Malay Archipelago

Mayr also initiated taxonomic studies of birds from further west of New Guinea, based on collections made in Borneo, western China and northern Burma. This greatly added to his knowledge of species and literature. He studied the birds of prey of the Lesser Sunda Islands (1941m) and the birds of Timor and Sumba Islands (1944e) describing 19 new subspecies and analyzing the relationships within numerous species groups. Because of the dry climate and vegetation of these islands the bird fauna is comparatively poor and endemism is not strongly marked. Important zoogeographic considerations appended to these taxonomic discussions will be mentioned below (see p. 179ff.).

Dicrurus [hottentottus]

Dicrurus [hottentottus]

Fig. 4.8. The drongo superspecies Dicrurus [hottentottus], Dicruridae. Tail forms and inferred dispersal routes of three branches of this highly variable superspecies are shown. Bizarre shapes of tail feathers developed in the geographically most peripheral populations. Solid line: the earliestbranch to disperse; dotted line: the next branch; dashed line: the most recently dispersing branch. D. balicassius, a closely related species, occupies a range in the northern Philippines allopatric to D. hottentottus in the southern Philippines. The closely related D. montanus, the product of a double invasion of Celebes (Sulawesi) by D. hottentottus, now lives in the mountains of Sulawesi above D. hottentottus in the lowlands. The nine numbers on the map indicate the geographic ranges of nine taxa whose tails are depicted at upper right. For identification of these taxa and additional details see Mayr and Diamond (2001, map 52)

Fig. 4.8. The drongo superspecies Dicrurus [hottentottus], Dicruridae. Tail forms and inferred dispersal routes of three branches of this highly variable superspecies are shown. Bizarre shapes of tail feathers developed in the geographically most peripheral populations. Solid line: the earliestbranch to disperse; dotted line: the next branch; dashed line: the most recently dispersing branch. D. balicassius, a closely related species, occupies a range in the northern Philippines allopatric to D. hottentottus in the southern Philippines. The closely related D. montanus, the product of a double invasion of Celebes (Sulawesi) by D. hottentottus, now lives in the mountains of Sulawesi above D. hottentottus in the lowlands. The nine numbers on the map indicate the geographic ranges of nine taxa whose tails are depicted at upper right. For identification of these taxa and additional details see Mayr and Diamond (2001, map 52)

Study of the birds of the Philippines led to several taxonomic reviews, comments, descriptions of new subspecies, e.g., of the Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus, 1939d) and Tailorbird (Orthotomus, 1947b) and revisions of the classification and nomenclature of various other taxa (Delacour and Mayr 1945m). These articles were byproducts of a book, Birds of the Philippines by J. Delacour and E. Mayr (1946k) published to facilitate the identification of birds in the field. The work associated with this project was about evenly shared by both authors. Numerous excellent line drawings by E. C. Poole and A. Seidel illustrate many species. Keys permit the determination of species; subspecies are also briefly described. Remarks on ecology and habits of the birds point to insufficient knowledge and gaps to be filled. Zoogeographically, most Philippine birds show Malaysian affinities, but some have closer ties with Oriental and Palearctic elements.

Mayr's discussion of the "Evolution in the family Dicruridae" (Mayr and Vaurie 1948d) was based on a taxonomic revision of the drongos by Vaurie (1949) and therefore published in coauthorship. This family is widespread in the Old World tropics. Several of the 20 species are well differentiated in the Malay Archipelago (Fig. 4.8). Mayr emphasized here again that the more distinct subspecies and semispecies are geographically isolated and occur in peripheral parts of the species range, where they vary rather unpredictably. Those which readily cross water gaps formed widespread polytypic species and superspecies.

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