Working for birds in Africa

Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher

p 130-132

One of the most attractive of the endemic birds of the Mascarene Islands (Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues) is Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone bourbonnensis. Its two subspecies occur on Mauritius (desolata) and Réunion (bourbonnensis). The former taxon is highly threatened, but attracts little attention due to its subspecific status. Its Réunion counterpart is also rarely mentioned because it is common. As a result, the whole species avoids both Red Data books and lists of single island endemics. The Mauritius form is slightly larger and darker both above and below; the purple gloss on the head is also more intense and extends further on to the nape. The differences are not striking, and until recently few would have suggested calling them separate species, although Salomonsen did so. However, the current debate concerning the Phylogenetic Species Concept (under which Mauritius would have an endemic species, T. desolata) is helping to focus some attention on such forgotten taxa.

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