Author ORCID Identifier

Ferreira, Mateus: 0000-0002-9534-0854
Aleixo, Alexandre: 0000-0002-7816-9725

Document Type


Publication Date



Several bird taxa have been recently described or elevated to full species and almost twice as many bird species than are currently recognized may exist. Defining species is one of the most basic and important issues in biological science because unknown or poorly defined species hamper subsequent studies. Here, we evaluate the species limits and evolutionary history of Tunchiornis ochraceiceps-a widespread forest songbird that occurs in the lowlands of Central America, Choco and Amazonia-using an integrative approach that includes plumage coloration, morphometrics, vocalization and genomic data. The species has a relatively old crown age (similar to 9 Ma) and comprises several lineages with little, if any, evidence of gene flow among them. We propose a taxonomic arrangement composed of four species, three with a plumage coloration diagnosis and one deeply divergent cryptic species. Most of the remaining lineages have variable but unfixed phenotypic characters despite their relatively old origin. This decoupling of genomic and phenotypic differentiation reveals a remarkable case of phenotypic conservatism, possibly due to strict habitat association. Lineages are geographically delimited by the main Amazonian rivers and the Andes, a pattern observed in studies of other understory upland forest Neotropical birds, although phylogenetic relationships and divergence times among populations are idiosyncratic.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Molecular Phylogenetics And Evolution