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Reassessment of plumage characters and morphometrics of Anthus longicaudatus Liversidge, 1996 and Anthus pseudosimilis Liversidge and Voelker, 2002 (Aves: Motacillidae)

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Plumage characters and morphometrics of two recently described pipits were investigated to determine their taxonomic status. We examined one of two syntypes and both paratypes of long-tailed pipit, Anthus longicaudatus Liversidge, 1996 (the type series unorthodoxly consisting of syntypes and paratypes), and two further skins identified as A. longicaudatus by R. Liversidge. The material proved to be an amalgam of two taxa: the syntype, male paratype and the two additional skins were inseparable from buffy pipit, A. vaalensis Shelley, 1900, while the female paratype of A. longicaudatus was a long-billed pipit, A. similis Jerdon, 1840. We also investigated the holotype of Kimberley pipit, A. pseudosimilis Liversidge and Voelker, 2002 and six other skins identified by the describers as A. pseudosimilis. This material was an amalgam of three taxa: the A. pseudosimilis holotype was an African pipit, A. cinnamomeus Rüppell, 1840, five of the other skins were indistinguishable from long-billed pipit, A. similis, while the sixth skin was a mountain pipit, A. hoeschi Stresemann, 1938. In conclusion, we find no morphometric or plumage evidence in the skins examined to support the validity of either A. pseudosimilis or A. longicaudatus. We therefore formally synonymize A. pseudosimilis under A. cinnamomeus syn. nov. and A. longicaudatus under A. vaalensis syn. nov.
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Keywords: Anthus longicaudatus; Anthus pseudosimilis; Motacillidae; Pipit; Taxonomy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2014

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