Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Vocalizations and relationships of Brown Creepers Certhia americana: a taxonomic mystery

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2000
Authors:Baptista, LF, KREBS, ROBIN
Date Published:2000
ISBN Number:1474-919X
Keywords:Certhia, Certhia americana, Certhiidae, Erithacus, Erithacus rubecula, Europe, France, Mohoua, Mohoua novaeseelandiae, Spain
Abstract:Two taxa of creepers (Certhia spp.) occur in Europe, C. familiaris and its sibling species C. brachydactyla. The North American Brown Creeper was considered a close relative of C. brachydactyla by one author, a close relative of or conspecific with C familiaris by others, and more recently as a distinct species, C. americana, by the American Ornithologists' Union. Songs of these three creepers are comprised mostly of social calls which are derived from begging calls. Sequence of syllables (syntax) is very conservative in songs of European population of C. familiaris and C. brachydactyla. In contrast, syntax in songs of western North American C. americana is highly variable; however, syllable morphology and syntax in some populations or individuals within populations is remarkably similar to songs of C. brachydactyla, notably from France and Spain. Two social calls and sleeping behaviour of C. americana are also similar to those of C. brachydactyla. Either C. americana and C. brachydactyla are close relatives or they have characters retained from the ancestor common to all three species whereas those in extant C familiaris have diverged.
Short Title:Ibis
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith