Auk’s Top Cited, #9: A New Tapaculo Species


Photo credit: C. Albano

This week our series on our most cited papers from 2014 and 2015 continues with The Auk and the paper Taxonomy of “Mouse-colored Tapaculos” (II): An endangered new species from the montane Atlantic Forest of southern Bahia, Brazil by G.N. Maurício et al.

Previously considered part of Scytalopus speluncae, this population is set apart by its morphometrics, plumage, vocalization, and genetics, as documented by Maurício and his colleagues. The authors proposed the Latin name Scytalopus gonzagai for the newly described species and initially proposed the English name “Bahian Mouse-colored Tapaculo,” though this was later amended to “Boa Nova Tapaculo” to be in line with the general principles of the formation of English names.

The new species occupies a very small area in Brazil’s montane Atlantic Forest—only 3.5% of bird species in the world have a similar or smaller geographic distribution—and large areas of its habitat are threatened by timber extraction, deforestation, and frequent burning to expand areas for pastures and agriculture. It is very likely that S. gonzagai meets IUCN criteria to be considered endangered.

Read the full paper at

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