into six categories: (1) changes of the sequence of higher taxa (Falconiformes, Psittaciformes, Upupidae, Meropidae, Coraciidae, Alcedinidae); (2) recognition of higher taxa not recognized by Voous (Bucerotiformes, Malaconotidae, Scotocercidae); (3) changes in genus limits (Ardeirallus sturmii, Anthropoides virgo, Cyclorrhynchus psittacula, Ketupa zeylonensis, Hirundo fluvicola, Riparia cincta, Cercomela melanura, Carpodacus erythrinus, Uragus sibiricus, Carduelis cannabina, Carduelis flavirostris, Carduelis cabaret, Carduelis flammea, Carduelis hornemanni, Carduelis spinus); (4) changes in the taxonomic sequence of species (Oenanthe, Fringillidae); (5) changes in species limits (Thalassarche melanophris, Anhinga melanogaster, Aquila pomarina, Bubo bubo, Passer simplex, Emberiza striolata); and (6) changes in nomenclature (Butorides striatus, Leptoptilos cruminiferus, Porphyrio martinica, Turnix sylvatica, Streptopelia roseogrisea, Tchagra senegala, Cyanopica cyana, Ammomanes cincturus, Turdoides caudatus, Turdoides fulvus, Phoenicurus erythrogaster, Oenanthe alboniger, Rhodopechys sanguinea).

Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris

Campbell Albatross Thalassarche m. impavida differs from nominate T. m. melanophris in the coloration of the iris, thickness of the black eyebrows, body size, vocalizations and displays (Robertson 1985, Moore et al. 1997, Waugh et al. 1999, Burg & Croxall 2001). Mitochondrial DNA sequences of the two taxa form three groups: T. m. impavida from Campbell Island, T. m. melanophris from the Falkland Islands, and T. m. melanophris from all other populations (Burg & Croxall 2001, Alderman et al. 2005). There is some intermixing of divergent haplotypes, which has been attributed to past range fragmentation followed by range expansion and secondary contact (Alderman et al. 2005). Thalassarche m. impavida and T. m. melanophris are strongly differentiated at microsatellite loci, whereas populations of T. m. melanophris (including those in the Falkland Islands) are much more weakly differentiated (Burg & Croxall 2001).

In recent decades, T. m. melanophris has started to breed on Campbell Island, and has hybridized there with T. m. impavida (Moore et al. 1997, 2001, Burg & Croxall 2001), apparently in part as a result of the heavily skewed sex ratio of T. m. melanophris (five males: one female). The mixed pairs may have arisen because of the shortage of mates for melanophris. Moore et al. (1997) reported data on the breeding of nine pure T. m. melanophris pairs, 291 pure T. m. impavida pairs and 25 mixed pairs. These numbers are indicative of sexual isolation (IPSI = 0.71 ± 0.04, < 0.001 based on 10 000 bootstraps; Carvajal-Rodriguez & Rolán-Alvarez 2006).

Based on the combined evidence from morphology, biometrics, behaviour, mitochondrial DNA and microsatellites, Black-browed Albatross is best treated as two species:

  • Campbell Albatross Thalassarche impavida (monotypic; extralimital)
  • Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris (monotypic)

The population of Black-browed Albatross on the Falkland Islands is best treated as conspecific with T. melanophris because it is not known to differ in any phenotypic characters and mitochondrial haplotypes typical for Falkland birds are also found on Macquarie Island, Diego Ramirez and Campbell Island (Alderman et al. 2005).

Black-browed Albatross records on the British List have been ascribed to nominate melanophris (BOU 1993). The specific name of Black-browed Albatross should be spelt melanophris rather than melanophrys (Carlos & Voisin 2008, Chambers et al. 2009).

Darter Anhinga melanogaster

A review of morphological differentiation among darters has identified several diagnostic differences in plumage and bare parts among the three major Old World groups of Anhinga that support their recognition as separate species (Schodde et al. 2012). A phylogenetic analysis of some Pelecaniformes based on three mitochondrial genes suggests that the level of genetic divergence between A. rufa and A. novaehollandiae is similar to that in pairs of species of Sula, Phalacrocorax and Pelecanus (Kennedy et al. 2005).

