Meet the Chihuahuan Meadowlark | All About Birds All About Birds

a brown and buff bird with a yellow chest perches on dry plant stems
Chihuahuan Meadowlark by Jack Parlapiano/Macaulay Library.

In keeping with the American Ornithological Society, there’s one other meadowlark for birders to placed on their life lists.

In its 63rd complement to the Guidelines of North American Birds, the AOS North American Classification Committee accepted a proposal to separate out a brand new species—Sturnella lilianae—from the Jap Meadowlark (Sturnella magna).

The chicken’s official frequent title would be the Chihuahuan Meadowlark, as a part of its vary runs throughout the Chihuahuan Desert from Arizona and New Mexico down into Mexico. The proposal was submitted by Penn State PhD scholar Johanna Beam, based mostly on her undergraduate analysis on the College of Colorado that included vocal analyses and whole-genome sequencing for specimens of Western Meadowlark, Jap Meadowlark, and the populations now break up into Chihuahuan Meadowlark.

“The genetic knowledge present that Jap Meadowlark and this new meadowlark … are literally not one another’s closest kinfolk,” mentioned U.S. Geological Survey scientist Terry Chesser, who’s the NACC chair. “Jap and Western Meadowlarks are extra carefully associated to one another than to the newly break up Chihuahuan Meadowlarks.”

Beam’s analysis additionally confirmed a species barrier among the many meadowlarks could exist because of their vocalizations.

“The vocal variations between Chihuahuan and Jap Meadowlarks are equally as sturdy as these between Jap and Western Meadowlarks,” mentioned Shawn Billerman, a science editor for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds of the World, who additionally sits on the NACC. “These vocal variations could also be vital in contributing to an absence of hybridization between Chihuahuan Meadowlarks and different meadowlarks.  

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