Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 147, Issue 1, pp 24–30 | Cite as

Hybrids in divers (Gaviiformes)

  • C. S. (Kees) Roselaar
  • Tineke G. Prins
  • Mansour Aliabadian
  • Vincent Nijman
Original Article


The incidence of hybridisation in birds differs greatly between orders and is expected to be low in orders comprising few species. The divers or loons (Gaviiformes) are a species-poor group in which apparent hybridisation has been reported infrequently. Here we report on a hybrid diver stored in the collections of the Zoological Museum Amsterdam. The bird shows a heterogeneous set of characters, some shared with the putative parent species White-billed Diver Gavia adamsii and Great Northern Diver G. immer, others being intermediate between the two. A Canonical Discriminant Function analysis positions the bird between these two putative parent species, making a hybrid status quite likely. We evaluate the evidence for hybridisation in the order Gaviiformes and conclude that hybridisation has been suspected in four of the five species, though documentation is limited. If this high incidence could be confirmed, it would rank among the highest of any avian order, contradicting the assumption that incidence of hybridisation in small orders is relatively low.


Gavia adamsii Gavia immer Hybridisation Speciation 



We greatly thank Dr Robert Prys-Jones (BMNH) and Dr René Dekker (RMNH) for allowing the examination of specimens in the collections under their care. Dr Robert W. Storer (University of Michigan) helped us with some literature, and Tekla Boersma and Ruud Altenburg (ETI) with the figures.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. S. (Kees) Roselaar
    • 1
  • Tineke G. Prins
    • 1
  • Mansour Aliabadian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vincent Nijman
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, Zoological MuseumUniversity of AmsterdamGT AmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceFerdowsi University of MashhadMashhadIran

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