Monday, April 17, 2017

[Ornithology • 2016] Sporophila iberaensis • A New Species of Seedeater (Thraupidae: Sporophila) from the Iberá grasslands, in northeast Argentina

Sporophila iberaensis 
Di Giacomo & Kopuchian, 2016 

Iberá Seedeater |  DOI:  10.1101/046318 

 We describe a new species of capuchino of the genus Sporophila (Emberizidae) of the Esteros del Ibera, province of Corrientes, in northeastern Argentina. This species would have remained unidentified due to lack of ornithological explorations in the central area of the Esteros del Iberá. It has been confused with immature individuals of other Sporophila species. We made observations of behavior and habitat, playback experiments, comparative analyzes of the vocalizations and plumage with other sympatric species of the same genus, and we found this species, which we have named Sporophila iberaensis, inhabiting wet grasslands from the edges of the marshes, having a unique vocal repertoire and a unique plumage. Because of its restricted geographical distribution and the threats that have their habitat, this new species should be categorized as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Key words: Argentina, conservation, Iberá wetland, new species, grassland birds, Sporophila, vocalizations

FIG. 1. Plumage patterns of males Iberá’s Seedeater Sporophila iberaensis sp. nov. and their habitat in Esteros del Iberá, Corrientes, Argentina.
Top left: An individual with incomplete collar. Top right: An individual with incipient dorsal collar and a detail of the grass Paspalum rufum whose seeds are eaten for seedeaters. Bottom left: An individual with full collar and fresh plumage at the beginning of the breeding season, and a detail of the grass Andropogon lateralis, the dominant plant of the Ibera’s grasslands. Bottom right: individual with full collar but with worn plumage as observed towards the end of the breeding season (based on holotype MACN-72854).
Background: Typical habitat of S. iberaensis with wet grasslands dominated by Andropogon lateralis and Paspalum sp. 12 around a marsh.
Original painting by Aldo Chiappe. DOI:  10.1101/046318 

Sporophila iberaensis, sp. nov. 
Iberá Seedeater, Capuchino del Iberá (Spanish),  Caboclinho-do-Iberá (Portuguese)

Etymology.- The specific epithet is a latinized adjectival form referring to the species main range at the ecosystem of the Esteros del Iberá (Iberá’s marshes) in the province of Corrientes, Argentina. “Iberá” is a term derivate from guaraní native language that means “glittering waters”. Esteros del Iberá is a complex mosaic of lagoons, rivers, wet grasslands and subtropical forests with an extension of 14,000 and most of the area is protected as a Provincial Reserve, including private and government properties. By naming this species, we wish to draw attention for the conservation of the Esteros del Iberá as an remarkable reservoir of a rich cultural and natural diversity of our country.

Adrian Di Giacomo, Bernabe López-Lanús and Cecilia Kopuchian. 2017. A New Species of Seedeater (Emberizidae: Sporophila) from the Iberá grasslands, in northeast Argentina.   bioRxiv. 046318. DOI:  10.1101/046318

 Di Giacomo, A. S, and C. Kopuchian 2016. Una nueva especie de capuchino (Sporophila: Thraupidae) de los Esteros del Iberá, Corrientes, Argentina. Nuestras Aves. 61: 3-5.

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