Dispersal, Mimicry, and Geographic Variation in Northern Melanesian Birds

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2002-01
Authors
Diamond, Jared
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University of Hawai'i Press
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I present new information about 34 of the 195 resident land and freshwater bird species of Northern Melanesia, an area characterized by a rich avifauna, high endemism, and great geographic variation in morphology. There are many examples of geographic variation in voice, behavior, habitat preference, altitudinal range, vertical stratum, abundance, and nest. Possible vocal convergence or mimicry between sympatric populations of different species is described between the goshawk Accipiter albogularis and the kingfisher Halcyon chloris, between the cuckoo-shrike Coracina [tenuirostris] and other species in its mixed-species foraging flocks, between the white-eyes Zosterops murphyi and Z. rendovae kulambangrae, and between the starlings Aplonis grandis and Mino dumontii. Hybridization is reported between the Bismarck and New Guinea races of the cuckoo Eudynamys scolopacea on Long Island (described as a new subspecies), between the whistlers Pachycephala pectoralis and P. melanura, and between the honey-eaters Myzomela tristrami and M. cardinalis. Cyclones bring Australian species, some of which occasionally remain to breed. Over-water dispersal ability varies greatly, from species that can be seen flying over water any day to species that rarely or never cross water. For instance, a channel 12 km long and only 0.15-1 km wide divides Florida Island into two halves, one of which possesses and the other of which lacks a resident population of the coucal Centropus milo.
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Diamond J. 2002. Dispersal, mimicry, and geographic variation in northern Melanesian birds. Pac Sci 56(1): 1-22.
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