Wednesday, October 10, 2007

ENV: Sincora Antwren

New species of antwren for Brazil 08-10-2007

"It would be sadly ironic if, as soon as it was discovered, Sincorá Antwren became threatened with extinction" —Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife International

A possible new species of antwren from Bahia, Brazil has recently been described in the journal Zootaxa. Sincorá Antwren Formicivora grantsaui is found only in the campo rupestre vegetation of the Serra do Sincorá between 850 m and 1,100 m in the Chapada Diamantina region. This is an important area that holds other restricted range species such as Grey-backed Tachuri Polystictus superciliaris and Pale-throated Pampa-finch Embernagra longicauda. First observed in 1997, it is closely related to Rusty-backed Antwren Formicivora rufa, with which it sometimes occurs sympatrically. It differs slightly in some plumage characters but more importantly it has quite distinctive vocalisations and each species utilises different habitats. Formicivora grantsaui occurs on rocky outcrops in the campo rupestre and F. rufa in the adjacent savannas. If confirmed, this discovery highlights the importance of researchers using vocalisations and habitat preference in identifying distinct species.

"This is potentially another new species for Brazil. Once confirmed, it is vital that we assess its conservation status and any potential threats. It would be sadly ironic if, as soon as it was discovered, Sincorá Antwren became threatened with extinction," says Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife's Global Species Programme Coordinator.

This taxa will be assessed in due course by the South American Classification Committee of the AOU (BirdLife’s taxonomic source for South America). If recognised as a valid species by SACC, BirdLife will then evaluate its extinction risk category for the IUCN Red List (for which BirdLife is the official Red List Authority).

LUIZ PEDREIRA GONZAGA, ANDRÉ M. P. CARVALHAES & DANTE R. C. BUZZETTI. 2007. A new species of Formicivora antwren from the Chapada Diamantina, eastern Brazil (Aves: Passeriformes: Thamnophilidae). Zootaxa 1473: 25–44

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