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Type: Article
Published: 2022-01-12
Page range: 69-106
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Integrating voice and phenotype in a revision of the brush cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus (Aves: Cuculidae) complex

National University of Singapore, Department of Biological Sciences, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore.
Australian National Wildlife Collection, National Research Collections Australia, CSIRO, Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia.
National University of Singapore, Department of Biological Sciences, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore
Aves Bioacoustics Morphometrics Plumage Brood host selection Aves Cuculidae Australasia Indo-Pacific Species Limits


Brush cuckoos of the Cacomantis variolosus complex, which range from Southeast Asia to Australia and the Solomon Islands, have undergone much taxonomic upheaval. Here we examine 389 vocal recordings, 832 skins, and records of brood parasitism and habitat partitioning to shed light on their species and subspecies taxonomy. Bioacoustic analysis revealed seven distinct vocal groups. Among morphological markers, shape and proportions of the tail were found to be supporting indicators, in addition to plumage tone and pattern. Integration of the resulting data set distinguished six species-level taxa within the complex: sepulcralis in the Philippines and Sundaland east to central Nusa Tenggara, virescens in Sulawesi and the Sula Archipelago, aeruginosus in the Moluccas, variolosus in east Nusa Tenggara, the Moluccas, north and east Australia, New Guinea and Bismarck Archipelago, blandus in the Admiralty Islands, and addendus in the Solomon Islands. Our review of infra-specific differentiation among species leads us to distinguish 13 subspecies. All taxa identified are listed in a summary classification of the complex. Taxon diversity is greatest in the Moluccas, where two habitat-partitioned species and five allopatric subspecies occur, of which one species and three subspecies are endemic to this region.



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