Several cryptic avian species have been validated by recent integrative taxonomic efforts in the Sino-Himalayan mountains, indicating that avian diversity in this global biodiversity hotspot may be underestimated. In the present study, we investigated species limits in the genus Tarsiger, the bush robins, a group of montane forest specialists with high species richness in the Sino-Himalayan region. Based on comprehensive sampling of all 11 subspecies of the six currently recognized species, we applied an integrative taxonomic approach by combining multilocus, acoustic, plumage and morphometric analyses. Our results reveal that the isolated north-central Chinese populations of Tarsiger cyanurus, described as the subspecies albocoeruleus but usually considered invalid, is distinctive in genetics and vocalisation, but only marginally differentiated in morphology. We also found the Taiwan endemic T. indicus formosanus to be distinctive in genetics, song and morphology from T. i. indicus and T. i. yunnanensis of the Sino-Himalayan mountains. Moreover, Bayesian species delimitation using BPP suggests that both albocoeruleus and formosanus merit full species status. We propose their treatment as ‘Qilian Bluetail’ T. albocoeruleus and ‘Taiwan Bush Robin’ T. formosanus, respectively.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Disjunct distribution
- Multilocus phylogeny