Saturday, August 19, 2017

Not Magnificent anymore!

The former “Magnificent Hummingbird” complex has now been split into two species, firstly by the IOC and more recently by the AOU, Clements and eBird following suit.

Here is a comparison of the two very similar looking species created by this split. On the left, a male Rivoli's Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens), from Chiapas, Mexico, and on the right, the Admirable or Talamanca Hummingbird (E. spectabilis), from Costa Rica.  The difference in plumage are tiny but the Admirable or Talamanca Hummingbird is said to have a bluer hue to its gorget and paler underparts according to Handbook of Birds of the World (although it doesn’t really look like the underparts are paler in these photos, that is probably an effect of lighting and note that the gorgets are not at the right angle to see their iridescence). Despite the very minimal plumage differences, we all know appearances can be very deceiving and there is good genetic evidence to support their treatment as separate species (Zamudio-Beltrán and Hernández-Baños 2015).

Those who follow eBird can read more on the split at: and those who follow the IOC can go to: to read more. 

Although I will miss the name "Magnificent Hummingbird", "Talamanca" has a nice ring wheras the name "Admirable Hummingbird" seems a little bizarre. For the northern taxon though, I still don't like species names based on people's names.

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