The first national records of Piping Plover Charadrius melodus draw attention to the vital importance of coastal northwestern Venezuela for conservation of western hemisphere shorebirds

With its position in the middle of the Americas, Venezuela provides an ideal stop-over for migratory shorebirds on their annual journeys between high northern latitudes and the tropics, or onward to the southern hemisphere. Thirty-five species use Venezuela’s wetlands, alongside a further 13 residents, and aerial and terrestrial shorebird surveys conducted since the 1980s confirm the regional importance of the country’s coasts and marshes. Video credit: Carolina Dávila We have been involved in shorebird work […]

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Genetics, geographies and good looks: unravelling the taxonomy of the glossy swiftlets

Since Ernst Mayr defined species in 1942 (1), classifying swiftlets (Aves, Collocaliini) into taxonomic groups has presented a major challenge. The glossy swiftlets represent some of the most taxonomically challenging and relatively under-studied birds in the family Apodidae. The appearance of white-bellied glossy swiftlets (the Collocalia esculenta group) is somewhat unremarkable. They all have dark, black plumage with a green or blue gloss. Until recently, phenotypic characters were used to separate the species of white-bellied […]

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