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Basic natural history and behavioural data are lacking for the majority of broadbills and pittas (Eurylaimidae, Calyptomenidae and Pittidae). We present a series of observations on these birds made during two visits to Tawau Hills Park, Sabah, Malaysia. During this period, we detected changes in temporal presence, detectability or vocal behaviour in various species. We also found habitat overlap on one ridgeline among four species of pitta. We observed a Green Broadbill Calyptomena viridis respond to our imitation of a call with a wing display. We discuss the social behaviour of Black-and-yellow Eurylaimus ochromalus and Banded Broadbills E. javanicus, including wing displays, territoriality, and in the first-named species, social groups comprising multiple adults. We also describe various nesting behaviours in these two species, including nest-construction techniques, incubation behaviour, nest defence, and the first described Banded Broadbill nest on Borneo. We found Dusky Broadbills Corydon sumatranus to frequently be the most conspicuous members of mixed-species flocks otherwise dominated by Cuculidae and Picidae. We analysed Black-crowned Pitta Erythropitta ussheri home range size and density in a colour-banded population, and found a potential hybrid or backcross with Garnet Pitta E. granatina. We observed that Blue-banded Pitta E. arquata make non-vocal sonations by striking their closed wings on their flanks, and discuss the immature male plumage of Blue-headed Pitta Hydrornis baudii.
The historical ornithological collection of the Museum of Zoology of Torino University, now hosted at the Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali di Torino, Italy (MRSN), includes more than 21,000 bird specimens and 500 complete skeletons representing c.6,000 taxa. The IUCN Red List of threatened species lists 256 bird species as either extinct or endangered (‘E&E’) from throughout the world. To provide a list of those species that should receive special care, a well-established methodology was applied to produce a list of 12 extinct and 36 endangered species held in the MRSN collection. Some of them, particularly those from New Zealand, although it is unclear where they were acquired, are remarkable for being amongst the first bird specimens to have arrived in European museums.
Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex of Borneo was previously considered to be polymorphic in iris colour, having either red or white (creamy-yellow) irides. Mitochondrial DNA sequence comparisons, however, indicate that white- and red-eyed Bornean individuals are not closely related to one another. Instead, white-eyed birds are sister to Ashy-fronted Bulbul P. cinereifrons of Palawan Island, in the south-west Philippines, and red-eyed birds are sister to white-eyed P. simplex of the Thai-Malay Peninsula. Consequently, we elect to treat the white-eyed Bornean population as a distinct, previously overlooked species. In respect to plumage, white- and red-eyed individuals are almost identical, varying only slightly in the amount of yellow coloration in their feathers. The two taxa are sympatric at some localities, but white-eyed individuals are rarer and more consistently associated with mature forest than red-eyed birds.
We present new information on the breeding biology of six bird species from riverine floodplains in Brazilian and Ecuadorian Amazonia, principally from the Madeira River, near Porto Velho, Rondônia, Brazil, but also the Napo River in eastern Ecuador. We describe for the first time the nest of White-bellied Spinetail Mazaria propinqua. The data presented contribute to our cumulative knowledge of the natural history of birds in floodplain forests, a historically neglected environment in the Amazon.
We re-examine evidence from the voyage of the corvette La Coquille in respect of the Pomarea monarch flycatchers from Tahiti and Maupiti, and conclude that Pomarea maupitiensisGarnot, 1829, should be recognised as a distinct but extinct species for which we designate a lectotype, necessarily represented by the image in a colour plate.
The Malagasy forms gracilis (Madagascar) and griveaudi (Comoro Islands) of African Palm Swift Cypsiurus parvus have very different vocalisations (short insect-like single buzzy notes and occasional drawn-out rising buzzes) from mainland African taxa (twitters and staccato notes, the former sometimes in longer series). They also have heavier dark markings on the throat and upper breast, paler bellies and distinctly shorter tail extensions. These characters in combination are here considered to demarcate the Malagasy forms as a species, Madagascar Palm Swift C. gracilis, separate from both the remaining taxa of C. parvus and Asian Palm Swift C. balasiensis.