Redefining the taxonomy of the all-black and pied boubous (Laniarius spp.) in coastal Kenya and Somalia

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Brian W. Finch, Nigel D. Hunter, Inger Eleanor Hall Winkelmann, Karla Manzano Vargas, Peter Njoroge, Jon Fjeldså, Tom Gilbert

Following the rediscovery of a form of Laniarius on Manda Island, Kenya, which had been treated as a melanistic morph of Tropical Boubou Laniarius aethiopkus for some 70 years, a detailed field study strongly indicated that it was wrongly assigned. Molecular examination proved that it is the same species as L. (aethiopkus) erlangeri, until now considered a Somali endemic, and these populations should take the oldest available name L. nigerrimus. The overall classification of coastal boubous also proved to require revision, and this paper presents a preliminary new classification for taxa in this region using both genetic and morphological data. Genetic evidence revealed that the coastal ally of L. aethiopkus, recently considered specifically as L. sublacteus, comprises two unrelated forms, requiring a future detailed study.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)74-85
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

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