A new species of Spinetail from Venezuela. Rio Orinoco Spinetail Synallaxis beverlyae

by Gunnar Engblom on August 5, 2009

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Rio Orinoco Spinetail Synallaxis beverlyae

Rio Orinoco Spinetail <i>Synallaxis beverlyae <i/> - new species from Venezuela. Painting from The Auk July 2009, Vol. 126, No. 3, Pages 485–492. Painting by Robin Restall.

Rio Orinoco Spinetail Synallaxis beverlyae - new species from Venezuela. Painting by Robin Restall from The Auk July 2009, Vol. 126, No. 3, Pages 485–492.

Only a few days ago, it was announced of a new species of Babbler from Laos. Today, I got a Facebook note from Dan Zimberlin who said a new species of Spinetail was being described in The Auk from Venezuela. Here is abstract from the publication by Hilty and Ascanio:

We describe a new species of spinetail, Synallaxis beverlyae (Río Orinoco Spinetail), from river island scrub in the lower and middle sections of the main river channel of the Río Orinoco in Venezuela and adjacent Colombia. This taxon has been overlooked previously because river islands were not examined by earlier collecting expeditions. In plumage the species is closest to the widespread Pale-breasted Spinetail (S. albescens), but in vocalizations it is most similar to Dark-breasted Spinetail (S. albigularis), Cinereous-breasted Spinetail (S. hypospodia), and Spix’s Spinetail (S. spixi). The new species is, as far as we know, restricted to scrubby river island vegetation and adjacent river edges that are subject to seasonal inundation. It is presently known only from two well-separated areas but is likely to occur on appropriate intervening islands. The restricted range and narrow ecological requirements of S. beverlyae are a conservation concern.

More new species coming soon.

I started to search the net for pictures of the new bird. I found Chris Sloan’s great pictures from his Venezuela 2007 gallery on pbase showing a picture of the new species. But not only that, the river islands from the lower Orinoco reveal more new species that soon also will be described. But as for now a Softtail and a Wagtail Tyrant still wait to be formally named.  Chris Sloan has agreed to share a few of his pictures. Enjoy! Maybe start planning a trip to Venezuela. Let me know if you do!

Rio Orinoco Spinetail: Chris Sloan
Rio Orinoco Spinetail. Photo: Chris Sloan
Unnamed Wagtail-tyrant at Orinoco River island, Delta Amacuro

Unnamed Wagtail-tyrant at Orinoco River island, Delta Amacuro. Photo: Chris Sloan

The last picture is from Mike Todd from the same trip to Venezuela. Here are Mike’s Venezuela pictures on Pbase. Also a great album of bird shots. Thanks Mike, for letting me use this picture.

Delta Amacuro Softtail - Mike Todd. Yet another new species from the Orinoco river. This one is also soon to be described.

Delta Amacuro Softtail (new un-named species). Photo: Mike Todd. Yet another new species from the Orinoco river. This one is also soon to be described.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali Iyoob September 4, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Very cool bird, I want to see it!

Chris Sloan December 17, 2009 at 1:53 pm

FYI, I’ve since seen a reference that the wagtail-tyrant might in fact be a significant range extension of Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant. I’m checking on this.

Gunnar Engblom December 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Interesting Chris.
Keep us informed!

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