Shrike-babbler splits – another endemic for Dalat

A paper on the shrike-babblers by Frank Rheindt and James Eaton published recently in Zootaxa proposes splitting Vietnam’s White-browed Shrike-babblers into two distinct species.

Dalat Shrike-babbler

Formerly regarded as a subspecies, the White-browed Shrike-babbler found on the Dalat Plateau in southern Vietnam will now be known as Dalat Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius annamensis). This will bring the number of endemic birds to be found on the species-rich Dalat Plateau to six. The current Dalat endemics are Vietnamese Greenfinch, Black-crowned Fulvetta, Orange-breasted Laughingthrush, Collared Laughingthrush and Grey-crowned Crocias. This number may well increase further at some point as there are several very good candidates for future splits including distinct local subspecies of Red Crossbill, Black-throated Sunbird and Blue-winged Siva.

Meanwhile, the White-browed Shrike-babbler of central and northern Vietnam becomes Blyth’s Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius aeralatus), with the subspecies aeralatus in central parts and ricketti in the north.

In addition to changes relating to White-browed Shrike-babbler, the Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler found in Vietnam has now been given the wonderful new name of Clicking Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius intermedius) to distinguish it from the Trilling Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius aenobarbus) of Java.