William H. Phelps and William H. Phelps, Jr. ~ Two New Subspecies Of Birds From Bonaire Island ~ 1947

August 26, 2017

Vireo altiloquus

Proceedings Of The Biological Society Of Washington. Vol. 61, pp. 171-174 – November 12, 1948

A small collection of birds was made on the Island of Bonaire, Dutch West Indies, in November, 1947. Among them are two that appear to be new, and which are described below.*
All specimens listed are in the Phelps Collection, Caracas, unless otherwise indicated. Names of colors are capitalized when direct comparison was made with Ridgway’s “Color Standards and Color Nomenclature.”

Margarops fuscatus bonairensis, new subspecies  
Type: From Fontein, Bonaire Island, Dutch West Indies. No. 40933, Phelps Collection, Caracas, Venezula. Adult male collected November 27, 1947, by William H. Phelps, Jr. (Type on deposit at the American Museum of Natural History.)

Diagnosis: Differs from the subspecies M. f. fuscatus and M. f. densirostris, from the Greater and Lesser Antilles, in that the brown markings are more grayish olive, both above and below.

Range: Known only from Bonaire Island.
Description of Type: Head (except the throat and lores), back and uropygium approximating Bister, the edges of the feathers near to Drab-Gray, except the upper tail-coverts which are edged with white; lores dark brown. Below white, the feathers marked with paler Bister (excepting on center of abdomen) in the form of streaks on the throat and scallops on the breast, sides, flanks and under tail-coverts, more densely marked on the breast. Remiges Fuscous, more brownish on the tertials, border externally with grayish and the tertials with light brown ; the secondaries and tertials tipped with white, more broadly on the tertails; inner vanes of remiges, on the basal part, lightly edged with buffy; the interior tertials indistinctly barred with dusky; greater upper wing-coverts uniform with primaries, the lesser ones uniform with back; under wing-coverts and axillaries uniform with sides. Tail Fuscous above, grayish below, the rectrices narrowly edged with whitish, witli white tips, the white areas increasing towards the external feathers aud most extensively on the inner vanes.
Bill (in life) “brownish-flesh” ; feet “brown” ; iris “ivory”. Wing, 136 mm.; tail, 107; exposed culmen, 28; culmen from base, 35; tarsus, 35.

Remarks: Sexes alike. Size similar to fuscatus. Range of measure ments: five adult males — wing, 135-139 (136.6) mm.; tail, 107-114 (110.6) ; culmen from base, 33-35 (34.2) ; one adult female — wing, 136; tail, 109; culmen from base, 34. Measurements of fuscatus from Puerto Rico and St. Thomas: five adult males — wing, 138-142 (139.6); tail, 110-115 (112.6) ; culmen from base, 31-33 (32) ; five adult females — wing, 132-142 (137.8) ; tail, 108-112 (110) ; culmen from base, 30-32 (31.2).

The plumages are fresh and without blood sheathes or signs of moulting and the gonads are not developed, indicating that the breeding season had not yet arrived.
We found this species only at the Fontein estate among the fruit trees bordering the brook which flows from a spring there. Hartert (1893:327) says that the specimens collected by him were also obtained at Fontein and that he did not observe the species at any other part.
Unfortunately, the only other known specimens from Bonaire, those collected by Hartert, and at present in the American Museum of Natural History, were in such worn plumage as to be useless for subspecific identification and, on that account, they have been called up till now fuscatus; they were collected in the month of July. Hellmayr (1934: 342) recognized that the subspecific identification was doubtful and says: “A race of doubtful standing occurs on the Leeward Islands (Orquilla, Los Hermanos; Bonaire, Dutch West Indies). Hartert [1893:327; 1902:297] insists that they belong to fuscatus rather than densirostris, but on reexamination the Bonaire specimens, upon which his remarks were based, prove to be in far too worn plumage to be of any use in deciding their subspecific affinity. Lowe [1909:327] subsequently recorded Margarops fuscatus from Orquilla, Los Hermanos, which doubtless pertains to the same undetermined race.”

Although Hellmayr (loc. cit.) says that the race which inhabits Horquilla Island, in the Los Hermanos Archipelago, undoubtedly belongs to the undetermined race of Bonaire, this is not positively known because Lowe (1909:328) says, referring to the two males and one female collected there by him, and which he referred to the subspecies fuscatus: “My specimens agree in coloration of plumage with typical specimens in the British Museum, but the measurements are rather smaller.” Bond (1945:101) considers that the birds of Bonaire as well as those of Los Hermanos are of an undetermined race (Phelps, Jr., 1947:115).   Most of the specimens of fuscatus examined have more or less worn plumage but there are five which are in fresh plumage, comparable with ours of bonairensis: 1 ♂ September, 2 ♀  November, Barbuda; 1 ♂ July, Antigua; 1 ♂ September, St. Thomas.

Specimens Examined
f. fuscatus . [i] – ANTIGUA : 3 ♂, 5 ♀. BARBUDA: 3 ♂, 2 ♀. MONA I.: 1♂, 1♀. ST THOMAS: 2 ♂ , 8 ♀, 1 (?). SOMBRERO I ♂.: 1 (?). PUERTO RICO: 4 ♂, 2 $, 1 (?). ST. CROIX: 1 ♀.   M. f. densirostris. 1- ST. LUCIA: 1 ♂, 2 ♀, 1 (?). GUADELOUPE: 3 ♂, 2♀, 1 (?). DOMINICA: 2♂, 1♀. 1 (?).   M. f. bonairensis. – BONAIRE: 13 ♂ (incl. type), 1 ♀, 5 ♂

Vireo altiloquus bonairensis, new subspecies
Type: From Bonaire Island, Butch West Indies. No. 40913, Phelps Collection, Caracas, Venezuela. Adult male collected November 27, 1947, by William H. Phelps, Jr. (Type on deposit at the American Museum of Natural History.)

