Working for birds in Africa

What is Pogoniulus makawai?

p 18-27

The White-chested Tinkerbird Pogoniulus makawai was described in 1965 from a single specimen collected in Cryptosepalum forest in north-west Zambia. Lack of subsequent records has led to it being increasingly discounted as a valid species, because: (1) it could be an aberrant Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird P. bilineatus, (2) although Cryptosepalum forest is a very distinctive habitat, the type locality does not appear to be in a centre of endemism, and (3) many people have since searched for it without success. However, we find 13 separate characters by which it diverges from P. bilineatus, a degree of difference which we feel cannot be ascribed to aberration. Moreover, the habitat of the area is by no means uniform; and the efforts to rediscover P. makawai in and around its type locality, while considerable, cannot be regarded as exhaustive, particularly since large areas of Cryptosepalum forest, extremely difficult habitat in which to work, have never been visited. Assigning P. makawai to synonymy is, we feel, premature; systematic and comprehensive surveys, perhaps into adjacent Angola or DR Congo, are needed.

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