Proposal (90) to South American Classification Committee


Split Phaeochroa from Campylopterus


The monotypic genus Phaeochroa was merged by Schuchmann (HBW vol. 5, 1999) into Campylopterus mainly on basis of swollen outer primary shaft and undisclosed "behavioral and vocal evidence". Although I suspect that Phaeochroa will be found to go with Campylopterus, published data so far are insufficient to justify the merger. Convergence in such a sexually selected character is not entirely unprecedented - none of these genera has the shaft as thickened as do "true" Campylopterus - the case is analogous to that of the long tails of Aglaiocercus and Lesbia, or the racket tips of Ocreatus and Discosura.


Therefore, I recommend a YES vote on this proposal, and thus a restoration of the monotypic genus Phaeochroa, until more evidence is presented for lumping them.


Gary Stiles, December 2003




Comments from Zimmer: "YES. Like Gary, I could see Phaeochroa eventually proving to belong with Campylopterus. However, it's different enough, that I would want to see a published analysis before making the move. Such an analysis should also deal with the problem of Aphantochroa, which, in many respects (plumage, vocalizations, behavior) seems closer to Phaeochroa than either does to the "true" Campylopterus. It may prove that both of these monotypic genera should be subsumed into Campylopterus, but I'd like to see something more concrete than the structure of the outer primary shafts used as evidence."


Comments from Robbins: "YES. I'd like to see more convincing data before lumping these into the same genus. Hence, I vote 'yes'."


Comments from Jaramillo: "YES. Not a bird I know at all in life or museum specimens. The argument to wait for better data before making the change is good."


Comments from Nores: "YES. Estoy de acuerdo con mantener separado Phaeochroa de Campylopterus. Aunque las razones para sepáralos tampoco son muy contundentes, pienso que hay que esperar datos publicados para tomar la decisión de unirlos."