Geographic patterns of variation in morphological characters in the Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) have been recognized by the description of seven subspecies. Twelve standard measurements, as well as three colorimetric characters and two color pattern characters, were analyzed to test whether subspecies limits predict patterns of variation. Measurement error was addressed by measuring each character three times and calculating the mean. A total of 821 male study skins were used, representing 29 locations. A variety of analysis revealed two major groups, an eastern and western group, divided by the Sierra Madre Occidental. Those two groups had previously been recognized as the curvirostre and palmeri groups, respectively. Those groups were also recovered by analysis of mtDNA. The two groups fulfill the requirements for species. The Tiburón Island (T. c. insularis) sample was distinct for several characters; however, small sample size precludes formal taxonomic recommendation. Within the two major groups, most characters showed incongruent clinal patterns of variation that did not match subspecies limits.
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Vol. 120 • No. 2