Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 147, Issue 4, pp 578–590 | Cite as

The forest batis, Batis mixta, is two species: description of a new, narrowly distributed Batis species in the Eastern Arc biodiversity hotspot

  • Jon Fjeldså
  • Rauri C. K. Bowie
  • Jacob Kiure
Original Article


The forest batis, Batis mixta, is a common bird of the forests of the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and in some adjacent montane and coastal forests. Through new collecting efforts in most of this range we documented a well-marked change in morphology in the middle of the range. Supplementary genetic studies of the historical population structure suggest connectivity among the south-western and northern/coastal populations, but not between these parapatric groups. It is concluded that two species are involved, and a new name B. crypta is proposed for the south-western populations. A marked genetic break also exists towards B. capensis sola in northern Malawi. The morphologically distinctive form reichenowi in south-eastern Tanzania is genetically nested within B. mixta, and for now we keep it as a subspecies of B. mixta.


Eastern Arc hotspot Montane biogeography Paraphyletic species Phylogeography Platysteiridae 



We thank the Natural History Museum at Tring and the Field Museum for loan of specimens, and the curators in Bonn (R. van Elzen), Leiden (R. Dekker), Nairobi (M. Muchane), Paris (E. Pasquet) and Stockholm (P. Ericson, G. Frisk) for access to their collections. We also thank the Field Museum of Natural History, Museums of Malawi and the Marjorie Barrick Museum for loan of tissues. Fieldwork was supported by grants from the Danish Research Council to J.F. and from the Field Museum and Stellenbosch University to R.B. Laboratory work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation (South Africa), Department of Science and Technology (South Africa) and Stellenbosch University to R.B. The research complies with current laws in the countries where the work was done. CapeNature is thanked for permission to collect specimens in South Africa and the Tanzanian Commission for Science and Technology and Wildlife Research Institute are thanked for permission to conduct fieldwork and to collect and export specimens. The collections from Tanzania are held in trust at the Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Fjeldså
    • 1
  • Rauri C. K. Bowie
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jacob Kiure
    • 4
  1. 1.Zoological MuseumUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.DST-NRF Centre of Excellence at the FitzPatrick Institute, Department of Botany and ZoologyStellenbosch UniversityMatielandSouth Africa
  3. 3.Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and Department of Integrative BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.Dar es SalaamTanzania

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