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I reviewed data from historical works and a dictionary produced by the first missionaries in French Polynesia, in an endeavour to clarify the geographic provenance and potential date of extinction of the bird known as tītī in Tahiti, and which has been assumed to be the extinct Spotted Green Pigeon Caloenas maculata, otherwise known from a single surviving specimen held in Liverpool (UK). The name tītī was used to refer to a columbid, as well as to procellariids, and to other species whose vocalisations are transcribed ti-ti-ti. Furthermore, what was presumably the same species was also known as the tītīhope'ore, which according to the Tahitian people resembled a Long-tailed Koel Urodynamis taitensis but had a short tail. Spotted Green Pigeon possibly survived until sometime between 1801 and 1831, but by 1848 the species was almost certainly extinct, making the claim that it was seen in Tahiti as late as 1928 appear exceptionally unlikely.
The Tres Marías archipelago off western Mexico, rarely visited by ornithologists, is currently considered to have 24 endemic subspecies of landbirds. Using both new and previously overlooked information, we evaluate some of the better-marked taxa by applying recently proposed criteria for determining whether they merit recognition at species level. We propose that six of these be elevated to species (Cynanthus lawrencei, Amazilia graysoni, Forpus insularis, Pheugopedius lawrencii, Icterus graysonii and Granatellus francescae) although for some there is evidence that they occasionally interbreed with close relatives on the adjacent mainland. These taxa are threatened by introduced goats, cats and rats, and we hope that by recognising them as endemic species, greater awareness of their plight might stimulate increased conservation action to preserve them and their ecosystem.
Friedmann's Lark Mirafra pulpa is a poorly known species endemic to East African savannas, and classified as Data Deficient by BirdLife International. In light of our limited knowledge, I reviewed the species' ecology, status and distribution, finding no more than 51 dated records (or discrete periods of occurrence) in a search of the literature and internet databases. However, the restriction of these records to two distinctive regions of the Chyulu and Nyambeni foothills suggests that Friedmann's Lark may be closely tied to pockets of ash-based soil associated with geologically recent volcanic formations. These gritty, white-coloured soils are characterised by slower drainage in contrast to the region's otherwise widely occurring red soils, and retain year-round the dense grass cover apparently preferred by M. pulpa. It is therefore likely to be the distribution of these ash-based soils and associated dense grassland that determines the distribution of Friedmann's Lark. Based on this hypothesis, and the species' well-known erratic occurrence, its year-round area of occupancy may amount to no more than 20% of its overall extent of occurrence, amounting to c.5,000 km2, potentially qualifying Friedmann's Lark as Near Threatened under IUCN criteria.
The identity of Azara's no. 243 ‘Trepador pico corto' has never convincingly been elucidated, and the only previously proposed identification is demonstrably incorrect. Azara provided a brief but diagnostic description in which he mentioned clear differences from his no. 242 ‘Trepador común’ (= Narrow-billed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes angustirostris). It is possible to confirm the identity of his no. 243 as Lesser Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus fuscus (Vieillot, 1818). To my knowledge no scientific names were ever proposed on the basis of this description.
The Sapphire-spangled Emerald Amazilia lactea complex is currently represented by three subspecies with disjunct geographical ranges. A. l. bartletti occurs over a limited portion of south-western Amazonia in Brazil, south-east Peru and northern Bolivia, and is a very little-known taxon in nature. We present data on the breeding and biometrics of this race based on six nests found between 1999 and 2019, and 58 adult individuals captured between 2010 and 2018 in eastern Acre state, Brazil. The nest of A. l. bartletti is a low cup / base type, constructed primarily of kapok wool and decorated with lichens on the outer walls. The nestling period was estimated at 18–20 days. Our data indicate that A. l. bartletti breeds from at least December until March.
Humaitá Forest Reserve (HFR) is a forest fragment in the state of Acre, Brazil. Between 2009 and 2019, this fragment has been inventoried by multiple ornithologists and birdwatchers. To provide a comprehensive list of the avifauna of HFR, we compiled all of the available data, including published reports and recent, unpublished surveys. The list includes 356 bird species belonging to 60 families and 23 orders. This species richness is the greatest recorded in those forest fragments that have been inventoried in eastern Acre. We found that HFR is an important site for the conservation of many threatened species, and migrants, as well as poorly known species with a restricted geographic distribution, such as Semi-collared Puffbird Malacoptila semicincta, Goeldi's Antbird Akletos goeldii, Rufous Twistwing Cnipodectes superrufus and Acre Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus cohnhafti.
Fork-tailed Woodnymph Thalurania furcata is widely distributed in South America, but there are comparatively few data on its breeding biology. A nest found with two eggs in an urban forest fragment in Acre, south-west Amazonia, was monitored until the nestlings fledged. The use of fibres from rhizomes of the fern Phlebodium decumanum as the main material used in the nest is reported for the first time in this species. Similarly, daily variation in the mass and growth of the nestlings is presented for the first time. Nest and egg dimensions, as well as the nestling period, were similar to those reported previously.
We document the status of Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis in Micronesia, a region extralimital to the generally accepted geographic range of the species. Our review yielded 34 Micronesian records between 1938 and 2019, with 27 at Palau, four at Yap, and one at Pohnpei in the Caroline Islands, as well as one each at Guam and Saipan, which are the first for the Mariana Islands. Expanded observer effort since 2000 has produced an increase in regional sightings, with birds detected in ten of the 18 years from 2002 to 2019. Examination of museum specimens (n = 3) and photographs of wild dollarbirds (n = 10) confirmed all but one individual as belonging to the migratory Australasian subspecies E. o. pacificus. Timing of records, with nearly all between mid April and mid October, largely matches the known migration and overwintering periods for E. o. pacificus, further indicating that most records involved this taxon.