Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 631–650 | Cite as

Geographic variation and taxonomy of the Arremon taciturnus (Hermann, 1783) species complex (Aves: Passerellidae)

  • Nelson BuainainEmail author
  • Claydson P. de Assis
  • Marcos A. Raposo
Original Article


Arremon taciturnus is a polytypic South American species with three currently recognized subspecies: Arremon taciturnus taciturnus, Arremon taciturnus nigrirostris and Arremon taciturnus axillaris. Historically, two additional species, Arremon semitorquatus, and Arremon franciscanus, were considered related to Arremon taciturnus, thus forming a species complex. In this paper, we review the taxonomy of the complex, including all taxa involved, based on coloration, morphometrics and vocal characters. All the taxa, except for A. taciturnus nigrirostris, are diagnosable based on coloration, especially of the bill, superciliary stripes and wing coverts, and have well-defined distributions. Based on our results, we suggest that A. taciturnus, A. axillaris, A. semitorquatus and A. franciscanus are valid species, while the specific name nigrirostris should be considered a junior synonym of taciturnus. All these species, besides A. taciturnus and A. axillaris, also have clearly different vocalizations. Additionally, we discuss the geographical variation between populations of A. taciturnus revealed by a multivariate analysis of song characters.


Arremon axillaris Arremon franciscanus Arremon semitorquatus Bioacoustics Biogeography 


Geographische Variation und Taxonomie der Arremon taciturnus (Hermann, 1783) Sammelart 30 (Aves: Passerellidae)

Arremon taciturnus ist eine polytypische südamerikanische Art mit drei derzeit anerkannten Unterarten: Arremon taciturnus taciturnus, Arremon taciturnus nigrirostris und Arremon taciturnus axillaris. Historisch betrachtet umfasst die Sammelart noch zwei weitere verwandte Arten, nämlich Arremon semitorquatus und Arremon franciscanus. In dieser Arbeit überprüfen wir die Taxonomie jedes einzelnen Taxons in der Sammelart anhand von Färbung, Morphometrie und Gesangmerkmalen. Alle Taxa außer A. taciturnus nigrirostris sind anhand von Färbung erkennbar, insbesondere des Schnabels, der Deckfedern und des Überaugenstreifs, und haben wohl definierte Verbreitungen. Aufgrund unserer Ergebnisse empfehlen wir, dass A. taciturnus, A. axillaris, A. semitorquatus und A. franciscanus begründete Arten sind, und dass der Name nigrirostris als jüngeres Synonym von taciturnus betrachtet werden soll. Alle Arten außer A. taciturnus und A. axillaris haben auch offensichtlich verschiedene Vokalisationen. Zusätzlich diskutieren wir die geographische Variation zwischen A. taciturnus Populationen, die mittels einer multivariate Analyse der Gesangmerkmale untersucht wurde.



We thank Letty Salinas and Diego Ardiles for the pictures of specimens housed at the Museo de Historia Natural de la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, and Dr. Michael Brooke for pictures of the holotype of A. semitorquatus housed at the University of Cambridge. We are also grateful to Marcelo Vasconcelos and Vitor Torga for the information on plumage of A. franciscanus females, Daniel Firme for photographing the material housed at the Colección Ornitológica Phelps, Michele Leocádio for assistance with the biogeographic delimitation map, Joel Cracraft and the American Museum of Natural History for the Collection Study Grant given to N. B. N., Jeremy K. Dickens for the instructions about the interpolation method and revision of the English text. We thank all the curators and staff of the collections visited for their courtesy and time including: Alexandre Aleixo and Fatima Lima (MPEG), Luis Fabio Silveira (MZUSP), Joel Cracraft, Paul Sweet and Lydia Garetano (AMNH), Nate Rice (ANSP), Steve Rogers (CM), Ben Marks and John Bates (FMNH), Brian Schmidt (UNSM). All work was done according to Brazilian law. N. B. N. was financially supported by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Ensino Superior (CAPES) and C. P. A. was financially supported by the Fundação de Amparo e Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) (process no. 2014/10914-2).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nelson Buainain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claydson P. de Assis
    • 2
  • Marcos A. Raposo
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Vertebrados, Setor de OrnitologiaMuseu Nacional/Universidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Genética e Evolução Molecular de Aves (LGEMA), Departamento de Genética e Biologia Evolutiva do Instituto de Biociências daUniversidade de São Paulo (USP)São PauloBrazil

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