Dewi Malia Prawiradilaga, Pratibha Baveja, Suparno Suparno, Hidayat Ashari, Nathaniel Sheng Rong Ng, Chyi Yin Gwee, Philippe Verbelen, Frank Erwin Rheindt
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The avifauna of Rote Island in the Lesser Sundas is not well studied and generally considered to be similar to that of adjacent Timor Island. However, some cases of bird endemism have recently been documented on this island. A population of Myzomela honeyeater is one such example. First observed in October 1990, it has been subsumed with Myzomela dammermani from Sumba Island given its superficially similar appearance. Based on extensive morphological inspection and bioacoustic analysis, we here describe this population as a new taxon to science. Apart from previously overlooked plumage distinctions, the new taxon bioacoustically differs from M. dammermani in the presence or absence of several unique call types and considerable differences across two parameters in shared call types. Considering the importance of bioacoustics in avian species delimitation, we propose that the new Rote Myzomela be considered a distinct species. Given continued habitat conversion across its small range, we propose the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat status Vulnerable for the species.


bird, Lesser Sundas, Myzomela, new species, Rote Island

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Supporting information

Table Supplement 1. Details on 87 sound recordings analysed, including localities, dates of recording and names of sound recordists. The newly described species from Rote is referred to as “Rote Myzomela”. The reference number is the accession number for online sound libraries such as Xeno-Canto ornithological sound collection (www.xeno-canto.org) (XC) and the Avian Vocalization Centre (www.avocet.zoology.msu.edu) (AV). Other abbreviations: Internet Bird Collection – IBC, PV – Philippe Verbelen, SC – Stijn Cooleman, JE – James Eaton, DS – David Stewart, RH – Rob Hutchinson, GC – Graeme Chapman.

Table Supplement 2. Bioacoustic parameters measured for call types [a] and/or [b] (see Figs. 2 a and b). In our classification of call types, we interpreted an unbroken vocal segment as an “element”, whereas a “motif” was taken to be a collection of one to multiple elements that are repeated in an almost identical fashion (Rheindt et al. 2011, Harris et al. 2014, Ng et al. 2016).

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