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, 9 (11), e112657

A New Species of Muscicapa Flycatcher From Sulawesi, Indonesia


A New Species of Muscicapa Flycatcher From Sulawesi, Indonesia

J Berton C Harris et al. PLoS One.


The Indonesian island of Sulawesi, a globally important hotspot of avian endemism, has been relatively poorly studied ornithologically, to the extent that several new bird species from the region have been described to science only recently, and others have been observed and photographed, but never before collected or named to science. One of these is a new species of Muscicapa flycatcher that has been observed on several occasions since 1997. We collected two specimens in Central Sulawesi in 2012, and based on a combination of morphological, vocal and genetic characters, we describe the new species herein, more than 15 years after the first observations. The new species is superficially similar to the highly migratory, boreal-breeding Gray-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa griseisticta, which winters in Sulawesi; however, the new species differs strongly from M. griseisticta in several morphological characters, song, and mtDNA. Based on mtDNA, the new species is only distantly related to M. griseisticta, instead being a member of the M. dauurica clade. The new species is evidently widely distributed in lowland and submontane forest throughout Sulawesi. This wide distribution coupled with the species' apparent tolerance of disturbed habitats suggests it is not currently threatened with extinction.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Muscicapa sodhii (sp. nov.; Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher; upper left and center) in comparison to M. dauurica williamsoni (Asian Brown [Brown-streaked] Flycatcher; upper right), M. s. sibirica (Dark-sided Flycatcher; lower right), and M. griseisticta (Gray-streaked Flycatcher; lower left).
Original painting by Teo Nam Siang.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Map of Sulawesi showing records of the new species of Muscicapa flycatcher and the type locality.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Principal components analysis of morphometric measurements of Asian Muscicapa taxa.
Figure 4
Figure 4. Principal components analysis of plumage scores of Asian Muscicapa taxa.
Specimens were scored from 1–10 based on 13 plumage traits. See Table 6 for details.
Figure 5
Figure 5. Sonagrams of the new species and related Asian taxa.
Localities, recordists, and catalog number (if any): new species, Baku Bakulu, Sulawesi, P.C.R./J.B.C.H., AV17423–17428; successive strophes from the same individual; M. ferruginea, Nantou, Taiwan, S. Severinghaus, ML 13910; M. randi, Hamut, Luzon, B. Demeulemeester, AV 14197, 14368; M. d. cf. siamensis, Cambodia, D. Farrow, XC 49755; M. muttui, Kandy, Sri Lanka, D. Warakagoda, AV 6672; M. griseisticta, Russia, B. Veprintsev, ML 100139; M. s. sibirica, H. Ueda; M. segregata, Sumba, J. Eaton.
Figure 6
Figure 6. Principal components analysis of measurements of song characters for Asian Muscicapa taxa.
Figure 7
Figure 7. Neighbor-joining phylogram topology with bootstrap values for node support given for neighbor-joining, maximum-parsimony and maximum-likelihood analyses in the same order.
Figure 8
Figure 8. Photographs of the type specimens of the new species.
(a) ventral view; (b) dorsal view; (c) lateral view. The paratype is above and the holotype is below in all photographs.
Figure 9
Figure 9
Habitat at the type locality. Mature cacao plantation with remnant tall forest trees at Baku Bakulu (photo by D.L.Y., 28 Jun 2012).

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Grant support

This project was funded by the National Geographic Society (NGS CRE 8919-11; granted to PCR), the Loke Wan Tho Memorial Foundation (granted to DLY), and an EIPR scholarship at the University of Adelaide (granted to JBCH). Labwork for this project was co-funded by a National University of Singapore Faculty of Science start-up grant to FER (WBS R-154-000-570-133). We thank RISTEK for issuing the national research permits (for 2011, 0215/SIP/FRP/VI/2011; for 2012, 183/SIP/FRP/SM/VI/2012) and Lore Lindu National Park for permit letters. The Research Centre for Biology-LIPI supported DMP and DDP in their field research and provided facilities for laboratory analysis. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.