  • African Darter Anhinga rufa (polytypic, including vulsini and chantrei)
  • Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster (monotypic)
  • Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae (polytypic, including papua)

Of these, only African Darter has been recorded in the Western Palearctic.

Dwarf Bittern Ardeirallus sturmii

Dwarf Bittern is currently placed in the monotypic genus Ardeirallus based on reduced sexual dimorphism compared with species placed in Ixobrychus and behavioural and ecological differences from species generally placed in Ixobrychus (Verheyen 1959, Curry-Lindahl 1971). However, the validity of this has been questioned (Payne & Risley 1976). Cladistic analysis of osteological characters (Payne & Risley 1976), and reanalysis of this dataset (McCracken & Sheldon 1998), indicates that Dwarf Bittern is a member of the Ixobrychus clade. Therefore, Dwarf Bittern is placed in Ixobrychus and becomes Ixobrychus sturmii.

Striated Heron Butorides striatus

Butorides is to be treated as feminine and, as striatus is an adjective, the correct name of Striated Heron is Butorides striata (David & Gosselin 2002a).

Marabou Stork Leptoptilos cruminiferus

The correct spelling of the scientific name of Marabou Stork is Leptoptilos cruminifer (David & Gosselin 2011).

Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina

Lesser Spotted Eagle A. p. pomarina and Indian Spotted Eagle A. p. hastata differ diagnosably in external structure, osteology, and juvenile and adult plumage (Parry et al. 2002). Phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences suggests that Lesser Spotted Eagle is more closely related to Greater Spotted A. clanga than to Indian Spotted Eagle (Väli 2006). Lesser and Indian Spotted Eagles are therefore best recognized as separate species.

  • Indian Spotted Eagle Aquila hastata (monotypic)
  • Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina (monotypic)

Of these, only Lesser Spotted Eagle has been recorded in the Western Palearctic.

Taxonomic position of falcons, parrots and passerines

A series of phylogenomic studies, including analyses of nuclear DNA sequences (Ericson et al. 2006, Hackett et al. 2008, Wang et al. 2012, McCormack et al. 2013), retroposons (Suh et al. 2011), and insertions and deletions (Yuri et al. 2013), has clarified the position of several non-passerine groups. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that diurnal raptors (Accipitriformes, Falconiformes) do not form a single monophyletic group, that parrots (Psittaciformes) are the closest extant relatives of the passerines (Passeriformes), and that falcons (Falconiformes) are their sister. Thus, in a linear sequence, falcons and parrots are removed from their current positions and placed between woodpeckers (Piciformes) and passerines, as follows:

  • Piciformes
  • Falconiformes
  • Psittaciformes
  • Passeriformes

Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica

The correct spelling of the scientific name of Purple Gallinule is Porphyrio martinicus (David & Gosselin 2011).

Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo

Phylogenetic analyses based on DNA–DNA hybridization distances (Krajewski 1989), allozymes (Dessauer et al. 1992) and mitochondrial DNA sequences (Krajewski & Fetzner 1994, Krajewski & King 1996, Fain et al. 2007, Krajewski et al. 2010) indicate that the two species of Anthropoides and Bugeranus carunculatus are part of the Grus clade. A phylogenetic analysis of morphological data placed Bugeranus and Anthropoides as successive sister-taxa to all remaining species of Grus (Livezey 1998). Thus, it is recommended that the species of Bugeranus and Anthropoides are included in Grus. This change affects one species on the Western Palearctic List: Anthropoides virgo becomes Grus virgo.

Andalusian Hemipode Turnix sylvatica

The correct spelling of the scientific name of Andalusian Hemipode is Turnix sylvaticus (David & Gosselin 2002a).

Parakeet Auklet Cyclorrhynchus psittacula

Phylogenetic analyses of osteological characters (Smith 2011, 2013) and mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences (Friesen et al. 1996, Pereira & Baker 2008) indicate that Parakeet Auklet is part of the Aethia clade. Therefore, recognition of the monotypic genus Cyclorrhynchus is not warranted. As a consequence, the scientific name of Parakeet Auklet becomes Aethia psittacula.

