Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 150, Issue 3, pp 671–683 | Cite as

Discovery of the Large Blue Flycatcher Cyornis [banyumas] magnirostris breeding in northern Kachin State (Burma/Myanmar) and taxonomic implications for the Cyornis-group

  • Swen C. Renner
  • Pamela C. Rasmussen
  • John H. Rappole
  • Thein Aung
  • Myint Aung
Original Article


The little-known taxon Cyornis [banyumas] magnirostris has long been treated as a race of the widespread Hill Blue Flycatcher C. banyumas, with which it was thought to be allopatric during the breeding season. On the basis of morphology, magnirostris has lately been considered a full species, endemic as a breeder to northeastern India. Our recent field work during migration and the breeding season (September 2005 and June–July 2006) has, however, resulted in the first records of magnirostris from northern Burma/Myanmar, establishing that its breeding range broadly overlaps the range of C. banyumas whitei. We demonstrate how historical factors, sources of error, including fraud, errors of omission and commission, and inferences based on lack of data have all negatively affected assessment of species limits and conservation status in this speciose group of flycatchers. We also provide evidence that the taxon C. [banyumas] lemprieri is highly distinct and should be treated as a full species.


Cyornis banyumas Cyornis magnirostris Burma Biogeography Flycatcher Myanmar SE Aisa Taxonomy 



We thank the Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division of the Union of Myanmar Forestry Department, and especially Director U Khin Maung Zaw, for permission to conduct the study (Myanmar Collection and Export Permit #SI/4697/2004). We thank U Aung Khin and Daw Thandar Kyi (Myanmar Gateway Tours) who organized much of the expedition for us. The Smithsonian Institution, Office of the Undersecretary for Science, provided support for an expedition through the Abbott Fund. Additional support came from the Alexander Wetmore Fund, Bird Division, US National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society, and the Chapman Collection Study Grant (AMNH). Animal use activities were cleared by the CRC-IACUC on 03 January 2002 (IACUC Proposal # 01-34) and 20 December 2006 (# 06-27) as a continuation of our avian inventory in Myanmar. Field assistants included U Kyaw Lin, U Tu Myint U, U A Jo, U Myint Kyaw, Bran Shaung, and San Naing Dee. In particular we thank G.R. Graves, S.L. Olson, J.P. Dean, B.K. Schmidt, and C.M. Milensky (NMNH); R.P. Prys-Jones and M.P. Adams, The Natural History Museum (BNHM), Tring, UK; D. Willard, Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH), Chicago; P.R. Sweet, American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), New York; J.V. Remsen and S.W. Cardiff, Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University (LSUMNS), Baton Rouge; and N. Rice and L. Joseph, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP), for assistance, loans, and use of collections. Information on putative field records of magnirostris and discussion was provided by K.D. Bishop and M. Catsis, and I. Heynen provided further discussion on previous versions of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conservation and Research Center, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian InstitutionFront RoyalUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyMichigan State University MuseumEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Department of ForestryNature and Wildlife Conservation DivisionYangonUnion of Myanmar

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