Diagnosis: Differs from all subspecies of V. altiloquus by a darker and purer gray crown, superciliary stripe purer white without trace of buffy, lores blacker, sides of head grayish olive instead of buff olive, under parts purer white, and submalar stripes blacker; differs from all races of V. olivaceus by having submalar streaks.

Range: Known only from the Island of Bonaire.
Description of Type: Forehead and crown darker than Mouse Gray, the crown bordered by dusky streaks; back and uropygium Citrine- Drab ; superciliary streak, from bill to neck, grayish white ; lores dusky; suricular region brownish olive; malar region grayish olive; a fuscous submalar streak. Below, except the under tail-coverts, white, the sides washed with yellowish olive; tibia grayish olive; under tail-coverts Straw Yellow. Wings Benzo Brown; remiges bordered externally with olivaceous, grayer towards the outer ones, and internally with whitish; upper wing-coverts browner, with grayish edges ; under wing-coverts yellowish gray; exillaries pale yellow. Tail, above paler than Olive-Brown, below grayish ; edges of outer vanes of rectrices more olivaceous and of inner vanes pale yellowish white.
Maxilla (in life) “horn color “; mandible “gray”; feet “pale blue”; iris “red.” Wing, 77 mm.; tail, 56; exposed culmen, 15; eulmen from base, 20; tarsus, 20.

Remarks: The sexes are alike in coloration, the female somewhat smaller, especially the bill. Measurement of the female – wing, 75 mm.; tail, 52; exposed culmen, 12.5; culmen from base, 17; tarsus, 19.
The female specimen differs from the type, besides being smaller, in having a whiter superciliary stripe and the back, uropygium and upper surface of tail are brighter, more greenish.
Both specimens were collected among the acacia trees and cactus in the neighborhood of Fontein.

Specimens Examined
o. olivaceus. – VENEZUELA: 37 (migrants, various localities).
o. vividior . [iii] – VENEZUELA: 165 (various localities).
altiloquus bonairensis. – BONAIRE ISLAND: 1 ♂ (type, 1 ♀.
a. altiloquus. – VENEZUELA: Raudal Carapo, Rio Paragua, 3 (?); Boca de Sina, [ii] 1 ♂; Suapure, [ii] 1 (?). BRITISH GUIANA: Paruima Mission, 1 ♂. COLOMBIA: [ii] Masinga Vieja, Sta. Marta, 1 ♂ ; Bonda, 1 ♂. SANTO DOMINGO:[ii] 51. PUERTO RICO: [ii] 11. JAMAICA: [ii] 9. NAVASSA I.[ii] ; 4 ♂,1 ♀. ST. THOMAS: [ii] 2 ♂, 2 (?).
a. barbadensis. [ii] – DOMINICA : 14. BARDUDA: 2 ♀. ANTIGUA: 6. SANTA LUCIA 2 ♂, 2 ♀. ST. VINCENT: 3 ♂, 1 (?). GUADELOUPE: 2 ♂, 2 ♀, 1 (?). GRENADINES: 1 ♀.
a. barbatulus.[ii] – CUBA : 37. BAHAMAS: 4 ♂, 1 ♀, DRY TORTUGAS: 1 ♂,- COLOMBIA: Buritaca, Santa Marta, 1 ♂, ; Bonda, 1 ♂, 2 ♀, 5 (?)
a. grandior [ii] . – OLD PROVIDENCE I.: 1 ♂,.

[i] Specimens in American Museum of Natural History
[ii] Specimens in American Museum of Natural History.
[iii] Specimens of all the other races of olivaceus (see Zimmer, Am. ‘NTus. Nov., No. 1127, pp. 12-15, June 26. 1941), represented in the American Museum of Natural History, were also examined.

Literature cited
Bond, James 1945. Check List of the Birds of the West Indies. Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, pp. 1-182.
Hartert, Ernst 1893. On the Birds of the Islands of Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire. Ibis, pp. 289-338.
– 1902. Die mit sicherheit festgestellten vögel der inseln Aruba, Curaçao und Bonaire. Novitates Zoologicae, 9, pp. 295-309.
Hellmayr, Charles E. 1934. Catalogue of Birds of the Americas (etc). Field. Mus. Nat. Hist., Zool. Ser., 13, Part 7, pp. 1-531.
Lowe, Percy R.   1909. Notes on some Birds collected during a Cruise in the Caribbean Sea. Ibis, pp. 304-347.
Phelps, Jr., William H.   1947. Las Aves de la Isla La Blauquilla y de los Morros El Fondeadero y La Horquilla del Archipiélago de Los Hermanos. Bol. Soc. Yen. Cien. Nat., No. 71, pp. 85-118.

*We wish to express our thanks to our friends Hon. F. N. Craandijk, Netherlands Minister to Venezuela, and Hon. X. M. C. H. Krugers, Governor of Bonaire, whose kindness and interest made the collection possible; and to Sr. Bernardo Flores, Venezuelan Consul in Bonaire, and Mr. L. C. Gerharts who also contributed to its success.


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