African Collared Dove Streptopelia roseogrisea

Following opinion 2215 of the ICZN (2008), the correct name of African Collared Dove (currently Streptopelia roseogrisea) is Streptopelia risoria (currently used for the domesticated Barbary Dove). Although the original description of Streptopelia risoria (as Columba risoria Linnaeus, 1758) was complicated by reference to individuals of other species of Streptopelia, this has been resolved by the designation of a neotype (Donegan 2008). As the domesticated and wild forms are evidently the same species, the name S. roseogrisea becomes a synonym of S. risoria.

Eagle Owl Bubo bubo

Eagle Owls in North Africa and parts of the Middle East (ascalaphus) differ from Eagle Owls in Europe and northern Asia by their much smaller size, shorter ear tufts and multiple plumage characters, including unstreaked rufous-barred belly and black borders to the facial disc (Cramp 1985, Svensson et al. 2009). A phylogenetic analysis based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences suggests that ascalaphus is not sister to B. bubo (Wink et al. 2009). In the latter study, cytochrome b sequences of ascalaphus and B. bubo differed by 3.5% (uncorrected p-distance). The combined molecular and morphological evidence indicates that B. ascalaphus is best treated as a full species.

The status, relationships and geographical distribution of the southern taxon B. b. interpositus remain poorly understood. In the study by Wink et al. (2009), a single sample from Israel (attributed to B. b. interpositus) clustered with B. ascalaphus from the United Arab Emirates (with poor support), but differed from the latter by 2.8%. It has been suggested that B. binterpositus occurs sympatrically with B. ascalaphus (König & Weick 2008) but details are lacking. We tentatively retain interpositus as a subspecies of B. bubo in view of its close similarity to B. b. bubo in morphology and pending more detailed phylogenetic study, documentation of range overlap with B. ascalaphus, and study of vocal differences and interactions in areas of contact with B. ascalaphus and B. bubo.

Eagle Owls in the Indian Subcontinent (bengalensis), which have been included as a subspecies of Bubo bubo (e.g. Cramp 1985), are best treated as a full species based on morphological differences from both B. bubo and B. africanus (König & Weick 2008) and mitochondrial and nuclear DNA evidence which suggests that bengalensis is more closely related to B. africanus than to B. bubo (Wink et al. 2009, Omote et al. 2013).

Thus, it is recommended that Eagle Owl is treated as three species:

  • Pharaoh Eagle Owl Bubo ascalaphus (monotypic)
  • Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo (polytypic, with multiple subspecies, see Cramp 1985)
  • Indian Eagle Owl Bubo bengalensis (monotypic)

Both Eurasian Eagle Owl and Pharaoh Eagle Owl are resident in the Western Palearctic.

Brown Fish Owl Ketupa zeylonensis

Molecular phylogenetic analyses based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences do not support the fish owls Ketupa and eagle owls Bubo as separate monophyletic groups because B. sumatranus, B. lacteus and B. nipalensis are more closely related to species classified as Ketupa than to other species of Bubo (Wink et al. 2009, Omote et al. 2013). To avoid paraphyly, we recommend that Ketupa be merged with Bubo following Amadon and Bull (1988) and Wink et al. (2009). Alternatively, B. sumatranus, B. lacteus and B. nipalensis might be transferred to an expanded genus Ketupa, but we do not believe that this is warranted because (1) genetic divergence between the two clades is not substantial (e.g. it is similar to that found within Strix); (2) there are no known morphological or ecological characters supporting the two clades; and (3) it is not yet clear whether B. philippensis should be placed in Bubo or Ketupa, or perhaps in a monotypic genus (e.g. Peters 1940). Brown Fish Owl is therefore included in Bubo and its scientific name becomes Bubo zeylonensis.

Coraciiformes and Piciformes

Molecular phylogenetic studies strongly suggest that Coraciiformes (sensu Voous 1977) is not monophyletic and that some taxa in Coraciiformes are more closely related to Piciformes than to other taxa currently included in Coraciiformes (Ericson et al. 2006, Brown et al. 2008, Hackett et al. 2008, McCormack et al. 2013, Yuri et al. 2013, but see Livezey & Zusi 2007, Pacheco et al. 2011). These studies further suggest that Coraciiformes includes two major clades, one comprising hoopoes (Upupidae), woodhoopoes (Phoeniculidae) and hornbills (Bucerotidae), and another comprising bee-eaters (Meropidae), todies (Todidae), motmots (Momotidae), rollers (Coraciidae), ground rollers (Brachypteraciidae) and kingfishers (Alcedinidae; Ericson et al. 2006, Brown et al. 2008, Hackett et al. 2008, Yuri et al. 2013).

