Friday, September 19, 2014

[Ornithology • 2013] The Taxonomic and Conservation Status of the Oxypogon Helmetcrests

Buffy Helmetcrest Oxypogon stubelii by Juan José Arango
Blue-bearded Helmetcrest Oxypogon cyanolaemus by John Gould,
White-bearded Helmetcrest Oxypogon lindenii by Hugo Arnal, and 
Green-bearded Helmetcrest Oxypogon guerinii by Jacob Drucker.

Morphological variation in the genus Oxypogon was studied using biometrics and plumage data, and available sound recordings were inspected. Four distinct populations of Bearded Helmetcrest Oxypogon guerinii (cyanolaemus in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, lindenii in the Venezuelan Andes, guerinii in the East Andes of Colombia, and stubelii in the Central Andes of Colombia) were lumped without justification in the 1940s but are highly distinct in multiple plumage and morphometric characters. Species rank is suggested for all four taxa, following species scoring tests. We draw special attention to O. cyanolaemus of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which has not been reported since 1946. It is recommended for the IUCN criteria of Critically Endangered, although it may possibly already be extinct.

Key words: Oxypogon, Bearded helmetcrests, taxonomy, conservation, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, paramo

Collar, N.J. & Salaman, P. 2013. The Taxonomic and Conservation Status of the Oxypogon Helmetcrests. Conservación Colombiana. 19: 31-38.

Proposed splits are accepted of Oxypogon Helmetcrests into four species (three in Colombia)
Green-bearded Helmetcrest Oxypogon guerinii 
Blue-bearded Helmetcrest O. cyanolaemus 
Buffy Helmetcrest O. stubelii 
We accept the splits set out in Collar & Salaman (2013), resulting in recognition of three species occurring in Colombia, guerinii in the Central Andes, cyanolaemus in Santa Marta and stubelii in the East Andes. All are known from specimen records in Colombia so can be considered confirmed for the country.