Proposal (195) to South American Classification Committee
Recognize Scytalopus rodriguezi as a valid species
Effect on South American CL: This proposal would add a newly described species to the list.
Background: Krabbe et al. (2005) described a new tapaculo from the 2000-2300 meter range on the east slope Cordillera Central at the head of the Magdalena Valley of Colombia. Their conclusion that this taxon represents a new species is based on vocal and genetic evidence, and three specimens. Vocally it has one of the simplest songs of any tapaculo. Morphologically it is similar to the other members of the genus. As there is little morphological variation in the genus and vocalizations and ecological separation have been shown to be the key to species limits in the genus, (see Krabbe & Schulenberg 1997,2003) I see no problem in recognizing this as a new species level taxon.
Recommendation: Based on the vocal and genetic information, I believe this paper clearly documents a new species level taxon. I recommend a "yes" vote to add this newly described tapaculo to the South American list.
Niels Krabbe, Paul Salaman, Alex Cortes, Alonso Quevedo, Luis Alfonso Ortega & Carlos Daniel Cadena. A new species of Scytalopus tapaculo from the Upper Magdalena Valley, Colombia. 2005. Bull. B.O.C. 125(2): 3-18.
Krabbe, N., and T.S. Schulenberg. 1997. Species limits and natural history of Scytalopus tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae), with descriptions of the Ecuadorian taxa, including three new species. Pages 47-88 in Studies in Neotropical Ornithology Honoring Ted Parker (J.V. Remsen, Jr., Ed.) Ornithological Monographs no. 48.
Krabbe, N., and T.S. Schulenberg. 2003. Family Rhinocryptidae (tapaculos). Pages 748-787 in Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 8: Broadbills to Tapaculos (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, and D. Christie, Eds.) Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Daniel Zimberlin, December 2005
Comments from Schulenberg: "Yes. Rationale is similar to that for Scytalopus stilesi: the new taxon differs little in plumage or morphometrics from congeners, but has a distinctive voice and differs genetically.
"I first heard a recording (Bret Whitney, from Finca Merenberg) of this bird many years ago, and was puzzled by it. But at that time, so little was known about the northern taxa of Scytalopus that little could be done with the recording. Now that the systematics of the Ecuadorian Scytalopus largely have been worked out, it is exciting to see so much progress being made on the Colombian taxa."
Comments from Stiles: "These proposals [193 and 195] are slim as they stand, but the evidence in the papers cited looks solid, incorporating vocal and genetic data as well as morphology (which is often equivocal for birds of this genus. My suggestion would be for the author of these proposals to provide links to the relevant paper(s) (as has John Penhallurick on several occasions), thus saving committee members (especially those outside the USA) possible time and trouble in obtaining them (or alternatively, the author or Van could incorporate a link to a pdf file in the proposal). So, the name of 193 notwithstanding, I will vote YES on both."
Comments from Robbins: "YES. Same rationale as in proposal # 193; voice and genetic data demonstrate that rodriguezi should be recognized as a species."
Comments from Zimmer: "YES, following same reasoning as in Proposal #193."
Comments from Nores: "YES. Con los mismos comentarios que para la propuesta 193."