To remedy the paraphyly of Coraciiformes, its major clades are best recognized as separate taxa: Bucerotiformes and Coraciiformes, respectively (e.g. Yuri et al. 2013). The ordinal name Bucerotiformes (based on the ordinal group name Bucerotes Fürbringer, 1888) is used here as it is older than Upupiformes (based on Upupae Seebohm, 1890).

The group name Picocoraciae has been proposed for the clade formed by Bucerotiformes, Coraciiformes and Piciformes (Mayr 2011). Relationships among these three groups are not yet fully resolved. Most studies support a closer relationship of Coraciiformes (as defined here) to Piciformes than to Bucerotiformes (e.g. Sibley & Ahlquist 1990, Ericson et al. 2006, Hackett et al. 2008, McCormack et al. 2013 (their fig. 2B), Yuri et al. 2013), whereas some studies suggest a sister-relationship between Bucerotiformes and Piciformes (Brown et al. 2008, McCormack et al. 2013 (their fig. 2A)).

It is recommended that the relevant Western Palearctic taxa are placed in the following sequence:

  • Bucerotiformes (Upupidae)
  • Coraciiformes (Meropidae, Coraciidae, Alcedinidae)
  • Piciformes (Picidae)

Black-crowned Tchagra Tchagra senegala

Phylogenetic studies indicate that Black-crowned Tchagra is part of a clade (Malaconotidae) which also includes the Afrotropical taxa Nilaus, Malaconotus, Dryoscopus, Bocagia, Laniarius, Rhodophoneus, Chlorophoneus and Telophorus, and is not part of Laniidae (Fuchs et al. 2004, 2012, Jønsson et al. 2011). Basal relationships within Corvoidea are still unresolved (Jønsson et al. 2011). In a linear sequence of Western Palearctic birds, we recommend that Malaconotidae is placed before Vireonidae.

The correct spelling of the scientific name of Black-crowned Tchagra is Tchagra senegalus (David & Gosselin 2002a).

Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyana

The correct spelling of the scientific name of Azure-winged Magpie is Cyanopica cyanus (David & Gosselin 2002b).

Bar-tailed Desert Lark Ammomanes cincturus

The correct spelling of the scientific name of Bar-tailed Desert Lark is Ammomanes cinctura (David & Gosselin 2002a).

Streak-throated Swallow Hirundo fluvicola

Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences have placed Streak-throated Swallow in the Petrochelidon clade (Sheldon et al. 2005). Thus, the scientific name of Streak-throated Swallow (currently Hirundo fluvicola) becomes Petrochelidon fluvicola. Streak-throated Swallow is known in the Western Palearctic from a single record in Egypt (Jiguet et al. 2011).

Banded Martin Riparia cincta

Phylogenetic analyses of DNA-DNA hybridization distance data and mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences indicate that Banded Martin is more closely related to Phedina than to Riparia (Sheldon & Winkler 1993, Sheldon et al. 2005). Relationships among Phedina borbonica, P. brazzae and Riparia cincta are unresolved (Sheldon et al. 2005). Therefore, these three species are best placed in a single genus. As a consequence, the scientific name of Banded Martin (currently Riparia cincta) becomes Phedina cincta. Banded Martin is known in the Western Palearctic from a single record in Egypt (Clements 1990).

Scrub Warbler Scotocerca inquita

Phylogenetic analyses based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences suggest that Scotocerca inquieta is not part of Sylviidae or Cisticolidae but represents a distinctive evolutionary lineage that is sister to Cettiidae (Alström et al. 2011, Fregin et al. 2012). Fregin et al. (2012) proposed the new family-level taxon Scotocercidae for this species. We recommend that in a linear sequence of Western Palearctic birds, Scotocercidae (Scotocerca inquieta) is placed before Cettiidae (Cettia cetti).

