Siberian Stonechat - race maura?

Siberian Stonechat - race maura?

This male Stonechat has been seen around the Mai Po Education Center for a few days.
I've checked the Collins Bird Guide and it fits race maura.
According to the Avifauna of HK, "Measurements of birds trapped in Hong Kong fit both maura and stejnegeri, but on distribution are almost certainly the latter."

What is the current status of the 2 races in Hong Kong?
Please kindly advice.


Photo credit: Roger Lee/WWF HK



In one sense, you are right. It is Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus, as this will be the name of the species if/when the RC adopts the IOC List as the standard in terms of taxonomy for HK.

However, according to Urquhart's 'Stonechats' book, nominate maurus (under the newer taxonomy) is apparently virtually identical to S.m. stejnegeri, differing only in showing variably less white on the rump/uppertail coverts, and slightly more extensive rufous on the breast. It seems the differences are subtle indeed.

On range, of course, maurus occurs far to the north and west of HK. Interestingly, though, Urquhart it includes one record of a vagrant in Taiwan. One wonders how this was identified...

As for HK, we continue to regard birds occurring here as stejnegeri, based on range.

Geoff C

[ Last edited by cgeoff at 27/02/2010 09:01 ]