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Subspeciation in the pipit Anthus cinnamomeus Rüppell of the Afrotropics

Clancey, P. A. 1986.
Subspeciation in the pipit Anthus cinnamomeus Rüppell of the Afrotropics.
Le Gerfaut, 76: 187–211.


Anthus cinnamomeus Rüppell is a highly polytypic regional species of pipit of the Afrotropics, which is closely allied to A. richardi of the Palearctic, A. rufulus of the Oriental Region, and A. novaeseelandiae of Australasia. It probably lies closest to A. rufulus. Although several proposals for the adequate handling of the geographical variation have been published since Meinertzhagen’s pioneer study in 1921, none has found general acceptance. Resulting from recent work on allied Afrotropical pipit species, culminating in the elucidation of the status of the forms A. hoeschi and A. latistriatus, it has been possible to revise the taxonomic treatment of the geographical variation in A. cinnamomeus itself. Much of this work was carried out in South Africa between 1950 and 1983, in which latter year the study was finalized on the basis of a detailed examination of the freshly molted skins of cinnamomeus in the collection of the Subdepartment of Ornithology, British Museum (Nat. Hist.), Tring, and in other centers, notably in Belgium.

Subspecifically relevant variation affects wing– and tail–lengths, levels of saturation, especially over the upperparts and wings, the buffishness of the breast, and the extent of the dorsal and pectoral streaking. To cater for the extensive variation, which is noticeably correlated with environmental factors on the breeding grounds and rather less so with altitude, I recognize some 13 subspecies. 12 of these occur in Africa to the south of the Sahara, the 13th in the highlands of the southwestern Arabian Peninsula. 2 of the subspecies are introduced as new in the present paper.


Revue Belge d’Ornithologie

clancey-1987.pdf (1.41 MB)

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