Common Babbler Turdoides caudatus Fulvous Babbler Turdoides fulvus

The correct names of Common Babbler and Fulvous Babbler are Turdoides caudata and Turdoides fulva, respectively (David & Gosselin 2002a).

Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis

Western Orphean Warbler Sylvia h. hortensis and Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia h. crassirostris/jerdoni differ diagnosably in plumage (Svensson 2012) and vocalizations (Shirihai et al. 2001, Sample 2003, Svensson et al. 2009). Mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences of the two groups were reported by Shirihai et al. (2001) and Böhning-Gaese et al. (2003) and differ by 6.2% (uncorrected p-distance), a value well above those typically observed between conspecific avian taxa (see Helbig et al. 1995). Note that Voelker and Light (2011) indicate a lower level of divergence between hortensis and crassirostris, but in that work hortensis was sampled from within the breeding range of crassirostris (Greece). The combined evidence suggests that Orphean Warbler should be treated as two species (see Svensson 2012 for intraspecific systematics):

  • Western Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis (polytypic, with subspecies hortensis and cyrenaicae)
  • Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris (polytypic, with subspecies crassirostris and jerdoni)

Western Orphean Warbler is on Category A of the British list.

Güldenstädt's Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogaster

The correct spelling of the scientific name of Güldenstädt's Redstart is Phoenicurus erythrogastrus (David & Gosselin 2002b).

Blackstart Cercomela melanura

Recent phylogenetic studies indicate that Cercomela and Oenanthe do not represent reciprocally monophyletic groups (Outlaw et al. 2009, Sangster et al. 2010, Aliabadian et al. 2012, Voelker et al. 2012). Because the type species of Cercomela (C. melanura) is phylogenetically deeply nested within Oenanthe and it is not desirable to break up Oenanthe into two or more genera, Cercomela is considered a synonym of Oenanthe. Consequently, the scientific name of Blackstart (currently Cercomela melanura) becomes Oenanthe melanura. A full revision of the genera Oenanthe, Cercomela and Myrmecocichla, including species found outside the Western Palearctic, was proposed by Aliabadian et al. (2012; see below).

Hume's Wheatear Oenanthe alboniger

The correct spelling of the scientific name of Hume's Wheatear is Oenanthe albonigra (David & Gosselin 2002b).

Taxonomic sequence of wheatears and allies

Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences have clarified the evolutionary relationships within the Oenanthe–Cercomela–Myrmecocichla clade (Aliabadian et al. 2012). Following the principle that, for each branching point in the phylogeny, the less-speciose group should be listed first, we recommend that the Western Palearctic species be listed in the following sequence (species on the British List are indicated by their category):

  • Anteater Chat Myrmecocichla aethiops
  • Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe (Cat. A)
  • Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina (Cat. A)
  • Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti (Cat. A)
  • Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha
  • Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica (Cat. A)
  • Cyprus Wheatear Oenanthe cypriaca
  • Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka (Cat. A)
  • Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta
  • Blackstart Oenanthe melanura
  • Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura
  • Hume's Wheatear Oenanthe albonigra
  • White-crowned Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga (Cat. A)
  • Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii
  • Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens
  • Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna

Desert Sparrow Passer simplex

Males of zarudnyi (Central Asia) differ from males of simplex/saharae (Africa) in body size, shape and coloration of the facial mask, coloration of the upperparts, and the pattern of the wing coverts and remiges (Kirwan et al. 2009). The two groups differ even more markedly in female plumage due to different degrees of sexual dimorphism (much reduced in zarudnyi; Kirwan et al. 2009). Thus, Desert Sparrow is best treated as two species:

  • Desert Sparrow Passer simplex (polytypic, with subspecies simplex and saharae)
  • Zarudny's Sparrow Passer zarudnyi (monotypic)

Of these, only Desert Sparrow has been recorded in the Western Palearctic.

Crimson-winged Finch Rhodopechys sanguinea

The correct names of the two subspecies of Crimson-winged Finch are alienus and sanguineus (David & Gosselin 2002a).

Generic arrangement of Fringillidae

A new phylogeny of the finches (Zuccon et al. 2012) corroborates the polyphyly of Serinus, Carduelis and Carpodacus, previously suggested in several studies, and further supports several other previous findings, including the placement of Loxia as sister taxon of the redpolls within the Serinus–Carduelis complex, monophyly of Chloris distinct from Carduelis, a close relationship of Rhodospiza obsoleta and Chloris, a sister-relationship of Pinicola and Pyrrhula, placement of Long-tailed Rosefinch Uragus sibiricus within Carpodacus, and the distinctiveness of New World species of ‘Carpodacus’ (Arnaiz-Villena et al. 1998, van der Meij et al. 2005, Zamora et al. 2006a,b, Nguembock et al. 2008, see also Lerner et al. 2011). These results warrant a comprehensive revision of generic limits. The arrangement adopted here follows that proposed by Zuccon et al. (2012). As a consequence of this revision, Common Rosefinch is transferred to the monotypic genus Erythrina, Long-tailed Rosefinch is placed in Carpodacus, the genera Linaria, Acanthis and Spinus are recognized as distinct from Carduelis, and the taxonomic sequence of species is modified to better reflect their relationships. The generic name Erythrina should be attributed to Brehm, 1829, not Brehm, 1828 (Banks & Browning 1995).

The names and taxonomic sequence of the finches of the Western Palearctic become as follows (species on the British List are indicated by their category):

  • Brambling Fringilla montifringilla (Cat. A)
  • Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs (Cat. A)
  • Blue Chaffinch Fringilla teydea
  • Evening Grosbeak Hesperiphona vespertina (Cat. A)
  • Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes (Cat. A)
  • Common Rosefinch Erythrina erythrina (Cat. A)
  • Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla
  • Sinai Rosefinch Carpodacus synoicus
  • Long-tailed Rosefinch Carpodacus sibiricus
  • Pallas's Rosefinch Carpodacus roseus
  • Pine Grosbeak Pinicola enucleator (Cat. A)
  • Azores Bullfinch Pyrrhula murina
  • Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula (Cat. A)
  • Crimson-winged Finch Rhodopechys sanguineus
  • Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus (Cat. A)
  • Mongolian Finch Bucanetes mongolicus
  • Desert Finch Rhodospiza obsoleta
  • European Greenfinch Chloris chloris (Cat. A)
  • Common Linnet Linaria cannabina (Cat. A)
  • Twite Linaria flavirostris (Cat. A)
  • Lesser Redpoll Acanthis cabaret (Cat. A)
  • Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea (Cat. A)
  • Arctic Redpoll Acanthis hornemanni (Cat. A)
  • Two-barred Crossbill Loxia leucoptera (Cat. A)
  • Red Crossbill Loxia curvirostra (Cat. A)
  • Scottish Crossbill Loxia scotica (Cat. A)
  • Parrot Crossbill Loxia pytyopsittacus (Cat. A)
  • European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis (Cat. A)
  • Citril Finch Carduelis citrinella (Cat. A)
  • Corsican Finch Carduelis corsicana
  • Canary Serinus canaria
  • European Serin Serinus serinus (Cat. A)
  • Red-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus
  • Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus
  • Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus (Cat. A)

House Bunting Emberiza striolata

The House Bunting complex consists of two major groups: a northwest African group (sahari) and a northeast African and Asian group (striolata, jebelmarrae and saturatior). Adult males of the two groups differ in the pattern and coloration of the supercilium, eye-stripe, moustachial stripe, upperparts, breast and wing coverts (Kirwan & Shirihai 2007, Svensson et al. 2009). Females of the two groups differ in most of the same characters as males. Mitochondrial DNA sequences of the two groups differ by 3.0–3.6%, indicating a substantial period as separate evolutionary lineages (Olsson et al. 2013). Three specimens in northern Darfur, which have been interpreted as ‘intergrades’ between the two groups, were considered by Kirwan and Shirihai (2007) to represent typical members of the northeast African and Asian group. We follow Kirwan and Shirihai (2007) in treating theresae and sanghae as synonyms of sahari; tescicola and dankali as synonyms of striolata; and kovacsi as a synonym of saturatior. Thus, the House Bunting complex is best treated as two species:

  • House Bunting Emberiza sahari (monotypic)
  • Striolated Bunting Emberiza striolata (polytypic, with subspecies striolata, saturatior and, provisionally, jebelmarrae)

Both species are found in the Western Palearctic.